The Nursery and Its Deities 5
public could only see what the new instruments would do for the stricken children, that it could be aroused to assist the enterprise.
And so, one beautiful spring afternoon, my mother gave what was supposed to be a purely social reception at our second home, at 6 West 57th Street, and my father saw to it that the little sufferers in whom he was interested were brought from their poverty-stricken homes to ours and laid upon our diningroom table, with the steel appliances which could help them back to normal limbs on their backs and legs, thus ready to visualize to New York citizens how these stricken little people might be cured. He placed me by the table where the children lay, and explained to me how I could show the appliances, and what they were supposed to achieve; and I can still hear the voice of the first Mrs. John Jacob Astor, as she leaned over one fragile-looking child and, turning to my father, said: "Theodore, you are right; these children must be restored and made into active citizens again, and I for one will help you in your work."
That very day enough money was donated to start the first Orthopedic Hospital, in East 59th Street. Many business friends of my father used to tell me that they feared his sudden visits when, with a certain expression in his eyes, he would approach them, for then before he could say anything at all they would feel obliged to take out their pocketbooks and ask: "How much this time, Theodore?"
One of his most devoted interests was the newsboys' lodginghouse in West 18th Street, and later in 35th Street, under the auspices of the Children's Aid Society. Every Sunday evening of his life he went to that lodging-house, after our early hospitable Sunday supper, to which many a forlorn relation or stranded stranger in New York was always invited, and there he would talk to the boys, giving them just such ideas of patriotism, good citizenship, and manly morality as were the themes of his son in later years.