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212   My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

I was greeted with an ovation such as I have never received in later life for the most difficult achievement, literary or philanthropic ! From that moment I was regarded as one really fit to take part in the beloved "obstacle walks," which were, I cannot help but think, strong factors in planting in the hearts and characters of the children who thus followed their leader, the indomitable pluck and determination which helped the gallant sons and nephews of Theodore Roosevelt to go undauntedly "over the top" on Flanders Field.

"Over or through, never around"-a good motto, indeed, for Young America, and one which was always exemplified by that American of Americans, my brother, Theodore Roosevelt.

At the end of October that year, his affectionate concern for me (for I was delicate at the time) takes form in a lovely letter in which, after giving me the best of advice, and acknowledging humorously that no one ever really took advice offered, he says: "Heaven bless you always whether you take my advice or not." He never failed to show loving and tender interest in the smallest of my pleasures or anxieties, nor did he and Mrs. Roosevelt ever fail to invite, at my instigation, elderly family friends to lunch at the White House, or gladly to send me autographs for many little boys, or checks to "Dolly," the nurse of his childhood, whose advanced years I superintended.

In April, 19o3, he started on a long trip, and at that time felt that, as the years of his inherited incumbency were drawing to a close, he could forward his own gospel. A humorous reference comes in a letter just before he starts, in which he says: "I was immensely amused with Monroe's message [my second son, then at St. Paul's School] about boxing and confirmation, the one evidently having some occult connection with the other in his mind. Give him my love when you write. . . . Well, I start on a nine-weeks' trip tomorrow, as hard a trip as I have ever undertaken, with the sole exception of the canvass in i9oo. As a whole, it will be a terrific strain, but there will be an occasional day which I shall enjoy."

Home Life in the White House 213

Again, as he actually starts on that "hard" trip, he sends me a little line of never-failing love. "White House, April i, 1903[This in his own writing.] Darling Pussie: Just a last line of Good-bye. I am so glad your poor hand is better at last. Love to dear old Douglas. The house seems strange and lonely without the children. Ever yours, T. R." Those little notes in his own dear handwriting, showing always the loving thought, are especially precious and treasured.

After that exhausting journey, replete with many thrilling experiences, he returns to Oyster Bay for a little rest, and writes with equal interest of the beautiful family life which was always led there. My boy Stewart was with him at the time, and he speaks of him affectionately in connection with his own "Ted," who was Stewart's intimate friend:

"Stewart, Ted and I took an hour and a half bareback ride all together. Ted is always longing that Stewart should go off on a bunting trip with him. I should be delighted to have them go off now. Although I think no doubt they would get into scrapes, I have also no doubt that they would get out of them. We have had a lovely summer, as lovely a summer as we have ever passed. All the children have enjoyed their various activities, and we have been a great deal with the children, and in addition to that, Edith and I have ridden on horseback much together, and have frequently gone off for a day at a time in a little row boat, not to speak of the picnics to which everybody went.

"In the intervals I have chopped industriously. I have seen a great many people who came to call upon me on political business. I have had to handle my correspondence of course, and I have had not a few wearing matters of national policy, ranging from the difficulties in Turkey to the scandals in the Post Office. But I have had three months of rest, of holiday, by comparison with what has gone before. Next Monday I go back to Washington, and for the thirteen months following, there will be mighty little let-up to the strain. But I enjoy it to the full.

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