The Nursery and Its Deities 3
The first Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest of five sons, and I remember my mother used to tell me how friends of her mother-in-law once told her that Mrs. Cornelius Van Shaack Roosevelt was always spoken of as "that lovely Mrs. Roosevelt" with those "five horrid boys."
As far as I can see, the unpleasant adjective "horrid" was only adaptable to the five little boys from the usual standpoint of boyish mischief, untidiness, and general youthful irrepressibleness.
The youngest, my father, Theodore Roosevelt, often told us himself how he deplored the fate of being the "fifth wheel to the coach," and of how many a mortification he had to endure by wearing clothes cut down from the different shapes of his older brothers, and much depleted shoes about which, once, on overhearing his mother say, "These were Robert's, but will be a good change for Theodore," he protested vigorously, crying out that he was "tired of changes."
As the first Theodore grew older he developed into one of the most enchanting characters with whom I, personally, have ever come in contact; sunny, gay, dominant, unselfish, forceful, and versatile, he yet had the extraordinary power of being a focussed individual, although an "all-round" man. Nothing is as difficult as to achieve results in this world if one is filled full of great tolerance and the milk of human kindness. The person who achieves must generally be a one-ideaed individual, concentrated entirely on that one idea, and ruthless in his aspect toward other men and other ideas.
My father, in his brief life of forty-six years, achieved almost everything he undertook, and he undertook many things, but, although able to give the concentration which is necessary to achievement, he had the power of interesting himself in many things outside of his own special interests, and by the most delicate and comprehending sympathy made himself a factor in the lives of any number of other human beings.
My brother's great love for his humankind was a direct in-