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104 My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

then putting aside their athletic contests, making their coffee with gay nonchalance, and settling down to a night of poetry, led in the paths of literature by the blue-eyed young "Berserker," as my mother used to call Theodore in those college days.

During the summer of 1877 my father accompanied my sister Anna to Bar Harbor on one of her annual excursions to that picturesque part of the Maine coast, where they visited Mr. George Minot and his sisters. He writes to my mother in his usual vein of delightful interest in people, books, and nature, and seems more vigorous than ever, for he describes wonderful walks over the mountains and speaks of having achieved a reputation as a mountain-climber. How little any of the family who adored him realized that from a strain engendered by that climbing the seed of serious trouble had been sown in that splendid mechanism, and that in a few short months the vigorous and still young man of forty-six was to lay down that useful life which had been given so ardently and unselfishly for the good of his city and the joy and benefit of his family.

At this time, however, when Theodore went back to college as a sophomore, there was no apprehension about my father's health, and the first term of the college year was passed in his usual happy activities.

Shortly after the New Year my father's condition became serious, due to intestinal trouble, and the following weeks were passed in anxious nursing, the distress of which was greatly accentuated by the frightful suffering of the patient, who, however, in spite of constant agony, bore the sudden shattering of his wonderful health with magnificent courage. My brother Theodore could not realize, as did my brother Elliott, who was at home, the serious condition of our father, for it was deemed best that he should not return from college, where difficult examinations required all his application and energy. Elliott gave unstintedly a devotion which was so tender that it was more like that of a woman, and his young strength was poured out to help his father's condition. The best physicians searched

College Chums   105

in vain for remedy for the hidden trouble, but in spite of all their efforts the first Theodore Roosevelt died, February 9, 1878, and the gay young college sophomore was recalled to a house of mourning. In spite of the sorrow, in spite of a sense of irreparable loss, there was something infinitely inspiring in the days preceding and following my father's death. When New York City knew that its benefactor lay in extreme illness, it seemed as if the whole city came to the door of his home to ask news of him. How well I remember the day before his death, when the papers had announced that there was but little hope of his recovery. The crowd of individuals who filled 57th Street in their effort to hear the physicians' bulletin concerning his condition was huge and varied. Newsboys from the West Side Lodging House, little Italian girls from his Sunday-school class, sat for hours on the stone steps of 6 West 57th Street, our second home, waiting with anxious intensity for news of the man who meant more to them than any other human being had ever meant before; and those more fortunate ones who had known him in another way drove unceasingly up in their carriages to the door and looked with sympathetic interest at the children of the slums who shared with them such a sense of bitter bereavement and loss in the premature death of one so closely connected with all sides of his beloved native city.

Meanwhile, the family of the first Theodore Roosevelt seemed hardly able to face the blank that life meant when he left them, but they also felt that the man who had preached always that "one must live for the living" would have wished "his own" to follow out his ideal of life, and so each one of us took up, as bravely as we could, our special duties and felt that our close family tie must be made stronger rather than weaker by the loss that we had sustained.

On March 3, 1878, my brother writes from Cambridge:

My own darling, sweet, little treasure of a Pussie: Oh ! I have so longed for you at times during the last few days. Dar-

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