My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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What is it about going to a play or a concert, if you have a cough, which always bring on a tickling in your throat and makes you cough five times as badly as you have at anytime during the preceeding hours? This morning I went to Mrs. Townsend's Wednesday morning musical at which Mr. Schelling and his string quartet played. My guests were two ladies from the Diplomatic Corps, and two wives of members of the Cabinet.

We sat down and I had almost forgotten that there was such a thing as a cough. With the opening bars of the music, the wife of the Mexican Ambassador began to cough and tried to stifle it and then she and I kept up a duet. We were horribly embarrassed, and I became acutely anxious between the gasps of the annoyed glances from neighboring boxes. I found myself choking as children do with whooping cough in my efforts to keep quiet. I should have left the hall, but I knew that would probably create a sensation. Mrs. Hull handed me a little box of lozenges and whispered that she always had them with her because they were made in Nashville, Tennessee! Madame de Castillo Najera and I each took one and gradually our coughs ceased. All was quiet during the entr'acte. I talked easily and had no desire to cough. The lights went out, the music began and with it that everlasting tickle.

I do enjoy Mr. Schelling's playing, but I never was more glad to get out of a concert. Madame de Castillo Najera and I agreed that it was probably largely nervousness and from the point of view of diplomatic understanding, I think we achieved a bond in discomfort which will always make us feel more at home together. But even to achieve this, I would not like to go through this morning again.

TMsd 15 January 1936, AERP, FDRL