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WATCHING PRESIDENT WILSON
HOW HIS VISITORS ARE HANDLED, WHO MAY SEE HIM AND WHEN, HIS METHOD AND
PRESIDENTS ROOSEVELT AND TAFT
WILLIAM BAYARD HALE
OODROW WILSON is officers, puts his signature on papers of in the White House. State, the building from which go forth
He is the same man the commands of a nation, is the oneas he who a few weeks storied staff annex to the White House
ago was sitting in his which, to all official intents and purposes, rooms at the back of the New Jersey State is the White House. Looking at the Capitol — the same man, at the same sort plan of the place, you get the impresof work, with the same manners and sion of a puzzle. These offices were methods. He wears the same gray suit, devised, you suspect, to keep people away or another off the same piece, built by from the President - who can be reached the same tailor. There is a new stick-pin only after threading a labyrinth of chamin his tie; he has exchanged the seal of the bers and corridors. Until Mr. Wilson Union for that of his old state; but if the came down it was a difficult and hazardous tie is new, it is an amazing match for the feat to get into the inmost sanctum. old ones. Pince-nez eyeglass, pencil and Ordinary visitors, after passing the scrutiny notebook, still perform their offices. of policemen in uniform outside the door
The President has already made some and secret service men in mufti just within new acquaintances, a few thousands; but it, were steered into one waiting-room; he hasn't forgotten any one the Governor persons like Senators and Representatives, ever knew. The President's secretary still into another. It was as difficult to get calls him “Governor," and probably into the office of the Secretary to the always will; it is a most happy and fortu- President as it is to-day to get into the nate thing that Mr. Joseph P. Tumulty has President's own room. Doorkeepers moved come along to Washington; and he has mysteriously about, beckoning now to this brought his two best Trenton sten- fortunate one, now to that one. And ographers with him. There were three when he was at last admitted to the days - a Saturday afternoon, a Sunday, Presidential presence, the caller found a Monday, and a Tuesday morning - himself only one of four or five or possibly when Mr. Wilson rested, as a private twenty men lining the walls of an oval citizen, but that was not long enough to room, around which the President passed, allow him to forget his old ways of work.listening and replying to a few rapid, lowAt 9 o'clock on the morning of the fourth spoken words from each - the room being, day he was employing them again as if by the way, a whispering gallery in which there had been no interruption, though the no muttered secret was safe. scene was slightly altered.
To-day, the general waiting-room is
abandoned, and the congressional room The building in which the head of a is occupied by stenographers. Visitors nation meets his counselors, directs his who know the way walk unchecked through the lobby and the corridors into - but, of course, nobody does that. the Secretary's room. Such as are un- The doors stand open, and those who familiar with the lay of the land may be reach the desk of the Secretary hear the directed to take a seat somewhere in a voices of the Chief Magistrate and his lobby until their cards are carried in to interlocutor, but everybody pauses in the Mr. Tumulty; they themselves usually anteroom and waits his special invitation follow promptly. The Secretary's room - if one is forthcoming. has become the waiting-room.
The Secretary's office is always a scene
PLAN OF THE EXECUTIVE OFFICES OF THE PRESIDENT UNDER MR. WILSON "THE GENERAL WAITING-ROOM IS ABANDONED, AND THE CONGRESSIONAL ROOM IS OCCUPIED
BY STENOGRAPHERS. THE SECRETARY'S ROOM HAS BECOME THE WAITING-ROOM"
To tell the truth, it is just as hard to of lively interest. Mr. Tumulty has an get to the President as ever it was. Doubt- hour to himself in the morning; he is the less any one so minded could walk straight earliest riser in official life Washington on through the short hall that leads to has ever known, and he has been over his the oval room and confront the President mail by the time the first callers begin to
arrive. The President likewise has been without appointments could shake the at work with his stenographer for an hour President's hand and have his ear for a or two before the first appointments begin, brief moment or two. Mr. Wilson has say at ten o'clock. At that time the done away with this custom; in place of Secretary's room is filled, and it continues it, visitors without appointments are into be filled until after one o'clock. An structed to repair to the East Room of enumeration, at any moment during the the White House at 2.30, where they pass morning, of the men, numbering from a rapidly before the President and have a dozen to twenty or thirty, to be found brief opportunity for conversation, though, there waiting their turns, would be a list of course, not in private. practically every name of which would be Seated in a corner are a group of Senarecognized as that of a national person. tors — Lodge, Smoot, and Stone — waitAt any moment you may be speaking to ing for five minutes in which to intercede a Cabinet minister, rubbing elbows with for a discharged customs official, Judge three or four Senators, stepping on the Sharretts, who was lately removed from toes of a Supreme Court Justice, or knock- office by President Taft and whose friends ing against an army officer of high degree. think President Wilson should reopen his
The rule is that no visitor may see the President without an appointment pre- Over by the mantel is a nervous Conviously made. A list of expected visitors, gressman from Long
