[Handwritten inscription: To Elmer, A Merry Christmas from Papa & Mamma. 1904]
AMERICAN BOYS' LIFE
EDWARD STRATEMEYER'S BOOKS
Old Glory Series
Six Volumes. Cloth. Illustrated. Price per volume $1.25.
UNDER DEWEY AT MANILA. A YOUNG VOLUNTEER IN CUBA. FIGHTING IN CUBAN WATERS. UNDER OTIS IN THE PHILIPPINES. THE CAMPAIGN OF THE JUNGLE. UNDER MacARTHUR IN LUZON.
Stratemeyer Popular Series
Ten Volumes. Cloth. Illustrated. Price per volume $1.00.
THE LAST CRUISE OF THE SPITFIRE. REUBEN STONE'S DISCOVERY. TRUE TO HIMSELF. RICHARD DARE'S VENTURE. OLIVER BRIGHT'S SEARCH. TO ALASKA FOR GOLD. THE YOUNG AUCTIONEER. BOUND TO BE AN ELECTRICIAN. SHORTHAND TOM, THE REPORTER. FIGHTING FOR HIS OWN.
War and Adventure Stories
Cloth. Illustrated. Price per volume $1.25.
ON TO PEKIN. BETWEEN BOER AND BRITON.
American Boys' Biographical Series
Cloth. Illustrated. Price per volume $1.25.
AMERICAN BOYS' LIFE OF WILLIAM McKINLEY. AMERICAN BOYS' LIFE OF THEODORE ROOSEVELT.
Cloth. Illustrated. Price per volume $1.25.
WITH WASHINGTON IN THE WEST. MARCHING ON NIAGARA. AT THE FALL OF MONTREAL. ON THE TRAIL OF PONTIAC.
Cloth. Illustrated. Price per volume $1.25.
LOST ON THE ORINOCO. THE YOUNG VOLCANO EXPLORERS. YOUNG EXPLORERS OF THE ISTHMUS. YOUNG EXPLORERS OF THE AMAZON.
Great American Industries Series
Cloth. Illustrated. Price per volume $1.00, net. TWO YOUNG LUMBERMEN.
JOE, THE SURVEYOR. Price, $1.00. LARRY, THE WANDERER. Price, $1.00.
AMERICAN BOYS' LIFE
AUTHOR OF "AMERICAN BOYS' LIFE OF WILLIAM McKINLEY," "WITH WASHINGTON IN THE WEST," "OLD GLORY SERIES," "PAN-AMERICAN SERIES," "SHIP AND SHORE SERIES," ETC.
ILLUSTRATED FROM PHOTOGRAPHS AND WITH FRONTISPIECE BY CHARLES COPELAND
BOSTON LEE AND SHEPARD 1904
PUBLISHED, AUGUST, 1904.
Copyright, 1904, by Lee And Shepard.
All Rights Reserved.
AMERICAN BOYS' LIFE OF THEODORE ROOSEVELT.
Norwood Press J.S. Cushing & Co.—Berwick & Smith Co. Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.
The life of Theodore Roosevelt is one well worth studying by any American boy who wishes to make something of himself and mount high on the ladder of success.
The twenty-sixth President of our country is a fine type of the true American of to-day, full of vim and vigor, quick to comprehend, and equally quick to act, not afraid to defend his opinions against all comers when satisfied that he is in the right, independent, and yet not lacking in fine social qualities, physically and morally courageous, and with a faith in himself and his God that is bound to make for good so long as he clings to it.
Theodore Roosevelt comes from countless generations of fighting stock, both in this country and abroad. And yet as a youth the future hero of San Juan Hill was a delicate lad, and many fears were entertained that he might not live to manhood. But life in the open air, with judicious athletic exercise, accomplished wonders, and he became strong and hardy to an astonishing degree.
The boyhood days of the future President were spent in New York City and at the family's country home, Oyster Bay, Long Island. From there he went to Harvard College, from which he graduated with high honors. Still somewhat delicate in health, he travelled in Europe, studied for a short time at Dresden, and took to climbing the Alps and other noted mountains.
His mind had gravitated toward literature, and he was writing a naval history of the War of 1812 when something prompted him to take up politics, and almost before he knew it he was elected a New York State assemblyman. He served in this capacity for three terms, and many are the stories told of how he fought against corruption first, last, and all the time.
The death of his first wife and of his beloved mother were at this time a great blow to him, and leaving his one little daughter with relatives, he struck out for the great West, where, in the Bad Lands, so called, he located as ranchman and hunter, filling in his spare hours by studying and by writing on various outdoor subjects, works which have become decidedly popular, and which show well his gifts as an author and as an observer of nature.
While still in great part a successful ranchman, he ran for mayor of New York and was defeated. He now devoted himself with increased energy to his literary labors until, soon after, he was appointed by President Harrison a member of the Civil Service Commission. He served on this commission with marked ability for six years, when he resigned to become police commissioner of New York City.
Theodore Roosevelt's work as a police commissioner will not be readily forgotten. The whole tone of the service was at once raised, and for the first time in many years the metropolis had "dry" Sundays, when every saloon in the city was tightly closed. This strict compliance with the law made him some enemies, but to these he paid no heed, for he was doing only his duty.
When William McKinley was nominated for the Presidency the first time, Theodore Roosevelt was one of his most enthusiastic supporters. Upon the election of McKinley, John D. Long was appointed Secretary of the Navy and Theodore Roosevelt became the First Assistant Secretary. Ever since writing his naval history the newly appointed assistant had made a close study of naval matters, and now he applied himself with vigor to the duties of his office; and it was primarily through his efforts that when the war with Spain came, our war-ships and our coast defences were in much better condition than they had been at any time previous in our history.
With the outbreak of the war, Theodore Roosevelt resigned. "My duty here is done," he said. "My place is in the field." And without loss of time he and his intimate friend, Dr. Leonard Wood, began the organization of that body of troops which was officially designated as the First United States Volunteer Cavalry, but which speedily became known everywhere as the Rough Riders,—a body as unique as the world has ever seen, being made up of men from all over the Union, but principally from four Territories, and including hunters, cowboys, soldiers of fortune, foot-ball and base-ball champions, college graduates, ex-policemen, with American, Irish, Dutch, German, Mexican, and Indian blood in their veins,—truly a remarkable collection, but every man and officer strong and hardy, full of courage, a good horseman, and a fine shot.
From the very start, the Rough Riders were anxious to get into the fight, and the opportunity was not long in coming. From Florida the command was transported to Daiquiri, on the southern coast of Cuba, and then began the advance upon the city of Santiago, which brought on the engagement at La Guasima, followed by the thrilling battle of San Juan Hill, in which the Rough Riders distinguished themselves in a manner that will never be forgotten. In the very thickest of this fight was Colonel Roosevelt, urging his men forward to victory, regardless of the shot and shell falling upon all sides. A hero truly, and such heroes are not forgotten.
Upon the close of the war Theodore Roosevelt thought to retire to private life, but this was not to be. Arriving at New York, he was hailed with delight by thousands, and at the next election was made governor of the Empire State. As governor he made friends in both of the leading political parties by his straightforwardness and his sterling honesty. Men might differ with him politically, but they could never accuse him of doing that which he himself did not firmly believe was right.
His term as governor had not yet expired when President McKinley was nominated for a second term. Again the people at large clamored for Roosevelt, and against his earnest protestations he was forced to accept the nomination for the Vice-Presidency. He was elected, and at the proper time took his seat as presiding officer of the Senate.
It was at this time a blow fell upon our nation from which we have scarcely yet recovered. President McKinley was struck down by the cowardly hand of an assassin. The Vice-President was at this time off on one of his favorite outings, but with all possible speed he came back and was sworn in as President. It was a great responsibility, and many feared that great changes in our government might result. But the fears proved groundless. Young as he was,—and he is the youngest of all of our Presidents,—he took upon himself the duty of carrying out the intentions of his predecessor, and proving to the world once again that, even though a President die, "the government at Washington still lives."
There is another side to the character of our President which must not be overlooked. He is of strong religious convictions and a member of the Dutch Reformed Church. It is seldom that he is given to preaching, but when he does his words have a sincerity that proves much for the foundation of his character. He stands for what is honest and upright in political and private life, and although, being but human, he may make mistakes, he remains a Chief Magistrate well deserving the highest honors our nation can bestow.
EDWARD STRATEMEYER. MAY 2, 1904.
