Affairs at Washington [excerpt]
IF any man can be declared a true type of Americanism, that man
is Theodore Roosevelt. His hair is worn positively short, and as
he lowers his spectacles upon you, you see behind them two very
bright gray eyes. The first impressions are not always reassuring,
but you begin at once to feel the sincere conscientiousness and
candor of the man. His reserve force and vigorous courage impress
you; finally, after a few moments of conversation, you are entirely
convinced that he is a man of broad intellectuality and a keen student
of human nature. His hand grasp is genuine and inspiring. Not a
shadow of insincerity is discernible. Open, fearless and honest
in every fibre, such is the universal verdict of those who meet
He is very likely to pass several
distinguished congressmen, sitting demurely along the wall, and
grasp the hand of an old cow-boy friend, with a fervent, “I am particularly
glad to see you.”
In his attire there is always a simplicity
that is far removed from the picture of the “New York dude;” in
fact, I could not help but notice the 
severely plain shoes and clothes, the turned down collar and the
black necktie that he wore.
When he became thoroughly interested
in the conversation, he rested upon the large desk, with his hands
clasped across his knees, in the attitude of one who was more interested
in what was being said than in his personal appearance at the time.
While his attitude may suggest impulsiveness, a conservative look
comes over his countenance as he goes around all sides of the question,
like a shrewd Yankee trading horses.
I confess I entered the room that
had been President McKinley’s with somewhat the feeling of a boy
going to greet a stepfather, for no matter how well qualified or
how great the new President may be, the change and contrast are
President Roosevelt and President
McKinley present two strong and widely different individual types
of Americanism. The one, born and reared in the East, has all the
quick, free manner of the West; the other, born in the West, had
all the fine suavity of the East.
In spite of this, there could not
have been a more fitting successor to William McKinley than Theodore
Roosevelt. The fears and apprehensions aroused in business and political
circles by the deadly work of the assassin have passed away, and
if ever there was a man fit to quiet and dispel all such apprehensions,
it is the “cow-boy” President.
The irritating annoyances from office
seekers and their friends have been to him, as to all his predecessors,
the bane of his existence, even thus early. The great crowds at
the White House have largely but one purpose in view, and that is
the prospective distribution of patronage. And it is this problem
that the former civil service commissioner has grappled with the
full measure of his courage and all the sturdiness of purpose for
which he early became famous. 
THOUGH steadfastly fulfilling his pledge to carry out the wishes
of his late chief, the President is growing incredulous of the stories
poured into his ears concerning verbal promises alleged to have
been made by President McKinley, but of which there is no record,
and he has adopted the fundamental method of making an analysis
and study of human nature in arriving at the truth and falsity of
all such claims pressed upon him.
During my chat with him there was
not a moment when he was still. In his hands he nervously clutched
a mass of typewritten documents, but never deigned to give them
a glance while talking with the visitor. When he is engaged in any
one thing, his whole mind and attention seems to be concentrated
upon that thing.
In the long list of guests invited
to his dinner table, it is noted with particular satisfaction that
he has not forgotten his fellow professionals in the literary world.
Somehow, during the busy moments from
early morn until late at night, he finds time to keep closely in
touch with current affairs as set forth in the newspapers, indulges
in a daily dip into the periodicals and magazines, and it was particularly
gratifying to learn that the President has continued his excellent
practice of looking through the pages of “The National Magazine.”
There was a pathetic meeting shortly
after I entered, between the President and the widow of Captain
Capron, who was killed during the charge of the Rough Riders at
Las Gausimas [sic]. The widow of 
his old comrade, than whom none was braver, was given a cordial
The status of the Spanish War veterans
will undoubtedly be more impressive at the White House hereafter.
Mr. Roosevelt is the only President elected since Johnson, with
the exception of Cleveland, who has not been a veteran of the Civil
War; but there is no one more thoroughly in sympathy with the veterans
of the Civil war [sic] than the dashing colonel of the Rough
DURING the past month the President has been vigorously at work
on his first message, which it is expected will be a combination
of wise statecraft and consummate literary skill.
Callers are not received after 12
o’clock, and the President is going into the details of the office
with enthusiasm. No state paper will be awaited with more interest
than President Roosevelt’s initial message to congress.
SECRETARY CORTELYOU is to remain as Secretary to the President.
A more competent and capable man never occupied the place at the
White House. He is thoroughly master of the situation, and when
he takes down his pencil from behind his ear, perched at an angle
of forty-five degrees, and makes a notation on a piece of paper
carried deftly up his sleeve, he is drawing upon a mass of detail
carefully systematized. George B. Cortelyou has certainly made himself
indispensable in connection with the work at the White House. He
is a splendid example of the new order of secretary, who is required
to be an executive. It was enough for the old time secretary to
be a clerk. President Roosevelt’s private secretary, William Loeb,
Jr., a genial and smooth-faced young man, neatly attired in a Prince
Albert with a carnation in his buttonhole, is equally tactful and
careful in handling the rush of work which has been thrust upon
him. He occupies Secretary Cortelyou’s old desk and room, and has
taken hold of the work at the White House in a manner that indicates
that he is thoroughly accustomed to the ways of his distinguished
Secretary Cortelyou has taken the
former office of the President directly across the hall from his
previous office at the White House, in close connection with President
Roosevelt, who still occupies, as did his predecessor, the cabinet
room most of the time.
THE thirty days of mourning have passed at the Capital, and the
flags are no longer at half mast. The deep mourning border on all
of the government stationery, which was first used at the executive
mansion, has now resumed its usual appearance. There is something
set and pathetic in it all, to note how soon the poignant pangs
of grief for the loved ones pass away; while it does not by any
means indicate a diminution of affectionate regard, it reveals how
quickly the American people can adjust themselves to new conditions.
The world’s conception of the 
greatness of William McKinley does not diminish; like the fame of
Lincoln, it grows brighter and brighter as time passes, and more
is learned of the true hearted nobleness of the man, and his extraordinarily
wise judgment of affairs under the most exacting circumstances.
THERE were pathetic memories awakened when I attended the Metropolitan
church at Washington. My gaze turned toward the first pew in the
There it was that, Sunday after Sunday
for four or five years past, throngs were gathering to see the late
President. Now it is all changed, and the centre of the curious
is the little Dutch Reformed church. There the President hears the
pleasant faced minister expound the gospel in the good old-fashioned
DURING the early days of President Roosevelt’s administration he
has improved every moment of time. The guests at dinner include
men of nearly every station and from all sections of the country.
He is determined to learn facts as far as possible at first hand
rather than by the usual method of correspondence and dry official
reports. Of course his invitations to dinner may at times subject
him to criticisms, but no one can doubt his sincerity of purpose.
He not only has guests who are congenial dinner companions but men
from whom he can learn the truth concerning the condition of public
THERE is frequently a delegation of fussy women at the White House
to see the president. It would be unkind even to intimate who they
are, as the names sometime figure very prominently in public life.
If they bear letters from a senator or a congressman, they are irritated
if the president does not throw open the doors, forgetting that
he has a multitude of duties to attend to, aside from personal calls
and interviews. If some of these delegations would look about them,
they would see that there were about a dozen senators and congressmen
patiently waiting their turn to present important matters of state
as meekly as at a barber shop waiting to be shaved. It takes but
little to sting human vanity. So some of these dear ladies march
out with an expression on their faces, “When I come again you will
know it!” There are no tears shed. On the other hand there are interesting
studies in the way of callers who expect little but receive much.
The entire gamut of human nature is easily discerned at the White
House portals during the course of one short day.