Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: Letters to His Children
Author: Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Letters to His Children" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



LETTERS TO HIS CHILDREN

By Theodore Roosevelt

First published 1919.



Edited by Joseph Bucklin Bishop



INTRODUCTION

Most of the letters in this volume were written by Theodore Roosevelt to
his children during a period of more than twenty years. A few others are
included that he wrote to friends or relatives about the children. He
began to write to them in their early childhood, and continued to do
so regularly till they reached maturity. Whenever he was separated from
them, in the Spanish War, or on a hunting trip, or because they were at
school, he sent them these messages of constant thought and love, for
they were never for a moment out of his mind and heart. Long before they
were able to read he sent them what they called "picture letters," with
crude drawings of his own in illustration of the written text, drawings
precisely adapted to the childish imagination and intelligence. That the
little recipients cherished these delightful missives is shown by the
tender care with which they preserved them from destruction. They are
in good condition after many years of loving usage. A few of them are
reproduced in these pages--written at different periods as each new
child appeared in the household.

These early letters are marked by the same quality that distinguishes
all his letters to his children. From the youngest to the eldest, he
wrote to them always as his equals. As they advanced in life the
mental level of intercourse was raised as they grew in intelligence and
knowledge, but it was always as equals that he addressed them. He was
always their playmate and boon companion, whether they were toddling
infants taking their first faltering steps, or growing schoolboys, or
youths standing at the threshold of life. Their games were his games,
their joys those of his own heart. He was ready to romp with them in
the old barn at Sagamore Hill, play "tickley" at bedtime, join in their
pillow fights, or play hide-and-seek with them, either at Sagamore
Hill or in the White House. He was the same chosen and joyous companion
always and everywhere. Occasionally he was disturbed for a moment about
possible injury to his Presidential dignity. Describing a romp in the
old barn at Sagamore Hill in the summer of 1903, he said in one of his
letters that under the insistence of the children he had joined in it
because: "I had not the heart to refuse, but really it seems, to put it
mildly, rather odd for a stout, elderly President to be bouncing over
hayricks in a wild effort to get to goal before an active midget of a
competitor, aged nine years. However, it was really great fun."

It was because he at heart regarded it as "great fun" and was in
complete accord with the children that they delighted in him as a
playmate. In the same spirit, in January, 1905, he took a squad of
nine boys, including three of his own, on what they called a "scramble"
through Rock Creek Park, in Washington, which meant traversing the most
difficult places in it. The boys had permission to make the trip alone,
but they insisted upon his company. "I am really touched," he wrote
afterward to the parents of two of the visiting boys, "at the way in
which your children as well as my own treat me as a friend and playmate.
It has its comic side. They were all bent upon having me take them;
they obviously felt that my presence was needed to give zest to the
entertainment. I do not think that one of them saw anything incongruous
in the President's getting as bedaubed with mud as they got, or in my
wiggling and clambering around jutting rocks, through cracks, and up
what were really small cliff faces, just like the rest of them; and
whenever any one of them beat me at any point, he felt and expressed
simple and whole-hearted delight, exactly as if it had been a triumph
over a rival of his own age."

When the time came that he was no longer the children's chosen playmate,
he recognized the fact with a twinge of sadness. Writing in January,
1905, to his daughter Ethel, who was at Sagamore Hill at the time,
he said of a party of boys that Quentin had at the White House: "They
played hard, and it made me realize how old I had grown and how very
busy I had been the last few years to find that they had grown so that
I was not needed in the play. Do you recollect how we all of us used to
play hide and go seek in the White House, and have obstacle races down
the hall when you brought in your friends?"

Deep and abiding love of children, of family and home, that was the
dominating passion of his life. With that went love for friends and
fellow men, and for all living things, birds, animals, trees, flowers,
and nature in all its moods and aspects. But love of children and
family and home was above all. The children always had an old-fashioned
Christmas in the White House. In several letters in these pages,
descriptions of these festivals will be found. In closing one of them
the eternal child's heart in the man cries out: "I wonder whether there
ever can come in life a thrill of greater exaltation and rapture than
that which comes to one between the ages of say six and fourteen, when
the library door is thrown open and you walk in to see all the gifts,
like a materialized fairy land, arrayed on your special table?"

His love for the home he had built and in which his beloved children had
been born, was not even dimmed by his life in the White House. "After
all," he wrote to Ethel in June, 1906, "fond as I am of the White House
and much though I have appreciated these years in it, there isn't any
place in the world like home--like Sagamore Hill where things are our
own, with their own associations, and where it is real country."

Through all his letters runs his inexhaustible vein of delicious humor.
All the quaint sayings of Quentin, that quaintest of small boys; all
the antics of the household cats and dogs; all the comic aspects of the
guinea-pigs and others of the large menagerie of pets that the
children were always collecting; all the tricks and feats of the
saddle-horses--these, together with every item of household news that
would amuse and cheer and keep alive the love of home in the heart of
the absent boys, was set forth in letters which in gayety of spirit
and charm of manner have few equals in literature and no superiors. No
matter how great the pressure of public duties, or how severe the strain
that the trials and burdens of office placed upon the nerves and
spirits of the President of a great nation, this devoted father and
whole-hearted companion found time to send every week a long letter of
this delightful character to each of his absent children.

As the boys advanced toward manhood the letters, still on the basis of
equality, contain much wise suggestion and occasional admonition, the
latter always administered in a loving spirit accompanied by apology
for writing in a "preaching" vein. The playmate of childhood became the
sympathetic and keenly interested companion in all athletic contests,
in the reading of books and the consideration of authors, and in the
discussion of politics and public affairs. Many of these letters,
notably those on the relative merits of civil and military careers, and
the proper proportions of sport and study, are valuable guides for youth
in all ranks of life. The strong, vigorous, exalted character of the
writer stands revealed in these as in all the other letters, as well as
the cheerful soul of the man which remained throughout his life as pure
and gentle as the soul of a child. Only a short time before he died, he
said to me, as we were going over the letters and planning this volume,
which is arranged as he wished it to be: "I would rather have this book
published than anything that has ever been written about me."



THE LETTERS



IN THE SPANISH WAR

At the outbreak of the war with Spain in the spring of 1898 Theodore
Roosevelt, who was then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, in association
with Leonard Wood, organized the Regiment of Rough Riders and went into
camp with them at Tampa, Florida. Later he went with his regiment to
Cuba.


Camp at Tampa, May 6th, '98.

BLESSED BUNNIES,

It has been a real holiday to have darling mother here. Yesterday I
brought her out to the camp, and she saw it all--the men drilling,
the tents in long company streets, the horses being taken to water, my
little horse Texas, the colonel and the majors, and finally the mountain
lion and the jolly little dog Cuba, who had several fights while she
looked on. The mountain lion is not much more than a kitten as yet, but
it is very cross and treacherous.

I was very much interested in Kermit's and Ethel's letters to-day.

We were all, horses and men, four days and four nights on the cars
coming here from San Antonio, and were very tired and very dirty when we
arrived. I was up almost all of each night, for it happened always to be
at night when we took the horses out of the cars to feed and water them.

Mother stays at a big hotel about a mile from camp. There are nearly
thirty thousand troops here now, besides the sailors from the war-ships
in the bay. At night the corridors and piazzas are thronged with
officers of the army and navy; the older ones fought in the great Civil
War, a third of a century ago, and now they are all going to Cuba to war
against the Spaniards. Most of them are in blue, but our rough-riders
are in brown. Our camp is on a great flat, on sandy soil without a tree,
though round about are pines and palmettos. It is very hot, indeed, but
there are no mosquitoes. Marshall is very well, and he takes care of my
things and of the two horses. A general was out to inspect us when we
were drilling to-day.


Off Santiago, 1898.

DARLING ETHEL:

We are near shore now and everything is in a bustle, for we may have to
disembark to-night, and I do not know when I shall have another chance
to write to my three blessed children, whose little notes please me
so. This is only a line to tell you all how much father loves you.
The Pawnee Indian drew you the picture of the little dog, which runs
everywhere round the ship, and now and then howls a little when the band
plays.


Near Santiago, May 20, 1898.

DARLING ETHEL:

I loved your little letter. Here there are lots of funny little lizards
that run about in the dusty roads very fast, and then stand still with
their heads up. Beautiful red cardinal birds and tanagers flit about
in the woods, and the flowers are lovely. But you never saw such dust.
Sometimes I lie on the ground outside and sometimes in the tent. I have
a mosquito net because there are so many mosquitoes.


Camp near Santiago, July 15, 1898.

DARLING ETHEL:

When it rains here--and it's very apt to rain here every day--it comes
down just as if it was a torrent of water. The other night I hung up my
hammock in my tent and in the middle of the night there was a terrific
storm, and my tent and hammock came down with a run. The water was
running over the ground in a sheet, and the mud was knee-deep; so I was
a drenched and muddy object when I got to a neighboring tent, where I
was given a blanket, in which I rolled up and went to sleep.

There is a funny little lizard that comes into my tent and is quite tame
now; he jumps about like a little frog and puffs his throat out. There
are ground-doves no bigger than big sparrows, and cuckoos almost as
large as crows.



YOUTHFUL BIBLE COMMENTATORS

(To Miss Emily T. Carow)

Oyster Bay, Dec. 8, 1900.

The other day I listened to a most amusing dialogue at the Bible lesson
between Kermit and Ethel. The subject was Joseph, and just before
reading it they had been reading Quentin's book containing the
adventures of the Gollywogs. Joseph's conduct in repeating his dream to
his brothers, whom it was certain to irritate, had struck both of the
children unfavorably, as conflicting both with the laws of common-sense
and with the advice given them by their parents as to the proper method
of dealing with their own brothers and sisters. Kermit said: "Well, I
think that was very foolish of Joseph." Ethel chimed in with "So do I,
very foolish, and I do not understand how he could have done it." Then,
after a pause, Kermit added thoughtfully by way of explanation: "Well,
I guess he was simple, like Jane in the Gollywogs": and Ethel nodded
gravely in confirmation.

It is very cunning to see Kermit and Archie go to the Cove school
together. They also come down and chop with me, Archie being armed with
a hatchet blunt enough to be suitable for his six years. He is a most
industrious small chopper, and the other day gnawed down, or as the
children call it, "beavered" down, a misshapen tulip tree, which was
about fifty feet high.



FINE NAMES FOR GUINEA PIGS

(To E. S. Martin)

Oyster Bay, Nov. 22, 1900.

Mrs. Roosevelt and I were more touched than I can well say at your
sending us your book with its characteristic insertion and above all
with the little extract from your boy's note about Ted. In what Form
is your boy? As you have laid yourself open, I shall tell you that Ted
sings in the choir and is captain of his dormitory football team. He
was awfully homesick at first, but now he has won his place in his own
little world and he is all right. In his last letter to his mother in
response to a question about his clothes he answered that they were
in good condition, excepting "that one pair of pants was split up the
middle and one jacket had lost a sleeve in a scuffle, and in another
pair of pants he had sat down in a jam pie at a cellar spread." We
have both missed him greatly in spite of the fact that we have five
remaining. Did I ever tell you about my second small boy's names for his
Guinea pigs? They included Bishop Doane; Dr. Johnson, my Dutch Reformed
pastor; Father G. Grady, the local priest with whom the children had
scraped a speaking acquaintance; Fighting Bob Evans, and Admiral Dewey.
Some of my Republican supporters in West Virginia have just sent me a
small bear which the children of their own accord christened Jonathan
Edwards, partly out of compliment to their mother's ancestor, and partly
because they thought they detected Calvinistic traits in the bear's
character.



A COUGAR AND LYNX HUNT

Keystone Ranch, Colo., Jan. 14th, 1901.

BLESSED TED,

From the railroad we drove fifty miles to the little frontier town
of Meeker. There we were met by the hunter Goff, a fine, quiet, hardy
fellow, who knows his business thoroughly. Next morning we started on
horseback, while our luggage went by wagon to Goff's ranch. We started
soon after sunrise, and made our way, hunting as we went, across the
high, exceedingly rugged hills, until sunset. We were hunting cougar and
lynx or, as they are called out here, "lion" and "cat." The first cat
we put up gave the dogs a two hours' chase, and got away among some high
cliffs. In the afternoon we put up another, and had a very good hour's
run, the dogs baying until the glens rang again to the echoes, as they
worked hither and thither through the ravines. We walked our ponies up
and down steep, rock-strewn, and tree-clad slopes, where it did not seem
possible a horse could climb, and on the level places we got one or
two smart gallops. At last the lynx went up a tree. Then I saw a really
funny sight. Seven hounds had been doing the trailing, while a large
brindled bloodhound and two half-breeds between collie and bull stayed
behind Goff, running so close to his horse's heels that they continually
bumped into them, which he accepted with philosophic composure. Then the
dogs proceeded literally to _climb the tree_, which was a many-forked
pinon; one of the half-breeds, named Tony, got up certainly sixteen
feet, until the lynx, which looked like a huge and exceedingly
malevolent pussy-cat, made vicious dabs at him. I shot the lynx low, so
as not to hurt his skin.

Yesterday we were in the saddle for ten hours. The dogs ran one lynx
down and killed it among the rocks after a vigorous scuffle. It was in a
hole and only two of them could get at it.

This morning, soon after starting out, we struck the cold trail of a
mountain lion. The hounds puzzled about for nearly two hours, going up
and down the great gorges, until we sometimes absolutely lost even the
sound of the baying. Then they struck the fresh trail, where the cougar
had killed a deer over night. In half an hour a clamorous yelling told
us they had overtaken the quarry; for we had been riding up the slopes
and along the crests, wherever it was possible for the horses to get
footing. As we plunged and scrambled down towards the noise, one of my
companions, Phil Stewart, stopped us while he took a kodak of a rabbit
which sat unconcernedly right beside our path. Soon we saw the lion in a
treetop, with two of the dogs so high up among the branches that he was
striking at them. He was more afraid of us than of the dogs, and as soon
as he saw us he took a great flying leap and was off, the pack close
behind. In a few hundred yards they had him up another tree. Here I
could have shot him (Tony climbed almost up to him, and then fell twenty
feet out of the tree), but waited for Stewart to get a photo; and he
jumped again. This time, after a couple of hundred yards, the dogs
caught him, and a great fight followed. They could have killed him by
themselves, but he bit or clawed four of them, and for fear he might
kill one I ran in and stabbed him behind the shoulder, thrusting the
knife you loaned me right into his heart. I have always wished to kill a
cougar as I did this one, with dogs and the knife.



DOGS THAT CLIMB TREES

Keystone Ranch, Jan. 18, 1901.

DARLING LITTLE ETHEL:

I have had great fun. Most of the trip neither you nor Mother nor Sister
would enjoy; but you would all of you be immensely amused with the dogs.
There are eleven all told, but really only eight do very much hunting.
These eight are all scarred with the wounds they have received this
very week in battling with the cougars and lynxes, and they are always
threatening to fight one another; but they are as affectionate toward
men (and especially toward me, as I pet them) as our own home dogs. At
this moment a large hound and a small half-breed bull-dog, both of whom
were quite badly wounded this morning by a cougar, are shoving their
noses into my lap to be petted, and humming defiance to one another.
They are on excellent terms with the ranch cat and kittens. The
three chief fighting dogs, who do not follow the trail, are the most
affectionate of all, and, moreover, they climb trees! Yesterday we got
a big lynx in the top of a pinon tree--a low, spreading kind of
pine--about thirty feet tall. Turk, the bloodhound, followed him up, and
after much sprawling actually got to the very top, within a couple of
feet of him. Then, when the lynx was shot out of the tree, Turk, after a
short scramble, took a header down through the branches, landing with
a bounce on his back. Tony, one of the half-breed bull-dogs, takes such
headers on an average at least once for every animal we put up a tree.
We have nice little horses which climb the most extraordinary places you
can imagine. Get Mother to show you some of Gustave Dore's trees; the
trees on these mountains look just like them.



THE PIG NAMED MAUDE

Keystone Ranch, Jan. 29, 1901

DARLING LITTLE ETHEL:

You would be much amused with the animals round the ranch. The most
thoroughly independent and self-possessed of them is a large white pig
which we have christened Maude. She goes everywhere at her own will; she
picks up scraps from the dogs, who bay dismally at her, but know they
have no right to kill her; and then she eats the green alfalfa hay from
the two milch cows who live in the big corral with the horses. One of
the dogs has just had a litter of puppies; you would love them, with
their little wrinkled noses and squeaky voices.



ADVICE AND NEWS

Oyster Bay, May 7th, 1901

BLESSED TED:

It was the greatest fun seeing you, and I really had a satisfactory time
with you, and came away feeling that you were doing well. I am entirely
satisfied with your standing, both in your studies and in athletics. I
want you to do well in your sports, and I want even more to have you do
well with your books; but I do not expect you to stand first in either,
if so to stand could cause you overwork and hurt your health. I always
believe in going hard at everything, whether it is Latin or mathematics,
boxing or football, but at the same time I want to keep the sense of
proportion. It is never worth while to absolutely exhaust one's self or
to take big chances unless for an adequate object. I want you to keep in
training the faculties which would make you, if the need arose, able to
put your last ounce of pluck and strength into a contest. But I do not
want you to squander these qualities. To have you play football as well
as you do, and make a good name in boxing and wrestling, and be cox
of your second crew, and stand second or third in your class in the
studies, is all right. I should be rather sorry to see you drop too near
the middle of your class, because, as you cannot enter college until
you are nineteen, and will therefore be a year later in entering life,
I want you to be prepared in the best possible way, so as to make up
for the delay. But I know that all you can do you will do to keep
substantially the position in the class that you have so far kept, and I
have entire trust in you, for you have always deserved it.

The weather has been lovely here. The cherry trees are in full bloom,
the peach trees just opening, while the apples will not be out for
ten days. The May flowers and bloodroot have gone, the anemonies and
bellwort have come and the violets are coming. All the birds are here,
pretty much, and the warblers troop through the woods.

To my delight, yesterday Kermit, when I tried him on Diamond, did
excellently. He has evidently turned the corner in his riding, and was
just as much at home as possible, although he was on my saddle with his
feet thrust in the leathers above the stirrup. Poor mother has had a
hard time with Yagenka, for she rubbed her back, and as she sadly needs
exercise and I could not have a saddle put upon her, I took her out
bareback yesterday. Her gaits are so easy that it is really more
comfortable to ride her without a saddle than to ride Texas with one,
and I gave her three miles sharp cantering and trotting.

Dewey Jr. is a very cunning white guinea pig. I wish you could see
Kermit taking out Dewey Sr. and Bob Evans to spend the day on the grass.
Archie is the sweetest little fellow imaginable. He is always thinking
of you. He has now struck up a great friendship with Nicholas, rather to
Mame's (the nurse's) regret, as Mame would like to keep him purely for
Quentin. The last-named small boisterous person was in fearful disgrace
this morning, having flung a block at his mother's head. It was done in
sheer playfulness, but of course could not be passed over lightly, and
after the enormity of the crime had been brought fully home to him, he
fled with howls of anguish to me and lay in an abandon of yellow-headed
grief in my arms. Ethel is earning money for the purchase of the Art
Magazine by industriously hoeing up the weeds in the walk. Alice is
going to ride Yagenka bareback this afternoon, while I try to teach
Ethel on Diamond, after Kermit has had his ride.

Yesterday at dinner we were talking of how badly poor Mrs. Blank looked,
and Kermit suddenly observed in an aside to Ethel, entirely unconscious
that we were listening: "Oh, Effel, I'll tell you what Mrs. Blank looks
like: Like Davis' hen dat died--you know, de one dat couldn't hop up on
de perch." Naturally, this is purely a private anecdote.



ARCHIE AND QUENTIN

Oyster Bay, May 7, 1901.

BLESSED TED:

Recently I have gone in to play with Archie and Quentin after they have
gone to bed, and they have grown to expect me, jumping up, very soft
and warm in their tommies, expecting me to roll them over on the bed
and tickle and "grabble" in them. However, it has proved rather too
exciting, and an edict has gone forth that hereafter I must play bear
with them before supper, and give up the play when they have gone to
bed. To-day was Archie's birthday, and Quentin resented Archie's having
presents while he (Quentin) had none. With the appalling frankness of
three years old, he remarked with great sincerity that "it made him
miserable," and when taken to task for his lack of altruistic spirit he
expressed an obviously perfunctory repentance and said: "Well, boys must
lend boys things, at any rate!"



INCIDENTS OF HOME-COMING

Oyster Bay, May 31st, 1901.

BLESSED TED:

I enclose some Filipino Revolutionary postage stamps. Maybe some of the
boys would like them.

Have you made up your mind whether you would like to try shooting the
third week in August or the last week in July, or would you rather wait
until you come back when I can find out something more definite from Mr.
Post?

We very much wished for you while we were at the (Buffalo) Exposition.
By night it was especially beautiful. Alice and I also wished that
you could have been with us when we were out riding at Geneseo. Major
Wadsworth put me on a splendid big horse called Triton, and sister on
a thoroughbred mare. They would jump anything. It was sister's first
experience, but she did splendidly and rode at any fence at which I
would first put Triton. I did not try anything very high, but still some
of the posts and rails were about four feet high, and it was enough to
test sister's seat. Of course, all we had to do was to stick on as the
horses jumped perfectly and enjoyed it quite as much as we did. The
first four or five fences that I went over I should be ashamed to say
how far I bounced out of the saddle, but after a while I began to get
into my seat again. It has been a good many years since I have jumped a
fence.

Mother stopped off at Albany while sister went on to Boston, and I came
on here alone Tuesday afternoon. St. Gaudens, the sculptor, and Dunne
(Mr. Dooley) were on the train and took lunch with us. It was great
fun meeting them and I liked them both. Kermit met me in high feather,
although I did not reach the house until ten o'clock, and he sat by
me and we exchanged anecdotes while I took my supper. Ethel had put an
alarm clock under her head so as to be sure and wake up, but although
it went off she continued to slumber profoundly, as did Quentin. Archie
waked up sufficiently to tell me that he had found another turtle just
as small as the already existing treasure of the same kind. This morning
Quentin and Black Jack have neither of them been willing to leave me for
any length of time. Black Jack simply lies curled up in a chair, but
as Quentin is most conversational, he has added an element of harassing
difficulty to my effort to answer my accumulated correspondence.

Archie announced that he had seen "the Baltimore orioles catching fish!"
This seemed to warrant investigation; but it turned out he meant barn
swallows skimming the water.



The President not only sent "picture letters" to his own children, but
an especial one to Miss Sarah Schuyler Butler, daughter of Dr. Nicholas
Murray Butler, President of Columbia University, who had written to
him a little note of congratulation on his first birthday in the White
House.


White House, Nov. 3d, 1901.

DEAR LITTLE MISS SARAH,

I liked your birthday note _very_ much; and my children say I should
draw you two pictures in return.

We have a large blue macaw--Quentin calls him a polly-parrot--who lives
in the greenhouse, and is very friendly, but makes queer noises. He eats
bread, potatoes, and coffee grains.

The children have a very cunning pony. He is a little pet, like a dog,
but he plays tricks on them when they ride him.

He bucked Ethel over his head the other day.

Your father will tell you that these are pictures of the UNPOLISHED
STONE PERIOD.

Give my love to your mother.

Your father's friend,

THEODORE ROOSEVELT.



UNCLE REMUS AND WHITE HOUSE PETS

(To Joel Chandler Harris)

White House, June 9, 1902.

MY DEAR MR. HARRIS:

Your letter was a great relief to Kermit, who always becomes personally
interested in his favorite author, and who has been much worried by your
sickness. He would be more than delighted with a copy of "Daddy Jake."
Alice has it already, but Kermit eagerly wishes it.

Last night Mrs. Roosevelt and I were sitting out on the porch at the
back of the White House, and were talking of you and wishing you could
be sitting there with us. It is delightful at all times, but I think
especially so after dark. The monument stands up distinct but not quite
earthly in the night, and at this season the air is sweet with the
jasmine and honeysuckle.

