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He does not believe in pampering children, but in making them self-reliant. All love to go out with him, and when at Oyster Bay he frequently takes the boys and their cousins for a day's tramp through the woods or along the beach, or else for a good hard row on the bay. The President prefers rowing to sailing, and frequently rows for several miles at a stretch. His enjoyment of bathing is as great as ever, and his boys love to go into the water with him.
Christmas time at the White House is just as full of joy there as it is anywhere. The younger children hang up their stockings, and scream with delight over every new toy received. For some days previous to Christmas one of the rooms is turned into a storeroom, and to this only Mrs. Roosevelt and one of the maids hold the key. Presents come in from everywhere, including many for the President, for his friends far and near insist upon remembering him. These presents are arranged on a large oval table near one of the broad windows, and
Christmas morning the distribution begins.
The President, in his trips to the woods,
has seen the great harm done by cutting down promising evergreens, so he does not believe very much in having a Christmas tree. But three years ago a great surprise awaited him.
“ I'm going to fix up a tree,” said little Archie, and managed to smuggle a small evergreen into the house and place it in a large closet that was not being used. Here he and his younger brother Quentin worked for several days in arranging the tree just to suit them. On Christmas morning, after the presents were given out, both asked their father to come to where the closet was located.
“What is up now?” asked Mr. Roosevelt, curiously.
“Come and see !” they shouted. And he went, followed by all the others of the family. Then the closet door was thrown open, and there stood the tree, blazing with lights. It was certainly a great surprise, and Mr. Roosevelt enjoyed it as much as anybody.
The children of Washington, and especially those whose fathers occupy public positions, always look forward with antici
pations of great pleasure to the children's parties given by Mrs. Roosevelt, and these parties are of equal interest to those living at the mansion.
Such a party was given during the last holidays, and was attended by several hundred children, all of whom, of course, came arrayed in their best. They were received by Mrs. Roosevelt, who had a hand-shake and a kind word for each, and then some of the Cabinet ladies, who were assisting, gave to each visitor a button, set in ribbon and tinsel and inscribed “Merry Christinas and Happy New Year.”
The big main dining-room of the White House had been prepared for the occasion. There was a Christmas tree at one side of the room, and the table was filled with fruit, cake, and candy. The President came in and helped to pass the ice-cream and cake, and Theodore, Jr. and some of the others passed the candy and other good things.
After this the visitors were asked to go to the East Room and dance. The Marine Band furnished the music, and while the children were dancing, the President came
in to look at them. The entertainment lasted until the end of the afternoon, and when the visitors departed, President Roosevelt was at the door to shake hands and bid them good-by.
And here let us bid good-by ourselves, wishing Theodore Roosevelt and his family well. What the future holds in store for our President no man can tell. That he richly deserves the honors that have come to him, is beyond question. He has done his best to place and keep our United States in the front rank of the nations of the world. Under him, as under President McKinley, progress has been remarkably rapid. In the uttermost parts of the world our Flag is respected as it was never respected before.
Perhaps some few mistakes have been made, but on the whole our advancement has been justified, and is eminently satisfactory. The future is large with possibilities, and it remains for the generation I am addressing to rise up and embrace those opportunities and make the most of them.