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#2417: Willa Cather to Mary Virginia Boak Cather and Elsie Cather, May 27 [1920]

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THE CUNARD STEAM SHIP COMPANY LIMITED R.M.S. "ROYAL GEORGE." My Dearest Mother3 and Elsie4:

A week today since we left land, and we land in three days more. I have never had such a restful, peaceful crossing before. The weather has been beautiful, cold but not too rough, and I have felt exceptionally well all the time. Edith5 is always seasick and has been miserable—had to stay in her cabin most of the time. I don’t see how she can be so patient. We left New York6 with our cabin full of fruit and flowers, six baskets of fruit in all and three boxes of flowers,—from both my publishers7, from Madame Fremstad8 and other friends. I sent a lot of it the fruit down to the children in the steerage and gave one basket of it to Miss Pfeiffer9, of Lincoln10. As Edith can’t eat any fruit, I am not equal 3to it alone.

I saved your letter and Elsie’s to open and read on the steamer. Yes, Elsie, the novelette11 in my book is the one Mencken12 bought for the “Smart Set.”13 It had to be cut and changed so14 for the magazine that I don’t see why they wanted it—I really think they wanted me to have the $450 they paid me for it to help me on my travels. They never pay anybody else more than $100 so they make good their faith with works which is more 4than most admirers do.

I liked Miss Pfeiffer when I was a kid, and still like her, but that hard grind has surely worn her out. The Suffragettes15 don’t bother much—some of them are nice and some dreadful. But there are many nice English and French people on board. I do very little but eat and sleep and look at the sea and look at the water, and sometimes think about the new novel16 that will be so good or so bad. I’ve not many ideas about it, but I’ve a great deal of love and a good deal of faith. Goodbye now, dearest ones, I will write again from France17.

Willa