National Affairs: The Modifier

Cordell Hull was polite and quiet to the point of colorlessness. A tall, studious, stooping man who talked with a faint lisp, he had a habit of clasping and unclasping his long, sensitive hands during periods of silent meditation. He was a Tennessee mountain man; in 52 years of public life he lived inflexibly by the code of the Cumberland frontier. He abhorred ostentation, insisted on personal independence, and never quite forgot the old Tennessee tradition of violence. As he grew old he developed a saintly look.

But he had shrewdness, a poker player's eye (said a friend: "He could look sad...

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