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

Page 349

it was getting to be hard for him to go around without gathering a crowd, and I saw that he did not like it. In one of his letters not long ago he spoke of the old days, and our expeditions, and of how he wished we could do again what we did then, for he had ever a great desire to get close to the real life of the people. It was a natural sympathy for his honest but poorer neighbor, for whom he had battled ever since life meant more to him than play. His errand being one of friendly interest, and not of mere curiosity, there was never any danger of his seeming to patronize by his presence, though, if he thought he detected the signs of it, he quickly took himself out of the way. With the children there was, of course, never any peril of that, and they were chums together without long introduction. “I suppose we could not even go among them nowadays without their having to call out the police reserves,” he complained in his letter. Though he was followed by a cheering crowd on our last visit to the Sullivan Street School, it had not yet quite come to that. He pulled his coat collar up about his face, and we escaped around the corner.