November 20, 1961
The first snow fell during the night. Carlo was up at 6 to inform us all. (Snow is an allowable excuse for breaking the peace.)
I haven't smoked for 2 days. I shall try to get by on a cigar a day. Tobacco keeps the intellectual at work. Perhaps now we shall see whether he can work without it.
"You can buy anything with money" Folk saying. But not love, happiness, health, intelligence in great part. Better to say "You can't buy with money anything that can't buy money". That is, you cannot purchase happiness, but neither can you sell it. Or love. Or health. Or intelligence. Conversely "What can't buy money can't be bought."
Sunday, November 26, 1961 Bethel Vermont 2 PM
The four boys and I are waiting for the call to dinner in this big old Greenhurst Inn where we are staying. We walked all morning up and down the hills back of Marshall Dimock's house, where signs of deer, owls, redpeckers, beaver, ants, rabbits and what not abounded but nothing save a bird was seen. Davis Dimock saw 13 deer,, however, as he circled a couple of hundred years from us. The day is sharp and cool, in many pale colors; the woods are quiet as winter; in a few shadowy nooks patches of snow remain.
Here is where Marshall Dimock will spend more time, after he resigns from the University in May. He and Pen, his wife, have done a fine job over the years. Their place has whatever is good that is modern and keeps the good of the old. They don't have central heating, despite the severe climate. But they have fireplaces and fat-bellied iron stoves, and supplementary electric heaters along several baseboards. The firewood is stacked in massive neat array. The floors and walls are wooden, lightly finished in their natural colors. A few yards from the main house stands Marshall's study, again modestly, tasteful, and most adequately furnished. Their thousands of books overflow from the main house into the study and out into the large guest house. They are wise people to live amidst such peace and beauty, such humane comforts. Their forays into the lecture halls and foundations, and their writings will support them well. Their grown children will visit them often. What nonsense it would make to stay tied to the University, even if Marshall could as Head make progress with the Department of Government.
I had actually thought of the same kind of situation when moving from California, and had an option on a New Hampshire farm. Then I decided upon Princeton. We are not sorry at all, but would have been pleased with N. H. too, I think.
2 AM Monday
As happened three days running, I go to sleep at 9 and awaken at about 2 for a couple of hours. I have read E. M. Forster's Where Angels Fear to Tread and C. P. Snow's The Masters, the latter hastily, because it early appeared to be a second-rate novel. By contrast the Forster story is a jewel. A few awkward twists occur but in general we skip along enchanted over a great profundity.
Yesterday we tramped the hills, and in the afternoon cut two small Christmas trees back of Nan Dimock's little cabin to carry back with us. The great Pontiac wagon stuck in the mud while turning around to get out. The Dimock jeep couldn't pull us out. A tractor from a neighbor's farm had to be fetched for the task. it took five seconds: "the right tool for the right job".
Dimock wants me to buy a farm out here. Yesterday he showed me two just near his place. Each has a pretty view. The land is cheap, going at $30 the acre more or less. But the distance and the winter cold of the area repel me. I might add the general lack of high culture, excepting perhaps Dartmouth College 30 miles away. I do like the New England country people though. They are perceptive and have good judgment. They are sly and frank. The Southern hillbilly is, by comparison, passionate and irrational, more often hostile to intelligence. The Yankee culture has a full-rounded set of principles, the hillbilly only a brief, narrow code. The Yankee culture would take centuries to decay utterly, the latter could reduce to barbarism or disappear in half the time.
Friday, November 29, 1961
Lunch with Frank Moreno a week ago. Suzanne Farkas has asked for a teaching appointment in his Washington Square College Department of Politics. He wanted my opinion. I replied "Fine. Then you will have Nina Anemogiannis, and you should appoint Stephanie Neuman while you are at it. Three beautiful women and you will have the outstanding department of the country." But it wasn't that joke that I laughed so merrily about.