Home  »  Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen  »  Page 92

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

Page 92

ledger, though it was never laid. I remembered well the half of an idle forenoon I spent, when I was nearer fifteen than five, treacherously trying to decoy my neighbor’s hen across the fence to lay her egg in my yard. The doorknob I polished a most alluring white and hid in some hay for a nest-egg, and the trail of corn I made—they all rose up and spurned me. Who says the world is not getting better? Look upon this picture and upon that. No one would ever think of making me President. And when I thought of Mr. Roosevelt’s probable action with the hen cackling on his side of the fence, who can doubt that he would return the egg with a stern reprimand to its owner not to lead his neighbor into temptation again? Mr. Cleveland might have registered the weight of the egg before returning it; the fisherman would not be denied. Mr. Roosevelt, had the hen been a wild fowl, would have taken note of its plumage and its futile habit of hiding its nest from mankind, even righteous mankind.
  A cat may look at a king. One may have a joke even with a President. I know they won’t mind. They are two men alike in the best