JANUARY 31, 1941
WASHINGTON, Thursday—I drove out yesterday noon to the lovely old house called "Woodley," which the Secretary of War and Mrs. Stimson occupy. When we were in Washington many years ago, our children used to romp around these lawns with the William Phillips' children. As I looked out the window at the snowy scene, I could almost see the little figures in snowsuits of years gone by. We had a delightful lunch at Woodley with some of our New York friends there, as well as those living in Washington.
In the afternoon, there was a musicale at which Mr. William Masselos played the piano. Miss Marlyn Crittendon played the violin with Mr. Prescott Barrows as her accompanist. They all looked so young and attractive and the program was so well chosen that I enjoyed myself greatly and I hope all my guests had as pleasant a time.
While tea was still going on, I slipped upstairs with a few people who wanted a to have a quiet talk with me. One of them, Mrs. William Denman of California, is working on the continuation of the development of cultural relations in the Pacific. I am always interested to hear what they are doing in San Francisco, which is the center where these relations can best be developed.
In the evening, we all went to see Rose Franken's play: "Claudia." I think I have told you before that this city is an extremely difficult testing place for new plays. The theatre is large and the audience is not, as a rule, very responsive. Last night there was spontaneous laughter all over the house and at times an audible tear. For myself, I can record a lump in my throat. I liked the "Claudia" of the book and I like her in the play. The acting in this play is good, the cast is well chosen and does a fine piece of work.
The second act still drags a little, but I am sure that will soon be changed. The lines are so good that you do not want to miss any of them and I am glad that Miss Franken has kept some of the actual words and sentences which have always stayed in my mind since I read the book.
You cannot run away from pain, so you must make friends with it, whether it is pain in the body or pain in the heart. You must learn to let go of the things you love, not only giving them up for the next world, but giving them up here. Things that we cling to and which should be free, are torn from us with bitterness and never return. Things we willingly let go are saved and return to us with greater value than before.
We have just had lunch for all the kind artists who come here every year to entertain for the President's birthday. My two neighbors at lunch, Mr. Lauritz Melchior and Mr. Wallace Beery, were delightful companions. In fact, I like my guests better and better each year. Perhaps I feel I know them a little better and, as we go around the house and I deliver my little lectures on the various rooms, I get a little glimpse of their interests and enthusiasms as well.