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I want to tell you why I could not see Margaret4 when she and her two children5 were in New
York2 for a week. It nearly broke my heart to miss her, but I
was very ill all the week that she was here. This strange nervous collapse
began with Roscoe's6 death. I was
never well afterward. I was below normal when it seemed necessary to go in
for a surgical operation7. After three weeks in the hospital I came home and
I tried very hard to carry on. At last I began
to cry a great deal. I broke down more
completely over pleasant things than for sad ones. I really didn't dare see
little Margaret for that reason. I am too fond of her; of all my nieces she
has always crept closest to my heart. I didn't want her to see me when I
was such a wreck.
Two weeks ago my oldest friend, doctor Taylor8, came home and took a strong hand with me. For the present he will not let me see anyone at all. Even Miss Bloom9, my secretary, broke down and is now in a hospital in Albany10. So I am absolutely isolated and see no one but Miss Lewis11. Time and being very quiet are the only things that will help me. It seems that if one has, for many years, cared a great deal for a great many people and a great many things, one suffers a kind of emotional exhaustion in the end, and has to rest one's power to care.
I have seen any friends since November, not even Yehudi12, nor heard any music. I have simply had, for the
present, to cut out all the things I loved most – and I want you
ll to know.