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

A Quentin Anecdote

White House, April 22, 1906.

Ted has been as good and cunning as possible. He has completely recovered from the effects of having his eye operated upon, and though the eye itself is a somewhat gruesome object, Ted is in the highest spirits. He goes back to Harvard to-day.

As I write, Archie and Quentin are busily engaged in the sand-box and I look out across the tennis-ground at them. If ever there was a heaven-sent treasure to small boys, that sand-box is the treasure. It was very cunning to see the delight various little children took in it at the egg-rolling on Easter Monday. Thanks to our decision in keeping out grown people and stopping everything at one o’clock, the egg-rolling really was a children’s festival, and was pretty and not objectionable this year.

The apple trees are now coming into bloom, including that big arched apple tree, under which Mother and I sit, by the fountain, on the stone bench. It is the apple tree that Mother particularly likes.…

Did Quentin write his poems after you had gone? I never can recollect whether you have seen them or not. He is a funny small person if ever there was one. The other day we were discussing a really dreadful accident which had happened; a Georgetown young man having taken out a young girl in a canoe on the river, the canoe upset and the girl was drowned; whereupon the young man, when he got home, took what seemed to us an exceedingly cold-blooded method of a special delivery letter to notify her parents. We were expressing our horror at his sending a special delivery letter, and Quentin solemnly chimed in with “Yes, he wasted ten cents.” There was a moment’s eloquent silence, and then we strove to explain to Quentin that what we were objecting to was not in the least the young man’s spendthrift attitude!

As I walk to and from the office now the terrace is fairly fragrant with the scent of the many-colored hyacinths which Mother has put out in boxes on the low stone walls.