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."