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UNIVERSITY : I868-1883 

Cornell University Library 
F 2515.R78 1914b 

Through the Brazilian wilderness / 

3 1924 019 988 553 

Cornell University 

The original of tinis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

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the United States on the use of the text. 




GAME animals" 




AU rights reaervedt including that of translation into 
foi'eign languages, including the Scandinavian 


















I. THE STAKT ... . . 1 










INDEX - . . _ 365 



Colonel Roosevelt and Colonel Rondon at Navaite on the 

River of Doubt - - Frontispiece 

Photogravure from a photograph Try Clierrie. 


Group — The mussurama swallowing the jararaca or fer-de- 
lance, after having just killed it. Method of the mus- 
surama's attack upon the jararaca - - 24 

Man-eating fish, piranha - 40 

Group — Indian boy with coati (coon-like animal) and para- 
keet. Tupi girl with young ostrich. Indian girl at 
cooking-pot - - - 46 

Group — Indians rolling logs at wood station. Palms along 

the bank of the river - - - - 48 

Cattle on the upper Paraguay River - - 66 

Group — Nips with the marsh deer. Returning to the 

fazenda (ranch) with the marsh deer on the saddle - 74 

Group — The brown boy on the long-horned trotting steer, 
which he managed by a string through its nostril and 
lip. Colonel Roosevelt and the first jaguar - - 76 

Group — A South American puma. A South American 

jaguar ------- 80 

Group — Nine -banded armadillo. Capybaras. Collared 

peccary ... . . 86 

The entire party on the way back to the ranch - 90 


An Indian village 


- 98 

We passed an Indian fishing village on the edge of the river, with 
huts, scaffoldings for drying the fish, hammocks, and rude tables. 

Group — Wood ibis. South American jabiru. Sariema 104 

Group — A jabiru's nest. A troupisd nest - - - H* 

Snake-birds and cormorants - - 118 

Mixed flocks of scores of cormorants and darters covered certain 
trees, both at sunset and after sunrise. 

Group — The great ant-eater. South American tapir - 130 

Colonel Roosevelt and Colonel Rondon with bush deer 134 

We hung the buck in a tree. 

The return from a day's hunt - 138 

Tapir, white-lipped peccary, and bush deer. 

Kermit Roosevelt 144 

Two pranchas being pulled by launch with our baggage and 

provisions - 154 

The pranoha was towed at the end of a hawser and her crew poled. 

Colonel Roosevelt and Colonel Rondon looking over the vast 

landscape - - 168 

The ground was sandy, covered with grass and with a sparse growth 
of stunted, twisted trees, never more than a few feet high. 

The Salto Bello Falls 182 

There is a sheer drop of forty or fifty yards, and a breadth perhaps 
three times as great. 

Group — One woman was making a hammock. The mothers 
carried the child slung against their side or hip, seated 
in a cloth belt or sling, which went over the opposite 
shoulder of the mother - . I84, 

Group — The game of headball played by Parecis Indians at 

Utiarity Falls - - . . . jgg 

The kick-off: a player runs forward, throws himself flat on the 
ground, and butts the baU toward the opposite side. Often it 
will be sent to and fro a dozen times from head to head until 
finally it rises. 

The Falls of Utiarity . jgg 

I doubt whether, excepting of course Niagara, there is a waterfall 
in North America which outranks this, if both volume and 
beauty are considered. 



Group — A lonely grave by the wayside. The Parecis dance 190 

The dance of the Parecis Indians ... - 194 

A number carried pipes, through whieh they blew a kind of deep, 
stifled whistle in time to the dancing. 

Group — Tres Burity. The kitchen under the ox-hide at 

Campos Novos - - - 198 

At the Juruena we met a party of Nhambiquaras, very 
friendly and sociable, and very glad to see Colonel 

Group — Nhambiquara child with a pet monkey. The men 
had holes pierced through the septum of the nose and 
through the upper lip, and wore a straw through each 
hole - - - 208 

Group — Maloca or beehive hut of the Nhambiquaras. A 

Nhambiquara shelter hut and utensils - - 212 

The ant-hills were not infrequently taller than a horseman's 

head - - - - 220 

Group — A Nhambiquara family. Nhambiquara women and 

children. "Adam and Eve" 226 

Group — Nhambiquara archer. First position. Second position 228 

Group — I did my writing in headnet and gauntlets. Colonel 

Roosevelt's canoe disappears down the River of Doubt - 236 

Colonel Roosevelt's and Colonel Rondon's canoes at the 

mouth of the Bandeira 238 

In loid-afternoon we came to the mouth of a big and swift 
aflluent. ... It was undoubtedly the Bandeira. 

The rapids of Navaite - ... 242 

There were many curls, and one or two regular falls. 

Cherrie holding a rifle to show the width of the rapids at 

Navaite - - - 244 

At one point it was less than two yards across. 

Portaging around Navaite Rapids - - 246 

We spent March 3 and 4, and the morning of the 5th, in portaging 
around the rapids. 



Rapids of the Duvida - - - - - 252 

Dragging the canoes over a portage by means of ropes and 

logs . - - - . - 256 

Group — Manner of dragging the canoes across a hilly portage. 

