Since this month is the second anniversary of the beginning of the "By-Ways," shall we reprint the lines which show - to the newcomers - how the column got its name? This idea came to me last night, as I was recalling and revelling in the lovely hyacinths YOU have sent me - your letters, which always lift me up, where I can get a better outlook on life. If I am slow in answering, just know that letters such as yours are the very bread of life to me. Last week I promised to write a longer letter this week; but due to so many of you being delinquent in your tax payments, and having to have your names published in The Press, Mr. Walker has asked me to make my column short for the next three weeks. Now, that means I must learn how to "boil down" my stuff. Maple syrup, boiled down to maple sugar, always makes my teeth ache. I'm afraid the column, boiled down, will make your head ache. (Maybe it does, anyway). If I try to tell you all the interesting things we tourists saw on our trip, it will take me until Thanksgiving. Let's see what the highlights are: (Remember that we had to pass up half the important buildings because of limited time). The most awe-inspiring of all sights is the statue of Lincoln, inside the beautiful Lincoln Memorial. There he sits (his statue carved out of tons of marble), his expressive hands gripping the arms of his chair, his noble face sadly reminiscent of the bitter Civil War days, when he had to face and make such heart-breaking decisions. His immortal words - the Gettysburg address and his second inaugural address - are there, carved in the marble walls - for all posterity to read.
For sheer beauty, the interior of the Congressional Library gets my first vote; the magnificent dome, the glittering chandeliers, the marble stairway, with its marble balustrade more exquisitely carved than one could dream; the lovely picture, made up of tiny mosaics. The original copy of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are there, closely guarded - but for all to see.
If you like white beauty, unadorned, take the Supreme Court building. The exterior is Indiana limestone, (unless my memory tricks me) the interior, Tennessee marble. No frills or furbelows; chaste and white, and superbly beautiful. The "nine old men in their kimonos," as Will Rogers called the lucky inhabitants of this building, were not in session when we called, but we saw their sanctum.
The best money investment I ever made was the quarter paid for a guide through the Capital. A delightful, witty southern girl took us (about 25 of us) all through the building, explaining every mural, every statue (including the fine new bronze, full length statue of Will Rogers), many interesting facts. We visited both houses of Congress in session. Vice President Wallace, presiding over the Senate, reminded me of a typical Pennsylvania farmer. We heard the roll-call in the Senate, and I remarked to my friend, Almira Lytle, that night that those men are just grown boys - so many of them played hooky. But she explained that their chief work is done in committee meetings. I wish you could see their beautiful new Senate Office Building. So much beauty and wealth in Washington. The buildings reflect the stability, the prominence of our government. Those who planned that beautiful city did not destroy the beauty that God had given them, in their lovely big trees.
The funniest sight was the little "swarm" of pickaninnies, sporting in a city fountain. A tiny black dog enjoyed the cool water with them. With the appearance of a policeman in the offing, they dashed out of that fountain and on to a more distant one. The day was sweltering hot, I envied them their resourcefulness. The real heart-warming experience was being with my dear childhood chum Almira Lytle, and her lovely sister, Elinor, who married one of the nicest men I have met. The three of them have built a lovely home in a quiet, restful spot. There we spent two delightful, unforgettable evenings. Now I must close. But more of the same next week.
Florence B. Taylor
Next -8/1/41 - Estelle's Trip to Ft. Sheridan. Washington D.C. by "night"