CHAPTER I PAGE Birthplace and Ancestry of Theodore Roosevelt—His Father's Philanthropy—City and Country Home—Days at School—Religious Training. 1
Nicknamed Teddy—Goes to Harvard College—Member of Many Clubs—Death of Mr. Roosevelt—Anecdotes of College Life 11
Marries Miss Alice Lee—Travels in Europe—Bold Mountain Climbing—Elected to the Assembly—Personal Encounter with the Enemy 20
Theodore Roosevelt and Governor Cleveland—Good Work as an Assemblyman—Some Measures pushed through—Birth of Alice Roosevelt—Death of Mr. Roosevelt's Mother 30
Theodore Roosevelt as a Ranchman and Hunter in the Bad Lands—Bringing down his First Buffalo—Rattlesnakes and a Wild Goose 39
Grouse and Other Small Game—The Scotchman and the Skunk—Caught in a Hailstorm on the Prairie—Bringing down Black-tail Deer 49
Runs for Mayor of New York City—Marriage to Edith Kermit Carew—Hunting in the Bighorn Mountains—A Wild Chase after Three Elk 63
Bringing down a Grizzly Bear—Back to New York—Appointed a Civil Service Commissioner—The Work of the Commission 74
A Trip to the Shoshone Mountains—Caught in a Driving Snowstorm—Back to Work—Resignation as Civil Service Commissioner 85
Appointed Police Commissioner of New York City—Corruptness of the Department—Strenuous Endeavors to make Matters Better—A "Dry" Sunday—Enforcing the Tenement House Law and Other Measures 94
Appointed First Assistant Secretary of the Navy—The Condition of Affairs in Cuba—Preparing for War—Theodore Roosevelt's Resolve 104
Destruction of the Maine—Dewey's Victory—Theodore Roosevelt becomes a Soldier—Organizing the Rough Riders—Various Men in the Command 112
In Camp at Tampa—To Port Tampa in Coal Cars—Theodore Roosevelt's Quick Move to obtain a Transport—The Wait in the Harbor—Off for Cuba at Last 122
Life on the Transport—The Landing at Daiquiri—The March to Siboney—The Trail through the Jungle—The Skirmish at La Guasima 132
Along the Jungle Trail—Fording the River—Opening of the Battle of San Juan Hill—Bravery of the Rough Riders—Personal Experiences of Theodore Roosevelt during the Battle 142
Results of the Fight—Life in the Trenches—The Spanish Fleet in Santiago Harbor—Another Great Naval Victory—The Rough Riders and the Spanish Guerillas 154
Devotion of the Rough Riders to Theodore Roosevelt—His Kindness to his Men—Last of the Fighting—The Truce and Treaty of Peace 163
Last Days in Cuba—The Departure for Home—Arrival at Montauk—Caring for the Sick and Wounded—Presentation to Theodore Roosevelt by his Men—Mustering out of the Rough Riders 171
Nominated for Governor of New York—A Rough Rider Way of Campaigning—Elected Governor—Important Work at Albany—The Homestead at Oyster Bay—Chopping down a Tree for Exercise 183
Great Reception to Admiral Dewey—Governor Roosevelt's Increased Popularity—Last Annual Message as Governor—Visit to Chicago—Remarkable Speech on the Strenuous Life 193
The Convention at Philadelphia—Theodore Roosevelt seconds the Nomination of William McKinley—Becomes Candidate for the Vice-Presidency—Remarkable Tours through Many States 203
Elected Vice-President of the United States—Presides over the Senate—Tax upon Theodore Roosevelt's Strength—Starts on Another Grand Hunting Tour 214
The Roosevelt Family in the Adirondacks—The Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo—Shooting of President McKinley—The Vice-President's Visit—Death of the President 223
Theodore Roosevelt's Tramp up Mount Marcy—A Message of Importance—Wild Midnight Ride through the Mountains—On the Special Trains from North Creek to Buffalo 233
Takes the Oath as President—The New Chief Magistrate at the Funeral of President McKinley—At the White House—How the First Real Working Day was Spent 241
Continuing the Work begun by President McKinley—The Panama Canal Agitation—Visit of Prince Henry of Prussia—The President at the Charleston Exposition 251
Destruction at St. Pierre—American Aid—The Great Coal Strike—President Roosevelt ends the Difficulty—Tour through New England—The Trolley Accident in the Berkshires—A Providential Escape from Death 260
New Offices at the White House—Sends a Wireless Message to King Edward of England—End of the Trouble in Venezuela—The Canadian Boundary Dispute—Beginning of a Trip to the West—In Yellowstone Park 269
Dedication of the Fair Buildings at St. Louis—Continuation of the Trip to San Francisco—Up in the Far Northwest—Back in Washington—The Post-office Scandals—The New Republic of Panama—A Canal at Last—Proclamation regarding the War between Japan and Russia—Opening of the Great Fair 277
Personal Characteristics of Theodore Roosevelt—The President's Family—Life at the White House—Our Country and its Future 289
A. Brief Extracts from Famous Addresses delivered by Theodore Roosevelt 297
B. List of Theodore Roosevelt's Writings 300
C. Chronology of the Life of Theodore Roosevelt from 1858 to 1904 302
COLONEL ROOSEVELT AT SAN JUAN HILL Frontispiece
THEODORE ROOSEVELT'S BIRTHPLACE 2
HOUSE IN WHICH THEODORE ROOSEVELT ROOMED WHILE AT HARVARD 14
THEODORE ROOSEVELT AT GRADUATION, 1880 20
MISS ALICE LEE ROOSEVELT 36
EDITH KERMIT ROOSEVELT 66
THEODORE ROOSEVELT AS A ROUGH RIDER 118
COLONEL ROOSEVELT AT MONTAUK POINT 176
THE ROOSEVELT HOMESTEAD AT OYSTER BAY 192
THEODORE ROOSEVELT 202
PRESIDENT MCKINLEY AND VICE-PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT 216
PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT AT HIS DESK 252
THE WHITE HOUSE, SHOWING NEW OFFICES 270
PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT AND CABINET, 1903 276
PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT SPEAKING AT THE UNVEILING OF THE STATUE OF GENERAL SHERMAN 284
PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT AND HIS FAMILY 292
AMERICAN BOYS' LIFE OF THEODORE ROOSEVELT
BIRTHPLACE AND ANCESTRY OF THEODORE ROOSEVELT—HIS FATHER'S PHILANTHROPY—CITY AND COUNTRY HOME—DAYS AT SCHOOL—RELIGIOUS TRAINING
"Our country calls not for the life of ease, but for the life of strenuous endeavor. The twentieth century looms before us big with the fate of many nations. If we stand idly by, if we seek merely swollen, slothful ease and ignoble peace, if we shrink from the hard contests where men must win at hazard of their lives and at the risk of all they hold dear, then the bolder and stronger peoples will pass us by and will win for themselves the domination of the world. Let us therefore boldly face the life of strife, resolute to do our duty well and manfully; resolute to uphold righteousness by deed and by word; resolute to be both honest and brave, to serve high ideals, yet to use practical methods. Above all, let us not shrink from strife, moral or physical, within or without the nation, provided that we are certain that the strife is justified; for it is only through strife, through hard and dangerous endeavor, that we shall ultimately win the goal of true national greatness."
These words, taken from President Roosevelt's remarkable speech on "The Strenuous Life," show well the character of the man, his lofty ideals, his sterling courage, his absolute honesty, and unwavering patriotism. He is a typical American in the best sense of the word, and his life is worthy of careful study. From it American boys of to-day, and in generations to come, may gain lessons that will do them much good.
Theodore Roosevelt, the twenty-sixth President of our country, was born in New York City, October 27, 1858. The place of his birth was the old family mansion at 28 East Twentieth Street, in a neighborhood which, at that time, was the abode of wealth and culture. The building is one of a row, of a type to be seen in hundreds of other places, of brick and stone, four stories and a basement high, the upper floor being an attic. A heavy railing runs from in front of the basement up the broad front steps to the doorway. Inside, the rooms are large and comfortably arranged, and there was, in those days, quite a nice garden in the rear.
It can truthfully be said that Theodore Roosevelt comes from a race of soldiers and statesmen, and that Dutch, Scotch, French, and Irish blood flows in his veins. This being so, it is no wonder that, when the Spanish-American War broke out, he closed his desk as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, saying, "My duty here is done; my place is in the field," and went forth to win glory on the battle-field of San Juan Hill.
Five generations of Roosevelts lived in or near New York previous to the birth of Theodore Roosevelt, the father of the President, in 1831. Nearly all were well-to-do, and many served the city and the state as aldermen and members of the legislature. During the Revolution they followed under Washington's banner, and their purses were wide open to further the cause of independence.
Theodore Roosevelt the elder was a merchant and banker; a man broad in his views and filled with the spirit of genuine philanthropy. He founded one of the hospitals of the city and was at one time chairman of the State Board of Charities. A story is told of him which is probably true. One day Charles Loring Brace came to him for financial assistance in establishing homes for the little waifs of the city.
"I will see what I can do," said Mr. Roosevelt. "But you know that just at present I am busy with other charitable works."
"I know that," said Mr. Brace. "But what I ask for is very much needed. The waifs and poor, homeless newsboys have no shelter."
The next day, when returning from the establishment in which he was a partner, Mr. Roosevelt came upon a newsboy sitting on a doorstep, crying bitterly.
"What is the matter, my little man?" he asked.
"I lost me money; it dropped down into de sewer hole!" sobbed the ragged urchin. "Every cent of it is gone."
Mr. Roosevelt questioned the lad and found out that the boy had no home and that his only relative was a longshoreman who was hardly ever sober. He gave the lad some money to replace the amount lost, and the next day sent word to Mr. Brace that he would do all he possibly could toward establishing the waifs' shelters that were so much needed. The Newsboys' Lodging House of New York City is one of the results of Mr. Roosevelt's practical charities. He also did much to give criminals a helping hand when they came from prison, stating that that was the one time in their lives when they most needed help, for fear they might slip back into their previous bad habits.
