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

Page 242

  Crank after crank got up with their questions, and as I looked out over them bobbing in the amused crowd like corks on a choppy sea, there came into my head Solomon’s precept to answer a fool according to his folly. The President’s first message was just out.
  “How shall we interpret it?” queried a pedantic spectacled loon, with slow deliberation checking the points off on his fingers; “shall we class it as an economic effort or as a political discourse, as a literary production or as a—”
  “The President’s message,” I interrupted, “has just been rendered into the language of the blind, and they don’t have any difficulty in making it out.”
  The meeting broke up in a great laugh, amid a storm of protests from the cranks whose fun was spoiled. They were not looking for information. They had come merely to hear themselves talk.
  I guess it is no use beating about the bush, telling stories; I have to come to it. But I have n’t got over the shock the news from Buffalo gave me up there in the Canadian wilderness. I hate to think of it.
  Roosevelt had gone to join his children in