All of the younger children are at present absorbed in various pets,
perhaps the foremost of which is a puppy of the most orthodox puppy
type. Then there is Jack, the terrier, and Sailor Boy, the Chesapeake
Bay dog; and Eli, the most gorgeous macaw, with a bill that I think
could bite through boiler plate, who crawls all over Ted, and whom
I view with dark suspicion; and Jonathan, the piebald rat, of most
friendly and affectionate nature, who also crawls all over everybody;
and the flying squirrel, and two kangaroo rats; not to speak of Archie's
pony, Algonquin, who is the most absolute pet of them all.

Mrs. Roosevelt and I have, I think, read all your stories to the
children, and some of them over and over again.



THE DOG "GEM"

White House, Oct. 13, 1902.

BLESSED KERMIT:

I am delighted at all the accounts I receive of how you are doing at
Groton. You seem to be enjoying yourself and are getting on well. I need
not tell you to do your best to cultivate ability for concentrating your
thought on whatever work you are given to do--you will need it in Latin
especially. Who plays opposite you at end? Do you find you can get down
well under the ball to tackle the full-back? How are you tackling?

Mother is going to present Gem to Uncle Will. She told him she did not
think he was a good dog for the city; and therefore she gives him
to Uncle Will to keep in the city. Uncle Will's emotion at such
self-denying generosity almost overcame him. Gem is really a very nice
small bow-wow, but Mother found that in this case possession was less
attractive than pursuit. When she takes him out walking he carries her
along as if she was a Roman chariot. She thinks that Uncle Will or Eda
can anchor him. Yesterday she and Ethel held him and got burrs out of
his hair. It was a lively time for all three.



PRESIDENTIAL NURSE FOR GUINEA PIGS

(To Mrs. Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward)

White House, Oct. 20, 1902.

At this moment, my small daughter being out, I am acting as nurse to two
wee guinea pigs, which she feels would not be safe save in the room with
me--and if I can prevent it I do not intend to have wanton suffering
inflicted on any creature.



THANKSGIVING IN THE WHITE HOUSE

White House, Nov. 28, 1902.

DARLING KERMIT:

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and we all went out riding, looking as we
started a good deal like the Cumberbach family. Archie on his beloved
pony, and Ethel on Yagenka went off with Mr. Proctor to the hunt. Mother
rode Jocko Root, Ted a first-class cavalry horse, I rode Renown, and
with us went Senator Lodge, Uncle Douglas, Cousin John Elliott, Mr. Bob
Fergie, and General Wood. We had a three hours' scamper which was really
great fun.

Yesterday I met Bozie for the first time since he came to Washington,
and he almost wiggled himself into a fit, he was so overjoyed at
renewing acquaintance. To see Jack and Tom Quartz play together is as
amusing as it can be. We have never had a more cunning kitten than Tom
Quartz. I have just had to descend with severity upon Quentin because he
put the unfortunate Tom into the bathtub and then turned on the water.
He didn't really mean harm.

Last evening, besides our own entire family party, all the Lodges, and
their connections, came to dinner. We dined in the new State Dining-room
and we drank the health of you and all the rest of both families that
were absent. After dinner we cleared away the table and danced. Mother
looked just as pretty as a picture and I had a lovely waltz with her.
Mrs. Lodge and I danced the Virginia Reel.



A WHITE HOUSE CHRISTMAS

(To Master James A. Garfield, Washington)

White House, Dec. 26, 1902.

JIMMIKINS:

Among all the presents I got I don't think there was one I appreciated
more than yours; for I was brought up to admire and respect your
grandfather, and I have a very great fondness and esteem for your
father. It always seems to me as if you children were being brought up
the way that mine are. Yesterday Archie got among his presents a small
rifle from me and a pair of riding-boots from his mother. He won't be
able to use the rifle until next summer, but he has gone off very happy
in the riding boots for a ride on the calico pony Algonquin, the one
you rode the other day. Yesterday morning at a quarter of seven all the
children were up and dressed and began to hammer at the door of their
mother's and my room, in which their six stockings, all bulging out with
queer angles and rotundities, were hanging from the fireplace. So their
mother and I got up, shut the window, lit the fire, taking down the
stockings, of course, put on our wrappers and prepared to admit the
children. But first there was a surprise for me, also for their good
mother, for Archie had a little Christmas tree of his own which he had
rigged up with the help of one of the carpenters in a big closet; and
we all had to look at the tree and each of us got a present off of it.
There was also one present each for Jack the dog, Tom Quartz the kitten,
and Algonquin the pony, whom Archie would no more think of neglecting
than I would neglect his brothers and sisters. Then all the children
came into our bed and there they opened their stockings. Afterwards
we got dressed and took breakfast, and then all went into the library,
where each child had a table set for his bigger presents. Quentin had a
perfectly delightful electric railroad, which had been rigged up for him
by one of his friends, the White House electrician, who has been very
good to all the children. Then Ted and I, with General Wood and Mr. Bob
Ferguson, who was a lieutenant in my regiment, went for a three hours'
ride; and all of us, including all the children, took lunch at the house
with the children's aunt, Mrs. Captain Cowles--Archie and Quentin having
their lunch at a little table with their cousin Sheffield. Late in the
afternoon I played at single stick with General Wood and Mr. Ferguson.
I am going to get your father to come on and try it soon. We have to
try to hit as light as possible, but sometimes we hit hard, and to-day
I have a bump over one eye and a swollen wrist. Then all our family
and kinsfolk and Senator and Mrs. Lodge's family and kinsfolk had our
Christmas dinner at the White House, and afterwards danced in the East
Room, closing up with the Virginia Reel.



TOM QUARTZ AND JACK

White House, Jan. 6, 1903.

DEAR KERMIT:

We felt very melancholy after you and Ted left and the house seemed
empty and lonely. But it was the greatest possible comfort to feel that
you both really have enjoyed school and are both doing well there.

Tom Quartz is certainly the cunningest kitten I have ever seen. He is
always playing pranks on Jack and I get very nervous lest Jack
should grow too irritated. The other evening they were both in the
library--Jack sleeping before the fire--Tom Quartz scampering about, an
exceedingly playful little wild creature--which is about what he is. He
would race across the floor, then jump upon the curtain or play with
the tassel. Suddenly he spied Jack and galloped up to him. Jack, looking
exceedingly sullen and shame-faced, jumped out of the way and got
upon the sofa, where Tom Quartz instantly jumped upon him again. Jack
suddenly shifted to the other sofa, where Tom Quartz again went after
him. Then Jack started for the door, while Tom made a rapid turn under
the sofa and around the table, and just as Jack reached the door leaped
on his hind-quarters. Jack bounded forward and away and the two went
tandem out of the room--Jack not reappearing at all; and after about
five minutes Tom Quartz stalked solemnly back.

Another evening the next Speaker of the House, Mr. Cannon, an
exceedingly solemn, elderly gentleman with chin whiskers, who certainly
does not look to be of playful nature, came to call upon me. He is a
great friend of mine, and we sat talking over what our policies for the
session should be until about eleven o'clock; and when he went away I
accompanied him to the head of the stairs. He had gone about half-way
down when Tom Quartz strolled by, his tail erect and very fluffy. He
spied Mr. Cannon going down the stairs, jumped to the conclusion that he
was a playmate escaping, and raced after him, suddenly grasping him by
the leg the way he does Archie and Quentin when they play hide and
seek with him; then loosening his hold he tore down-stairs ahead of Mr.
Cannon, who eyed him with iron calm and not one particle of surprise.

Ethel has reluctantly gone back to boarding-school. It is just after
lunch and Dulany is cutting my hair while I dictate this to Mr. Loeb. I
left Mother lying on the sofa and reading aloud to Quentin, who as usual
has hung himself over the back of the sofa in what I should personally
regard as an exceedingly uncomfortable attitude to listen to literature.
Archie we shall not see until this evening, when he will suddenly
challenge me either to a race or a bear play, and if neither invitation
is accepted will then propose that I tell a pig story or else read aloud
from the Norse folk tales.



A FAR WESTERN TRIP

In April, 1903, President Roosevelt made a trip to the Pacific Coast,
visiting Yellowstone Park and the Grand Canyon of Arizona.



TAME WILD CREATURES

Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, April 16, 1903.

DARLING ETHEL:

I wish you could be here and see how tame all the wild creatures are. As
I write a dozen of deer have come down to the parade grounds, right in
front of the house, to get the hay; they are all looking at the bugler,
who has begun to play the "retreat."



WESTERN CUSTOMS AND SCENERY

Del Monte, Cal., May 10, 1903.

DARLING ETHEL:

I have thought it very good of you to write me so much. Of course I am
feeling rather fagged, and the next four days, which will include San
Francisco, will be tiresome; but I am very well. This is a beautiful
hotel in which we are spending Sunday, with gardens and a long
seventeen-mile drive beside the beach and the rocks and among the
pines and cypresses. I went on horseback. My horse was a little beauty,
spirited, swift, sure-footed and enduring. As is usually the case here
they had a great deal of silver on the bridle and headstall, and much
carving on the saddle. We had some splendid gallops. By the way, tell
mother that everywhere out here, from the Mississippi to the Pacific,
I have seen most of the girls riding astride, and most of the grown-up
women. I must say I think it very much better for the horses' backs. I
think by the time that you are an old lady the side-saddle will almost
have vanished--I am sure I hope so. I have forgotten whether you like
the side-saddle or not.

It was very interesting going through New Mexico and seeing the strange
old civilization of the desert, and next day the Grand Canyon of
Arizona, wonderful and beautiful beyond description. I could have sat
and looked at it for days. It is a tremendous chasm, a mile deep and
several miles wide, the cliffs carved into battlements, amphitheatres,
towers and pinnacles, and the coloring wonderful, red and yellow and
gray and green. Then we went through the desert, passed across the
Sierras and came into this semi-tropical country of southern California,
with palms and orange groves and olive orchards and immense quantities
of flowers.



TREASURES FOR THE CHILDREN

Del Monte, Cal., May 10, 1903.

BLESSED KERMIT:

The last weeks' travel I have really enjoyed. Last Sunday and to-day
(Sunday) and also on Wednesday at the Grand Canyon I had long rides, and
the country has been strange and beautiful. I have collected a variety
of treasures, which I shall have to try to divide up equally among you
children. One treasure, by the way, is a very small badger, which I
named Josiah, and he is now called Josh for short. He is very
cunning and I hold him in my arms and pet him. I hope he will grow up
friendly--that is if the poor little fellow lives to grow up at all.
Dulany is taking excellent care of him, and we feed him on milk and
potatoes.

I have enjoyed meeting an old classmate of mine at Harvard. He was
heavyweight boxing champion when I was in college.

I was much interested in your seeing the wild deer. That was quite
remarkable. To-day, by the way, as I rode along the beach I saw seals,
cormorants, gulls and ducks, all astonishingly tame.



MORE TREASURES

Del Monte, Cal., May 10, 1903.

BLESSED ARCHIE:

I think it was very cunning for you and Quentin to write me that letter
together. I wish you could have been with me to-day on Algonquin, for we
had a perfectly lovely ride. Dr. Rixey and I were on two very handsome
horses, with Mexican saddles and bridles; the reins of very slender
leather with silver rings. The road led through pine and cypress forests
and along the beach. The surf was beating on the rocks in one place and
right between two of the rocks where I really did not see how anything
could swim a seal appeared and stood up on his tail half out of the
foaming water and flapped his flippers, and was as much at home as
anything could be. Beautiful gulls flew close to us all around, and
cormorants swam along the breakers or walked along the beach.

I have a number of treasures to divide among you children when I get
back. One of the treasures is Bill the Lizard. He is a little live
lizard, called a horned frog, very cunning, who lives in a small box.
The little badger, Josh, is very well and eats milk and potatoes. We
took him out and gave him a run in the sand to-day. So far he seems as
friendly as possible. When he feels hungry he squeals and the colored
porters insist that he says "Du-la-ny, Du-la-ny," because Dulany is very
good to him and takes care of him.



A HOMESICK PRESIDENT

Del Monte, Cal., May 10, 1903.

DEAREST QUENTY-QUEE

I loved your letter. I am very homesick for mother and for you children;
but I have enjoyed this week's travel. I have been among the orange
groves, where the trees have oranges growing thick upon them, and there
are more flowers than you have ever seen. I have a gold top which I
shall give you if mother thinks you can take care of it. Perhaps I
shall give you a silver bell instead. Whenever I see a little boy being
brought up by his father or mother to look at the procession as we pass
by, I think of you and Archie and feel very homesick. Sometimes little
boys ride in the procession on their ponies, just like Archie on
Algonquin.



JOSIAH'S PASSIONATE DAY

Writing Senator Lodge on June 6, 1903, describing his return to the
White House from his western trip, the President said:

"Josiah, the young badger, is hailed with the wildest enthusiasm by the
children, and has passed an affectionate but passionate day with us.
Fortunately his temper seems proof."



LOVES AND SPORTS OF THE CHILDREN

(To Miss Emily T. Carow)

Oyster Bay, Aug. 6, 1903.

To-day is Edith's birthday, and the children have been too cunning in
celebrating it. Ethel had hemstitched a little handkerchief herself, and
she had taken her gift and the gifts of all the other children into her
room and neatly wrapped them up in white paper and tied with ribbons.
They were for the most part taken down-stairs and put at her plate at
breakfast time. Then at lunch in marched Kermit and Ethel with a cake,
burning forty-two candles, and each candle with a piece of paper tied
to it purporting to show the animal or inanimate object from which
the candle came. All the dogs and horses--Renown, Bleistein, Yagenka,
Algonquin, Sailor Boy, Brier, Hector, etc., as well as Tom Quartz, the
cat, the extraordinarily named hens--such as Baron Speckle and Fierce,
and finally even the boats and that pomegranate which Edith gave Kermit
and which has always been known as Santiago, had each his or her or its
tag on a special candle.

Edith is very well this summer and looks so young and pretty. She rides
with us a great deal and loves Yagenka as much as ever. We also go
out rowing together, taking our lunch and a book or two with us. The
children fairly worship her, as they ought to, for a more devoted mother
never was known. The children themselves are as cunning and good as
possible. Ted is nearly as tall as I am and as tough and wiry as you
can imagine. He is a really good rider and can hold his own in walking,
running, swimming, shooting, wrestling, and boxing. Kermit is as cunning
as ever and has developed greatly. He and his inseparable Philip started
out for a night's camping in their best the other day. A driving storm
came up and they had to put back, really showing both pluck, skill and
judgment. They reached home, after having been out twelve hours, at nine
in the evening. Archie continues devoted to Algonquin and to Nicholas.
Ted's playmates are George and Jack, Aleck Russell, who is in Princeton,
and Ensign Hamner of the _Sylph_. They wrestle, shoot, swim, play
tennis, and go off on long expeditions in the boats. Quenty-quee has
cast off the trammels of the nursery and become a most active and
fearless though very good-tempered little boy. Really the children do
have an ideal time out here, and it is an ideal place for them. The
three sets of cousins are always together. I am rather disconcerted
by the fact that they persist in regarding me as a playmate. This
afternoon, for instance, was rainy, and all of them from George, Ted,
Lorraine and Ethel down to Archibald, Nicholas and Quentin, with the
addition of Aleck Russell and Ensign Hamner, came to get me to play with
them in the old barn. They plead so hard that I finally gave in, but
upon my word, I hardly knew whether it was quite right for the President
to be engaged in such wild romping as the next two hours saw. The barn
is filled with hay, and of course meets every requirement for the most
active species of hide-and-seek and the like. Quentin enjoyed the game
as much as any one, and would jump down from one hay level to another
fifteen feet below with complete abandon.

I took Kermit and Archie, with Philip, Oliver and Nicholas out for a
night's camping in the two rowboats last week. They enjoyed themselves
heartily, as usual, each sleeping rolled up in his blanket, and all
getting up at an unearthly hour. Also, as usual, they displayed a
touching and firm conviction that my cooking is unequalled. It was of a
simple character, consisting of frying beefsteak first and then potatoes
in bacon fat, over the camp fire; but they certainly ate in a way that
showed their words were not uttered in a spirit of empty compliment.



A PRESIDENT AT PLAY

(To Miss Emily T. Carow)

Oyster Bay, Aug. 16, 1903.

Archie and Nick continue inseparable. I wish you could have seen them
the other day, after one of the picnics, walking solemnly up, jointly
carrying a basket, and each with a captured turtle in his disengaged
hand. Archie is a most warm-hearted, loving, cunning little goose.
Quentin, a merry soul, has now become entirely one of the children, and
joins heartily in all their plays, including the romps in the old
barn. When Ethel had her birthday, the one entertainment for which she
stipulated was that I should take part in and supervise a romp in the
old barn, to which all the Roosevelt children, Ensign Hamner of the
_Sylph_, Bob Ferguson and Aleck Russell were to come. Of course I had
not the heart to refuse; but really it seems, to put it mildly, rather
odd for a stout, elderly President to be bouncing over hayricks in a
wild effort to get to goal before an active midget of a competitor, aged
nine years. However, it was really great fun.

One of our recent picnics was an innovation, due to Edith. We went in
carriages or on horseback to Jane's Hill, some eight miles distant. The
view was lovely, and there was a delightful old farmhouse half a mile
away, where we left our horses. Speck (German Ambassador, Count Speck
von Sternberg) rode with Edith and me, looking more like Hans Christian
Andersen's little tin soldier than ever. His papers as Ambassador had
finally come, and so he had turned up at Oyster Bay, together with the
Acting Secretary of State, to present them. He appeared in what was
really a very striking costume, that of a hussar. As soon as the
ceremony was over, I told him to put on civilized raiment, which he did,
and he spent a couple of days with me. We chopped, and shot, and rode
together. He was delighted with Wyoming, and, as always, was extremely
nice to the children.

The other day all the children gave amusing amateur theatricals, gotten
up by Lorraine and Ted. The acting was upon Laura Roosevelt's tennis
court. All the children were most cunning, especially Quentin as Cupid,
in the scantiest of pink muslin tights and bodice. Ted and Lorraine, who
were respectively George Washington and Cleopatra, really carried off
the play. At the end all the cast joined hands in a song and dance, the
final verse being devoted especially to me. I love all these children
and have great fun with them, and I am touched by the way in which they
feel that I am their special friend, champion, and companion.

To-day all, young and old, from the three houses went with us to
Service on the great battleship _Kearsarge_--for the fleet is here to be
inspected by me to-morrow. It was an impressive sight, one which I think
the children will not soon forget. Most of the boys afterward went to
lunch with the wretched Secretary Moody on the _Dolphin_. Ted had the
younger ones very much on his mind, and when he got back said they
had been altogether too much like a March Hare tea-party, as Archie,
Nicholas and Oliver were not alive to the dignity of the occasion.



TO TED ON A HUNTING TRIP

Oyster Bay, Aug. 25, 1903.

DEAR TED:

We have thought of you a good deal, of course. I am glad you have my
rifle with you--you scamp, does it still have "those associations" which
you alleged as the reason why you would value it so much when in the
near future I became unable longer to use it? I do not have very much
hope of your getting a great deal of sport on this trip, and anything
you do get in the way of furred or feathered game and fishing I shall
count as so much extra thrown in; but I feel the trip will teach you
a lot in the way of handling yourself in a wild country, as well as of
managing horses and camp outfits--of dealing with frontiersmen, etc. It
will therefore fit you to go on a regular camping trip next time.

I have sternly refused to allow mother to ride Wyoming, on the ground
that I would not have her make a martyr of herself in the shape of
riding a horse with a single-foot gait, which she so openly detests.
Accordingly, I have had some long and delightful rides with her, she on
Yagenka and I on Bleistein, while Ethel and Kermit have begun to ride
Wyoming. Kermit was with us this morning and got along beautifully till
we galloped, whereupon Wyoming made up his mind that it was a race, and
Kermit, for a moment or two, found him a handful.

On Sunday, after we came back from church and bathed, I rowed mother out
to the end of Lloyds Neck, near your favorite camping ground. There we
took lunch and spent a couple of hours with our books, reading a little
and looking out over the beautiful Sound and at the headlands and
white beaches of the coast. We rowed back through a strange, shimmering
sunset.

I have played a little tennis since you left. Winty Chandler beat me two
sets, but I beat him one. Alex. Russell beat me a long deuce set, 10 to
8. To-day the smaller children held their championship. Nick won a long
deuce set from Archie, and to my surprise Oliver and Ethel beat Kermit
and Philip in two straight sets. I officiated as umpire and furnished
the prizes, which were penknives.



END OF SUMMER AT OYSTER BAY

Oyster Bay, Sept. 23, 1903.

BLESSED KERMIT:

The house seems very empty without you and Ted, although I cannot
conscientiously say that it is quiet--Archie and Quentin attend to that.
Archie, barefooted, bareheaded, and with his usual faded blue overalls,
much torn and patched, has just returned from a morning with his beloved
Nick. Quentin has passed the morning in sports and pastimes with the
long-suffering secret service men. Allan has been associating closely
with mother and me. Yesterday Ethel went off riding with Lorraine. She
rode Wyoming, who is really turning out a very good family horse. This
evening I expect Grant La Farge and Owen Wister, who are coming to spend
the night. Mother is as busy as possible putting up the house, and Ethel
and I insist that she now eyes us both with a purely professional gaze,
and secretly wishes she could wrap us up in a neatly pinned sheet with
camphor balls inside. Good-bye, blessed fellow!



"VALUABLEST" KIND OF RABBITS

(To his sister, Mrs. W. S. Cowles)

White House, Oct. 2, 1903.

Tell Sheffield that Quentin is now going to the public school. As yet he
has preserved an attitude of dignified reserve concerning his feelings
on the subject. He has just been presented with two white rabbits, which
he brought in while we were at lunch yesterday, explaining that they
were "the valuablest kind with pink eyes."



A PREACHING LETTER

White House, Oct. 2, 1903.

DEAR KERMIT:

I was very glad to get your letter. Am glad you are playing football.
I should be very sorry to see either you or Ted devoting most of your
attention to athletics, and I haven't got any special ambition to see
you shine overmuch in athletics at college, at least (if you go there),
because I think it tends to take up too much time; but I do like to feel
that you are manly and able to hold your own in rough, hardy sports. I
would rather have a boy of mine stand high in his studies than high in
athletics, but I could a great deal rather have him show true manliness
of character than show either intellectual or physical prowess; and I
believe you and Ted both bid fair to develop just such character.

There! you will think this a dreadfully preaching letter! I suppose
I have a natural tendency to preach just at present because I am
overwhelmed with my work. I enjoy being President, and I like to do
the work and have my hand on the lever. But it is very worrying and
puzzling, and I have to make up my mind to accept every kind of attack
and misrepresentation. It is a great comfort to me to read the life and
letters of Abraham Lincoln. I am more and more impressed every day, not
only with the man's wonderful power and sagacity, but with his literally
endless patience, and at the same time his unflinching resolution.



PROPER PLACE FOR SPORTS

White House, Oct. 4, 1903.

DEAR TED:

In spite of the "Hurry! Hurry!" on the outside of your envelope, I did
not like to act until I had consulted Mother and thought the matter
over; and to be frank with you, old fellow, I am by no means sure that
I am doing right now. If it were not that I feel you will be so bitterly
disappointed, I would strongly advocate your acquiescing in the decision
to leave you off the second squad this year. I am proud of your pluck,
and I greatly admire football--though it was not a game I was ever able
to play myself, my qualities resembling Kermit's rather than yours. But
the very things that make it a good game make it a rough game, and there
is always the chance of your being laid up. Now, I should not in the
least object to your being laid up for a season if you were striving for
something worth while, to get on the Groton school team, for instance,
or on your class team when you entered Harvard--for of course I don't
think you will have the weight to entitle you to try for the 'varsity.
But I am by no means sure that it is worth your while to run the risk of
being laid up for the sake of playing in the second squad when you are
a fourth former, instead of when you are a fifth former. I do not know
that the risk is balanced by the reward. However, I have told the Rector
that as you feel so strongly about it, I think that the chance of your
damaging yourself in body is outweighed by the possibility of bitterness
of spirit if you could not play. Understand me, I should think mighty
little of you if you permitted chagrin to make you bitter on some point
where it was evidently right for you to suffer the chagrin. But in this
case I am uncertain, and I shall give you the benefit of the doubt. If,
however, the coaches at any time come to the conclusion that you ought
not to be in the second squad, why you must come off without grumbling.

