JULY 6, 1936
ON BOARD U.S.S. POTOMAC—I was up early enough for a swim in the pool at the Farmington Country Club yesterday morning. We were all delighted to find the sun shining and the lovely Blue Ridge Mountains looming up in the distance through a slight haze.
At 9:15 we started for Monticello, and found many of our party had never seen the house before. Of course I wanted to act as guide and take them sightseeing at once. No others house is as interesting to me as this one, because Thomas Jefferson had such a creative, versatile mind and expressed it in a thousand little ways in the planning of this house, which was, I am sure, one of his chief diversions.
I can never quite understand his aversion to having a staircase anywhere in sight. He evidently thought they took up too much space and were not decorative. I wonder how anything was ever carried up those cramped little stairs in the wings at Monticello. Perhaps he was waiting till he found a staircase designed to satisfy his fastidious tastes.
On leaving Charlottesville we drove to Richmond through the city and down to the wharf, where we bade our kind Virginia hosts goodbye.
We started down the river at once, and we all discovered simultaneously that we were very hungry. Breakfast seemed lost in the dim and distant past.
In the afternoon I sat on deck and read undisturbed for two solid hours. Martha Gellhorn's book won't be out till next autumn. It is called, "The Trouble I Seen." It is well written, almost too well written, if you want to preserve a sense of satisfaction with things as they are. This is the first night I have spent on board the U.S.S. Potomac. When President Hoover gave up the old "Mayflower" many people were sorry, but in many ways this ship seems to me far more practical for the use of the President. In the first place she does not draw very much, so she can be taken into the smaller rivers and away from the main ship channels.
She is seaworthy and has no fancy decorations. Everywhere there is gray Navy paint, which makes her look like a real Navy ship inside and out.