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#2759: Willa Cather to Helen Louise Cather, March 23, 1940

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notes written by someone other than Willa Cather Note in another's hand
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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My Dear Goddaughter1;

(How solemn that sounds!) I wanted to send you something in remembrance of the day when you are to be confirmed, having seen you through your baptism, but I couldn’t think of the right thing. Well one night I dreamed the right thing. I dreamed about you and your grandmother Cather3 on the upper front porch of Grandfather’s4 house. So the moment I was awake, the meaning of that very pleasant dream flashed into my mind. I got up immediately, went to the box where I keep my little trinkets and took out a little marquise ring which Douglass5 gave mother long ago. When he came to New York2 six months before his death, he brought the ring to me. I had it cut down to fit my little finger and have often worn it. Marquise rings, unless they are very large ones with many stones, are usually worn on the little finger: Of course on the third finger when they are engagement rings. (verb understood, please!)

I know your Grandmother would want you to have this ring from her and from me, on this occasion. I want you to have something near you to remind you often of her. She loved you and Mary Virginia6 the best of her granddaughters. She used to tell me that you two did many thoughtful little things for her, and never seemed to think that it was silly for her to like pretty clothes just because she was old. How often I feel sad now because I always found something else to do when she 3 wanted me to go to Mrs. Burden7’s to “look at hats”. People can be very cruel in this world without meaning to be. I know she would want you to have her little ring as well as if she had told me so, and it gives me pleasure to send it to you. Sometime I will tell you some of the loving things she said to me about you.

Goodbye my dear, this is the first letter I have written by hand in many a long day. I think the Nicene Creed8 the most beautiful prose in the world. If I am wakeful in the night and think it through to myself, slowly, I can nearly always go to sleep. There is such authority and majesty in it.

Lovingly, my dear, Your Aunt Willie. 4 ⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩

P.S. The ring will be too small for your little finger, perhaps. If so get Mr. Trickey9 (or his successor) to fit it properly and send the bill to me. The ring will reach you later than this letter, since registered packages are always long on the way.