Previous Index Next




THE LION THAT ROOSEVELT SHOT Now in Elysian woods, at last foregathered,

Comrades, we range together, sire and sire,

We who on earth were kings, and nobly fathered,

And, regally, wore each his earth attire.

How proudly at his heel in dawn or gloaming,

With him, the lion-hearted, I am roaming !

-Isabel Fiske Conant.

A GREAT though quiet and personal demonstration came to Theodore Roosevelt just before he sailed for Africa. The heart of the people turned to him with overwhelming affection and he received, during the last week in his own country, between fifteen and twenty thousand farewell letters. Hundreds of mothers wrote him that they felt as if their own son were leaving them, and that their prayers would follow him in his wanderings; hundreds of others wrote that they would not feel that the country would be safe until he should returnbut the "big business" men (not the "great" business men) of Wall Street, according to the "bon mot" of some wag, "hoped every lion would do its duty."

As my brother was leaving Oyster Bay to set sail on his great adventure, he wrote me that he would spend one whole day with me, except for necessary business engagements, to which engagements I took him in my motor. And so my last memories of the time before he sailed are, as usual, of his unfailing devotion. On March 26 he writes again from the steamer: "Your dear little note was handed me as I sailed, and I loved it. It was so


Wall Street Hopes   255

good to see you as I did the day before. Darling sister, I think

of you all the time. I suppose your children told you of the wild whirl of confusion in which I said `Goodbye.' I was very much touched by the number of acquaintances who came down to see me off. Indeed hundreds of them were not even acquaintances. They came in the shape of clubs, societies, delegations, and even more, by scores of what might be called real friends."

All through his various sea trips-these sea trips rather bored him-he writes as follows: "There are plenty of people with whom it is really pleasant to talk in English or in those variants of volapuk which with me pass for French and German." He encloses me a photograph of Kermit and himself and Selous, the naturalist, which shows a merry moment on one of those same sea trips. In May of that year he writes from Juja Farm, Nairobi:

"Really, I have been so busy that I have had no time to myself, and even have not been regularly homesick; of course, down at bottom I am homesick the whole time, but it isn't able to come to the surface, so to speak, because when I am not actually hunting, I am lying still because I am tired out... . This house is as pretty and comfortable as possible, and my host and hostess are the very kindest of the kind. I am sitting on a cool verandah with vines growing over the trellises, having just returned from a morning hunt in which I killed a python and an impala antelope. Yesterday I killed two antelopes, and the day before, a rhino and a hippo, and the day before that, Kermit killed a leopard which charged him viciously after mauling one of the beaters. I have also killed six lions,-four of them big ones. I am sunburned and healthy, and look like a burly and rather unkempt ruffian.

"Kermit has really done very well. He is very handy, both cool and daring, in fact, rather too daring sometimes.

"Darling sister, I think of you continually, and would so love to see you. ..."

Previous Index Next