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6o   My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

Near Kom Obos, Jan. 26th, 1873.


My right hand having recovered from the imaginary attack from which it did not suffer, I proceed to thank you for your kind present, which very much delighted me. We are now on the Nile and have been on that great and mysterious river for over a month. I think I have never enjoyed myself so much as in this month. There has always been something to do, for we could always fall back upon shooting when everything else failed us. And then we had those splendid and grand old ruins to see, and one of them will stock you with thoughts for a month. The temple that I enjoyed most was Karnak. We saw it by moonlight. I never was impressed by anything so much. To wander among those great columns under the same moon that had looked down on them for thousands of years was aweinspiring; it gave rise to thoughts of the ineffable, the unutterable; thoughts which you cannot express, which cannot be uttered, which cannot be answered until after The Great Sleep.

[Here the little philosopher breaks off and continues in less serious mood on February 9.1

I have had great enjoyment from the shooting here, as I have procured between one and two hundred skins. I expect to procure some more in Syria. Inform Emlen of this. As you are probably aware, Father presented me on Christmas with a double-barrelled breech loading shot gun, which I never move on shore without, excepting on Sundays. The largest bird I have yet killed is a Crane which I shot as it rose from a lagoon near Thebes.

The sporting is injurious to my trousers. .. .

Now that I am on the subject of dress I may as well mention that the dress of the inhabitants up to ten years of age is nothing. After that they put on a shirt descended from some remote ancestor, and never take it off till the day of their death.

Green Fields and Foreign Faring   61

Mother is recovering from an attack of indigestion, but the rest are all well and send love to you and our friends, in which I join sincerely, and remain,

Your Most Affectionate Nephew,


The adoration of his little sister for the erudite "Teedie" is shown in every letter, especially in the letters to their mutual little friend "Edie." On January 25 this admiration is summed up in a postscript which says: "Teedie is out shooting now. He is quite professionist [no higher praise could apparently be given than this remarkable word] in shooting, skinning and stuffing, and he is so satisfied." This expression seems to sum up the absolute sense of well-being during that wonderful winter of the delicate boy, who, in spite of his delicacy, always achieved his heart's desire.

In the efforts of his little sister to be a worthy companion, I find in my diary, written that same winter of the Nile, one abortive struggle on my own part to become a naturalist. On the page at the end of my journal I write in large letters:



"Ad. near Alexandria, Egypt, November 27th, 1872. Length

5-Expanse 13.0 Wings 5 Tail I-3-Bill 5. Tarsus 1.2

Middle Toe i.i Hind Toe .3."

Under these mystic signs is a more elaborate and painstaking description of the above bird. I can see my brother now giving me a serious lecture on the subject, and trying to inspire a mind at that time securely closed to all such interests-to open at least a crack of its reluctant door, for "Teedie" felt that to walk with blind eyes in a world of such fluttering excitement as was made for him by the birds of the air showed an


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