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#2419: Willa Cather to Mary Virginia Boak Cather, June 19 [1920]

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My Darling Mother1:

I have had such funny experiences shopping. You know this used to be the best place in the world to shop, but now it is not so good as New York3. Things are much dearer, and only the grand things are really pretty now, the cheap things look cheap.

I left home with a hand bag with a broken clasp, and to keep my money safe I had to hold it shut. I said I would wait and get a very nice one here that would always remind me of Paris2. Well, I walked miles and miles. There were lovely bead bags for 12 and 15 dollars, but I never pay that much for a bag for myself. I've never paid more than six dollars in N.Y.and I won't pay more here. Finally I got a strong, roomy bag of green cotton rep for 37 francs, that is about $3.75 of our money at present exchange rates. Everytime I start out with this carpet-bag, Edith4 says "Ah, if you had only kept that frilly gray silk bag you sent your mother!" Really, mother, there is nothing here pretty and moderate in price like that. There are gray velvet ones for 25 and 30 dollars, but everything for six or eight dollars is clumsy and ugly.

It is just so with everything else, though Edith happened to get a lovely summy summer garden hat yesterday for $8. I came without and shirt waists and with no summer clothes expecting to get some here, but I shall go on to Italy5 in rags, with my old pink corduroy skirt still doing duty.—It is now of as many colors as Joseph's coat6 from many cleanings!

I got a nice letter from Elsie7 this morning, but it made me very sad to hear that the Richardsons8 are going to move away. I feel quite blue about it. Surely they will come back to visit sometimes.

Edith is better now9, and I feel better than before I left home. I know a number of grand people here, but I have not let them know my address. I love to roam about the city in my old clothes, rain or shine, and eat in all the queer places where the students and young folk go. I hope Bobbie is home to read this for you. I like to write out of doors in the lovely gardens of which I sent you a postcard, and as I have no fountain pen I have to use a pencil. Tell Elsie please to write me often.

I send a great deal of love Willa