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#2255: Willa Cather to Meta Schaper Cather, January 2, 1918

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I have seldom been so much pleased with a present as I was with the box of jelly and marmalade you sent me. I had never seen it put up like that before, and the jelly is made of real fruit, dé-licious. I ordered a box just like it for Isabelle4 at once.

I suppose you've read about about the coal famine and blizzard5 here. Our6 gas has been frozen for two days, and as we cook by gas, and heat the bedrooms by gas, it's a serious matter. We have no steam heat—that is one reason why we get a roomy apartment at a low rent—we heat by two coal grates and gas burners. Now we have about four bushels of coal in the cellar, and no coal dealer in New York2 will even take an order. I spend all my time hunting coal and the thermometer is still below zero—unheard of temperature for this city. If we don't get coal by next Monday we will have to close the apartment and go to a hotel. The complications of living have put me terribly behind in my work. If I can't get my book7 finished by the first of March, both the publisher and I will lose money. We won't make much at the best, for all book sales are more cut down to half or more, and the cost of paper8 has advanced 150%! I'm speaking of book paper, of course.

I hope you have your Victrola by now. Don't forget to let me know which records you like best.

Poor Dr. Schepp9! Of course Franz10 would find something to be "persecuted" for; it's evidently his nature. I should think the school board might have taken that into consideration.

I haven't heard from the Greenoughs11; probably they have been frozen up like everyone else. I'd love to see them again.

With much love to you and the babies12 Willa