JULY 2, 1936
NEW YORK—I sat last night with a friend on the porch of our Hyde Park Cottage as the last color of the sunset faded in the sky and the moon slowly rose. The peace and quiet everywhere seemed to cut us off from the world of turmoil and differing opinions and personal ambitions. We were discussing Santayna's book: "The Last Puritan," which I have really only just begun and which I find fascinating reading.
So far the characters are so well drawn, but the boy seems to me a bit of a prig. My friend said: "Wait until you know him better. I am sure when you finish the book you will be sorry because it will be like saying goodbye to a friend." I have felt that way about many a book, but the thing which interested me was being urged to wait until I knew a character better. How often that happens to us in our actual daily lives, and how different our first judgments would be if we remember to wait until we knew people better!
I also read aloud Mr. Van Loon's foreword in the Democratic Convention book, and I think as an historian he has made a good point when he urges us to weigh human beings in the light of their ancestors for "The Last Mile." There is no question in my mind but what victory and defeat are really important only because of the way human beings accept them. More people are ruined by victory, I imagine, than by defeat. If your ancestors built up a good physical constitution for you, coupled with a character which takes success and defeat just as part of the day's work, and you learn to meet both with common sense, courage and the ability to follow on your objectives even while adjusting to temporary conditions, then whoever you may be, you have a heritage that will carry you through that "last mile". Here in America a great many of us have that heritage for which we should give thanks every day of our lives.
We were up at seven this morning, I had a swim before breakfast and we took the eight-forty-five train to New York. Several interviews at the office, and some friends lunched with me. In a few minutes Mrs. Scheider and I will be on our way to Washington.