Making the big canoe which was soon afterward lost 258 

Group — ^The Upper Duvida. Cherrie in his canoe - 268 

Group — Red-and-yellow macaw. Egret. Curassow. Hya- 

cinthine macaw. Toco toucan. Trumpeter - 276 

The river rushed through a wild gorge, a chasm or canyon, 

between two mountains - 288 

Groups — Rapids at the chasm. We bathed and swam in 

the river, although in it we caught piranhas 298 

Group — Castanho-tree (Brazil-nut). Pacova-tree - 304 

Group — At the rubber-man's house. The canoe rigged with 
a cover, under which Colonel Roosevelt travelled when 
sick - ..... 310 

The camaradas, gathered around the monument erected by 

Colonel Rondon - - 320 


Map showing the entire South American journey of Colonel 

Roosevelt and members of the expedition - - 1 

Map forwarded by Lieutenant Lyra, showing the route of the 
expedition, and the positions of the new river and of 
the Gy-Parana, and of the upper tributaries of the 
Juruena . , _ . _ Q^g 


Map showing the entire South American journey of Colonel Roosevj;lt and members of the expedition 




One day in 1908, when my presidential term was coming 
to a close. Father Zahm, a priest whom I knew, came 
in to call on me. Father Zahm and I had been cronies 
for some time, because we were both of us fond of Dante 
and of history and of science — I had always commended 
to theologians his book, " Evolution and Dogma." He 
was an Ohio boy, and his early schooling had been ob- 
tained in old-time American fashion in a little log school; 
where, by the way, one of the other boys was Januarius 
Aloysius MacGahan, afterward the famous war corre- 
spondent and friend of Skobeloif. Father Zahm told 
me that MacGahan, even at that time, added an utter 
fearlessness to chivalric tenderness for the weak, and 
«was the defender of any smaU boy who was oppressed 
by a larger one. Later Father Zahm was at Notre 
Dame University, in Indiana, with Maurice Egan, 
whom, when I was President, I appointed minister to 

On the occasion in question Father Zahm had just 
returned from a trip across the Andes and down the 
Amazon, and came in to propose that after I left the 


2 THE START [chap, i 

Presidency he and I should go up the Paraguay into 
the interior of South America. At the time I wished 
to go to Africa, and so the subject was dropped ; but 
from time to time afterward we talked it over. Five 
years later, in the spring of 1913, I accepted invitations, 
conveyed through the governments of Argentina and 
Brazil, to address certain learned bodies in these countries. 
Then it occurred to me that, instead of making the 
conventional tourist trip purely by sea round South 
America, after I had finished my lectures I would come 
north through the middle of the continent into the 
vaUey of the Amazon ; and I decided to write Father 
Zahm and tell him my intentions. Before doing so, 
however, I desired to see the authorities of the American 
Museum of Natural History, in New York City, to find 
out whether they cared to have me take a couple of 
naturahsts with me into Brazil and make a collecting 
trip for the museum. 

Accordingly, I wrote to Frank Chapman, the curator 
of ornithology of the museum, and accepted his invita- 
tion to lunch at the museum one day early in June. 
At the lunch, in addition to various naturalists, to my 
astonishment I also found Father Zahm ; and as soon 
as I saw him I told him I was now intending to make 
the South American trip. It appeared that he had 
made up his mind that he would take it himself, and 
had actually come on to see Mr. Chapman to find out if 
the latter could recommend a naturalist to go with him ; 
and he at once said he would accompany me. Chapman 
was pleased when he found out that we intended to go 
up the Paraguay and across into the valley of the 
Amazon, because much of the ground over which we 
were to pass had not been covered by collectors. He 
saw Henry Fairfield Osborn, the president of the 


museum, who wrote me that the museum would be 
pleased to send under me a couple of naturalists, whom, 
with my approval. Chapman would choose. 

The men whom Chapman recommended were Messrs. 
George K. Cherrie and Leo E. Miller. I gladly ac- 
cepted both. The former was to attend chiefly to the 
ornithology, and the latter to the mammalogy, of the 
expedition ; but each was to help out the other. No 
two better men for such a trip could have been found. 
Both were veterans of the tropical American forests. 
Miller was a young man, born in Indiana, an enthusiastic 
naturalist with good hterary as well as scientific training. 
He was at the time in the Guiana forests, and joined us 
at Barbados. Cherrie was an older man, born in Iowa, 
but now a farmer in Vermont. He had a wife and six 
children. Mrs. Cherrie had accompanied him during 
two or three years of their early married life in his 
collecting trips along the Orinoco. Their second child 
was bom when they were in camp a couple of hundred 
miles from any white man or woman. One night a few 
weeks later they were obliged to leave a camping-place, 
where they had intended to spend the night, because 
the baby was fretful, and its cries attracted a jaguar, 
which prowled nearer and nearer in the twilight until 
they thought it safest once more to put out into the 
open river and seek a new resting-place. Cherrie had 
spent about twenty-two years collecting in the American 
tropics. Like most of the field-naturalists I have met, 
he was an unusually efficient and fearless man ; and 
willy-nilly he had been forced at times to vary his career 
by taking part in insurrections. Twice he had been 
behind the bars in consequence, on one occasion spend- 
ing three months in a prison of a certain South American 
state, expecting each day to be taken out and shot. In 

4 THE START [chap, i 

another state he had, as an interlude to his ornithological 
pursuits, followed the career of a gun-runner, acting as 
such off and on for two and a half years. The particular 
revolutionary chief whose fortunes he was following 
finally came into power, and Cherrie immortalized his 
name by naming a new species of ant- thrush after him — 
a delightful touch, in its practical combination of those 
not normally kindred pursuits, ornithology and gun- 

In Anthony Fiala, a former arctic explorer, we found 
an excellent man for assembling equipment and taking 
charge of its handhng and shipment. In addition to 
his four years in the arctic regions, Fiala had served in 
the New York Squadron in Porto Rico during the 
Spanish War, and through his service in the squadron 
had been brought into contact with his little Tennessee 
wife. She came down with her four children to say 
good-bye to him when the steamer left. My secretary, 
Mr. Frank Harper, went with us. Jacob Sigg, who had 
served three years in the United States Army, and was 
both a hospital nurse and a cook, as well as having a 
natural taste for adventure, went as the personal 
attendant of Father Zahm. In southern Brazil my son 
Kermit joined me. He had been bridge-building, and 
a couple of months previously, while on top of a long 
steel span, something went wrong with the derrick, he 
and the steel span coming down together on the rocky 
bed beneath. He escaped with two broken ribs, two 
teeth knocked out, and a knee partially dislocated, but 
was practically all right again when he started with us. 

