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226 My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

bought tickets. Mr. Matthew Hale, then tutor to my nephew Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., has described the scene as follows: "The whole room was beautifully decorated with lights and wreaths and flowers. As I stood looking down on the great pageant I felt as though I were in some other world,-as though these people below there and moving in and out were not real people, but were all part of some great mechanism built for our special benefit. And then my feeling would change to the other extreme when I thought of each one of those men and women as individuals, each one thinking, and feeling and acting according to his own will,-and that all, just for that one night, came together for a common purpose, to see the President. Soon an open place appeared in the throng before us, and the President and Mrs. Roosevelt, and behind them Vice-President and Mrs. Fairbanks, walked to the other end of the hall and back, while the people cheered and cheered." And soon it was time to go back to the White House, and then, best of all, came what we used to call a "back-hair" talk in Theodore and Edith's room. What fun we had as we talked the great day over in comfortable deshabille. A small round bottle of old wine was found somewhere by Mrs. Roosevelt, and the family drank the President's health, and we talked of old times and childhood days, and of the dear ones whose hearts would have glowed so warmly had they lived to see that day. We laughed immoderately over all kinds of humorous happenings, and we could hardly bear to say "good night," we still felt so gay, so full of life and fun, so invigorated and stimulated by the excitement and by the deeper thoughts and desires, which, however, only took the form that night of increasing hilarity !

Shortly after that March inauguration my daughter Corinne, just eighteen, was asked by her kind aunt to pay a visit at the White House, and I impressed upon her the wonderful opportunity she would have of listening to the great men of the world at the informal luncheon gatherings which were a feature of my brother's incumbency. "Do not miss a word," I said to

Home Life in the White House 227

my daughter. "Uncle Ted brings to luncheon all the great men in Washington-almost always several members of the cabinet, and any one of interest who is visiting there. Be sure and listen to everything. You will never hear such talk again." When she returned home from that visit I eagerly asked her about the wonderful luncheons at the White House, where I had so frequently sat spellbound. My somewhat irreverent young daughter said: "Mother, I laughed internally all through the first luncheon at the White House during my visit. Uncle Ted was perfectly lovely to me, and took me by the hand and said: `Corinny, dear, you are to sit at my right hand to-day, and you must have the most delightful person in the room on your other side.' With that he glanced at the distinguished crowd of gentlemen who were surrounding him waiting to be assigned to their places, and picking out a very elderly gentleman with a long white beard, he said with glowing enthusiasm: `You shall have John Burroughs, the great naturalist.' I confess I had hoped for some secretary in the cabinet, but, no, Uncle Ted did not think there was any one in the world that compared in thrilling excitement to his wonderful old friend and lover of birds. Even so, I thought, `Mother would wish me to learn all about natural history, and I shall hear marvellous ornithological tales, even if politics must be put aside.' But even in that I was somewhat disappointed, for at the very beginning of luncheon Uncle Ted leaned across me to Mr. Burroughs and said: `John, this morning I heard a chippy sparrow, and he sang twee, twee, right in my ear.' Mr. Burroughs, with a shade of disapproval on his face, said: `Mr. President, you must be mistaken. It was not a chippy sparrow if it sang twee, twee. The note of the chippy sparrow is twee, twee, twee.' From that moment the great affairs of our continent, the international crises of all kinds were utterly forgotten, while the President of the United States and his esteemed guest, the great naturalist, discussed with a good deal of asperity whether that chippy sparrow had said `twee, twee,' or `twee, twee, twee.' We rose from the

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