Green Fields and Foreign Faring 51
the high rail which protected the children from the possibility
of falling into the back yard, two stories below. Having wearied
of the usual play, the aforesaid two boys thought they would
add a tinge of excitement to the merriment by balancing the
seesaw in such a manner as to have one boy always in the thrill
ing position of hanging on the farther side of the top rail, with
the possibility (unless the equilibrium were kept to perfection)
of seesaw, boys, and all descending unexpectedly into the back
One may well imagine the horror of the mother as she saw
her adventurous offspring crawling out beyond the projection
of the railing, and only great self-control enabled her to reach
the wooden board held lightly by the fingers of an equally criminal cousin, and by an agonized clutch make it impossible for the seesaw to slide down with its two foolhardy riders.
Needless to say, no such feat was ever performed again, but the piazza became the happy meeting-ground of all the boys and girls of the neighborhood, and there not only Theodore Roosevelt but many of his friends and family put in a stock of sturdy health which was to do them good service in later years. At the same time the children of that house were leading the normal lives of other little children, except for the individual industry of the more delicate one, who put his hours of necessary quiet into voracious reading of history, and study of natural history.
Again the summers were the special delight of our lives, and the following several summers we spent on the Hudson River, at or near Riverdale, where warm friendships were formed with the children of our parents' friends, Mr. and Mrs. William E. Dodge, Mr. and Mrs. Percy R. Pyne, Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Harriman, and Mr. Robert Colgate.
Groups of joyous children invented and carried into effect every imaginable game, and, as ever, our father was the delightful collaborator in every scheme of pleasure. There began Theodore's more active collection of birds and animals. There he