Theodore Roosevelt in Retrospect
“He would have been entirely useless if he had not been a politician. Not even the most altruistic statesman could swim above the currents of the whirlpool of political life in a republic, without taking into account the value of opportune compromises. But Theodore Roosevelt, in my experience, never compromised for a base motive.”
My acquaintance with Theodore Roosevelt began back in the eighties. At that time I was editor of a weekly paper in New York, and we had some correspondence on social and literary subjects. Everything he said was interesting, very much to the point; and—what was very flattering to me, from a man of his strong convictions—he was most deferential in considering my opinions, especially on literary matters. I found afterwards that this attitude was largely due to his having read two sonnets of mine, ‘Theocritus’ and ‘Maurice de Guérin,’ which he did not pretend to understand. Even at that time, when the mists that obscure the future of every young man were just beginning to part and to show the landscape to him, he seemed to find time to read almost everything.
Through Mr. Richard Watson Gilder, one of the most generous and sympathetic men of his time, I had come in contact with President Cleveland, and there was talk of a diplomatic appointment to Athens. President Cleveland at that time was desirous of obtaining certain information about Near-Eastern affairs, with regard to which Mr. Gilder thought I might be useful. It was through Mr. Gilder that my acquaintance with Theodore Roosevelt ripened into a warm and ever-growing friendship. As a friend, no man could be more understanding or more tolerant—more desirous to bind one to him with hoops of steel.
When the question of the disposition of the friars’ land in the Philippines came up, Mr. Roosevelt was Vice-President. President McKinley, through the late Senator Thomas H. Carter, asked various opinions as to what was to be done. It was an unpleasant tangle, for there were persons about the President who seemed to think that these friars, who had just as much right under the law to their land as the Corporation of Trinity Church in New York has to its possessions, could be thrown out of the islands, body and bones. President McKinley hesitated: he seemed to know very little about the position of the friars under the laws which had governed the Spanish possessions. This was natural enough: canon law, in its relation to civil law, in a country where Church and State had been united, was a matter to the understanding of which his previous experience had not helped him. One thing became evident: that if a broad and unparochial view were not taken of the question, the government would be justly accused of the rankest injustice, and, consequently, ecclesiastical, religious, political animosities would be revived in the United States.
President McKinley was desirous of doing the righteous thing, but the righteous thing at one moment seemed to be the deportation of the friars, whose position as pioneers, as educators, as civilizers of the mixed population in those parts of the Philippine Islands that were at all civilized, could hardly be understood by the average American. President McKinley—and he could hardly be blamed for it—confounded the Jesuits, the Dominicans, and the other Spanish religious orders, who were mostly gentlemen and scholars, with the native Filipino clergy, who were not, to say the least, with some exceptions, altogether what they should be. The discipline of Rome was far off; the ideals of the natives in remote villages were not high; it was possible for a parish priest, who sprang from a hybrid race in which the lower qualities as a rule blur the higher, to do almost as he pleased.
There were, indeed, parishes in the more distant regions into which young and clever Filipinos had intruded themselves without even the ceremony of ordination. To be a priest of this kind was a good job. This condition of affairs was pointed out and exaggerated by the opponents of the Catholic Church in the islands. It was forgotten that there was the greatest distinction between these low types of men and the members of the religious orders who were responsible for the beginning of whatever progress had been made in the Philippines, by virtue of the hardest kind of work and constant self-sacrifice. The friars were Spanish; they had practically been part of the Spanish government; they were to the native priests what the Norman bishops of the type of Saint Anselm were to the ignorant Saxon clergy, who had retained their customs in England until the alien prelates began to institute a new order of things. It was necessary that President McKinley should be made to understand the situation; a more difficult matter was to induce the Catholics of the United States to accept an explanation of corrupt morals which was not at all obvious to them.
While negotiations and pourparlers were going on, President McKinley was murdered. Theodore Roosevelt was obliged at once to shoulder all the difficulties of this situation, and many others as well.
One night Mr. Gilder called at my house on Capitol Hill, Washington.
‘What do you think of Theodore Roosevelt?’ he asked.
‘He is a man of letters in love with life,’ I answered.
Mr. Gilder laughed. ‘He is more than that; he is about to make an epoch, and he wants to talk literature with you, by the way. There are other things he wants to consider. I am leaving town, but I promised to tell you this. Telephone to the White House to-morrow and find out when he wants to see you; I think he would like you to lunch with him on Wednesday.’
