CHAPTER XXIII
IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW

AS THE PROPHET reached out to embrace the peoples of the Western Hemisphere and make them a family of nations, the breaking up of his own idyllic household was piercing his heart.

Woodrow Wilson always had enjoyed sanctuary in a sympathetic home. His affection for his dear ones was childlike, his concern for their welfare almost motherly. He expected obedience from them, but exacted it courteously: one day when a daughter wished to go riding in the park with friends whom he thought undesirable, he asked, "M'dear, can't you find a better way to occupy your time?"1 Often the Wilsons planned their engagements so that the clan could be together, alone, on birthdays and other special occasions; and once the President canceled a weekend trip on the Mayflower in order to give moral support to daughter Margaret, who would otherwise have to stay alone at the White House and prepare for a speaking engagement about which she was nervous. His second daughter, Jessie, had been married less than five months when his secretary of the Treasury came to him to ask the hand of his youngest, his spirited, lovable Nellie; and after this conversation McAdoo wrote confidentially to House: "Miss Eleanor and I are engaged! 'The Governor' has consented and I am supremely happy."2

It was difficult for Woodrow Wilson to accept the departure of his little playmate--the girl for whom he had toiled on an American History so that she might have a pony. "I shall be poor without her," he wrote to Mary Hulbert, "she and I have been such ideal chums! It's hard, very hard, not to be selfish and rebel,--or repine! But her happiness is of much more importance than mine,--I mean to me." At the wedding, as he walked down the corridor to the Blue Room, prepared to give her away, he was relieved by a chance to chuckle to himself when

____________________
1
Mrs. Katharine Woodrow Kirkland to the writer.
2
McAdoo to House, Mar. 3, 1914, House Collection. According to Edith Galt Wilson, Woodrow Wilson was opposed to the betrothal because of the difference in ages. E. B. Wilson to R. S. Baker, Jan. 4, 1926. This marriage posed problems of decorum. Foreseeing that the President might be embarrassed by the presence of a relative in his Cabinet, McAdoo offered to resign; but Wilson assured him that, since he had been appointed solely on grounds of merit, he must not think of leaving. The President was careful to preserve impartiality in Cabinet meetings and fairness in all other relations. House Diary, April 15, 28, 29, 1914.

-393-

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