The night was warm for November, still and starless; on a flagpole above the portico the blue Presidential flag, with its shield, eagle and white stars, flapped listlessly. Hyde Park House was dark, the big green shutters swung snug to the front windows—from outside, not a crack of light showed from the library. Inside and out, the atmosphere was solemn, expectant, tense.

In station wagons and long shining limousines came people in evening clothes, neighbors and friends. Inside they assembled in the long, furniture-cluttered library, chatting quietly or sitting, hands in...

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