In 1853 Theodore Roosevelt the elder married Miss Martha Bullock, of Roswell, Cobb County, Georgia. Miss Bullock was the daughter of Major James S. Bullock and a direct descendant of Archibald Bullock, the first governor of Georgia. It will thus be seen that the future President had both Northern and Southern blood in his make-up, and it may be added here that during the terrible Civil War his relatives were to be found both in the Union and the Confederate ranks. Mrs. Roosevelt was a strong Southern sympathizer, and when a certain gathering, during the Civil War, was in progress at the Roosevelt city home, she insisted upon displaying a Confederate flag at one of the windows.
"I am afraid it will make trouble," said Mr. Roosevelt; and he was right. Soon a mob began to gather in the street, clamoring that the flag be taken down.
"I shall not take it down," said Mrs. Roosevelt, bravely. "The room is mine, and the flag is mine. I love it, and nobody shall touch it. Explain to the crowd that I am a Southern woman and that I love my country."
There being no help for it, Mr. Roosevelt went to the front door and explained matters as best he could. A few in the crowd grumbled, but when Mrs. Roosevelt came to the window and looked down on the gathering, one after another the men went away, and she and her flag remained unmolested.
Theodore Roosevelt, the future President, was one of a family of four. He had a brother Elliott and two sisters. His brother was several years younger than himself, but much more robust, and would probably have lived many years and have distinguished himself, had he not met death in a railroad accident while still a young man.
In the years when Theodore Roosevelt was a boy, New York City was not what it is to-day. The neighborhood in which he lived was, as I have already mentioned, a fashionable one, and the same may be said of many other spots near to Union Square, where tall business blocks were yet unknown. The boys and girls loved to play in the little park and on the avenue, and here it was that the rather delicate schoolboy grew to know Edith Carew, who lived in Fourteenth Street and who was his school companion. Little did they dream in those days, as they played together, that one day he would be President and she his loving wife, the mistress of the White House.
Mr. Roosevelt was a firm believer in public institutions, and he did not hesitate to send his children to the public schools, especially his boys, that they might come in direct personal contact with the great outside world. So to a near-by institution of learning Theodore and Elliott trudged day after day, with their school-books under their arms, just as thousands of other schoolboys are doing to-day. But in those days there were few experiments being tried in the schools, and manual training and the like were unknown. The boys were well grounded in reading, writing, and arithmetic, as well as spelling, history, and geography, and there was great excitement when a "spelling-bee" was in progress, to see who could spell the rest of the class or the gathering down.
It is said upon good authority that Theodore Roosevelt was a model scholar from the start. He loved to read Cooper's "Leatherstocking Tales," and works of travel, and preferred books above anything else. But when he found that constant studying was ruining his constitution, he determined to build himself up physically as well as mentally.
In the summer time the family often went to the old Roosevelt "out of town" mansion on Long Island. This was called "Tranquillity," a fine large place near Oyster Bay, set in a grove of beautiful trees. The journey to "Tranquillity" was in those days a tedious one, but the Roosevelt children did not mind it, and once at the old place they were certain of a good time so long as their vacation lasted. Here it was that Theodore Roosevelt learned to ride on horseback and how to handle a gun. And here, too, the boys would go boating, fishing, and bathing, to their hearts' content.
Mr. Theodore Roosevelt the elder was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, and the religious teaching of his children was not neglected. At an early age the future President became a member of that denomination and has remained a member ever since. The church was on the East Side, and had high-backed pews, and here were delivered sermons that were as long as they were full of strength and wisdom. That these sermons had their full effect upon the future President is shown by his addresses delivered before the Young Men's Christian Association of New York City and a church community of the West, years later. In addressing the Young Men's Christian Association Mr. Roosevelt, who was then governor of the State, said:—
"The vice of envy is not only dangerous, but also a mean vice, for it is always a confession of inferiority. It may provoke conduct which will be fruitful of wrong to others; and it must cause misery to the man who feels it. It will not be any the less fruitful of wrong and misery if, as is often the case with evil motives, it adopts some high-sounding alias. The truth is, gentlemen, that each one of us has in him certain passions and instincts which, if they gain the upper hand in his soul, would mean that the wild beast had come uppermost in him. Envy, malice, and hatred are such passions, and they are just as bad if directed against a class or group of men as if directed against an individual."
Golden words, well worth remembering. A person who believes in them with all his heart cannot go far wrong in his actions, no matter what his station in life.
NICKNAMED TEDDY—GOES TO HARVARD COLLEGE—MEMBER OF MANY CLUBS—DEATH OF MR. ROOSEVELT—ANECDOTES OF COLLEGE LIFE
The instincts of the hunter must have been born in Theodore Roosevelt. His first gun was given to him when he was ten years of age, and for the time being his books and his studies were forgotten, and he devoted his whole time and attention to shooting at a target set up in the garden of the country home and in going out with the older folks after such small game as were to be found in that vicinity.
The horses on the place were his pets, and he knew the peculiarities of each as well as did the man who cared for them. Riding and driving came to him as naturally as breathing, and the fact that a steed was mettlesome did not daunt him.
"My father often drove four-in-hand," he has said. "I liked very much to go with him, and I liked to drive, too."
Theodore Roosevelt's schoolboy days were not far out of the ordinary. He studied hard, and if he failed in a lesson he did his best to make it up the next time. It is well said that there is no royal road to learning, and even a future President must study just as hard as his classmates if he wants to keep up with them. Sometimes he was absent from school on account of sickness, and then it was a sharp struggle to keep from dropping behind.
"In those days nobody expected Teddy Roosevelt to amount to a great deal," some one has said. "He was thin, pale, and delicate, and suffered with his eyes. But he pulled through, and when he took to athletics, it was wonderful how he got stronger."
By his intimate companions, and indeed by nearly everybody who knew him, he was called Teddy, and this nickname clung to him when he went forth into the great world to become a governor and a president. How the nickname came first into use is not known.
Since those schoolboy days Mr. Roosevelt has been asked this question:—
"What did you expect to be, or dream of being, when you were a boy?"
"I do not recollect that I dreamed at all or planned at all," was the answer. "I simply obeyed the injunction, 'Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do that with all thy might,' and so I took up what came along as it came."
In 1876, while the great Centennial Exhibition was being held at Philadelphia in commemoration of one hundred years of national liberty, Theodore Roosevelt took up his residence at Cambridge, Massachusetts, and became a student at Harvard College. During the previous year his health had been poor indeed, but now he had taken hold of himself in earnest.
"I determined to be strong and well, and did everything to make myself so," he has said. "By the time I entered Harvard I was able to take part in whatever sports I liked."
As perhaps some of my readers know, Harvard College (now termed a University) is the oldest and largest institution of learning in the United States. It was founded in 1636, and among its graduates numbered John Quincy Adams, sixth President of our country. The college proper is located in Cambridge, but some of the attached schools are in Boston.
Theodore Roosevelt was rich enough to have lived in elegant style while at Harvard, but he preferred unostentatious quarters, and took two rooms in the home of Benj. H. Richardson, at what was then No. 16 and is now No. 88 Winthrop Street. The residence is a neat and comfortable one, standing on the southwest corner of Winthrop and Holyoke streets.
The young student had two rooms on the second floor,—one of good size, used for a study, and a small bedroom. In the whole four years he was at the college he occupied these rooms, and he spent a great deal of time in fixing them up to suit his own peculiar taste. On the walls were all sorts of pictures and photographs, along with foils and boxing-gloves, and the horns of wild animals. On a shelf rested some birds which he had himself stuffed, and books were everywhere.
"It was a regular den, and typical of Roosevelt to the last degree," a student of 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. You see, 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 O.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 more.
MARRIES MISS ALICE LEE—TRAVELS IN EUROPE—BOLD MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING—STUDYING LAW IN NEW YORK—ELECTED TO THE ASSEMBLY—PERSONAL ENCOUNTER WITH THE ENEMY
It was a proud and happy day for Theodore Roosevelt when, in the summer of 1880, he was graduated from Harvard. He took scholarly as well as social honors, and came forth a Phi Beta Kappa man. His fellow-students wished him well, and his family greeted him most affectionately.
Yet with it all there was just a bit of melancholy in this breaking away from a place that had been as a second home to him for four long years. The students were scattering to the four points of the compass, and he might never see some of them again. But others were there whom he was to meet later, and who were destined to march under him up the bullet-swept slopes of San Juan in far-away Cuba. But at that time there was no thought of war and carnage, only good-fellowship, with addresses and orations, music, flying flags, and huge bonfires and fireworks at night. Happy college days were they, never to be forgotten.
While a student at Harvard, Theodore Roosevelt had become intimately acquainted with Miss Alice Lee, of Boston, a beautiful girl who was a member of an aristocratic family of that city. The young college student was a frequent visitor at the home of the Lees, and on September 23, 1880, the two were married.
