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222 My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

always had the book at hand that we wanted to read, instead of wasting time in looking for it, if we always had clearly in our minds the extra job we wanted to do, and the tools at hand with which to do it, we might accomplish in some small degree the vast numbers of things he accomplished because of preparedness.

As early as December ig, 1904, my sister-in-law wrote me: "Theodore says that he wants you and Douglas under his roof for the Inauguration." I always felt a deep appreciation of the fact that both my brother and his wife made us so welcome at the most thrilling moments of their life in the White House.

In January, 19o5, he came to stay with me in New York to speak at several dinners, and a most absurd and yet trying incident occurred, an incident which he met with his usual sunny and unselfish good humor. We had had a large luncheon for him at my home, and when the time came for him to dress in the evening for the dinner at which he was to speak, I suddenly heard a call from the third story, a pitiful call: "I don't think I have my own dress coat." I ran up-stairs, and sure enough the coat laid out with his evening clothes, when he tried to put it on, proved to be so tight across his broad shoulders that whenever he moved his hands it rose unexpectedly almost to his ears. I called my butler, who insisted that he had taken the President's coat with the rest of his clothes to brush, and had brought it back again to his room. This, however, was untrue, for the awful fact was soon divulged that the extra waiter engaged for the luncheon, and who had already left the house, had apparently confused the President's coat, which was in the basement to be pressed, with his own, and had taken away the President's coat ! No one knew at this man's house where he had gone. There seemed no method of tracing the coat. We dressed my brother in my husband's coat, but that was even worse, for my husband's coat fell about him in folds, and there seemed nothing for it but to send him to the large public dinner with a coat that, unless most cleverly manipulated, continued to rise unexpectedly above his head. No one but my brother

Home Life in the White House 223

would have taken this catastrophe with unruffled gaiety, but he started off apparently perfectly contented, rather than give me a more dejected feeling than I already had about the misadventure. I, myself, was to go later to the dinner to hear his speech from one of the boxes, and I shall never forget my trepidation when he began his address, as I saw the coat slowly rising higher and higher. At the most critical moment, when it seemed about to surmount his head, a messenger-boy, flurried and flushed with exertion, ran upon the stage with a package in his hand. The recalcitrant waiter had been found by my butler, and the President's coat had been torn from his back. Excusing himself for a moment, with a laughing gesture which brought the coat completely over his head he retired into the wings, changed the article in question, and a few moments later brought down the whole house by his humorous account of the reason for his retirement.

On March 3, 1905, as the guests of my cousin Emlen Roosevelt, who took a special car for the occasion, the members of my family, my husband, and myself started for the inauguration of Theodore Roosevelt as President. Memories crowd about me of those two or three days at the White House. The atmosphere was one of great family gaiety, combined with an underlying seriousness which showed the full realization felt by my brother of the great duties which he was again to assume this time as the choice of the people.

What a day it was, that inaugural day ! As usual, the personal came so much into it. The night before, Mr. John Hay sent him a ring with a part of the lock of Abraham Lincoln's hair which John Hay himself had cut from the dead President's forehead almost immediately after his assassination. I have never known my brother to receive a gift for which he cared so deeply. To wear that ring on the day of his own inauguration as President of the United States, elected to the office by the free will of the great American people, was to him, perhaps, the highest fulfilment of his desires. The day dawned dark and threaten

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