Source: Letters of Richard Watson Gilder
Source type: book
Document type: letter
Document title: “Roosevelt in the White House”
Author(s): Gilder, Richard Watson
Editor(s): Gilder, Rosamond
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Place of publication: Boston, Massachusetts
Year of publication: 1916
|Gilder, Richard Watson. “Roosevelt in the White House.” Letters of Richard Watson Gilder. Ed. Rosamond Gilder. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1916: pp. 341-42.|
|full text of letter; excerpt of book|
|Richard Watson Gilder (correspondence); Richard Watson Gilder; Theodore Roosevelt; John G. Nicolay.|
|Grover Cleveland; Elizabeth Franklin Harwood; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley; John G. Nicolay; Edith Roosevelt; Theodore Roosevelt.|
“To a friend” (p. 341).
From title page: Edited by His Daughter, Rosamond Gilder.
Roosevelt in the White House
I have had a very exciting week
in Washington—three long talks and various meals with the new President—that
child of fate and old friend of mine. I have not been in Washington for nearly
five years. And now walking through the family rooms there with Mrs. Roosevelt,
I felt and said that I might well welcome her there to that dear familiar home
of mine. She took me into her room and it was our old room! Though, indeed,
I have slept at various times in nearly all the bedrooms there. This particular
one was Lincoln’s, I think.
Notwithstanding the horror of the recent event, I cannot but look forward to the new administration with exhilaration. One night I talked with Roosevelt for nearly five hours—the second day of his life in the White House. He rings true! He is a noble fellow. He has an excess of temperament, but a serviceable conscience as well.
He is very different in his temperament from Cleveland, but has, like him, the moral side of his nature in a remarkable state of development considering that he is a politician. To think that Cleveland is the only living man elected to the Presidency. Roosevelt told me that Cleveland had said the kindest things to him that had been said by anyone. The meeting between  the two at the funeral at Washington was very touching (they are old acquaintances). But I must not gossip lest I let state secrets dribble out.
While in Washington I passed the Harwood Navy Yard residence. This gave me feelings, for I can never get over missing that dear, dear Miss Bessy. If there is a heaven and I can get there, it will not take me long to find the Harwood house. Their house was always heaven to me.
My exciting and intensely interesting visit to Washington ended with the death of my old friend John G. Nicolay, Lincoln’s private secretary. I had to go to the grave with the poor girl who is all that is left of the family. I wrote a poem about him the day we buried him. She liked the poem—and he had liked the roses I sent just before he died. To think of his living just to the death of the third murdered President,—and they did not tell him McKinley had died.