It had been decided that Theodore Roosevelt should travel in Europe after graduating. His father had left the family well provided for, so there was no rush to get into something whereby a living might be earned. Yet Theodore Roosevelt had long since determined not to be an idler. He would travel and improve his mind, and then settle down to that for which he seemed best fitted.
To Europe then he went, accompanied by his bride, to study a little and to visit the art galleries and museums, the palaces of kings and queens, and the many great cities of that continent. He travelled through Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, and the British Isles, taking note of everything he saw and comparing it with what he had seen in his own country. When in lower Europe, the spirit of adventure seized him, and he climbed those lofty mountains of the Alps, the Jungfrau and the Matterhorn, and for those deeds of daring was made a member of the Alpine Club of London. It may be mentioned here that climbing the mountains mentioned is a very difficult feat, and that more than one traveller has lost his life in such attempts. The peaks are covered with snow and ice; the path from one cliff to the next is narrow and uncertain, and a fall into some dark and fearful hollow usually means death. But the danger only urged Theodore Roosevelt on, and added zest to the undertaking.
He was intensely interested in all he saw, both in Europe proper and in the British Isles, but wrote that he was glad to get back home again, among his own people. To him there was no country like America, the land of Golden Opportunity, as one of our most noted writers has called it. In Europe there was more or less a lack of personal liberty; here a man could try to make what he pleased of himself, be it cobbler or President.
The young college graduate had an uncle in New York, named Robert B. Roosevelt, who was a well-known lawyer. On his return to this country Theodore Roosevelt entered his uncle's office, and likewise took up the study of law at Columbia University, attending the lectures given by Professor Dwight. Here again his search after what he termed "bottom facts" came to light, and he is well remembered as a member of the law class because of the way he frequently asked questions and called for explanations—accepting nothing as a fact until it was perfectly clear in his own mind. The interruptions did not always suit the professor or the other students, yet they were often the means of clearing up a point that was hazy to many others who had not the courage to thrust forth their inquiries as did Theodore Roosevelt.
"He wants to know it all," said one student, in disgust.
"Well, never mind; I wish I knew it all," answered another. "I guess he knows what he is doing." And in this he was right; Theodore Roosevelt knew exactly what he was trying to accomplish.
The young man was now twenty-three years of age, broad-shouldered, and in much better health than ever before. He had not abandoned his athletic training, and would often run out to the old home at Oyster Bay for a tramp into the woods or on a hunting tour.
While still studying law, Theodore Roosevelt entered politics by taking an active part in a Republican primary. He lived in the twenty-third assembly district of the state. The district included a great number of rich and influential citizens, and on that account was called the "Diamond Back District."
"Let us put up young Roosevelt for Assembly," said one of the politicians. "He's a clever fellow."
"That may be," said another. "But I don't know that we can manage him. He seems a fellow who wants his own way."
"Yes, he'll want his own way, but I reckon that way will be the right way," put in a third speaker.
No sooner had Theodore Roosevelt's name been mentioned as a possible candidate than there was a storm of opposition from some politicians who had in the past ruled the district with a rod of iron. It was a Republican district, so that the contest for the place was entirely in the primary.
"If he is nominated and elected, our power will be gone," they told themselves; and set to work without delay to throw the nomination into the hands of somebody else.
Theodore Roosevelt suspected what was going on, but he said nothing to those who opposed him. With his friends he was very frank, and told them that if he was nominated he would do his best to win the election and serve them honestly in the legislature.
His open-heartedness won him many friends, and when the primary was held, those who had opposed him were chagrined to see him win the nomination with votes to spare. Some at once predicted that he would not be elected.
"Those who opposed him at the primary will not vote for him," they said. "They would rather help the Democrats."
But this prediction proved false. At the election Theodore Roosevelt was elected with a good majority. It was his first battle in the political arena and if he felt proud over it, who can blame him?
The State Capitol of New York is, as my young readers must know, at Albany, on the Upper Hudson, and hither the young assemblyman journeyed. The assemblymen poured in from all over the state, and were made up of all sorts and conditions of men, including bankers, farmers, merchants, contractors, liquor dealers, and even prize-fighters. Many of these men were thoroughly honest, but there were others who were there for gain only, and who cared little for the passing of just laws.
The party to which Theodore Roosevelt belonged was in the minority, so that the young assemblyman found he would have to struggle hard if he expected to be heard at all. But the thoughts of such a struggle only put him on his mettle, and he plunged in with a vigor that astonished his opponents and caused great delight to his friends.
"He is fearless," said one who had voted for him. "He will make things warm for those who don't want to act on the square." And he certainly did make it warm, until a certain class grew to fear and hate him to such a degree that they plotted to do him bodily harm.
"He has got to learn that he must mind his own business," was the way one of these corruptionists reasoned.
"But what can we do?" asked another. "He's as sharp on the floor of the Assembly as a steel trap."
"We'll get Stubby to brush up against him," said a third.
Stubby was a bar-room loafer who had been at one time something of a pugilist. He was a thoroughly unprincipled fellow, and it was known that he would do almost anything for money.
"Sure, I'll fix him," said Stubby. "You just leave him to me and see how I polish him off."
The corruptionists and their tool met at the Delavan House, an old-fashioned hotel at which politicians in and around the capital were wont to congregate, and waited for the young assemblyman. Roosevelt was not long in putting in an appearance and was soon in deep discussion with some friends.
"Watch him, Stubby," said one of the young assemblyman's enemies. "Don't let him get away from you to-night."
"I have me eye on him," answered Stubby.
Roosevelt was on the way to the buffet of the hotel when the crowd, with Stubby in front, pushed against him rudely. The young assemblyman stepped back and viewed those before him fearlessly.
"Say, what do yer mean, running into me that way?" demanded Stubby, insolently.
As he spoke he aimed a savage blow at Theodore Roosevelt. But the young assemblyman had not forgotten how to box, and he dodged with an agility that was astonishing.
"This fellow needs to be taught a lesson," Theodore Roosevelt told himself, and then and there he proceeded to administer the lesson in a manner that Stubby never forgot. He went down flat on his back, and when he got up, he went down again, with a bleeding nose and one eye all but closed. Seeing this, several leaped in to his assistance, but it was an ill-fated move, for Roosevelt turned on them also, and down they went, too; and then the encounter came to an end, with Theodore Roosevelt the victor.
"And that wasn't the end of it," said one, who witnessed the affair. "After it was over young Roosevelt was as smiling as ever. He walked straight over to some of his enemies who had been watching the mix-up from a distance and told them very plainly that he knew how the attack had originated, and he was much obliged to them, for he hadn't enjoyed himself so much for a year. Phew! but weren't those fellows mad! And wasn't Stubby mad when he learned that they had set him against one of the best boxers Harvard ever turned out? But after that you can make sure they treated Roosevelt with respect and gave him a wide berth."
THEODORE ROOSEVELT AND GOVERNOR CLEVELAND—GOOD WORK AS AN ASSEMBLYMAN—SOME MEASURES PUSHED THROUGH—BIRTH OF ALICE ROOSEVELT—DEATH OF MR. ROOSEVELT'S MOTHER
The career of an assemblyman is not generally an interesting one, but Mr. Roosevelt managed to extract not a little pleasure and also some profit from it. The experience was just what he needed to fit himself for the larger positions he was, later on, to occupy.
One happening is of peculiar interest to note. While Theodore Roosevelt was a member of the Assembly, Grover Cleveland became governor of the state. Mr. Cleveland was a Democrat, while Mr. Roosevelt was a Republican, yet the two future Presidents of the United States became warm friends,—a friendship that has endured to the present day.
It is said that the friendship started in rather a peculiar manner. There was at the time a measure before the Assembly to reduce the fare of the elevated roads in New York City from ten cents to five cents. After a great deal of talking, the bill passed the Assembly and then the Senate, and went to the governor for his signature. Much to the surprise of the general public Governor Cleveland vetoed the bill, stating that when the capitalists had built the elevated roads they had understood that the fare was to be ten cents, and that it was not right to deprive them of their profits. At once those who wanted the measure to become a law decided to pass it over the governor's head. When this attempt was made, Theodore Roosevelt got up boldly and said he could not again vote for the bill—that he was satisfied that Governor Cleveland's view of the matter was correct.
"These people would not have put their money in the elevated railroads had they not been assured that the fare was to be ten cents," said he. "We are under obligation to them, and we must keep our promises." And so the bill fell through. It was not in itself right that the fare should be ten cents, and it has long since been reduced to five cents, but it shows that Theodore Roosevelt was bound to do what was right and just, according to the dictates of his own conscience, and this won for him many friends, even among those who had opposed him politically.
In a work of this kind, intended mainly for the use of young people, it is not necessary to do more than glance at the work which Theodore Roosevelt accomplished while a member of the New York Assembly.
He made a close study of the various political offices of New York County and discovered that many office-holders were drawing large sums of money in the shape of fees for which they were doing hardly any work. This he considered unfair, and by dint of hard labor helped to pass a law placing such offices on the salary list, making a saving to the county of probably half a million dollars a year.
One of the best things done by Theodore Roosevelt at that time was the support given by him to a civil service law for the state. Up to that time office-holding was largely in the hands of the party which happened to be in power.
