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234 My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

possible. Having listened carefully to my short story, he said: "Have you proof of this?" still rather sternly. Again I decided to answer as he asked, and I replied: "I should not be here, wasting your time and mine, did I not have adequate proof." With that I handed him the notes made by the governor of Porto Rico, and proceeded to explain them. He became a little less severe after reading them, but no less serious, and turning to me more gently, said: "This is a very serious matter. I have got to be sure of the correctness of these statements. A man's whole future hangs upon my decision." For a moment I felt like an executioner, but realizing as I did the shocking and disgraceful behavior of the official in question, I knew that no sentimentality on my part should interfere with the important decision to be made, and I briefly backed up all that the governor had written. I can still hear the sound of the President's pen as he took out the paper on which the man's name was inscribed, and with one strong stroke effaced that name from official connection with Porto Rico forever. That was the way that Theodore Roosevelt did business with his sister.

During that same year, 1905, the old Provencal poet Frederic Mistral sent him his volume called "Mireille," and the acknowledgment of the book seems to me to express more than almost any other letter ever written by my brother the spirit which permeated his whole life. It shows indisputably that though he had reached the apex of his desires, that though he was a great President of a great country, perhaps the most powerful ruler at the moment of any country, that his ideals for that country, just as his ideals for himself and for his own beloved home life, were what they had always been before the sceptre of power had been clasped by his outstretched hand.

White House, Washington,

MY DEAR M. MISTRAL:   December 15, 1905.

Mrs. Roosevelt and I were equally pleased with the book and the medal, and none the less because for nearly twenty years

Home Life in the White House 235

we have possessed a copy of Mireille. That copy we shall keep for old association's sake, though this new copy with the personal inscription by you must hereafter occupy the place of honor.

All success to you and your associates ! You are teaching the lesson that none need more to learn than we of the West, we of the eager, restless, wealth-seeking nation; the lesson that after a certain not very high level of material well-being has been reached, then the things that really count in life are the things of the spirit. Factories and railways are good up to a certain point, but courage and endurance, love of wife and child, love of home and country, love of lover for sweetheart, love of beauty in man's work and in nature, love and emulation of daring and of lofty endeavour, the homely work-a-day virtues and the heroic virtues-these are better still, and if they are lacking, no piled-up riches, no roaring, clanging industrialism, no feverish and many-sided activity shall avail either the individual or the nation. I do not undervalue these things of a nation's body; I only desire that they shall not make us forget that beside the nation's body there is also the nation's soul.

Again thanking you on behalf of both of us, believe me,

Faithfully yours,


To M. Frederic Mistral.

No wonder that Mistral turned to a friend after reading that letter and said with emotion: "It is he who is the new hope of humanity."

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