FEBRUARY 7, 1945
NEW YORK, Tuesday—Yesterday as I walked along Washington Square I saw the children sliding down an almost imperceptible hill, yet they seemed to be having as good a time as any child on a real hill of white snow in the country.
Once we learn the very simple lesson of being content with whatever we have, we may find there seem always to be compensations! Nevertheless when spring comes and the bare trees in Washington Square begin to burgeon forth, I shall be glad whenever I can get to the country, much as I like the feeling of spring even in the streets of New York!
Someone was talking to me about the beauties of Washington as a capital city, and there is no question that everyone who comes there now recognizes the fact that it is becoming one of the most beautiful capitals in the world. As in most capitals, there are a number of charming and interesting people who have gone there to make it their home. With the exception of those actually engaged in government, however, they are usually people whose years of active, creative work are drawing to a close.
I think the atmosphere of other cities with more divergent interests is usually more stimulating. Perhaps because I was born in New York City and lived there the early years of my life, I have always had an especially soft spot in my heart for this great city. I know it is crowded and dirty and that misery rubs elbows with ostentation; but it is alive and teeming with ideas, and I like it.
Yesterday I lunched at the old Hotel Lafayette with two gentlemen who had ideas they wished to impart. It was a long while since I had been to this old restaurant, but it always has charm and it is quiet enough for conversation.
A small group of friends came to tea, and tea almost collided with dinner, but by 10 o'clock we were alone again and I was reading a little book that Lt. General Sir William Dobbie gave me for the President.
General Dobbie calls his book "A Very Present Help," and subtitles it "A Tribute to the Faithfulness of God." In it there are some very extraordinary personal experiences, and this brave defender of the island of Malta says: "Some things were very evident. Our weakness, the enemy's strength, the impossibility of outside help for the time being, and not least, the vital importance to our country's cause of our holding on to Malta."
He notes the fact that in his mind was the story of Elisha at Dothan: "We were in the position of the servant who saw the enemy's hosts around the City:—'Alas, my Master, how shall we do?' Elisha's answer means much to all who turn to God in their difficulties: 'Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.' "