Home  »  Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen  »  Page 270

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

Page 270

weeks before the mails brought word whether her boy was among the “thirteen private soldiers” who fell, or not. I had been asked to put the case to the President, and get him to cut the red tape, if possible; but, against expectation, I found a tableful of soldiers and statesmen at lunch, and I saw clearly enough that it would be hard to get the President’s ear long enough.
  But, as luck would have it, I was put beside General Young, fine old warrior, whom I had met before, and I told him of what was on my heart. He knew of no such order when he was in the Philippines, and we got into quite a little argument about it, which I purposely dragged out till there was a lull in the talk at the President’s end of the table, and I saw him looking my way. I asked him if he knew of the order.
  “What order?” said he; and I told him—told him of the mothers fretting for their boys all over the land. He looked up quickly at Adjutant-General Corbin, who sat right opposite. It was what I wanted. He knew.
  “General,” said Mr. Roosevelt, “is there such an order?”