Home Life in the White House 215
doors are thrown open and one walks in to see all the gifts, like a materialized fairyland, arrayed on one's own special table.
"We had a most pleasant lunch at Bamie's [our sister, Mrs. Cowles]. She had given a delightful Christmas tree to the children the afternoon before, and then I stopped in to see Cabot and Nannie [Senator and Mrs. Lodge]. It was raining so hard that we could not walk or ride with any comfort, so Roly Fortescue, Ted and I played `single stick' in the study later. All of our connections and all of the Lodge connections were at dinner with us, twenty-two in all. After the dinner we danced in the `East Room,' closing with the Virginia Reel,-Edith looking as young and as pretty, and dancing as well as ever.
"It is a clear, cold morning, and Edith and I and all the children (save Quentin) and also Bob Ferguson and Cabot are about to start for a ride. Your loving brother."
Such were all Christmases at the White House; such was the spirit of the White House in those days.
During the early years of my brother's presidency, my husband and I always spent Thanksgiving at the White House, and joined in festivities very much like the Christmas ones, including the gay Virginia reel, which was also part, always, of the Thanksgiving ceremony. After they bought a little place in Virginia, they spent their Thanksgiving anniversary there.
During the following winter, I visited the White House more frequently than usual, and enjoyed the special ceremonies such as the diplomatic dinner, judicial reception, etc., and I used to station myself near the President when he was receiving the long line of eager fellow citizens, and watch his method of welcoming his guests. Almost always he would have some special word for each, and although the long line would not be held back, for he was so rapid in speech that the individual welcome would hardly take a moment, still almost every person who passed him would have had that extraordinary sense that he or she was personally recognized. It was either a reference to the splendid old veteran father of one, or some devoted sacrifice