I am delighted to have you play football. I believe in rough, manly
sports. But I do not believe in them if they degenerate into the sole
end of any one's existence. I don't want you to sacrifice standing well
in your studies to any over-athleticism; and I need not tell you that
character counts for a great deal more than either intellect or body in
winning success in life. Athletic proficiency is a mighty good servant,
and like so many other good servants, a mighty bad master. Did you ever
read Pliny's letter to Trajan, in which he speaks of its being advisable
to keep the Greeks absorbed in athletics, because it distracted their
minds from all serious pursuits, including soldiering, and prevented
their ever being dangerous to the Romans? I have not a doubt that the
British officers in the Boer War had their efficiency partly reduced
because they had sacrificed their legitimate duties to an inordinate and
ridiculous love of sports. A man must develop his physical prowess up
to a certain point; but after he has reached that point there are other
things that count more. In my regiment nine-tenths of the men were
better horsemen than I was, and probably two-thirds of them better shots
than I was, while on the average they were certainly hardier and more
enduring. Yet after I had had them a very short while they all knew, and
I knew too, that nobody else could command them as I could. I am glad
you should play football; I am glad that you should box; I am glad that
you should ride and shoot and walk and row as well as you do. I should
be very sorry if you did not do these things. But don't ever get into
the frame of mind which regards these things as constituting the end to
which all your energies must be devoted, or even the major portion of
your energies.

Yes, I am going to speak at Groton on prize day. I felt that while I was
President, and while you and Kermit were at Groton I wanted to come up
there and see you, and the Rector wished me to speak, and so I am very
glad to accept.

By the way, I am working hard to get Renown accustomed to automobiles.
He is such a handful now when he meets them that I seriously mind
encountering them when Mother is along. Of course I do not care if I am
alone, or with another man, but I am uneasy all the time when I am
out with Mother. Yesterday I tried Bleistein over the hurdles at Chevy
Chase. The first one was new, high and stiff, and the old rascal never
rose six inches, going slap through it. I took him at it again and he
went over all right.

I am very busy now, facing the usual endless worry and discouragement,
and trying to keep steadily in mind that I must not only be as resolute
as Abraham Lincoln in seeking to achieve decent ends, but as patient,
as uncomplaining, and as even-tempered in dealing, not only with knaves,
but with the well-meaning foolish people, educated and uneducated, who
by their unwisdom give the knaves their chance.



CONCERNING GETTING "SMASHED"

White House, Oct. 11, 1903.

DEAR TED:

I have received letters from the Rector, from Mr. Woods, and from Mr.
Billings. They all say that you should play on the third squad, and Mr.
Woods says you are now satisfied to do so. This was my first, and as I
am convinced, my real judgment in the case. If you get mashed up now in
a serious way it may prevent your playing later. As I think I wrote you,
I do not in the least object to your getting smashed if it is for
an object that is worth while, such as playing on the Groton team or
playing on your class team when you get to Harvard. But I think it a
little silly to run any imminent risk of a serious smash simply to play
on the second squad instead of the third.

I am judging for you as I would for myself. When I was young and
rode across country I was light and tough, and if I did, as actually
happened, break an arm or a rib no damage ensued and no scandal was
caused. Now I am stiff and heavy, and any accident to me would cause
immense talk, and I do not take the chance; simply because it is not
worth while. On the other hand, if I should now go to war and have a
brigade as I had my regiment before Santiago, I should take any chance
that was necessary; because it would be worth while. In other words, I
want to make the risk to a certain accident commensurate with the object
gained.



THE ART OF UNCLE REMUS

(To Joel Chandler Harris)

White House, Oct. 12, 1901.

MY DEAR HARRIS:

It is worth while being President when one's small daughter receives
that kind of an autograph gift. When I was younger than she is, my
Aunt Annie Bulloch, of Georgia, used to tell me some of the brer rabbit
stories, especially brer rabbit and the tar baby. But fond though I
am of the brer rabbit stories I think I am even fonder of your other
writings. I doubt if there is a more genuinely pathetic tale in all our
literature than "Free Joe." Moreover I have felt that all that you
write serves to bring our people closer together. I know, of course, the
ordinary talk is that an artist should be judged purely by his art; but
I am rather a Philistine and like to feel that the art serves a good
purpose. Your art is not only an art addition to our sum of national
achievement, but it has also always been an addition to the forces
that tell for decency, and above all for the blotting out of sectional
antagonism.



A RIDE AND A PILLOW FIGHT

White House, Oct. 19, 1903.

DEAR KERMIT:

I was much pleased at your being made captain of your eleven. I would
rather have you captain of the third eleven than playing on the second.

Yesterday afternoon Ethel on Wyoming, Mother on Yagenka and I on Renown
had a long ride, the only incident being meeting a large red automobile,
which much shook Renown's nerves, although he behaved far better than he
has hitherto been doing about automobiles. In fact, he behaved so well
that I leaned over and gave him a lump of sugar when he had passed the
object of terror--the old boy eagerly turning his head around to get it.
It was lovely out in the country, with the trees at their very best
of the fall coloring. There are no red maples here, but the Virginia
creepers and some of the dogwoods give the red, and the hickories, tulip
trees and beeches a brilliant yellow, sometimes almost orange.

When we got home Mother went up-stairs first and was met by Archie and
Quentin, each loaded with pillows and whispering not to let me know that
they were in ambush; then as I marched up to the top they assailed me
with shrieks and chuckles of delight and then the pillow fight raged up
and down the hall. After my bath I read them from Uncle Remus. Usually
Mother reads them, but now and then, when I think she really must have a
holiday from it, I read them myself.



STUDY AND PLAY

White House, Oct. 24, 1903.

DEAR TED:

I am really greatly pleased at your standing so high in your form, and I
am sure that this year it is better for you to be playing where you are
in football. I suppose next year you will go back to your position of
end, as you would hardly be heavy enough for playing back, or to play
behind the centre, against teams with big fellows. I repeat that your
standing in the class gave me real pleasure. I have sympathized so
much with your delight in physical prowess and have been so glad at the
success you have had, that sometimes I have been afraid I have failed to
emphasize sufficiently the fact that of course one must not subordinate
study and work to the cultivation of such prowess. By the way, I am
sorry to say that I am falling behind physically. The last two or three
years I have had a tendency to rheumatism, or gout, or something of the
kind, which makes me very stiff.

Renown is behaving better about automobiles and the like. I think the
difference is largely in the way I handle him. He is a very good-natured
and gentle horse, but timid and not over-wise, and when in a panic his
great strength makes him well-nigh uncontrollable. Accordingly, he is a
bad horse to try to force by anything. If possible, it is much better
to give him a little time, and bring him up as gently as may be to the
object of terror. When he behaves well I lean forward and give him a
lump of sugar, and now the old boy eagerly puts around his head when
I stretch out my hand. Bleistein I have ridden very little, because I
think one of his forelegs is shaky, and I want to spare him all I can.
Mother and I have had the most lovely rides imaginable.



QUENTIN'S FIRST FALL

White House, Oct. 24, 1903.

DEAR KERMIT:

Yesterday I felt rather seedy, having a touch of Cuban fever, my only
unpleasant reminiscence of the Santiago campaign. Accordingly, I spent
the afternoon in the house lying on the sofa, with a bright fire burning
and Mother in the rocking-chair, with her knitting, beside me. I felt
so glad that I was not out somewhere in the wilderness, campaigning or
hunting, where I would have to walk or ride all day in the rain and then
lie out under a bush at night!

When Allan will come from the trainer's I do not know. Rather to my
surprise, Ronald has won golden opinions and really is a very nice dog.
Pinckney loves him, and he sits up in the express wagon just as if it
was what he had been born to.

Quentin is learning to ride the pony. He had one tumble, which, he
remarked philosophically, did not hurt him any more than when I whacked
him with a sofa cushion in one of our pillow fights. I think he will
very soon be able to manage the pony by himself.

Mother has just taken the three children to spend the afternoon at
Dr. Rixey's farm. I am hard at work on my message to Congress, and
accordingly shall not try to go out or see any one either this afternoon
or this evening. All of this work is terribly puzzling at times, but I
peg away at it, and every now and then, when the dust clears away and
I look around, I feel that I really have accomplished a little, at any
rate.

I think you stood well in your form, taking everything into account. I
feel you deserve credit for being captain of your football eleven, and
yet standing as high as you do in your class.



HOMESICK FOR SAGAMORE HILL

White House, Nov. 4, 1903.

DEAR TED:

Three cheers for Groton! It was first-class.

On election day I saw the house, and it was all so lovely that I felt
fairly homesick to be back in it. The Japanese maples were still in full
leaf and were turning the most beautiful shades of scarlet imaginable.
The old barn, I am sorry to say, seems to be giving away at one end.

Renown now behaves very well about automobiles, and indeed about
everything. He is, however, a little touched in the wind. Bleistein, in
spite of being a little shaky in one foreleg, is in splendid spirits
and eager for any amount of go. When you get on here for the Christmas
holidays you will have to try them both, for if there is any fox hunting
I am by no means sure you will find it better to take Bleistein than
Renown.

Sister is very handsome and good, having had a delightful time.

That was a funny trick which the Indians played against Harvard. Harvard
did well to play such a successful uphill game in the latter part of
the second half as to enable them to win out; but I do not see how she
stands a chance of success against Yale this year.



JOY OVER A FOOTBALL VICTORY

White House, Nov. 4, 1903.

DEAR KERMIT:

To-night while I was preparing to dictate a message to Congress
concerning the boiling caldron on the Isthmus of Panama, which has now
begun to bubble over, up came one of the ushers with a telegram from you
and Ted about the football match. Instantly I bolted into the next room
to read it aloud to mother and sister, and we all cheered in unison when
we came to the Rah! Rah! Rah! part of it. It was a great score. I wish I
could have seen the game.



VICE-MOTHER OF THE CHILDREN

White House, Nov. 15, 1903.

DEAR KERMIT:

Didn't I tell you about Hector, Brier and Sailor Boy (dogs) when I saw
them on election day? They were in excellent health, lying around the
door of Seaman's house, which they had evidently adopted as their own.
Sailor Boy and Brier were exceedingly affectionate; Hector kindly, but
uninterested.

Mother has gone off for nine days, and as usual I am acting as
vice-mother. Archie and Quentin are really too cunning for anything.
Each night I spend about three-quarters of an hour reading to them. I
first of all read some book like Algonquin Indian Tales, or the poetry
of Scott or Macaulay. Once I read them Jim Bludsoe, which perfectly
enthralled them and made Quentin ask me at least a hundred questions,
including one as to whether the colored boy did not find sitting on the
safety valve hot. I have also been reading them each evening from the
Bible. It has been the story of Saul, David and Jonathan. They have been
so interested that several times I have had to read them more than one
chapter. Then each says his prayers and repeats the hymn he is learning,
Quentin usually jigging solemnly up and down while he repeats it. Each
finally got one hymn perfect, whereupon in accordance with previous
instructions from mother I presented each of them with a five-cent
piece. Yesterday (Saturday) I took both of them and Ethel, together with
the three elder Garfield boys, for a long scramble down Rock Creek. We
really had great fun.



QUENTIN'S SIXTH BIRTHDAY

White House, Nov. 19, 1903.

DEAR KERMIT:

I was much pleased at your being chosen captain of the Seventh. I
had not expected it. I rather suspect that you will be behind in your
studies this month. If so, try to make up next month, and keep above
the middle of the class if you can. I am interested in what you tell me
about the Sir Galahads, and I shall want to talk to you about them when
you come on.

Mother is back with Aunt Emily, who looks very well. It is so nice to
have her. As for Mother, of course she makes the house feel like a home
again, instead of like a temporary dwelling.

Leo is as cunning as ever. Pinckney went to see Allan yesterday and said
he found him "as busy as a bee in a tar barrel," and evidently owning
all the trainer's house. He is not yet quite fit to come back here.

To-day is Quentin's birthday. He has a cold, so he had his birthday
cake, with the six candles, and his birthday ice-cream, in the nursery,
with Ethel, Archie, Mother, Aunt Emily, myself, Mame and Georgette as
admiring guests and onlookers.



A PRESIDENT'S POOR PROTECTION

White House, Nov. 28, 1903.

DEAR KERMIT:

It was very sad at Uncle Gracie's funeral; and yet lovely, too, in a
way, for not only all his old friends had turned out, but all of the
people connected with the institutions for which he had worked during
so many years also came. There were a good many of the older boys
and employees from the Newsboys' Lodging House and the Orthopaedic
Dispensary, etc. Uncle Jimmy possessed a singularly loving and
affectionate nature, and I never knew any one who in doing good was more
careful to do it unostentatiously. I had no idea how much he had done.
Mother with her usual thoughtfulness had kept him steadily in mind while
I have been Governor and President; and I now find that he appreciated
her so much, her constant remembrances in having him on to visit us on
different occasions. It was a lesson to me, for I should probably never
have thought of it myself; and of course when one does not do what one
ought to, the excuse that one erred from thoughtlessness instead of
wrong purpose is of small avail.

The police arrangements at the church were exasperating to a degree.
There were fully five hundred policemen in the streets round about, just
as if there was danger of an attack by a ferocious mob; and yet though
they had throngs of policemen inside, too, an elderly and harmless crank
actually got inside with them to present me some foolish memorial about
curing the German Emperor from cancer. Inasmuch as what we needed
was, not protection against a mob, but a sharp lookout for cranks, the
arrangement ought by rights to have been for fifty policemen outside
and two or three good detectives inside. I felt like a fool with all the
policemen in solemn and purposeless lines around about; and then I felt
half exasperated and half amused when I found that they were utterly
helpless to prevent a crank from getting inside after all.

P. S.--I enclose two original poems by Nick and Archie. They refer to a
bit of unhappy advice I gave them, because of which I fell into richly
merited disgrace with Mother. Nick has been spending three days or so
with Archie, and I suggested that they should explore the White House in
the mirk of midnight. They did, in white sheets, and, like little jacks,
barefooted. Send me back the poems.



TED'S SPRAINED ANKLE

White House, Nov. 28, 1903.

DEAR TED:

If I were you I should certainly get the best ankle support possible.
You do not want to find next fall that Webb beats you for end because
your ankle gives out and his does not. If I were in your place, if it
were necessary, I should put the ankle in plaster for the next three
weeks, or for as long as the doctor thinks it needful, rather than run
any risk of this. At any rate, I would consult him and wear whatever he
thinks is the right thing.

. . . . .

I wonder if you are old enough yet to care for a good history of the
American Revolution. If so, I think I shall give you mine by Sir George
Trevelyan; although it is by an Englishman, I really think it on the
whole the best account I have read. If I give it to you you must be very
careful of it, because he sent it to me himself.

P. S.--The Bond parrot for mother has turned up; it is a most
meritorious parrot, very friendly, and quite a remarkable talker.



THE SUPREME CHRISTMAS JOY

(To his sister, Mrs. Douglas Robinson)

White House, Dec. 26, 1903.

. . . . .

We had a delightful Christmas yesterday--just such a Christmas thirty or
forty years ago we used to have under Father's and Mother's supervision
in 20th street and 57th street. At seven all the children came in to
open the big, bulgy stockings in our bed; Kermit's terrier, Allan, a
most friendly little dog, adding to the children's delight by occupying
the middle of the bed. From Alice to Quentin, each child was absorbed
in his or her stocking, and Edith certainly managed to get the most
wonderful stocking toys. Bob was in looking on, and Aunt Emily, of
course. Then, after breakfast, we all formed up and went into the
library, where bigger toys were on separate tables for the children.
I wonder whether there ever can come in life a thrill of greater
exaltation and rapture than that which comes to one between the ages of
say six and fourteen, when the library door is thrown open and you walk
in to see all the gifts, like a materialized fairy land, arrayed on your
special table?



A DAY WITH A JUGGLER

White House, Jan. 18, 1904.

DEAR KERMIT:

Thursday and Friday there was a great deal of snow on the ground, and
the weather was cold, so that Mother and I had two delightful rides up
Rock Creek. The horses were clipped and fresh, and we were able to let
them go along at a gallop, while the country was wonderfully beautiful.

To-day, after lunch, Mother took Ethel, Archie and Quentin, each with a
friend, to see some most wonderful juggling and sleight of hand tricks
by Kellar. I went along and was as much interested as any of the
children, though I had to come back to my work in the office before it
was half through. At one period Ethel gave up her ring for one of the
tricks. It was mixed up with the rings of five other little girls, and
then all six rings were apparently pounded up and put into a pistol and
shot into a collection of boxes, where five of them were subsequently
found, each tied around a rose. Ethel's, however, had disappeared, and
he made believe that it had vanished, but at the end of the next trick a
remarkable bottle, out of which many different liquids had been poured,
suddenly developed a delightful white guinea pig, squirming and kicking
and looking exactly like Admiral Dewey, with around its neck Ethel's
ring, tied by a pink ribbon. Then it was wrapped up in a paper, handed
to Ethel; and when Ethel opened it, behold, there was no guinea pig, but
a bunch of roses with a ring.



MERITS OF MILITARY AND CIVIL LIFE

White House, Jan. 21, 1904.

DEAR TED:

This will be a long business letter. I sent to you the examination
papers for West Point and Annapolis. I have thought a great deal over
the matter, and discussed it at great length with Mother. I feel on the
one hand that I ought to give you my best advice, and yet on the other
hand I do not wish to seem to constrain you against your wishes. If you
have definitely made up your mind that you have an overmastering desire
to be in the Navy or the Army, and that such a career is the one in
which you will take a really heart-felt interest--far more so than any
other--and that your greatest chance for happiness and usefulness
will lie in doing this one work to which you feel yourself especially
drawn--why, under such circumstances, I have but little to say. But I am
not satisfied that this is really your feeling. It seemed to me more as
if you did not feel drawn in any other direction, and wondered what you
were going to do in life or what kind of work you would turn your hand
to, and wondered if you could make a success or not; and that you are
therefore inclined to turn to the Navy or Army chiefly because you would
then have a definite and settled career in life, and could hope to go
on steadily without any great risk of failure. Now, if such is your
thought, I shall quote to you what Captain Mahan said of his son when
asked why he did not send him to West Point or Annapolis. "I have too
much confidence in him to make me feel that it is desirable for him to
enter either branch of the service."

I have great confidence in you. I believe you have the ability and,
above all, the energy, the perseverance, and the common sense, to
win out in civil life. That you will have some hard times and some
discouraging times I have no question; but this is merely another way of
saying that you will share the common lot. Though you will have to work
in different ways from those in which I worked, you will not have to
work any harder, nor to face periods of more discouragement. I trust in
your ability, and especially your character, and I am confident you will
win.

In the Army and the Navy the chance for a man to show great ability and
rise above his fellows does not occur on the average more than once in a
generation. When I was down at Santiago it was melancholy for me to see
how fossilized and lacking in ambition, and generally useless, were most
of the men of my age and over, who had served their lives in the Army.
The Navy for the last few years has been better, but for twenty years
after the Civil War there was less chance in the Navy than in the Army
to practise, and do, work of real consequence. I have actually known
lieutenants in both the Army and the Navy who were grandfathers--men
who had seen their children married before they themselves attained the
grade of captain. Of course the chance may come at any time when the
man of West Point or Annapolis who will have stayed in the Army or Navy
finds a great war on, and therefore has the opportunity to rise high.
Under such circumstances, I think that the man of such training who has
actually left the Army or the Navy has even more chance of rising than
the man who has remained in it. Moreover, often a man can do as I did in
the Spanish War, even though not a West Pointer.

This last point raises the question about you going to West Point
or Annapolis and leaving the Army or Navy after you have served the
regulation four years (I think that is the number) after graduation from
the academy. Under this plan you would have an excellent education and
a grounding in discipline and, in some ways, a testing of your capacity
greater than I think you can get in any ordinary college. On the other
hand, except for the profession of an engineer, you would have had
nothing like special training, and you would be so ordered about, and
arranged for, that you would have less independence of character than
you could gain from them. You would have had fewer temptations; but
you would have had less chance to develop the qualities which overcome
temptations and show that a man has individual initiative. Supposing you
entered at seventeen, with the intention of following this course. The
result would be that at twenty-five you would leave the Army or Navy
without having gone through any law school or any special technical
school of any kind, and would start your life work three or four years
later than your schoolfellows of to-day, who go to work immediately
after leaving college. Of course, under such circumstances, you might
study law, for instance, during the four years after graduation; but my
own feeling is that a man does good work chiefly when he is in something
which he intends to make his permanent work, and in which he is deeply
interested. Moreover, there will always be the chance that the number of
officers in the Army or Navy will be deficient, and that you would have
to stay in the service instead of getting out when you wished.

I want you to think over all these matters very seriously. It would be a
great misfortune for you to start into the Army or Navy as a career, and
find that you had mistaken your desires and had gone in without really
weighing the matter.

You ought not to enter unless you feel genuinely drawn to the life as a
life-work. If so, go in; but not otherwise.

Mr. Loeb told me to-day that at 17 he had tried for the army, but
failed. The competitor who beat him in is now a captain; Mr. Loeb has
passed him by, although meanwhile a war has been fought. Mr. Loeb says
he wished to enter the army because he did not know what to do, could
not foresee whether he would succeed or fail in life, and felt the army
would give him "a living and a career." Now if this is at bottom your
feeling I should advise you not to go in; I should say yes to some boys,
but not to you; I believe in you too much, and have too much confidence
in you.



ROOT AND TAFT

White House, Feb. 6, 1904.

DEAR TED:

I was glad to hear that you were to be confirmed.

Secretary Root left on Monday and Governor Taft took his place. I have
missed, and shall miss, Root dreadfully. He has been the ablest, most
generous and most disinterested friend and adviser that any President
could hope to have; and immediately after leaving he rendered me a great
service by a speech at the Union League Club, in which he said in most
effective fashion the very things I should have liked him to say; and
his words, moreover, carried weight as the words of no other man at this
time addressing such an audience could have done. Taft is a splendid
fellow and will be an aid and comfort in every way. But, as mother says,
he is too much like me to be able to give me as good advice as Mr. Root
was able to do because of the very differences of character between us.

If after fully thinking the matter over you remain firmly convinced that
you want to go into the army, well and good. I shall be rather sorry for
your decision, because I have great confidence in you and I believe that
in civil life you could probably win in the end a greater prize than
will be open to you if you go into the army--though, of course, a man
can do well in the army. I know perfectly well that you will have
hard times in civil life. Probably most young fellows when they have
graduated from college, or from their post-graduate course, if they take
any, feel pretty dismal for the first few years. In ordinary cases it
at first seems as if their efforts were not leading anywhere, as if
the pressure around the foot of the ladder was too great to permit
of getting up to the top. But I have faith in your energy, your
perseverance, your ability, and your power to force yourself to the
front when you have once found out and taken your line. However, you and
I and mother will talk the whole matter over when you come back here on
Easter.



SENATOR HANNA'S DEATH

White House, Feb. 19, 1904.

DEAR TED:

Poor Hanna's death was a tragedy. At the end he wrote me a note, the
last he ever wrote, which showed him at his best, and which I much
appreciate. His death was very sad for his family and close friends, for
he had many large and generous traits, and had made a great success in
life by his energy, perseverance and burly strength.

Buffalo Bill was at lunch the other day, together with John Willis,
my old hunter. Buffalo Bill has always been a great friend of mine. I
remember when I was running for Vice-President I struck a Kansas town
just when the Wild West show was there. He got upon the rear platform of
my car and made a brief speech on my behalf, ending with the statement
that "a cyclone from the West had come; no wonder the rats hunted their
cellars!"

. . . . .

As for you, I think the West Point education is, of course, good for any
man, but I still think that you have too much in you for me to be glad
to see you go into the Army, where in time of peace progress is so much
a matter of routine.



IRRITATING REMARK BY QUENTIN

White House, Feb. 27, 1904.

