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202 My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

ter. There, for a whole day, three men worked haggardly building the "tribute," until the whole front room of my sister's house (which was much in demand for large numbers of delegations who wished to pay their respects to my brother) was filled in every nook and cranny by this enormous and marvellous structure, which reached from wall to wall and up to the ceiling. The overworked and tired men who created it were so exhausted by the questions of the small members of the Roosevelt and Robinson family that toward the end of the afternoon they sent word to Mrs. Cowles that unless those children were sent out of the house, that "tribute" would never be finished. Finished it was, however, and we were almost suffocated by the sweetness of its scents, and it was all that we could do, in spite of our spontaneous gaiety, to rise above the semifunereal feeling that this mass of conventional flowers produced upon the atmosphere of the whole house.

The inaugural ball was really a charming sight, but was shadowed for the presidential party by the fact that Mrs. McKinley was not well a short while before it took place. She was able to be present, however, in her box, but the shade of sadness was heavy on the President's face; and the people, for that very reason, turned with peculiar pleasure to the care-free younger couple, who were asked to come down from the box, and to walk in stately fashion once around the room, to the infinite admiration of the many interested observers.

After the inauguration my brother retired quietly to Oyster Bay, and it was from there on April 15, 1901, that he wrote me one of his most characteristic notes. At that time, as in the days of his governorship, he would frequently notify his friends to meet him and lunch with him at my house, much to my delight. On this particular occasion, he had invited so incongruous an assortment of people that he decided that one or two more equally incongruous would be advisable, and writes as follows: "Darling Corinne: Inasmuch as we are to have Cocky Locky, Henny Penny and Goosey Poosey at lunch,

How the Path Led to the White House 203

why omit Foxy Loxy ? I am anxious to see Dr. R and I do hope you will ask him to lunch on Thursday also. Ever yours, T. R."

That lunch-party proved to be a great success, as did various others later; and then came a moment, for me, of serious anxiety when my eldest boy was stricken with diphtheria in college. At once many loving letters came from Oyster Bay-and later, when the young freshman had recovered from his illness, and I was at my home on Orange Mountain, the newly inaugurated VicePresident acceded to my wish that he should come to my home, where my husband and I had lived all our young married life, and be the hero and excitement of the neighborhood at a reception on my lawn. It proved a hot day in July, but his pleasure in meeting all my friends was unabated, and he took special interest in my butcher and grocer and fish man and ice man, and the kindly farming people who had been devoted to my husband's mother as well as to me for many years. At the end of the day he resuscitated with tender care an old veteran of the Civil War, who had stumbled up the hill in the blinding heat to pay his respects to the colonel of the Rough Riders, now VicePresident of the United States.

That same summer he engineered a sailing trip for his little boys and mine, and writes me in answer to a request from me to know how much I owed for the trip: "About $12 would cover completely your boys' share of the expenses. It is just like you to want to pay it, but I would like to feel that for this trivial matter your two boys were my guests. So if you don't mind, I am going to ask you to sacrifice your feelings. As I have told you the extent of the obligation, and it is surely not heavy, let

me continue to stand as the munificent host!"

Once that summer during his "month's rest," of which I

have already spoken at the beginning of this chapter, I spent

a night at Sagamore Hill, and my sister-in-law, Mrs. Roosevelt,

said tome that she was anxious about my brother. The "rest"

did not quite agree with him, and the prospect of a more or less

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