Here's my hand.
And mine, with my heart in it.
AT twenty-five minutes to two on Sunday afternoon, February 26, 1899, I came downstairs in a hurry, late for Sunday lunch, to be introduced to Alice Duer standing before her future mother-in-law's fireplace. From the doorway of my mother's drawing room to where Alice stood is about fourteen feet. I was buttoning the lower button of a new white waistcoat as I crossed the threshold; looking up, I saw Alice by the fireplace. Somewhere, in that interval, my life changed. Three days later she promised to marry me.
A few months earlier I had passed Alice without knowing it, which has always disturbed me. She had been in the reviewing stand as the crew of the Yankee marched up Broadway, after being mustered out after the Spanish War. I was at the end of a file and looked into the flag-draped box of dignitaries, as we saluted. My only recollection is that the jumper of the man ahead of me was black with sweat.
At that time the world's supply of crude rubber came from forest trees in the jungles of Brazil. No one knew whether rubber would grow in a cultivated state. I had interested the General Electric Company in the possibility of growing rubber under cultivation and was sailing for Costa Rica in a few days. A week later I left for Central America.
After a few months' prospecting I was able to return to New York and Alice and I were married. We left at once for Costa Rica.