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56   My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

[the young cousin referred to in 'Teedie's' letter to Doctor West] talked about natural history."

The experience of a winter on the Nile was a very wonderful one for the little American children, and "Ellie's" anticipations were more than carried out. Before we actually set sail I write in my journal of our wonderful trip to the pyramids and our impressions, childish ones of course, of the marvellous bazaars; and then we finally leave Cairo and start on the journey up the ancient river. I have always been so glad that our trip was before the days of the railway up to Karnak, for nothing could have been more Oriental and unlike modern life than the slow progress of our dahabeah, the Aboo Erdan. When there was wind we tacked and slowly sailed, for the boat was old and bulky, but when there was no wind the long line of sailors would get out on the bank of the river and, tying themselves to the rope attached to the bow, would track slowly along, bending their bronzed backs with the effort, and singing curious crooning songs.

In a letter dated December 27 I write to my aunt: "I will tell you about my presents. Amongst others I got a pair of pretty vases, and Teedie says the little birds they have on them are an entirely new species. Teedie and Father go out shooting every day, and so far have been very lucky. Teedie is always talking about it whenever he comes in the room, in fact when he does come in the room you always hear the words `bird' and `skin.' It certainly is great fun for him." In connection with these same shooting-trips my father writes: "Teedie took his gun and shot an ibis and one or two other specimens this morning while the crew were taking breakfast. Imagine seeing not only flocks of these birds, regarded as so rare by us in days gone by as to be selected as a subject for our game of `twenty questions,' but also of storks, hawks, owls, pelicans, and, above all, doves innumerable. I presented Teedie with a breech-loader at Christmas, and he was perfectly delighted. It was entirely unexpected to him, although he had been shooting with it as mine. He is a most enthusiastic sportsman and has infused

Green Fields and Foreign Faring   57

some of his spirit into me. Yesterday I walked through the bogs with him at the risk of sinking hopelessly and helplessly, for hours, and carried the dragoman's gun, which is a muzzleloader, with which I only shot several birds quietly resting upon distant limbs and fallen trees; but I felt I must keep up with Teedie."

The boy of fourteen, with his indomitable energy, was already leading his equally indomitable father into different fields of action. He never rested from his studies in natural history. When not walking through quivering bogs or actually shooting bird and beast, he, surrounded by the brown-faced and curious sailors, would seat himself on the deck of the dahabeah and skin and stuff the products of his sport. I well remember the excitement, and, be it confessed, anxiety and fear inspired in the hearts of the four young college men who, on another dahabeah, accompanied us on the Nile, when the ardent young sportsman,' mounted on an uncontrollable donkey, would ride unexpectedly into their midst, his gun slung across his shoulders in such a way as to render its proximity distinctly dangerous as he bumped absent-mindedly against them. When not actually hunting he was willing to take part in exploration of the marvellous old ruins.

In a letter to "Edie" I say: "The other day we arrived at Edfoo, and we all went to see the temple together. While we were there Teedie, Ellie, Iesi (one of our sailors), and I started to explore. We went into a little dark room and climbed in a hole which was in the middle of the wall. The boys had candles. It was dark, crawling along the passage doubled up. At last we came to a deep hole, into which Teedie dropped, and we found out it was a mummy pit. It didn't go very far in, but it all seemed very exciting to us to be exploring mummy pits. Sometimes we sail head foremost and sometimes the current turns us all the way around-and I wish you could hear the cries of the sailors when anything happens."

They were busy days, for our wise parents insisted upon

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