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I wrote you the enclosed yesterday, and
this morning one of my gay little nephews brings me your second letter with
its dizzy program. Dear Fanny
Butcher1, let me wait a few days before I give you my answer. I’ve
written Mrs. Bowen4 I’d lunch with her
club,—that seems comparatively simple: I know your advice as to going
the whole hog (I don’t mean to be witty at the expense of your city5) is absolutely sound; but I’d
rather face a surgical operation, I think. Just now I am worn out with
my parents6 golden
Wedding festivities, many brothers7 and
sisters8 coming and
going, farewells and greetings. So I’ll take a few quiet days before I
answer you, and then it shall be briefly “yes” or “no.” And in either case
you’ll believe that I know how to appreciate
your willingness to undertake this chore for me. Things are as they are, and
the Knopfs9 would be
delighted with your brilliant
Of course, as you know, for me nothing really matters but writing books and living the kind of life that makes it possible to write this. Why, now, can’t I spend these days in Chicago and see something of you and two or three other people whom I really like, and then go my ways? I’m having to skip Omaha11 altogether, simply because I can’t face so much music and so many friends. Please guarantee me an hour’s quiet talk with you, anyway. You’ll hear from me anon.Affectionately W. S. C. NUMBER FIVE BANK STREET Red Cloud2 December 17 Dear Fanny Butcher:
I did dash through Chicago on Thanksgiving day—was met by a friend12 from Red Cloud and convoyed home. I do mean to stop over on my way back, however, and I’ll be glad to look at the picture,—Miss Babine[?],—and if anything happens in my mind I’ll write it out if I ever have an hour to myself again. This winter has been a Hell of correspondence and telegrams. Whoever professes to like one’s writing does all in his power to prevent one from ever having one untroubled day in which to write again. What a mob of idiots the “public” is! Their indifference never cost me one bad half-hour, but their attentions have cost me a good many. I’ll get the better of them, however. They shan’t prevent me from following my own trade in my own way. In spite of them and their checks and one million requests, I’ve done a new story13 this winter—a pretty one, 40,000 words.
My date for a day in Chicago is uncertain—sometime between the 6th &
of January I should think. If Mildred Bowen can
accept me on those vague terms, I will lunch with the Cordon Club, since
she’s promised to have both you and Edith
Will you please call
her up and tell her this? I’ll write her to that effect. Please
excuse this scrawl—I’m writing in bed at night, after a hectic day. Please
remember me warmly to Miss Roullier15.
I’m having a wonderful time at home. I sail for France16 and the Hambourgs17 at the end of March and will be gone a year.
A Merry Christmas to you, dear Fanny Butcher.Yours W. S. C.
Title of new story “A Lost Lady”. Both the Knopfs like it better than anything I’ve ever done.