AUGUST 2, 1939
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—Yesterday was a busy day. I rode in the morning, did the mail and my column, and then Mrs. Charles Fayerweather brought a young friend to lunch with me. We had a pleasant time together, but I had to "speed the parting guest," for I was due across the river, at the Hudson Labor School at 3:00 o'clock. Miss Hilda Smith owns this property and is very happy to have it used as a summer school for women workers. The group was gathered in front of the house under the trees before I arrived and they asked me some interesting questions. "What did I think they should try to get out of the seven weeks spent on the banks of the Hudson?" "How would one go about interesting people in a community in working conditions?", etc.
They have two English girls, a German refugee and a Swedish girl at the school this summer. While we were all having tea, I was amused to have one of the English girls say to me: "What a contrast between what you are able to do and what our Queen is free to do. I wonder if she would not give a great deal to have the same amount of freedom?"
I am sure this school does a great deal to develop the mental abilities of the girls, but I think it is equally valuable because of the health which they acquire, for they do all their studying practically out of doors, eat on the balcony, and swim and play together.
I came back to meet Mr. Karl Hesley, the state administrator for the National Youth Administration. At 7:15, Miss Thompson and I were at dinner with Mrs. Morgenthau and her three children at their Fishkill farm. Five of us went to Poughkeepsie afterward to see the movie, "Goodbye Mr. Chips." I am always reluctant to see a movie taken from a book which I much enjoyed, for so often what you have loved in the book is completely spoiled. In this case, however, I think it is exquisitely done. "Mr. Chips" is so well cast and acts the part to perfection.
I knew a schoolmaster once whose life somewhat paralleled that of "Mr. Chips." He never moved into the headmaster's study and took with him only his young wife's picture, but he had the same attitude toward his boys, and the young wife and baby he lost lived in his heart for the benefit of all those around him. He went into the World War as a chaplain, and I have often thought that though he probably ministered to very few of his own schoolboys, many another boy must have been helped through hours of pain and even death by a man who had many of "Mr. Chips'" qualities.
The English schoolmaster of this type is a fine tradition. There was a war play which came out after the World War, "Journey's End" and one of the characters I remember best was an English schoolmaster, turned soldier, in a dugout in France. I suppose the qualities we admire are the ability to understand human nature and to sympathize with human weakness.