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130   My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

his efforts to become a polo-player. He has often expressed his own feeling about sports-he loved them, enjoyed his hunting and other athletic exercises to the full, but they were always a relaxation, never a pursuit with him. "Frank Underhill and I ride industriously around the field and brandish our mallets so as to foster the delusion among simple folk that we likewise are playing polo. Two other would-be players also come now and then; but as they have not yet even learned to sit on horseback and strike the ball simultaneously, and, after trial, having found it impracticable to do so alternately, our games are generally duels. Yesterday, I beat Frank two out of thrcc and in addition, stood on my head on the sward in the enthusiasm of one melee where we got rather mixed. Day before yesterday, I rowed Edith to Lloyd's Neck, portaged across-at low tide, the hardest work I ever did almost,-into Huntington Harbor, then rowed out into the Sound. We took our lunch and some volumes of Thackeray. It was an ideal day-but wasn't I stiff and blistered next morning ! Do come soon and stay as long as possible. Yours as ever, Theodore Roosevelt."

During that same summer I took my little niece Alice, with my children, to our old home on the Mohawk Hills for a change of air, and he writes me in his usual loving way of his warm appreciation of the pleasure I was giving the child, and sends his love to the little "yellow-haired darling," and incidentally, in the letters, says his book "Morris [" Gouverneur Morris "] goes drearily on by fits and starts, and in the intervals, I chop vigorously and have lovely rowing excursions"; and so the happy summer wore to its close and was crowned in September by the birth of his first boy, the third Theodore Roosevelt. He describes with amusement little Alice's remark-"a truthful remark," he says-"My little brother is a howling polly parrot." All through the letter one realizes his joy and pride in his firstborn son, and shortly after that, in December of the same year, he writes me to congratulate me on the birth of my second son, Monroe, and says: "How glad I am that Ted, junior, has a future playmate. Just won't they quarrel, though!"

The Young Reformer   131

Owing to the fact that in my brother's own biography he describes fully his work as civil service commissioner, police

commissioner, and assistant secretary of the navy, I do not purport to give a detailed account of his labors, especially as during the period that he served in the first position, I have comparatively few letters from him, and it was not until he returned to New York in the second capacity that I saw as much of him as usual. One winter, however, we had a most characteristic intercourse. I do not remember exactly the date of that winter. I had married young, my children had been born in rapid succession, and owing to the delicacy of my health just before I was grown up, I was conscious of the fact that I was not as grounded in certain studies, especially American history, as I should have been, and I found myself with a very slim knowledge of the most important facts of my nation's birth and early growth. The consequence was that when my brother returned for a brief period to New York, I decided to consult him as to how best to study American History, thinking perhaps that I might go to Columbia College or something of that kind.

I began my effort for information by saying: "Theodore, I really know very little about American history." I can see the flash in his eyes as he turned tome. "What do you mean?" he said; "it's disgraceful for any woman not to know the history

of her own country." "I know it is," I replied, "and that is

just why I am consulting you about it. I know you feel I ought

to know all about American history, but I also know that you

preach large families, and you must remember that I have done

my best in that direction in these last five years, and now I am

ready to study American history! " "Do you mean really to

study?" he said, looking at me sternly. "Just as really to study

as whooping-cough, measles, chicken-pox, and other family

pleasures will allow," I said. "Well," he replied, still sternly,

and not laughing at my sally, "if you really mean to study,

I will teach you myself. I will come at nine o'clock every week on

Tuesday and Friday for one hour, if you will be ready promptly

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