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i o6 My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

ling one, you can hardly know what an inestimable blessing to a fellow it is to have such a home as I have. Even now that our dear father has been taken away, it is such a great pleasure to look forward to a visit home; and indeed, he has only `gone before,' and oh ! what living and loving memories he has left behind him. I can feel his presence sometimes when I am sitting alone in the evening; I have not felt nearly as sad as I expected to feel, although, of course, there are every now and then very bitter moments. I am going to bring home some of his sweet letters to show you. I shall always keep them, if merely as talismans against evil. Kiss little mother for me, and my love to Aunt Susie and Uncle Hill. [My mother and I were staying in Philadelphia with my aunt Mrs. West.] Tell the latter, Uncle Hill, I am looking forward to spending a month of nude happiness with him next summer among the wilds of Oyster Bay.


When my brother speaks of keeping my father's letters to him as "talismans against evil," he not only expressed the feeling of desire to keep near him always the actual letters written by my father, but far more the spirit with which these letters are permeated. Years afterward, when the college boy of 1878 was entering upon his duties as President of the United States, he told me frequently that he never took any serious step or made any vital decision for his country without thinking first what position his father would have taken on the question. The day that he moved into the White House happened to be September 22, the day of my father's birth, and dining with him that night in the White House for the first time, we all mentioned this fact and felt that it was a good omen for the future, and my brother said that every time he dated a letter that day he felt with a glow of tender memory the realization that it was his father's birthday, and that his father's blessing seemed specially to follow him on that first day when he made his home in the beautiful old white mansion which stands in the heart of

College Chums   107

America for all that America means to her sons and daughters.

Several other equally loving letters in that March of 1878 proved how the constant thoughts of the young sophomore turned to the family at home, and also his own sense of loss in his father's death, but I think the many interests and normal surroundings brought their healing power to the boy of nineteen, and at the end of that year of his college life he had become a well-rounded character. His mind, intelligently focussed upon many intellectual subjects, had broadened in scope, and physically he was no longer the delicate, dreamy boy of earlier days. The period of his college life, although not one of as unusual interest as perhaps other periods in his life, was of inestimable value in the forming of his character. Had Theodore Roosevelt continued to be abnormally developed along the scientific and intellectual side of his nature, he would never have become the "All-American" which he was destined to be. It was necessary for him to fall into more commonplace grooves; it was necessary for him to meet the young men of his age on common ground, to get the "give-and-take" of a life very.diferent from the more or less individual life which, owing to his ill health and intellectual aspirations, he had hitherto led, and already, by the end of the second year of college, he was beginning to take a place in the circle of his friends which showed in an embryonic way the leadership which later was to be so strongly evidenced.

On October 8, 1878, returning to Cambridge as a junior, he writes to his mother: "Darling, beloved, little motherling: I have just loved your dear, funny, pathetic, little letter, and I am now going to write you the longest letter I ever write, and if it is still rather short, you must recollect that it takes Teddyboy a long time to write. I have enjoyed Charlie Dickey's being here extremely, and I think I have been of some service to him. We always go to prayers together; for his own sake, I have not been much with him in the daytime, but every evening, we spend a good part of the time together in my room or his. He is just

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