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for the kingdom that is to come, and nowhere is there another plan provided for doing it.
So, then, it is understood that I am absolved from routine, from chronology, and from statistics in writing this story. I am to have full leave to "put things in as I think of them,” as the critics of my books say I do anyhow. A more absurd charge was never made against any one, it has always seemed to me; for how can a man put things in when he does n't think of them? I am just to write about Theodore Roosevelt as I know him, of my own knowledge or through those nearest and dearest to him. And the responsibility will be mine altogether. I am not going to consult him, even if he is the President of the United States. For one thing, because, the only time I ever did, awed by his office, he sent the copy back unread with the message that he would read it in print. So, if anything goes wrong, blame me and me only.
And now, when I cast around for a startingpoint, there rises up before me the picture of a little lad, in stiff white petticoats, with a curl right on top of his head, toiling laboriously along with a big fat volume under his arm, “David Livingstone's Travels and Researches in South Africa," and demanding of every member of the family to be told what were “the foraging ants” and what they did. It was his sister, now Mrs. Cowles, who at last sat down in exasperation to investigate, that the business of the household might have a chance to proceed, for baby Theodore held it up mercilessly until his thirst for information was slaked. Whereupon it developed that the supposedly grim warriors of the ant-hill were really a blameless tribe--" the foregoing ants” in fact. We are none of us infallible. The
foraging ants” are a comfort to me when their discoverer is disposed to laugh at my ee-wee lamb that but for my foreign speech should have been a plain ewe. But, then, I dwelt content in the bliss of ignorance. He, explorer in baby petticoats, could not be appeased till he found out.
I suppose they called him Ted in those days. In my own time I have never found any one to do it who knew him, and the better they knew him the less liable were they to. You can tell for a certainty that a man does not know him when he speaks of him as “ Teddy." Not
that he frowns upon it; I do not believe that he has often had the chance. But, somehow, there is no temptation to that kind of familiarity, which does not imply any less affection, but just the reverse. He may call me Jake and I like nothing better. But though I am ten years older than he, he was always Mr. Roosevelt with me.
His rough-riders might sing of him as Teddy, but to his face they called him Colonel, with the mixture of affection and respect that makes troopers go to death as to a dance in the steps of a leader. The Western plainsmen quickly forgot the tenderfoot in the man who could shoot and ride though he came out of the East and wore eye-glasses, and who never bragged or bullied but knew his rights and dared maintain them. He was Mister Roosevelt there from the second day on the ranch. But in those old days at home he was Ted with the boys, no doubt. For he was a whole boy and got out of it all that was going, after he got it going. He has told me that it took some time, that as a little fellow he was timid, and that when bigger boys came along and bullied him he did not know what to do about it. I have a notion that he quickly found out and that they did not come back often.
A woman who lived next door to the Roosevelts in East Twentieth Street told me of how, passing in the street, she saw young Theodore hanging out of a second-story window and ran in to tell his mother.
“If the Lord,” said she, as she made off to catch him, “had not taken care of Theodore, he would have been killed long ago.
In after years the Governor of New York told me, with a reminiscent gleam in his eye, how his boy, the third Theodore in line, had “swarmed down” the leader of the Executive Mansion to go and hear the election returns, rather than go out through the door. There was no frightened neighbor to betray his exploit then, for it was dark, which made it all the more exciting. It was the Governor himself who caught him. The evidence is, I think, that the Theodores were cut out pretty much on the same pattern.
Of that happy childhood's home, with the beautiful mother of blessed memory and the father who rode and played with the children, and was that, alas! rarest of parents, their
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