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#2257: Willa Cather to Elsie Cather, May 25 [1930]

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Dear Sister1;

We had a lovely crossing all the way and Edith3 was not sea sick but she is never really well at sea. The journey down from Cherbourg4 took nearly all day, she got terribly tired and has been sick ever since but feels much better today. The Hambourgs5 met us at the station and brought us to a very comfortable hotel only a short block from this lovely little apartment, but it is so expensive that we shall move as soon as wi we both feel well and energetic. It is sad to find the price of everything in Paris increased at least five times, and it is harder on the French6 than it is on us, especially on the old people who live on an income which once was enough and now means poverty. The common people look so poor and shabby—I never saw the city so run–down.

Illness7 has made a great change in Isabelle's looks she seems so much older and sadder, but she has the same noble and generous nature. Jan is kindness itself to all of us. I have been about very little—have not even unpacked yet.

Jan has already had some wonderful music at their apartment, and more will follow as soon as the Menuhins8 (Yehudi's9 folks) come back from Switzerland10. "Foreign travel" is not all roses, by any means, and I like it less than most Americans, but I get a wonderful lot out of it—perhaps just because it is so hard for me. I have already corrected two serious errors in my new story11—and they are not errors in facts but in taste, curiously enough. There is so much of the Eighteenth Century left here12 that it gives one the pitch (PITCH) as Jan would say, and that is the most difficult and important thing of all. I think of Mother13 a great deal, and of all of you, and I hate to be so far away, but I feel more and more that I did right to come—at least that I could never publish this book without coming. Please tell mother that Isabelle and I talk of her all the time and that I shall not be long away. I am so glad that Zorah14 is to be with you next winter.

I do send you a heart–ful of love, dear sister. Willie