DEAR KERMIT:

Mother went off for three days to New York and Mame and Quentin took
instant advantage of her absence to fall sick. Quentin's sickness was
surely due to a riot in candy and ice-cream with chocolate sauce. He was
a very sad bunny next morning and spent a couple of days in bed. Ethel,
as always, was as good as gold both to him and to Archie, and largely
relieved me of my duties as vice-mother. I got up each morning in time
to breakfast with Ethel and Archie before they started for school, and I
read a certain amount to Quentin, but this was about all. I think Archie
escaped with a minimum of washing for the three days. One day I asked
him before Quentin how often he washed his face, whereupon Quentin
interpolated, "very seldom, I fear," which naturally produced from
Archie violent recriminations of a strongly personal type. Mother came
back yesterday, having thoroughly enjoyed Parsifal. All the horses
continue sick.



JAPANESE WRESTLING

White House, March 5, 1904.

DEAR KERMIT:

. . . . .

I am wrestling with two Japanese wrestlers three times a week. I am
not the age or the build one would think to be whirled lightly over an
opponent's head and batted down on a mattress without damage. But they
are so skilful that I have not been hurt at all. My throat is a little
sore, because once when one of them had a strangle hold I also got hold
of his windpipe and thought I could perhaps choke him off before he
could choke me. However, he got ahead.


White House, April 9, 1904.

DEAR TED:

I am very glad I have been doing this Japanese wrestling, but when I am
through with it this time I am not at all sure I shall ever try it again
while I am so busy with other work as I am now. Often by the time I get
to five o'clock in the afternoon I will be feeling like a stewed owl,
after an eight hours' grapple with Senators, Congressmen, etc.; then I
find the wrestling a trifle too vehement for mere rest. My right
ankle and my left wrist and one thumb and both great toes are swollen
sufficiently to more or less impair their usefulness, and I am well
mottled with bruises elsewhere. Still I have made good progress, and
since you left they have taught me three new throws that are perfect
corkers.



LOVE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE

White House, May 28, 1904.

DEAR TED:

. . . . .

I am having a reasonable amount of work and rather more than a
reasonable amount of worry. But, after all, life is lovely here. The
country is beautiful, and I do not think that any two people ever got
more enjoyment out of the White House than Mother and I. We love
the house itself, without and within, for its associations, for
its stillness and its simplicity. We love the garden. And we like
Washington. We almost always take our breakfast on the south portico
now, Mother looking very pretty and dainty in her summer dresses. Then
we stroll about the garden for fifteen or twenty minutes, looking at
the flowers and the fountain and admiring the trees. Then I work until
between four and five, usually having some official people to lunch--now
a couple of Senators, now a couple of Ambassadors, now a literary
man, now a capitalist or a labor leader, or a scientist, or a big-game
hunter. If Mother wants to ride, we then spend a couple of hours on
horseback. We had a lovely ride up on the Virginia shore since I came
back, and yesterday went up Rock Creek and swung back home by the roads
where the locust trees were most numerous--for they are now white with
blossoms. It is the last great burst of bloom which we shall see this
year except the laurels. But there are plenty of flowers in bloom or
just coming out, the honeysuckle most conspicuously. The south portico
is fragrant with that now. The jasmine will be out later. If we don't
ride, I walk or play tennis. But I am afraid Ted has gotten out of his
father's class in tennis!



PETER RABBIT'S FUNERAL

White House, May 28, 1904.

DEAR KERMIT:

It was great fun seeing you and Ted, and I enjoyed it to the full.

Ethel, Archie and Quentin have gone to Mount Vernon to-day with the
Garfield boys. Yesterday poor Peter Rabbit died and his funeral was held
with proper state. Archie, in his overalls, dragged the wagon with the
little black coffin in which poor Peter Rabbit lay. Mother walked behind
as chief mourner, she and Archie solemnly exchanging tributes to the
worth and good qualities of the departed. Then he was buried, with a
fuchsia over the little grave.

You remember Kenneth Grahame's account of how Harold went to the circus
and sang the great spheral song of the circus? Well, yesterday Mother
leaned out of her window and heard Archie, swinging under a magnolia
tree, singing away to himself, "I'm going to Sagamore, to Sagamore, to
Sagamore. I'm going to Sagamore, oh, to Sagamore!" It was his spheral
song of joy and thanksgiving.

The children's delight at going to Sagamore next week has completely
swallowed up all regret at leaving Mother and me. Quentin is very
cunning. He and Archie love to play the hose into the sandbox and then,
with their thigh rubber boots on, to get in and make fortifications. Now
and then they play it over each other. Ethel is playing tennis quite a
good deal.

I think Yagenka is going to come out all right, and Bleistein, too.

I have no hope for Wyoming or Renown. Fortunately, Rusty is serving us
well.


White House, June 12th, 1904.

BLESSED QUENTY-QUEE:

The little birds in the nest in the vines on the garden fence are nearly
grown up. Their mother still feeds them.

You see the mother bird with a worm in her beak, and the little birds
with their beaks wide open!

I was out walking the other day and passed the Zoo; there I fed with
grass some of the two-year-old elk; the bucks had their horns "in the
velvet." I fed them through the bars.


White House, June 12th, 1904.

BLESSED ARCHIE-KINS:

Give my love to Mademoiselle; I hope you and Quenty are _very_ good with
her--and don't play in the library!

I loved your letter, and think you were very good to write.

All kinds of live things are sent me from time to time. The other day an
eagle came; this morning an owl.

(I have drawn him holding a rat in one claw.)

We sent both to the Zoo.

The other day while walking with Mr. Pinchot and Mr. Garfield we climbed
into the Blagden deer park and almost walked over such a pretty wee
fawn, all spotted; it ran off like a little race horse.

It made great jumps and held its white tail straight in the air.


White House, June 21, 1904.

DEAR QUENTY-QUEE:

The other day when out riding what should I see in the road ahead of me
but a real B'rer Terrapin and B'rer Rabbit. They were sitting solemnly
beside one another and looked just as if they had come out of a book;
but as my horse walked along B'rer Rabbit went lippity lippity lippity
off into the bushes and B'rer Terrapin drew in his head and legs till I
passed.



CHARMS OF VALLEY FORGE

White House, June 21, 1904.

DEAREST ETHEL:

I think you are a little trump and I love your letter, and the way you
take care of the children and keep down the expenses and cook bread
and are just your own blessed busy cunning self. You would have enjoyed
being at Valley Forge with us on Sunday. It is a beautiful place, and,
of course, full of historic associations. The garden here is lovely. A
pair of warbling vireos have built in a linden and sing all the time.
The lindens, by the way, are in bloom, and Massachusetts Avenue is
fragrant with them. The magnolias are all in bloom, too, and the jasmine
on the porch.



WASHINGTON'S COMPANIONS AT VALLEY FORGE

White House, June 21, 1904.

DEAR TED:

Mother and I had a most lovely ride the other day, way up beyond Sligo
Creek to what is called North-west Branch, at Burnt Mills, where is a
beautiful gorge, deep and narrow, with great boulders and even cliffs.
Excepting Great Falls it is the most beautiful place around here. Mother
scrambled among the cliffs in her riding habit, very pretty and
most interesting. The roads were good and some of the scenery really
beautiful. We were gone four hours, half an hour being occupied with the
scrambling in the gorge.

Saturday we went to the wedding of Teddy Douglas and Helen. It was
a beautiful wedding in every way and I am very fond of both of them.
Sunday we spent at Attorney-General Knox's at Valley Forge, and most
unexpectedly I had to deliver a little address at the church in the
afternoon, as they are trying to build a memorial to Washington. Think
of the fact that in Washington's army that winter among the junior
officers were Alexander Hamilton, Monroe and Marshall--a future
President of the United States, the future Chief Justice who was to do
such wonderful work for our Government, and the man of most brilliant
mind--Hamilton--whom we have ever developed in this country.



ON THE EVE OF NOMINATION FOR PRESIDENT

White House, June 21, 1904.

DEAR KERMIT:

We spent to-day at the Knoxes'. It is a beautiful farm--just such a
one as you could run. Phil Knox, as capable and efficient as he is
diminutive, amused Mother and me greatly by the silent way in which he
did in first-rate way his full share of all the work.

To-morrow the National Convention meets, and barring a cataclysm I shall
be nominated. There is a great deal of sullen grumbling, but it
has taken more the form of resentment against what they think is my
dictation as to details than against me personally. They don't dare
to oppose me for the nomination and I suppose it is hardly likely the
attempt will be made to stampede the Convention for any one. How the
election will turn out no man can tell. Of course I hope to be elected,
but I realize to the full how very lucky I have been, not only to be
President but to have been able to accomplish so much while President,
and whatever may be the outcome, I am not only content but very
sincerely thankful for all the good fortune I have had. From Panama down
I have been able to accomplish certain things which will be of lasting
importance in our history. Incidentally, I don't think that any family
has ever enjoyed the White House more than we have. I was thinking about
it just this morning when Mother and I took breakfast on the portico
and afterwards walked about the lovely grounds and looked at the stately
historic old house. It is a wonderful privilege to have been here and to
have been given the chance to do this work, and I should regard myself
as having a small and mean mind if in the event of defeat I felt soured
at not having had more instead of being thankful for having had so much.



PICTURE LETTER

White House, June 22, 1904.

DARLING ETHEL,

Here goes for the picture letter!

Ethel administers necessary discipline to Archie and Quentin.

Ethel gives sick Yagenka a bottle of medicine.

Father playing tennis with Mr. Cooley. (Father's shape and spectacles
are reproduced with photographic fidelity; also notice Mr. Cooley's
smile.)

Leo chases a squirrel which fortunately he can't catch.

A nice policeman feeding a squirrel with bread; I fed two with bread
this afternoon.

There! My invention has given out. Mother and Aunt Emily have been on a
picnic down the river with General Crozier; we have been sitting on the
portico in the moonlight. Sister is _very_ good.

Your loving father.



BILL THE LIZARD

White House, June 21, 1904.

BLESSED ARCHIKINS:

The other day when Mother and I were walking down the steps of the big
south porch we saw a movement among the honeysuckles and there was Bill
the lizard--your lizard that you brought home from Mount Vernon. We have
seen him several times since and he is evidently entirely at home
here. The White House seems big and empty without any of you children
puttering around it, and I think the ushers miss you very much. I play
tennis in the late afternoons unless I go to ride with Mother.



ON THE EVE OF ELECTION

White House, Oct. 15, 1904.

DARLING KERMIT:

The weather has been beautiful the last week--mild, and yet with the
true feeling of Fall in the air. When Mother and I have ridden up Rock
Creek through the country round about, it has been a perpetual delight
just to look at the foliage. I have never seen leaves turn more
beautifully. The Virginia creepers and some of the maple and gum trees
are scarlet and crimson. The oaks are deep red brown. The beeches,
birches and hickories are brilliant saffron. Just at this moment I am
dictating while on my way with Mother to the wedding of Senator Knox's
daughter, and the country is a blaze of color as we pass through it, so
that it is a joy to the eye to look upon it. I do not think I have ever
before seen the colorings of the woods so beautiful so far south as
this. Ted is hard at work with Matt. Hale, who is a very nice fellow
and has become quite one of the household, like good Mademoiselle. I am
really fond of her. She is so bright and amusing and now seems perfectly
happy, and is not only devoted to Archie and Quentin but is very wise
in the way she takes care of them. Quentin, under parental duress, rides
Algonquin every day. Archie has just bought himself a football suit, but
I have not noticed that he has played football as yet. He is spending
Saturday and Sunday out at Dr. Rixey's. Ted plays tennis with Matt. Hale
and me and Mr. Cooley. We tied Dan Moore. You could beat him. Yesterday
I took an afternoon off and we all went for a scramble and climb down
the other side of the Potomac from Chain Bridge home. It was great fun.
To-morrow (Sunday) we shall have lunch early and spend the afternoon in
a drive of the entire family, including Ethel, but not including Archie
and Quentin, out to Burnt Mills and back. When I say we all scrambled
along the Potomac, I of course only meant Matt. Hale and Ted and I.
Three or four active male friends took the walk with us.

In politics things at the moment seem to look quite right, but every
form of lie is being circulated by the Democrats, and they intend
undoubtedly to spring all kinds of sensational untruths at the very end
of the campaign. I have not any idea whether we will win or not. Before
election I shall send you my guess as to the way the different States
will vote, and then you can keep it and see how near to the truth I
come. But of course you will remember that it is a mere guess, and that
I may be utterly mistaken all along the line. In any event, even if I am
beaten you must remember that we have had three years of great enjoyment
out of the Presidency and that we are mighty lucky to have had them.

I generally have people in to lunch, but at dinner, thank fortune, we
are usually alone. Though I have callers in the evening, I generally
have an hour in which to sit with Mother and the others up in the
library, talking and reading and watching the bright wood fire. Ted and
Ethel, as well as Archie and Quentin, are generally in Mother's room
for twenty minutes or a half hour just before she dresses, according to
immemorial custom.

Last evening Mother and I and Ted and Ethel and Matt. Hale went to the
theatre to see "The Yankee Consul," which was quite funny.



BIG JIM WHITE

White House, Dec. 3, 1904.

BLESSED KERMIT:

The other day while Major Loeffler was marshalling the usual stream
of visitors from England, Germany, the Pacific slope, etc., of warm
admirers from remote country places, of bridal couples, etc., etc., a
huge man about six feet four, of middle age, but with every one of his
great sinews and muscles as fit as ever, came in and asked to see me
on the ground that he was a former friend. As the line passed he
was introduced to me as Mr. White. I greeted him in the usual rather
perfunctory manner, and the huge, rough-looking fellow shyly remarked,
"Mr. Roosevelt, maybe you don't recollect me. I worked on the roundup
with you twenty years ago next spring. My outfit joined yours at the
mouth of the Box Alder." I gazed at him, and at once said, "Why it is
big Jim." He was a great cow-puncher and is still riding the range in
northwestern Nebraska. When I knew him he was a tremendous fighting man,
but always liked me. Twice I had to interfere to prevent him from half
murdering cowboys from my own ranch. I had him at lunch, with a mixed
company of home and foreign notabilities.

Don't worry about the lessons, old boy. I know you are studying hard.
Don't get cast down. Sometimes in life, both at school and afterwards,
fortune will go against any one, but if he just keeps pegging away and
doesn't lose his courage things always take a turn for the better in the
end.



WINTER LIFE IN THE WHITE HOUSE

White House, Dec. 17, 1904.

BLESSED KERMIT:

For a week the weather has been cold--down to zero at night and rarely
above freezing in the shade at noon. In consequence the snow has lain
well, and as there has been a waxing moon I have had the most delightful
evening and night rides imaginable. I have been so busy that I have been
unable to get away until after dark, but I went in the fur jacket Uncle
Will presented to me as the fruit of his prize money in the Spanish War;
and the moonlight on the glittering snow made the rides lovelier than
they would have been in the daytime. Sometimes Mother and Ted went with
me, and the gallops were delightful. To-day it has snowed heavily again,
but the snow has been so soft that I did not like to go out, and
besides I have been worked up to the limit. There has been skating and
sleigh-riding all the week.

The new black "Jack" dog is becoming very much at home and very fond of
the family.

With Archie and Quentin I have finished "The Last of the Mohicans," and
have now begun "The Deerslayer." They are as cunning as ever, and this
reading to them in the evening gives me a chance to see them that I
would not otherwise have, although sometimes it is rather hard to get
time.

Mother looks very young and pretty. This afternoon she was most busy,
taking the little boys to the theatre and then going to hear Ethel sing.
Ted, very swell in his first tail coat, is going out to take supper at
Secretary Morton's, whose pretty daughter is coming out to-night.

In a very few days now we shall see you again.



PLAYMATE OF THE CHILDREN

(To Mr. and Mrs. Emlen Roosevelt)

White House, Jan. 4, 1905.

I am really touched at the way in which your children as well as my own
treat me as a friend and playmate. It has its comic side. Thus, the last
day the boys were here they were all bent upon having me take them for a
scramble down Rock Creek. Of course, there was absolutely no reason why
they could not go alone, but they obviously felt that my presence was
needed to give zest to the entertainment. Accordingly, off I went, with
the two Russell boys, George, Jack, and Philip, and Ted, Kermit, and
Archie, with one of Archie's friends--a sturdy little boy who, as Archie
informed me, had played opposite to him in the position of centre rush
last fall. I do not think that one of them saw anything incongruous
in the President's getting as bedaubed with mud as they got, or in my
wiggling and clambering around jutting rocks, through cracks, and up
what were really small cliff faces, just like the rest of them; and
whenever any one of them beat me at any point, he felt and expressed
simple and whole-hearted delight, exactly as if it had been a triumph
over a rival of his own age.



A JAPANESE BOY'S LETTER

(To Dr. William Sturgis Bigelow)

White House, Jan. 14, 1905.

DEAR STURGIS:

Last year, when I had Professor Yamashita teach me the "Jiudo"--as they
seem now to call Jiu Jitsu--the naval attache here, Commander Takashita,
used to come around here and bring a young lad, Kitgaki, who is now
entering Annapolis. I used to wrestle with them both. They were very
fond of Archie and were very good to him. This Christmas Kitgaki sent
from Annapolis a little present to Archie, who wrote to thank him, and
Kitgaki sent him a letter back that we like so much that I thought you
might enjoy it, as it shows so nice a trait in the Japanese character.
It runs as follows:

"My dearest boy:

"I received your nice letter. I thank you ever so much. I am very very
glad that you have receive my small present.

"I like you very very much. When I have been in Jiudo room with your
father and you, your father was talking to us about the picture of
the cavalry officer. In that time, I saw some expression on your face.
Another remembering of you is your bravery when you sleped down from a
tall chair. The two rememberings can't leave from my head.

"I returned here last Thursday and have plenty lesson, so my work is
hard, hard, hard, more than Jiudo.

"I hope your good health.

"I am,

"Sincerely yours,

"A. KITGAKI."

Isn't it a nice letter?



ON COUNTING DAYS AND WRESTLING

White House, Feb. 24, 1905.

DARLING KERMIT:

I puzzled a good deal over your marks. I am inclined to think that one
explanation is that you have thought so much of home as to prevent your
really putting your whole strength into your studies. It is most natural
that you should count the days before coming home, and write as you do
that it will only be 33 days, only 26 days, only 19 days, etc., but at
the same time it seems to me that perhaps this means that you do not
really put all your heart and all your head effort into your work; and
that if you are able to, it would be far better to think just as little
as possible about coming home and resolutely set yourself to putting
your best thought into your work. It is an illustration of the old adage
about putting your hand to the plow and then looking back. In after
life, of course, it is always possible that at some time you may have to
go away for a year or two from home to do some piece of work. If during
that whole time you only thought day after day of how soon you would get
home I think you would find it difficult to do your best work; and maybe
this feeling may be partly responsible for the trouble with the lessons
at school.

Wednesday, Washington's Birthday, I went to Philadelphia and made
a speech at the University of Pennsylvania, took lunch with the
Philadelphia City Troop and came home the same afternoon with less
fatigue than most of my trips cost me; for I was able to dodge the awful
evening banquet and the night on the train which taken together drive
me nearly melancholy mad. Since Sunday we have not been able to ride.
I still box with Grant, who has now become the champion middleweight
wrestler of the United States. Yesterday afternoon we had Professor
Yamashita up here to wrestle with Grant. It was very interesting, but of
course jiu jitsu and our wrestling are so far apart that it is difficult
to make any comparison between them. Wrestling is simply a sport with
rules almost as conventional as those of tennis, while jiu jitsu is
really meant for practice in killing or disabling our adversary. In
consequence, Grant did not know what to do except to put Yamashita on
his back, and Yamashita was perfectly content to be on his back. Inside
of a minute Yamashita had choked Grant, and inside of two minutes more
he got an elbow hold on him that would have enabled him to break his
arm; so that there is no question but that he could have put Grant out.
So far this made it evident that the jiu jitsu man could handle the
ordinary wrestler. But Grant, in the actual wrestling and throwing
was about as good as the Japanese, and he was so much stronger that he
evidently hurt and wore out the Japanese. With a little practice in the
art I am sure that one of our big wrestlers or boxers, simply because
of his greatly superior strength, would be able to kill any of those
Japanese, who though very good men for their inches and pounds are
altogether too small to hold their own against big, powerful, quick men
who are as well trained.



SPRING IN WASHINGTON

White House, March 20, 1905.

DEAR KERMIT:

Poor John Hay has been pretty sick. He is going away to try to pick up
his health by a sea voyage and rest. I earnestly hope he succeeds, not
only because of my great personal fondness for him, but because from
the standpoint of the nation it would be very difficult to replace him.
Every Sunday on my way home from church I have been accustomed to stop
in and see him. The conversation with him was always delightful, and
during these Sunday morning talks we often decided important questions
of public policy.

I paid a scuttling visit to New York on Friday to give away Eleanor at
her marriage, and to make two speeches--one to the Friendly Sons of St.
Patrick and one to the Sons of the American Revolution.

Mother and I have been riding a good deal, and the country is now
lovely. Moreover, Ted and Matt and I have begun playing tennis.

The birds have come back. Not only song-sparrows and robins, but a
winter wren, purple finches and tufted titmice are singing in the
garden; and the other morning early Mother and I were waked up by the
loud singing of a cardinal bird in the magnolia tree just outside our
windows.

Yesterday afternoon Archie and Quentin each had a little boy to see
him. They climbed trees, sailed boats in the fountain, and dug in the
sand-box like woodcocks.

Poor Mr. Frank Travers died last night. I was very sorry. He has been a
good friend to me.



A HUNTING TRIP

Colorado Springs, Colorado, April 14, 1905.

BLESSED KERMIT:

I hope you had as successful a trip in Florida as I have had in Texas
and Oklahoma. The first six days were of the usual Presidential tour
type, but much more pleasant than ordinarily, because I did not have
to do quite as much speaking, and there was a certain irresponsibility
about it all, due I suppose in part to the fact that I am no longer a
candidate and am free from the everlasting suspicion and ill-natured
judgment which being a candidate entails. However, both in Kentucky, and
especially in Texas, I was received with a warmth and heartiness
that surprised me, while the Rough Riders' reunion at San Antonio was
delightful in every way.

Then came the five days wolf hunting in Oklahoma, and this was unalloyed
pleasure, except for my uneasiness about Auntie Bye and poor little
Sheffield. General Young, Dr. Lambert and Roly Fortescue were each in
his own way just the nicest companions imaginable, my Texas hosts were
too kind and friendly and open-hearted for anything. I want to have
the whole party up at Washington next winter. The party got seventeen
wolves, three coons, and any number of rattlesnakes. I was in at the
death of eleven wolves. The other six wolves were killed by members of
the party who were off with bunches of dogs in some place where I was
not. I never took part in a run which ended in the death of a wolf
without getting through the run in time to see the death. It was
tremendous galloping over cut banks, prairie dog towns, flats, creek
bottoms, everything. One run was nine miles long and I was the only man
in at the finish except the professional wolf hunter Abernethy, who is
a really wonderful fellow, catching the wolves alive by thrusting his
gloved hands down between their jaws so that they cannot bite. He caught
one wolf alive, tied up this wolf, and then held it on the saddle,
followed his dogs in a seven-mile run and helped kill another wolf. He
has a pretty wife and five cunning children of whom he is very proud,
and introduced them to me, and I liked him much. We were in the saddle
eight or nine hours every day, and I am rather glad to have thirty-six
hours' rest on the cars before starting on my Colorado bear hunt.



ABERNETHY THE WOLF HUNTER

Colorado Springs, Colorado, April 20, 1905.

DEAR TED:

I do wish you could have been along on this trip. It has been great
fun. In Oklahoma our party got all told seventeen coyotes with the
greyhounds. I was in at the death of eleven, the only ones started by
the dogs with which I happened to be. In one run the three Easterners
covered themselves with glory, as Dr. Lambert, Roly Fortescue and I were
the only ones who got through excepting Abernethy, the wolf hunter. It
happened because it was a nine-mile run and all the cowboys rode their
horses to a standstill in the first three or four miles, after which I
came bounding along, like Kermit in the paper chase, and got to the end
in time to see the really remarkable feat of Abernethy jumping on to the
wolf, thrusting his gloved hand into its mouth, and mastering it then
and there. He never used a knife or a rope in taking these wolves,
seizing them by sheer quickness and address and thrusting his hand into
the wolf's mouth in such a way that it lost all power to bite. You would
have loved Tom Burnett, the son of the big cattle man. He is a splendid
fellow, about thirty years old, and just the ideal of what a young
cattle man should be.

