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!9 i

102   My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

to build his beloved home, Sagamore Hill), and there, having climbed the sandy bulwark, we would sit on the top of the ledge looking out on the shimmering waters of the Sound, and he would recite with a lilting swing in the tone of his voice which matched the rhythm of the words:

"In a coign of the cliff between lowland and highland, By the sea down's edge, twixt windward and lee,

Walled round by rocks like an inland island, The ghost of a garden fronts the sea.

A girdle of brush-wood and thorn encloses The steep-scarred slope of the blossomless bed,

Where the weeds that grew green from the graves of its rosesNow lie dead."

He always loved the rhythm of Swinburne, just as he loved later the wonderful ringing lines of Kipling, which he taught to his children and constantly repeated to himself.

In the summer of 1877 the two brothers, Elliott and Theodore, decided to row from Oyster Bay in their small boats to Whitestone, near Flushing, where my aunt Mrs. Gracie was living in an old farmhouse. Elliott was really the sailor of the family, an expert sailor, too, and loved to manage his 2o-footer, with able hand, in the stormiest weather, but Theodore craved the actual effort of the arms and back, the actual sense of meeting the wave close to and not from the more sheltered angle of a sailboat; and so the two young brothers who were perfectly devoted to each other started on the more adventurous trip together. They were caught in one of the sudden storms of the Long Island Sound, and their frail boats were very nearly swamped, but the luck which later became with Theodore Roosevelt almost proverbial, was with them, and the two exhausted and bedraggled, wave-beaten boys arrived sorely in need of the care of the devoted aunt who, as much as in the days when she taught their A B C's to the children of the nursery of loth Street, was still their guardian angel.

College Chums   103

In September, 1877, Theodore returns as a sophomore to Cambridge and writes in October again: "Sweet Pussie: Thank you ever so much, darling, for the three, cunning, little books which I am going to call my 'Pussie Books.' They were just what I wanted. In answer to your question, I may say that it does not seem to make the slightest difference to Brooks and Hooper that they have been dropped, although Brooks is universally called 'Freshie.' My respect for the qualities of my classmates has much increased lately, by the way, as they now no longer seem to think it necessary to confine their conversation exclusively to athletic subjects. I was especially struck by this the other night, when, after a couple of hours spent in boxing and wrestling with Arthur Hooper and Ralph Ellis, it was proposed to finish the evening by reading aloud from Tennyson and we became so interested in `In Memoriam' that it was past one o'clock when we separated." (Evidently the lover of books was beginning to be a leader in making his associates share his love of the poets.)

In November he writes again: "I sat up last night until twelve, reading `Poems & Poets'; some of the boys came down to my room and we had a literary coffee party. They became finally interested in Edgar Poe-probably because they could not understand him." My brother always had a great admiration for Edgar Allan Poe, and would chant "The Raven" and "Ulalume" in a strange, rather weird, monotonous tone. He especially delighted in the reference to "the Dank Tarn of Auber" and the following lines:

"I knew not the month was October, I knew not the day of the year,-"

Poe's rhythm and curious, suggestive, melancholy quality of perfection affected strongly his imagination, and he placed him high in rank amongst the poets of his time.

One can picture the young men, strong and vigorous, wrestling and boxing together in Theodore Roosevelt's room, and

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