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After little Margaret's4 coming away I
think you will need something jolly to cheer you up, so I am sending you a
very jolly book5
Winston Churchill6. This book is
absolutely authentic. It was proof-read by one of Churchill's relatives and by an old friend of
mine – Dr. Leach7, editor of the Forum8. The young woman9 is very truthful and has a good
reputation. I have a copy of the book for myself, but as it was a gift I did
not wish to send it to anyone, so I ordered a copy for you and found that it
was great fun to read it over again. As I went along I marked the passages
which make me chuckle, because it seemed, almost, that by doing so I was reading it with you. I
believe those same passages will make you and Meta10 chuckle. You know I am by nature rather given to
hero-worship, and I haven't had a real hero for a long time until Winston
came along. I have been his devout admirer ever since I read his great life
of Marlborough11, in five huge
volumes. It is certainly the finest biography or historical work that has
appeared in my lifetime. I consider him simply the best living English
writer. The great writers must have great vitality. They can have nearly
every other gift, but lacking vitality they remain mediocre.
I've never told you how we opened your bottle of Benedictine on my birthday, and what a rich treasure it is to have. It is the real thing as I used to have it in Normandy12. It has certainly vanished from the face of the earth, for Hitler's13 troops have absorbed or sent home every bottle of rare wine in France14, and I fear there will be no more made in our lifetime.
I am overwhelmed with mail just now, but I must get one word to you and I must send the book by Churchill before it gets cold on my hands.Lovingly to you both, Willie Mr. R. C. Cather1, First Savings Bank of Colusa, Colusa3, California. NEW YORK, N. Y.2 FEB 19 1942 3 PM