The meeting was arranged. There were ten or twelve people at the luncheon, which was very informal. Mrs. Roosevelt sat behind the urn and made us all feel the presence of courtesy and graciousness. The conversation was fast and furious. The President did not conceal his opinions on any subject, and, as I remember, he fought violently every inch of the ground which Speaker Cannon was occupying on some fiscal question.
The President evidently enjoyed both the luncheon and the conversation fully. After a while he smiled, and said to me, 'I do not know much about the sonnet; Edith understands all that; and I have a superstitious veneration for everything she understands and I do not. Stay after luncheon; I want to speak to you.'
I waited and went to his office. As usual, there was an immense bunch of heliotrope on his desk. ‘I like it,’ he said.
‘You ought to,’ I answered; ‘it is the emblem of a happy marriage.’
‘I am happy,’ he said, ‘very happy: the only fly in the amber is that I am an accidental president; but I intend to be President of all the people.’
We skirmished a little on the frontiers of literature. He seemed to have read everything, from Miss Edgeworth’s Rosamond and The Purple Jar to Beowulf and the 'Bollandists.' Then we came to the question of the Philippines. The legal aspect, he believed, might safely be left to the care of Secretary Taft, with some help from the 'sharps' in canon law. He was very desirous that there should be no injustice done, and, above all, no revival of theological animosity. He agreed that the friars' lands should be bought by the United States, in order that their owners, being Spanish and associated with Spanish rule, might leave the islands. He saw at once the absurdity of attempting to treat them as Henry VIII treated the English monks. ‘You are right,’ he said; ‘we might just as well try to seize the property of my wife’s church in New York; I am a dissenter myself’ — he laughed, — ‘thoroughly Dutch Reformed; but I should object to that!’
Talk after talk and luncheon after luncheon followed each other. It was thoroughly delightful. We might begin with George Borrow’s Lavengro, apropos of which he would trace the derivation of an Italian folk-tale, analyze Sandford and Merton, discover that we had both been fed a horrible concoction termed ‘cambric tea’ in our youth, drop into long quotations from ‘Mr. Dooley,’ and return to the Philippines. It was a lucky arrangement for me, that, as most of the politicians looked on me as merely a literary person. I escaped the dangers of being even remotely in the confidence of the President. The main question with him was always how to do the right thing, to avoid religious antagonisms and to crush all kinds of unreasonable prejudices with a firm hand.
‘I believe,’ he said, ‘that the Catholic Church has done whatever could be done in the way of progress in the Philippines; and I believe, if the ecclesiastical system is reconstructed on a plan devised by, let us say, Cardinal Gibbons or Archbishop Ireland, the future religious and social progress will be admirable: but we must first induce the Catholic hierarchy and the Catholic people to admit that there are crying abuses among the clergy in the islands which must be eradicated before the complaints of the opponents of the Catholic Church can be made groundless. The Catholic Church in the Philippines cannot attempt to drive out ethical-culture societies, or to suppress an honest agnosticism, which might easily turn into rabid infidelity, if the old-fashioned ecclesiastical methods against it were used. The Protestant denominations, which, to be honest, I hardly think will ever really meet the spiritual needs of the Latins, must, too, have a fair chance; and the Catholic press ought to see that the union of Church and State in the Philippines disappeared the very moment they were assimilated by the United States.’
Nothing could be more reasonable than this. But, owing to the outcries of narrow-minded sectarians, who wanted to extirpate the Scarlet Lady, and the equally narrow opinion among certain Catholics that no clerical abuses could really exist in the islands, and that to point them out, even in order to destroy them, was a sin against the Holy Ghost, President Roosevelt’s position was very difficult. However, a most admirable army chaplain, Father Vatman, was recommended to the President. He was implicitly trusted by the Catholic hierarchy in the United States; while the report of a Baptist or Methodist minister might be exaggerated in the theological heat of the moment, it was quite certain that Father Vatman would not be. He went to the Philippines; he saw, he reported; and the Catholics of the United States were made to feel that the salvation of the Catholic religion in the Philippines depended largely on the methods of American reconstruction.
To tell of our private conversations, to give a real impression of the furious opposition which President Roosevelt’s plan aroused, involving as it did the sending of Archbishop Ireland, Bishop O’Gorman, and Secretary Taft to the Philippines, might only revive half-forgotten animosities.
‘My God!’ he said to me one day, almost in despair, before the mission had started; ‘the Catholics themselves are against it.’
‘Don’t trouble yourself about that,’ I answered. ‘You are right; the people who are protesting against the only reasonable settlement, which is to induce the Holy Father to insist that the friars shall sell their lands, are of the same type as those of your own church who are constantly advising you to take Smyrna.’
