MARCH 5, 1942
SEATTLE, Wednesday—I have very little information to give you today, because when one spends most of one's time in a hospital not a great many things happen. I went in to see a young girl there, whose brother and sister telephoned to ask if I could not stop in because she had heard I was in the hospital. She is very ill, and they thought it might help her.
The child looked as though she had quite a high fever, and told me she was threatened with pneumonia. However, she seemed to be fairly strong, and I hope with all the modern treatments we have discovered for this disease, that she will come through it all right.
Yesterday, a young man rode up in the elevator with us. He told me that his mother had been in the hospital twelve weeks, and asked if I would stop in to see her. Twelve weeks is a long time to look at hospital walls, so I decided that almost any change would be welcome and knocked at her door late yesterday afternoon.
Her dressing table was covered with pictures of her grandchildren—perfectly lovely children—and so we had something in common to talk about at once. Then she showed me a picture of one son who is working with Ambassador Winant in London, and told me that her husband had been instrumental in founding the Swedish Hospital, and that her other son was now on the board of directors.
It always interests me to see people who have put down roots in the place where they live; who have actually done things, not for themselves alone, but for the community. Even a village can provide one with a gamut of human emotions and experience. It has always seemed to me that, unless one becomes some part of community life, there comes a day when life ceases to have much interest. There are many times when thinking only of one's own affairs is so very dull.
I stole a little present, which had come to the President before I left Washington, and I must tell you about it. When Mr. Alexander Woollcott was staying with us this winter, he discovered that my husband liked Rudyard Kipling's writings, which is, perhaps, an old-fashioned habit. Mr. Woollcott asked if the President had seen one of the last stories that Kipling had written, called "Proofs of Holy Writ." My husband had not seen it, and when Mr. Woollcott tried to get it, he found it out of print.
But, the other day, he sent him one of the ten copies privately printed in February 1942, by Doubleday, Doran & Company. With it came a letter addressed to the President by Mr. Woollcott, telling the circumstances under which the story came to be written. The card accompanying the book is delightful. It reads: "With my compliments," and in the corner are a few pen lines, unmistakably Alexander Woollcott's face.