MAY 11, 1939
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—I have nothing to tell you today except except the things which happen to everyone who has a place in the country and who only sees the necessary work done in and out of doors occasionally.
First of all, we changed some curtains in a room which we have decided to use this summer as a work room for an extra secretary and, only in a dire emergency, as a bedroom. I am putting in a day bed which may be none too comfortable, but the guests will know that they are only expected to remain on a temporary basis. It is funny how many little things need to be done even in a cottage, regardless of how little one may live in it.
The robins look fat and prosperous, so that there must be plenty of work for them. As we drove in, I saw the loveliest black bird with red wings, and noted with sorrow that a number of Norway spruce trees which my husband had transplanted last fall, are apparently not going to live. The soil around this little cottage is very gravelly and everything needs constant watering. The lilacs are in bud, but not yet out, so I shall miss them, much to my sorrow, for I think they are among the loveliest of spring flowers.
A week has made more difference than I imagined possible but at that, everything is at least three weeks behind last year's spring. We put our chairs out on the lawn yesterday afternoon and sat in the sun for a little while, the first time I have indulged in that lazy occupation this year. This morning Miss Cook showed me all through her garden and it certainly is very lovely. Protected by a wall all around, it is further advanced than anything else about here.
Just as I was leaving New York, my brother gave me a little book which can be read in a half an hour and which any lover of dogs should not miss. It is "Teem," the last thing which Rudyard Kipling wrote. He had a genius for writing about animals and this little book is written in the first person, a dangerous vehicle to try unless you are an expert. Anything more charming than the story of this dog who loved "his art and his bone" has not been written in a long while.
There are no lack of things which I would like to do with my own two hands if I could stay to do them, but alas, this afternoon we must take the train back to Washington. There is no question there of having time to dig in the garden and, besides, it is not my own garden. One need never be idle in either place, however. Here my two hands could be constantly busy, in Washington my feet and mind must be kept in a welcoming condition. There one is busy with people and here one is busy with nature.