A Puritan in Babylon: The Story of Calvin Coolidge

By William Allen White | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XL
And After That the Dark

IN 1932, the former President and his friend Frank Buxton went over something of the same journey in Plymouth that they had enjoyed the year before, and Mr. Buxton reported that Coolidge was a different being from the one with whom he had walked and ridden over the Plymouth farm so buoyantly a year before. "His face was drawn and pale. He moved slowly and wearily. He ate sparingly," and when his visitor drove away Coolidge "stood in the doorway and waved his arm in a farewell salute, but it fell heavily as if it was an effort." Those were the days of the calamity which had overtaken his country. Then to cap it all, a savings bank in Northampton closed its doors. His former partner, Ralph Hemenway, recalls a characteristic incident of that sad day in Northampton. He wrote:1

"Once I was in need of funds owing to the dosing of a local bank. I was seated at my desk deeply buried in thoughts that were not particularly cheerful when he came through the connecting doorway from his office, walked over to me, and placed a slip of paper on my blotter. As he turned away and went back to his room, he said quietly:

"'And as much more as you want.'

"It was a check for $5000."

Christmas, 1931, closed a prosperous year for Calvin Coolidge. His writings and his savings had made him a well-to-do man according to the standards of the town and time. And so as a sort of thank offering to his benevolent gods of friendship, he bought a small cedar chest designed ornately and in it dropped five shiny twenty dollar gold pieces for his old friend "Jim" Lucey. The sap of sentiment still was running in his veins.

But it never dimmed his microscopic eye for the main chance. It was

____________________
1
Good Housekeeping, April, 1935-- Ralph Hemenway.

-431-

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