AUGUST 21, 1946
NEW YORK, Tuesday—In the past week, the world has lost a great author, a man of imagination who had many friends—H. G. Wells. I remember an evening when he dined with us at the White House.
He sat at my right. I knew nothing of him as a person, though I knew his writings, and so, when someone spoke in a high falsetto voice, I looked around the table in some surprise. I am deaf in my right ear and always have difficulty with my most important guest, as I have to turn around almost completely to talk to him. I did not turn around to Mr. Wells because it never occurred to me that the high squeak was a remark from him!
My daughter tried to tip me off and looked at me with some annoyance. Then I suddenly realized that I had heard that Mr. Wells suffered from a voice which was not impressive. From then on, I did a little better.
I am sure that he and my husband got on well throughout the evening. However, as we sat in the big oval room upstairs after dinner, I was unable to hear what they were saying, and so I cannot say that either the evening or the conversation left me with any very deep impressions!
Mr. Wells' books, give the real measure of the man, and his death is a loss to the world. One never feels, however, that anyone who has had a long and full life and has made his contribution can evoke, among those left behind, the same sense of sorrow and regret which the death of any young person brings.
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In the last few days, we have lost a young relative. My nephew, Henry Parish Roosevelt, was a sweet and gentle person. He gave much of himself to those who knew him well.
As a boy out West, he picked up one of those terrible bone infections, which necessitated many painful operations and treatments. These had resulted in long periods of illness and, in the past year, after another operation last winter, he had gone through a great deal of suffering with his leg.
When, with several members of my family, I stopped overnight recently at the farm which he ran in Limerick, Maine, we not only enjoyed seeing his mother, Mrs. John Cutter, but found Henry a most charming host. I am glad to remember him as we saw him that evening, thoughtful as always, having even prepared carefully to receive our two dogs and give them all they could want. When he saw us off in the morning, we all hoped to have him visit us in Hyde Park in the near future.
A strange world we live in. We never know what may happen the very next minute, and the plans of mice and men often go astray. Perhaps this should remind us that mice and men, in the eyes of the Almighty, have much in common and should make us live more carefully each precious hour that we hold in our grasp as "the present."