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

Dickens and Thackeray

White House, February 3, 1906.

I agree pretty well with your views of David Copperfield. Dora was very cunning and attractive, but I am not sure that the husband would retain enough respect for her to make life quite what it ought to be with her. This is a harsh criticism and I have known plenty of women of the Dora type whom I have felt were a good deal better than the men they married, and I have seen them sometimes make very happy homes. I also feel as you do that if a man had to struggle on and make his way it would be a great deal better to have some one like Sophie. Do you recollect that dinner at which David Copperfield and Traddles were, where they are described as seated at the dinner, one “in the glare of the red velvet lady” and the other “in the gloom of Hamlet’s aunt”? I am so glad you like Thackeray. “Pendennis” and “The Newcomes” and “Vanity Fair” I can read over and over again.

Ted blew in to-day. I think he has been studying pretty well this term and now he is through all his examinations but one. He hopes, and I do, that you will pay what attention you can to athletics. Play hockey, for instance, and try to get into shape for the mile run. I know it is too short a distance for you, but if you will try for the hare and hounds running and the mile, too, you may be able to try for the two miles when you go to Harvard.

The weather was very mild early in the week. It has turned cold now; but Mother and I had a good ride yesterday, and Ted and I a good ride this afternoon, Ted on Grey Dawn. We have been having a perfect whirl of dinner engagements; but thank heavens they will stop shortly after Sister’s wedding.