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#2163: Willa Cather to Roscoe Cather, January 8 [1940]

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ Dear Brother1;

It's hard to keep in touch—hard for me to tell you much about the realities of my life. I don't send you fan letters. But a writer's relation to his or her publisher is a very vital fact—means happiness or constant constant anxiety. Last spring I happened to mention to Alfred5 that I thought it was very kind of Jan6, among other things to send me the copy of an unpublished story which Isabelle7 had at her death. I

"Do you mean to say that you have a completed manuscript that I have never seen?"

"But this is only a short story— you couldn't possibly publish it alone. I sent a copy to Isabelle because she is an invalid—to amuse her. I call it "The Old Beauty"8. Of course, if you'd like to see it . . ."

"I would."

So I sent it over to his apartment. The first letter came, and I acknowledged it. Then came the second9, which gave me great pleasure.

Somewhere I still have a letter from him, dated "Christmas morning10, 4 o'clock." I had been to at his home to for a Christmas Eve party (awful English, excuse!) and I took with me the ms. of "A Lost Lady"11 thinking he might read it over the holiday. He sat up after the party that night and read it, and wrote me that night at 4 a.m. The letter reached me by special messenger on Christmas morning. S So it began:

My Dear Miss Cather.

I think you are a very great writer. ____________ ___ __12

The story struck him hard; and he was there at the bat when I pitched him a ball. (This figure is bad baseball, I know, but it expresses a the relation between a writer and a live publisher, who isn't afraid.)

A scrappy letter, my dear boy, but I've been in bed for a week bronchitis, missing all the jolly things I would otherwise be doing yuth with Yehudi13 and Nola14. So I am taking my dall dullness out on you, and, writing in bed, I cannot write very clearly.

Please send Alfred Knopf's two letters back to me. I thought you might like to see them.

With my love Willie

Remember; we have a rendezvous. We will meet this spring or summer. If the this damned Virginia book15 hadn't made me so much trouble I'd be foot-loose now. But I want to get it done for Knopf's sake, because he never nags or hurries me.

FROM CATHER 570 PARK AVE.3, NEW YORK CITY2 Mr. R. C. Cather,1 First Savings Bank of Colusa, Colusa,4 California. Registered mailPersonal NEW YORK N.Y. (GRAND CENTRAL ANNEX) REGISTERED2 JAN 9 1940 COLUSA CALIF. REGISTERED4 JAN 13 1940