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#2152: Willa Cather to Roscoe Cather, July 17 [and 23], 1939

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We5 leave for Grand Manan6 August 31st.

My dear Roscoe1:

How glad I was to get the letter from Elizabeth7 to her mother8, and I wish I could see the little patron9 of the living soda fountain in action!

Now for business. When you write to Willard Crowell10, do not frighten the poor man so that he will be afraid to write to me when he is perplexed, but you might let him know that I shall not be here2 to answer letters or sign any papers betwen this date and September 15th. I am afraid I shall be wandering around. I shall not go to Grand Manan this summer because our well there will have to be drilled over again, and both Miss Lewis5 and I feel too tired to have workman and machinery brought forty–five miles by boat from the mainland, at an expense of about $500, including gasoline engine, etc., etc.

July 23d we have decided to go to Grand Manan after all. I can't work when wandering about.

Mary Virginia11 has been ill for some weeks in the French Hospital12. Increasing underweight and hard work at the library, climbing six flights of stairs (which lead to her apartment) five or six times a day, have been too much for her. She has grown so thin that practically everything inside her, especially one kidney, has come down, and she will have to wear a special kind of surgical belt to hold up her intestines. Now, not a word of this must go to her mother13. She has trouble enough without that. Just as soon as she is well enough to leave the hospital, I am going to send her on a long cruise, where she will have no cares and can lie in a steamer chair and eat and sleep all day long. I do not want her mother to know this either, or her Aunt Elsie14 to know it.

This has been changed to two months in the country.

I have not been down to the bank since I instructed Mr. Milne15 to take care of the receipt and crediting of any checks from California16 along with the dividend checks which he credits to my account in the summer, so I do not know whether a check from the Ocean Front Oil Field17 has yet come in. I will go to the bank as soon as Virginia is a little better.

July 23d
Check arrived O.K.

As I understand it, whenever the Montebello Oil field begins to pay out money, Jessica will receive the same amount that I receive, and I will know from my checks what she is getting. Until that field begins to pay actual cash, I feel that through you I should send her from time to time small checks out of whatever profits I may receive from the Ocean Front Oil Field. I want to do this simply because I feel that Douglass18 would wish me to. Before I leave New York for the summer, I will send you a cashier's check drawn in her favor for $200, and I will ask you to send it to her with the simple statement that I think Douglass would wish me to send such her a check from time to time, and she need make no personal acknowledgement to me for these amounts checks, which, though small, might be useful. I do not exactly know in what name to make out a draft, but I suppose Jessica Auld would be sufficient. Of course, I had a lot rather help Mary Virginia, who has made such a good record in the library here. The head of her library told me last week that in the whole time she has worked in that branch19, over ten (10) years, she has never been late in the morning, or been unwilling to work on holidays. I should say she had got pretty well rid of her maternal inheritance. But it seems you can't go on working hard and weighing only ninety pounds without bad results in the end. She is the cheerfullest of invalids, but her husband20 and I both feel pretty sad about it. If she had been a complainer, we would have done something earlier.

Good-bye, my dear. Any advice, or admonition that you ever want to make, is always very welcome, and it helps me a lot.

With love to you and Meta, Willie