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.