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#2277: Willa Cather to Meta Schaper Cather, [October 4, 1945]

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My Dear Meta1;

This morning (what is left of it) belongs to you. Yesterday I got down to my bank and turned in my bank stock exactly according to Mr. Rutledge's4 letter of instruction. I had been kept in bed for several days by a slight heart attack—nothing serious.

Dear sister, I think you are mistaken about being so very clannish. The truth is that Roscoe5 and Douglas6 and I were the "clan". Jess7 and Jim8 and Jack9 were, in a sense, the wards of the clan. We, the three Virginians10, tried to look after the youngers ones. Ever since that summer11 I spent with you and Roscoe when the twins12 were one year old, I have felt that you were more truly my sister than either Elsie13 or poor Jess. I felt that because we were very companionable, and liked to do things together. That is what makes companionship. Do you remember when we started out to find Pete's Lake14—and never found it at all? I always loved to see Roscoe on a horse, and I love to remember him so. I often dream about him as he was when he rode with us then - - - in the days of the other World War! In Casper15 we went round in a car—went farthear er, but it wasn't quite so much fun. However, I rejoiced in that car, because I realized how much it saved Roscoe's strength. You remember we went up to Sheridan16, and the next day crossed the mountains near Gray Bull17 and had a long, hard drive home—by the worst part of the old road to Lander18, if I remember right.

Meta, I would love to have one of the photographs of Roscoe with Elizabeth's 3 daughter19 on his shoulder. Margaret had one, and I liked it so much. He aw always kept his figure, which most men do not after fifty.

Jim was always a problem child. He was terribly ashamed of his gentle-mannered father20, and went with a tough crowd. There is a nice side to him, and his children21 have seen only that side. Whenever I have seen that side, I am w weak to him. His greatest fault is that he thinks he has great business ability. He made the last twenty years of Father's life unhappy by trying one disastrous experiment after another.

Jack is just always Jack. He is loyal, true, and loving. But he married rather queerly. Even Father, who was too courteous to dislike any woman, didn't like his wife22.

So you see, dear Meta, the clan was, but is no more. I am the only one left, and God knows I aint no clan! I should 4 thinks you and I, together, represented the spirit of the old clan more than anybody else. So let us, in loyalty to those others, who are gone, try to keep together and be our own ca clan.

Jessie will always be mild and appreciative of any kindness. Elsie I have had to cut out. She followed me up with so much abuse that I just ceased writing to her. An old friend of mine who lives in Lincoln23 wrote me "Why does Elsie let her jealousy of you spoil her life? It has become an obsession with her, and embarrasses her friends."

Now my dear, you and I are simply the only clan there is. We can adopt Jack when he is good and is not tyrannized over by Jim. I mean to draw a little closer to poor Jessie. Really, Father was to blame for her marrying Will Auld24. Didn't he turn all my securities25 over to Will Auld? When 5 When Helen Louise26 was here one day last year helping me go over my accounts she exclaimed, "Why, Will Auld simply stole twenty thousand dollars from you! Co Can't you do anything about it?" "Nothing—except mo not to let him steal my peace of mind." When I first found out how much I was stung, I sat down the next day and began work on Sapphira27. Those old memories28 were a good cure for worry.

Now that my sprung tendon29 is bad again, I must stop, dear. But you and your dear daughters30 are more in my mind than any other people in the world.

Lovingly & gratefully Willie
Mrs. R. C. Cather1 Colusa3 California NEW YORK N.Y.2 OCT 4 1945 430PM