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#2993: Willa Cather to Mariel C. Gere, April 17, 1896

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My Dear Mariel1;

Mrs. Goudy3 wrote me that you called the afternoon I left. I am more than sorry that I did not get up to see you again, but you dont know how trying it is to go for a few days to a town where you know lots of people and try to sandwitch in a lot of business and pleasure together. I only saw Kitty4 once and then for but a few minutes. I owed a dozen or more calls and I just buckled down and [illegible] made them. After that tiresome operation was over I had no more than time to see Sherman5 and the Chancellor6 and all that. This last business7 was not especially conducive to hilarity and I really did not feel that I had much right to inflict my company on any one. My interview with Sherman was amusing. I told your papa8 about it down at the office and will relate it to you when I see you next. I wanted to see you about a lot of things, but really Mariel I was rather down in the mouth and did not see any one except people I just knew formally, then I called you and discussed the weather. Then I was up on 17th St when that awful accident happened to the little Townley girl9 and that shook my nerve so that the only thing I wanted was to get out of Lincoln10, which I did the next morning. So you see I wanted to see you enough but I wasn't presentable. I have inflicted my blues on you so often that its sort of a must be sort of a chestnut to you now. I didn't get in to see Frances11 at all, not even for a minute, and I was awfully sorry. Say, dont Nedins12 look stunning in that black dress?

I wrote to Belden13 in Missouri14 and got a nice long letter from him telling me that he knew of no vacancy in his university or any other, begging me not to teach, telling me that I was too good for it, had too much "talent" etc, saying that he "used often to prognosticate to himself about my future to and that in his meditations I my path had led to a very different and much stronger sphere than a professor's chair." O Lord! Im tired of hearing about my "talent," no body, not even Sherman, has less faith in it than I have. Its awkward to be thought too good for one thing and too poor for another, its like Mahomet's coffin,15 and I'd rather drop down to a hum drum Hades and be comfortable, for meantime one must live.

Since I have been home we have had a time of it. Roscoe16 has been been seriously ill with inflammatory rheumatism for about three weeks. He could not move hand or foot and had to give up his school. He is much better now, though it will be some time before he can walk. O Himmel17: the Woes of the Cathers: They would fill a volume, I never heard of any other family that was at all "in it" with us unless perhaps the Manatts.18

Are the Westons19 back from Chicago20 yet, and do you know how and where Kitty is? I have'nt heard a word from her for three weeks and I really have-not the heart to write to her. If she wants to drop so dismal a correspondent I cant blame her. She was a little cut [illegible] up because I did'nt tell her anything about my pedagogical aspirations, she first heard of it from Mrs. Imhoff21. Heaven, it was no lack of confidence in her, it was only because I hated to bother her with my sordid worries when she has enough care of her own. When you are crossed in love, Mariel, then I'll have mercy on you too and cease to bother you with my successive failures.

Farewell, the first time anything cheerful occurs I will write you. For Heaven's sake drop me a line occasionally.

Yours as Ever Willa.