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those times has said. “He had his gun there and his fishing rod, and often spoke of using them. He was noted for trying to get at the bottom of things, and I remember him well on one occasion when I found him with a stuffed bird in one hand and a natural history in the other, trying to decide if the description in the volume covered the specimen before him.” When Roosevelt graduated from college, he was one of a very few that took honors, and the subject of his essay was natural history. How his love of natural history continued will be shown later when we see him as a ranchman and hunter of the West.
Theodore Roosevelt had decided to make the most of himself, and while at Harvard scarcely a moment was wasted. If he was not studying, he was in the gymnasium or on the field, doing what he could to make himself strong. He was a firm believer in the saying that a sound body makes a sound mind, and he speedily became a good boxer, wrestler, jumper, and runner. He wrestled a great deal, and of this sport says:
“I enjoyed it immensely and never injured myself. I think I was a good deal of
a wrestler, and though I never won a championship, yet more than once I won my trial heats and got into the final rounds.”
At running he was equally good. “I remember once we had a stiff run out into the country,” said a fellow-student. “Roosevelt was behind at the start, but when all of the others got played out he forged ahead, and in the end he beat us by several minutes. But he never bragged about it.
it wasn't his style.” With all his other sports, and his studying, the young collegian did not give up his love for driving. He had a good horse and a fancy cart, - one of the elevated sort with large wheels, — and in this turnout he was seen many a day, driving wherever it pleased him to go. Sometimes he would get on the road with other students, and then there was bound to be more or less racing.
With a strong love for natural history it was not surprising that he joined the Natural History Club of the college, and of this he was one of the most active members. He also joined the Athletic Association, of which he was a steward, and the Art Club, the Rifle Corps, the 0. K. Society,
and the Finance Club. In his senior
year he became a member of the Porcellian Club, the Hasty Pudding, and the Alpha Delta Phi Club, and also one of the editors of a college paper called the Advocate. On Sundays he taught a class of boys, first in a mission school, and then in a Congregational Sunday school. It was a life full of planning, full of study, and full of work, and it suited Theodore Roosevelt to the last degree.
As he grew older his love of natural history was supplemented by a love for the history of nations, and particularly by a love of the history of his own country. The war of 1812 interested him intensely, and before he graduated he laid plans for writing a history of this war, which should go into all the details of the memorable naval conflicts.
It was while in his third year at Harvard that Theodore Roosevelt suffered the first heavy affliction of his life. On February 9, 1878, his father died. It was a cruel blow to the family, and one from which the faithful wife scarcely recovered. The son at Harvard felt his loss greatly, and it was some time before he felt able to resume his studies. The elder Roosevelt's work as a
philanthropist was well known, and many gathered at his bier to do him honor, while the public journals were filled with eulogies of the man.
The poor mourned bitterly that he was gone, and even the newsboys were filled with regret over his taking away. In speaking of his parent, President Roosevelt once said: “I can remember seeing him going down Broadway, staid and respectable business man that he was, with a poor sick kitten in his coat pocket, which he had picked up in the street.” Such a man could not but have a heart overflowing with goodness.
While at college Theodore Roosevelt often showed that self-reliance for which he has since become famous. To every study that he took up he applied himself closely, and if he was not at the head of the class, he was by no means near the foot. When he was sure of a thing, no amount of argument could convince him that he was wrong, and he did not hesitate at times to enter into a discussion even with some of the professors over him.
Although a close student, and also a good all-round athlete, Theodore Roosevelt did
not forget his social opportunities. Boston was but a short distance from his rooms in Cambridge, and thither he often went to visit the people he had met or to whom he had letters of introduction. He was always welcome, for his manner was a winning one, and he usually had something to tell that was of interest — something of what he had seen or done, of the next foot-ball or base-ball game, of the coming boat races, of his driving or exploring, or of how he had added a new stuffed bird to his collection, or a new lizard, and of how a far-away friend had sent him a big turtle as a souvenir of an ocean trip in the South Seas. There is a story that this big turtle got loose one night and alarmed the entire household by crawling through the hallway, looking for a pond or mud-hole in which to wallow. At first the turtle was mistaken for a burglar, but he soon revealed himself by his angry snapping, and it was hard work making him a prisoner once