324 My Brother Theodore Roosevelt
society, I have spared you heretofore, but the moment has come !" "Must I meet the poets, Pussie?" he said laughingly and rather deprecatingly. "Yes," I replied firmly. "The poets have their rights quite as much as the politicians, and the time for the poets is at hand." "All right-name your day," he answered, and so a day was named, and I invited a number of my friends amongst the poets to take tea with me on a certain afternoon to meet Colonel Roosevelt. I remember I asked him to try to come from his office early enough for me to jog his memory about some of the work of my various poet friends, but a large number of verse writers had already gathered in my sittingroom before he arrived. I placed him by my side and asked a friend to bring up my various guests so that I might introduce them to him. I remember the care with which I tried to connect the name of the person whom I introduced with some one of his or her writings, and I also remember the surprise with which I realized how unnecessary was all such effort on my part, for, as I would say, "Theodore, this is Mr. So-and-So, who wrote such and such," he would rapidly respond, "But you need not tell me that. I remember that poem very well, indeed," and turning with that delightful smile of his to the flattered author, he would say, "I like the fifth line of the third verse of that poem of yours. It goes this way," and with that, in a strong, ringing voice, he would repeat the line referred to. As each person turned away from the word or two with him, which evidently gave him almost as much pleasure as it gave them, I could hear them say to each other, "How did he know that poem of mine?" When I myself questioned him about his knowledge of modern American poetry, he answered quite simply: "But you know I like poetry and I try to keep up on that line of literature too." He was
very fond of some of Arthur Guiterman's clever verse, and quoted
with special pleasure a sarcastic squib which the latter had just
published on the navy, apropos of Mr. Daniels's attitude: "We
are sitting with our knitting on the twelve-inch guns ! "
Robert Frost, who was with us that afternoon, had shortly