Excerpt IV From: Hundred Dollar Bill By Sherry Morris
Half an hour later back at the White House, Eleanor Roosevelt emerged from the
Monroe Room, startled to find her husband in the hallway.
He said, “Babs! Didn’t see you come in. How was the hoop dee doo? Tell me, are
the older ladies supportive of my efforts?”
“Um…yes. Yes they are.”
“So’d you get swept off your feet by some handsome Republican?”
“Naturally…a baker’s dozen of ’em.”
“Say, the Secret Service boys told me counterfeit money’s been turning up in the
District, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.”
“Oh? That’s…alarming… I’m really tired.”
“I’m on my way for a long hot soak. Care to join me?”
“Um…no, dear. I just want to get out of these shoes and get some shut-eye.”
“So be it. Goodnight… I love you.”
She leaned down. They kissed.
“And I love you.”
As she turned away, he grabbed her arm. “Babs, what’s that all along the hem of
He seized the emerald taffeta near her waist and began hoisting it up. Eleanor’s
green pumps were filthy. His gaze ran up her rayon stockings. They were tight at the
ankles and baggy at the knees. Franklin examined the bottom of her dress.
The first lady blushed as she looked over her shoulder. “Franklin! What if—”
“Cobwebs. Well I’ll be. Rosie the Riveter must be older than I thought.”
Eleanor pulled away, smoothing the taffeta down. She gave him the evil eye.
Franklin chuckled as she walked off. He followed his pup into the Monroe room.
Looking around the sparse spotless room, he wondered what his wife had been up to.
Fala sniffed the paneling along the fireplace wall. Mr. Roosevelt heard a voice in the
“Sir? Sir? Where you are?”
Fala jumped into his lap. The President rolled into the hallway. “Ah, I was looking
for you, good fellow. Come and draw my bath now. So tell me, Fuji, how is that
stunning creature you hoodwinked into matrimony?” Tired and aching, Mr. Roosevelt
allowed his valet to push his wheelchair to the Presidential bedroom.
“Traveling again. But Mrs. Fuji did send special package you requested.”
“Perfect timing, son.”
Fala leapt from his master's lap to the chair at the foot of the bed. He circled twice
and kneaded his paws into the upholstery before curling up to sleep. As was their usual
routine, the President began undressing.
The valet stepped into the adjoining bathroom and turned the spigots on. Fuji
adjusted the temperature and then told his boss, “Be right back,” as he dashed out of
Fuji soon returned with a brown interagency envelope. He delivered it to the
President then mumbled, “I hope no overflow!” as he ran into the bathroom.
Mr. Roosevelt unsealed the metal clasp on the envelope and emptied the contents
onto his white bedspread. He grinned while inspecting the nylon stockings.
“Okay sir, your bath is drawn.”
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt replaced the contraband, wheeled over to a
bookshelf and slipped the envelope behind an original edition of Poor Richard’s Almanac.
“When’s the missus due back?”
“Not for month. Wish we get delivery from stork and she stay home.” He pushed
the wheelchair into the bathroom. Fuji removed Mr. Roosevelt’s trousers and torturous
The President smiled. “Careful what you wish for. Once that old stork finds your
address, he might become a pest. He visited the missus and me six times in ten years.
First a little girl, then five boys.”
Claude Fuji laughed with the President.
* * * * *
Still high on adrenaline, the first lady changed into blue-and-white-striped pajamas.
She left her bedroom and took her dirty clothes to the hamper in the hall closet,
dropping them on top. She dug down and fished out her husband’s shirt. It reeked of
French perfume and the collar had a scarlet-colored smudge. Tucking it under her arm,
she trotted downstairs, straight to his secretary’s office. Looking over her shoulder, Mrs.
Roosevelt ducked inside. She sat in Vera Blandings’ chair, rummaging through her
desk. The first lady removed a tube of lipstick from the top side drawer. She
straightened the small stacks of papers inside, then hurried back to her bedroom. Thank
goodness no one saw me.
Eleanor shut the door and locked it. She yanked the cap from the lipstick and
twisted it up. Mrs. Roosevelt compared the color to the smudge on her husband’s shirt.
It matched. Her stomach churned as tears welled in her eyes. Not again. All the pain
from 1918 came rushing back. That Lucy Mercer had nearly ended their marriage. I will
not stand for him to be involved with another secretary. Eleanor twisted the lipstick back
down, replaced the cap and chucked it into a wastebasket. Then she shoved his shirt in
with it. She stomped it down with her foot.
Eleanor climbed in bed and picked up the telephone receiver on her walnut
The White House operator asked, “Yes Missus Roosevelt, how may I direct your
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