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58   My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

regularity of a certain kind, and my older sister, only just eighteen, gave us lessons in both French and English in the early morning before we went on the wonderful excursions to the great temples, or before "Teedie" was allowed to escape for his shooting expeditions. I do not think the three months' absence from school was any detriment, and I am very grateful for the stimulating interest which that trip on the Nile gave to my brothers and me. I can still see in retrospect, as if it were yesterday, the great temple of Karnak as we visited it by moon-light; the majestic colossi at Medinet Haboo; and the more beautiful and delicate ruins of Philae. Often my father would read Egyptian history to us or explain the kind of architecture which we were seeing; but always interspersed with more serious instruction were merry walks and games and wonderful picnic excursions, so that the winter on the Nile comes back to me as one of romantic interest mixed with the usual fun and cheerful intercourse of our ordinary family life. The four young men who had chartered the dahabeah Rachel were Messrs. Nathaniel Thayer and Frank Merriam of Boston, Augustus Jay of New York, and Harry Godey of Philadelphia, and these four friends, with the addition of other acquaintances whom we frequently met, made for my sister and my parents a delightful circle, into which we little ones were welcomed in a most gracious way.

In spite of the fact of the charms of the Nile and the fun we frequently had, I write on February i, from Thebes, to my little playmate "Edie," with rather melancholy reminiscence of a more congenial past: "My own darling Edie," I say, "don't you remember what fun we used to have out in the country, and don't you remember the day we got Pony Grant up in the Chauncey's summer house and couldn't get him down again, and how we always were losing Teedie's india rubber shoes? I remember it so perfectly, and what fun it was!" I evidently feel that such adventures were preferable to those in which we were indulging in far-away Egypt, although I conscientiously

Green Fields and Foreign Faring   59

describe the ear on one of the colossi at Medinet Haboo as being four feet high, and the temple, I state, with great accuracy, has twelve columns at the north and ten on either side ! I seem, however, to be glad to come back from that expedition to Medinet Haboo, for I state that I wish she could see our dahabeah, which is a regular little home. I don't approve-in this same letterof the dancing-girls, which my parents allowed me to see one evening. With early Victorian criticism I state that "there is not a particle of grace in their motions, for they only wriggle their bodies like a snake," and that I really felt they were "very unattractive"- thus proving that the little girl of eleven in 1873 was more or less prim in her tastes. I delight, however, in a poem which I copy for "Edie," the first phrase of which has rung in my ears for many a long day.

"Alas ! must I say it, fare-farewell to thee, Mysterious Egypt, great land of the flea,

And thy Thebaic temples, Luxor and Karnac,

Where the natives change slowly from yellow to black.

Shall I ne'er see thy plain, so fraught with renown, Where the shadoofs go up and the shadoofs go down,

Which two stalwart natives bend over and sing,

While their loins are concealed by a simple shoe string."

This verse, in spite of the reference to the lack of clothes of the stalwart natives, evidently did not shock my sensibilities as much as the motions of the dancing-girls. Farther on in the letter I describe the New Year's Eve party, and how Mr. Merriam sang a song which I (Conie) liked very much, and which was called "She's Naughty But So Nice." "Teedie," however, did not care for that song, but preferred one called "Aunt Dinah," because one verse ran: "My love she am a giraffe, a two-humped camamile." [Music had apparently only charms to soothe him when suggestive of his beloved animal studies.] From Thebes also my brother writes to his aunt one of the most interesting letters of his boyhood:

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