APRIL 20, 1937
WASHINGTON, Monday—Yesterday afternoon and evening were spent catching up on the mail and various things that had been done while I was away. I found that I had made one or two arrangements which I had to change because I had not realized conflicts with certain other things which have come up since my return. Otherwise I seem to have come out fairly well and by one o'clock this morning I had even written almost all the personal letters that awaited my return.
This has been a busy day, beginning with the arrival for breakfast of Mr. and Mrs. Larue Brown who are on their way home to Boston from a holiday in Beaufort, South Carolina. Then I tried to catch up all the threads of daily management with Mrs. Nesbitt, my housekeeper, and Mrs. Helm who is trying to arrange the few remaining social obligations of the season. A press conference was next on the calendar and then a number of individual appointments.
Luncheon was a more or less family affair as Mrs. Theodore Douglas Robinson was here visiting her daughter, and so I gathered together a few people whom I thought she would find congenial. We were all very glad to see her and though I see so little of Mrs. Robinson now, she will always be one of the people I really love and enjoy seeing.
I had to hurry my guests away by two-thirty because forty eight youngsters were waiting to shake hands with me. I thought I was shaking hands with the Children of the American Revolution, but it turned out to be forty-eight prize winners from the forty-eight states who are chosen from the senior classes in high schools for their qualities of character, dependability, patriotism and service. They seem to be having a wonderful visit in Washington and I think they will carry away with them many delightful memories.
For several days I have been meaning to write you about a book which I have just finished. Willa Cather's latest book of literary essays. I suppose a literary essay should make you want to read, and if that is a criterion of the value of this book, she has certainly been most successful. I wanted at once to go and search for Sarah Orne Jewett's books which I have not read in years and I must get at once every story that Katherine Mansfield ever wrote. To me the chapter on Miss Mansfield is the gem of this book. Quite aside from awakening a desire to read I enjoyed as I always do, every page in this small volume for the quality of the writing. To my mind no one in this country quite equals today the special gift which seems to belong to Willa Cather. She says herself in one of these essays that it is impossible to describe the certain something which makes the individuality of a real writer. I feel that way about Willa Cather herself and am grateful for a kind of thrill which her writing never fails to give me.