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#1869: Willa Cather to Elsie Cather, September 21, 1940

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My dear Elsie1:

I am sending this clipping which interests me because I know a good deal about the young Queen3. She is a friend of Myra Hess4, and an old girlhood comrade of Myra's friend, Anita Gunn5, who for a number of years has traveled with Myra. The Queen, you know, is the daughter of a very poor Scotch laird6,- and a poor Scotch laird is about the poorest thing you can find. The daughter of another poor Scotch laird married into the Hambourg family, and I have never known such economy as Lady Dolly Mackenzie's7; in food, in dress, and everything else. Anita Gunn grew up on a farm bordering on Queen Elizabeth's home estate, when there was no likelihood whatever of her being Queen of England8. It only happened because the royal family always go to the Scotch Highlands in the summer, and Elizabeth was such a good tennis player that George9 liked to play with her. As Duke of York he had no likelihood of succession, and he could marry a Scotch girl of ancient and impoverished family. Queen Mary10 herself is very Scotch, and made no objection. Elizabeth seems to have been born to be a queen: in Canada11 she seemed never to go anywhere12 without doing gracious and graceful things. The stories I heard about her up there from the poor country people would fill a book. Myra and Anita Gunn had told me so much about Elizabeth that I was not greatly surprised.