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.