46 My Brother Theodore Roosevelt
What parents, indeed, so fully to understand the romantic feeling of the little boy about his birthday dinner, that they were more than willing to don their most beautiful habiliments, and appear as they had so lately appeared when received at the Vienna Court ! Such yielding to what by many people might have been considered as too childish a whim to be countenanced shows with special clearness the quality in my father and mother which inspired in us all such undying adoration. Another letter-not written by my older sister, but in the painstaking handwriting of a little girl of seven-describes my own party the month before. We were evidently staying in Vienna at the time, for I say: "We went to Schonbrunn, a `shatto.' " (More frequently known as a chateau, but quite as thrilling to my childish mind spelled in my own unique manner!) And there in the lovely grounds my mother had arranged a charming al fresco supper for the little homesick American girl, and just as the "grown people" were in "full dress" for "Teedie's" birthday, so they gave themselves up in the grounds of the great "shatto" to making merry for the little seven-year-old girl.
After the great excitements of the birthdays came our interesting sojourn in Rome. In spite of my mother's efforts to arouse a somewhat abortive interest in art in the hearts of the three little children, my principal recollections of the Rome of 1869 are from the standpoint of the splendid romps on the Pincian Hill. In those contests of running and racing and leaping my brother Elliott was always the leader, although "Teedie" did his part whenever his health permitted. One scene stands out clearly in my mind. It was a beautiful day, one of those sunny Italian days when ilex and olive shone with a special glistening quality, and when the "Eternal City" as viewed from the high hill awoke even in the hearts of the little Philistine foreigners a subconscious thrill which they themselves did not quite understand. We were playing with the Lawrence children, playing leap-frog (how inappropriate to the Pincian Hill!) over the many posts, when suddenly there came a stir-an unexpected excite