NOVEMBER 14, 1939
NEW YORK, Monday—How reluctantly I left the country this morning! It was another beautiful day and all the way down in the train I could scarcely read the newspapers, it was so lovely out the window. There are still enough leaves on the trees to give some color to the landscape, but I think by next week it will probably all be gone.
The end of November is apt to be a dreary part of the year, but even then I love the sound of fallen leaves as I walk through the woods, and I can't help scuffling just as children do. There is a smell in the air of burned leaves and apples and cider which is very pleasant. I haven't had any fresh cider this year and I must try to get some the next time I am in the country.
I arrived in New York City in time to do several errands, go to the dentist and reach my apartment in time for lunch. This afternoon I have a number of appointments and tonight I go to Newark, N. J., for a lecture.
When I was here with our son, James, last week, we went to see a most entertaining play. Anyone who has read Clarence Day's "Life With Father," would expect to have an amusing evening. Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse have been most successful in creating the atmosphere best suited to "Father." In the late 1880's men must have blustered a great deal and life for the ladies must have been difficult, for while they had their own way, they went through so much subterfuge to get it!
At heart, "Father" really was a mouse. I think his wife knew it, but she stuck to her pretense as did the children. I wonder how those children ever turned out as well as they did. The perfect scene between "Father" and Clarence is one where "Father" announces that he will tell his son "all about women," and then informs him promptly that there are certain subjects never discussed between gentlemen.
I suppose that appealed to me because, being brought up by my grandmother, I remember that atmosphere between generations very well. There were certain subjects never discussed by gentlemen old and young. There were also certain subjects never discussed by ladies of different ages and the result was frequently very bewildered young people when they found themselves faced with life.
I was very glad to see this morning that a committee had been set up again, with Dr. Henry MacCracken as chairman, which will undertake relief work for the Poles. At first it will be largely among Polish refugees in other countries, and later it is hoped work may be done in Poland. I hope that everyone who can, will help this committee. It should inspire every confidence because of past experience in this work.
I was glad to see by the papers the other day that thought is being given to the very difficult situation in which our American seamen find themselves. Today I noted with interest the efforts which are being made to find new outlets for our shipping, difficult as this would seem to be. Perhaps the war will create a shortage of shipping in the zones that are not closed to us.