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228 My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

table with the question still unsettled." My brother always loved to hear my daughter tell this story, although his face would assume a somewhat sheepish expression as she dilated on the difference between her mother's prognostications of what a luncheon at the White House would mean from an intellectual standpoint, and what the realization actually became !

In spite of my daughter's experience, however, I can say with truth that there never were such luncheons as those luncheons at the White House during my brother's life there. The secretary of state, Mr. Elihu Root, with his unusual knowledge, his pregnant wit, and quiet, brilliant sarcasm; the secretary of war, Mr. Taft, with his gay smile and ready response; Mr. Moody, the attorney-general with his charming culture and universal kindliness, and Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, the brilliant scholar and statesman, my brother's most intimate friend and constant companion, were frequent members of the luncheonparties, and always, the most distinguished visitor to Washington, from whatever country or from whatever State of our own country, would be brought in with the same informal hospitality and received for the time being by President and Mrs. Roosevelt into the intimacy of family life. The whole cabinet would occasionally adjourn from one of their most important meetings to the lunch-table, and then the President and Mr. Root would cap each other's stories of the way in which this or that question had been discussed during the cabinet meeting. I doubt also if ever there were quite such cabinet meetings as were held during those same years !

That spring Mr. Robinson and I took my daughter to Porto Rico to visit Governor and Mrs. Beekman Winthrop. My brother believed strongly in young men, and having admired the intelligence of young Beekman Winthrop (he came of a fine old New York family) as circuit judge in the Philippines, he decided to make him governor of Porto Rico. He was only twenty-nine, and his charming wife still younger, but they made a most ideal couple as administrators of the beautiful island.

Home Life in the White House 229

After having been with them in the old palace for about a week, and having enjoyed beyond measure all that was so graciously arranged for us, I was approached one day by Governor Winthrop, who told me that he was much distressed at the behavior of a certain official and that he felt sure that the President would not wish the man to remain in office, for he was actually a disgrace to the United States. "Mrs. Robinson," he said, "will you not go to the President on your return, and tell him that I am quite sure he would not wish to retain this man in office? I know the President likes us to work with the tools which have been given us, and I dislike beyond measure to seem not to be able to do so, but I am convinced that this man should not represent the United States in this island." "Have you your proofs, Beekman?" I asked. "I should not be willing to approach my brother with any such criticism without accurate proofs." "I most assuredly have them," he answered, and sure enough he did have them, and I shortly afterward sailed with them back to New York. Immediately upon my arrival I telegraphed my brother as follows: "Would like to see you on Porto Rican business. When shall I come?" One of Theodore Roosevelt's most striking characteristics was the rapidity with which he answered letters or telegrams. One literally felt that one had not posted a letter or sent the telegram rushing along the wire before the rapid answer came winging back again, and that particular telegram was no exception to the rule. I had rather hoped for a week's quiet in which to get settled after my trip to Porto Rico, but that was not to be. The rapid-fire answer read as follows: "Come tomorrow." Of course there was nothing for me to do but go "tomorrow." It was late in April, and as I drove up to the White House from the station, I thought how lovely a city was Washington in the springtime. The yellow forsythias gave a golden glow to the squares, and the soft hanging petals of the fringe-trees waved in the scented air. I never drove under the White House porte-cochere without a romantic feeling of excitement at the realization that it was my brother, lover of

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