AUGUST 30, 1937
HYDE PARK, Sunday—What a difference the sun makes! It was out yesterday morning in full force, and everybody's spirits seemed to rise with it. Mrs. Scheider left early in the morning to visit her sister and little niece over the weekend. She is one of the people who does not seem to enjoy a holiday when she feels that there is work for her to do. I understand that very well, for I have much the same attitude, but I think it is probably good for us all to get away from all responsibility now and then.
My husband decided that he would like to be out of doors for luncheon. However, when we tried to persuade him to go into the pool, he told us firmly that it had not had time to warm up yet, and of course, he was right. Later in the afternoon some of us went in for after lying in the sun awhile it seemed as though one could stand a little cold water!
My Mamie at the Cottage has a way when she is going to serve my husband of talking about "my President" which is really quite delightful. There is a feeling of reverence and yet possession in the tone of her voice—a kind of maternal quality in the possessiveness, which makes me forget for the moment that he is an individual. I think of him then as she does, more in the light of a symbol. This need of a symbol, something to look up to, to trust, to rely on, is a very deep need in human nature. On it in the past has been built every theory of government. Kings grew out of it; dictators grow out of it today; and the real test of Democracy is whether we can feel this way about our leaders and yet keep enough reliance in ourselves to preserve the individual responsibility that must exist in every citizen if democracies are to endure.
A friend has sent me the advance proofs of Madame Curie's life by her daughter. It will be coming out shortly in one of our well-known magazines. I have read it with a great thrill. The simplicity and beauty of the style and the understanding and love for her mother is in itself a wonderful thing. It must be lovely in French, but Mr. Vincent Sheehan's English translation is a wonderful bit of writing. It seems to have lost nothing in passing through his hands. The story of this life should give to many people a new conception of what does make life worthwhile, and what is true greatness.