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40   My Brother Theodore Roosevelt


You can all read each other's letters. I hear you were very seasick on your voyage and that Dora and Conie were seasick before you passed Sandy-hook. Give my greatest love to Johnny. You must write too. Wont you drive Mamma to some battle field for she is going to get me some trophies? I would like to have them so very much. I will have to stop now because Aunty wants me to learn my lessons.

The chaffinch is for you. The wren for Mamma. The cat

for Conie.

P. S. I liked your peas so much that I ate half of them.

MY DEAR FA1HJ R   New York, April 3oth, 1868.

I received your letter yesterday. Your letter was more exciting than Mother's. I have a request to ask of you, will you do it? I hope you will, if you will it will figure greatly in my museum. You know what supple jacks are, do you not? Please get one for Ellie and two for me. Ask your friend to let you cut off the tiger-cat's tail, and get some long moos and have it mated together. One of the supple jacks (I am talking of mine now) must be about as thick as your thumb and finger. The other must be as thick as your thumb. The one which is as thick as your finger and thumb must be four feet long and the other must be three feet long. One of my mice got crushed. It was the mouse I liked best though it was a common mouse. Its name was Brownie. Nothing particular has happened since you went away for I cannot go out in the country like you can. The trees and the vine on our piazza are buding and the grass is green as can be, and no one would dream that it was winter so short a time ago. All send love to all of you.

Yours lovingly,


Green Fields and Foreign Faring   41

The "excitement" referred to in the first letter was the won

derful reception accorded to my mother on her return to the

city of her girlhood days. Her rooms in the hotel in Savannah

were filled by her friends with flowers-and how she loved flowers

-but not the "buggie ones" in which her young naturalist son

says he would "revel!"

One can see the ardent little bird-lover as he wrote "I jumped

with delight when I found you had heard a mocking-bird," and again when he says "Tell me how many curiosities and living things you have got for me." Insatiable lover of knowledge as he was, it was difficult indeed for his parents to keep pace with his thirst for "outward and visible signs of the things that be."

More than fifty years have passed since the painstaking penning of the childish letters, but the heart of his sister in reading them thrills hotly at the thought that the little "Conie" of those days was "very much" missed by her idolized brother, and how she treasured the letter written all for her, with the pictures of the cages in which he kept his beloved mice ! It was sad that the pictures of the chaffinch, wren, and cat, evidently enclosed for each of the travellers, should have been lost. In the two letters to his father he enlists that comrade-father's services for his adored "museum" by the plea for "trophies from some battle field," and the urgent request for the "supple jack," the nature of which exciting article I confess I do not understand. I do understand, however, his characteristic distress that "one of my mice got crushed. It was the mouse I liked best though it was a common mouse." That last sentence brought the tears to my eyes. How true to type it was ! the "common mouse" was the one he liked best of all-never the rare, exotic thing, but the every-day, the plain, the simple, and he probably liked it so much just because that little "common mouse" had shown courage and vitality and affection ! All through Theodore Roosevelt's life it was to the plain simple things and to the plain simple people that he gave his most loyal devotion.

Yours lovingly,




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