JANUARY 9, 1937
WASHINGTON, Friday—I saw Katharine Cornell last night for the second time in "Wingless Victory" and it is of course, a more finished performance than when I saw it down here for the first time. The entire cast is exceptionally good. I have, of course, heard criticisms of the play. In fact some people behind me kept murmuring: "Why should she choose such a play?" I wanted to turn around and say: "Because it requires some perfectly superb acting." She is perfectly remarkable in the second and third acts.
I had a young girl with me who is studying for the stage and when the curtain went down for the last time she was dissolved in tears. And even I, hardened old play-goer that I am, was stirred more deeply than I had been the first time.
For sheer cruelty our old Puritan ancestors can hardly be beaten but I regret to say I think that in spite of the years that have passed we are still capable of subtle types of cruelty and many of Maxwell Anderson's lines are just as applicable today as they were in the Salem of the eighteen hundreds. I can not imagine that any one will come out from that theatre feeling that they have wasted their time. They may not find so much tragedy palatable but life isn't always palatable and it sometimes thrusts tragedy upon us just when we want to be amused.
I intended to fly back this morning from New York but there was so much fog that the airlines told me I would probably not be able to leave on the ten-thirty plane, so I hurriedly left on the eight-ten train, and found myself sitting opposite my cousin, Archie Roosevelt, who was coming down to be one of the honorary pallbearers at Admiral Gleaves' funeral. We were late and both of us were hurried so he came back with me here and I turned him over to the usher to get what he wished done while I dashed upstairs and made rather hurried preparations for luncheon with Mrs. Wallace, wife of the Secretary of Agriculture; picked up my personal mail and rushed out again to the waiting car. I kept the ladies waiting and had to apologize but they were very understanding and we had a delightful luncheon as usual. Mrs. Wallace is a sweet and charming hostess.
Home again from there, and being faced with such enormous mail, I gave up the concert at the Library of Congress which I had hoped to attend this afternoon, and settled down to my desk until five o'clock when a series of people are coming in for brief visits between five and five-forty-five. I haven't been able to either ride or swim as yet this autumn so I am hoping to make a beginning by joining my husband in the pool this afternoon. Four grandchildren came in for a minute on their way out to drive, looking bloomingly healthy and even if I have very little time to be with them, it is a joy to hear their voices and see them even for a few minutes.