"This is all wrong," said the young assemblyman. "A clerk or anybody else doing his duty faithfully should not be thrown out as soon as there is a political change." The new law was passed, and this was the beginning of what is commonly called the merit system, whereby a large number of those who work for the state are judged solely by their capabilities and not by their political beliefs. This system has since been extended to other states and also to office-holding under the national government.
Another important measure pushed through the Assembly by Theodore Roosevelt was what was known as the Edson Charter for New York City, giving to the mayor certain rights which in the past had rested in the board of aldermen. This measure was defeated during Roosevelt's second term of office, but in 1884 he pressed it with such force that it overcame all opposition and became a law. Many have considered this victory his very best work.
By those who knew him at this time he is described as having almost a boyish figure, frank face, clear, penetrating eyes, and a smile of good-natured friendship and dry humor. When he talked it was with an earnestness that could not be mistaken. By those who were especially bitter against him he was sometimes called a dude and a silk stocking, but to these insinuations he paid no attention, and after the encounter at the Delavan House his opponents were decidedly more careful as to how they addressed him.
"Take him all the way through he was generally even tempered," one has said who met him at that time. "But occasionally there was a flash from his eye that made his opponent draw back in quick order. He would stand a good deal, but there were some things he wouldn't take, and they knew it. One thing is certain, after he was in the Assembly for a few months everybody knew perfectly that to come to him with any bill that was the least bit shady was a waste of time and effort. Roosevelt wouldn't stand for it a minute."
In those days Theodore Roosevelt did not give up his habits of athletic exercise, and nearly every day he could be seen taking long walks in the country around Albany. In the meantime his "Naval War of 1812" was well under way, but he could spare only a few hours occasionally to complete his manuscript.
His married life had thus far been a happy one, and its joy was greatly increased by the birth of his daughter Alice. As will be seen later, Mr. Roosevelt is what is called a family man, and he took great comfort in this new addition to his little household. But his happiness was short-lived, for in 1884, when the daughter was but a baby, the beloved wife died, and the little one had to be given over to the care of the grandparents in Boston. Not many months later Mr. Roosevelt's mother died also, heaping additional sorrow upon his head.
With the conclusion of his third term in the Assembly Theodore Roosevelt's work as a member of that body came to an end. If he had made some enemies, he had made more friends, and he was known as an ardent supporter of reform in all branches of politics. In recognition of his ability he was chosen as a delegate-at-large to the Republican convention brought together to nominate a candidate to succeed President Arthur.
At that time James G. Blaine from Maine had served many years in the United States Senate, and it was thought that he would surely be both nominated and elected. But many were opposed to Blaine, thinking he would not support such reform measures as they wished to see advanced, and among this number was Theodore Roosevelt.
"We must nominate Mr. Edmunds," said the young delegate-at-large, and did his best for the gentleman in question.
"It cannot be done," said another delegate.
The convention met at Exposition Hall in Chicago, and Mr. Roosevelt was placed on the Committee on Resolutions. It was a stormy convention, and ballot after ballot had to be taken before a nomination could be secured. Blaine led from the start, with Senator Edmunds a fairly close second.
"If Blaine is nominated, he will be defeated," said more than one.
At last came the deciding vote, and James G. Blaine was put up at the head of the ticket, with John A. Logan for Vice-President.
At once Blaine clubs were organized all over the country, and the Republican party did all in its power to elect its candidate. He was called the Plumed Knight, and many political clubs wore plumes in his honor when on parade. In the meantime the Democrats had nominated Grover Cleveland.
The fight was exceedingly bitter up to the very evening of election day. When the votes were counted, it was found that Blaine had been defeated by a large majority, and that Grover Cleveland, Roosevelt's old friend, had won the highest gift in the hands of the nation.
His work at the convention in Chicago was Theodore Roosevelt's first entrance into national affairs, and his speeches on that occasion will not be readily forgotten. It was here that he came into contact with William McKinley, with whom, sixteen years later, he was to run on the same ticket. The records of that convention show that on one occasion McKinley spoke directly after Roosevelt. Thus were these two drawn together at that early day without knowing or dreaming that one was to succeed the other to the Presidency.
But though Theodore Roosevelt was disappointed over the nomination made at Chicago, he did not desert his party. Instead he did all he could to lead them to victory, until the death of his mother caused him to withdraw temporarily from public affairs.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT AS A RANCHMAN AND HUNTER IN THE BAD LANDS—BRINGING DOWN HIS FIRST BUFFALO—RATTLESNAKES, AND A WILD GOOSE
Theodore Roosevelt had now published his "Naval History of the War of 1812," and it had created a decidedly favorable opinion among those critics who were best able to judge of the production. It is an authoritative work, and is to-day in the library of nearly every American war-ship afloat, as well as in numerous government libraries in this country, as at Washington, West Point, and Annapolis, and also in leading libraries of England.
Being out of politics the young author thought of taking up his pen once more. But he was restless by nature, and the loss of his wife and his mother still weighed heavily upon him. So he took himself to the West, to where the Little Missouri River flows in winding form through what are called the Bad Lands of North Dakota.
Here, on the edge of the cattle country, Theodore Roosevelt had become possessed of two ranches, one called the Elkhorn and the other Chimney Butte. Both were located by the river, which during the dry season was hardly of any depth at all, but which during the heavy rains, or during the spring freshets, became a roaring torrent.
At one of these ranches Theodore Roosevelt settled down for the time being, to rough it in hunting and raising cattle. When the weather would not permit of his going abroad, or when the mood of the author seized him, he wrote. As a result of these experiences he has given us a delightful work called "The Hunting Trips of a Ranchman," first published in 1885, giving his adventures among the cattle and while on the hunt, sometimes alone and sometimes in company with the rude but honest cow punchers and plainsmen who surrounded him.
Mr. Roosevelt has described the ranch at which he lived for the greater part of his time as a long, low, story-high house of hewn logs, clean and neat, and with many rooms. It faced the river, and in front was a long, low veranda, where one might idle on a clear, warm day to his heart's content. Inside, the main room contained a shelf full of the owner's favorite outdoor books and the walls half-a-dozen pet pictures. Rifles and shot-guns stood handy in corners, and on pegs and deer horns hung overcoats of wolf or coon skin and gloves of otter or beaver.
That Theodore Roosevelt was a close observer of all that occurred around him is proved by his writings. With great minuteness he has described his life at the ranch home and while in the saddle, both in winter and summer, telling of his experiences while rounding up cattle and while bringing down waterfowl and larger game of various kinds. He likewise describes the trained hunters he has met at different seasons of the year, and tells of what they have done or were trying to do.
At this time his favorite horse was a steed called Manitou. But when on a round-up of cattle, many ponies were taken along, so that a fresh mount could be had at any time. It was a breezy, free life, and to it our President undoubtedly owes the rugged constitution that he possesses to-day.
His observations led him to make many investigations concerning the smaller wild animals near his ranches and the larger beasts to be found farther off. The tales which were told to him by other ranchmen and hunters he always took "with a grain of salt," and he soon reached the conclusion that many of the so-styled mighty hunters were only such in name, and had brought down quantities of game only in years gone by when such game was plentiful and could be laid low without much trouble. Once when a man told him he had brought down a certain beast at four hundred yards, Roosevelt measured the distance and found it to be less than half that.
"You couldn't fool him on much," said one of the persons who met him about that time. "He would take precious little for granted. He wanted to know the how of everything, and he wasn't satisfied until he did know."
Regarding his own powers as a hunter at that time, Mr. Roosevelt is very modest. He says his eyesight was rather poor, and his hand not over steady, so that "drawing a bead" on anything was not easy. Yet he went into the sport with much enthusiasm, and if at times he came back at nightfall empty-handed, he did not complain, and he was almost certain to have something interesting to tell of what he had seen.
Theodore Roosevelt had been in this territory before, although not to remain any great length of time. Once he had come out to hunt buffalo, no easy thing to do, since this game was growing scarcer every day. He had a guide named Ferris, who was not particularly struck with the appearance of the pale young man, plainly dressed, whom he met at the railroad station.
"I sized him up as not being able to endure a long trip after a buffalo," said the guide, in speaking afterward of the meeting. "He was well mounted, but he looked as if he might play out before the sun went down."
But in this the guide was mistaken. Roosevelt proved that he could ride as well as anybody. The first night out found the hunters about thirty miles from any settlement. They went into camp on the open prairie, tethering their horses with ropes fastened to their saddles, which they used as pillows.
All went well for an hour or two, when the improvised pillow was jerked from beneath Theodore Roosevelt's head, and he heard his horse bounding away in the distance.
"Wolves!" cried the guide. "They have frightened our horses!"
So it proved; and the hunters lost no time in reaching for their firearms. But the wolves kept their distance, and soon Theodore Roosevelt was running after the horses, which, after a good deal of trouble, he secured and brought back. After that the guide no longer looked on him as a "tenderfoot."
"A tenderfoot," said he, "would have been scared to death. But Teddy Roosevelt was as cool as a cucumber through it all—as if the happening wasn't in the least out of the ordinary."
For several days the hunters remained on the prairie looking for buffalo, but without success. They were on the point of turning back when the guide noticed that the horses were growing uneasy.
