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#2166: Willa Cather to Roscoe Cather, February 22, 1940

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My Dear Brother1:

Haven't you learned that Elsie5 is a confirmed pessimist, and that she rather enjoys being a martyr? I used to get terribly worked up over her letters, but I think I have recovered. because I usually find that the facts are much milder than her statement of them.

Mollie's6 condition is really remarkably good. The local doctor, Dr. Lewis7, wrote me a long letter explaining her fracture, which is of a very unusual nature and does not necessitate her wearing a cast. I showed this letter to a surgeon at the New York Orthopedic Hospital, and to another surgeon who is an old friend of mine. Both agreed that it was a remarkable letter to come from a doctor in a country town. They said, furthermore, that very few New York2 surgeons could write a letter which would be so clear to both a layman and a medical man. Unfortunately, I sent this letter to Elsie; I wish I had saved it and sent it to you.

As soon as I heard of Mollie's accident, I telephoned Red Cloud8, got Carrie Sherwood9, who next day asked Dr. Lewis to write me. I have sent $100 to meet Mollie's immediate expenses; $50 to Carrie, thinking Mollie might be too feeble to transact her own business affairs. On the contrary, she prefers to do so, so the second check for $50 went to her direct. I am sending you Carrie Sherwood's letter, and I think it will give you quite a different picture from Elsie's. letter Long letters from Mary Creighton10 and Dora Kaley11 confirm Carrie's letter. Why need Elsie be so mournful when Mollie herself is very gay? I was alarmed at first, and acted promptly, but now I feel reassured. You will see from Carrie's letter that Mollie's daily expenses are not large. I will be able to carry on for some time, and I shall send her another $50 early in March.

Of course, if you as Executor of the Estate should make her a present, say, in the name of Mother12 and Douglass13, I think that would delight her if delicately done. But Elsie is by no means staggering along alone under the burden of Mollie. That attitude rather irritates me. The old dear may live for some time yet, and I think with very little self-sacrifice we can see that she lives those few months or years happily. Let us be friends, but not martyrs.

Lovingly, Willie
FROM CATHER 570 PARK AVE.3, NEW YORK CITY2 Mr. R. C. Cather,1 First Savings Bank of Colusa, Colusa,4 California. NEW YORK N.Y.2 FEB 24 12.30 PM Private and Personal