He laughed heartily. ‘Yes he said, ‘the honest preacher is always wanting me to separate Smyrna from the Turks; but when I say that we should be obliged to fight the Turks, they at once declare for peace.’
It was during these delightful conversations that I came to know Theodore Roosevelt well, and to feel more and more the depths of his spiritual nature, his love for righteousness; his sane power of making compromises not ignoble when a good end required it; his plasticity of mind, his versatility and concentration, his power of using all that was valuable in other men, and his indomitable energy and courage.
There seems to be a wide-spread impression that he was uncontrollably impetuous, fixed in his opinions, unmanageable even by those persons whose opinions he ought to respect. Nothing can be more untrue than this. It is impossible to conceive of a man more willing to give up his opinions when those opinions were proved to be unfounded, or when the objection to those opinions was put in a way which attracted or pleased him. He loved a good phrase and he was charmed by an apt literary allusion—it could not be too recondite or involved or pedantic; but if one opposed him and could put one's opinions into a compact sentence, he was always likely to accept the new point of view heartily, and even enthusiastically. All his friends knew this very well.
I remember one occasion when he had asked me to meet a group of men from California to talk about Bret Harte and Kipling. Bret Harte and Kipling were, however, never mentioned. He said suddenly, turning with the air of ferocious earnestness which he sometimes assumed to one of these gentlemen, who was recommending to him a San Francisco friend, ‘No, sir! Your man is a French Revolutionist.’
The three Californians were evidently shocked. They were men of cultivation and influence. As a friend of Mr. Roosevelt’s, I thought it was my duty to see that he did not offend them, so I tried the ‘phrase.’
‘You mean,’ I said, ‘Mr. Roosevelt, that he is of the type of Camille DesMoulins, not of the type of Marat or Robespierre.’
I knew the name would catch him. ‘Certainly,’ he said. And he dashed into a sketch of Camille Desmoulins, bringing in a quotation from Hilaire Belloc’s Danton, which pleased everybody.
After they had gone, he roared with laughter. ‘Your phrase,’ he said, ‘saved that situation for me and drew me off the track. I am not sure at all that their man isn’t a mixture of Marat and Robespierre.’ But he bore no malice, and chuckled several times afterwards at the effect of the interpolation.
One felt that one of his best gifts was in adapting the experience of his friends to any crisis in which he was interested. He would have been entirely useless if he had not been a politician. Not even the most altruistic statesman could swim above the currents of the whirlpool of political life in a republic, without taking into account the value of opportune compromises. But Theodore Roosevelt, in my experience, never compromised for a base motive. He had learned very early in life, in the New York Legislature, the points of view of the professional politician; he had learned how to deal with these men, but he never professed to them that he had any illusions as to the influences that govern them or as to their objects in a political game. He was accustomed to threats; in our country, where there are still so many parts not yet melted into a whole, it is easy enough for the self-styled representative of any part of the population to threaten a president, elected by popular vote, with political annihilation. The professional Protestant, the professional Catholic, the professional Jew, in the great cities, have always their threats ready, if a president refuses to fall in with those special idiosyncrasies which make these people figureheads for the attraction of votes.
It was a delight to be behind the scenes, and to observe how Mr. Roosevelt dealt with these people; and he always knew just where to find the safest counsel: he depended on his friends, not considering political affiliations, to discover counselors for him. An invitation to lunch meant, as a rule, for the recipient, not only a pleasant hour, but the giving up of whatever was valuable in his mind for the good of the nation at the moment. In my long acquaintance with Mr. Roosevelt, in spite of all differences of opinion, which he not only welcomed in private, but invited, I never for a moment discovered that he did not put the good of the nation, the moral and social improvement of the people, before everything else. Brought up in the rather cynical school of politics that preceded the advent of Theodore Roosevelt, I judged that an attack on the money-power simply meant a great flurry, the annihilation of the crusader, and the relapse of the people into contentment and corruption. I told him this.
He laughed. ‘Observe,’ he said , ‘I am attacking only the pernicious trusts, and you may be sure that I know the world too well to try my fists against any trust that is not too rotten to stand.’
When it came to the furious row with Wall Street, he did not depend on hearsay evidence, or on abstract meditations. At this time one found at luncheon, or in his office, the best experts from New York, who were either so honest as to see the need of reform, or who felt that it was a question between reform and destruction. During the coal-famine, to be near him, to be in his circle, was to feel that you were in the presence of a man who had the heart of Lincoln and the virtue and the common sense of Washington.
