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#1954: Willa Cather to Mary Virginia Boak Cather, February 2, 1917

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Dearest Mother1:
I am so worried to hear that you have a cold. Please go to Yuma3 if it does not get better. Surely it will improve before long when you are out of doors so much every day. I am glad you have found congenial people at your boarding house4, as I know that one cannot get on without people. I think that sometimes pleasant, friendly strangers are more of a rest to one than one's own family or than one's old friends. One makes more of an effort for them, and the effort does one good. I am writing in bed, as I am taking a few days off with my "friend." I think the do specialist, Dr. Van Etten5, whom Dr. Wiener6 sent me to is doing me good, and I hope he will gradually regulate that trouble7 until I wont lose so much strength every month. He says my nerves and general

Elsie8 do not worry about my cold nor say any thing about it to the folks at home for I am all over it now and feeling fine except I am still tired so very tired

Lovingly Mother1
2health will be ever so much better if he can reduce that waste to normal.

We are all terribly upset here2 by the turn the war9 has taken. I have written father10 about how it affects us in many ways, and have asked him to send you the letter.

I have got such a nice black silk bag, with gay beads on it, to send Auntie Sister11 for Easter. I got it for one dollar at Wanamaker's sale as I was hurrying through the store to buy sash-curtains. I am so pleased, for I believe she will like it very much. It is very genle "genteel" for an old lady.

It is costing us12 fifty dollars a month more to live than it did last winter, and we have cut out the opera and altogether, 3and most concerts. We get free tickets to a good many theaters. Mrs. Deland13 wrote me for ten dollars for the Belgians14 last week. As I had been ill in her home for three weeks after that operation in Boston15, I could not well refuse.

Jack16 is back in Pittsburgh17 again doing some temporary work, but I am afraid his job can't last long now that all trade with England18 will have to stop. His letters have been rather braggy lately, and I wrote him a long lecture about it yesterday. I dont don't want him to be boastful with our friends in Pittsburgh. It would make him look too ridiculous. He has always been nice and modest and I hope he is not going to lose it. I expect this is only a passing moment of large-heartedness.

I will send you the February magazines, dear Mother, as soon as they are all in, and I want to send West Virginia19 a valentine if I get out in time. I will also send Mrs. Letson20 a book I think she will like.

This is Friday, and I still have to get up for awhile this afternoon to see the people who come in for tea. I hope not many will come. I use the lunch cloth you gave me every Friday for tea. I have some of Isabelle's21 silver here while she is away, and it makes the tea table look very pretty.

With much love, dear mother Willie