Up here we have opened well. We have two cracker jacks as guides--John
Goff, my old guide on the mountain lion hunt, and Jake Borah, who has
somewhat the Seth Bullock type of face. We have about thirty dogs,
including one absurd little terrier about half Jack's size, named Skip.
Skip trots all day long with the hounds, excepting when he can persuade
Mr. Stewart, or Dr. Lambert, or me to take him up for a ride, for which
he is always begging. He is most affectionate and intelligent, but when
there is a bear or lynx at bay he joins in the fight with all the fury
of a bull dog, though I do not think he is much more effective than
one of your Japanese mice would be. I should like to bring him home for
Archie or Quentin. He would go everywhere with them and would ride Betsy
or Algonquin.

On the third day out I got a fine big black bear, an old male who would
not tree, but made what they call in Mississippi a walking bay with the
dogs, fighting them off all the time. The chase lasted nearly two hours
and was ended by a hard scramble up a canyon side; and I made a pretty
good shot at him as he was walking off with the pack around him. He
killed one dog and crippled three that I think will recover, besides
scratching others. My 30-40 Springfield worked to perfection on the
bear.

I suppose you are now in the thick of your studies and will have but
little time to rest after the examinations. I shall be back about the
18th, and then we can take up our tennis again. Give my regards to Matt.

I am particularly pleased that Maurice turned out so well. He has always
been so pleasant to me that I had hoped he would turn out all right in
the end.



PRAIRIE GIRLS

Divide Creek, Colo., April 26, 1905.

DARLING ETHEL:

Of course you remember the story of the little prairie girl. I always
associate it with you. Well, again and again on this trip we would pass
through prairie villages--bleak and lonely--with all the people in from
miles about to see me. Among them were often dozens of young girls,
often pretty, and as far as I could see much more happy than the heroine
of the story. One of them shook hands with me, and then, after much
whispering, said: "We want to shake hands with the guard!" The "guard"
proved to be Roly, who was very swell in his uniform, and whom they
evidently thought much more attractive than the President, both in age
and looks.

There are plenty of ranchmen round here; they drive over to camp to see
me, usually bringing a cake, or some milk and eggs, and are very nice
and friendly. About twenty of the men came out with me, "to see the
President shoot a bear"; and fortunately I did so in the course of an
exhausting twelve hours' ride. I am very homesick for you all.



BEARS, BOBCATS AND SKIP

Glenwood Springs, Colorado, May 2, 1905.

BLESSED KERMIT:

I was delighted to get your letter. I am sorry you are having such a
hard time in mathematics, but hope a couple of weeks will set you all
right. We have had a very successful hunt. All told we have obtained ten
bear and three bobcats. Dr. Lambert has been a perfect trump. He is
in the pink of condition, while for the last week I have been a little
knocked out by the Cuban fever. Up to that time I was simply in splendid
shape. There is a very cunning little dog named Skip, belonging to John
Goff's pack, who has completely adopted me. I think I shall take him
home to Archie. He likes to ride on Dr. Lambert's horse, or mine, and
though he is not as big as Jack, takes eager part in the fight with
every bear and bobcat.

I am sure you will enjoy your trip to Deadwood with Seth Bullock, and as
soon as you return from Groton I shall write to him about it. I have now
become very homesick for Mother, and shall be glad when the 12th of May
comes and I am back in the White House.



HOME AGAIN WITH SKIP

White House, May 14, 1905.

DEAR KERMIT:

Here I am back again, and mighty glad to be back. It was perfectly
delightful to see Mother and the children, but it made me very homesick
for you. Of course I was up to my ears in work as soon as I reached the
White House, but in two or three days we shall be through it and can
settle down into our old routine.

Yesterday afternoon we played tennis, Herbert Knox Smith and I beating
Matt and Murray. To-day I shall take cunning mother out for a ride.

Skip accompanied me to Washington. He is not as yet entirely at home in
the White House and rather clings to my companionship. I think he will
soon be fond of Archie, who loves him dearly. Mother is kind to Skip,
but she does not think he is an aristocrat as Jack is. He is a very
cunning little dog all the same.

Mother walked with me to church this morning and both the past evenings
we have been able to go out into the garden and sit on the stone benches
near the fountain. The country is too lovely for anything, everything
being a deep, rich, fresh green.

I had a great time in Chicago with the labor union men. They made what
I regarded as a rather insolent demand upon me, and I gave them some
perfectly straight talk about their duty and about the preservation of
law and order. The trouble seems to be increasing there, and I may have
to send Federal troops into the city--though I shall not do so unless it
is necessary.



SKIP IN THE WHITE HOUSE

White House, May 14, 1905.

DEAR KERMIT:

That was a good mark in Latin, and I am pleased with your steady
improvement in it.

Skip is housebroken, but he is like a real little Indian. He can stand
any amount of hard work if there is a bear or bobcat ahead, but now that
he is in the White House he thinks he would much rather do nothing but
sit about all day with his friends, and threatens to turn into a lapdog.
But when we get him to Oyster Bay I think we can make him go out riding
with us, and then I think he will be with Archie a great deal. He and
Jack are rather jealous of one another. He is very cunning and friendly.
I am immensely pleased with Mother's Virginia cottage and its name. I am
going down there for Sunday with her some time soon.

P. S.--Your marks have just come! By George, you have worked hard and I
am delighted. Three cheers!



OFFICERS OF TOGO'S FLEET

White House, June 6, 1905.

DEAR KERMIT:

Next Friday I am going down with Mother to spend a couple of days at
Pine Knot, which Mother loves just as Ethel loves Fidelity. She and I
have had some lovely rides together, and if I do not go riding with her
I play tennis with Ted and some of his and my friends. Yesterday Ted and
one of his friends played seven sets of tennis against Mr. Cooley and me
and beat us four to three. In the evening Commander Takashita brought in
half a dozen Japanese naval officers who had been with Togo's fleet off
Port Arthur and had taken part in the fleet actions, the attacks
with the torpedo-boat flotilla, and so forth. I tell you they were a
formidable-looking set and evidently dead game fighters!



A PRESIDENT AS COOK

White House, June 11, 1905.

DEAR KERMIT:

Mother and I have just come home from a lovely trip to "Pine Knot." It
is really a perfectly delightful little place; the nicest little place
of the kind you can imagine. Mother is a great deal more pleased with
it than any child with any toy I ever saw. She went down the day before,
Thursday, and I followed on Friday morning. Good Mr. Joe Wilmer met me
at the station and we rode on horseback to "Round Top," where we met
Mother and Mr. Willie Wilmer. We all had tea there and then drove to
"Plain Dealing," where we had dinner. Of course I loved both "Round Top"
and "Plain Dealing," and as for the two Mr. Wilmers, they are the most
generous, thoughtful, self-effacing friends that any one could wish to
see. After dinner we went over to "Pine Knot," put everything to order
and went to bed. Next day we spent all by ourselves at "Pine Knot." In
the morning I fried bacon and eggs, while Mother boiled the kettle for
tea and laid the table. Breakfast was most successful, and then Mother
washed the dishes and did most of the work, while I did odd jobs. Then
we walked about the place, which is fifteen acres in all, saw the lovely
spring, admired the pine trees and the oak trees, and then Mother lay
in the hammock while I cut away some trees to give us a better view from
the piazza. The piazza is the real feature of the house. It is broad and
runs along the whole length and the roof is high near the wall, for it
is a continuation of the roof of the house. It was lovely to sit there
in the rocking-chairs and hear all the birds by daytime and at night the
whippoorwills and owls and little forest folk.

Inside the house is just a bare wall with one big room below, which is
nice now, and will be still nicer when the chimneys are up and there
is a fireplace in each end. A rough flight of stairs leads above, where
there are two rooms, separated by a passageway. We did everything for
ourselves, but all the food we had was sent over to us by the dear
Wilmers, together with milk. We cooked it ourselves, so there was no one
around the house to bother us at all. As we found that cleaning dishes
took up an awful time we only took two meals a day, which was all we
wanted. On Saturday evening I fried two chickens for dinner, while
Mother boiled the tea, and we had cherries and wild strawberries, as
well as biscuits and cornbread. To my pleasure Mother greatly enjoyed
the fried chicken and admitted that what you children had said of the
way I fried chicken was all true. In the evening we sat out a long
time on the piazza, and then read indoors and then went to bed. Sunday
morning we did not get up until nine. Then I fried Mother some beefsteak
and some eggs in two frying-pans, and she liked them both very much. We
went to church at the dear little church where the Wilmers' father and
mother had been married, dined soon after two at "Plain Dealing," and
then were driven over to the station to go back to Washington. I rode
the big black stallion--Chief--and enjoyed it thoroughly. Altogether we
had a very nice holiday.

I was lucky to be able to get it, for during the past fortnight,
and indeed for a considerable time before, I have been carrying on
negotiations with both Russia and Japan, together with side negotiations
with Germany, France and England, to try to get the present war stopped.
With infinite labor and by the exercise of a good deal of tact and
judgment--if I do say it myself--I have finally gotten the Japanese and
Russians to agree to meet to discuss the terms of peace. Whether they
will be able to come to an agreement or not I can't say. But it is worth
while to have obtained the chance of peace, and the only possible way to
get this chance was to secure such an agreement of the two powers that
they would meet and discuss the terms direct. Of course Japan will want
to ask more than she ought to ask, and Russia to give less than she
ought to give. Perhaps both sides will prove impracticable. Perhaps one
will. But there is the chance that they will prove sensible, and make a
peace, which will really be for the interest of each as things are now.
At any rate the experiment was worth trying. I have kept the secret very
successfully, and my dealings with the Japanese in particular have been
known to no one, so that the result is in the nature of a surprise.



QUENTIN'S QUAINT SAYINGS

Oyster Bay, N. Y., Aug. 26, 1905.

DEAR KERMIT:

Mr. Phil Stewart and Dr. Lambert spent a night here, Quentin greeting
the former with most cordial friendship, and in explanation stating that
he always liked to get acquainted with everybody. I take Hall to chop,
and he plays tennis with Phil and Oliver, and rides with Phil and
Quentin. The Plunger (a submarine) has come to the Bay and I am going
out in it this afternoon--or rather down on it. N. B.--I have just been
down, for 50 minutes; it was very interesting.

Last night I listened to Mother reading "The Lances of Linwood" to the
two little boys and then hearing them their prayers. Then I went into
Archie's room, where they both showed all their china animals; I read
them Laura E. Richards' poems, including "How does the President take
his tea?" They christened themselves Punkey Doodle and Jollapin, from
the chorus of this, and immediately afterwards I played with them on
Archie's bed. First I would toss Punkey Doodle (Quentin) on Jollapin
(Archie) and tickle Jollapin while Punkey Doodle squalled and wiggled on
top of him, and then reverse them and keep Punkey Doodle down by heaving
Jollapin on him, while they both kicked and struggled until my shirt
front looked very much the worse for wear. You doubtless remember
yourself how bad it was for me, when I was dressed for dinner, to play
with all you scamps when you were little.

The other day a reporter asked Quentin something about me; to which that
affable and canny young gentleman responded, "Yes, I see him sometimes;
but I know nothing of his family life."



ADVICE REGARDING NEWSPAPER ANNOYANCES

When Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., entered Harvard as a freshman he had to
pay the penalty of being a President's son. Newspaper reporters followed
all his movements, especially in athletics, and he was the victim of
many exaggerated and often purely fictitious accounts of his doings.
His father wrote him indignant and sympathetic letters, two of which are
reproduced here.


White House, October 2, 1905.

BLESSED OLD TED:

The thing to do is to go on just as you have evidently been doing,
attract as little attention as possible, do not make a fuss about the
newspaper men, camera creatures, and idiots generally, letting it be
seen that you do not like them and avoid them, but not letting them
betray you into any excessive irritation. I believe they will soon drop
you, and it is just an unpleasant thing that you will have to live down.
Ted, I have had an enormous number of unpleasant things that I have had
to live down in my life at different times and you have begun to have
them now. I saw that you were not out on the football field on Saturday
and was rather glad of it, as evidently those infernal idiots were
eagerly waiting for you, but whenever you do go you will have to make up
your mind that they will make it exceedingly unpleasant for you for once
or twice, and you will just have to bear it; for you can never in the
world afford to let them drive you away from anything you intend to do,
whether it is football or anything else, and by going about your own
business quietly and pleasantly, doing just what you would do if they
were not there, generally they will get tired of it, and the boys
themselves will see that it is not your fault, and will feel, if
anything, rather a sympathy for you. Meanwhile I want you to know that
we are all thinking of you and sympathizing with you the whole time; and
it is a great comfort to me to have such confidence in you and to know
that though these creatures can cause you a little trouble and make you
feel a little downcast, they can not drive you one way or the other, or
make you alter the course you have set out for yourself.

We were all of us, I am almost ashamed to say, rather blue at getting
back in the White House, simply because we missed Sagamore Hill so much.
But it is very beautiful and we feel very ungrateful at having even a
passing fit of blueness, and we are enjoying it to the full now. I have
just seen Archie dragging some fifty foot of hose pipe across the tennis
court to play in the sand-box. I have been playing tennis with Mr.
Pinchot, who beat me three sets to one, the only deuce-set being the one
I won.

This is just an occasion to show the stuff there is in you. Do not
let these newspaper creatures and kindred idiots drive you one hair's
breadth from the line you had marked out in football or anything else.
Avoid any fuss, if possible.


White House, October 11, 1905.

DEAR TED:

I was delighted to find from your last letters that you are evidently
having a pretty good time in spite of the newspaper and kodak creatures.
I guess that nuisance is now pretty well abated. Every now and then
they will do something horrid; but I think you can safely, from now on,
ignore them entirely.

I shall be interested to hear how you get on, first of all with your
studies, in which you seem to have started well, and next with football.
I expected that you would find it hard to compete with the other
candidates for the position of end, as they are mostly heavier than you;
especially since you went off in weight owing to the excitement of your
last weeks of holiday in the summer. Of course the fact that you are
comparatively light tells against you and gives you a good deal to
overcome; and undoubtedly it was from this standpoint not a good thing
that you were unable to lead a quieter life toward the end of your stay
at Oyster Bay.

So it is about the polo club. In my day we looked with suspicion upon
all freshman societies, and the men who tried to get them up or were
prominent in them rarely amounted to much in the class afterwards; and
it has happened that I have heard rather unfavorably of the polo club.
But it may be mere accident that I have thus heard unfavorably about it,
and in thirty years the attitude of the best fellows in college to
such a thing as a freshman club may have changed so absolutely that my
experience can be of no value. Exercise your own best judgment and form
some idea of what the really best fellows in the class think on the
subject. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the men who are merely
undeveloped are really the best fellows, no matter how pleasant and
agreeable they are or how popular. Popularity is a good thing, but it
is not something for which to sacrifice studies or athletics or good
standing in any way; and sometimes to seek it overmuch is to lose it. I
do not mean this as applying to you, but as applying to certain men who
still have a great vogue at first in the class, and of whom you will
naturally tend to think pretty well.

In all these things I can only advise you in a very general way. You are
on the ground. You know the men and the general college sentiment. You
have gone in with the serious purpose of doing decently and honorably;
of standing well in your studies; of showing that in athletics you mean
business up to the extent of your capacity, and of getting the respect
and liking of your classmates so far as they can be legitimately
obtained. As to the exact methods of carrying out these objects, I must
trust to you.



INCIDENTS OF A SOUTHERN TRIP

White House, Nov. 1, 1905.

DEAR KERMIT:

I had a great time in the South, and it was very nice indeed having Mr.
John McIlhenny and Mr. John Greenway with me. Of course I enjoyed most
the three days when Mother was there. But I was so well received and
had so many things to say which I was really glad to say, that the whole
trip was a success. When I left New Orleans on the little lighthouse
tender to go down to the gulf where the big war ship was awaiting me, we
had a collision. I was standing up at the time and the shock pitched me
forward so that I dove right through the window, taking the glass all
out except a jagged rim round the very edge. But I went through so
quickly that I received only some minute scratches on my face and hands
which, however, bled pretty freely. I was very glad to come up the coast
on the squadron of great armored cruisers.

In the gulf the weather was hot and calm, but soon after rounding
Florida and heading northward we ran into a gale. Admiral Brownson is a
regular little gamecock and he drove the vessels to their limit. It was
great fun to see the huge warcraft pounding steadily into the gale and
forging onward through the billows. Some of the waves were so high that
the water came clean over the flying bridge forward, and some of the
officers were thrown down and badly bruised. One of the other ships lost
a man overboard, and although we hunted for him an hour and a half we
could not get him, and had a boat smashed in the endeavor.

When I got back here I found sister, very interesting about her Eastern
trip. She has had a great time, and what is more, she has behaved mighty
well under rather trying circumstances. Ethel was a dear, as always, and
the two little boys were as cunning as possible. Sister had brought them
some very small Japanese fencing armor, which they had of course put on
with glee, and were clumsily fencing with wooden two-handed swords.
And they had also rigged up in the dark nursery a gruesome man with
a pumpkin head, which I was ushered in to see, and in addition to the
regular eyes, nose, and saw-tooth mouth, Archie had carved in the back
of the pumpkin the words "Pumpkin Giant," the candle inside illuminating
it beautifully. Mother was waiting for me at the Navy Yard, looking
too pretty for anything, when I arrived. She and I had a ride this
afternoon. Of course I am up to my ears in work.

The mornings are lovely now, crisp and fresh; after breakfast Mother and
I walk around the grounds accompanied by Skip, and also by Slipper, her
bell tinkling loudly. The gardens are pretty dishevelled now, but the
flowers that are left are still lovely; even yet some honeysuckle is
blooming on the porch.



POETS AND PRINCES

White House, November 6, 1905.

DEAR KERMIT:

Just a line, for I really have nothing to say this week. I have caught
up with my work. One day we had a rather forlorn little poet and
his nice wife in at lunch. They made me feel quite badly by being
so grateful at my having mentioned him in what I fear was a very
patronizing and, indeed, almost supercilious way, as having written an
occasional good poem. I am much struck by Robinson's two poems which you
sent Mother. What a queer, mystical creature he is! I did not understand
one of them--that about the gardens--and I do not know that I like
either of them quite as much as some of those in "The Children of the
Night." But he certainly has got the real spirit of poetry in him.
Whether he can make it come out I am not quite sure.

Prince Louis of Battenberg has been here and I have been very much
pleased with him. He is a really good admiral, and in addition he is a
well-read and cultivated man and it was charming to talk with him. We
had him and his nephew, Prince Alexander, a midshipman, to lunch alone
with us, and we really enjoyed having them. At the State dinner he sat
between me and Bonaparte, and I could not help smiling to myself in
thinking that here was this British Admiral seated beside the American
Secretary of the Navy--the American Secretary of the Navy being the
grandnephew of Napoleon and the grandson of Jerome, King of Westphalia;
while the British Admiral was the grandson of a Hessian general who was
the subject of King Jerome and served under Napoleon, and then, by no
means creditably, deserted him in the middle of the Battle of Leipsic.

I am off to vote to-night.



NOVELS AND GAMES

White House, November 19, 1905.

DEAR KERMIT:

I sympathize with every word you say in your letter, about Nicholas
Nickleby, and about novels generally. Normally I only care for a novel
if the ending is good, and I quite agree with you that if the hero has
to die he ought to die worthily and nobly, so that our sorrow at the
tragedy shall be tempered with the joy and pride one always feels when
a man does his duty well and bravely. There is quite enough sorrow and
shame and suffering and baseness in real life, and there is no need for
meeting it unnecessarily in fiction. As Police Commissioner it was
my duty to deal with all kinds of squalid misery and hideous and
unspeakable infamy, and I should have been worse than a coward if I had
shrunk from doing what was necessary; but there would have been no use
whatever in my reading novels detailing all this misery and squalor and
crime, or at least in reading them as a steady thing. Now and then there
is a powerful but sad story which really is interesting and which really
does good; but normally the books which do good and the books which
healthy people find interesting are those which are not in the least
of the sugar-candy variety, but which, while portraying foulness and
suffering when they must be portrayed, yet have a joyous as well as a
noble side.

We have had a very mild and open fall. I have played tennis a good deal,
the French Ambassador being now quite a steady playmate, as he and
I play about alike; and I have ridden with Mother a great deal. Last
Monday when Mother had gone to New York I had Selous, the great African
hunter, to spend the day and night. He is a perfect old dear; just as
simple and natural as can be and very interesting. I took him, with Bob
Bacon, Gifford Pinchot, Ambassador Meyer and Jim Garfield, for a
good scramble and climb in the afternoon, and they all came to
dinner afterwards. Before we came down to dinner I got him to spend
three-quarters of an hour in telling delightfully exciting lion and
hyena stories to Ethel, Archie and Quentin. He told them most vividly
and so enthralled the little boys that the next evening I had to tell
them a large number myself.

To-day is Quentin's birthday and he loved his gifts, perhaps most of all
the weest, cunningest live pig you ever saw, presented him by Straus.
Phil Stewart and his wife and boy, Wolcott (who is Archie's age), spent
a couple of nights here. One afternoon we had hide-and-go-seek, bringing
down Mr. Garfield and the Garfield boys, and Archie turning up with the
entire football team, who took a day off for the special purpose. We had
obstacle races, hide-and-go-seek, blind-man's buff, and everything else;
and there were times when I felt that there was a perfect shoal of small
boys bursting in every direction up and down stairs, and through and
over every conceivable object.

Mother and I still walk around the grounds every day after breakfast.
The gardens, of course, are very, very dishevelled now, the snap-dragons
holding out better than any other flowers.



CHRISTMAS PRESENT TO HIS OLD NURSE

(To Mrs. Dora Watkins)

White House, December 19, 1905.

DEAR DOLLY:

I wish you a merry Christmas, and want you to buy whatever you think you
would like with the enclosed check for twenty dollars. It is now just
forty years since you stopped being my nurse, when I was a little boy of
seven, just one year younger than Quentin now is.

I wish you could see the children play here in the White House grounds.
For the last three days there has been snow, and Archie and Quentin and
their cousin, cunning little Sheffield Cowles, and their other cousin,
Mr. John Elliott's little girl, Helena, who is a perfect little dear,
have been having all kinds of romps in the snow--coasting, having
snowball fights, and doing everything--in the grounds back of the White
House. This coming Saturday afternoon I have agreed to have a great
play of hide-and-go-seek in the White House itself, not only with these
children but with their various small friends.



DICKENS AND THACKERAY

White House, February 3, 1906.

DEAR KERMIT:

I agree pretty well with your views of David Copperfield. Dora was very
cunning and attractive, but I am not sure that the husband would retain
enough respect for her to make life quite what it ought to be with her.
This is a harsh criticism and I have known plenty of women of the Dora
type whom I have felt were a good deal better than the men they married,
and I have seen them sometimes make very happy homes. I also feel as you
do that if a man had to struggle on and make his way it would be a great
deal better to have some one like Sophie. Do you recollect that dinner
at which David Copperfield and Traddles were, where they are described
as seated at the dinner, one "in the glare of the red velvet lady"
and the other "in the gloom of Hamlet's aunt"? I am so glad you like
Thackeray. "Pendennis" and "The Newcomes" and "Vanity Fair" I can read
over and over again.

Ted blew in to-day. I think he has been studying pretty well this term
and now he is through all his examinations but one. He hopes, and I do,
that you will pay what attention you can to athletics. Play hockey, for
instance, and try to get into shape for the mile run. I know it is too
short a distance for you, but if you will try for the hare and hounds
running and the mile, too, you may be able to try for the two miles when
you go to Harvard.