In its composition ours was a typical American expe- 
dition. Kermit and I were of the old Revolutionary 
stock, and in our veins ran about every strain of blood 
that there was on this side of the water during colonial 


times. Cherrie's father was born in Ireland, and his 
mother in Scotland ; they came here when very young, 
and his father served throughout the Civil War in an Iowa 
cavalry regiment. His wife was of old Revolutionary 
stock. Father Zahm's father was an Alsacian immigrant, 
and his mother was partly of Irish and partly of old 
American stock, a descendant of a niece of General 
Braddock. Miller's father came from Germany, and 
his mother from France. Fiala's father and mother 
were both from Bohemia, being Czechs, and his father 
had served four years in the Civil War in the Union 
Army — his Tennessee wife was of old Revolutionary 
stock. Harper was born in England, and Sigg in 
Switzerland. We were as varied in religious creed as 
in ethnic origin. Father Zahm and Miller were Catholics, 
Kermit and Harper Episcopalians, Cherrie a Pres- 
byterian, Fiala a Baptist, Sigg a Lutheran, while I^ 
belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church. 

For arms the naturalists took 16-bore shotguns, one 
of Cherrie's having a rifle barrel underneath. The 
firearms for the rest of the party were supplied by 
Kermit and myself, including my Springfield rifle, 
Kermit's two Winchesters, a 405 and 30-40, the Fox 
12-gauge shotgun, and another 16-gauge gun, and a 
couple of revolvers, a Colt, and a Smith and Wesson. 
We took from New York a couple of canvas canoes, 
tents, mosquito-bars, plenty of cheese-cloth, including 
nets for the hats, and both light cots and hammocks. 
We took ropes and pulleys, which proved invaluable on 
our canoe trip. Each equipped himself with the clothing 
he fancied. Mine consisted of khaki, such as I wore 
in AMca, with a couple of United States Army flannel 
shirts and a couple of silk shirts, one pair of hob- 
nailed shoes with leggings, and one pair of laced leather 

6 THE START [chap, i 

boots coming nearly to the knee. Both the naturalists 
told me that it was well to have either the boots or 
leggings as a protection against snake-bites, and I also 
had gauntlets because of the mosquitoes and sand-flies. 
We intended where possible to live on what we could 
get from time to time in the country, but we took some 
United States Army emergency rations, and also ninety 
cans, each containing a day's provisions for five men, 
made up by Fiala. 

The trip I proposed to take can be understood only by 
those who have a slight knowledge of South American 
topography. The great mountain chain of the Andes 
extends down the entire length of the western coast, 
so close to the Pacific Ocean that no rivers of any 
importance enter it. The rivers of South America 
drain into the Atlantic. Southernmost South America, 
including over half of the territory of the Argentine 
Republic, consists chiefly of a cool, open plains country. 
Northward of this country, and eastward of the Andes, 
lies the great bulk of the South American continent, 
which is included in the tropical and sub- tropical regions. 
Most of this territory is Brazilian. Aside from certain 
relatively smaU stretches drained by coast rivers, this 
immense region of tropical and sub-tropical America 
east of the Andes is drained by the three great river 
systems of the Plate, the Amazon, and the Orinoco. 
At their headwaters the Amazon and the Orinoco 
systems are actually connected by a sluggish natural 
canal. The headwaters of the northern affluents of the 
Paraguay and the southern affluents of the Amazon are 
sundered by a stretch of high land, which toward the 
east broadens out into the central plateau of Brazil. 
Geologically this is a very ancient region, having 
appeared above the waters before the dawning of the 


age of reptiles, or, indeed, of any true land vertebrates 
on the globe. This plateau is a region partly of healthy, 
rather dry and sandy, open prairie, partly of forest. The 
great and low-lying basin of the Paraguay, which borders 
it on the south, is one of the largest, and the still greater 
basin of the Amazon, which borders it on the north, 
is the very largest of all the river-basins of the earth. 

In these basins, but especially in the basin of the 
Amazon, and thence in most places northward to the 
Caribbean Sea, lie the most extensive stretches of tropical 
forest to be found anywhere. The forests of tropical 
West Africa, and of portions of the Farther-Indian 
region, are the only ones that can be compared with them. 
Much difficulty has been experienced in exploring 
these forests, because under the torrerttial rains and steam- 
ing heat the rank growth of vegetation becomes almost 
impenetrable, and the streams difficult of navigation; 
while white men suffisr much from the terrible insect 
scourges and the deadly diseases which modern science 
has discovered to be due very largely to insect-bites. 
The fauna and flora, however, are of great interest. 
The American museum was particularly anxious to 
obtain collections from the divide between the head- 
waters of the Paraguay and the Amazon, and from the 
southern affluents of the Amazon. Our purpose was to 
ascend the Paraguay as nearly as possible to the head 
of navigation, thence cross to the sources of one of the 
affluents of the Amazon, and if possible descend it in 
canoes built on the spot. The Paraguay is regularly 
navigated as high as boats can go. The starting-point 
for our trip was to be Asuncion, in the state of Paraguay. 

My exact plan of operations was necessarily a little 
indefinite, but on reaching Rio de Janeiro the Minister 
of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Lauro Mliller, who had been 

8 THE START [chap, i 

kind enough to take great personal interest in my trip, 
informed me that he had arranged that on the head- 
waters of the Paraguay, at the town of Caceres, I 
would be met by a Brazilian Army Colonel, himselt 
chiefly Indian by blood. Colonel Rondon. Colonel 
Rondon has been for a quarter of a century the fore- 
most explorer of the Brazilian hinterland. He was at 
the time in Manaos, but his lieutenants were in Caceres, 
and had been notified that we were coming. 

