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12   My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

There was also another young slave who went by the name of "Black Bess," and was the devoted companion of her two young mistresses, Martha, my mother, and her sister, Anna Bulloch. She slept on a mat at the foot of their beds and rendered the devoted services that only the slave of the old plantation days ever gave to his or her mistress. My mother used to accompany her mother on her visits to all the outlying little huts in which the various negroes lived, and she often told us the story of a visit one day to "Mom Lucy's" little home, where a baby had just been born.

Mom Lucy had had several children, none of whom had lived but a few hours, and when my grandmother and her little daughter visited the new baby, now about a week old, the mother, still lying on her couch, looked up at my grandmother and said: "Ole Miss, I jus' done name her." "And what have you named her, Lucy?" asked my grandmother; "she is a fine baby and I am so glad you are going to have the comfort of her all your life." "Oh!" said the colored woman sadly, "I don't 'spec' her to live, dey ain't none of 'em done live, and so I jus' call her Cumsy." "Cumsy?" said my grandmother, "and what may that mean, Lucy?" "Why, ole Miss, don't you understan'? Dey all done go to deir heavenly home, and so I jus' call dis one 'Come-see-de-world-and-go,' and my ole man and me we is goin' to call her 'Cumsy' for short."

My grandmother tried to argue Lucy out of this mortuary cognomen, but with no effect, and years afterward when my mother revisited Roswell as Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, one of the first negroes to greet her was "Come-see-the-world-and-go !"

All these stories of the old plantation were fascinating to the children of the nursery in loth Street, and we loved to hear how the brothers and sisters in that old house played and worked, for they all did their share in the work of the household. There the beautiful half-sister of my mother, Susan Elliott, brought her Northern lover, Hilborne West, of Philadelphia, whose sister, Mary West, had shortly before married Weir Roosevelt, of New

The Nursery and Its Deities   13

York, the older brother of my father, Theodore Roosevelt. This

same Hilborne West, a young physician of brilliant promise,

adored the informal, fascinating plantation life, and loved the

companionship of the two dainty, pretty girls of fourteen and

sixteen, Martha and Anna Bulloch, his fiancee's young halfsisters.

Many were the private theatricals and riding-parties, and during that first gay visit Doctor West constantly spoke of his young connection by marriage, Theodore Roosevelt, who he felt would love Roswell as he did.

A year afterward, inspired by the stories of Doctor West, my father, a young man of nineteen, asked if he might pay a visit at the old plantation, and there began the love-affair with a black-haired girl of fifteen which later was to develop into so deep a devotion that when the young Roosevelt, two years later, returned from a trip abroad and found this same young girl visiting her sister in Philadelphia, he succumbed at once to the fascination from which he had never fully recovered, and later travelled once more to the old pillared house on the sandhills of Georgia, to carry Martha Bulloch away from her Southern home forever.

I cannot help quoting from letters from Martha Bulloch written in July, 1853, shortly after her engagement, and again from Martha Roosevelt a little more than a year later, when she revisits her old home. She had been hard to win, but when her lover leaves Roswell at the end of his first visit, immediately following their engagement, she yields herself fully and writes:

THEE, DEAREST THEE:   Roswell, July 26, 1853.

I promised to tell you if I cried when you left me. I had determined not to do so if possible, but when the dreadful feeling came over me that you were, indeed, gone, I could not help my tears from springing and had to rush away and be alone with myself. Everything now seems associated with you. Even

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