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#2817: Willa Cather to Roscoe Cather, June 21, 1938

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⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My dear Roscoe1:

I hope to be able to call you up sometime tomorrow by telephone. There just seems to be nothing to say — that is the reason why I have not called you up before. That, and the fact that my voice goes back on me. Your letter of June 17th is a great comfort to me. I am so deeply grateful that the thing was all over4 in a minute. Well, there is just nothing to say, dear boy. When Edith5 told me she had heard bad news, I thought of every one in my family but Douglass6 — thought dear little Margaret7 might have got hurt in the a motor accident.

I don't know how soon you will have to go back to Colusa8, and there is one thing I wish to write you about before you go back, because I want you to read this part of my letter, or to give copies of it, to Douglass' business partners.

While Douglass was here he talked to me a good deal about his business — not so much the financial side as the personal and social side. He told me he had several partners (I think he said three9) with whom it was such a pleasure to work that his business had become just a jolly game for him. Although he talked about them so much, I don't remember their names, except that of Mr. Willhoyt10. (I suppose I remember that because Douglass was in business with him when I was last in California.) I really felt then that he took up a disproportionate amount of time in that short visit talking to me about his business partners —though it did make me happy to feel that he got so much pleasure of working with them. He got a postcard from one of them while he was here in my sitting room — I think from New Orleans11, and was as pleased ⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ as a boy is over a letter from his sweetheart. I remember his saying to me once that he "would go on the rocks for any one of these men, any day," and that he knew they would do the same for him. I laughed a little at his warmth, and told him that he was saying a good deal when he said that there were three men in the world who would go on the rocks for him. Not many of us can say that, even if we have very good and very loyal friends. bBut he threw back his head and said: "Well, I can say it!"

I would like you to read the above paragraph to Douglass' partners, and give each of them a copy of it if they would care to have it. I have known many business friendships, but never one that seemed so hearty and joyous as this partnership which he referred to and told me about so many times.

With all my love, Willie

P.S. Please always remember that the telephone number at my apartment is Regent 4-8354. 4-8354

⬩W⬩S⬩C⬩ My dear Roscoe1:

I am sending you, with this, another letter which will explain itself. I really think the men who worked with Douglass6 ought to know genuinely he loved and trusted them. He talked about them from pure pleasure, of course. They were little more than names to me — I could not seem to visualize them. Perhaps the future of Jack12 and Jim13 will depend somewhat upon the good will and loyalty of Douglass' partners, and I would like them to know how entirely he trusted them.

I am at this time writing a letter14 to Elsie15, as I have not sent any word to her at all since you telephoned Edith what had happened in San Diego. Please tell dear little Margaret7 that my heart is sore for her, and I know that her's is for me.

I am sending you a letter which arrived here yesterday. I don't know whether this "Record Bureau" is a private enterprise or a municipal institution. At any rate, I prefer to deal with them through you. I cannot imagine how they got my home address16. If this is a proper and reliable bureau, you might have the information they offer sent to me at the proper time: or return their letter to me and I will send the requisition from here, if you think it better. My chief interest in seeing a copy of Douglass' will is that I shall probably wish to revise my own will; touching more lightly where he has touched heavily, and adding something more where he has touched lightly.

None of these things matter very much, do they? I feel every hour of the day that I am simply a different person, and that feeling seems to grow stronger rather than weaker. Of course, I was not with Douglass very much, but the sense that he was there meant more than I ever could have imagined.


I do not know just when we will be able to leave town2 or just where we will go; Grand Manan17, I suppose. But the strength does seem to have gone out of me. I think you were wonderful, old boy, to be so brave and put your shoulder underneath, when it must be even worse for you than it is for me.

My heart's love to youWillie

The one material thing of Douglass' things I would like to have is several of his handkerchiefs. One can carry those about with one.

FROM CATHER 570 PARK AVE., NEW YORK CITY2 Mr. R.C. Cather,1 929 American Avenue, Long Beach,3 California. NEW YORK, N.Y.2 JUN 23 1 PM STA Y