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#2057: Willa Cather to Roscoe Cather, March 2 [1908]

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My Dear Roscoe1 ;

Is it too late to thank you for the nice latter you wrote me at Christmas time? I came back to Boston2 in January, had a delightful two weeks with Mrs. Deland6 and the came back to my old happy home at the Parker House7— the best hotel for dignity and solid comfort that I know in America--- hasn't changed a bit since Thackeray8 stayed here many years ago. I have been meeting a great many delightful people here, the most cultuvated and brilliant people I ever met anywhere. One of the particularly attractive men in Boston is Winthrope Ames9, ga grandson of Oakes10 and Otis11 Ames. He is a patron of the arts, especially of the drama, rather given to Ibsen12, handsome, young, and somewhat tired of life. When you sit at dinner with him talking about Mistral13 and the tendencies of the modern drama, your mind harks back to that windy mountain top with its red granite boulders and the monument to Oakes and Otis14— no worldweariness or Ibsen for them I trow! So it goes. The sons of the barbarians do have to pay a heavy price for their enlightenment. Perhaps in future years, when our part of the world a has found itself, sophistication wont hit so hard, but now the first men first acquainted with the tree of Knowledge15 are apt to have the colic. You remember the gentleman's16 speech17 about the Nothhmen and the Troll Garden.

Isabelle 18 and I are going to sail for Naples19 either on the McCLURE'S MAGAZINE
Carpathia20 (April 8th) or on the Freiderich der Grosse21 (April 11). We shall spend a week at Naples, Capri22 and Pompeii23, then go o To Rome24 for a time, and then walk about three hundred miles along the Mediterranean shore from Monte Carlo25 to Marseilles26. aAfter a few weeks at Arles27 and Avignon28 we shall go to Paris29 a and settle down. We hope to be gone for six months. I got my guide book for Rome the other day. Seems queer to be really on the way to Rome,; for of course Rome has always existed for one, it was a central fact in one's life in Red Cloud30 and was always the Capital of one's imagination. Rome, London31, and Paris were serious matters when I went to the South ward school32t they were the three principal cities in Nebraska33, so to speak.

I don't know whether I shall come home by way of London o or not— seems too bad to miss the chance, for I have letters to34 Kipling35 and Maurice Hewlitt 36 and Barry 37 and Conan Doyle38 and a lot of people. Just now I am so tired that I do not feel much like people, I want to poke around among vineyards and olive t trees and what's left of the Roman Empire. When you come to study Roman colonization and Roman government and Roman manners seriously, it's all very different from the simple school-book tale--- it's so much the biggest thing that all the cent centuries have produced and makes our own civilization look a very tempro temporary and tawdry affair. In the south of France39, since it is a rather desert country, no big new civilization has come up and effacesd Rome--- there it all is, theatres, baths, aquaducts,; most of the best vineyarsd were planted under Augustus40, and people live just as they do in Virgil41's Georgics42. McCLURE'S MAGAZINE
It is just as if that whole Roman worls had been preserved in some clear wine. I'm keen to be there again.

Now my boy, I can get you stunning pictures here very cheaply, but the express framing is more expensive than it was a few years ago when I last got any pictures. However, I have been to nearly every picture shop in Boston this morning, and have done the best I could for you. I got seven, and I hope you won't think they are too expensive. You asked me to get something for myself when I got them. Thank you, my boy, but I'd rather you would have some nice pictures in your house, so my present goes into the chromos43, please. Now here is the list of them, and you must keep it. I also send you the framer's list to be business like, but mine is more full.

Van Dyck's45 portrait of himself 46 44 $2.25
The Windmill 47 (Old Dutch School48) $2.25
Song of the Lark 49 (Jules Breton50) $3.00
Calling of the Moose51 (Wyeth52) $1.75
Indian Hunter 53 (Wyeth52) $2.25
"The Dinkey Bird is singing in the amfalulu tree54" (Maxfield Parish55) $2.85 (In gold)
Caught in the Circle 56 (Remmington57) $1.98

The last on is not on the framer's ticket because I got it at another shop. I will send them by express freight, collect at your end, for they will reach you more promptly if the freight is unpaid, I fancy, and even then you will probably not McCLURE'S MAGAZINE
not get them for weeks. But they will leave Boston Friday, I can assure you of that. I have paid for them, so you owe me $16.23. I do hope you will like them, and that they will please Meta58. It is hard to select pictures for other people, but I h think I know pretty well what you like. If you don't like the Van Dyck I shall hate you. I have one like it, and I think it has given me more delight than any oh other picture I possess. I got the Song of the Lark because Jessie59 said you liked it. Personally, I would rather have sent you all in brown photogravures of French and Dutch pictures that I like, but I thought you might like some of the real modern fellows better. They a are all mighty good reproductions and I am sure they will add to your nice new house and help you to rest and moon sometimes whrn you are tired.

How dod you like The Queen's Quarie Quaire60?

With lots and lots of love to you, my Boy, and hoping that "The Dinkey Bird is singing in your Amfalulu Tree",

Lovingly Willie
Roscoe Cather Lander3 Wyoming BOSTON, MA2 MAR 2, 1908 8 PM LANDER REC'D.3 MAR 5, 1908 10 PM 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9
Mrs. R. C. Cather
Mrs. R. C. Cather