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138   My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

and bitter regret for my political career, when, as a matter of fact, I have hardly ever, when alone, given two thoughts to it since it closed, and have been quite as much wrapped up in hunting, ranching, and book-making as I ever was in Politics. Give my best love to wee Teddy and dear old Douglas; do you know, I have an excessively warm feeling for your respected spouse. I have always admired Truth, Loyalty, and Courage; and though I am really having a lovely life, just the life I care for, please be sure that I am always thinking of my own, darling sister, whom I love so much and so tenderly. Ever your affectionate brother, Thee."

On August 7 of the same year he wrote again after having paid a brief visit to the East, and returned to Dakota: "Blessed little Pussie; Mother of an increasing and vocal Israel, I did enjoy my two visits to my dear sister, and that dear old piece of peripatetic bric-a-brac, her Caledonian spouse. Everything here is much as usual. The boys were, as always, genuinely glad to see me. I am greatly attached to the Ranch and the life out here, and am really fond of the men. It is in many ways ideal; we are so very rarely able to, actually and in real life, dwell in our ideal `hero land.' The loneliness and freedom, and the half-adventurous nature of existence out here, appeals to me very powerfully.... Merrifield and I are now busily planning our hunt in the mountains."

Such letters as the above filled the members of his family with a strong desire to participate to some degree, at least, in the life which he loved so dearly; but the births of various small members of the family rendered such participation impossible until the late summer of 189o.

After a brief visit to St. Paul, Minn., we took train for Medora. My brother had heralded the fact that I (then a young woman of twenty-eight) was a mighty rider (I had followed the Essex County hounds in New Jersey) ! And the cowboys were quite sure, I think, that I would leap from the locomotive to the back of a bucking bronco. Our train drew up, or I should

say, approximately drew up, to the little station at Medora at four o'clock in the morning, in one of the most frightful storms that I ever remember. Rain fell in torrents, and we had to get out on an embankment composed of such slippery mud that before we actually plodded to the station, our feet and legs were encased in glutinous slime; but the calls of the cowboys undauntedly rang out in the darkness, and the neighing of horses and prancing of hoofs made us realize that civilization as well as convention was a thing of the past. Will Merrifield, the superintendent of Elkhorn Ranch, and Sylvane Ferris, his able lieutenant, fully expected me to mount the extremely dangerouslooking little animal which they held by a loose rope, and they were inordinately disappointed when I pleaded the fatigue of two nights on the train, and begged that I might drive with the other less-adventurous ladies to the ranch-house, forty miles away. Before starting on this long trip we were entertained by Joe Ferris, the brother of Sylvane, who having once also been one of Theodore's cowboys, had now decided upon a more sober type of life as storekeeper in the little town of Medora. Joe and his wife were most hospitable, and above his shop in their own rooms we were given a nice warm breakfast and an equally warm welcome. After breakfast, we came down to the shop, where our luggage had already been gathered, and there we began to sort what we would take to the Ranch and what we would leave. This required a certain amount of packing and unpacking, and I was on my knees "madly thrusting," as "Alice in Wonderland" puts it, "a right-hand foot into a left-hand shoe" when Joe came up to me and said: "Mrs. Douglas (they all decided to call me Mrs. Douglas, as more informal than Mrs. Robinson), it ain't worth while for you to tire yourself like that when the best packer in all Dakota is standin' in the doorway." I looked up and sure enough a huge man, who might have just walked out of one of Bret Harte's novels, was "standin' in the doorway." "There he is," continued Joe; "that's Hell-Roarin' Bill, the sheriff of the county; you heard tell of how he caught


The Elkhorn Ranch


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