"Some big game at hand," he announced. "Come on to yonder washout and see if I am not right."
With great caution the hunters advanced to the washout the guide had mentioned. Dismounting, they crept forward in the shelter of the brushwood, and there, true enough, resting at his ease was a great buffalo bull.
"Hit him where the patch of red shows on his side," whispered the guide, and Roosevelt nodded to show that he understood. With care and coolness he took aim and fired, and the buffalo bull leaped up and staggered forward with the blood streaming from his mouth and nose.
"Shall I give him another?" was the question asked, but before it could be answered the buffalo bull gave a plunge and fell dead.
Rattlesnakes are rather unpleasant reptiles to deal with, and Theodore Roosevelt has shown his bravery by the way in which he speaks of them in his accounts of outdoor life. He says to a man wearing alligator boots there is little danger, for the fang of the reptile cannot go through the leather, and the snake rarely strikes as high as one's knee. But he had at least one experience with a rattlesnake not readily forgotten.
He was out on a hunt for antelope. The sage-brush in which he was concealing himself was so low that he had to crawl along flat on his breast, pushing himself forward with hands and feet as best he could.
He was almost on the antelope when he heard a warning whirr close at his side, and glancing hastily in that direction, saw the reptile but a few feet away, coiled up and ready to attack.
It was a thrilling and critical moment, and had the young hunter leaped up he might have been dangerously if not fatally struck. But by instinct he backed away silently and moved off in another direction through the brush. The rattlesnake did not follow, although it kept its piercing eyes on the hunter as long as possible. After the antelope stalk was over, Roosevelt came back to the spot, made a careful search, and, watching his chance, fired on the rattlesnake, killing it instantly.
In those days Theodore Roosevelt met Colonel William Cody, commonly known as "Buffalo Bill," and many other celebrated characters of the West. He never grew tired of listening to the stories these old trappers, hunters, scouts, and plainsmen had to tell, and some of these stories he afterward put into print, and they have made excellent reading.
During many of his hunting expeditions at that time Theodore Roosevelt was accompanied by his foreman, a good shot and all-round ranchman named Merrifield. Merrifield had been in the West but five years, but the life fitted him exactly, and in him Roosevelt the ranchman and hunter found a companion exactly to his liking, fearless and self-reliant to the last degree.
As perhaps most of my young readers know, wild geese are generally brought down with a shot-gun, but in the Bad Lands it was not unusual to bring them down with a rifle, provided the hunter was quick and accurate enough in his aim. One morning, just before dawn, Theodore Roosevelt was riding along the edge of a creek when he heard a cackling that he knew must come from some geese, and he determined if possible to lay one low.
It was easy work to dismount and crawl to the edge of the creek. But a fog lay over the water, and he could see the geese but indistinctly. Leaving the creek bank, he ran silently to where the watercourse made a turn and then crawled forward in the brush. Soon the fog lifted once more, and he saw the geese resting on the water close to the bend. He fired quickly and brought down the largest of the flock, while the others lost no time in disappearing. It was a good fat goose and made excellent eating.
GROUSE AND OTHER SMALL GAME—THE SCOTCHMAN AND THE SKUNK—CAUGHT IN A HAILSTORM ON THE PRAIRIE—BRINGING DOWN BLACK-TAIL DEER
It cannot be said that Theodore Roosevelt's venture as a ranchman was a very successful one, and it is doubtful if he expected to make much money out of it. He lost nothing in a financial way, and there is no doubt but that the experience was of great benefit to him. In this semi-wilderness he met all sorts and conditions of men, and grew to know them thoroughly. In the past his dealings had been almost entirely with people of large cities and towns, and with men of learning and large business affairs; here he fell in with the wildest kind of cowboys and frontiersmen. Some he soon found were not fit to be associated with, but the majority proved as honest and hard-working fellows as could be met with anywhere. Many of these loved the young "boss" from the start, and when, years later, the war with Spain broke out, and there was a call to arms, not a few of them insisted upon joining the Rough Riders just to be near Theodore Roosevelt once more.
Around the ranches owned by Theodore Roosevelt there were more or less grouse of the sharp-tailed variety. As this sort of game made excellent eating, ranchmen and regular hunters did not hesitate to bring them down at every opportunity.
One afternoon Theodore Roosevelt left his ranch to visit the shack of one of his herders, about thirty-five miles down the river. It was a cold, clear day, and he was finely mounted on a well-trained pony. He writes that he was after grouse, hoping to get quite a number of them.
He had trusted to reach the shack long before sundown, but the way was bad, over bottoms covered with thin ice and snow, and soon darkness came on, leaving him practically lost in the cottonwoods that lined the watercourse.
What to do the young ranchman did not know, and it is safe to say that he wished himself heartily out of the difficulty. It was so dark he could not see three yards ahead of him, and it was only by the merest accident that he struck the shack at last, and then he found it empty, for the herder had gone off elsewhere on business.
So far Roosevelt had seen no game, so he was without food, and what made matters worse, the larder of the shack proved to be empty. All he had with him was a little package of tea.
It was a dismal outlook truly, and especially on such a cold night. But firewood was at hand, and after turning his pony loose to shift for itself, the future President of our country started up housekeeping for himself by lighting a fire, bringing in some water from under the ice of the river, and brewing himself a good, strong cup of tea! It was not a very nourishing meal, but it was all he had, and soon after that he went to sleep, trusting for better luck in the morning.
He was up almost before daybreak, and my young readers can rest assured that by that time his appetite was decidedly keen. Listening intently, he could hear the grouse drumming in the woods close by.
"I must have some of them, and that directly," he told himself, and rifle in hand lost no time in making his way to the woods. By keeping out of sight behind the brushwood he managed to get quite close to the game, and so brought down one after another until he had five. Such success was a great satisfaction to him, and returning to the shack he fixed himself a breakfast of broiled sharptails, to which he did full justice.
It was not all play at the ranches, and sometimes Theodore Roosevelt went out with his men to round up the cattle and help "cut out" what was his own. This was hard work, for frequently the cattle did not want to be separated from the beasts belonging to another ranchman. More than once an angry cow or a bull would charge, and then there would be a lively scramble on pony-back or on foot to get out of the way. Sometimes, too, the cattle would wander off and get lost, and then a long and hard hunt would be necessary in order to find them again.
But there was fun as well as hard work, and Mr. Roosevelt has told one story about a skunk that is sure to be remembered. He says that skunks were very numerous, and that they were more feared than larger animals by the cowboys because the bite was sure to bring on hydrophobia.
One night a number of the cowboys and Mr. Roosevelt were sleeping in a hut. A skunk came along, and after a time worked its way into the hut. It got among the pots and pans and made a noise which quickly awoke a Scotchman named Sandy.
Thinking something was wrong, Sandy struck a light, and seeing the eyes of the skunk, fired. But his aim was bad, and the animal fled.
"What were you firing at?" asked half a dozen of the other cowboys.
The Scotchman explained, and, satisfied that it had been a skunk, the others told him he had better leave the animal alone or there would be trouble.
Nobody thought the skunk would come back, but it did, and again Sandy heard it among the pots and pans. This was too much for his Scotch blood, and taking aim once more, he fired and gave the skunk a mortal wound. At once the hut was filled with a powerful odor that made all the inmates rush for the open air.
"Now see what you have done!" cried several, indignantly.
"Hoot mon!" answered the Scotchman, holding his nose tightly, "A didna ken 'twould cause sec' a tragedee!"
And after that we may be sure that Sandy let skunks severely alone.
Hunting in the summer time, or when the weather was but moderately cold, was well enough, but hunting in the dead of winter was quite a different thing. Then the thermometer would frequently drop to thirty and forty degrees below zero, and there would be a cutting "norther" fit to freeze the very marrow in one's bones. Seldom was there much snow, but when it came, it caused a veritable blizzard, during which neither man nor beast felt like stirring out.
It was during such weather that Theodore Roosevelt once had the tip of his nose and one cheek frozen—something that caused him not a little pain and trouble for a long time afterward.
It was in those dreary days that the logs were piled high in the broad fireplace of the ranch home, and Theodore Roosevelt spent his days in reading and studying, in writing letters to his friends and relatives, and in penning some of the hunting sketches that have won him literary fame.
One day, early in the winter, Theodore Roosevelt and his foreman went out to see if they could not bring in two white-tail deer which had been seen in the vicinity of the ranch the day before. One of the deer, a large buck, had been shot in the ankle by the foreman, so the beginning of the trail was easy to follow. The buck and his mate had gone into a thicket, and it was likely that there the pair had spent the night.
"We'll have our own trouble finding the tracks again," said the foreman. And so it proved; for during the night some cattle and other animals had passed in and out of the thicket, which covered a large extent of territory.
At last the hunters hit upon the right trail, and the foreman went ahead, leaving Roosevelt to keep somewhat toward the outside of the cover. Both were wide-awake and on the alert, and presently the foreman announced that he had found the spot where the wounded buck had passed the night.
"He is not very far from here," said the foreman, and hardly had he said this than Theodore Roosevelt heard a cracking of fallen twigs and a breaking of the brush and lower limbs of the trees as the buck rushed through the thicket. He ran with all speed in the direction and took station behind a large tree.
