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344 My Brother Theodore Roosevelt

My country home in the Mohawk Hills of New York State is many miles from Sagamore Hill on Long Island, and it was difficult to get telephone connection. My heart was unspeakably sore and heavy at the thought of the terrible sorrowr that had come to my sister-in-law and my brother, and I sh::rank from asking any question concerning any matter except the sad news of the death of Quentin, or imminent danger to him. My brother himself came to the telephone; the sound of his voice was as if steel had entered into the tone. As years before he had written me from South Africa in my own great sorrow, he hadl "grasped the nettle." I asked him whether he would like m(e to come down at once to Oyster Bay, and his answer was alnnost harsh in its rapidity: "Of course not-I will meet you im Saratoga as arranged. It is more than ever my duty to be there. You can come down to New York after the convention." The very tone of his voice made me realize the agony in his heart, but duty was paramount. The affairs of his State, the affairs of the nation, needed his counsel, needed his self-control. His boy had paid the final price of duty; was he, the fatheir who had taught that boy the ideal of service and sacrifice, to shrink in cowardly fashion at the crucial moment?

The next day I met him in Albany and motored hire to Saratoga. His face was set and grave, but he welcomed my sympathy generously. Meanwhile, the night before there had been

great excitement in Saratoga. A number of delegates were in

favor of renominating Governor Charles S. Whitman on the

Republican ticket, but a large and important group of men,

in fact, the largest and most important group in the Republican

party of New York State, were extremely anxious that Colonel

Roosevelt should allow his name to be brought forward as a

candidate for governor. Elihu Root, William Howard Taft, and

many of the weighty "bosses" of the various counties lent all

their efforts toward this achievement. Colonel Roosevelt, on his

arrival in Saratoga, took a quiet luncheon with my family, Mrs.

Parsons, and myself, after which we adjourned to the large hall

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in which the convention was to be held. I remember before

we left him that Mrs. Parsons suggested the insertion of a sen

tence in the speech which he was about to make, and his imme

diate and grateful response to the suggestion. No one had a

more open mind to the helpful suggestion of others.

The great hall was already filled to overflowing when we ar

rived, and it was difficult for us to find our seats, even although

they had been carefully reserved for us. The atmosphere of

the crowd in the great building was different from that of any

concourse of people who had hitherto waited the coming of

Theodore Roosevelt. At other times, in other crowds, when

their favorite leader was expected, there had always been a quality of hilarity and gay familiarity showing itself in songs and demonstrations in which the oft-repeated "We want Teddywe want Teddy" almost always was heard, but in this great assemblage there was a hushed silence and solicitude for their beloved friend, a personal outflowing of silent sympathy for the man whose youngest, whose "Benjamin," had so lately paid the final price, and even a few minutes later, when to the strains of the "Star-Spangled-Banner," Colonel Roosevelt was escorted up the aisle by my son, Senator Robinson, and Congressman Cox, from his own Nassau County, the many faces turned eagerly to watch him showed in strained eyes and set though quivering lips their efforts at self-control. As he began his speech, we realized fully that he was holding himself firmly together, but as he poured out his message of Americanism, as he pleaded for the finer and truer patriotism to be brought more closely and definitely into political action, he lost the sense of the great bereavement that had come to him, in his dedication anew to the effort to arouse in his countrymen the selfless desire for service, with which he had always fronted the problems of his own life. Toward the end of the speech, though he never referred to his sorrow, the realization of it again gripped him with its inevitable torture, and again the people who sat in breathless silence-listening to one to whom they had always listened

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