More important still, Mr. Lauro MiiUer — who is not 
only an efficient public servant, but a man of wide 
cultivation, with a quahty about him that reminded me 
of John Hay— offered to help me make my trip of much 
more consequence than I had originally intended. He 
has taken a keen interest in the exploration and develop- 
ment of the interior of Brazil, and he beheved that my 
expedition could be used as a means toward spreading 
abroad a more general knowledge of the country. He 
told me that he would co-operate with me in every way 
if I cared to undertake the leadership of a serious 
expedition into the unexplored portion of western 
Matto Grosso, and to attempt the descent of a river 
which flowed nobody knew whither, but which the best 
informed men beheved would prove to be a very big 
river, utterly unknown to geographers. I eagerly and 
gladly accepted, for I felt that with such help the trip 
could be made of much scientific value, and that a 
substantial addition could be made to the geographical 
knowledge of one of the least-known parts of South 
America. Accordingly, it was arranged that Colonel 
Rondon and some assistants and scientists should meet 
me at or below Corumba, and that we should attempt 
the descent of the river, of which they had already 
come across the headwaters. 


I had to travel through Brazil, Uruguay, the 
Argentine, and Chile for six weeks to fulfil my speak- 
ing engagements. Fiala, Cherrie, Miller, and Sigg left 
me at Rio, continuing to Buenos Aires in the boat in 
which we had all come down from New York. From 
Buenos Aires they went up the Paraguay to Corumbd, 
where they awaited me. The two naturalists went first, 
to do all the collecting that was possible ; Fiala and 
Sigg travelled more leisurely, with the heavy baggage. 

Before I followed them I witnessed an incident 
worthy of note from the standpoint of a naturalist, and 
of possible importance to us because of the trip we 
were about to take. South America, even more than 
Australia and AMca, and almost as much as India, is 
a country of poisonous snakes. As in India, although 
not to the same degree, these snakes are responsible for 
a very serious mortality among human beings. One of 
the most interesting evidences of the modern advance 
in Brazil is the establishment near Sao Paulo of an 
institution especially for the study of these poisonous 
snakes, so as to secure antidotes to the poison and to 
develop enemies to the snakes themselves. We wished 
to take into the interior with us some bottles of the 
anti-venom serum, for on such an expedition there is 
always a certain danger from snakes. On one of his 
trips Cherrie had lost a native follower by snake-bite. 
The man was bitten while out alone in the forest, and, 
although he reached camp, the poison was already work- 
ing in him, so that he could give no intelligible account 
of what had occurred, and he died in a short time. 

Poisonous snakes are of several different families, but 
the most poisonous ones, those which are dangerous to 
man, belong to the two great families of the colubrine 

10 THE START [chap, i 

snakes and the vipers. Most of the colubrine snakes 
are entirely harmless, and are the common snakes that 
we meet everjnvhere. But some of them — the cobras, 
for instance— develop into what are on the whole 
perhaps the most formidable of all snakes. The only 
poisonous colubrine snakes in the New World are the 
ring-snakes, the coral-snakes of the genus elaps, which 
are found from the extreme southern United States 
southward to the Argentine. These coral-snakes are 
not vicious, and have small teeth which cannot pene- 
trate even ordinary clothing. They are only dangerous 
if actually trodden on by someone with bare feet, or if 
seized in the hand. There are harmless snakes very 
like them in colour, which are sometimes kept as pets ; 
but it behoves every man who keeps such a pet, or who 
handles such a snake, to be very sure as to the genus to 
which it belongs. 

The great bulk of the poisonous snakes of America, 
including all the really dangerous ones, belong to a 
division of the widely spread family of vipers which is 
known as the pit-vipers. In South America these in- 
clude two distinct subfamihes or genera — whether they 
are called famihes, subfamilies, or genera would de- 
pend, I suppose, largely upon the varying personal 
views of the individual describer on the subject of 
herpetological nomenclature. One genus includes the 
rattlesnakes, of which the big Brazihan species is as 
dangerous as those of the southern United States. But 
the large majority of the species and individuals of 
dangerous snakes in tropical America are included in 
the genus lachesis. These are active, vicious, aggres- 
sive snakes without rattles. They are exceedingly 
poisonous. Some of them grow to a very large size, 
being, indeed, among the largest poisonous snakes in 


the world — their only rivals in this respect being the 
diamond rattlesnake of Florida, one of the African 
mambas, and the Indian hamadryad, or snake-eating 
cobra. The fer-de-lance, so dreaded in Martinique, and 
the equally dangerous bushmaster of Guiana, are in- 
cluded in this genus. A dozen species are known in 
Brazil, the biggest one being identical with the Guiana 
bushmaster, and the most common one, the jararaca, 
being identical, or practically identical, with the fer-de- 
lance. The snakes of this genus, like the rattlesnakes 
and the Old- World vipers and pufF-adders, possess long 
poison-fangs which strike through clothes or any other 
human garment except stout leather. Moreover, they 
are very aggressive, more so than any other snakes in 
the world, except possibly some of the cobras. As, in 
addition, they are numerous, they are a source of really 
frightful danger to scantily clad men who work in the 
fields and forests, or who for any reason are abroad at 

The poison of venomous serpents is not in the least 
uniform in its quality. On the contrary, the natural 
forces — to use a term which is vague, but which is as 
exact as our present-day knowledge permits — that have 
developed in so many different families of snakes these 
poison-fangs have worked in two or three totally 
different fashions. Unlike the vipers, the colubrine 
poisonous snakes have small fangs, and their poison, 
though on the whole even more deadly, has entirely 
different effects, and owes its deadliness to entirely 
different qualities. Even within the same family there 
are wide differences. In the jararaca an extraordinary 
quantity of yellow venom is spurted from the long 
poison-fangs. This poison is secreted in large glands 
which, among (vipers, give the head its peculiar ace-of- 

12 THE START [chap, i 

spades shape. The rattlesnake yields a much smaller 
quantity of white venom, but, quantity for quantity, 
this white venom is more deadly. It is the great 
quantity of venom injected by the long fangs of the 
jararaca, the bushmaster, and their fellows that renders 
their bite so generally fatal. Moreover, even between 
these two allied genera of pit- vipers, the differences in 
the action of the poison are sufficiently marked to be 
easily recognizable, and to render the most effective 
anti-venomous serum for each slightly different from 
the other. However, they are near enough alike to 
make this difference, in practice, of comparatively small 
consequence. In practice the same serum can be used 
to neutralize the effect of either, and, as will be seen 
later on, the snake that is immune to one kind of 
venom is also immune to the other. 

