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1906, 1907, and 1908

Theodore Roosevelt visited Mount Vernon in 1906 with his family. He returned the following year to Mount Vernon, this time on horseback, accompanied by Mrs. Roosevelt, Miss Ethel, Postmaster General George von L. Meyer and Captain Fitzhugh Lee, military aide to the White House. They had telephoned that they were coming and had accepted my invitation to lunch.

“Unfortunately, however, just before they arrived a heavy downpour of rain came on, practically without warning and the party arrived quite wet and very considerably bespattered with mud.

“We set about making them comfortable. Our housekeeper found wraps for the ladies as substitute for their riding habits, while the latter were being dried. The gentlemen retired to the dressing-room where we afforded, as best we could, similar service for them.

“I was surprised presently to hear the President calling loudly for me. “Come, Colonel,” he shouted. “I want you to see my Postmaster General in the tub taking a bath with his boots on.”

“When I entered the room in response to this extravagant announcement, I found Mr. Meyer standing in the tub in the process of washing the mud from his boots under the shower jet. This method of caring for the situation was canny and effective, but in view of the President’s Homeric enjoyment of the scene, the cabinet officer’s position in the tub was extremely ludicrous.

“At the luncheon-table Roosevelt, his risibility all upset by his still vivid memory of the incident, dwelt at length on it, magnifying and enlarging it with such keen enjoyment that the infection spread to all of us, and the meal proceeded with an extreme hilarity that bordered on hysterics….”