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

Page 300

hug the sheep then and there, and kiss its black nose, I was glad the plot miscarried. The widow killed the sheep the next day. Roosevelt never knew what he had escaped. It was all my way of paying him for calling sheep “woolly idiots,” whereas they are my special pets. There is no animal I like so much as a sheep. It is so absolutely, comfortably stupid. You don’t have to put sense into it, because you can’t.
  I am tempted to tell you of more jokes, for he loves one dearly so long as it hurts no one’s feelings. Two timid parsons found that out who saw Mr. Gilder shake hands with him at a reception and express the hope that “he would not embroil us in any foreign war.”
  “What,” cried the President, “a war? with me cooped up here in the White House! Never, gentlemen, never!” I wonder what the parsons thought when they caught their breath. Perhaps the man I met on a railroad train and told the story to, expressed it. “There, you see,” said he; “he says it himself. If he could get away he would start a fight.” His fun sometimes takes the form of mock severity with intimate friends. In the swarm of officials that