But the effect of the venom of the poisonous colu- 
brine snakes is totally different from, although to the 
fuU as deadly as, the effect of the poison of the rattle- 
snake or jararaca. The serum that is an antidote as 
regards the pit-viper is wholly or wellnigh useless as 
regards the colubrines. The animal that is immune to 
the bite of one may not be immune to the bite of the 
other. The bite of a cobra or other colubrine poisonous 
snake is more painful in its immediate effects than is the 
bite of one of the big vipers. The victim suffers more. 
There is a greater effect on the nerve-centres, but less 
swelling of the wound itself, and, whereas the blood of 
the rattlesnake's victim coagulates, the blood of the 
victim of an elapine snake— that is, of one of the only 
poisonous American colubrines — becomes watery and 
incapable of coagulation. 

Snakes are highly specialized in every way, including 
their prey. Some Uve exclusively on warm-blooded 


animals, on mammals, or birds. Some live exclusively 
on batrachians, others only on lizards, a few only on 
insects. A very few species live exclusively on other 
snakes. These include one very formidable venomous 
snake, the Indian hamadryad, or giant cobra, and several 
non-poisonous snakes. In Africa I killed a small cobra 
which contained within it a snake but a few inches 
shorter than itself ; but, as far as I could find out, snakes 
were not the habitual diet of the African cobras. 

The poisonous snakes use their venom to kill their 
victims, and also to kill any possible foe which they 
think menaces them. Some of them are good-tempered, 
and only fight if injured or seriously alarmed. Others are 
excessively irritable, and on rare occasions will even 
attack of their own accord when entirely unprovoked 
and unthreatened. 

On reaching Sao Paulo on our southward journey 
from Rio to Montevideo, we drove out to the "Instituto 
Serumth^rapico," designed for the study of the effects 
of the venom of poisonous Brazilian snakes. Its director 
is Doctor Vital Brazil, who has performed a most extra- 
ordinary work, and whose experiments and investigations 
are not only of the utmost value to Brazil, but will ulti- 
mately be recognized as of the utmost value for humanity 
at large. I know of no institution of similar kind 
anywhere. It has a fine modern building, and the 
best appliances for making experiments with all kinds 
of serpents, living and dead, with the object of 
discovering all the properties of their several kinds of 
venom, and of developing various anti-venom serums 
which nullify the eiFects of the different venoms. Every 
effort is made to teach the people at large, by practical 
demonstration in the open field, the lessons thus learned 
in the laboratory. One notable result has been the 

14 THE START [chap, i 

diminution in the mortality from snake-bites in the 
province of Sao Paulo. 

In connection with his institute, and right by the 
laboratory, the doctor has a large serpentarium, in which 
quantities of the common poisonous and non-poisonous 
snakes are kept, and some of the rarer ones. He has 
devoted considerable time to the effort to find out if 
there are any natural enemies of the poisonous snakes 
of his country, and he has discovered that the most 
formidable enemy of the many dangerous Brazilian 
snakes is a non- poisonous, entirely harmless, rather 
uncommon Brazilian snake, the mussurama. Of all 
the interesting things the doctor showed us, by far the 
most interesting was the opportunity of witnessing for 
ourselves the action of the mussurama toward a 
dangerous snake. 

The doctor first showed us specimens of the various 
important snakes, poisonous and non -poisonous, in 
alcohol. Then he showed us preparations of the 
different kinds of venom and of the different anti- 
venom serums, presenting us with some of the latter 
for our use on the journey. He has been able to pro- 
duce to distinct kinds of anti-venom serum, one to 
neutralize the virulent poison of the rattlesnake's bite, 
the other to neutralize the poison of the different snakes 
of the lachesis genus. These poisons are somewhat 
different, and moreover there appear to be some 
differences between the poisons of the different species 
of lachesis ; in some cases the poison is nearly colourless, 
and in others, as in that of the jararaca, whose poison I 
saw, it is yeUow. 

But the vital difference is that between all these 
poisons of the pit-vipers and the poisons of the colubrine 
snakes, such as the cobra and the coral-snake. As yet 


the doctor has not been able to develop an anti-venom 
serum which will neutralize the poison of these colubrine 
snakes. Practically this is a matter of little consequence 
in Brazil, for the Brazilian coral-snakes are dangerous 
only when mishandled by someone whose bare skin is 
exposed to the bite. The numerous accidents and 
fatalities continually occurring in Brazil are almost 
always to be laid to the account of the several species of 
lachesis and the single species of rattlesnake. 

Finally, the doctor took us into his lecture-room to 
show us how he conducted his experiments. The various 
snakes were in boxes, on one side of the room, under the 
care of a skilful and impassive assistant, who handled 
them with the cool and fearless caution of the doctor 
himself. The poisonous ones were taken out by means 
of a long-handled steel hook. All that is necessary to 
do is to insert this under the snake and Uft him off the 
ground. He is not only unable to escape, but he is un- 
able to strike, for he cannot strike unless coiled so as to 
give himself support and leverage. The table on which 
the snakes are laid is fairly large and smooth, differing 
in no way from an ordinary table. 

There were a number of us in the room, including 
two or three photographers. The doctor first put on 
the table a non-poisonous but very vicious and truculent 
colubrine snake. It struck right and left at us. Then 
the doctor picked it up, opened its mouth, and showed 
that it had no fangs, and handed it to me. I also opened 
its mouth and examined its teeth, and then put it down, 
whereupon, its temper having been much ruffled, it struck 
violently at me two or three times. In its action and 
temper this snake was quite as vicious as the most 
irritable poisonous snakes. Yet it is entirely harmless. 
One of the innumerable mysteries of nature which are at 

16 THE START [chap, i 

present absolutely insoluble is why some snakes should be 
so vicious and others absolutely placid and good-tempered. 

