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In His Own Words: Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Jul 25, 2014

President Roosevelt describes his single-stick battles with General Wood.

“General Wood is acting as my playmate now. I am unable to take any hard walks on account of my leg, and though I ride a good deal riding isn’t much exercise—unless, like Ted, one tries to hunt, in which case, as Ted has recently found, Renown proves a handful when he gets excited. But at six every evening General Wood comes over and we play at singlestick together. We put on heavily padded helmets, breastplates and gauntlets and wrap bath towels around our necks, and then we turn to and beat one another like carpets. Now and then by an accident one or the other of us gets hit where there is no protecting armament. We are not very good at it yet and consequently are able to hit far better than we parry. Ted insists that each one simply ‘swats’ the other in turn like the medieval ‘biding a buffet.’ But it does give me some exercise which I should not otherwise get. We look like Tweedledum and Tweedledee in Alice Through the Looking Glass.”

John Tenniel's illustration for chapter 4 of Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, originally published 1871

"Tennieldumdee" by John Tenniel - John Tenniel's illustration for chapter 4 of Lewis Carroll's
Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, originally published 1871.
Scanned from a print edition (Modern Library). Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tennieldumdee.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Tennieldumdee.jpg

Posted by Grant Carlson on Jul 25, 2014 in Digital Library  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)  |  Share this post

Ed R said,

Very funny quote, and one that I had never seen before! What was the date of this letter and to whom was it written?

Sharon Kilzer said,

Ed, the letter was to TR's son Kermit in December of 1902. Follow the link in the first line to see the document.

Ed R said,

So sorry, didn't notice the linked document. Thank you. And thanks for all the interesting articles on this blog. Keep up the great work!

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