The weather was very mild early in the week. It has turned cold now; but
Mother and I had a good ride yesterday, and Ted and I a good ride this
afternoon, Ted on Grey Dawn. We have been having a perfect whirl of
dinner engagements; but thank heavens they will stop shortly after
Sister's wedding.



A TRIBUTE TO ARCHIE

White House, March 11, 1906.

DEAR KERMIT:

I agree pretty much to all your views both about Thackeray and Dickens,
although you care for some of Thackeray of which I am not personally
fond. Mother loves it all. Mother, by the way, has been reading "The
Legend of Montrose" to the little boys and they are absorbed in it.
She finds it hard to get anything that will appeal to both Archie and
Quentin, as they possess such different natures.

I am quite proud of what Archie did the day before yesterday. Some of
the bigger boys were throwing a baseball around outside of Mr. Sidwell's
school and it hit one of them square in the eye, breaking all the
blood-vessels and making an extremely dangerous hurt. The other boys
were all rattled and could do nothing, finally sneaking off when Mr.
Sidwell appeared. Archie stood by and himself promptly suggested that
the boy should go to Dr. Wilmer. Accordingly he scorched down to Dr.
Wilmer's and said there was an emergency case for one of Mr. Sidwell's
boys, who was hurt in the eye, and could he bring him. Dr. Wilmer, who
did not know Archie was there, sent out word to of course do so. So
Archie scorched back on his wheel, got the boy (I do not know why Mr.
Sidwell did not take him himself) and led him down to Dr. Wilmer's, who
attended to his eye and had to send him at once to a hospital, Archie
waiting until he heard the result and then coming home. Dr. Wilmer told
me about it and said if Archie had not acted with such promptness the
boy (who was four or five years older than Archie, by the way) would
have lost his sight.

What a heavenly place a sandbox is for two little boys! Archie and
Quentin play industriously in it during most of their spare moments when
out in the grounds. I often look out of the office windows when I have a
score of Senators and Congressmen with me and see them both hard at work
arranging caverns or mountains, with runways for their marbles.

Good-bye, blessed fellow. I shall think of you very often during the
coming week, and I am so very glad that Mother is to be with you at your
confirmation.



PILLOW FIGHTS WITH THE BOYS

White House, March 19, 1906.

DARLING KERMIT:

. . . . .

During the four days Mother was away I made a point of seeing the
children each evening for three-quarters of an hour or so. Archie and
Quentin are really great playmates. One night I came up-stairs and found
Quentin playing the pianola as hard as he could, while Archie would
suddenly start from the end of the hall where the pianola was, and,
accompanied by both the dogs, race as hard as he could the whole length
of the White House clean to the other end of the hall and then tear back
again. Another evening as I came up-stairs I found Archie and Quentin
having a great play, chuckling with laughter, Archie driving Quentin by
his suspenders, which were fixed to the end of a pair of woollen reins.
Then they would ambush me and we would have a vigorous pillow-fight, and
after five or ten minutes of this we would go into Mother's room, and
I would read them the book Mother had been reading them, "The Legend of
Montrose." We just got through it the very last evening. Both Skip and
Jack have welcomed Mother back with frantic joy, and this morning came
in and lay on her bed as soon as she had finished breakfast--for she did
not come down to either breakfast or lunch, as she is going to spend the
night at Baltimore with the Bonapartes.

I was so interested in your reading "Phineas Finn" that I ordered a copy
myself. I have also ordered DeQuincey's works, as I find we have not got
them at the White House.

. . . . .



SORROWS OF SKIP

White House, April 1, 1906.

DARLING ARCHIE:

Poor Skip is a very, very lonely little dog without his family. Each
morning he comes up to see me at breakfast time and during most of
breakfast (which I take in the hall just outside my room) Skip stands
with his little paws on my lap. Then when I get through and sit down in
the rocking-chair to read for fifteen or twenty minutes, Skip hops into
my lap and stays there, just bathing himself in the companionship of the
only one of his family he has left. The rest of the day he spends with
the ushers, as I am so frightfully busy that I am nowhere long enough
for Skip to have any real satisfaction in my companionship. Poor Jack
has never come home. We may never know what became of him.



"AN INTERESTING CIRCUS EXPERIENCE"

White House, April 1, 1906.

DARLING ETHEL:

I haven't heard a word from the two new horses, and I rather believe
that if there had been any marked improvement in either of them I should
have heard. I gather that one at least and probably both would be all
right for me if I were twenty years younger, and would probably be all
right for Ted now; but of course as things are at present I do not want
a horse with which I have an interesting circus experience whenever we
meet an automobile, or one which I cannot get to go in any particular
direction without devoting an hour or two to the job. So that it looks
as if old Rusty would be good enough for me for some time to come. I am
going out on him with Senator Lodge this afternoon, and he will be all
right and as fresh as paint, for he has been three days in the stable.
But to-day is just a glorious spring day--March having ended as it
began, with rain and snow--and I will have a good ride. I miss Mother
and you children very much, of course, but I believe you are having a
good time, and I am really glad you are to see Havana.



A BIG AND LONELY WHITE HOUSE

White House, April 1, 1906.

DARLING QUENTY-QUEE:

Slipper and the kittens are doing finely. I think the kittens will be
big enough for you to pet and have some satisfaction out of when you
get home, although they will be pretty young still. I miss you all
dreadfully, and the house feels big and lonely and full of echoes with
nobody but me in it; and I do not hear any small scamps running up and
down the hall just as hard as they can; or hear their voices while I am
dressing; or suddenly look out through the windows of the office at the
tennis ground and see them racing over it or playing in the sand-box. I
love you very much.



A NEW PUPPY AND A NEW HORSE

White House, April 12, 1906.

DEAR KERMIT:

. . . . .

Last night I played "tickley" in their room with the two little boys. As
we rolled and bounced over all three beds in the course of the play,
not to mention frantic chases under them, I think poor Mademoiselle
was rather appalled at the result when we had finished. Archie's
seven-weeks-old St. Bernard puppy has come and it is the dearest puppy
imaginable; a huge, soft thing, which Archie carries around in his arms
and which the whole family love.

Yesterday I took a first ride on the new horse, Roswell, Captain Lee
going along on Rusty as a kind of a nurse. Roswell is not yet four and
he is really a green colt and not quite the horse I want at present, as
I haven't time to fuss with him, and am afraid of letting the Sergeant
ride him, as he does not get on well with him, and there is nobody else
in our stable that can ride at all. He is a beautiful horse, a wonderful
jumper, and does not pull at all. He shies pretty badly, especially when
he meets an automobile; and when he leaves the stable or strikes a road
that he thinks will take him home and is not allowed to go down it, he
is apt to rear, which I do not like; but I am inclined to think that he
will get over these traits, and if I can arrange to have Lee handle him
a couple of months more, and if Ted and I can regularly ride him down at
Oyster Bay, I think that he will turn out all right.

Mother and I walk every morning through the grounds, which, of course,
are lovely. Not only are the song-sparrows and robins singing, but the
white-throated sparrows, who will, I suppose, soon leave us for the
North, are still in full song, and this morning they waked us up at
daybreak singing just outside the window.



A QUENTIN ANECDOTE

White House, April 22, 1906.

DEAR KERMIT:

Ted has been as good and cunning as possible. He has completely
recovered from the effects of having his eye operated upon, and though
the eye itself is a somewhat gruesome object, Ted is in the highest
spirits. He goes back to Harvard to-day.

. . . . .

As I write, Archie and Quentin are busily engaged in the sand-box and
I look out across the tennis-ground at them. If ever there was a
heaven-sent treasure to small boys, that sand-box is the treasure. It
was very cunning to see the delight various little children took in it
at the egg-rolling on Easter Monday. Thanks to our decision in keeping
out grown people and stopping everything at one o'clock, the egg-rolling
really was a children's festival, and was pretty and not objectionable
this year.

The apple trees are now coming into bloom, including that big arched
apple tree, under which Mother and I sit, by the fountain, on the stone
bench. It is the apple tree that Mother particularly likes. . .

Did Quentin write his poems after you had gone? I never can recollect
whether you have seen them or not. He is a funny small person if ever
there was one. The other day we were discussing a really dreadful
accident which had happened; a Georgetown young man having taken out
a young girl in a canoe on the river, the canoe upset and the girl was
drowned; whereupon the young man, when he got home, took what seemed to
us an exceedingly cold-blooded method of a special delivery letter
to notify her parents. We were expressing our horror at his sending a
special delivery letter, and Quentin solemnly chimed in with "Yes, he
wasted ten cents." There was a moment's eloquent silence, and then we
strove to explain to Quentin that what we were objecting to was not in
the least the young man's spendthrift attitude!

As I walk to and from the office now the terrace is fairly fragrant
with the scent of the many-colored hyacinths which Mother has put out in
boxes on the low stone walls.

. . . . .



A VISIT TO WASHINGTON'S BIRTHPLACE

White House, April 30, 1906.

DEAR KERMIT:

On Saturday afternoon Mother and I started off on the _Sylph_, Mother
having made up her mind I needed thirty-six hours' rest, and we had a
delightful time together, and she was just as cunning as she could be.
On Sunday Mother and I spent about four hours ashore, taking our lunch
and walking up to the monument which marks where the house stood in
which Washington was born. It is a simple shaft. Every vestige of the
house is destroyed, but a curious and rather pathetic thing is that,
although it must be a hundred years since the place was deserted, there
are still multitudes of flowers which must have come from those in the
old garden. There are iris and narcissus and a little blue flower, with
a neat, prim, clean smell that makes one feel as if it ought to be
put with lavender into chests of fresh old linen. The narcissus in
particular was growing around everywhere, together with real wild
flowers like the painted columbine and star of Bethlehem. It was a
lovely spot on a headland overlooking a broad inlet from the Potomac.
There was also the old graveyard or grave plot in which were the
gravestones of Washington's father and mother and grandmother, all
pretty nearly ruined. It was lovely warm weather and Mother and I
enjoyed our walk through the funny lonely old country. Mocking-birds,
meadow-larks, Carolina wrens, cardinals, and field sparrows were singing
cheerfully. We came up the river in time to get home last evening. This
morning Mother and I walked around the White House grounds as usual. I
think I get more fond of flowers every year. The grounds are now at that
high stage of beauty in which they will stay for the next two months.
The buckeyes are in bloom, the pink dogwood, and the fragrant lilacs,
which are almost the loveliest of the bushes; and then the flowers,
including the lily-of-the-valley.

I am dictating in the office. Archie is out by the sandbox playing with
the hose. The playing consists in brandishing it around his head and
trying to escape the falling water. He escapes about twice out of three
times and must now be a perfect drowned rat. (I have just had him in to
look at him and he is even more of a drowned rat than I supposed. He
has gone out to complete his shower bath under strict promise that
immediately afterwards he will go in and change his clothes.)

Quentin is the funniest mite you ever saw and certainly a very original
little fellow. He left at Mademoiselle's plate yesterday a large bunch
of flowers with the inscription that they were from the fairies to her
to reward her for taking care of "two _good_, _good_ boys." Ethel is a
dear.



MORE ABOUT DICKENS

White House, May 20, 1906.

DEAR TED:

Mother read us your note and I was interested in the discussion between
you and ----- over Dickens. Dickens' characters are really to a great
extent personified attributes rather than individuals. In consequence,
while there are not nearly as many who are actually like people one
meets, as for instance in Thackeray, there are a great many more who
possess _characteristics_ which we encounter continually, though
rarely as strongly developed as in the fictional originals. So Dickens'
characters last almost as Bunyan's do. For instance, Jefferson Brick
and Elijah Pogram and Hannibal Chollop are all real personifications of
certain bad tendencies in American life, and I am continually thinking
of or alluding to some newspaper editor or Senator or homicidal rowdy by
one of these three names. I never met any one exactly like Uriah Heep,
but now and then we see individuals show traits which make it easy to
describe them, with reference to those traits, as Uriah Heep. It is just
the same with Micawber. Mrs. Nickleby is not quite a real person,
but she typifies, in accentuated form, traits which a great many real
persons possess, and I am continually thinking of her when I meet them.
There are half a dozen books of Dickens which have, I think, furnished
more characters which are the constant companions of the ordinary
educated man around us, than is true of any other half-dozen volumes
published within the same period.



85. NO PLACE LIKE SAGAMORE HILL

(To Ethel, at Sagamore Hill)

White House, June 11, 1906.

BLESSED ETHEL:

I am very glad that what changes have been made in the house are good,
and I look forward so eagerly to seeing them. After all, fond as I am
of the White House and much though I have appreciated these years in it,
there isn't any place in the world like home--like Sagamore Hill, where
things are our own, with our own associations, and where it is real
country.



ATTIC DELIGHTS

White House, June 17, 1906.

BLESSED ETHEL:

Your letter delighted me. I read it over twice, and chuckled over it.
By George, how entirely I sympathize with your feelings in the attic!
I know just what it is to get up into such a place and find the
delightful, winding passages where one lay hidden with thrills of
criminal delight, when the grownups were vainly demanding one's
appearance at some legitimate and abhorred function; and then the
once-beloved and half-forgotten treasures, and the emotions of peace and
war, with reference to former companions, which they recall.

I am not in the least surprised about the mental telepathy; there is
much in it and in kindred things which are real and which at present
we do not understand. The only trouble is that it usually gets mixed up
with all kinds of fakes.

I am glad the band had a healthy effect in reviving old Bleistein's
youth. I shall never forget the intense interest in life he always used
to gain when we encountered an Italian with a barrel organ and a bear--a
combination that made Renown seek instant refuge in attempted suicide.

I am really pleased that you are going to teach Sunday school. I think I
told you that I taught it for seven years, most of the time in a mission
class, my pupils being of a kind which furnished me plenty of vigorous
excitement.



PRESIDENTIAL RESCUE OF A KITTEN

White House, June 24, 1906.

DARLING ETHEL:

To-day as I was marching to church, with Sloane some 25 yards behind,
I suddenly saw two terriers racing to attack a kitten which was walking
down the sidewalk. I bounced forward with my umbrella, and after some
active work put to flight the dogs while Sloane captured the kitten,
which was a friendly, helpless little thing, evidently too well
accustomed to being taken care of to know how to shift for itself. I
inquired of all the bystanders and of people on the neighboring porches
to know if they knew who owned it; but as they all disclaimed, with many
grins, any knowledge of it, I marched ahead with it in my arms for about
half a block. Then I saw a very nice colored woman and little colored
girl looking out of the window of a small house with on the door a
dressmaker's advertisement, and I turned and walked up the steps and
asked if they did not want the kitten. They said they did, and the
little girl welcomed it lovingly; so I felt I had gotten it a home and
continued toward church.

Has the lordly Ted turned up yet? Is his loving sister able, unassisted,
to reduce the size of his head, or does she need any assistance from her
male parent?

Your affectionate father,

The Tyrant.



SPORTS OF QUENTIN AND ARCHIE

Oyster Bay, Aug. 18, 1906.

DEAR KERMIT:

. . . . .

Quentin is the same cheerful pagan philosopher as ever. He swims like a
little duck; rides well; stands quite severe injuries without complaint,
and is really becoming a manly little fellow. Archie is devoted to
the _Why_ (sailboat). The other day while Mother and I were coming in,
rowing, we met him sailing out, and it was too cunning for anything. The
_Why_ looks exactly like a little black wooden shoe with a sail in it,
and the crew consisted of Archie, of one of his beloved playmates, a
seaman from the _Sylph_, and of Skip--very alert and knowing.



SKIP AND ARCHIE

White House, October 23, 1906.

DEAR KERMIT:

Archie is very cunning and has handicap races with Skip. He spreads his
legs, bends over, and holds Skip between them. Then he says, "On your
mark, Skip, ready; go!" and shoves Skip back while he runs as hard as he
possibly can to the other end of the hall, Skip scrambling wildly with
his paws on the smooth floor until he can get started, when he races
after Archie, the object being for Archie to reach the other end before
Skip can overtake him.



A TURKEY HUNT AT PINE KNOT

White House, November 4, 1906.

DEAR KERMIT:

Just a line to tell you what a nice time we had at Pine Knot. Mother was
as happy as she always is there, and as cunning and pretty as possible.
As for me, I hunted faithfully through all three days, leaving the house
at three o'clock one day, at four the next, and at five the next,
so that I began my hunts in absolute night; but fortunately we had a
brilliant moon on each occasion. The first two days were failures. I
did not see a turkey, and on each occasion when everybody was perfectly
certain that I was going to see a turkey, something went wrong and the
turkey did not turn up. The last day I was out thirteen hours, and you
may imagine how hungry I was when I got back, not to speak of being
tired; though fortunately most of the time I was rambling around on
horseback, so I was not done out. But in the afternoon at last luck
changed, and then for once everything went right. The hunter who was
with me marked a turkey in a point of pines stretching down from a
forest into an open valley, with another forest on its farther side. I
ran down to the end of the point and hid behind a bush. He walked down
through the pines and the turkey came out and started to fly across
the valley, offering me a beautiful side shot at about thirty-five
yards--just the distance for my ten-bore. I killed it dead, and felt
mighty happy as it came tumbling down through the air.



PETS ON SHIPBOARD

In November, 1906, the President, accompanied by Mrs. Roosevelt, went to
the Isthmus of Panama, where he spent three days in inspecting the
work of building the Panama Canal, returning by way of Porto Rico.
The journey was taken on the naval vessel _Louisiana_, and many of his
letters to the children were written while on board that vessel and
mailed after reaching Colon.


On Board U. S. S. _Louisiana_, On the Way to Panama. Sunday, November
11, 1906.

BLESSED QUENTIN:

You would be amused at the pets they have aboard this ship. They have
two young bull-dogs, a cat, three little raccoons, and a tiny Cuban
goat. They seem to be very amicable with one another, although I
think the cat has suspicions of all the rest. The coons clamber about
everywhere, and the other afternoon while I was sitting reading, I
suddenly felt my finger seized in a pair of soft black paws and found
the coon sniffing at it, making me feel a little uncomfortable lest
it might think the finger something good to eat. The two puppies play
endlessly. One of them belongs to Lieutenant Evans. The crew will not be
allowed ashore at Panama or else I know they would pick up a whole raft
of other pets there. The jackies seem especially fond of the little
coons. A few minutes ago I saw one of the jackies strolling about with
a coon perched upon his shoulder, and now and then he would reach up his
hand and give it a small piece of bread to eat.



NAMES OF THE GUNS

On Board U. S. S. _Louisiana_, Sunday, November 11, 1906.

BLESSED ARCHIE:

I wish you were along with us, for you would thoroughly enjoy everything
on this ship. We have had three days of perfect weather, while this
great battleship with her two convoys, the great armored cruisers,
_Tennessee_ and _Washington_, have steamed steadily in column ahead
southward through calm seas until now we are in the tropics. They are
three as splendid ships of their class as there are afloat, save only
the English Dread-naught. The _Louisiana_ now has her gun-sights and
everything is all in good shape for her to begin the practice of the
duties which will make her crew as fit for man-of-war's work as the
crew of any one of our other first-class battleships. The men are such
splendid-looking fellows, Americans of the best type, young, active,
vigorous, with lots of intelligence. I was much amused at the names of
the seven-inch guns, which include _Victor_, _Invincible_, _Peacemaker_,
together with _Skidoo_, and also one called _Tedd_ and one called _The
Big Stick_.



REFLECTIONS ON THE WAY

On Board U. S. S. _Louisiana_, Nov. 13.

DEAR KERMIT:

So far this trip has been a great success, and I think Mother has really
enjoyed it. As for me, I of course feel a little bored, as I always do
on shipboard, but I have brought on a great variety of books, and am at
this moment reading Milton's prose works, "Tacitus," and a German
novel called "Jorn Uhl." Mother and I walk briskly up and down the deck
together, or else sit aft under the awning, or in the after cabin, with
the gun ports open, and read; and I also spend a good deal of time on
the forward bridge, and sometimes on the aft bridge, and of course have
gone over the ship to inspect it with the Captain. It is a splendid
thing to see one of these men-of-war, and it does really make one proud
of one's country. Both the officers and the enlisted men are as fine a
set as one could wish to see.

It is a beautiful sight, these three great war-ships standing southward
in close column, and almost as beautiful at night when we see not only
the lights but the loom through the darkness of the ships astern. We are
now in the tropics and I have thought a good deal of the time over eight
years ago when I was sailing to Santiago in the fleet of warships and
transports. It seems a strange thing to think of my now being President,
going to visit the work of the Panama Canal which I have made possible.

Mother, very pretty and dainty in white summer clothes, came up on
Sunday morning to see inspection and review, or whatever they call
it, of the men. I usually spend half an hour on deck before Mother is
dressed. Then we breakfast together alone; have also taken lunch alone,
but at dinner have two or three officers to dine with us. Doctor Rixey
is along, and is a perfect dear, as always.



EVENTS SINCE COLUMBUS'S DISCOVERY

November 14th.

The fourth day out was in some respects the most interesting. All the
forenoon we had Cuba on our right and most of the forenoon and part of
the afternoon Hayti on our left; and in each case green, jungly shores
and bold mountains--two great, beautiful, venomous tropic islands. These
are historic seas and Mother and I have kept thinking of all that has
happened in them since Columbus landed at San Salvador (which we also
saw), the Spanish explorers, the buccaneers, the English and Dutch
sea-dogs and adventurers, the great English and French fleets,
the desperate fighting, the triumphs, the pestilences, of all the
turbulence, the splendor and the wickedness, and the hot, evil, riotous
life of the old planters and slave-owners, Spanish, French, English,
and Dutch;--their extermination of the Indians, and bringing in of negro
slaves, the decay of most of the islands, the turning of Hayti into a
land of savage negroes, who have reverted to voodooism and cannibalism;
the effort we are now making to bring Cuba and Porto Rico forward.

To-day is calm and beautiful, as all the days have been on our trip. We
have just sighted the highest land of Panama ahead of us, and we shall
be at anchor by two o'clock this afternoon; just a little less than six
days from the time we left Washington.



PRIDE IN AMERICA

On Board U. S. S. _Louisiana_, Nov. 14.

DEAR TED:

I am very glad to have taken this trip, although as usual I am bored by
the sea. Everything has been smooth as possible, and it has been lovely
having Mother along. It gives me great pride in America to be aboard
this great battleship and to see not only the material perfection of the
ship herself in engines, guns and all arrangements, but the fine quality
of the officers and crew. Have you ever read Smollett's novel, I think
"Roderick Random" or "Humphrey Clinker," in which the hero goes to sea?
It gives me an awful idea of what a floating hell of filth, disease,
tyranny, and cruelty a war-ship was in those days. Now every arrangement
is as clean and healthful as possible. The men can bathe and do bathe as
often as cleanliness requires. Their fare is excellent and they are as
self-respecting a set as can be imagined. I am no great believer in the
superiority of times past; and I have no question that the officers and
men of our Navy now are in point of fighting capacity better than in the
times of Drake and Nelson; and morally and in physical surroundings the
advantage is infinitely in our favor.

It was delightful to have you two or three days at Washington. Blessed
old fellow, you had a pretty hard time in college this fall; but it
can't be helped, Ted; as one grows older the bitter and the sweet keep
coming together. The only thing to do is to grin and bear it, to flinch
as little as possible under the punishment, and to keep pegging steadily
away until the luck turns.



WHAT THE PRESIDENT SAW AT PANAMA

U. S. S. _Louisiana_, At Sea, November 20, 1906.

DEAR KERMIT:

Our visit to Panama was most successful as well as most interesting. We
were there three days and we worked from morning till night. The second
day I was up at a quarter to six and got to bed at a quarter of twelve,
and I do not believe that in the intervening time, save when I was
dressing, there were ten consecutive minutes when I was not busily at
work in some shape or form. For two days there were uninterrupted tropic
rains without a glimpse of the sun, and the Chagres River rose in a
flood, higher than any for fifteen years; so that we saw the climate at
its worst. It was just what I desired to do.

