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#2256: Willa Cather to Meta Schaper Cather, December 27 [1918]

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My Dear Meta1:

The box of jams and jellies that you and Roscoe4 sent me is perfect for afternoon tea—all done up in cunning little jars, and such strange and interesting varieties! So far I have tried only the Citrus Jam, and it is delicious! They came in such a lovely box, too. I shall use it for ribbons after I've eaten all the jams. I feel that I have cut myself off from a great pleasure this year in not sending anything for Santa Claus to give Virginia5 and my cunning twins6. I'm sure that I won't let the chance escape me next Christmas. You see, to get things there on time, one has to buy and send before the Christmas feeling is really in the air here. About December 20th I began to wish I'd sent some funny little things for your babies. Then it was too late. I've just put "toys for twins" down on my 1919 calendar, and I'll write you for a list of their desires in November.

I don't do much now but run about to see wounded soldiers7. They are nearly all fine fellows—I don't see how one country can have so many nice ones and so few rotters. A Marine dined here last week, hung with medals a king might envy, and as he said "There's one subject you can always pull the U.S. Marines together on --- La Belle France8." They were in France long enough to learn to love it, and they had the Blue Devils9 for their first teachers and drill-masters. And the brave always love the brave. I've always loved France so much that I can't help getting tearful when these lads talk about her. They don't care a damn for her intellect or her art; they've learned to love her industry, her sobriety, her courage. And what it has done for them----! Street–boys, famous boys, any old boys --- they have a kind of gracious grace. A one armed lad who was here on Xmas eve could eat, and seat his hostess at the table, so deftly with one strong, warm, brown hand. After dinner I went to the theatres with six of them who had landed that morning—six western boys alone in New York2 on Christmas Eve. We had some time, I can tell you! No, I didn't do anything but run about with soldiers. They come in from Europe10 now at an average of five thousand a day11, and to most of them this city is stranger and more confusing than Paris12. On Christmas eve there were 30,000 soldiers and sailors, on leave from camps, tramping the streets of New York hunting a good time. I wanted to go to the theatre with them all!

May you all have a Wonderful New Year.

Affectionately Willie
Mrs. R. C. Cather1 Lander3 Wyoming NEW YORK N.Y. STA.C.2 DEC 28 1918 4 PM