After removing the vicious harmless snake, the doctor 
warned us to get away from the table, and his attendant 
put on it, in succession, a very big lachesis — of the kind 
called bushmaster— and a big rattlesnake. Each coiled 
menacingly, a formidable brute ready to attack anything 
that approached. Then the attendant adroitly dropped 
his iron crook on the neck of each in succession, seized 
it right behind the head, and held it toward the doctor. 
The snake's mouth was in each case wide open, and the 
great fangs erect and very evident. It would not have 
been possible to have held an African ring-necked cobra 
in such fashion, because the ring-neck would have ejected 
its venom through the fangs into the eyes of the on- 
lookers. There was no danger in this case, and the 
doctor inserted a shallow glass saucer into the mouth of 
the snake behind the fangs, permitted it to eject its 
poison, and then himself squeezed out the remaining 
poison from the poison-bags through the fangs. From 
the big lachesis came a large quantity of yeUow venom, 
a liquid which speedily crystalhzed into a number of 
minute crystals. The rattlesnake yielded a much less 
quantity of white venom, which the doctor assured us 
was far more active than the yellow lachesis venom. 
Then each snake was returned to its box unharmed. 

After this the doctor took out of a box and presented 
to me a fine, handsome, nearly black snake, an indi- 
vidual of the species called the mussurama. This is in 
my eyes perhaps the most interesting serpent in the 
world. It is a big snake, four or five feet long, some- 
times even longer, nearly black, lighter below, with a 
friendly, placid temper. It lives exclusively on other 
snakes, and is completely immune to the poison of 


the lachesis and rattlesnake groups, which contain all 
the really dangerous snakes of America. Doctor Brazil 
told me that he had conducted many experiments with 
this interesting snake. It is not very common, and 
prefers wet places in which to live. It lays eggs, and 
the female remains coiled above the eggs, the object 
being apparently not to warm them, but to prevent 
too great evaporation. It will not eat when moulting, 
nor in cold weather. Otherwise it will eat a small 
snake every five or six days, or a big one every 

There is the widest difference, both among poisonous 
and non-poisonous snakes, not alone in nervousness and 
irascibility, but also in ability to accustom themselves 
to out-of-the-way surroundings. Many species of non- 
poisonous snakes which are entirely harmless, to man 
or to any other animal except their small prey, are 
nevertheless very vicious and truculent, striking right 
and left and biting freely on the smallest provocation 
— this is the case with the species of which the doctor 
had previously placed a specimen on the table. More- 
over, many snakes, some entirely harmless and some 
vicious ones, are so nervous and uneasy that it is with 
the greatest difficulty they can be induced to eat in 
captivity, and the slightest disturbance or interference 
wiU prevent their eating. There are other snakes, how- 
ever — of which the mussurama is perhaps the best 
example — which are very good captives, and at the same 
time very fearless, showing a complete indifference, not 
only to being observed, but to being handled when they 
are feeding. 

There is, in the United States, a beautiful and attrac- 
tive snake, the king-snake, with much the same habits 
as the mussurama. It is friendly toward mankind, and 


18 THE START [chap, i 

not poisonous, so that it can be handled freely. It feeds 
on other serpents, and ^\t11 kiU a rattlesnake as big 
as itself, being immune to the rattlesnake venom. Mr. 
Ditmars, of the Bronx Zoo, has made many interesting 
experiments with these king-snakes. I have had them 
in my own possession. They are good-natured, and can 
generally be handled with impunity, but I have known 
them to bite, whereas Doctor BrazU informed me that 
it was almost impossible to make the mussvuraraa bite a 
man. The king-snake will feed greedUy on other snakes 
in the presence of man — I knew of one case where it 
partly swallowed another snake while both were in a 
small boy's pocket. It is immune to viper poison, but 
it is not immune to colubrine poison. A couple of 
years ago I was informed of a case where one of these 
king-snakes was put into an enclosure with an Indian 
snake-eating cobra, or hamadryad, of about the same size. 
It IdUed the cobra, but made no eflfbrt to swallow it, 
and very soon showed the effects of the cobra poison. I 
beheve it afterwards died, but, imfortunately, I have mis- 
laid my notes, and cannot now remember the details of 
the incident. 

Doctor Brazil informed me that the mussurama, like 
the king-snake, was not immune to the colubrine poison. 
A mussurama in his possession, which had with im- 
punity killed and eaten several rattlesnakes and repre- 
sentatives of the lachesis genus, also killed and ate a 
venomous coral -snake, but shortly afterwards itself died 
from the effects of the poison. It is one of the many 
puzzles of nature that these American serpents which 
kill poisonous serpents should only have grown immune 
to the poison of the most dangerous American poisonous 
serpents, the pit-vipers, and should not have become 
immune to the poison of the coral-snakes, which are 


commonly distributed throughout their range. Yet, 
judging by the one instance mentioned by i)r. Brazil, 
they attack and master these coral-snakes, although the 
conflict in the end results in their death. It would be 
interesting to find out whether this attack was excep- 
tional — that is, whether the mussurama has or has not, as 
a species, learned to avoid the coral-snake. If it was 
not exceptional, then not only is the instance highly 
curious in itself, but it would also go far to explain the 
failure of the mussurama to become plentiful. 

