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HOW THE PATH LED TO THE WHITE HOUSE Frederic Mistral, the Provencal poet, said of Theodore Roosevelt:

C'est lui qui donne une nouvelle esperance a 1'humanite.

TOWARD the spring of 1900, while my brother was in his second arduous year of activity as governor of New York, State, he came one afternoon to my house, as he frequently did, for he made headquarters there whenever he was in New York. I remember I was confined to my room with an attack of grippe. The door-bell rang in the rapid, incisive way which always marked his advent, and in a moment or two I heard him come bounding up the stairs to my bedroom. He seemed to bring the whole world of spring sunshine into the room with him, and before I could say anything to greet him he called out: "Pussie, haven't we had fun being governor of New York State?" I remember the grippe seemed to leave me entirely. My heart was full of that elation which he alone could give by his power of sharing everything with me. He sat down in a rockingchair by me and began to rock violently to and fro, every now and then receding almost the whole length of the room as he talked, and then rocking toward me with equal rapidity when he wished to emphasize some special point in his conversation. When he stopped for breath, I said laughingly, but with a certain serious undertone in the midst of my laughter: "Theodore, are you not going to take a complete rest some time this summer? You certainly need it. It has been year after year, one thing after another, more and more pressing all the time-civil service commissioner, police commissioner, assistant secretary of the navy, lieutenant-colonel, then colonel of the Rough Riders,


How the Path Led to the White House 195

and all that that campaign meant, and now nearly two years of

hard work as governor of New York State. Surely, you must

take some rest this summer."

He looked back at me rather as one of my little boys would

look if I spoke to them somewhat harshly, and answered in a very childlike way: "Yes, of course you are right. I do mean

to take a rest of one whole month this summer." I said: "That isn't very much-one month, but still it is better than nothing. Now, do you really mean that you are going to rest for one whole month?" "Yes," he answered, as if he were doing me the greatest possible favor, "I really mean to rest one whole month. I don't mean to do one single thing during that month-except write a life of Oliver Cromwell." How I laughed ! What an idea of complete rest-to write a life of Oliver Cromwell ! And write a life of Oliver Cromwell he did during that period of complete rest, but before he was able to do it there came many another stirring event and change in the outlook of his existence.

Messrs. Platt and Odell, supposedly the arbiters of the fate of every New York State governor, agreed that two years of Theodore Roosevelt in the Executive Mansion at Albany was quite enough, and that come what might, he should not have another term, and so they bent all their subtle political acumen toward the achievement of their wish to remove him. They would, however, have been thwarted in their purpose had not the Western part of our country decided also that Theodore Roosevelt's name was necessary on the presidential ticket, to be headed, for a second time, by William McKinley.

The young governor, deeply absorbed in the many reforms which he had inaugurated in the Empire State, was anything but willing to be, as he felt he would be, buried in Washington as vice-president, but as the time drew near for the Republican Convention of June, 1900, more and more weight was thrown in the balance to persuade him to accept the nomination.

I have frequently said in these pages that one of the most endearing characteristics of my brother was his desire to have

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