JANUARY 7, 1938
WASHINGTON, Thursday—I came back to Washington last night on the midnight train fully expecting to give my entire attention from now on to the social season!
I found my little cousin in my sitting room this morning and we enjoyed our breakfast together and had a little talk about the holidays. Before I had really settled down, the telephone rang with the sad news that Mr. Henry Nesbitt, the custodian of the White House, had died in the night. His wife, who is our housekeeper, was a friend and co-worker of mine in Hyde Park before they came to help us here.
In spite of the fact that he has been ill for some time, I knew it would be a great shock to Mrs. Nesbitt. He will be buried in Hyde Park on Saturday morning, and she tells me she would like to come back to work on Saturday morning. I know well that when you have watched over someone and had them on your mind for a long time, there is a greater sense of loneliness when the end comes, but I think she is right in insisting that to get back to work is the best thing for her. It is the only way for most of us to meet our sorrows.
I went up to see Mrs. Nesbitt and ever since, I have been busy making various arrangements and catching up on innumerable appointments and letters which require immediate attention.
I have just read an article in the Saturday Evening Post, written by Doris Fleeson about "Missy.". I think it is a delightful piece of work. I even like the title, a duplicate of one of those innumerable chits with which everyone in the family is familiar:
"Missy, do this. FDR."
It is a rather rare thing for one woman to write such an appreciative and understanding article about another woman. Usually, I think a woman will write with more enthusiasm about some man whom she has interviewed, and yet only a woman could really understand the exceptional qualifications to fill successfully a position such as "Missy" has held for so many years.
She has done an interesting job in an interesting way. She proves what I have often said, that men who do important things in the world nearly always have a woman somewhere near at hand who helps out with the details of the job, however big that job may be.
This is true, of course, of everyone who does a great many things, man or woman. If some really able writer does not come along soon and write up the person who makes living possible for me, I am afraid I shall have to do it myself!
In spite of the more serious side of life, the social season must go on, so tonight the dinner to the Vice-President takes place. Everyone knows the Vice-President likes to go to bed early, but he is such a genial soul he gives one the feeling he is glad to have a chance to talk with you, even though the hour may not be one which he would choose by preference.