It certainly adds to one's pleasure to have read history and to
appreciate the picturesque. When on Wednesday we approached the coast,
and the jungle-covered mountains looked clearer and clearer until we
could see the surf beating on the shores, while there was hardly a sign
of human habitation, I kept thinking of the four centuries of wild and
bloody romance, mixed with abject squalor and suffering, which had made
up the history of the Isthmus until three years ago. I could see Balboa
crossing at Darien, and the wars between the Spaniards and the Indians,
and the settlement and the building up of the quaint walled Spanish
towns; and the trade, across the seas by galleon, and over land by
pack-train and river canoe, in gold and silver, in precious stones; and
then the advent of the buccaneers, and of the English seamen, of
Drake and Frobisher and Morgan, and many, many others, and the wild
destruction they wrought. Then I thought of the rebellion against the
Spanish dominion, and the uninterrupted and bloody wars that followed,
the last occurring when I became President; wars, the victorious heroes
of which have their pictures frescoed on the quaint rooms of the palace
at Panama city, and in similar palaces in all capitals of these strange,
turbulent little half-caste civilizations. Meanwhile the Panama railroad
had been built by Americans over a half century ago, with appalling loss
of life, so that it is said, of course with exaggeration, that every
sleeper laid represented the death of a man. Then the French canal
company started work, and for two or three years did a good deal, until
it became evident that the task far exceeded its powers; and then
to miscalculation and inefficiency was added the hideous greed of
adventurers, trying each to save something from the general wreck, and
the company closed with infamy and scandal.

Now we have taken hold of the job. We have difficulties with our own
people, of course. I haven't a doubt that it will take a little longer
and cost a little more than men now appreciate, but I believe that
the work is being done with a very high degree both of efficiency
and honesty; and I am immensely struck by the character of American
employees who are engaged, not merely in superintending the work, but in
doing all the jobs that need skill and intelligence. The steam shovels,
the dirt trains, the machine shops, and the like, are all filled with
American engineers, conductors, machinists, boiler-makers, carpenters.
From the top to the bottom these men are so hardy, so efficient, so
energetic, that it is a real pleasure to look at them. Stevens, the head
engineer, is a big fellow, a man of daring and good sense, and burly
power. All of these men are quite as formidable, and would, if it were
necessary, do quite as much in battle as the crews of Drake and
Morgan; but as it is, they are doing a work of infinitely more lasting
consequence. Nothing whatever remains to show what Drake and Morgan
did. They produced no real effect down here, but Stevens and his men are
changing the face of the continent, are doing the greatest engineering
feat of the ages, and the effect of their work will be felt while our
civilization lasts. I went over everything that I could possibly go
over in the time at my disposal. I examined the quarters of married and
single men, white men and negroes. I went over the ground of the Gatun
and La Boca dams; went through Panama and Colon, and spent a day in
the Culebra cut, where the great work is being done. There the huge
steam-shovels are hard at it; scooping huge masses of rock and gravel
and dirt previously loosened by the drillers and dynamite blasters,
loading it on trains which take it away to some dump, either in the
jungle or where the dams are to be built. They are eating steadily into
the mountain, cutting it down and down. Little tracks are laid on
the side-hills, rocks blasted out, and the great ninety-five ton
steam-shovels work up like mountain howitzers until they come to where
they can with advantage begin their work of eating into and destroying
the mountainside. With intense energy men and machines do their task,
the white men supervising matters and handling the machines, while the
tens of thousands of black men do the rough manual labor where it is
not worth while to have machines do it. It is an epic feat, and one of
immense significance.

The deluge of rain meant that many of the villages were knee-deep in
water, while the flooded rivers tore through the tropic forests. It is a
real tropic forest, palms and bananas, breadfruit trees, bamboos, lofty
ceibas, and gorgeous butterflies and brilliant colored birds fluttering
among the orchids. There are beautiful flowers, too.

All my old enthusiasm for natural history seemed to revive, and I would
have given a good deal to have stayed and tried to collect specimens. It
would be a good hunting country too; deer, and now and then jaguars and
tapir, and great birds that they call wild turkeys; there are alligators
in the rivers. One of the trained nurses from a hospital went to bathe
in a pool last August and an alligator grabbed him by the legs and was
making off with him, but was fortunately scared away, leaving the man
badly injured.

I tramped everywhere through the mud. Mother did not do the roughest
work, and had time to see more of the really picturesque and beautiful
side of the life, and really enjoyed herself.

P. S. The Gatun dam will make a lake miles long, and the railroad now
goes on what will be the bottom of this lake, and it was curious to
think that in a few years great ships would be floating in water 100
feet above where we were.



ON THE WAY TO PORTO RICO

U. S. S. _Louisiana_, At Sea, November 20, 1906.

DEAR TED:

This is the third day out from Panama. We have been steaming steadily in
the teeth of the trade wind. It has blown pretty hard, and the ship
has pitched a little, but not enough to make either Mother or me
uncomfortable.

Panama was a great sight. In the first place it was strange and
beautiful with its mass of luxuriant tropic jungle, with the treacherous
tropic rivers trailing here and there through it; and it was lovely
to see the orchids and brilliant butterflies and the strange birds and
snakes and lizards, and finally the strange old Spanish towns and the
queer thatch and bamboo huts of the ordinary natives. In the next place
it is a tremendous sight to see the work on the canal going on. From the
chief engineer and the chief sanitary officer down to the last arrived
machinist or time-keeper, the five thousand Americans at work on the
Isthmus seemed to me an exceptionally able, energetic lot, some of them
grumbling, of course, but on the whole a mighty good lot of men. The
West Indian negroes offer a greater problem, but they are doing pretty
well also. I was astonished at the progress made. We spent the three
days in working from dawn until long after darkness--dear Dr. Rixey
being, of course, my faithful companion. Mother would see all she liked
and then would go off on a little spree by herself, and she enjoyed it
to the full.



WHAT HE SAW IN PORTO RICO

U. S. S. _Louisiana_, At Sea, November 23, 1906.

DEAR KERMIT:

We had a most interesting two days at Porto Rico. We landed on the south
side of the island and were received by the Governor and the rest of the
administration, including nice Mr. Laurance Grahame; then were given
a reception by the Alcalde and people of Ponce; and then went straight
across the island in automobiles to San Juan on the north shore. It was
an eighty mile trip and really delightful. The road wound up to the high
mountains of the middle island, through them, and then down again to
the flat plain on the north shore. The scenery was beautiful. It was as
thoroughly tropical as Panama but much more livable. There were
palms, tree-ferns, bananas, mangoes, bamboos, and many other trees
and multitudes of brilliant flowers. There was one vine called the
dream-vine with flowers as big as great white water-lilies, which close
up tight in the day-time and bloom at night. There were vines with
masses of brilliant purple and pink flowers, and others with masses of
little white flowers, which at night-time smell deliciously. There were
trees studded over with huge white flowers, and others, the flamboyants
such as I saw in the campaign at Santiago, are a mass of large scarlet
blossoms in June, but which now had shed them. I thought the tree-ferns
especially beautiful. The towns were just such as you saw in Cuba,
quaint, brilliantly colored, with the old church or cathedral fronting
the plaza, and the plaza always full of flowers. Of course the towns are
dirty, but they are not nearly as dirty and offensive as those of Italy;
and there is something pathetic and childlike about the people. We are
giving them a good government and the island is prospering. I never saw
a finer set of young fellows than those engaged in the administration.
Mr. Grahame, whom of course you remember, is the intimate friend and
ally of the leaders of the administration, that is of Governor Beekman
Winthrop and of the Secretary of State, Mr. Regis Post. Grahame is
a perfect trump and such a handsome, athletic fellow, and a real Sir
Galahad. Any wrong-doing, and especially any cruelty makes him flame
with fearless indignation. He perfectly delighted the Porto Ricans and
also immensely puzzled them by coming in his Scotch kilt to a Government
ball. Accordingly, at my special request, I had him wear his kilt at the
state dinner and reception the night we were at the palace. You know he
is a descendant of Montrose, and although born in Canada, his parents
were Scotch and he was educated in Scotland. Do tell Mr. Bob Fergie
about him and his kilts when you next write him.

We spent the night at the palace, which is half palace and half castle,
and was the residence of the old Spanish governors. It is nearly four
hundred years old, and is a delightful building, with quaint gardens
and a quaint sea-wall looking over the bay. There were colored lanterns
lighting up the gardens for the reception, and the view across the bay
in the moonlight was lovely. Our rooms were as attractive as possible
too, except that they were so very airy and open that we found it
difficult to sleep--not that that much mattered as, thanks to the
earliness of our start and the lateness of our reception, we had barely
four hours in which we even tried to sleep.

The next morning we came back in automobiles over different and even
more beautiful roads. The mountain passes through and over which we went
made us feel as if we were in a tropic Switzerland. We had to cross two
or three rivers where big cream-colored oxen with yokes tied to their
horns pulled the automobiles through the water. At one funny little
village we had an open air lunch, very good, of chicken and eggs and
bread, and some wine contributed by a wealthy young Spaniard who rode up
from a neighboring coffee ranch.

Yesterday afternoon we embarked again, and that evening the crew gave
a theatrical entertainment on the afterdeck, closing with three boxing
bouts. I send you the program. It was great fun, the audience being
equally enraptured with the sentimental songs about the flag, and the
sailor's true love and his mother, and with the jokes (the most relished
of which related to the fact that bed-bugs were supposed to be so
large that they had to be shot!) and the skits about the commissary and
various persons and deeds on the ship. In a way the freedom of
comment reminded me a little of the Roman triumphs, when the excellent
legendaries recited in verse and prose, anything they chose concerning
the hero in whose deeds they had shared and whose triumphs they were
celebrating. The stage, well lighted, was built on the aftermost part of
the deck. We sat in front with the officers, and the sailors behind us
in masses on the deck, on the aftermost turrets, on the bridge, and even
in the fighting top of the aftermost mast. It was interesting to see
their faces in the light.

. . . . .

P. S. I forgot to tell you about the banners and inscriptions of welcome
to me in Porto Rico. One of them which stretched across the road had
on it "Welcome to Theodore and Mrs. Roosevelt." Last evening I really
enjoyed a rather funny experience. There is an Army and Navy Union
composed chiefly of enlisted men, but also of many officers, and they
suddenly held a "garrison" meeting in the torpedo-room of this ship.
There were about fifty enlisted men together with the Captain and
myself. I was introduced as "comrade and shipmate Theodore Roosevelt,
President of the United States." They were such a nice set of fellows,
and I was really so pleased to be with them; so self-respecting, so
earnest, and just the right type out of which to make the typical
American fighting man who is also a good citizen. The meeting reminded
me a good deal of a lodge meeting at Oyster Bay; and of course those men
are fundamentally of the same type as the shipwrights, railroad men and
fishermen whom I met at the lodge, and who, by the way, are my chief
backers politically and are the men who make up the real strength of
this nation.



SICKNESS OF ARCHIE

White House, March 3, 1907.

DEAR KERMIT:

Poor little Archie has diphtheria, and we have had a wearing forty-eight
hours. Of course it is harder upon Mother a good deal than upon me,
because she spends her whole time with him together with the trained
nurse, while I simply must attend to my work during these closing hours
of Congress (I have worked each day steadily up to half past seven and
also in the evening); and only see Archiekins for twenty minutes or a
half hour before dinner. The poor little fellow likes to have me put my
hands on his forehead, for he says they smell so clean and soapy! Last
night he was very sick, but this morning he is better, and Dr. Rixey
thinks everything is going well. Dr. Lambert is coming on this afternoon
to see him. Ethel, who is away at Philadelphia, will be sent to stay
with the Rixeys. Quentin, who has been exposed somewhat to infection,
is not allowed to see other little boys, and is leading a career of
splendid isolation among the ushers and policemen.

Since I got back here I have not done a thing except work as the
President must during the closing days of a session of Congress. Mother
was, fortunately, getting much better, but now of course is having a
very hard time of it nursing darling little Archie. He is just as good
as gold--so patient and loving. Yesterday that scamp Quentin said to
Mademoiselle: "If only I had _Archie's_ nature, and _my_ head, wouldn't
it be great?"

In all his sickness Archie remembered that to-day was Mademoiselle's
birthday, and sent her his love and congratulations--which promptly
reduced good Mademoiselle to tears.



AT THE JAMESTOWN EXPOSITION

White House, April 29, 1907.

DEAREST KERMIT:

We really had an enjoyable trip to Jamestown. The guests were Mother's
friend, Mrs. Johnson, a Virginia lady who reminds me so much of Aunt
Annie, my mother's sister, who throughout my childhood was almost as
much associated in our home life as my mother herself; Justice Moody,
who was as delightful as he always is, and with whom it was a real
pleasure to again have a chance to talk; Mr. and Mrs. Bob Bacon,
who proved the very nicest guests of all and were companionable and
sympathetic at every point. Ethel was as good as gold and took much off
of Mother's shoulders in the way of taking care of Quentin. Archie and
Quentin had, of course, a heavenly time; went everywhere, below and
aloft, and ate indifferently at all hours, both with the officers and
enlisted men. We left here Thursday afternoon, and on Friday morning
passed in review through the foreign fleet and our own fleet of sixteen
great battleships in addition to cruisers. It was an inspiring sight and
one I would not have missed for a great deal. Then we went in a launch
to the Exposition where I had the usual experience in such cases, made
the usual speech, held the usual reception, went to the usual lunch,
etc., etc.

In the evening Mother and I got on the _Sylph_ and went to Norfolk to
dine. When the _Sylph_ landed we were met by General Grant to convoy
us to the house. I was finishing dressing, and Mother went out into the
cabin and sat down to receive him. In a minute or two I came out and
began to hunt for my hat. Mother sat very erect and pretty, looking
at my efforts with a tolerance that gradually changed to impatience.
Finally she arose to get her own cloak, and then I found that she had
been sitting gracefully but firmly on the hat herself--it was a crush
hat and it had been flattened until it looked like a wrinkled pie.
Mother did not see what she had done so I speechlessly thrust the
hat toward her; but she still did not understand and took it as an
inexplicable jest of mine merely saying, "Yes, dear," and with patient
dignity, turned and went out of the door with General Grant.

The next morning we went on the _Sylph_ up the James River, and on
the return trip visited three of the dearest places you can imagine,
Shirley, Westover, and Brandon. I do not know whether I loved most the
places themselves or the quaint out-of-the-world Virginia gentlewomen
in them. The houses, the grounds, the owners, all were too dear for
anything and we loved them. That night we went back to the _Mayflower_
and returned here yesterday, Sunday, afternoon.

To-day spring weather seems really to have begun, and after lunch Mother
and I sat under the apple-tree by the fountain. A purple finch was
singing in the apple-tree overhead, and the white petals of the blossoms
were silently falling. This afternoon Mother and I are going out riding
with Senator Lodge.



GENERAL KUROKI

White House, May 12, 1907.

DEAR KERMIT:

General Kuroki and his suite are here and dined with us at a formal
dinner last evening. Everything that he says has to be translated, but
nevertheless I had a really interesting talk with him, because I am
pretty well acquainted with his campaigns. He impressed me much,
as indeed all Japanese military and naval officers do. They are a
formidable outfit. I want to try to keep on the best possible terms with
Japan and never do her any wrong; but I want still more to see our navy
maintained at the highest point of efficiency, for it is the real keeper
of the peace.



TEMPORARY ABSENCE OF SKIP

The other day Pete got into a most fearful fight and was dreadfully
bitten. He was a very forlorn dog indeed when he came home. And on that
particular day Skip disappeared and had not turned up when we went to
bed. Poor Archie was very uneasy lest Skip should have gone the way
of Jack; and Mother and I shared his uneasiness. But about two in the
morning we both of us heard a sharp little bark down-stairs and knew it
was Skip, anxious to be let in. So down I went and opened the door on
the portico, and Skip simply scuttled in and up to Archie's room, where
Archie waked up enough to receive him literally with open arms and then
went to sleep cuddled up to him.



DEATH OF SKIP

Sagamore Hill, Sept. 21, 1907.

BLESSED ARCHIEKINS:

We felt dreadfully homesick as you and Kermit drove away; when we pass
along the bay front we always think of the dory; and we mourn dear
little Skip, although perhaps it was as well the little doggie should
pass painlessly away, after his happy little life; for the little fellow
would have pined for you.

Your letter was a great comfort; we'll send on the football suit and
hope you'll enjoy the football. Of course it will all be new and rather
hard at first.

The house is "put up"; everything wrapped in white that can be, and all
the rugs off the floors. Quentin is reduced to the secret service men
for steady companionship.



QUENTIN'S SNAKE ADVENTURE

White House, Sept. 28, 1907.

DEAREST ARCHIE:

Before we left Oyster Bay Quentin had collected two snakes. He lost
one, which did not turn up again until an hour before departure, when he
found it in one of the spare rooms. This one he left loose, and
brought the other one to Washington, there being a variety of exciting
adventures on the way; the snake wriggling out of his box once, and
being upset on the floor once. The first day home Quentin was allowed
not to go to school but to go about and renew all his friendships. Among
other places that he visited was Schmid's animal store, where he left
his little snake. Schmid presented him with three snakes, simply to pass
the day with--a large and beautiful and very friendly king snake and two
little wee snakes. Quentin came hurrying back on his roller skates and
burst into the room to show me his treasures. I was discussing certain
matters with the Attorney-General at the time, and the snakes were
eagerly deposited in my lap. The king snake, by the way, although most
friendly with Quentin, had just been making a resolute effort to
devour one of the smaller snakes. As Quentin and his menagerie were an
interruption to my interview with the Department of Justice, I suggested
that he go into the next room, where four Congressmen were drearily
waiting until I should be at leisure. I thought that he and his snakes
would probably enliven their waiting time. He at once fell in with the
suggestion and rushed up to the Congressmen with the assurance that he
would there find kindred spirits. They at first thought the snakes were
wooden ones, and there was some perceptible recoil when they realized
that they were alive. Then the king snake went up Quentin's sleeve--he
was three or four feet long--and we hesitated to drag him back because
his scales rendered that difficult. The last I saw of Quentin, one
Congressman was gingerly helping him off with his jacket, so as to let
the snake crawl out of the upper end of the sleeve.



In the fall of 1907 the President made a tour through the West and
South and went on a hunting-trip in Louisiana. In accordance with
his unvarying custom he wrote regularly to his children while on his
journeyings.



TRIALS OF A TRAVELLING PRESIDENT

On Board U. S. S. _Mississippi_, October 1, 1907.

DEAREST ETHEL:

The first part of my trip up to the time that we embarked on the river
at Keokuk was just about in the ordinary style. I had continually to
rush out to wave at the people at the towns through which the train
passed. If the train stopped anywhere I had to make a very short speech
to several hundred people who evidently thought they liked me, and whom
I really liked, but to whom I had nothing in the world to say. At Canton
and Keokuk I went through the usual solemn festivities--the committee of
reception and the guard of honor, with the open carriage, the lines of
enthusiastic fellow-citizens to whom I bowed continually right and left,
the speech which in each case I thought went off rather better than I
had dared hope--for I felt as if I had spoken myself out. When I got
on the boat, however, times grew easier. I still have to rush out
continually, stand on the front part of the deck, and wave at groups
of people on shore, and at stern-wheel steamboats draped with American
flags and loaded with enthusiastic excursionists. But I have a great
deal of time to myself, and by gentle firmness I think I have succeeded
in impressing on my good hosts that I rather resent allopathic doses of
information about shoals and dykes, the amount of sand per cubic foot of
water, the quantity of manufactures supplied by each river town, etc.



CHANGES OF THREE CENTURIES

On Board U. S. S. _Mississippi_, October 1, 1907.

DEAR KERMIT:

After speaking at Keokuk this morning we got aboard this brand new
stern-wheel steamer of the regular Mississippi type and started
down-stream. I went up on the texas and of course felt an almost
irresistible desire to ask the pilot about Mark Twain. It is a broad,
shallow, muddy river, at places the channel being barely wide enough for
the boat to go through, though to my inexperienced eyes the whole
river looks like a channel. The bottom lands, Illinois on one side
and Missouri on the other, are sometimes over-grown with forests and
sometimes great rich cornfields, with here and there a house, here and
there villages, and now and then a little town. At every such place
all the people of the neighborhood have gathered to greet me. The
water-front of the towns would be filled with a dense packed mass of
men, women, and children, waving flags. The little villages have not
only their own population, but also the farmers who have driven in in
their wagons with their wives and children from a dozen miles back--just
such farmers as came to see you and the cavalry on your march through
Iowa last summer.

It is my first trip on the Mississippi, and I am greatly interested in
it. How wonderful in its rapidity of movement has been the history of
our country, compared with the history of the old world. For untold
ages this river had been flowing through the lonely continent, not very
greatly changed since the close of the Pleistocene. During all these
myriads of years the prairie and the forest came down to its banks.
The immense herds of the buffalo and the elk wandered along them season
after season, and the Indian hunters on foot or in canoes trudged along
the banks or skimmed the water. Probably a thousand years saw no change
that would have been noticeable to our eyes. Then three centuries
ago began the work of change. For a century its effects were not
perceptible. Just nothing but an occasional French fleet or wild half
savage French-Canadian explorer passing up or down the river or one
of its branches in an Indian canoe; then the first faint changes, the
building of one or two little French fur traders' hamlets, the passing
of one or two British officers' boats, and the very rare appearance of
the uncouth American backwoodsman.

Then the change came with a rush. Our settlers reached the head-waters
of the Ohio, and flatboats and keel-boats began to go down to the mouth
of the Mississippi, and the Indians and the game they followed began
their last great march to the west. For ages they had marched back and
forth, but from this march there was never to be a return. Then the day
of steamboat traffic began, and the growth of the first American cities
and states along the river with their strength and their squalor and
their raw pride. Then this mighty steamboat traffic passed its zenith
and collapsed, and for a generation the river towns have dwindled
compared with the towns which took their importance from the growth of
the railroads. I think of it all as I pass down the river.

October 4. . . . We are steaming down the river now between Tennessee
and Arkansas. The forest comes down a little denser to the bank, the
houses do not look quite so well kept; otherwise there is not much
change. There are a dozen steamers accompanying us, filled with
delegates from various river cities. The people are all out on the banks
to greet us still. Moreover, at night, no matter what the hour is that
we pass a town, it is generally illuminated, and sometimes whistles and
noisy greetings, while our steamboats whistle in equally noisy response,
so that our sleep is apt to be broken. Seventeen governors of different
states are along, in a boat by themselves. I have seen a good deal of
them, however, and it has been of real use to me, especially as regards
two or three problems that are up. At St. Louis there was an enormous
multitude of people out to see us. The procession was in a drenching
rain, in which I stood bareheaded, smiling affably and waving my drowned
hat to those hardy members of the crowd who declined to go to shelter.
At Cairo, I was also greeted with great enthusiasm, and I was interested
to find that there was still extreme bitterness felt over Dickens's
description of the town and the people in "Martin Chuzzlewit" sixty-five
years ago.



PECULIARITIES OF MISSISSIPPI STEAMBOATS

On Board U. S. S. _Mississippi_, Oct. 1, 1907.

DEAR ARCHIE:

I am now on what I believe will be my last trip of any consequence while
I am President. Until I got to Keokuk, Iowa, it was about like any other
trip, but it is now pleasant going down the Mississippi, though I admit
that I would rather be at home. We are on a funny, stern-wheel steamer.
Mr. John McIlhenny is with me, and Capt. Seth Bullock among others.
We have seen wild geese and ducks and cormorants on the river, and the
people everywhere come out in boats and throng or cluster on the banks
to greet us.

October 4. You would be greatly amused at these steamboats, and I
think you will like your trip up the Mississippi next spring, if only
everything goes right, and Mother is able to make it. There is no hold
to the boat, just a flat bottom with a deck, and on this deck a foot or
so above the water stands the engine-room, completely open at the sides
and all the machinery visible as you come up to the boat. Both ends are
blunt, and the gangways are drawn up to big cranes. Of course the boats
could not stand any kind of a sea, but here they are very useful, for
they are shallow and do not get hurt when they bump into the bank or one
another. The river runs down in a broad, swirling, brown current, and
nobody but an expert could tell the channel. One pilot or another is up
in the _Texas_ all day long and all night. Now the channel goes close
under one bank, then we have to cross the river and go under the other
bank; then there will come a deep spot when we can go anywhere. Then we
wind in and out among shoals and sand-bars. At night the steamers are
all lighted up, for there are a dozen of them in company with us. It is
nice to look back at them as they twist after us in a long winding line
down the river.



