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D URING the winter and summer of 1876, preceding that September when Theodore Roosevelt left his home for Harvard College, he had entered more fully into the social life of the boys and girls of his immediate acquaintance. As a very young boy, there was something of the recluse about him, although in his actual family (and that family included a number of cousins) he was always the ringleader. His delicate health and his almost abnormal literary and scientific tastes had isolated him somewhat from the hurly-burly of ordinary school life, and even ordinary vacation life; but during the winter of 1876 he had enjoyed to the full a dancing-class which my mother had organized the winter before, and that dancing-class sowed the seeds of many friendships. The Livingston, Clarkson, Potter, and Rutherfurd boys, and amongst the girls my friends Edith Carow, Grace Potter, Fannie Smith, Annie Murray, and myself, formed the nucleus in this dancing-class, and the informal "Germans" (as they were called in those days) and all the merriment connected with happy skating-parties and spring picnics in Central Park cemented relationships which lasted faithfully through later days. My brother Elliott, more naturally a social leader, influenced the young naturalist to greater interest in his humankind, and when the spring merged into happy summer at Oyster Bay, Theodore was already showing a keener pleasure in intercourse with young people of his own age.

In a letter to "Edith" early in the summer, I write of an expedition which he took across the bay to visit another girl friend. He started at five o'clock in the morning and reached


College Chums   95

the other shore at eight o'clock. Thinking it too early to pay a call, he lay down on a large rock and went to sleep, waking up to find his boat had drifted far away. When he put on his spectacles he could see the boat at a distance, but, of course, did not wish to swim with his clothes on, and decided to remove them temporarily. Having secured the boat, he forgot that it might be wise to put on his clothes before sleeping again under the dock. To his perfect horror, waking suddenly about an hcur later, the boat, clothes, and all had vanished. At the same moment he heard the footsteps of his fair inamorata on the wooden planks of the dock above his head. She had walked down with a friend to greet the admirer whom she expected at about nine o'clock. His description of his feelings as he lay shivering, though not from cold, while above him they calmly discussed his probable arrival and the fact that they thought they would wait there to greet him, can probably be imagined. The girls, after a period of long waiting, walked away into the woods, and the self-conscious young man proceeded to swim down a hidden creek where he thought the tide had taken his recalcitrant boat, and where, sure enough, he found it. The sequel to this little story throws much light on masculine human nature, for he conceived an aversion to the lady who so unconsciously had put him in this foolish position, and rowed defiantly back to Oyster Bay without paying the proposed visit !

During that summer my father, who always gave his children such delightful surprises, drilled us himself in a little play called "To Oblige Benson," in which Theodore took the part of an irascible and absent-minded farmer, and our beloved cousin John Elliott the part of an impassioned lover, while my friend Fannie Smith and I were the heroines of the adventures. My father's efforts to make Theodore into a farmer and John into a lover were commendable though not eminently successful, but all that he did for us in those ways gave to his children a certain ease in writing and speaking which were to be of great value in later years. Fannie Smith, to show how Theodore

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