"The Quiet Quitting " 363
would it make?" "Theodore," I said, "do you remember what you said to me nearly a year ago when you thought you were dying in this same hospital? You said that you were glad it was not one of your boys that was dying at that time in this place, for they could die for their country. Do you feel the same way now?" "Yes," he said, "just the same way. I wish that I might, like Quentin, have died for my country." "I know you wish it," I answered, "but I want to tell you something. Every one of us-even those not as courageous, not as patriotic, as you are-would, I feel sure, if our country were in peril, be willing to bare our breasts to any bullet, could we, by so doing, protect and save our country; but the trouble is that the very people who, in peril, will give themselves, with absolute disregard of the consequences, to their country's service, fail, utterly, in times of peace, to sacrifice anything whatsoever for their country's good. The difference, Theodore, between you and the majority of us is that you not only are willing and anxious to die for your country, but that you live for your country every day of your life."
Within a few days, in fact on Christmas day, he was moved to Oyster Bay, and at first seemed benefited by the change. On Friday, January 3, I had arranged to go out and spend the day with him, but a message came that he was not quite as comfortable and would I wait until Monday, when he hoped to feel much better and enjoy my visit.
On the Sunday he seemed better again, my sister-in-law told me later, and enjoyed the whole day. He loved, passionately, his home at Sagamore Hill, and the view from it over the Sound on which he had rowed so often from boyhood up. He loved the beauty of the shrubs and trees and undulating wooded hills, and he loved best of all the sense of home there, and the happy family life which, even with a vacant chair, he knew would continue. He expressed his content that evening to Mrs. Roosevelt, in whose companionship he took the same delight as when in their youth he had brought her to be the adored mistress of that home.