8 My Brother Theodore Roosevelt
did his own. It always seems to me sad that the relationship between father and son, or father and daughter, should not have the quality of charm, a quality which it so often lacks, and which I believe is largely lacking because of the failure of the older generation to enter into the attitude of the younger generation.
I was delicate at one period and could not dance as I had always done, and I remember when I was going to a little entertainment, just as I was leaving the house I received an exquisite bunch of violets with a card from my father, asking me to wear the flowers, and think of his wish that I should not overtire myself, but also of his sympathy that I could not do quite what I had always done.
Comparatively few little girls of fourteen have had so loverlike an attention from a father, and just such thought and tender, loving comprehension made our relationship to our father one of perfect comradeship, and yet of respectful adoration. He taught us all, when very young, to ride and to swim and to climb trees. I remember the careful way in which he would show us dead limbs and warn us about watching out for them, and then, having taught us and having warned us, he gave us full liberty to try our wings and fall by the wayside should they prove inadequate for our adventures.
After graduating from our first Shetland pony, he provided us each with a riding-horse, and always rode with us himself, and a merry cavalcade went forth from our country home, either early in the morning before he started for the train or in the soft summer evenings on his return. When at one time we were living on the Hudson River, we had hoped one autumn afternoon that he would come home early from the city, and great was our disappointment when a tremendous storm came up and we realized that he would take a later train, and that our beloved ride must be foregone. We were eagerly waiting in the hall for his return and watching the rain falling in torrents and the wind blowing it in gusts, when the depot wagon drove up to the door and my father leaped out, followed by the slight