AUGUST 16, 1939
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—In looking over some clippings which were sent me, I see that Mr. Bruce Barton takes me to task for having attributed some remarks on housing to him and comparing them to a rather involved sentence quoted from Mr. A. P. Herbert. I am sorry if I did Mr. Barton an injustice. I thought that the paper I read attributed certain remarks to him and that I gave the gist of the remarks correctly. I apologize, however, if I was careless in my reading and accepted what I thought I read without verification.
However, I still want to make the point that Mr. Herbert is right. Many of us today say things in such an involved manner that they are hard to understand, or we do not take the trouble to face ourselves and make sure that we are trying to give our true convictions when we speak.
Last night was almost cold and we sat up and talked much later than usual, for Mr. Donald Stephens and two young women were here. The talk drifted into reading aloud. Poems which I have not read for many years, were found in books which I had almost forgotten I possessed. Have you found in rereading certain things that you discover new beauties and meanings in the lines? One of the young girls said that she had heard someone trying to describe a Southern lady the other day and when I read that particular bit out of Benet's "John Brown's Body," which is to my mind the best description of a lady some fifty years back almost anywhere in this country, she remarked: "How much better it would have been if that could have been read then."
I noticed that Emily Post, in an article the other day, stressed the value of formalities, using as an example, the charm of the Queen of England. It is true that formalities add greatly to certain occasions, but I think they should be kept in their proper place, for if they creep in too often, they tend to make people a little unnatural and self-conscious. The charm of most Americans is that they can forget formality when the occasion warrants it.
We had a lady from South Africa, who has been on a trip through eastern Canada and is on her way back to England, lunch with us today. She had many adventures in getting here, but she was impressed with the kindliness of Americans when they met people in trouble. She is young and pretty and I am not at all surprised that everyone was willing to lend her a helping hand. She finally got our Hyde Park postmaster to deliver her at our cottage door, and I am glad to say that he reassured her by saying that she would find I was a pleasant woman even if you were late for lunch.
We had a young English girl with us also, who is over here representing the League of Nations Union Youth Groups. These groups are well organized in England and affiliated with the International World Youth Congress group. She also praised the kindliness and hospitality of all the young people she had met in America.