For the benefit of those who are not acquainted with 
the subject, I may mention that the poison of a poison- 
ous snake is not dangerous to its own species unless 
injected in very large doses, about ten times what would 
normally be injected by a bite ; but that it is deadly to 
all other snakes, poisonous or non-poisonous, save as 
regards the very few species which themselves eat 
poisonous snakes. The Indian hamadryad, or giant 
cobra, is exclusively a snake-eater. It evidently draws 
a sharp distinction between poisonous and non-poisonous 
snakes, for Mr. Ditmars has recorded that two indi- 
viduals in the Bronx Zoo which are habitually fed 
on harmless snakes, and attack them eagerly, refused 
to attack a copperhead which was thrown into their 
cage, being evidently afraid of this pit- viper. It would 
be interesting to find out if the hamadryad is afraid 
to prey on all pit- vipers, and also whether it will prey 
on its small relative, the true cobra — for it may well be 
that, even if not immune to the viper poison, it is 
immune to the poison of its close ally, the smaller 

All these and many other questions would be speedily 
settled by Doctor Brazil if he were given the oppor- 
tunity to test them. It must be remembered, more- 

20 THE START [chap, i 

over, that not only have his researches been of absorbing 
value from the standpoint of pure science, but that they 
also have a real utilitarian worth. He is now collecting 
and breeding the mussurama. The favourite prey of 
the mussurama is the most common, and therefore the 
most dangerous, poisonous snake of Brazil, the jararaca, 
which is known in Martinique as the fer-de-lance. In 
Martinique and elsewhere this snake is such an object of 
terror as to be at times a genuine scourge. Surely it 
would be worth while for the authorities of Martinique 
to import specimens of the mussurama to that island. 
The mortahty from snake-bite in British India is very 
great. Surely it would be well worth while for the 
able Indian Government to copy Brazil, and create such 
an institute as that over which Doctor Vital Brazil is 
the curator. 

At first sight it seems extraordinary that poisonous 
serpents, so dreaded by and so irresistible to most 
animals, should be so utterly helpless before the few 
creatures that prey on them. But the explanation is 
easy. Any highly speciaUzed creature, the higher its 
specialization, is apt to be proportionately helpless 
when once its pecuUar specialized traits are effectively 
nullified by an opponent. This is eminently the case 
with the most dangerous poisonous snakes. In them a 
highly peculiar specialization has been carried to the 
highest point. They rely for attack and defence purely 
on their poison-fangs. All other means and methods 
of attack and defence have atrophied. They neither 
crush nor tear with their teeth nor constrict with then- 
bodies. The poison-fangs are slender and delicate, and, 
save for the poison, the wound inflicted is of a trivial 
character. In consequence, they are utterly helpless in 
the presence of any animal which the poison does not 


affect. There are several mammals immune to snake- 
bite, including various species of hedgehog, pig, and 
mongoose — the other mammals which kill them do so 
by pouncing on them unawares, or by avoiding their 
stroke through sheer quickness of movement; and 
probably this is the case with most snake-eating birds. 
The mongoose is very quick, but in some cases at least 
— I have mentioned one in the " African Game Trails " 
— it permits itself to be bitten by poisonous snakes, 
treating the bite with utter indifference. There should 
be extensive experiments made to determine if there 
are species of mongoose immune to both cobra and 
viper poison. Hedgehogs, as determined by actual ex- 
periments, pay no heed at all to viper poison even 
when bitten on such tender places as the tongue and 
lips, and eat the snake as if it were a radish. Even 
among animals which are not immune to the poison 
different species are very differently affected by the 
different kinds of snake poisons. Not only are some 
species more resistant than others to all poisons, but 
there is a wide variation in the amount of immunity 
each displays to any given venom. One species will be 
quickly kiUed by the poison from one species of snake, 
and be fairly resistant to the poison of another ; whereas 
in another species the conditions may be directly 

The mussurama which Doctor Brazil handed me was 
a fine specimen, perhaps four and a half feet long. I 
lifted the smooth, lithe bulk in my hands, and then let 
it twist its coils so that it rested at ease in my arms ; it 
glided to and fro, on its own length, with the sinuous 
grace of its kind, and showed not the shghtest trace 
of either nervousness or bad temper. Meanwhile the 
doctor bade his attendant put on the table a big jara- 

22 THE START [chap, i 

raca, or fer-de-lance, which was accordingly done. The 
jararaca was about three feet and a half or perhaps 
nearly four feet long — that is, it was about nine inches 
shorter than the mussurama. The latter, which I con- 
tinued to hold in my arms, behaved with friendly and 
impassive indifference, moving easily to and fro through 
my hands, and once or twice hiding its head between 
the sleeve and the body of my coat. The doctor was 
not quite sure how the mussurama would behave, for it 
had recently featen a small snake, and unless hungry it 
pays no attention whatever to venomous snakes, even 
when they attack and bite it. However, it fortunately 
proved still to have a good appetite. 

The jararaca was alert and vicious. It partly coiled 
itself on the table, threatening the bystanders. I put 
the big black sei-pent down on the table four or five 
feet from the enemy and headed in its direction. As 
soon as I let go with my hands it glided toward 
where the threatening, formidable-looking lance-head 
lay stretched in a half-coil. The mussurama displayed 
not the slightest sign of excitement. Apparently it 
trusted little to its eyes, for it began to run its head 
along the body of the jararaca, darting out its flickering 
tongue to feel just where it was, as it nosed its way up 
toward the head of its antagonist. So placid were its 
actions that I did not at first suppose that it meant to 
attack, for there was not the slightest exhibition of 
anger or excitement. 

It was the jararaca that began the fight. It showed 
no fear whatever of its foe, but its irritable temper was 
aroused by the proximity and actions of the other, and 
like a flash it drew back its head and struck, burying 
its fangs in the forward part of the mussurama's body. 
Immediately the latter struck in return, and the counter- 


attack was so instantaneous that it was difficult to see 
just what had happened. There was tremendous 
writhing and struggling on the part of the jararaca; 
and then, leaning over the knot into which the two 
serpents were twisted, I saw that the mussurama had 
seized the jararaca by the lower jaw, putting its own 
head completely into the wide-gaping mouth of the 
poisonous snake. The long fangs were just above the 
top of the mussurama's head ; and it appeared, as well 
as I could see, that they were once again driven into 
the mussurama ; but without the slightest effect. Then 
the fangs were curved back in the jaw, a fact which I 
particularly noted, and all effort at the offensive was 
abandoned by the poisonous snake. 

