FEBRUARY 26, 1942
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—I had a busy day in New York City yesterday. First I spent an hour with a friend who has not been very well, and then I ordered some necessary spring clothes, though I must say the weather did not seem very spring-like. It was just about as cold and windy as it could possibly be, but I have to look ahead and be prepared for spring in Washington, which comes suddenly.
At 12:30, Mrs. Vanderbilt Webb and Mrs. Noyes came to see me and then I went to the Cosmopolitan Club to speak at the members' lunch. I was glad to have a chance to explain what my successors in the Office of Civilian Defense are doing.
An hour or so at home, and then I started for Philadelphia. It was pleasant to have a little time for uninterrupted reading on the train, and then to be greeted by Judge and Mrs. Curtis Bok. They are the kindest hosts and took me at once to Judge Bok's mother's house, where I dressed for dinner. After this we all went to the performance given by the Philadelphia Opera Company at the Academy of Music. The building is one of the most delightful in which to hear music.
This is a young opera company and the orchestra and the singers are a most refreshing group. Their performance, given in English, was full of life. I discovered for the first time that Mozart's "Cosi Fan Tutte" is really a comic opera, perhaps not quite Gilbert and Sullivan, but certainly full of amusing byplay.
The audience, as well as the actors, seemed to me remarkably young. Servicemen and students were all about us. Many of them, of course, probably grew to love music through the youth concerts which Mr. Stokowski gave, and which were always popular.
The young manager of the opera company, Mr. David Hocker, and all the people who work on the mechanics of this performance, are so enthusiastic, that I feel it must eventually be a real financial as well as an artistic success.
I caught an 11:43 train to Washington. It was an unbelievably long train and, being in the car at the end, we were almost in Washington before any heat reached my compartment. In spite of a certain amount of delay, I liked the trip and finished a book which I have enjoyed more than I can say. The characters in Ellen Chase's "Windswept" accept life as it is, its sorrows and its joys, so completely, and live it without resentment. They make friends alike with joy and pain. This is a novel which I think will be a help to many of us at the present time.