Home  »  Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen  »  Page 76

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

Page 76

north woods as much as I enjoyed the great plains and the Rockies.” It was during that fall that I received the first news from him, up there in the Canadian wilderness, of the sad and terrible doings at Buffalo, when William McKinley was already in his grave. I read in that letter that had been waiting many days for our canoe to come down the lake, even though he wrote hopefully of the President’s recovery; that a shadow had fallen across his path, between him and those youthful days, through which he would never cross again the same man. He was himself going away to the woods, he wrote, with the children. The doctors had assured him all was well. There was even a note of glad relief that the dreadful suspense was over. Yet with it all there was a something, undefinable, that told me that the chase he loved so well, the free wild life of the plain, had lost one that understood them as few did; and the closing words of the preface of the book, on which the ink of his name was hardly yet dry, sounded to me like saddening prophecy:
  “No one but he who has partaken thereof can understand the keen delight of hunting in lonely lands. For him is the joy of the horse