262 My Brother Theodore Roosevelt
And ex-President Roosevelt in return sent him a rapid message saying that he would be delighted to see William, but he regretted that he could only give him twenty-five minutes ! He regaled us for a long while with many such amusing stories, and then went home to his beloved Sagamore Hill.
The following day an incident occurred which had a certain prophetic quality about it. A great dinner was to be given to him by Robert Collier, and as usual with his loving thought of me (I had just returned from a trip around the world and was in very ill health) he wished to come to my house to spend the night so as to see me. He arranged to be with me at five o'clock in the afternoon, thus to have a long, quiet talk before the dinner. I came in from the country and had afternoon tea waiting for him in my library. A half-hour passed, and then another halfhour, and I began to get distinctly nervous, because he was the most prompt of individuals. At a little after six he arrived looking jaded and worried, and as he took his cup of tea, he turned to me and said: "A very unpleasant thing happened which made me late. As you see, I am dressed perfectly inconspicuously, and I slipped into Scribners [his publishers] a little before five to say a word or two about my `African Game Trails.' [Scribners at that time was situated at 22d Street and Fifth Avenue.] When I went in there was no crowd at all, but somebody must have seen me enter the bookstore, and when I came out a short while afterward, a huge crowd had assembled, and literally would not let me pass. They wanted to carry me on their shoulders; they wanted to do utterly impossible and objectionable things; and I realized at once that this was not the friendly reception of yesterday, but that it represented a certain hysterical quality which boded ill for my future. That type of crowd, feeling that kind of way, means that within a very short time they will be throwing rotten eggs at me. I may be on the crest of the wave now, but mark my words, the attitude of that crowd means that they will soon try to help me into the trough of the wave." He was so impressed by this incident that that night at the Col