gressman from Long Island. Equally every one of whom is assigned a period of nervous is a Wisconsin statesman, or from two to twenty minutes, is prepared statesman-to-be - Mr. “Joe” Davies, who the first thing in the morning. The pro- has a handsome profile; he is talking gramme is carried out almost with the with another, the other, specimen of accuracy of a railroad timetable. By Democratic pulchritude — Mr. A. Mitchell twelve o'clock the morning's work may Palmer; the Pennsylvanian is as big and possibly be ten minutes behindtheschedule; fair as the Wisconsin man is delicate and it generally finishes pretty promptly on black. time; not infrequently with a few spare Enters Joseph Gurney Cannon, the minutes into which to crowd an additional irrepressible, with his carnation in his interview or two. There may be, there buttonhole, radiating benevolence and generally are, four or five visitors, probably biblical quotations. “I have been adof distinction, who have called without vised,” he begins cheerfully — “Uncle Joe" appointment, and who wait, hoping that is actually going home, after thirty-eight an opportunity may come by chance years in Congress —“I have been advised to whisper the word they are anxious that it is time I made my peace with God. should reach the Pșesident's ear. Such Well, I am afraid I couldn't get an audience opportunities rarely come. Occasionally with the Almighty, but I can at least hope the President steps out of his room and to see the President. He may have some makes a hasty round of the outer office, influence at the throne of grace.” The but these occasions are few, and Washing- ex-Speaker holds his own little court in ton officials are coming to understand that the midst of the room, quizzed by Senators while they may see the President's Secre- and Cabinet members. tary at any moment, it is only by appoint- Here is an anxious politician from Porto ment previously made that they have Rico. Here is Mr. Pleasant Stovall, an old much prospect of getting a word with playmate of Mr. Wilson's, whom the Mr. Wilson himself.
Senators and Congressmen of Georgia That is to say, during the morning; and unite in recommending for the legation by universal consent morning is the time in Switzerland. The blind Senator from devoted to making and receiving official Oklahoma, Mr. Gore, has an early appointcalls. President Roosevelt and President ment for which he is promptly on hand. Taft used to keep open half an hour be- Mr. Montague, of Virginia, has been tween noon and twelve-thirty for a sort waiting two hours, as yesterday he waited, of general reception when those who were hoping for a chance to reach the President with the representations which the Progres- whispered to Mr. Tumulty: “They also sive Democrats of the Old Dominion are want to serve who only stand and wait.” anxious Mr. Wilson should consider before Here is a young man who spent last he decides between Mr. Thomas Nelson summer at the National Headquarters; he Page and Colonel Joseph E. Willard for a had his salary, to be sure, but he thinks foreign mission. The Page-Willard fight he ought to have “recognition” besides. is preliminary to one all along the line as The gray-bearded man sitting there is Mr. to the distribution of patronage. To- Henry Gassaway Davis - once the Demomorrow it will be the Texas Wilson Demo- cratic nominee for Vice-president of the crats; the next day the Progressive Demo- United States. It is his second day on the crats of Alabama; then those of Maryland, scene; he was once a Senator, but he forgot of Kentucky, etc., who are urging that yesterday that a Cabinet day is scarcely only those who have proven their sym- one upon which a casual visitor can hope pathy with the Administration be put on for a glimpse of the President. Mr. guard. And their adversaries will be Marshall has been in and has gone; wise there, too, ready to empurple Mr. Tumul- man that he is, he was bent on no other ty's carpet with sanguinary gore.
errand than to pay a moment's respects Mr. Montague, who was Governor of to his chief, and he was satisfied to do that Virginia once, now has become a Congress- through the Secretary. man and might easily have been chosen for Briskly moving about in animated conthe Cabinet, but his errand this time is poli- versation is a young man generally counted tical and it is next to impossible to get to one of the new President's favorites
a Mr. Wilson direct with a purely political pleasing enough chap with the weight of appeal. At the outset of his administra- the world on his shoulders and the contion President Wilson announced, to the fidence in his ability to carry it in his eye. consternation of the pie-hunters, that he He has not yet given up hope of landing a himself would not receive candidates for $12,000 job with the aid of a father-in-law office or their friends. Such as came to in the Senate. But he will not get in him he referred to the heads of the several to-day. departments. He went so far as to decline Mr. Perry Belmont has come in to tell to talk with Congressmen and even Sena- the President, if permitted to, that he made tors on the subject of patronage, and, two speeches last night, one in Washington, though it has proven impossible to banish the other in Baltimore, where he expatiated all discussion of candidates from the upon the significance of the New Freedom. White House, the President has shown the Mayor Preston, of Baltimore, whose lavish utmost determination to save his energies (but unprofitable) hospitality delegates just as far as possible for the real tasks to the last Democratic Convention will of government, leaving the filling of offices well remember, is here to invite the Presito the members of his Cabinet. Never- dent to attend a performance to be given theless, during the early days of his term, for the benefit of the families of men killed candidates and their friends flocked to the in the dynamite explosion at Baltimore. executive offices. They came back the Over there, talking with Senator Luke second day and the third day, the spark Lea, is Representative Sims, of Tenneco of hope still smouldering in their breasts. see; Mr. Sims had an appointment at this They stood about the Secretary's office hour yesterday but was a minute and a watching the slow hands of the clock that half late and missed his chance. mark the hours eventful of so much in Mr. Underwood, chairman of the Comthe Nation's contemporaneous history and mittee on Ways and Means, comes in on yet disappointing to so many personal the dot for his appointment of half an hour. ambitions.
