Home  »  Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen  »  Page 346

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

Page 346

that had come to the feast, so that it might add to the pleasure of the day for them. I just sneaked back and told them.
  The children usually take to him, as he to them, in the same perfect good faith. We saw it in Mulberry Street, after he had gone, when two little tots came from over on the East Side asking for “the Commissioner,” that they might obtain justice. I can see them now: the older a little hunchback girl, with her poor shawl pinned over her head and the sober look of a child who has known want and pinching poverty at an age when she should have been at play, dragging her reluctant baby brother by the hand. His cheeks were tear-stained, and his little nose was bruised and bloody, and he was altogether an unhappy boy, in his rôle of “evidence,” under the scrutiny of the big policeman at the door. It was very plain that he would much rather not have been there. But the decrees of fate were no more merciless than his sister’s grasp on him as she marched him in and put the case to the policeman. They had come from Allen Street, then the Red Light District. Some doubtful “ladies” had moved into their tenement, she explained, and