AUGUST 23, 1940
HYDE PARK, Thursday—Yesterday was a quiet day and we were happy to see Franklin Jr. for a little while. He celebrated his birthday last week with his wife and little boy in Northeast Harbor, Maine, on his return from his Reserve Officers' Cruise. Now he has come back and is doing some work in New York City.
The President left in the evening to go back to Washington. I think this has been one of the quietest and most restful visits he has had this summer. One can never, of course, feel entirely free from the shadow of world events, but in the country there is always something healing in the mere fact that nature does rebuild whatever she destroys.
I have received a copy of the September issue of Harper's Magazine, with an article: "The Inner Threat, Our Own Softness," by Roy Helton, marked for me to read. He seems to feel that the democracies have suffered from the influence of feminism and all of our softnesses have come from the fact that men have increased the luxuries of life just because they have been trying to please the ladies and cater to feminine desires.
I do not really think that this is true, for the world seems to me run for men and by men even now. Here and there you find a spoiled woman, but I think she is always matched by a spoiled man. The average woman keeps active and working as long as the average man. She may be more interested in her looks, or the nature of her work makes it more possible for her to continue to perform her daily tasks. Nevertheless, she does function frequently up to a ripe old age.
I agree with much that Mr. Helton says. My only contention is that the gentlemen are quite as much to blame as the ladies. If children are spoiled, it is just as apt to be the father's fault as the mother's. If we do not want to face paying taxes, I haven't noticed that the gentlemen clamor to do so any more than the ladies. There is a sufficient majority of gentlemen still in Congress to make us do it, if they feel strongly about it.
We should not miss one paragraph in this article: "For be sure of this, in a world of power the gracious, the genteel, the sheltered life has of itself no force. It has no vital consequences. Couple democracy to those ideals and you marry it to death. Whatever survives between now and the year 2000 will be something tough."
I agree with you Mr. Helton, it will be tough, but one can be tough and at the same time gentle and gracious and cultured. Some of the toughest people I know are both gentle and gracious. There is steel sometimes hidden under a velvet softness and I have known women who were tougher than men when it came to standing up under hardships and showing endurance.