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#2318: Willa Cather to Elizabeth Cather Ickis and Margaret Cather Shannon, August 31 [1939]

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My Darling Twinnies1;

Such nice letters from each of you make me want to reply—but I have so little time, and so many ridiculous accidents. Because of Mary Virginia's3 illness4 and the prostrating heat we5 left town6 late—did not arrive here2 until August 3rd. The day after we landed on the Island a spider stung me on my left hand—same result as before. I couldn't unpack and had to go about wearing my hand in a bundle of wet dressings, and I wore daily the white jacket with no cuffs, which Margaret so kindly de–cuffed for me three years ago. Five days after spider attack a black fly stung me on my right eyelid, and that eye was swollen shut and useless for nearly a week. And I came up here to work!! However, the weather was lovely then, and I rather enjoyed lying in a steamer chair and putting on wet dressings. Since then all has gone well—lots of foggy weather, which is always good for work. This is the first letter I've written; Stephen7, Yehudi8, Jan9, Myra Hess10—everyone has been neglected. But I think 3so often of you both, and of the two happy summers we spent with you here, that I want to send you a word about the Isand. All our flowers were wonderful when we got here. Ralph11 had taken great pains and I never saw a prettier cottage garden in England12. This year all Miss Jacobus'13 guests were pleasant people—not a real "pill" among them.

Everyone here was keen to hear about the baby14, Elizabeth, and to see the little picture you sent. Yes, both Nola15 and Yehudi came to tell me last March what was going to happen. They have 4been so happy about it. Last week Nola wrote me the day on which the baby16 would arrive. Isn't she wise, to know that! Like a concert date!

Now Margaret, you must not try to settle apartments wherever you go. Your husband17 must be a careless, unmethodical sort of fellow to let you do it. If you will trail about the country with him, stay at hotels; it's less expensive in the end.

And you must, please, go to see Alice Jordan18 at the Public Library. She feels a little sad that you didnt drop in to see her last winter. I told her you were "shy", but that's a lame excuse. This is the last 5winter she will be in the Library; she returns permanently in the spring (That's a secret, though).

  • 1. A large and beautiful Wier has been built right in front of our house, 300 feet out from the "giants' graves"19. You can't imagine how it adds to the beauty of our outlook—the changes of light & color, mist and sun on it are so delicate. Never any racket; when there is a big catch at night the fisherman don't waken us—you remember the grave, quiet island voice. This wier is called "Mystery", 6Ralph's wier is called "Jubilee". Both have made good catches this year.
  • (2.) The Briscos20 have inherited money (from deceased uncle of their son's wife) and they are no longer Socialists. Her voice is now like cr the cooing of a dove.
  • (3) Poor little "Beetrice"21 stil wor still working here helping to support her flock of brothers & sisters.

But I can't get to "3" today. It's Monday, Ralph and Mrs. Beal22 are cleaning downstairs and call for me. Same old rivalry between Ralph & Willie23, so now I have Willie come every Thursday night while Ralph is at prayer meeting. Isn't that a shabby trick!

Lovingly W.