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FRIENDS AT OYSTER BAY

CHAPTER XX

FRIENDS AT OYSTER BAY

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UT at Oyster Bay I spent a day with some of Theodore Roosevelt's old friends and

talked with them about him. They told a number of incidents that illustrate Colonel Roosevelt's characteristics. Rev. J. J. Blythe went out to Sagamore Hill one day to see Mr. Roosevelt about the son of one of his members who was in the aviation corps and whose father desired that he should have training in flying in this country instead of in Europe. Mr. Roosevelt answered promptly, “I have not asked a single favor for my own boys and shall not do so. And hence I shall not interfere with reference to the sons of any one else. What the nation wants is men on the other side, and men on the other side at once.

Mr. E. F. Cheshire, the cashier of the Oyster Bay bank, was a warm friend of Mr. Roosevelt. He said the Colonel often came into their bank, where he had his account, and that he invariably removed his hat on entering the door; the reason he did so was that two of the bookkeepers were women and he removed his hat out of deference for them. Though often apparently rough he was one of the politest of gentlemen. Pointing up to the wall of the director's office

the cashier said, “Do you see that?” It was a large portrait of Mr. Roosevelt, with the dedication to the bank written and signed in his own handwriting. Mr. Cheshire said, "I often went out to Sagamore Hill as a notary public to acknowledge some paper or transact some business in connection with the bank, and one of the last times I went out there he said to me, 'Cheshire, how old are you?' I told him my age and he said, 'Have you a family?' I replied, 'A wife and children.' He said, “You ought to be in the war, you splendid, able-bodied man. You ought

. to be on the other side fighting with my boys at the front.' His whole soul was wrapped up in the war, and he could not think of anything else or talk about anything else.'

Mr. W. L. Marsh, the station agent of the Long Island Railroad at Oyster Bay, for many years handled Colonel Roosevelt's private and official telegrams and business of every kind connected with the local station. He told a number of incidents illustrating the admirable traits of the Colonel's character. This was one of them: “Once in the presence of quite a large delegation of big men in national and State affairs I saw him place his hand on the shoulder of a poor, good, honest fellow-citizen and say, ‘By George, this man is my friend! Gentlemen, I love to lean on just such men. Was there ever a truer illustration of one of the greatest elements of Theodore Roosevelt's success, his absolute faith in the common people and his firm reliance upon them in his public undertakings!

Colonel Roosevelt knew nearly every person in Oyster Bay by name and called very many of them by their first names, but this power of memory he possessed in so remarkable a degree that he remem

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