Previous Index Next



f i



220   My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

it certainly was, but the exhaustion outbalanced the grandeur. I ran steadily for forty-eight hours without one moment's intermission. My brother never seemed to walk at all, and my whole memory of the St. Louis Fair is a perpetual jog-trot, only interrupted by interminable receptions, presentations of gifts, lengthy luncheons and lengthier evening banquets, and I literally remember no night at all ! Whether we never went to bed during the time we were at the fair, or exactly what happened to the nights after twelve o'clock, is more than I can say. At the end of the time allotted for the fair, after the last long banquet, we returned to our private car, and I can still see the way in which my sister-in-law (she was not born a Roosevelt!) fell into her stateroom. I was about to follow her example (it was midnight) when my brother turned to me in the gayest possible manner and said: "Not going to bed, are you !" "Well," I replied, "I had thought of it." "But no," he said; "I told my stenographer this morning to rest all day, for I knew that I would need her services to-night, and now she is perfectly rested." I interrupted him: "But, Theodore, you never told me to rest all day. I have been following you all day-" He laughed, but firmly said: "Sit right down here. You will be sorry if you go to bed. I am going to do something that is very interesting. William Rhodes has asked me to review his second and third volumes of the `History of the United States.' You may have noticed I was reading those volumes on the way from Washington. I feel just like doing it now. The stenographer is rested, and as for you, it will do you a great deal of good, because you don't know as much as you should about American history." Smilingly he put me in a chair and began his dictation. Lord Morley is reported to have said, after his visit to the United States, when asked what he thought most interesting in our country: "There are two great things in the United States: one is Niagara, the other is Theodore Roosevelt." As I think of my brother that night, Lord Morley's words come back to me, for it seemed as if, for once, the two great things were combined in one. Such a


Home Life in the White House 221

Niagara as flowed from the lips of Theodore Roosevelt would have surprised even the brilliant English statesman. He never once referred to the books themselves, but he ran through the whole gamut of their story, suggesting here, interpolating there, courteously referring to some slight inaccuracy, taking up occasionally almost a page of the matter (referring to the individual page without ever glancing at the book), and finally, at 5 A. M., with a satisfied aspect, he turned to me and said: "That is all about `Rhodes's History."'

I rose feebly to my feet and said: "Good night, darling." But not at all-still gaily, as if he had just begun a day's work, instead of having reached the weary, littered end of twentyfour hours, he said once more: "Don't go to bed. I must do one other piece of work, and I think you would be especially interested in it. Peter Dunne-` Dooley,' you know-has sent me an article of his on the Irish Question, and wants a review on that from me. I am very fond of Dunne, and really feel I should like to give him my opinions, as they do not entirely agree with his in this particular article. I feel like doing this now. Sit down again." He never asked me to do anything with him that I ever refused, were it in my power to assent to his suggestion. How I rejoice to think that this was the case, and there was no exception made to my usual rule at 5 A. M. that November morning. I sat down again, and sure enough, in a few moments all fatigue seemed to vanish from me, as I listened with eager interest to his masterly review of Peter Dunne's opinions on the Irish situation at that moment. It was a little late, or perhaps one might say a little early, to begin so complicated a subject as the Irish Question, and my final memories of his dictation are confused with the fact that at about 7 A. M. one of the colored porters came in with coffee, and shortly after that I was assisted to my berth in a more or less asphyxiated condition, from which I never roused again until the train reached the station at Washington. That was the way in which Theodore Roosevelt did work. I have often thought that if some of us

Previous Index Next