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338   My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

ment of the head might bring about a fatal result. My readers must remember what was happening on the other side of the ocean as Theodore Roosevelt lay sick unto death in the city of his birth. The most critical period of the Great War was at hand. Very soon the terrible "March offensive" was to begin. Very soon we were to hear that solemn call from General Haig that his "back was against the wall." We were all keyed up to the highest extent; all of my brother's sons were at the front, my own son was about to sail, and at this most critical moment the man to whom the youth of America looked for leadership was stricken and laid low.

As I entered the sick-room, all this was in my mind. Controlling myself to all outward appearance, I put my ear close to his lips, and these were the words which Theodore Roosevelt said to his sister, words which he fully believed would be the last he could ever say to her. Thank God he did speak to me many times again, and we had eleven months more of close and intimate communion, but at that moment he was facing the valley of the shadow. As I leaned over him, in a hoarse whisper he said: "I am so glad that it is not one of my boys who is dying here, for they can die for their country."

As he gradually convalesced from that serious illness, many were our intimate hours of conversation. The hospital was besieged by adoring multitudes of inquirers. I remember taking a taxicab myself one day to go there, and when I said to the Italian driver, "Go to the Roosevelt Hospital," the quick response came: "You go see Roosevelt they all go see Roosevelt -they all go ask how Roosevelt is-he my friend, too-you tell him get well for me." Every sort of individual, as he grew stronger, waited in the corridor for a chance to consult him on this or that subject. Of course few were allowed to do so, but it was more than ever evident by the throng of men, distinguished in the public affairs of the country, who begged admittance even for a few moments that the "Colonel" was still the Mecca toward which the trend of political hope was turning !

After a brief rest at Oyster Bay he insisted upon keeping the appointments to speak in various states, appointments the breaking of which his illness had necessitated. His great ovation in Maine showed beyond dispute how the heart of the Republican party was turning to its old-time leader, and every war work, needless to say, clamored for a speech from him. One of his most characteristic notes was in connection with my plea that he should speak at Carnegie Hall for the Red Cross on a certain May afternoon. Josef Hofmann had promised to come all the way from Aiken to play for the benefit if Theodore Roosevelt were to be the speaker of the occasion, and in writing him on the subject, I laid stress on the sacrifice of time and energy of the great pianist, and in my zeal apparently gave the impression that my brother was to do a great favor to Josef Hofmann rather than the Red Cross, and he answers me humorously: "Darling Corinne.-All right! -A ten-minute speech for the pianist. That goes!" He always considered it a great joke that it was necessary for Josef Hofmann to have him speak.

That same May one lovely afternoon stands out most clearly. John Masefield, the great English poet, had been several times in the country. My brother knew his work well but had not met him, and I had had that privilege. I wished to take him to Oyster Bay, and the invitation was gladly forthcoming. It proved fair and beautiful, and Mr. Masefield and I motored out to luncheon. On the veranda at Sagamore Hill were my brother and Mrs. Roosevelt, their daughter Mrs. Derby and her lovely children, and later John Masefield took little Richard on his lap and wove for him a tale to which we grown people listened, my brother resting his eyes gladly on the little boy's head as he leaned against the poet. After the story was told, we wandered off to a distant summer-house overlooking both sides of the bay, and there Theodore Roosevelt and John Masefield spoke intimately together of many things. It was a day of sunlight in early spring, and the air was full "of a summer to be," but under the outward calm and beauty of the sun and



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