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