OCTOBER 18, 1937
PATCHOGUE, N.Y., Sunday—It was a glorious day in the country on Friday and I had a good ride in the morning. Lunch was entertaining, for two biographers were there—one an Englishman who is over here collecting material for his book, and the other Mr. Emil Ludwig who is back to collect more material for the book which he came over last summer to get under way. The Englishman, Mr. Basil Maine, seems already to have gathered so many impressions that he said he had been obliged to write them down. Though this material probably is not in the sequence that it will eventually appear in as a book, he felt that he would have a more vivid record of his impressions.
I think it is particularly interesting to us to find out what the impressions are which people from other nations gain while over here. One hears of course, complaint that so many people come to this country and after a very brief and superficial visit write their impressions, giving as facts what can only be their own personal reactions. This complaint is justified and the writing is often misleading, but on the other hand if people come here and honestly write what impresses them and we know their background, I think it is a valuable study for us. It forces us to see ourselves through the eyes of other people who know their own country, even if they do not know ours, and who can therefore teach us much as to the effect we have on others, though they may not really interpret us truthfully.
It was a beautiful drive to New York but all the way down I was thinking about the visit I was about to pay to my friend Mrs. Grenville Emmet. I kept thinking of her sad journey home from Vienna. Her husband, our Minister to Austria, had made such an outstanding name for himself as a diplomat and was so universally beloved, and the loss to his family is such a terrible shock, that I could imagine what a terrible strain these days had been. People like Grenville Emmet are needed in the world for he was always kindly, considerate and courteous. One can only hope that their example may serve to make other people follow in their footsteps. One thing is sure, their memories will always be beloved.
Back again to the country, this time to Long Island on Saturday morning, for a brief visit with a friend. I like coming to this place—it is a little house and seems far away from the world, for the drive goes through untouched woods. They give you a feeling of being a long ways from civilization. You see game birds and occasionally a deer, and strangers rarely find their way to this secluded spot. Your hosts are perfection itself for they let you do as you please and you have time to read and write and think, which in this busy world is a boon to us all.