MARCH 18, 1941
WASHINGTON, Monday—On the way up yesterday, there was some doubt as to whether we would be able to fly out of Charleston, S.C., in the late afternoon. To my joy, I found the weather had cleared and we were able to carry out our plan of spending five hours in Charleston and then flying on to Washington.
Mrs. George Huntington met us at the airport and drove us first to the Cypress Gardens. I had never seen them before and found it hard to believe that those acres of white cypress trees growing out of the dark waters could possibly be alive. They certainly have an eerie look with the moss blowing on their bare branches.
While I thought it very beautiful, I could easily imagine "Murder In The Cypress Swamps," or the ghosts of past unhappy owners hiding away among those avenues of bare trees. The sun came out and we saw the reflection on the water, which is very beautiful.
They have planted many spring bulbs and flowering shrubs along the shores, and touches of color meet your eyes on many sides, but somehow they did not lessen my feeling of "eeriness." I was rather relieved to find myself back at the landing greeted by a very cheerful colored guide, who evidently had no sense of the strangeness in these surroundings.
We drove from there to Middleton, which I think is one of the most beautifully laid out places I have ever seen. The natural setting is charming and, as you come up the steps through the gate which was once the main entrance to the house, you see before you the terraces. They were made two hundred years ago by a hundred men who worked ten years.
At the foot of the terraces are two charming butterfly lakes and past them the banks of the river, lined with beautiful live oaks from which the Spanish moss waves gently. You can almost see the rice fields along the river which brought the early planters their wealth. To me, the enormous and graceful live oak trees are more marvelous even than the acres and acres of beautifully laid out gardens. We were a little late for the camelias, a little early for the azaleas, but I found this did not dim my pleasure in the trees.
The home of the present owners is the wing of the house which still stands. It is very beautiful and welcoming. Inside, fires burned and flowers everywhere made a perfect picture of finely proportioned rooms.
We had tea with Mrs. Huntington in her charming little house on King Street, with a lovely garden of its own. We took the 6:00 o'clock plane and a smooth trip brought us to Washington a little before nine.
I was glad to find the President looking well and more rested than when I left, though he seemed to be surrounded by mountains of work. He explained that it all had to be done before he could get away for a short holiday himself. One needs such holidays to think, for these days so many problems crowd in on one from every side.