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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914). Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen. 1904.

Page 16

for him to decide is whether they are worth giving up a life to, and, having decided, to give it to his ambition. The boy Theodore saw that to do anything he must first be strong, and chose that. There were many things he might have chosen which would have been easier, but if you are concerned about that, you will not have your way. He was not. He set about resolutely removing the reproach of his puny body, as it seemed to him. He ran, he rode, he swam, he roamed through the hills of his Long Island home, the same to which he yet comes back to romp with his children on his summer holiday. He rowed his skiff intrepidly over the white-capped waters of the Bay—that once, when I had long been a man, carried mine, despite all my struggles, across to Center Island and threw me, skiff and all, upon the beach, a shipwrecked mariner doomed to be ignominiously ferried across on the yacht club’s launch. I thought of it the other day when I came ashore from the Sylph, and half a mile from shore met young Kermit battling alone with the waves, hatless and with the salt spray in his eyes and hair, tossed here and there as in a nutshell, but laughing and undaunted. I do