My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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An early morning ride and the departure of several guests took up a good part of the morning, a little marketing and visiting by the way! Then the cottage to gather up the morning mail. I ordered luncheon for eight before I left the Big House and carefully asked my husband if he knew of any extra guests. When I drove up at one o'clock there was at least five cars and ten gentlemen wandering around the front porch. I had a sinking feeling, wondering if we were going to have a large luncheon party for which we were entirely unprepared. However, I soon found that they were departing and we had a quiet luncheon!

This afternoon I went to see a very lovely friend of mine and when I was about to leave she remarked: "I think in this life we always have to do our duty." I gasped for a minute, for that sentiment goes back to my grandmother's day at least. It is far more typical of our New England ancestors than of the average philosophy of today. Must we always do our duty? If so, how are we always to know what is our duty?

A wise aunt of mine used to say: "Do anything you want to do, but always be quite sure that in your heart of hearts you are at peace with yourself about doing it. It does not matter what people think but if you are uncomfortable yourself then you will have no happiness." I think I would almost rather go through life with this more cheerful philosophy of trying to make duty as far as possible coincide with what one would like to do, but at least being sure that what one does leaves ones inner consciousness satisfied and untroubled.

We have a lovely baby visiting us today and I think perhaps this is the nicest age! You are not expected to think, and can do anything you wish without considering whether it is right or wrong.

I am going to supper this evening with the young Democrats in Poughkeepsie, but it is not a political meeting, merely a friendly gathering and afterwards I shall see my husband off by train for the port in Maine where he joins the boys and they start on their cruise. I doubt if the boys are longing for fog as my husband is, but no matter what the weather, I am sure they will have a good time.

TMsd 13 July 1936, AERP, FDRL