SEPTEMBER 14, 1942
HYDE PARK, Sunday—We left Washington Friday and, after seeing one or two people in New York City, reached Hyde Park in time for dinner. The cottage seemed very peaceful and the open fire was both comfortable and attractive.
Yesterday, we were out of doors all day, but it was not until morning that I woke early enough to have the full benefit of the early morning birds' serenade. One rather young one perched on the rail near me and repeated over and over again what seemed like a musical call. He cocked his head from side to side and his bright little eyes twinkled with each call.
The air is still soft, but cool in the evenings and early mornings. When the sun shines, the pool is still a pleasant place, but across the pond from where I sit, my swamp maple is completely red and I know that in another two weeks the autumn colors will be everywhere.
Again we opened our papers this morning to find that Stalingrad is still holding. This is certainly going down in history as a valiant defense. I have great sympathy for the three young Russians now travelling in this country, who must scan the papers every day and wonder why we, in this country, can live so comfortably and still be at war; when they know that war means a change in the everyday life to every citizen in the Soviet Union.
There is one advantage in fighting on your own soil. No one can say, as they say occasionally to me by letter: "Why do my boys have to go out of the country?" Everybody in Russia knows what is happening because it is within the borders of the country.
They tell me that even the besieged cities in Russia get mail by airplane, and that is one of the ways by which morale is kept high. That, of course, has been one of the great advantages in Great Britain also. The young British wing-commander, Scott-Malden, in his radio interview the other night, said he had been fighting two weeks before, about seventy miles from his home in the raid on Dieppe.
This is about the same distance as from New York City to Poughkeepsie! It is easier to know what is happening when the happenings are so near and many of them occur in civilian areas. Our distant operations have kept us, as civilians, safe from harm, but they also make it much more difficult for us to understand and cooperate in the war effort.