APRIL 12, 1938
HYDE PARK, Monday—If you have not read Phyllis Bottome's "The Mortal Storm", I think this is the time to read it. She has lived so much in different countries, that she seems to understand the psychology of many European people. She not only describes events, but her narrative shows you the why and wherefore of those events.
I feel as though I ought to write a poem of joy because the weather has changed. Of course, the wind yesterday was more like winter than like spring. Every time I looked at the water I felt that instead of being April, it was October. Even small bodies of water were blown almost into white caps and looked steely cold. However, there was a blue sky and we stayed out on horseback for a long while, keeping mainly to the woods in order to get as much protection from the wind as possible.
Yesterday, for the first time, I explored a farm which adjoins some land which my husband has had for some time. An old man lives in the house all by himself and he stood at his fence and looked at us as though he thought we were not entirely on pleasure bent and might even have evil intentions. I called out: "Good morning", but I think he was too suspicious of us even to answer, or, perhaps, I could not hear him.
In any case, we circled his house and were interested in it, for it must have been built some time ago. I haven't been inside, but I am sure it is arranged as all these old houses are, with a corridor down the middle with two rooms on either side and a tiny, steep stairway leading up to two rooms under the sloping roof with very small windows just under the eaves front and back and narrow windows at the ends.
I suppose the children used those rooms in the old days and I wonder how they stood it, for there never was any insulation and the heat under the roof must have been perfectly terrible.
There is a little ell at the back, which I am sure is the kitchen and an outside well. I doubt if there is any running water in the house. Our ancestors were a hardier race who stood both cold and heat better than we do. Of course, discomforts are not discomforts until you have something more comfortable and discover how much more convenient and easy life may be. So we will say nothing about running water and bath tubs, which are all modern gadgets we have become accustomed to in the last few years.
Through the field, we followed a road which wandered down by a brook and I had the thrill of adventure I used to feel as a child when I started out to follow a new brook as far as my legs would carry me. I thought we were going to go into new country for miles, but very soon we ended up in a pine wood so thick that there was no going any further. Back we came along accustomed roads to life without thrills.
This morning I went out alone and tried to grow really well acquainted with my horse. I still find his gaits very different from "Dot's." But then you can't have one horse in two places and I should be more adjustable.