Home Life in the White House 207
good omen that I begin my duties in this house on this day. I
feel as if my father's hand were on my shoulder, and as if there were a special blessing over the life I am to lead here." Almost as he finished this sentence, the coffee was passed to us, and at
that time it was the habit at the White House to pass with the coffee a little boutonniere to each gentleman. As the flowers were passed to the President, the one given to him was a yellow saffronia rose. His face flushed, and he turned again and said: "Is it not strange ! This is the rose we all connect with my father." My sister and I responded eagerly that many a time in the past we had seen our father pruning the rose-bush of saffronia roses with special care. He always picked one for his buttonhole from that bush, and whenever we gave him a rose, we gave him one of those. Again my brother said, with a very serious look on his face, "I think there is a blessing connected with this," and surely it did seem as if there were a blessing connected with those years of Theodore Roosevelt in the White House; those merry happy years of family life, those ardent, loving years of public service, those splendid, peaceful years of international amity-a blessing there surely was over that house.
Nothing could have been harder to the temperament of Theodore Roosevelt than to have come "through the cemetery," as Peter Dunne said in his prophetic article, to the high position of President of the United States. What he had achieved in the past was absolutely through his own merits. To him to come to any position through "dead men's shoes" was peculiarly distasteful; but during the early years of his occupancy of the White House, feeling it his duty so to do, he strove in every possible way to fulfil the policies of his predecessor, retaining his appointees and working with conscientious loyalty as much as possible along the lines laid down by President McKinley.
That first winter of his incumbency was one of special interest. Many were the difficulties in his path. England, and, indeed, all foreign countries were watching him with deep interest. I realized that fact in a very special way as that very spring of