JULY 31, 1937
HYDE PARK, Friday—As I ride along one of the main roads here for a short distance every morning, I sometimes meet a gentleman who evidently takes that road daily to his business which is presumably in Poughkeepsie. I am always impressed by his good manners. I am sure he doesn't know me, but he evidently likes horses and understands them. He never comes up from behind at sixty miles an hour and whizzes by as close to the edge of the road and therefore to my horse as possible. He always slows down and swerves out a little and takes off his hat, showing real thoughtfulness with a little touch of courtesy which is very pleasant.
Many people, I suppose because they do not think that horses have any nerves, go by as close as they can and as fast as they can. Luckily my horse is beautifully trained and has no fear of automobiles, but I have known many a horse that would have given its rider a pretty bad time under provocation of this kind. I often wish that my courteous gentleman could be watched by some of his less courteous brothers and sisters. It may take him a few minutes longer to reach his destination, but he looks as though he enjoyed being polite and he certainly starts off the day for those whom he meets in a pleasanter way.
I went to the station yesterday to meet a young English couple who are over here because of their interest in the cooperative movement. Mr. and Mrs. Sydney R. Elliott are leaders in this movement in England and have been largely responsible for the great increase in membership which has taken place during the past few years. They support the trade unions in England, but they have far outdistanced them now in membership. Their cooperative bank is a flourishing concern, and I was tremendously interested in all that they had to say. They feel that we in this country have done too much theorizing, and I was glad to find that they believed as I do, that the way to learn about anything is to do it, to work at it, to make mistakes perhaps but through them to discover better ways of accomplishing the desired result. They tell me that they are much interested in the work which some of our consumer cooperative groups have done in research.
I was very glad to talk with Mrs. Elliott about the Women's Guild which has evidently been a very strong auxiliary branch of the cooperative movement. They say that the members are chiefly the wives of workers or small business men, but that they form such a big spending group that they wield a great influence.
Amongst other things they are greatly interested in peace and have established international affiliations with cooperative groups which have women's guilds in other countries. It seems to me valuable that a group which is so interested in a movement which obliges them to study economics should at the same time be working with groups from other countries, and therefore have a knowledge of the economic situation in these foreign countries. For peace and economics can never be separated.