Page images

on the coins was a constant source of jest and ridicule; and this was unavoidable. Every one must remember the innumerable cartoons and articles based on phrases like 'In God we trust for the other eight cents'; 'In God we trust for the short weight'; 'In God we trust for the thirty-seven cents we do not pay'; and so forth, and so forth. Surely I am well within bounds when I say that a use of the phrase which invites constant levity of this type is most undesirable. If Congress alters the law and directs me to replace on the coins the sentence in question the direction will be immediately put into effect; but I very earnestly trust that the religious sentiment of the country, the spirit of reverence in the country, will prevent any such action being taken."

Three letters on literary subjects display his varied reading:

January 11, 1907. To Mrs. H. C. Lodge: I return Gissing's book on Dickens and also The Greek View of Life.' Isn't it curious how much resemblance there is between the Japanese spirit and the Greek spirit of the Periclean age? The Japanese, unlike the Greeks, were able to transform their spirit of intense but particularistic patriotism into a broad national patriotism, and so they have been formidable as a nationality in a way in which it was wholly impossible for the Greeks ever to be. It is curious that one of the worst of the Greek attitudes, that toward women, should be reproduced in the Japan of to-day.

January 29, 1907. To W. C. Brownell: Every now and then one suddenly comes across a sentence which exactly phrases a thought which there has long seemed to be need of formulating, but as to which the words to express it have been lacking. In your article on Lowell, which of course I liked all through (except that I would put parts of The Biglow Papers' higher with reference to the Commemoration Ode' than you do), I particularly like your phrase 'the American democratic ideal is Brahminism in manners and taste, not in sympathies and ideas.'

Abraham Lincoln's democracy was so essential and virile that it would not have lost in any way if he had had the manners and tastes of Lowell. One can like to see the White House restored by McKim, and our gold coinage modeled by Saint-Gaudens, without the least abatement of the feeling of being one of Abraham Lincoln's plain people and of keenest sympathy with, admiration for and desire to represent, them.


July 20, 1907. To Brander Matthews: What delightful reading Lang always is! Your letter, with his essay on the American President of the future, was sandwiched in this morning between internal politics and our relations with Japan; and I appreciated the diversion. Who but Lang could write with such genuine humor, and be so amusing, and yet leave no sting behind ?

By the way, I wish Lang would tell me if there really is an 'Aryan' race; Aryan speech, yes; Aryan race-well, I am very doubtful.

Three letters to John Burroughs, whom he always addressed as “Oom John," display his keen delight in studying bird and animal life:

June 22, 1907.

, . I hope you know what a pleasure it was to have you and Childs out here the other day, and I am so glad that the purple finch, the black-throated warbler and the red-winged blackbird all behaved like gentlemen and turned up as I had said they would.


July 11, 1907. Yesterday we cut that fine clover, which I horrified you by walking about in while looking for that redwing black

bird's nest. After we cut it I was interested to see two orchard orioles (the ones you saw in the garden) come and industriously hunt over the cut clover for insects.

Three days ago I shot a yellow-throated or Dominican warbler here--the first I had ever seen. I was able to identify it with absolute certainty, but as the record might be deemed of importance I reluctantly shot the bird, a male, and gave the mutilated skin to the American Museum of Natural History people so that they might be sure of the identification. The breeding season was past, and no damage came to the species from shooting the specimen; but I must say that I care less and less for the mere “collectingas I grow older.


July 19, 1907. I have your letter of the 12th instant. As you well know, my friendship with you has been one of the things that I have most valued, and I should be particularly glad to have a little book made up of the sketch in question, with the Yellowstone article, with the article that you have given it.

In cutting that clover field we were working very hurriedly to avoid a rain. There were four of us at work, and I simply never thought of the nests till afterwards, when we were loading the hay from the cocks into the hay wagon. I am as positive as I can be, however, from the behavior of the female redwings, that there was certainly one, and I think two, of the nests within fifty yards of that corner of the old barn,

Have you Chapman's book on the warblers? If so, you will find the description and picture of the Dominican or yellow-throated warbler. Although the picture does not portray the bird as it ought to, with the long bill of the black-and-white warbler instead of the ordinary Dendroica. If you will tell me what book of birds you have by you, which contains an account of the warblers, I will write you back the page on which you will find the description.

It is funny how incidents sometimes crowd together. Really I have begun to feel a little like a nature fakir myself during the last fortnight; for I have seen two or three things which I very much wish you could have seen with me. The other night I took out the boys in row boats for a camping-out expedition. We camped on the beach under a low bluff near the grove where a few years ago on a similar expedition we saw a red fox. This time two young foxes, evidently three years' cubs, came around the camp fire half a dozen times during the night, coming up within ten yards of the fire to pick up scraps and seeming to be very little bothered by our presence. Yesterday on the tennis ground I found a mole shrew. He was near the side lines first. I picked him up in my handkerchief, as he bit my hand, and after we had all looked at him I let him go, but in a few minutes he came back and deliberately crossed the tennis grounds by the net. As he ran over the level floor of the court his motion reminded all of us of the motion of those mechanical mice that run around on wheels when

wound up.

A chipmunk that lives near the tennis court continually crosses it while the game is in progress. He has done it two or three times this year, and either he or his predecessor has had the same habit for several years. I am really puzzled to know why he should go across this perfectly bare surface, with the players jumping about on it, when he is not frightened and has no reason that I can see for going. Apparently he grows accustomed to the players and moves about among them as he would move about, for instance, among a herd of cattle. I suppose that Mr. Blank would describe him as joining in the game!

I was immensely amused at Blank's outburst concerning your visit here. It was his evident belief that I had picketed out the black throated green warbler on the top of that locust tree in anticipation of your presence.



[ocr errors]

From the very beginning of 1907 the newspapers were filled with gossip about a possible third term for the President. There was scarcely a break in the current of it throughout the year. Writing to his intimate and valued friend, Charles G. Washburn, of Worcester, Mass., on April 17, 1907, he said: As for myself you are entirely right. I have never for a moment altered my views as to the wisdom of my declaration after the election of 1904. It is time for some one else to stand his trick at the wheel."

To his son Kermit, on May 15, 1907, he wrote:

“At the moment I am having a slightly irritating time with the well-meaning but foolish friends who want me to run for a third term. The curious thing about it is that there are plenty of people who really think they want me to run for a third term who, if I did run, would feel very much disappointed in me and would feel that I had come short of the ideal they had formed of me. I think the talk will all die out and I do not want to make another statement just at the moment. If necessary, however, next winter I shall make another statement so emphatic that it must put a stop to any further talk."

[ocr errors]

The third term talk became so general in August that the New York Times took a canvass of Republican editors on the subject, and on August 7, 1907, published letters from 63 of those editors in reply to the question whether President Roosevelt was as popular and as strong generally with the voters as he was at the time of his election. In editorial comment on these replies the Times said:

« PreviousContinue »