To Mrs. Franklin K. Lane
Washington, February 5, 1916
Most respected lady,—Having just returned from luncheon and being in the enjoyment of a cigar of fine aroma I sit me down for a quiet talk. I am visualizing you as by my side and addressing you in person.
First, no doubt, you will care to hear of the reception given at the White House last evening. According to your directions, I first dined with the Secretary of Agriculture, his wife, and a lady from Providence. ... Going then to the White House we socialized for a few minutes before proceeding down stairs. The President expressed himself as regretting your absence, and the President’s lady, having heard from you, expressed solicitude as to your health. I loitered for a few minutes behind the line and then betook me to the President’s library, where I spent most of the evening hearing the Postmaster General tell of the great burden that it was to have a Congress on his hands. Bernard Shaw writes of the Superman, and so does, I believe, the crazy philosopher of Germany. I was convinced last night that I had met one in the flesh. ...
The President is cheerful, regarding his Western tour as one of triumph. His lady still wears the smile which has given her such pre-eminence. Mrs. Marshall was in line, looking like a girl of twenty. Those absent were the Wife of the Secretary of War, the wife of the Secretary of the Interior, and the wife of the Secretary of Labor. ...
You have two most excellent children, dear madam—a youth of some eighteen years who has a frisky wit and a more frisky pair of feet. Your daughter is a most charming witch. I mean by this not to refer to her age ... but to that combination of poise, directness, tenderness, fire, hypocrisy, and other feminine virtues which go to make up the most charming, because the most elusive, of your sex. I am inclined to believe that Mr. Ruggles, of Red Gap, would not regard either your son or your daughter as fitted for those high social circles in which they move by reason of the precision of their vocabulary or their extreme reserve in manner, both being of very distinct personality. One is flint and the other steel, I find, so that fire is struck when they come together. While engaged, however, in the game of draw poker, these antipathetic qualities do not reveal themselves in such a manner as to seriously affect domestic peace. I have spent two entire evenings with your children, much to my entertainment. That I will not be able to enjoy this evening with them is a matter of regret, but I am committed to a dinner with the Honorable Kirke Porter, and tomorrow evening I believe that I am to dine with the lady on R. Street, the name of the aforesaid lady being now out of my mind, but you will recall her as having a brilliant mind and very slight eyebrows.