Jacob A. Riis (18491914). Theodore Roosevelt, the Citizen. 1904.
spirit before which had risen already visions of a man with a horse and a gun, of travel and adventure. Mayne Reids books had found their way to East Twentieth Street, and they went with the lad wherever the family tent was pitched to ease the little sufferer. One winter they spent in Egypt, floating down the Nile amid the ruins of empires dead and gone. But the past and its dead got no grip on the young American. He longed to go back to his own country of the mighty forests and the swelling plains where men worked out their own destiny. He would be a pathfinder, a hunter. But a hunter has need of strong thews; of a sound body. And to become strong became presently the business of his life.
It was one of the things that early attracted me to Theodore Roosevelt, long before he had become famous, that he was a believer in the gospel of will. Nothing is more certain, humanly speaking, than this, that what a man wills himself to be, that he will be. Is he willing to put in all on getting rich, rich he will get, to find his riches turning to ashes in his dead hand; will he have power, knowledge, strengththey are all within his grasp. The question