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#1961: Willa Cather to Mary Virginia Boak Cather, [October 26, 1924]

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My Dearest Mother1;

I hope you will be charitable with me for not having written you for so long. The first few weeks in town2 after a long absence are terribly wearing. Edith4 came down two w weeks ahead of me, and with the help of the faithful Mrs. Winn5 got the apartment6 beautifully clean. We have never been so clean before. This summer the landlord painted and papered the apartment throughout for us, and we sent all our window curtains to the cleaners, and had every rug we own dry-cleaned by a most reliable old carpet-cleaning house that dear Mr. Wiener7 first told me about years ago. They cleaned our rugs like new, and kept them in moth-proof storage for us all summer while we were away. So I came back to clean, bright, pleasant rooms. The first thing was to get a good maid, Montana8 having gone south.

We have now a pretty little Baltimore9 mulatto girl, named Mattie10. Have had her one week and are greatly pleased with her. She is a splendid cook, is pretty, and has sweet manners. The only trouble about these nice little darkies is that they get tried of working and "go South". This one is nice; I spent a good deal of last week working with her and showing her how we like things done, and I got to like her ever so much. On Friday she and I put up five quarts of quince preserves, and I think I never tasted such delicious preserves. They are the color of old amber, only redder, and I wish I could send you a jar of them. So I feel that I am fairly started at housekeeping once again.

I am troubled about you and father11, for this winter. It is a hard loss to lose12 a faithful servant13, even if she cannot cook much. Even if Elsie14 were to come home she ought to have a woman to help her, and they are hard to get. I wrote her about a delightful place in Winchester15 where friends of mine spent last winter. I almost wish you and Father felt like going there for the winter.

I am trying to work on my new book16 every day, but it is hard to get the house to running and to write at the same time. I have great hopes of Mattie. I will write you again soon, dear Mother, and I hope you are getting rested at Mrs. Wolfe's17. Mary Virginia's18 school19 has invited me to spend Thanksgiving there20 with her, but I do not know if I can leave my desk.

Very lovingly to you both Willie
Mrs. C. F. Cather1 Red Cloud3 Nebraska NEW YORK, N. Y. STA. D2 OCT 26 1924 930 PM