APRIL 12, 1940
DENVER, Thursday—Last evening just before dinner, I happened to pick up a timetable and out of curiosity looked for the stations at which our train would stop. Then, and only then, did I discover that we arrived in Denver at 8:50 a.m. and that our car remained in the station until 4:50 in the afternoon! I had not known we would spend several hours in Denver. The itinerary furnished us by the lecture bureau only shows points of departure and points where we have to change trains, so on it was noted only the fact that we left Reno, Nevada, at 5:40 a.m. and arrived in Kansas City, changed trains there and would take another train for Fort Smith, Arkansas.
I was a little horrified at this discovery, for I had received a very kind invitation to attend a luncheon, given by a Democratic group, and had declined, thinking I was just passing through Denver and not making any stops. I now feel very apologetic to these would-be hosts of mine and want to tell them here how much I regret that I did not know I would be staying over. Actually this is a very pleasant interlude, for it gives an opportunity to catch up on work which is easier to do on a table that does not move. Tables on trains, even when the roadbed is excellent and the trains are the best in the world, are of necessity less steady and the motion makes typing not quite as easy as it might be.
We crossed the Great Salt Lake yesterday afternoon just at sunset time. This lake, because of its marvelous blue color and surrounding white capped mountains, is always very beautiful, besides being of interest because of its high salt content which encrusts all the wood on the train trestle and acts as a preservative that gleams almost like piles of snow here and there along the shore. The reflection of the setting sun on the mountains gave us varied and interesting colors. I recalled a trip many years ago in the spring of 1915 when we were with the Vice-President and Mrs. Marshall bound for the San Francisco Fair of that year. The Vice-President was urged to sit on the back platform as we crossed this same lake to admire the scenery. With an honesty which few people have, he remarked: "Scenery means nothing to me and I wish people would not try to bring to my attention things which do not interest me." I was still fairly young in those days and the Vice-President filled me with awe, but I could appreciate his dry humor which made him say the most amusing things and keep his face so absolutely solemn that you wondered if he really meant you to laugh.
No one can think of anything but the war news, and even when people do not speak about it, you soon find that it is the one thing they are thinking about. No wonder, for what is a world going to be like which is ruled entirely by force? All the concepts of right and wrong we have been building up will cease to have any value, if force is to be the determining factor in every situation.