Only a few seconds passed, and then the buck showed his head and antlers among the brushwood. He was gazing ahead anxiously, no doubt trying to decide if it would be safe to leap into the open and run up the trail. Then he turned his gaze directly toward where Theodore Roosevelt was crouching, rifle in hand.
Another instant and it would have been too late. But just as the buck's head was turned and he sniffed the air suspiciously, the young ranchman pulled the trigger.
"He turned his head sharply toward me as I raised the rifle," says Mr. Roosevelt, in writing of this adventure, "and the bullet went fairly into his throat, just under the jaw, breaking his neck, and bringing him down in his tracks with hardly a kick."
The buck proved to be an extra fine one, and the two hunters lost no time in dressing the game and taking it to the ranch. Not wishing to go back for their horses, the two dragged the game over the snow, each taking hold of an antler for that purpose. It was intensely cold, so that each of the hunters had to drag first with one hand and then with the other for fear of having his fingers frozen.
This was one of the times when the young ranchman and hunter was successful in his quest. But Mr. Roosevelt has not hesitated to tell of the many times he has gone out on the hunt only to return empty-handed and glad enough to get back to a warm shelter and where he was sure of a good meal.
"Ranching and hunting was no bed of roses," some one who knew him at that time has said. "Many a time he came back utterly fagged out and not a thing to show for his labor. But he never complained, and on the contrary could generally tell a pretty good story about something he had seen or had taken note of. In the summer he would examine the nests of birds and waterfowl with great care, and I have seen him with a horned frog before him, studying every point of the creature."
Once while on the prairie the young ranchman was caught in a heavy hailstorm. He was out with a number of others, when, with scarcely any warning, the sky began to grow dark, and the wind came up in fitful gusts.
"We must get out of this, and quick too," said a companion. And all pushed onward as fast as they could. But soon the heavy fall of hail overtook them, and they were glad enough to seek even the slight shelter of a deep washout, where men and horses huddled close together for protection. The hailstones came down as large as marbles, causing the horses to jump around in a fashion that was particularly dangerous to themselves and to their owners. The time was August, yet the air grew very cold, and when the storm was over, some cattle were found completely benumbed. A few had been killed, and there had likewise been great slaughter among a flock of lambs that had been driven into the Bad Lands the year previous.
Mr. Roosevelt tells us that the greatest number of black-tailed deer he ever killed in one day was three. He is a true sportsman in this respect and does not kill for the mere sake of killing. Those who go out just to slaughter all they possibly can are not sportsmen, but butchers. To be sure, a hunter may have to play the butcher at times, when the meat is needed, but not otherwise.
On the occasion when the three black-tails were laid low the young ranchman and his foreman started on the hunt very early in the morning, when the bright moon was still in the sky. It was late in November and stinging cold, so they allowed their horses to take their own pace, which was far from slow.
The course of the hunters was up the bed of a dry creek, along which they passed the still sleeping cattle and also a drove of ponies. Then they reached a spot where they left their own steeds, and, rifles in hand, hurried silently toward a great plateau which lay some distance before them. Signs of deer could be seen on every hand, and both were certain that the day's outing would prove a grand success.
Theodore Roosevelt had separated from his companion when of a sudden he caught sight of a beautiful doe. It was a fair shot, and dropping on one knee he took aim and fired. But to his intense chagrin the doe bounded off and disappeared in the brushwood.
"Hit anything?" sang out the foreman.
"I am afraid not," was the answer.
"Never mind; better luck next time." And then both sank down behind a rock where they could get a good view of a hollow ahead of them.
They had been behind the rock but a short time when they heard a cracking of twigs, and a fine black-tail buck came cautiously into view. Both fired, and the buck rolled over, never to rise again. Then another deer came into view and both fired again, but the game was not struck and lost no time in disappearing.
"Never mind; one isn't so bad," said Theodore Roosevelt, and his companion agreed with him.
The hunters now decided to go forward into the hollow and look for the doe Theodore Roosevelt had missed. This was done, and soon the foreman pointed to some drops and splashes of blood.
"Must have hit her, after all," said the foreman. "We can take our time about following her up. We'll be sure to get her sooner or later."
But locating the wounded doe proved not so easy, after all. The trail was followed for some time, but was lost on the hard ground higher up; and at last the two hunters agreed to look for new game. They had lunch, and then started out nearly as fresh as before when suddenly the foreman called out:—
"There's your game all right!"
He pointed to a clump of bushes, and running forward, both saw the doe stretched out, stiff and cold. She had been mortally wounded, after all, much to both hunters' gratification.
So far the hunting had been on foot, but now the hunters took again to their steeds. Mr. Roosevelt says he was wishing for just one more shot, to see if he could not do better than before, when his wish was gratified. Just ahead a yearling black-tail buck leaped into view and cantered away. After the buck went both hunters, but Theodore Roosevelt was in the lead, and this time determined to make no miss or poor shot. He waited until the buck turned its side to him, then fired with especial care. The game staggered on, then fell. The bullet had gone clean through its body, and in a few seconds it breathed its last.
RUNS FOR MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY—MARRIAGE TO EDITH KERMIT CAREW—HUNTING IN THE BIGHORN MOUNTAINS—A WILD CHASE AFTER THREE ELK
Although Theodore Roosevelt was devoting himself to ranching, hunting, and literary work in North Dakota he had by no means given up his residence in New York or at Oyster Bay. More than this, he still continued his connection with the Republican party in spite of the set-back at the last National Convention.
In 1886, while Grover Cleveland was still President of the United States, there was an exceedingly sharp and bitter fight in New York City over the office of mayor. There was great discontent both in the Republican and the Democratic party, and nobody could tell what was going to happen on election day.
"Let us put up Teddy Roosevelt," said some of the Republicans, and shortly after this Theodore Roosevelt was nominated for mayor of New York. His regular opponent was Abram Hewitt, while the Independents put up Henry George, the "single tax" man, well known as the author of a book entitled "Progress and Poverty."
From the very start the campaign was an exceedingly hot one, and there was a good deal of parading and speech-making. Many clubs were organized in behalf of Theodore Roosevelt, and clubs were likewise formed to support the other candidates. The supporters of Henry George came from both regular parties, so political matters became very much mixed up.
"There is no show for Roosevelt unless George withdraws," said more than one old politician.
"And George won't withdraw," added others. And so it proved. Henry George was exceptionally strong with the poorer classes, and on election day he polled over 68,000 votes; 90,552 votes were cast for Hewitt, while Roosevelt received 60,435 votes.
It was certainly a disheartening defeat, and many a man would have retired from the political field, never to show himself again. But Theodore Roosevelt was made of sterner stuff. He held his ground and went his way as before, resolved to do his duty as it should present itself.
It was about this time that his intimacy with Miss Edith Kermit Carew was renewed. It will be remembered that she had been his playmate during his earlier days around Union Square. In the years that had followed she had been graduated from a young ladies' seminary and had travelled abroad, visiting London, Paris, and other large cities. Now she was home again, and on December 2, 1886, she became Mr. Roosevelt's wife.
Mr. Roosevelt's second marriage has been a very happy one. Mrs. Roosevelt is a loving wife and a gracious mistress of the White House. Five children have come to bless their union, of which more will be said later. Mrs. Roosevelt at once took Mr. Roosevelt's daughter Alice to her heart, and from that time to this the two have been as mother and daughter.
Theodore Roosevelt had already produced his "Naval War of 1812" and his "Hunting Trips of a Ranchman," both spoken of in previous pages. A short while after he was married the second time he brought out a "Life of Thomas Benton," and a year later a "Life of Gouverneur Morris." In addition to this he wrote a number of articles for the magazines, and also some short stories for young folks. All were well received and added not a little to his literary reputation.
But the desire to be out in the open, to roam the prairie and to hunt, was in his veins, and again and again he visited his ranches in the Bad Lands, and took hunting trips in other directions. Sometimes he cared little or nothing for the game brought down, and at others he went on the hunt with great deliberation, for "something worth while," as he expressed it.
How careful he could be on the latter occasions is shown by his printed views on hunting, in which he discusses the best rifles, shot-guns, and pistols to use, the best knives to carry, how to dress with comfort, and how to follow up game, on horseback and on foot, in the open and when in the woods or in the short brush. He has also told us much about the habits of the beasts and birds that he has hunted, showing that he followed the sport intelligently and not in the haphazard fashion of many who go out merely to get a big bagful of game.
Hunting was not all fun in those days. We have already related how Theodore Roosevelt was caught in a heavy hailstorm. At another time he and his companions were caught in a three-days' rain-storm, during which the wind blew a hurricane. They were miles away from the ranch home, and it was utterly impossible to move in any direction.
"Reckon we are booked to stay here," said one of the cowboys, a fellow from the South. "It's a right smart storm, and it's going to stay by us." And stay by them it did, until the party were almost out of provisions. They got what shelter they could in something of a hollow overhung with trees and brush, but this was not very satisfactory, and all were soaked to the skin, and the blankets in which they rolled themselves at night were both wet and muddy.
