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70   My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

could not stand it any longer. We will talk it over when you come. Your own little Conie."

Poor little girl! I was trying to be noble; for my father, who had been obliged to return to America for business reasons, had impressed me with the fact that to spend part of the summer in a German family and thus learn the language was an unusual opportunity, and one that must be seized upon. My spirit was willing, but my flesh was very, very weak, and the age of the kind people with whom I had been placed, the strange, dreadful, black bread, the meat that was given only as a great treat after it had been boiled for soup-everything, in fact, conduced to a feeling of great distance from the lovely land of buckwheat cakes and rare steak, not to mention the separation from the beloved brothers whom I was allowed to see only at rare intervals during the week. The consequence was that very soon my mother came back to Dresden in answer to the pathos of my letters, for I found it impossible to follow that motto, so characteristic of my father, "Try to have the best time you can." I began to sicken very much as the Swiss mountaineers are said to lose their spirits and appetites when separated from their beloved mountains; so my mother persuaded the kind Minckwitz family to take me under their roof, as well as my brothers, and from that time forth there was no more melancholy, no bursting into poetic dirges constantly celebrating the misery of a young American in a German family.

From the time that I was allowed to be part of the Minckwitz family everything seemed to be fraught with interest and many pleasures as well as with systematic good hard work. In these days, when the word "German" has almost a sinister sound in the ears of an American, I should like to speak with affectionate respect of that German family in which the three little American children passed several happy months. The members of the family were typically Teutonic in many ways: the Herr Hofsrath was the kindliest of creatures, and his rubicund, smiling wife paid him the most loving court; the three daughters

The Dresden Literary American Club 71

-gay, well-educated, and very temperamental young womenthrew themselves into the work of teaching us with a hearty good will, which met with real response from us, as that kind of effort invariably does. Our two cousins, the same little cousins who had shared the happy summer memories of Madison, New Jersey, when we were much younger, were also in Dresden with their mother, Mrs. Stuart Elliott, the "Aunt Lucy" referred to frequently in our letters. Aunt Lucy was bravely facing the results of the sad Civil War, and her only chance of giving her children a proper education was to take them to a foreign country where the possibility of good schools, combined with inexpensive living, suited her depleted income. Her little apartment on Sunday afternoons was always open to us all, and there we five little cousins formed the celebrated "D. L. A. C." (Dresden Literary American Club !)

On June 2 I wrote to my friend "Edie": "We five children have gotten up a club and meet every Sunday at Aunt Lucy's, and read the poetry and stories that we have written during the week. When the book is all done, we will sell the book either to mother or Aunt Annie and divide the money; (although on erudition bent, still of commercial mind !) I am going to write poetry all the time. My first poem was called `A Sunny Day in June.' Next time I am going to give `The Lament of an American in a German Family.' It is an entirely different style I assure you." The "different style" is so very poor that I refrain from quoting that illustrious poem.

The work for the D. L. A. C. proved to be a very entertaining pastime, and great competition ensued. A motto was chosen by "Johnnie" and "Ellie," who were the wits of the society. The motto was spoken of with bated breath and mysteriously inscribed W, A. N. A. underneath the mystic signs of D. L. A. C. For many a long year no one but those in our strictest confidence were allowed to know that "W. A. N. A." stood for "We Are No Asses." This, perhaps somewhat untruthful statement, was objected to originally by "Teedie," who firmly maintained

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