Home  »  Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen  »  Page 325

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

Page 325

natural bent, and the Roosevelt children are real children. At Groton I met Ted, the oldest, with his arm in a sling, a token from the football game and also from a scrap he had had with another lad who called him “the first boy in the land” and got a good drubbing for it. “I wish,” said Ted to me in deep disgust, “that my father would soon be done holding office. I am sick and tired of it.”
  It was not long after that that Ted fell ill with pneumonia, and his brother Archie sent him his painfully scrawled message of sympathy: “I hop you are beter.” His father keeps it, I know, in that sacred place in his heart where lie treasured the memories of letters in childish scrawl that brought home even to the trenches before Santiago, with the shrapnel cracking overhead.
  There are other lessons than spelling and grammar to be learned in Washington,—lessons of democracy, too, in their way. I have heard of the policeman of the White House Squad who was discharged for cause, and appealed to the little lad who answers roll-call with the police on holidays and salutes the sergeant as gravely as the men in blue and brass.