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184 My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

house, always has a somewhat eerie effect-" for we have traced them up to within the last hour and we cannot find them anywhere." A slight wave of apprehension passed over me, but at the same time I was sufficiently confident of my two stalwart gentlemen not to have any serious fear concerning their whereabouts, and suddenly seized with an irresistible desire to be "funny"-a perfectly inexcusable inclination in a political campaign-I said to the reporter: "Wait one moment, please. Should you by any chance discover the whereabouts of Colonel Roosevelt and Mr. Robinson, would you be kind enough to let me know where they are?" I have always remembered the sound of the distant laugh of the man as I hurriedly put down the telephone-receiver, fully realizing my mistake in becoming jocose, and sure enough the next morning, in large headlines, appeared on the front page of the World: "Mrs. Douglas Robinson has no knowledge where Colonel Roosevelt and Mr. Douglas Robinson have spent the night."

Another incident that comes back into my memory was an evening in Chickering Hall, almost immediately before Election day, at which many well-known speakers were to make their plea for the election of Theodore Roosevelt, and at which, also, that most brilliant of speakers and charming of men, Mr. Joseph H. Choate, was to bring the evening to a climax. As Election day drew near, the great boss of Tammany Hall, Richard Croker, forsook his usual methods of strict silence, and began to be loquacious. Croker, when running a candidate, was always very careful indeed to keep the mystery of the Wigwam (Tammany) wrapped closely about him, but as the fight waxed hot and heavy, he lost his control and said many a foolish thing, .and the Republican papers jubilantly announced that when Croker began to talk, it meant that he knew that his cause was lost.

At the meeting at Chickering Hall, when Mr. Choate rose to make the final speech of the evening, he said:

"Ladies and gentlemen, it is late; you have heard many

The Rough Rider Storms the Capitol 185

speakers and I shall be brief. All that I wish to do is to recall

to your minds a certain Bible story-you may not have the incident clear in your memory. I refer to the story of Balaam and his ass!" Here the learned speaker paused and his audience concentrated their attention upon him, somewhat puzzled as

to what he was about to say. He continued: "You may remember that Balaam was riding upon the ass through a dark forest, and that suddenly the ass stopped, and even more suddenly, the ass spoke!" Mr. Choate paused again, and the audience suddenly rippled out their mirth and their realization that the "ass" who spoke had a distinct reference to the utterances of Croker. As the laughter grew louder, Mr. Choate suddenly lifted his hand in the most impressive manner, and continued in a serious tone full of dramatic power: "But, ladies and gentlemen, you have perhaps forgotten why the ass spoke. The reason that he did so was because directly in his path, in shining garments, stood a young man with a flaming sword in his hand!" As one man the audience rose to its feet ! Simultaneously, a great cheer rose to the lips of every one present, for the figure of speech had done its work, and each person in the house visualized the figure of Theodore Roosevelt, ardent and young, courageous and honest, truly "a young man with a flaming sword in his hand!"

Election day came and with it an overwhelming victory for the man who so lately had written to Douglas Robinson: "As for the political effect of my actions, I never can get on in politics."

During his incumbency as governor of New York State he always made his headquarters either at the house of my sister, Mrs. Cowles, or at my house, and many were the famous breakfast-parties at 422 Madison Avenue in those strenuous days. He was criticised for breakfasting with Mr. Platt and Mr. Odell (Mr. Platt's associate boss), but almost all of those much-discussed meals took place at my own house, and many a time Messrs. Platt and Odell had the unusual experience of finding

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