THE LONE CAT OF THE CAMP

Stamboul, La., Oct. 13, 1907.

DARLING QUENTIN:

When we shifted camp we came down here and found a funny little wooden
shanty, put up by some people who now and then come out here and sleep
in it when they fish or shoot. The only living thing around it was a
pussy-cat. She was most friendly and pleasant, and we found that she had
been living here for two years. When people were in the neighborhood,
she would take what scraps she could get, but the rest of the time she
would catch her own game for herself. She was pretty thin when we came,
and has already fattened visibly. She was not in the least disconcerted
by the appearance of the hounds, and none of them paid the slightest
attention to her when she wandered about among them. We are camped on
the edge of a lake. This morning before breakfast I had a good swim in
it, the water being warmer than the air, and this evening I rowed on it
in the moonlight. Every night we hear the great owls hoot and laugh in
uncanny fashion.


Camp on Tenesas Bayou, Oct. 6, 1907.

DARLING ETHEL:

Here we are in camp. It is very picturesque, and as comfortable as
possible. We have a big fly tent for the horses; the hounds sleep with
them, or with the donkeys! There is a white hunter, Ben Lily, who has
just joined us, who is a really remarkable character. He literally lives
in the woods. He joined us early this morning, with one dog. He had
tramped for twenty-four hours through the woods, without food or water,
and had slept a couple of hours in a crooked tree, like a wild turkey.

He has a mild, gentle face, blue eyes, and full beard; he is a religious
fanatic, and is as hardy as a bear or elk, literally caring nothing for
fatigue and exposure, which we couldn't stand at all. He doesn't seem to
consider the 24 hours' trip he has just made, any more than I should
a half hour's walk before breakfast. He quotes the preacher Talmage
continually.

This is a black belt. The people are almost all negroes, curious
creatures, some of them with Indian blood, like those in "Voodoo Tales."
Yesterday we met two little negresses riding one mule, bare-legged, with
a rope bridle.


Tenesas Bayou, Oct. 10, 1907.

BLESSED ARCHIE:

I just loved your letter. I was so glad to hear from you. I was afraid
you would have trouble with your Latin. What a funny little fellow
Opdyke must be; I am glad you like him. How do you get on at football?

We have found no bear. I shot a deer; I sent a picture of it to Kermit.

A small boy here caught several wildcats. When one was in the trap he
would push a box towards it, and it would itself get into it, to hide;
and so he would capture it alive. But one, instead of getting into the
box, combed the hair of the small boy!

We have a great many hounds in camp; at night they gaze solemnly into
the fire.

Dr. Lambert has caught a good many bass, which we have enjoyed at the
camp table.


Bear Bayou, Oct. 16, 1907.

DARLING ARCHIE:

We have had no luck with the bear; but we have killed as many deer as
we needed for meat, and the hounds caught a wildcat. Our camp is as
comfortable as possible, and we have great camp fires at night.

One of the bear-hunting planters with me told me he once saw a bear,
when overtaken by the hounds, lie down flat on its back with all its
legs stretched out, while the dogs barked furiously all around it.

Suddenly the bear sat up with a jump, and frightened all the dogs so
that they nearly turned back somersaults.

At this camp there is a nice tame pussy-cat which lies out here all the
time, catching birds, mice, or lizards; but very friendly with any party
of hunters which happens along.

P. S.--I have just killed a bear; I have written Kermit about it.

The Bear Plays Dead.

The Bear Sits Up.



SHOOTING THE BEAR

En route to Washington, Oct. 22, 1907.

DEAR TED:

"Bad old father" is coming back after a successful trip. It was a
success in every way, including the bear hunt; but in the case of the
bear hunt we only just made it successful and no more, for it was not
until the twelfth day of steady hunting that I got my bear. Then I shot
it in the most approved hunter's style, going up on it in a canebrake
as it made a walking bay before the dogs. I also killed a deer--more by
luck than anything else, as it was a difficult shot.



QUENTIN'S "EXQUISITE JEST"

White House, Jan. 2, 1908.

DEAR ARCHIE:

Friday night Quentin had three friends, including the little Taft
boy, to spend the night with him. They passed an evening and night of
delirious rapture, it being a continuous rough-house save when they
would fall asleep for an hour or two from sheer exhaustion. I interfered
but once, and that was to stop an exquisite jest of Quentin's, which
consisted in procuring sulphureted hydrogen to be used on the other boys
when they got into bed. They played hard, and it made me realize how old
I had grown and how very busy I had been these last few years, to
find that they had grown so that I was not needed in the play. Do you
recollect how we all of us used to play hide-and-go-seek in the White
House? and have obstacle races down the hall when you brought in your
friends?

Mother continues much attached to Scamp, who is certainly a cunning
little dog. He is very affectionate, but so exceedingly busy when we
are out on the grounds, that we only catch glimpses of him zigzagging at
full speed from one end of the place to the other. The kitchen cat and
he have strained relations but have not yet come to open hostility.


White House, Jan. 27, 1908.

DEAR ARCHIE:

Scamp is really a cunning little dog, but he takes such an extremely
keen interest in hunting, and is so active, that when he is out on the
grounds with us we merely catch glimpses of him as he flashes by. The
other night after the Judicial Reception when we went up-stairs to
supper the kitchen cat suddenly appeared parading down the hall with
great friendliness, and was forthwith exiled to her proper home again.



TOM PINCH

White House, February 23, 1908.

DEAREST KERMIT:

I quite agree with you about Tom Pinch. He is a despicable kind of
character; just the kind of character Dickens liked, because he had
himself a thick streak of maudlin sentimentality of the kind that, as
somebody phrased it, "made him wallow naked in the pathetic." It always
interests me about Dickens to think how much first-class work he did and
how almost all of it was mixed up with every kind of cheap, second-rate
matter. I am very fond of him. There are innumerable characters that he
has created which symbolize vices, virtues, follies, and the like almost
as well as the characters in Bunyan; and therefore I think the wise
thing to do is simply to skip the bosh and twaddle and vulgarity and
untruth, and get the benefit out of the rest. Of course one fundamental
difference between Thackeray and Dickens is that Thackeray was a
gentleman and Dickens was not. But a man might do some mighty good work
and not be a gentleman in any sense.



"MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT"

White House, February 29, 1908.

DEAREST KERMIT:

Of course I entirely agree with you about "Martin Chuzzlewit." But the
point seems to me that the preposterous perversion of truth and
the ill-nature and malice of the book are of consequence chiefly
as indicating Dickens' own character, about which I care not a rap;
whereas, the characters in American shortcomings and vices and follies
as typified are immortal, and, moreover, can be studied with great
profit by all of us to-day. Dickens was an ill-natured, selfish cad and
boor, who had no understanding of what the word gentleman meant, and no
appreciation of hospitality or good treatment. He was utterly incapable
of seeing the high purpose and the real greatness which (in spite of the
presence also of much that was bad or vile) could have been visible all
around him here in America to any man whose vision was both keen and
lofty. He could not see the qualities of the young men growing up here,
though it was these qualities that enabled these men to conquer the West
and to fight to a finish the great Civil War, and though they were to
produce leadership like that of Lincoln, Lee, and Grant. Naturally
he would think there was no gentleman in New York, because by no
possibility could he have recognized a gentleman if he had met one.
Naturally he would condemn all America because he had not the soul
to see what America was really doing. But he was in his element in
describing with bitter truthfulness Scadder and Jefferson Brick, and
Elijah Pogram, and Hannibal Chollup, and Mrs. Hominy and the various
other characters, great and small, that have always made me enjoy
"Martin Chuzzlewit." Most of these characters we still have with us.



GOOD READING FOR PACIFISTS

March 4, 1908.

DEAREST KERMIT:

You have recently been writing me about Dickens. Senator Lodge gave
me the following first-class quotation from a piece by Dickens about
"Proposals for Amusing Posterity":

"And I would suggest that if a body of gentlemen possessing their full
phrenological share of the combative and antagonistic organs, could only
be induced to form themselves into a society for Declaiming about Peace,
with a very considerable war-whoop against all non-declaimers; and
if they could only be prevailed upon to sum up eloquently the many
unspeakable miseries and horrors of War, and to present them to their
own country as a conclusive reason for its being undefended against
War, and becoming a prey of the first despot who might choose to inflict
those miseries and horrors--why then I really believe we should have
got to the very best joke we could hope to have in our whole Complete
Jest-Book for Posterity and might fold our arms and rest convinced that
we had done enough for that discerning Patriarch's amusement."

This ought to be read before all the tomfool peace societies and
anti-imperialist societies of the present-day.



QUENTIN AS A BALL-PLAYER

White House, March 8, 1908.

DEAREST ARCHIE:

Yesterday morning Quentin brought down all his Force School baseball
nine to practise on the White House grounds. It was great fun to see
them, and Quentin made a run. It reminded me of when you used to come
down with the Friend's School eleven. Moreover, I was reminded of the
occasional rows in the eleven by an outburst in connection with the
nine which resulted in their putting off of it a small boy who Quentin
assured me was the "meanest kid in town." I like to see Quentin
practising baseball. It gives me hopes that one of my boys will not
take after his father in this respect, and will prove able to play the
national game!

Ethel has a delightful new dog--a white bull terrier--not much more than
a puppy as yet. She has named it Mike and it seems very affectionate.
Scamp is really an extraordinary ratter, and kills a great many rats
in the White House, in the cellars and on the lower floor and among the
machinery. He is really a very nice little dog.


White House, March 15, 1908.

DEAREST ARCHIE:

Quentin is now taking a great interest in baseball. Yesterday the Force
School nine, on which he plays second base, played the P Street nine
on the White House grounds where Quentin has marked out a diamond. The
Force School nine was victorious by a score of 22 to 5. I told Quentin I
was afraid the P Street boys must have felt badly and he answered, "Oh,
I guess not; you see I filled them up with lemonade afterward!"

Charlie Taft is on his nine.

Did you hear of the dreadful time Ethel had with her new bull terrier,
Mike? She was out riding with Fitz Lee, who was on Roswell, and Mike
was following. They suppose that Fidelity must have accidentally kicked
Mike. The first they knew the bulldog sprang at the little mare's
throat. She fought pluckily, rearing and plunging, and shook him off,
and then Ethel galloped away. As soon as she halted, Mike overtook her
and attacked Fidelity again. He seized her by the shoulder and tried to
seize her by the throat, and twice Ethel had to break away and
gallop off, Fitz Lee endeavoring in vain to catch the dog. Finally he
succeeded, just as Mike had got Fidelity by the hock. He had to give
Mike a tremendous beating to restore him to obedience; but of course
Mike will have to be disposed of. Fidelity was bitten in several places
and it was a wonder that Ethel was able to keep her seat, because
naturally the frightened little mare reared and plunged and ran.



FOUR SHEEPISH SMALL BOYS

White House, April 11, 1908.

DEAREST ARCHIE:

Ethel has bought on trial an eight-months bulldog pup. He is very
cunning, very friendly, and wriggles all over in a frantic desire to be
petted.

Quentin really seems to be getting on pretty well with his baseball. In
each of the last two games he made a base hit and a run. I have just
had to give him and three of his associates a dressing down--one of the
three being Charlie Taft. Yesterday afternoon was rainy, and four of
them played five hours inside the White House. They were very boisterous
and were all the time on the verge of mischief, and finally they
made spit-balls and deliberately put them on the portraits. I did not
discover it until after dinner, and then pulled Quentin out of bed and
had him take them all off the portraits, and this morning required him
to bring in the three other culprits before me. I explained to them that
they had acted like boors; that it would have been a disgrace to have
behaved so in any gentleman's house; that Quentin could have no friend
to see him, and the other three could not come inside the White House,
until I felt that a sufficient time had elapsed to serve as punishment.
They were four very sheepish small boys when I got through with them.



JOHN BURROUGHS AND THE FLYING SQUIRRELS

White House, May 10, 1908.

DEAREST ARCHIE:

Mother and I had great fun at Pine Knot. Mr. Burroughs, whom I call Oom
John, was with us and we greatly enjoyed having him. But one night he
fell into great disgrace! The flying squirrels that were there last
Christmas had raised a brood, having built a large nest inside of the
room in which you used to sleep and in which John Burroughs slept. Of
course they held high carnival at night-time. Mother and I do not mind
them at all, and indeed rather like to hear them scrambling about, and
then as a sequel to a sudden frantic fight between two of them, hearing
or seeing one little fellow come plump down to the floor and scuttle
off again to the wall. But one night they waked up John Burroughs and he
spent a misguided hour hunting for the nest, and when he found it took
it down and caught two of the young squirrels and put them in a basket.
The next day under Mother's direction I took them out, getting my
fingers somewhat bitten in the process, and loosed them in our room,
where we had previously put back the nest. I do not think John Burroughs
profited by his misconduct, because the squirrels were more active than
ever that night both in his room and ours, the disturbance in their
family affairs having evidently made them restless!



BEAUTY OF WHITE HOUSE GROUNDS

White House, May 17, 1908.

DEAREST ARCHIE:

Quentin is really doing pretty well with his baseball, and he is
perfectly absorbed in it. He now occasionally makes a base hit if the
opposing pitcher is very bad; and his nine wins more than one-half of
its games.

The grounds are too lovely for anything, and spring is here, or
rather early summer, in full force. Mother's flower-gardens are now as
beautiful as possible, and the iron railings of the fences south of
them are covered with clematis and roses in bloom. The trees are in full
foliage and the grass brilliant green, and my friends, the warblers, are
trooping to the north in full force.



QUENTIN AND A BEEHIVE

White House, May 30, 1908.

DEAREST ARCHIE:

Quentin has met with many adventures this week; in spite of the fact
that he has had a bad cough which has tended to interrupt the variety of
his career. He has become greatly interested in bees, and the other day
started down to get a beehive from somewhere, being accompanied by a
mongrel looking small boy as to whose name I inquired. When repeated by
Quentin it was obviously an Italian name. I asked who he was and Quentin
responded: "Oh, his father keeps a fruit-stand." However, they got their
bees all right and Quentin took the hive up to a school exhibit.
There some of the bees got out and were left behind ("Poor homeless
miserables," as Quentin remarked of them), and yesterday they at
intervals added great zest to life in the classroom. The hive now
reposes in the garden and Scamp surveys it for hours at a time with
absorbed interest. After a while he will get to investigating it, and
then he will find out more than he expects to.

This afternoon Quentin was not allowed to play ball because of his
cough, so he was keeping the score when a foul tip caught him in the
eye. It was quite a bad blow, but Quentin was very plucky about it and
declined to go in until the game was finished, an hour or so later.
By that time his eye had completely shut up and he now has a most
magnificent bandage around his head over that eye, and feels much like
a baseball hero. I came in after dinner to take a look at him and to my
immense amusement found that he was lying flat on his back in bed saying
his prayers, while Mademoiselle was kneeling down. It took me a moment
or two to grasp the fact that good Mademoiselle wished to impress on him
that it was not right to say his prayers unless he knelt down, and as
that in this case he could not kneel down she would do it in his place!



QUENTIN AND TURNER

(To Mrs. Nicholas Longworth, Cincinnati, Ohio)

Oyster Bay, June 29, 1908.

. . . . .

Quentin is really too funny for anything. He got his legs fearfully
sunburned the other day, and they blistered, became inflamed, and
ever-faithful Mother had to hold a clinic on him. Eyeing his blistered
and scarlet legs, he remarked, "They look like a Turner sunset, don't
they?" And then, after a pause, "I won't be caught again this way! quoth
the raven, 'Nevermore!'" I was not surprised at his quoting Poe, but I
would like to know where the ten-year-old scamp picked up any knowledge
of Turner's sunsets.



QUENTIN AND THE PIG

White House, October 17, 1908.

DEAREST KERMIT:

. . . . .

Quentin performed a characteristic feat yesterday. He heard that
Schmidt, the animal man, wanted a small pig, and decided that he would
turn an honest penny by supplying the want. So out in the neighborhood
of his school he called on an elderly darkey who, he had seen, possessed
little pigs; bought one; popped it into a bag; astutely dodged the
school--having a well-founded distrust of how the boys would feel toward
his passage with the pig--and took the car for home. By that time the
pig had freed itself from the bag, and, as he explained, he journeyed in
with a "small squealish pig" under his arm; but as the conductor was a
friend of his he was not put off. He bought it for a dollar and sold it
to Schmidt for a dollar and a quarter, and feels as if he had found a
permanent line of business. Schmidt then festooned it in red ribbons and
sent it to parade the streets. I gather that Quentin led it around for
part of the parade, but he was somewhat vague on this point, evidently
being a little uncertain as to our approval of the move.



A PRESIDENTIAL FALL

White House, Nov. 8, 1908.

DEAREST ARCHIE:

Quentin is getting along very well; he plays centre on his football
eleven, and in a match for juniors in tennis he got into the
semi-finals. What is more important, he seems to be doing very well
with his studies, and to get on well with the boys, and is evidently
beginning to like the school. He has shown himself very manly. Kermit is
home now, and is a perfect dear.

The other day while taking a scramble walk over Rock Creek, when I came
to that smooth-face of rock which we get round by holding on to the
little bit of knob that we call the Button, the top of this button
came off between my thumb and forefinger. I hadn't supposed that I was
putting much weight on it, but evidently I was, for I promptly lost my
balance, and finding I was falling, I sprang out into the creek. There
were big rocks in it, and the water was rather shallow, but I landed all
right and didn't hurt myself the least bit in the world.



MORE ABOUT QUENTIN

White House, Nov. 22, 1908.

DEAREST ARCHIE:

I handed your note and the two dollar bill to Quentin, and he was
perfectly delighted. It came in very handy, because poor Quentin has
been in bed with his leg in a plaster cast, and the two dollars I think
went to make up a fund with which he purchased a fascinating little
steam-engine, which has been a great source of amusement to him. He is
out to-day visiting some friends, although his leg is still in a cast.
He has a great turn for mechanics.


White House, Nov. 27, 1908.

BLESSED ARCHIE:

It is fine to hear from you and to know you are having a good time.
Quentin, I am happy to say, is now thoroughly devoted to his school. He
feels that he is a real Episcopal High School boy, and takes the keenest
interest in everything. Yesterday, Thanksgiving Day, he had various
friends here. His leg was out of plaster and there was nothing he did
not do. He roller-skated; he practised football; he had engineering work
and electrical work; he went all around the city; he romped all over
the White House; he went to the slaughter-house and got a pig for
Thanksgiving dinner.

Ethel is perfectly devoted to Ace, who adores her. The other day he
was lost for a little while; he had gone off on a side street and
unfortunately saw a cat in a stable and rushed in and killed it, and
they had him tied up there when one of our men found him.

In a way I know that Mother misses Scamp, but in another way she does
not, for now all the squirrels are very tame and cunning and are hopping
about the lawn and down on the paths all the time, so that we see them
whenever we walk, and they are not in the least afraid of us.


White House, Dec. 3, 1908.

DEAREST ARCHIE:

I have a very strong presentiment that Santa Claus will not forget that
watch! Quentin went out shooting with Dr. Rixey on Monday and killed
three rabbits, which I think was pretty good. He came back very dirty
and very triumphant, and Mother, feeling just as triumphant, brought
him promptly over with his gun and his three rabbits to see me in the
office. On most days now he rides out to school, usually on Achilles.
Very shortly he will begin to spend his nights at the school, however.
He has become sincerely attached to the school, and at the moment thinks
he would rather stay there than go to Groton; but this is a thought
he will get over--with Mother's active assistance. He has all kinds of
friends, including some who are on a hockey team with him here in the
city. The hockey team apparently plays hockey now and then, but only
very occasionally, and spends most of the time disciplining its own
members.



TRIBUTE TO KERMIT

In 1909, after retiring from the Presidency, Colonel Roosevelt went on a
hunting trip in Africa, writing as usual to his children while away.


On the 'Nzor River, Nov. 13, 1909.

DARLING ETHEL:

Here we are, by a real tropical river, with game all around, and no
human being within several days' journey. At night the hyenas come round
the camp, uttering their queer howls; and once or twice we have heard
lions; but unfortunately have never seen them. Kermit killed a leopard
yesterday. He has really done so very well! It is rare for a boy with
his refined tastes and his genuine appreciation of literature--and of so
much else--to be also an exceptionally bold and hardy sportsman. He is
still altogether too reckless; but by my hen-with-one-chicken attitude,
I think I shall get him out of Africa uninjured; and his keenness, cool
nerve, horsemanship, hardihood, endurance, and good eyesight make him
a really good wilderness hunter. We have become genuinely attached to
Cunninghame and Tarleton, and all three naturalists, especially Heller;
and also to our funny black attendants. The porters always amuse us; at
this moment about thirty of them are bringing in the wood for the camp
fires, which burn all night; and they are all chanting in chorus, the
chant being nothing but the words "_Wood_--plenty of wood to burn!"

A Merry Christmas to you! And to Archie and Quentin. How I wish I were
to be with you all, no matter how cold it might be at Sagamore; but I
suppose we shall be sweltering under mosquito nets in Uganda.



LONGING FOR HOME

Campalla, Dec. 23, 1909.

BLESSEDEST ETHELY-BYE:

Here we are, the most wise Bavian--particularly nice--and the Elderly
Parent, on the last stage of their journey. I am enjoying it all, but
I think Kermit regards me as a little soft, because I am so eagerly
looking forward to the end, when I shall see darling, pretty Mother, my
own sweetheart, and the very nicest of all nice daughters--you blessed
girlie. Do you remember when you explained, with some asperity, that of
course you wished Ted were at home, because you didn't have anybody as
a really intimate companion, whereas Mother had "old Father"? It is a
great comfort to have a daughter to whom I can write about all kinds of
intimate things!

This is a most interesting place. We crossed the great Nyanza Lake, in a
comfortable steamer, in 24 hours, seeing a lovely sunset across the vast
expanse of waters; and the moonlight later was as lovely. Here it is as
hot as one would expect directly on the Equator, and the brilliant green
landscape is fairly painted with even more brilliant flowers, on trees,
bush, and vines; while the strange, semi-civilized people are most
interesting. The queer little king's Prime Minister, an exceedingly
competent, gorgeously dressed, black man, reminds Kermit of a rather
civilized Umslopagaar--if that is the way you spell Rider Haggard's Zulu
hero.

In this little native town we are driven round in rickshaws, each
with four men pushing and pulling, who utter a queer, clanging note of
exclamation in chorus, every few seconds, hour after hour.



THE LAST HUNT

Gondokoro, Feb. 27, 1910.

DEAREST ARCHIE:

Here, much to my pleasure, I find your letter written after the
snow-storm at Sagamore. No snow here! On two or three days the
thermometer at noon has stood at 115 degrees in the shade. All three
naturalists and Mr. Cunninghame, the guide, have been sick, and so
Kermit and I made our last hunt alone, going for eight days into the
Lado. We were very successful, getting among other things three giant
eland, which are great prizes. We worked hard; Kermit of course worked
hardest, for he is really a first-class walker and runner; I had to go
slowly, but I kept at it all day and every day. Kermit has really become
not only an excellent hunter but also a responsible and trustworthy man,
fit to lead; he managed the whole caravan and after hunting all day he
would sit up half the night taking care of the skins. He is also
the nicest possible companion. We are both very much attached to our
gun-bearers and tent boys, and will be sorry to part with them.



QUENTIN GROWN-UP

New York, Dec. 23, 1911.

DEAR ARCHIE:

Quentin turned up last night. He is half an inch taller than I am, and
is in great shape. He is much less fat than he was, and seems to be
turning out right in every way. I was amused to have him sit down and
play the piano pretty well. We miss you dreadfully now that Christmas
has come. The family went into revolt about my slouch hat, which Quentin
christened "Old Mizzoura," and so I have had to buy another with a less
pronounced crown and brim. We all drank your good health at dinner.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Letters to His Children" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home