282 My Brother Theodore Roosevelt
"Yes, you were, of course," said Mr. Cooper; "but your sister, Mrs. Robinson, refused to let you stay for dinner, saying that you would have to reach Oneonta at 8 o'clock." "May I ask," said my brother in a high falsetto, "what business my sister, Mrs. Robinson, had to refuse a dinner invitation for me?" And,with a bound, he leaped from the automobile, shaking, laughingly, his fist at me, and said, "Dinner with the Coopers ! Well, of course, I am going to stay to dinner," and returned rapidly to the house, followed meekly by his party. The hospitable and resourceful Coopers, who naturally, after my refusal, had not expected seven extra people to dinner, turned in, assisted by Theodore himself, and proceeded to scramble eggs and broil bacon, much to the amusement and delight of the cook, who had never had an ex-President in her kitchen before, and of all the merry dinner-parties that I have ever attended, that one, forced upon the delightful Fenimore Coopers, was about the merriest.
Senator Davenport had been in poor health at the time, and my brother called him entirely "Little Eva," after the angel child of Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin," both because of his rather transparent appearance and his high-minded principles (upon which the Colonel dilated in his speeches). He called himself "Uncle Tom," and Senator Newcomb "Simon Legree," and those cognomens and no others were used throughout the entire trip, which proved a veritable holiday.
But neither that trip nor any other trip could have changed the fate of the Progressive candidates in 1914, and New York State showed at election time, as did various other states in the country, that America was not prepared for a third party, even though that party stood, more than did any other party, for the practical common sense and high idealism of Theodore Roosevelt.
Just before Election day I accompanied him to Princeton, where Doctor John Grier Hibben, president of the university, received him with distinction, and asked him to speak to the