The Wonderful Husband

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Eleanor’s worst fears about her husband’s fidelity would eventually be realized, of course, and nothing she attained during her remarkable life—not motherhood, not an independent political career, not a dozen years as First Lady, not even the extraordinary achievements that followed her husband’s death—ever quite overcame her sense that she was essentially unloved and unlovable. An old friend called her hotel room while she was visiting London late in her life, at a time when she was one of the most admired women on earth. Her secretary, Maureen Corr, took the call and, when she told her employer who it was, was instructed to say that she was sorry but Mrs. Roosevelt was too busy to come to the telephone.

“She wants something,” Eleanor said, after Miss Corr had hung up.

“But, Mrs. Roosevelt,” the secretary said, “don’t you think people ever love you for yourself?”

“No, dear,” she answered. “I don’t.”