DECEMBER 29, 1937
MISSOULA, Mont., On board Northern Pacific train, Tuesday—Crossing this continent in winter is an uncertain business if you want to waste as little time as possible on the way. By five o'clock yesterday afternoon it was evident that I could not leave Seattle by plane and after much discussion it was decided that my best chance of being picked up somewhere on the way by a plane lay in a combination of the Northern Pacific Railroad and the Northwestern Airlines. At nine fifteen in the evening I boarded the train and because of the unfavourable weather conditions we are going rather cautiously on our way. I am praying for clearing skies and a chance to fly tonight.
In spite of all the uncertainties however I look back on my four days in Seattle with thankfulness. If you love people very much, and are of necessity seperated for long periods of time you treasure up the hours spent together to live over and over again in your thoughts.
The landscape looks rather bleak, not enough snow to be beautiful but evidently enough to make it slippery for the automobiles are crawling along. My breakfast was excellent, good coffee, which is not always to be had when travelling, and rolls which were delicious. What more could anyone ask?
I'm reading for the first time in a leisurely and thorough manner the installments of Ludwig's biography of my husband which have already come out in Liberty's Magazine. There are inaccuracies of course, but it is both readable and very interesting to me, largely because the author is so completely steeped in European tradition. I like the photographs. The book as a whole should give ample opportunity for interesting interpretations of events and of characters from Mr. Ludwig's own particular slant. This should be illuminating and perhaps instructive to the people whom he analyses. We so rarely suceed in knowing ourselves as others know us and it is a rare opportunity to know ourselves as Mr. Ludwig knows us.
Another little book which I have found quite delightful was sent me by the Lady Tweedsmuir for Christmas. It is a collection of essays called "The Festival" by Mary MacCarthy, light and entertaining, they will recall to you many things which you have read and seen. She has a gift for good phrases and witty descriptions. Amongst other sentences this one stands out for me. It will bring to many minds a picture which they have often seen. The author is describing a health resort with its closed carriages passing in parade and says: "Through the shut windows of these vehicles we still see very old gentlemen and muffled old ladies of the days when to be ill was a recognized absorption." Isn't that a good description?