"Teddy Roosevelt didn't like that wetting, and I know it," one of the cowboys has said since. "But he didn't grumble near as much as some of the others. We had to take our medicine, and he took his like a man."
There were no elk in the immediate vicinity of Theodore Roosevelt's ranches, nor were there many bears or buffaloes. But all of these animals were to be met with further westward, and the young ranchman had been after them during a previous year's hunting while on a trip to Montana and Wyoming.
At that time the destination of the party was the Bighorn Mountains, which were reached only after a painful and disheartening journey over a very uncertain Indian trail, during which one of the ponies fell into a washout and broke his neck, and a mule stuck fast in a mud-hole and was extricated only after hours of hard work.
"It was on the second day of our journey into the mountains that I got my first sight of elk," says Mr. Roosevelt. The party was on the trail leading into a broad valley, moving slowly and cautiously along through a patch of pine trees. When the bottom of the valley was gained, Mr. Roosevelt saw a herd of cow elk at a great distance, and soon after took a shot at one, but failed to reach his mark.
"I'm going after that herd," he said. And as soon as the party had pitched camp, he sallied forth in one direction, while his foreman, Merrifield, took another.
As Theodore Roosevelt had supposed, the elk had gone off in a bunch, and for some distance it was easy to follow them. But further on the herd had spread out, and he had to follow with more care, for fear of getting on the wrong trail, for elk tracks ran in all directions over the mountains. These tracks are there to-day, but the elk and the bears are fast disappearing, for ruthless hunters have done their best to exterminate the game.
After passing along for several miles, Theodore Roosevelt felt he must be drawing close to the herd. Just then his rifle happened to tap on the trunk of a tree, and instantly he heard the elk moving away in new alarm. His hunting blood was now aroused, and he rushed forward with all speed, but as silently as possible. By taking a short cut, the young ranchman managed to come up beside the running elk. They were less than twenty yards away, and had it not been for the many trees which were on every side, he would have had an excellent shot at them. As it was he brought low a fine, full-grown cow elk, and hit a bull calf in the hind leg. Later on he took up the trail of the calf and finished that also.
Of this herd the foreman also brought down two, so that for the time being the hunters had all the meat they needed. But Theodore Roosevelt was anxious to obtain some elk horns as trophies of the chase, and day after day a watch was kept for bull elk, as the hunters moved the camp from one place to another.
At last the long-looked-for opportunity arrived. Three big bulls were seen, and Roosevelt and his man went after them with all possible speed. They were on foot, and the trail led them over some soft ground, and then through a big patch of burnt timber. Here running was by no means easy, and more than once both hunters pitched headlong into the dirt and soot, until they were covered from head to foot. But Theodore Roosevelt was bound to get the elk, and kept on until the sweat was pouring down his face and neck. Shot after shot was fired, and all three of the animals were wounded, but still they kept on bounding away.
"One is down!" shouted Roosevelt at last. And the news proved true; the smallest of the bulls had rocked unsteadily for a few seconds and gone to earth. Then on and on after the remaining game sped the hunters, panting and sweating as before.
"The sweat streamed down in my eyes and made furrows in the sooty mud that covered my face, from having fallen full length down on the burnt earth," writes the dauntless hunter, in relating this story. "I sobbed for breath as I toiled at a shambling trot after them, as nearly done out as could well be."
But he did not give up; and now the elk took a turn and went downhill, with Theodore Roosevelt pitching after them, ready to drop from exhaustion, but full of that grit to win out which has since won the admiration of all who know the man. The second bull fell; and now but one remained, and this dashed into a thicket. On its heels went the daring hunter, running the chance of having the elk turn on him as soon as cornered, in which case, had Roosevelt's rifle been empty, the struggle for life on both sides would have been a fierce one.
In the midst of the thicket the hunter had to pause, for the elk was now out of sight, and there was no telling what new course had been taken by the game. At a distance he saw a yellow body under the evergreen trees, and, taking hasty aim, fired. When he came up, he was somewhat dismayed to learn that he had not brought down the elk, but a black-tail deer instead. In the meantime, the elk got away, and it proved impossible to pick up the trail again.
There is a valuable lesson to be learned from this hunting trip, and one that all young readers should take to heart. It shows what sticking at a thing can accomplish. Mr. Roosevelt had determined to get at least a portion of that game, no matter what the labor and hardship involved. Many a hunter would have given up in disgust or despair after the first few shots were fired and it looked as if the elk were out of range and intended to keep out. But this determined young man did not give up thus easily. Hard as was that run up hill and down, and regardless of the tumbles taken, and that he was so tired he could scarcely stand, he kept on until two elk were brought down, and it was firmly settled that the third could not be captured.
The way to accomplish anything in this life is to stick at it. Theodore Roosevelt understood this truth even when he went to college, for in the Harvard journal of which he was an editor he wrote, speaking of foot-ball practice, "What is most necessary is that every man should realize the necessity of faithful and honest work, every afternoon." He put "every afternoon" in italics himself, and he meant that every foot-ball player who hoped to win in the inter-collegiate foot-ball games should stick at it until he had made himself as perfect a player as possible. A victory worth gaining is worth working for, and usually the hardest-earned victories are the sweetest.
BRINGING DOWN A GRIZZLY BEAR—BACK TO NEW YORK—APPOINTED A CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSIONER—THE WORK OF THE COMMISSION
It was while in the Bighorn Mountains that Theodore Roosevelt got his first shot at a bear. He had been wanting such a chance for a good many years, but up to that date the bears had kept well out of his sight.
In his writings he has said much about bears, both common and grizzly, and told of their habits, and how they have been tracked down and shot at various times of the year. He holds to the opinion that the average bear would rather run away than fight, yet he tells the story of how one bear faced the hunter who had shot him, and gave the man one blow with his powerful paw that proved fatal.
One day his companion of the hunt came riding in with the carcass of a black bear killed in a network of hollows and ravines some miles from their present camp.
"The hollows are full of bear tracks," said Merrifield. "I am sure, if we go up there, we'll get one or more black bears and perhaps a grizzly."
"Then let us go by all means," responded Theodore Roosevelt. And no time was lost in moving to the new locality.
The hunters had been out nearly all of the next day, when, on returning through the forest toward nightfall, Roosevelt came across the footmarks of a large bear. He tried to follow them, but night closed in on him, and he had to return to camp. That very night the bear came around the camp, looking for something to eat.
"Let us try to bring him down," cried Roosevelt, seizing his rifle, while his companion did the same. But outside it was pitch dark.
"Do you see him?" questioned Merrifield.
"Neither do I."
Both listened, and at a distance heard the bear lumbering off slowly through the woods. They went forward a short distance, then came to a halt.
"We'll have to give it up for the present," said Theodore Roosevelt. "But I am going to have him, sooner or later, if the thing is possible."
Early the next morning both of the hunters sallied forth and discovered that the bear had been at the carcasses of some game left in the forest. The tracks were fresh.
"He has been here, no doubt of it," said Merrifield. "Shall we wait for him to come again?"
"We might as well," was the answer. "He'll get hungry again, sooner or later."
So the pair sat down to watch. But the bear was shy, and kept his distance. Then it grew dark once more, so that but little could be seen under the trees.
"He knows enough to keep away," said Roosevelt's companion.
"Hark!" was the reply and both strained their ears. There was a faint crackling of twigs, and they felt certain it was the bear. But it was too dark to see anything; so both shouldered their rifles and walked back to camp.
Here was another illustration of Theodore Roosevelt's method of sticking at a thing. Two days had been spent in trying to get that bear, and yet he did not give up. On the following morning he sallied forth once more, as full of hope as before.
The bear had been at the carcass again, and the trail was now one to be followed with ease.
"I'm going to hunt him down to his lair," said Theodore Roosevelt, and stalked off with his companion beside him. Soon they were again deep in the woods, walking perhaps where the foot of white man had never before trod. Fallen trees were everywhere, and over these they often had to climb.
"Getting closer," whispered Roosevelt's companion, and pointed to some fresh claw scratches on the bark of fallen trees.
They now moved forward as silently as Indians, sure that the bear could not be far off. Suddenly Merrifield dropped on his knee as if to take aim. Roosevelt sprang to the front, with rifle raised. The bear was there, standing upright, only a few paces away. Without hesitation Theodore Roosevelt fired. His aim was true, and the great beast fell with a bullet straight between the eyes. The leaden messenger had entered his brain, and he died with scarcely a struggle.
"The whole thing was over in twenty seconds from the time I caught sight of the game," writes Mr. Roosevelt, in his book "Hunting Trips on the Prairies" (Part II of "Hunting Trips of a Ranchman"). "Indeed it was over so quickly that the grizzly did not have time to show fight at all or come a step toward me. It was the first I had ever seen, and I felt not a little proud as I stood over the great brindled bulk which lay stretched out at length in the cool shade of the evergreens. He was a monstrous fellow, much larger than any I have seen since, whether alive or brought in dead by hunters. As near as we could estimate he must have weighed about twelve hundred pounds."
There is a bear story for you, boys. And the best of it is, it is every word true. In later years Theodore Roosevelt brought down many more grizzlies, but I doubt if he was as proud of them as he was of that first capture.