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178   My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

the Cubans, and said they had no fighting to do until the Americans came;-they `kept on coming.' One officer told Colonel Wood that the Americans were `magnanimous, brave, and ferocious.' If Cervera had stayed in harbor with his ships, we would have been in the devil of a hole between starvation and fever. It is lucky things went as they did."

And again, on August 6, he writes to me:

"These dreary Cuban days and dark and dismal nights are drawing to a close for the time, Thank the Lord and Theodore. [The much-criticised "round robin" had had its effect.] It is hardly fair to damn this country that way, however, for in reality, it is most inexplicably beautiful. In the sunshine of the morning, when once in a while an almost refreshing breeze comes, then the tropical valleys bask and smile in the most enticing luxuriance, and entrance one into lazy dreams of fairy-land. The mass of the scarlet acacia, the trails of morning-glories, and lilies, and the hot growth of all kinds,-above all, the graceful and kingly royal palm and his harem, the slender, tall, clustering bamboos,-are all lovely. These things by moon-light were simply inexpressible; however, the real side of nature is deadly sun, over-whelming, drenching rain, dark, drizzly mist and dew, fever, malaria, filth, disgust with everything. Well, this is at an end now, and almost time it were, for there would not be many left to tell the tale if left here all summer as the President and Secretary proposed to leave us only a couple of days ago, but Theodore 'sicked one' as your Stewart's whole pack of pup-dogs could not commence to do. If we take a final fall, it will be at Havana in the autumn and not with yellow fever, if we can help it, here at Santiago. You all had a dreadful time of it, probably far worse than we merry men of the Greenwood. Honestly, while it is all going along and when there is an advance, the spirits rise amazingly and one trips forward as gaily as in Sir Roger or any other airy measure. That, however, is the one really satistactory sensation. Lying passive in reserve, and being searched and found by the long-range mausers

and shrapnel in the bushes, is not so cheerful an occupation;

in fact, it is a low proceeding altogether.

"Whooping along from time to time 'thoro bush-thoro

brier,' with a wildish throng, firing, cheering, laughing, and running,-that, is a very different story, and holding the advance point in spite of orders to retire (!) is another thing to make even novices chuckle inwardly when they once feel they can do it, but Theodore was the sparkle to all that fun.

"I could make your flesh creep, however, with horror; meanwhile, you can picture to yourself in pleasant nightmares, flocks of vultures and buzzards, the dead and wounded lost in the tangled growth,-and swarms of crabs, great big land crabs with one, enormous, lobster-like claw, creeping, rustling, scuffling thro' the dried aloes and palmettoes. . . . War never changes its hideous phantasms. The heroism of even modern men (and none the less of the women who let them go) is the one thing to glory and hope in. We pack up tonight. My love to all."

And so ended the brief and glorious career of the Rough Riders, a career which has about it a touch of Roland and Robin Hood. These letters, written at the time, are valuable refutations of some bruited questions, and the very people who criticised certain actions of my brother, at the time, would be the first, I verily believe, now, to wish they had withheld their criticism.

The depleted regiment, emaciated beyond words, returned to Montauk Point on Long Island, and my husband and I came down from the Adirondack Mountains to meet them at Camp Wyckoff. What a night we spent in a Red Cross tent at the camp ! How we talked ! How good it was to greet the gallant men again, so many of whom we knew and loved, and how infinitely interesting to come in contact with the wild Westerners about whose courage and determination my brother had written such glowing accounts.

In the last letter my brother wrote to my husband from Santiago, the sentence "As for the political effect of my actions,

Cowboy and Clubman


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