MARCH 24, 1950
HYDE PARK, Thursday—I was fortunate to have the opportunity Wednesday afternoon to see Queen Mary's rug, which just arrived in this country, in its beautiful box on display at the English-Speaking Union. The rug has twelve panels of varied design and a very lovely border. The 448 colors in the rug are beautifully blended and very soft. In looking at it I could well believe that eight years of work had gone into this masterpiece of needlework.
The Dowager Marchioness of Reading had written me that there had been times when the mother of King George VI put seven hours of work in one day on the rug. She made it for Windsor Castle, I am told, and it would look beautiful there, but Great Britain at the moment needs American dollars and after it is shown in a number of American cities it will be sold to the highest bidder.
The rug has gone on tour in the British Isles and thousands of people there have seen it. They looked upon it first with reverence because it is the work of the Dowager Queen, whom they respect and admire, and next because it symbolizes to them a sacrifice being made for the good of the country.
Everyone in England these days is being called on to make sacrifices. Through the women's voluntary services hundreds of women in their own homes have been turning out beautiful handwork to be sold in this country to help the dollar shortage. And now to give these women of Great Britain a feeling that she stands side by side with them, Queen Mary has offered this work of art, made by her own hands, for the same purpose—to help her country in the hour of need.
The rug is accompanied by Lady Reading's personal assistant, Miss Patricia Hardy, who shares the responsibility for this famous Royal rug with the Hon. Colonel Angus McDonnell. The rug will be taken to Canada and to 16 of the leading United States cities. I think both men and women will be interested to see this rug. One especially interesting feature is that all but one panel bears the signature "Mary/R" and the date when it was finished.
At the reception held at the English-Speaking Union were a number of distinguished guests, among them Sir Alexander Fleming, who developed penicillin, and Thomas K. Finletter, who has just returned from England where he has been working on our mutual economic problems.
* * *
The other night I went to see T. S. Eliot's "The Cocktail Party." The first act, I felt, stated rather well the problems of a certain kind of marriage, but somehow the doctor, who acted as a kind of super FBI man, never made much sense and the almost slapstick humor bewildered me rather than helped me the serious part of the play.
I came out not knowing what the play was really supposed to make me understand. I don't usually find plays difficult to understand and thought perhaps I was too far back to hear the lines clearly, so I certainly am going to buy the play and read it. Perhaps, however, many of us like to be bewildered, and if we don't understand the author's meaning very well we decide he must be doing something clever!