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#1920: Willa Cather to Elsie Cather, June 25, 1934

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My dear Elsie1:

I wish you were going abroad this summer - that is, to England3, because England is just now the most comfortable and inexpensive foreign country for American travellers.

But since you are not going abroad, your motor trip through New England4 sounds to me like a good plan. If you are going into Maine5, you must certainly come on and visit me6 at Grand Manan7. It is ever so much more different from the West than New England is, simply because it is an island. Real islands that set far off from shore have a character all their own. I do think you would enjoy it if you came.

You would take the boat (and put your car on the boat) at Eastport, Maine8. The drive from Boston9 up to Eastport is said to be beautiful - I have never taken it. The boat touches at Eastport only three times a week. If you write me that you are coming, I will let you know on what dates the boat touches there - the schedule seems to change from year to year. But even if you should have to stay over in Eastport a day and night, it is a rather pleasant town on the sea and you would be comfortable at a plain but clean country hotel, the Hotel East.

As you know, we have no guest room in our little house, but I would gladly put you and your friend up at Miss Jacobus10' little colony where we go for our meals. That is where Mary Virginia11 stayed when she spent her vacation12 with me and where Edith13 and I always stayed until we built our little house. The place is apt to be full in July and August, so it will be better if you could let me know a couple weeks ahead. The island is twenty-five miles long, so you would have plenty of use for your car. I shall be busy finishing up my book14, but we could have some nice walks together and you would probably want to take some boat trips.

The people who come there are not a very dressy crowd - most of them are librarians and teachers. They wear fresh, simple, comfortable summer clothes. You would need comfortable shoes for rock climbing - elk-skins are the best, but almost any rubber-soled, low-heeled shoe will do. You would, of course, need a heavy coat, sweaters, and very especially a rain-coat. I had to struggle to make Virginia buy a rain-coat, but she was awfully glad she had it. And you must bring an umbrella! You see, island weather is -2- ⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ queer - often wild rain and brilliant sunshine within a few hours. Being out in the rain is one of the pleasures of the place.

It takes so long to get to Grand Manan (though the boat trip from Eastport takes only about four hours) that you ought to be able to stay for two weeks anyway. Otherwise it would hardly be worth the trouble for you, but it's really a lovely place, with water and wild woods everywhere. Though everything is on a rather small scale, the cliffs are wild enough, like those on the coast of Cornwall15. I would be just awfully glad to have you come, if you can take that long trip without tiring yourself or feeling worried. And Edith and I would love to have you there.

You ask about camps. I don't know of any and Virginia never went to one. She came to Grand Manan instead. She will not be there this summer, as she has other plans.

I wanted to write you the very day I got your letter, but I have been rushing terribly hard to get on with my book and there have been so many business interruptions. I will get the book done all right, but it will not be published this fall, as it is to come out first serially16 in the Woman's Home Companion17. The serialization is a pure question of money18 and I rather hope my friends won't read the story until it appears as a book in September 1935.19

There are lots of things I want to write to you about in answer to your letter, dear Elsie, but I must rush this off, as you will be making your summer plans now.

With a gerat deal of love to you, Willie

The boat boat charge for bringing an automobile over to Grand Manan is, I think, ten dollars. Edith's sister20 brought her car last year.