He sent for me early one morning. ‘I couldn’t sleep,’ he said; ‘it is a horror to think that a great number of our people, mothers and little children, are starving with cold.’
He showed me some communications from the high-exalted barons of capital. No aristocrat of the old French regime, no farmer-general under Louis XV, could have been more regardless of the sufferings of their fellow countrymen than these men. Their property, in their opinion, belonged to them absolutely; they had no duties except to this property; it must be conserved at all hazards; and their insolence and unconscious arrogance made the President grind his teeth.
‘I must have men,’ he said, ‘on the commission—men, whether they are Republicans or Democrats, but men.’ And so the commission, which included Carroll Wright and Archbishop Spadling, Charles P. Neill and, I think, John Mitchell, was formed. ‘It is not a question,’ he said, ‘of politics or religion or race; it is not a question of affronting wealth or conquering capital, or of preserving the rights of the people; it is a question of justice and mercy, and I intend to get the best results.’ And he did.
After the Booker Washington incident, when the South was aflame, and thoughtful persons of the colored race feared everywhere the result of the episode on their less intelligent brethren, he asked me to luncheon.
‘I have one consolation,’ he said; ‘I read in the papers this morning that tout Paris is with me. The truth is, if I had known the consequences of what seems to me to be an unreasonable outburst of prejudice, I should not have done it in that way. The fact is that I heard of some very unpleasant work among the negroes in the South. You know we can always depend on Booker Washington’s opinion. I sent for him. He came straight all the way from Georgia, like a flash. I might have known that I was not doing quite the right thing when he showed such timidity and doubt as to accepting my invitation to lunch. It seemed to me that to ask him to my table was only a decent and courteous thing; and when he came, he talked so well that in five minutes we had forgotten whether he was black or white.’
His sense of humor seldom deserted him. I have gone to the White House on his summons, — I never went without his summons, — oppressed with the weight of a problem on which I felt I could throw little light; and after a word or two with that most sympathetic and charming and astute of men, William Loeb, who kept the outer gate, have found the President ready to discuss the last chapter of the Sea Wolf, by Jack London, or to talk of a new poem by Bliss Carman; and then he would pose the question. The question was not usually for me, but for the man whom I might suggest, to answer. I can honestly say that I have never known President Roosevelt to make a really impetuous statement until he had consulted all the prudent and imprudent people who had any knowledge of the matter at hand!
After one of the cabinet meetings, when I was waiting for him, he came in chuckling. ‘My friend,’ he said very solemnly, ‘I have used real cuss words to-day, and perhaps committed sacrilege.’ He added that he had been obliged by etiquette to write an official letter to the new Pope, and that one of the members of the Cabinet had said, ‘Do you think the American people will stand for your calling the Pope “His Holiness”?’ ‘Very well,’ he replied, ‘do you think they would like me to call him “You —— —— fool”?’
‘But,’ he added, ‘I said worse that that; I won’t repeat it; and the member of the Cabinet agreed that the American people would hardly expect me to use such language to the venerable gentleman at Rome.’
If President Roosevelt considered the suggestion constantly urged on him by a number of Protestant Senators and distinguished laymen, supported by certain Catholics, that he should ask that Archbishop Ireland be made a cardinal, it was because the Vatican encouraged it. He understood perfectly that, if Americans as a rule understood the real significance of the Cardinalate, and knew that it would have meant for Archbishop Ireland a complete approval of his Americanism by the authority he so deeply revered, there would have been no objection except on the part of those of our compatriots whose education has never been completed.
Archbishop Ireland had stood more firmly than any other man in the country against bitter religious persecution. Again, to be frank, he had always been a staunch Republican, and he had always been fervent and outspoken on the great issues dividing the two political parties on the eve of campaigns. It was just as natural for Archbishop Ireland, who had been calumniated, maligned, and badly treated, to wish for this high honor, as for an honest follower of Saint Paul to desire a bishopric, or for Dr. Newman to want the red hat as a token that he was not the heretic that the very ultra-ultramontanes asserted him to be. But he never requested any interference on the part of Roosevelt. Logically believing that any mixture of politics and religion in this country was an evil thing, I advised against any such interference.
One took very little responsibility in advising President Roosevelt honestly, as one knew that several other people also would be asked for their opinions. I was amazed, however, when one morning a communication came, during the illness of Leo XIII, announcing that Cardinal Satolli, who was all-powerful in Rome, would guarantee the creation of John Ireland as a cardinal if the President would only notify his approval.
