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#2628: Willa Cather to Alfred A. Knopf, July 31 [1931]

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My Dear Alfred1;

Because of the varying schedule of the one boat which is our only mail carrier, I got your letters of the 24th and 27th on the same day!

First, regarding the Heinemann situation3. I don't think their attitude very cordial or very promising, since they refuse to bind themselves to anything at all. I have made up my mind to let you go ahead with Cassell. I will have to write a letter to Evans4, of course, and I will send you a copy of it. Meanwhile you may cable Salzberg5 to go ahead with Cassell, so far as I am concerned.

The news you write me about the initial distribution6 of the new book7 is delightful, and is a great surprise to me. I still see in that book only a story to please the quiet and meditative few. As it has got beyond that circle, I can only conclude that you and Blanche8, and your office, and the "Archbishop9" of four years ago, all had a good deal to do with bringing this bashful volume out before the curtain. I think the review10 in the Atlantic11 will make up the minds12 of a great many people who think they are intelligent, but unguided would probably have passed this book over as a dull one.

I have just finished the longest13 of the three stories14 I mean for the next volume15, and have sent it down to my secretary16 to be typed. It will run about 23,000 words. We had spoken of "Obscure Destinies" as a title17 for that volume of three stories. Would you like "Out West" better? They are all western stories18; one in Colorado, one in Kansas, one in Nebraska.

Tell Blanche8 the things from Charles19 came when much needed—especially the garlic and tomato paste, which you can't get in Protestant Canada20; and yesterday a made a risotto that would make your mouth water. I can still get excellent champagne in St. John21, Pol Roger 1919, that excellent year, which I couldn't get in Paris22 at all, nor anywhere but at Aix-les-Bains23. This island2 is always beautiful and the weather has been so wild and dramatic that I cannot stay at a desk very long. The climate is everything else in God's world,but is never hot or sticky.

My love to you both, and my very deep gratitude to you and all your staff for the splendid way they have stood behind this book. It gives me a lighter heart for the books to come.

Faithfully yours Willa Cather