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#2055: Willa Cather to Carrie Miner Sherwood, November 25, 1935

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My dear Carrie1:

This will be more a report than a letter. I simply want you to know where I am and why I haven't written. I got in ten days ago after a very rough passage. I always enjoy rough weather at sea, but Edith3 was really very ill all the way over. There was an excellent trained nurse on board who took splendid care of her, and I was free to enjoy the north Atlantic weather on a deck. As soon as we landed Edith had to go into the hospital for a slight operation. Only a few days before we left France4 she noticed a little lump in her shoulder. The very morning after we landed, before we had telephone connection, I set out in search of the surgeon who removed her appendix years ago. Three days later she went into the hospital and had the lump removed. It proved to be a perfectly harmless cyst with no malignant features, and she is now back in the apartment5 rapidly recovering from an operation under full anaesthetic. I have had my hands very full getting the apartment in order and housekeeping with a temporary maid. As you probably know, my splendid French Josephine6 who has been with me for so many years, whenever I kept house, went back to France with her husband7 and daughter8 last summer, about ten days before we sailed for Italy9. Her husband has been ill for a long time and longed to finish his days in his own village10 in the Pyrenees. Josephine is only forty-three years of age and when she first worked for me she was only twenty-three. She was not only a marvelous cook and manager, but one of the truest and inspiriting friends I have ever known. The loss of her is just one of those great losses that come to one in this life, but there is never a day I do not rejoice that she is back in her own glorious mountains, to live out her vigorous life in the country she loves so passionately.

In all the rush of hospitals and cleaners and business affairs, I did manage to get a letter11 off to Dean Lee12 for the Bishop's13 anniversary14. His manner of asking for it was not very gracious, and he may not see fit to have it read at the dinner. The truth is that Dean Lee seems to have a special grouch at the Bishop and a secondary grouch at me. If I ever get time, I want to write the Bishop a real letter, for both Elsie15 and Carrie know how much I love him and how proud I always feel of him. I have met a great many bishops, but not one of them looks the part and is the part like our own Bishop Beecher. I hope Carrie or Elsie will tell him how I really feel - you know I am rather bashful about expressing my admiration to the objects of it.

Lovingly to you all, Willie