The President hesitated. ‘Ireland,’ he said, ‘is the greatest of all your prelates; he is thoroughly American, he is a standing refutation of the assertions made against the un-Americanism of the Catholic Church. Just as I should like to see the admirable Bishop Satterlee get all the honors possible, I should like Archbishop Ireland to have the red hat; but what do you advise?’
It was a difficult position. ‘I am entirely against it,’ I said; ‘but we will leave it to Archbishop Ireland; he will refuse when I state the case.’
He did refuse; but President Roosevelt, in the goodness of his heart, no more realized how disastrous this step, if taken, would have been than he saw the consequences of his social courtesies to Booker Washington. Archbishop Ireland, to his honor, declined to take advantage of his ardent admiration and friendship.
President Roosevelt loved a good book, and it made no difference whether the book was old or new. In a letter he wrote me just before his death, he rejoiced over the fact that Kermit had written a poem in praise of Camoens, whose ancient volume he had cherished in many voyages. He would actually pounce on a good thing in literature. He was constantly recommending books to me, and I returned the compliment. Once, when he was going West, he asked me to send him something I liked. It was almost hopeless to find anything he had not read but I made up a packet of Lady Gregory’s plays, William Yeats’s poems, some verses by Tom Daly, and, I think, Douglas Hyde’s Songs of Connaught.
When he came back, his mind was full of the Celtic sagas; he had, as it were, torn the essence of the Celtic spirit from its body. ‘I find,’ he said, ‘in the pagan Celtic literature an ideal of romantic love which I supposed had only come in with Christianity.’
As an amateur in Celtic literature I was soon left behind in President Roosevelt's rapid advance in his Gallic studies. One day I said to him, ‘You must concentrate your ideas of Celtic literature in an article, which I shall ask you to publish in the Century Magazine.’
He promised. Time passed; there was a period of political turmoil; tremendous rows in the Senate, — I think Senator Chandler was leading a revolt there, — and one day at lunch, he said to me, ‘I will give you your article to-day; it is for the Century. Look it over.’
‘But, Mr. President,’ I said, ‘how could you find the quietness of mind to write a paper like this when you and the Senate seemed to be on the verge of an open war?’
‘It was just the time for quiet and interesting work,’ he replied; ‘it took my mind off that caterwauling.’
When the article came out, splendidly illustrated by Lyndecker, he sent me, on Washington's birthday, the original of the beautiful picture of Queen Meave, with an inscription.
He was very desirous of meeting William Yeats, the poet; but Yeats, who wandered in fairyland, was very hard to bring down to an exact date. The President hoped to arrange an appropriate party for him; but Yeats, lost in darkest Washington, did not appear at my club until very late on the night preceding the luncheon; consequently there was no great party. The children, however, were there, with Mrs. Roosevelt—Archie apparently the most anxious to hear about the Irish fairies.
The Celtic poet seemed very happy, but he was silent. President Roosevelt beamed through his glasses, and tried to draw him out.
Suddenly Yeats said, ‘It’s the Little People we must consider.’
‘Oh, yes,’ the President rejoined, rather surprised, ‘I believe with all my heart in the preservation of the little nations.’
Yeats looked astonished, and I said, ‘By the “Little People” he means the Irish fairies.’
It was President Roosevelt's turn to look astonished. ‘Mr. Yeats, have you ever seen an Irish fairy?’ he asked, with a glint in his eye.
‘Many times,’ Yeats said solemnly. ‘Sure, not only I, but every Irishman, especially the old ones that mow the hay in the twilight, have seen the Little People many and many a time; but they are not small insignificant creatures, like the English fairies; they are giants, the old gods come back again.’
The President was bowled out, but the children found themselves on congenial ground.
President Roosevelt was the most considerate of friends. He never forgot the slightest detail of one’s family life, and one’s children seemed to take a great place in his heart. When my son Gerald, now in France, was presented to him, by his request, he was only prevented, he said, by the presence of older and more formal people from trying a bout at jiu-jitsu with him on the floor of the Cabinet room. ‘The only game that I can’t play,’ said the President, ‘is baseball. I must wear glasses, and I think I am afraid of only one thing—a baseball coming at me in the dark.’
‘What a pity,’ said the very young Freshman; ‘you don’t know what you miss, Mr. President. I will not believe,’ this artless youth added, to Mrs. Roosevelt, ‘that the President is the kind of man that keeps a valet.’
‘There’s always Alice,’ the President said; ‘she’s the best valet I know.’