Mr. Underwood tells the President that his Four of them who had been standing in Committee will have a tariff bill ready to a corner for hours one day caught the eye report to Congress at the extra session to of an old statesman as he came out from begin April 7th. his talk with the President; he turned and The Secretary of War has twenty minutes' conference with the President, the about this business of the Presidency he two discussing the future of the Philippines. doesn't; the benignancy of his nature
A man enters, has a moment's whispered shines through a face usually serious and conversation with Mr. Tumulty, who takes very often overcast with deepest gravity. him to the President irrespective of what Very swiftly, the room fills up again. is going on in the inner room. It is regard- In comes Senator Ransdell, of Louisiana, ing the case of a soldier under sentence to ånd Colonel Robert Ewing of that state. die to-morrow in Arizona. A reprieve The sugar schedule requires much looking has suddenly become advisable; in two after. The editor of an Atlanta newsminutes the reprieve is granted.
paper is on time for his appointment. This The President is ahead of his schedule; newcomer, pulling at a piratical moustache there are three or four minutes to spare greatly at odds with his cherubic face, is before the next visitor is due, and Mr. Delaware's new Senator, Willard Saulsbury. Wilson steps into the anteroom and greets But now approaches the sensation of the few callers gathered there. He steps the morning, in the person of William briskly; always alert and vigorous, Mr. Jennings Bryan. He has just passed Wilson's movements have taken on a through the salvos of the camera batteries new vivacity, a new swiftness, since he at the entrance, his celebrated grin outcame down to Washington. He was doing the best performance of the Cheshire always a fast walker, for instance, but when cat; Mr. Bryan seems a very happy man he is seen on the streets here he is almost and is winning new friends every minute, racing along. He moves about the exe- moving, as he does, surrounded by a magcutive offices with as rapid a pace as netic field. It is five minutes before the Roosevelt ever used, and he covers the President learns of his chief Minister's distance between his office and the White arrival; then the two go into the little House in breathless time. The fact is the room for a half hour of intimate talk. President lives in constant dread of the Mr. McAdoo has a way of slipping in by office-seeker, who lies in wait at every door, the other entrance. To-day he brings in every passageway, along every path, by with him George Foster Peabody — one which he hopes the President may pass. man who, in spite of his reputed Demo
There is a general hush as the President cracy, is trying to keep out of office. enters the Secretary's room. Everybody News has just been handed in from the is instantly on his feet. Very rapidly Mr. telegraph room that the New Hampshire Wilson passes from man to man, usually legislature deadlock is broken, and Hollis, with nothing more than a smile of greeting the Democrat, is elected United States and a handshake; here and there, a low Senator. "Good!” cries the President, petition is spoken; now and again a paper for a moment forgetting some serious comes out of a pocket. It is all over in business in hand, and “Good!" echo a moment, however, and the dark designs twenty lusty throats. of a dozen aspirants have been frustrated. Just as the Gridiron Club delegation They have "paid their respects," the
six of the best-looking, at all errand on which they ostensibly came, and events of the best-fed, members of that they have not preferred the requests which famous association of writers and funthey expected casually to mention. When makers. They have come armed to the Theodore Roosevelt used to come prancing teeth with six unanswerable speeches. out into the waiting-room, the air was Unanswerable and unanswered — because suddenly filled with the sputter and crackle never made. The President capitulated of words discharged like rifle shots. When on sight. He will appear at the next Taft came out, the room was suddenly one Gridiron dinner. The interview, scheduled broad smile. He made the rounds, pre- for ten minutes, lasted fifty seconds. tended to listen, cracked a little joke here The wife of a Princeton professor has and there, and disappeared in a general waited till half-past one to exchange a gasp of merriment. Woodrow Wilson can word with Mr. Wilson.
word with Mr. Wilson. The opportunity laugh as heartily as any one, but when comes at last.