JUNE 1, 1938
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—Three valiant gentlemen went into our swimming pool yesterday afternoon and assured me it was as warm as if it were already midsummer. I haven't screwed up my courage to take a swim and it will have to be warmer than it has been so far before I am really tempted.
We were an amusing party last night, with everybody arranging at what hour each was going to leave. My husband left for the train at half past ten. Before that time, my brother insisted he was going to drive to New York early enough to miss the crowd and retired after setting his alarm clock for 4:00 a.m.! Another guest left at 7:00, which seemed a reasonable hour to rise and breakfast. After he was off, I explored some old paths in the woods on horseback. They are nearly overgrown, but there is a fascination in following a path you are not entirely sure about, even if you have a faint idea where you are going to come out.
I returned in time to see our son James before he started for New York. Since then I have been unpacking and setting things to rights in the way every woman enjoys. I always think I must be quite a trial to my maid, because after she has everything unpacked and arranged on the shelves, I rearrange everything.
Mrs. Scheider and I have a certain amount of mail to answer. Much to the amusement of our guests, she demanded: "Where did you get all this?" as I sorted out mail that had come in West Virginia. Somehow or other, I am determined this summer, that we will not spend quite so many hours with desks and typewriters before us. This, I suppose, means that I shall have to go out a great deal, for Mrs. Scheider always works twice as long as I do.
I spent an hour and a half yesterday afternoon talking to a most interesting woman. She was a Chinese doctor who spoke English so remarkably well that I asked her how long she had been in this country. I found her parents had been here for a long time, so English was no new acquirement. I always am surprised at the way in which foreigners learn so many more languages than the average American. We take it for granted when they talk to us in our own language and yet they might quite easily expect us to talk their language to them.
Prince Louis Ferdinand and his wife speak excellent English. When I asked her how it happened that she was so well equipped to enjoy her visit in an English-speaking country, she answered: "We have always talked English." I imagine she could have said the same of French and, very likely, of Italian. It is very much easier to acquire languages when you live in close proximity to people who speak them and that is one of the disadvantages we have in becoming linguists. In another way it is a great advantage, but for our own pleasure we ought to make a greater effort to speak several languages.