In all our long intercourse, during which there were some hot arguments, the President was really irritated with me only once, and that was when I deliberately, while he was talking, cut the pages of a new book which he had not yet read. I could not resist the temptation. I saw fire in his eyes, and I sympathized with him. The book was, I think, Eckstein’s Relations of Literature and History.
In May, 1910, Mr. Roosevelt came to Copenhagen. Scandinavia had not at first been included in his itinerary, but I explained to him that the Nobel Prize people would be greatly offended, and probably refuse to give the prize to another American, if he did not make the required speech at Christiania. This brought him, as I knew it would. Denmark was aflame with enthusiasm; to the Scandinavians, he was the one great figure in the world. King FrederickVIII was obliged to be away from his palace; but he arranged that every honor should be shown to the ex-President. The fact that Mrs. Roosevelt and the two young people, Ethel and Kermit, were to be in the party, added to everybody's pleasure.
But how was he to be ranked? The papers called him ‘Colonel.’ Now a colonel in the army, at an official dinner at the Danish Court, might rank somewhere near the end of the table. The Marshal of the Court, most anxious to carry out the wishes of the King and Crown Prince, was puzzled. I had to solve the problem quickly. I do not know what Colonel Roosevelt would have done if he had known my method, because, while carefully guarding all reasonable forms and ceremonies, he was intensely democratic. When the Foreign Office asked me how an ex-President ranked at home, I answered simply that in Denmark I expected that he, his wife and children, would be ranked as royal highnesses, and that he would have the same honors that might have been given the late Prince Consort of Great Britain and Ireland, or the present Prince Consort of the Queen of Holland. It worked.
On going away, Colonel Roosevelt said, ‘The monarchs treated me well everywhere, but I seemed to be in wrong with the court people; but here everything went as smooth as glass. If we had been royalties ourselves, the formalities could not have gone more smoothly; I love these Danes.’
I found it safer to be silent as to my methods.
The difficulties with Cardinal Merry del Val as to Mr. Roosevelt’s presentation to the Pope had somewhat puzzled him. Pius X had expressed an ardent desire to see him; but Colonel Roosevelt had evidently forgotten the rather artificial point of view of courts in arranging for his visit to the Vatican. The matter might have been easily arranged without unnecessary fracas, if etiquette had been carefully observed, and the Papal Secretary of State had been willing to stretch a point in favor of the ex-President of a Republic. Colonel Roosevelt was consoled by the assurance that a mere lapse in etiquette would not seriously injure him in the opinion of people whose respect and affection he had gained; and nobody regretted the incident more sincerely than the Pope himself.
On the day of Mr. Roosevelt’s arrival at Copenhagen, the extreme Radicals and the Socialists were on the qui vive. Colonel Roosevelt had fought capitalism; he was one of them. And when, as the Crown Prince in uniform, with his chamberlains and equerries, waited solemnly, Colonel Roosevelt suddenly descended from the train, he wore a wide-brimmed hat and old army overcoat, and carried a red book under his arm. He saluted my wife, clasped my hand very warmly, and said, ‘Old chap, I have lost my luggage.’
‘All right,’ I said; ‘we’ll find it. — Your Royal Highness, I have the honor to present to you His Excellency the late President of the United States of America.’
‘Delighted, Prince,’ Roosevelt said.
‘Now,’ the Crown Prince said, laughing, ‘you must let me help you find your luggage.’ And he took Colonel Roosevelt’s arm.
It was the beginning of a warm friendship.
The luggage did not arrive in time for the Court dinner that evening; but Mrs. Roosevelt earned the regard of everybody at Court by appearing very simply, and without apology, in her traveling gown.
When Colonel Roosevelt made his speech at the City Hall, the ultra-Radicals and the Socialists were deeply disappointed. He was more conservative than the Danish Conservatives, they said; but his speech resulted in making the advanced theories of some of these people seem very unreasonable, and for this he received the enthusiastic applause of the Danes who stood for law and order, liberty and not license.
After we had said good-bye at the station, in 1910, I saw him only once until May, 1918, when we lunched at the Harvard Club, and I heard his speech to the ‘Blue Devils,’ who sang their favorite songs for him. After that I was too ill to see him, but our exchange of notes was rapid.
He is gone. We cannot recall him; the thought of his loss is to those who knew him a gnawing pain. To try to console one’s self by the remembrance of the great things he did, is useless. Other men have done great things, but there was only one Roosevelt. ‘He is a Man,’ the young King of Denmark said, and I can say no more. May eternal Light shine upon him!