274 My Brother Theodore Roosevelt
proceeded, though bleeding from an open wound, to make what he fully believed would probably be the last speech that he would ever make in this world. The doctors could not influence lung to give up the speech, for he said that should it prove to be his last, it was all the more important that he should make it. But, thank Heaven, it was not his last !
During his convalescence in the hospital in Chicago, he sent me one of his sympathetic letters about another recently published poem, and also replied to a letter from Sir George Trevelyan as follows: "I must say I have never understood public men who got nervous about assassination. For the last eleven years I have, of course, thoroughly understood that I might at any time be shot, and probably would be shot sometime. I think I have come off uncommonly well. What I cannot understand is any serious-minded public man not being so absorbed in the great, vital questions with which he has to deal, as to exclude thoughts of assassination. I don't think this is a matter of courage at all. I think it a question of the major interest driving out the minor interest. Exactly as with the army,-a private may have qualms,-not so a General. He is responsible for more than his personal safety. It is not a question of courage, it is a question of perspective, of proper proportion." Nothing has ever been more in keeping with the actions of Theodore Roosevelt than the above sentence: "it is a question of the major interest driving out the minor interest." With him, all through his life, the sense of proportion was a prominent part of his make-up. The "major interest" always drove out the "minor interest," and so strong was his sense of responsibility, so absorbed was he in the great affairs of his country, that the thought of possible assassination never entered his valiant breast.
The greatest moment of all that inspiring period of his life came late in October, at the end of the campaign, when Theodore Roosevelt, the bullet still in his breast, but miraculously restored to health and strength, came to the city of his birth