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

Playmate of the Children

(To Mr. and Mrs. Emlen Roosevelt)

White House, Jan. 4, 1905.

I am really touched at the way in which your children as well as my own treat me as a friend and playmate. It has its comic side. Thus, the last day the boys were here they were all bent upon having me take them for a scramble down Rock Creek. Of course, there was absolutely no reason why they could not go alone, but they obviously felt that my presence was needed to give zest to the entertainment. Accordingly, off I went, with the two Russell boys, George, Jack, and Philip, and Ted, Kermit, and Archie, with one of Archie’s friends—a sturdy little boy who, as Archie informed me, had played opposite to him in the position of centre rush last fall. I do not think that one of them saw anything incongruous in the President’s getting as bedaubed with mud as they got, or in my wiggling and clambering around jutting rocks, through cracks, and up what were really small cliff faces, just like the rest of them; and whenever any one of them beat me at any point, he felt and expressed simple and whole-hearted delight, exactly as if it had been a triumph over a rival of his own age.