My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Friday—In between showers, on the day before I left Quebec, I went out to explore the walks that there might be on top of the Bastion. I was joined by my young Canadian Army aide, Captain Cote, and together we climbed the steps and found ourselves near an old and now unused cannon. We progressed along the grassy top, getting glimpses of the river here and there, and finally reached a point which was plainly marked "out of bounds." Here modern defenses, very much up-to-date, joined with the old wall.

All the Citadel gates, of course, were covered from various points where men could stand hidden and fire on the enemy. Incidentally, the walls, which I told you I thought were three feet thick, are actually five feet thick. I still marvel at the ingenuity which, so many years ago, laid out the tortuous passages and walls of this stronghold. There is a little brass gun on the lawn in front of the living quarters which was taken by the British at Bunker Hill in 1775. It looks like a pretty toy now, and one wonders how much damage it was ever able to inflict.

In the course of my walk, I visited a little chapel which has no windows, but which is composed of brick arches, whitewashed on the inside—a form of construction which I have rarely seen anywhere else, and which must be very strong.

I have just finished a book called "Lebanon," by Caroline Miller, who wrote "Lamb in His Bosom." The book had a great appeal for me. I do not know if it is based on real stories taken out of the past, or whether it was woven out of the author's imagination, but the tale has a strange reality. Out of such hardships has this country been built, and out of such suffering our people have grown. Lebanon, the main character, was the product of her early environment. She had the wisdom and the knowledge that grew from those contacts, and, in addition, beauty and sweetness and courage. Life gave her adventure a-plenty, but also some happiness and a chance to grow. She met the challenges with characteristic courage.

One wonders how people about her could have been so blind and so unkind, and yet in varying degrees we can see the same thing enacted about us, over and over again. Her neighbors could have known her for what she really was. Instead, they chose to weave strange tales about her, born of rumors and innuendoes and half truths, primarily because she had some things her neighbors did not understand.

That happens somewhat frequently in life. Perhaps one of the most amusing examples of it is in a little book I have just been reading, called "What Manner of Man," by Noel F. Busch. (This is a new book interpreting the life of the President.—Ed.) Its innumerable factual inaccuracies, which one would think anyone could check, makes one wonder a little about the results of the author's deductions. It is really dangerous to write about human beings except in fiction, for one is apt to create a truer picture through imagination than one can create out of inaccurate facts!

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, September 16, 1944

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.