Previous Index Next


246   My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

the world.' `That certainly is true,' I said. He went on: `Mr. Kirby, you are all wrong; until we went down to Oyster Bay I thought I might be, but now I know I am not.' `But,' I said, `Mike, that is nonsense. What do you mean?' Then Mike answered, `Give me sixty men, every one of whom is a champion, and let that man at Oyster Bay have sixty other men, every one of whom is a dub, and his team would lick mine every time! ' I said, `Mike, this is impossible; it could not be,' and then Mike continued,-showing how that magnetic personality of Mr. Roosevelt's had taken hold of him, and how truly he, Mike Murphy, understood the psychology of inspiration,-'Yes, Mr. Kirby, you see it's this way; that man down there would tell a miler that he could reel off a mile in four minutes, (as you know, no one has run, or ever will run a mile in four minutes) and not only would that man think he could run a mile in four minutes, but, by Gad, he'd go out and do it."'

Perhaps no one has ever more cleverly expressed the extraordinary power of that personality than that wizened old trainer, sunk into despondency because he realized that where men are concerned skill and science are as nothing compared to the genius of leadership.

That summer my brother showed to my husband and myself his never-failing love and consideration in a very special manner. My husband's mother had died a couple of years before, and her son and daughter and myself had decided that the most fitting memorial to one who was specially beloved and missed in the immediate vicinity of her old home would be the erection of a small free library to the memory of her and her husband. The building was completed, and my husband wished to have a dedication service, at which time he would hand over the keys to the library trustees in our village of Jordanville. My husband's old home, a grant in the time of Queen Anne to his great-great-great-grandfather, Doctor James Henderson, of Scotland, had always been a place for which my brother had a deep affection. Situated as it was on the high Mohawk hills

Home Life in the White House 247

overlooking the great sweep of typical American farm-land, we lived a somewhat Scotch life in the old gray-stone mansion copied from the manor-house of Mr. Robinson's Scotch ancestors. My brother delighted in our relationship with the neighbors in our

environment, and accepted gladly my husband's earnest desire that he should make the speech of dedication when the library

was given by us to the little village of Jordanville.

It was a great day for that tiny village when the President of the United States, his secretary of state, Mr. Elihu Root, and the Vice-President-elect, James S. Sherman, a native of the next county, after being our guests at luncheon, proceeded on my husband's four-in-hand brake to the steps of the little colonial building three miles away, designed by our friend Mr. S. Breck P. Trowbridge.

What a day it was and what fun we had ! After the library exercises we held a reception at our home, Henderson House, and hundreds of every sort and kind of vehicle were left or tethered along the high ridge near our house. My brother and I stood at the end of the quaint old drawing-room, and an endless file of country neighbors passed before him, and each and all were greeted with his personal enthusiasm and the marvellous knowledge of their interests with which the slightest word from me seemed to make him cognizant. The sunset lights faded over the Mohawk hills and lost their last gleam in the winding river below before the last "dead-wood coach" or broken-down buggy had disappeared from the grounds of Henderson House, and then in the old hall my own family servants many of them had been twenty or thirty years upon the place-came in to greet him after supper, and sang the hymn which they often sang on Sunday evenings: "God be with you till we meet again." The stories of that day will be told in time to come by the children's children of my kind friends of Warren Township, Herkimer County. Theodore himself writes of the experience as follows:

"Oyster Bay, August 27, 1908. Dearest Corinne and Douglas: There is not a thing I would have missed throughout the

Previous Index Next