Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919). Theodore Roosevelt’s Letters to His Children. 1919.

Peter Rabbit’s Funeral

White House, May 28, 1904.

It was great fun seeing you and Ted, and I enjoyed it to the full.

Ethel, Archie and Quentin have gone to Mount Vernon to-day with the Garfield boys. Yesterday poor Peter Rabbit died and his funeral was held with proper state. Archie, in his overalls, dragged the wagon with the little black coffin in which poor Peter Rabbit lay. Mother walked behind as chief mourner, she and Archie solemnly exchanging tributes to the worth and good qualities of the departed. Then he was buried, with a fuchsia over the little grave.

You remember Kenneth Grahame’s account of how Harold went to the circus and sang the great spheral song of the circus? Well, yesterday Mother leaned out of her window and heard Archie, swinging under a magnolia tree, singing away to himself, “I’m going to Sagamore, to Sagamore, to Sagamore. I’m going to Sagamore, oh, to Sagamore!” It was his spheral song of joy and thanksgiving.

The children’s delight at going to Sagamore next week has completely swallowed up all regret at leaving Mother and me. Quentin is very cunning. He and Archie love to play the hose into the sandbox and then, with their thigh rubber boots on, to get in and make fortifications. Now and then they play it over each other. Ethel is playing tennis quite a good deal.

I think Yagenka is going to come out all right, and Bleistein, too. I have no hope for Wyoming or Renown. Fortunately, Rusty is serving us well.

White House, June 12th, 1904.

The little birds in the nest in the vines on the garden fence are nearly grown up. Their mother still feeds them.

You see the mother bird with a worm in her beak, and the little birds with their beaks wide open!

I was out walking the other day and passed the Zoo; there I fed with grass some of the two-year-old elk; the bucks had their horns “in the velvet.” I fed them through the bars.

White House, June 12th, 1904.

Give my love to Mademoiselle; I hope you and Quenty are very good with her—and don’t play in the library!

I loved your letter, and think you were very good to write.

All kinds of live things are sent me from time to time. The other day an eagle came; this morning an owl.

(I have drawn him holding a rat in one claw.)

We sent both to the Zoo.

The other day while walking with Mr. Pinchot and Mr. Garfield we climbed into the Blagden deer park and almost walked over such a pretty wee fawn, all spotted; it ran off like a little race horse.

It made great jumps and held its white tail straight in the air.

White House, June 21, 1904.

The other day when out riding what should I see in the road ahead of me but a real B’rer Terrapin and B’rer Rabbit. They were sitting solemnly beside one another and looked just as if they had come out of a book; but as my horse walked along B’rer Rabbit went lippity lippity lippity off into the bushes and B’rer Terrapin drew in his head and legs till I passed.