Skip to main content

#2194: Willa Cather to Roscoe Cather, May 2 [1942]

More about this letter…
Plain view:

Guide to Reading Letter Transcriptions

Some of these features are only visible when "plain text" is off.

Textual Feature Appearance
passage deleted with a strikethrough mark deleted passage
passage deleted by overwritten added letters overwritten passage
passage added above the line passage with added text above
passage added on the line passage with added text inline
passage added in the margin passage with text added in margin
handwritten addition to a typewritten letter typed passage with added handwritten text
missing or unreadable text missing text noted with "[illegible]"
uncertain transcriptions word[?]
notes written by someone other than Willa Cather Note in another's hand
printed letterhead text printed text
text printed on postcards, envelopes, etc. printed text
text of date and place stamps stamped text
passage written by Cather on separate enclosure. written text
⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ Dearest Brother1;

My gall-bladder really behaves much better than my doctor5, who fell into a violent quarrel over it and me, and demanded that I should settle the quarrel over the telephone when I had a temperature of 103. Fortunately before they could do anything more than dose me and take X-ray photographs, Dr. Whipple6 the surgeon got back to town2 and to his enterprising subordinate said calmly "No, at present we will not operate. We will see what life and diet and rest from worry will do." Whipple is the surgeon who flew to Italy7 to remove Myron Taylor's8 gall bladder and brought him home by plane three weeks later. Taylor is "president" of something—I never heard of him or of Whipple until my gall-bladder misbehaved. But as for Whipple, one has only to look into his face two minutes to know that he is a great man. Little and thin and bent and bald and nearly seventy—but the eyes set deep back under the frontal bone and as bright as fire. When I left him he said "If all my patients were as frank and clear as you have been, I would save a great deal of time and get twice as much work done."

Certainly no "literary" compliment ever pleased me so much.

I have lately lost an old and dear friend9. First met him when he took a degree along of me at University of Michigan10. After the ceremony he (looking just like this picture came up with his mortarboard under his arm and his bald head shining in the sun and said "I know all about you—Burton11 tells me you never accept private hospitality, but you are going out to my house to dinner tonight, because there is probably not a man in America12 who loves your Ántonia13 as well as I do—or understands it as well!"


I'm usually pretty firm with flatterers, but this old bald-head, Scotch and electrical and engineering, falling for the most sentimental and ultra-romantic book I had ever written - - -

While I was hesitating he said gaily, "Good afternoon. I'll call for you at seven." It was the only dinner I've ever gone to after those commencement partys. I've always been glad. Lovely wife14, and the youngest son15 who took me home about midnight was with one exception the handsomest young man I've ever seen. It's a real, a serious disadvantage to a young man to be so handsome. Through the years there were Christmas and Easter cards, and mourning card with profanity when I made water run up-hill16 in the "Archbishop."17 He seemed to forgive me, for he wanted me to be present when he was given a medal here in 1934.

Apropos of Mrs. D's14 letter, in this last year a host of people have written me how much their Grandchildren18 love my books!! My God, has it come to this?

Now for tea with19 Churchill20!

Lovingly Willie
FROM CATHER 570 PARK AVE.3, NEW YORK CITY2 Mr. R. C. Cather1 Colusa4 California NEW YORK. N. Y2 MAY 2 1942 7 PM