Meanwhile the mussurama was chewing hard, and 
gradually shifted its grip, little by little, until it got the 
top of the head of the jararaca in its mouth, the lower 
jaw of the jararaca being spread out to one side. The 
venomous serpent was helpless ; the fearsome master of 
the wild life of the forest, the deadly foe of humankind, 
was itself held in the grip of death. Its cold, baleful 
serpent's eyes shone, as evil as ever. But it was dying. 
In vain it writhed and struggled. Nothing availed it. 

Once or twice the mussurama took a turn round the 
middle of the body of its opponent, but it did not seem 
to press hard, and apparently used its coils chiefly in 
order to get a better grip, so as to crush the head of its 
antagonist," or to hold the latter in place. This crushing 
was done by its teeth ; and the repeated bites were 
made with such effort that the muscles stood out on 
the mussurama's neck. Then it took two coils round 
the neck of the jararaca, and proceeded deliberately to 
try to break the backbone of its opponent by twisting 
the head round. With this purpose it twisted its own 

24 THE START [chap, i 

head and neck round so that the lighter - coloured 
surface was uppermost; and indeed at one time it 
looked as if it had made almost a complete single spiral 
revolution of its own body. It never for a moment 
relaxed its grip except to shift slightly the jaws. 

In a few minutes the jararaca was dead, its head 
crushed in, although the body continued to move con- 
vulsively. When satisfied that its opponent ^as dead, 
the mussurama began to try to get the head in its 
mouth. This was a process of some difficulty, on account 
of the angle at which the lower jaw of the jararaca 
stuck out. But finally the head was taken completely 
inside and then swallowed. After this, the mussurama 
proceeded dehberately, but v(dth unbroken speed, to 
devour its opponent by the simple process of crawling 
outside it, the body and tail of the jararaca writhing and 
strugghng until the last. During the early portion of 
the meal the mussurama put a stop to this writhing 
and struggling by resting its own body on that of its 
prey, but toward the last the part of the body that 
remained outside was left free to wriggle as it wished. 

Not only was the mussurama totally indiiFerent to 
our presence, but it was totally indiffisrent to being 
handled while the meal was going on. Several times 
I replaced the combatants in the middle of the table 
when they had writhed to the edge, and finally, when 
the photographers found that they could not get good 
pictures, I held the mussurama up against a white 
background with the partially swallowed snake in its 
mouth ; and the feast went on uninterruptedly. I 
never saw cooler or more utterly unconcerned conduct ; 
and the ease and certainty with which the terrible 
poisonous snake was mastered gave me the heartiest 
respect and liking for the easy-going, good-natured, and 

The mussurama swallowing the jararaca, or fer-de-lance, after having just killed it 
From a photograph by Maza 

Method of the mussurama's attack upon the jararaca 
Reproduced by courtesy oj Dr. Vital Brazil 


exceedingly efficient serpent which I had been holding 
in my arms. 

Our trip was not intended as a hunting-trip, but as 
a scientific expedition. Before starting on the trip 
itself, while travelling in the Argentine, I received 
certain pieces of first-hand information concerning the 
natural history of the jaguar, and of the cougar, or 
puma, which are worth recording. The facts about the 
jaguar are not new in the sense of casting new light 
on its character, although they are interesting ; but the 
facts about the behaviour of the puma in one district of 
Patagonia are of great interest, because they give an 
entirely new side of its life-history. 

There was travelling with me at the time Doctor 
Francisco P. Moreno, of Buenos Aires. Doctor Moreno 
is at the present day a member of the National Board of 
Education of the Argentine, a man who has worked in 
every way for the benefit of his country, perhaps 
especially for the benefit of the children, so that when 
he was first introduced to me it was as the " Jacob Riis 
of the Argentine " — for they know my deep and 
affectionate intimacy with Jacob Riis. He is also an 
eminent man of science, who has done admirable work 
as a geologist and a geographer. At one period, in 
connection with his duties as a boundary commissioner 
on the survey between Chile and the Argentine, he 
worked for years in Patagonia. It was he who made 
the extraordinary discovery in a Patagonian cave of the 
still fresh fragments of skin and other remains of the 
mylodon, the aberrant horse known as the onohipidium, 
the huge South American tiger, and the macrauchenia, 
all of them extinct animals. This discovery showed 
that some of the strange representatives of the giant 

26 THE START [chap, i 

South American pleistocene fauna had lasted down to 
within a comparatively few thousand years, down to the 
time when man, substantially as the Spaniards found 
him, flourished on the continent. Incidentally the 
discovery tended to show that this fauna had lasted 
much later in South America than was the case with 
the corresponding faunas in other parts of the world ; 
and therefore it tended to disprove the claims advanced 
by Doctor Ameghino for the extreme age, geologically, 
of this fauna, and for the extreme antiquity of man on 
the American continent. 

One day Doctor Moreno handed me a copy of 
The Outlook containing my account of a cougar-hunt 
in Arizona, saying that he noticed that I had very little 
faith in cougars attacking men, although I had explicitly 
stated that such attacks sometimes occurred. I told 
him. Yes, that I had found that the cougar was 
practically harmless to man, the undoubtedly authentic 
instances of attacks on men being so exceptional that 
they could in practice be wholly disregarded. Thereupon 
Doctor Moreno showed me a scar on his face, and told 
me that he had himself been attacked and badly mauled 
by a puma which was undoubtedly trying to prey on 
him — that is, which had started on a career as a man- 
eater. This was to me most interesting. I had often 
met men who knew other men who had seen other men 
who said that they had been attacked by pumas, but 
this was the first time that I had ever come across a man 
who had himself been attacked. Doctor Moreno, as 
I havie said, is not only an eminent citizen, but an 
eminent scientific man, and his account of what occurred 
is unquestionably a scientifically accurate statement of 
the facts. I give it exactly as the doctor told it ; 
paraphrasing a letter he sent me, and including one or 


two answers to questions I put to him. The doctor, by 
the way, stated to me that he had known Mr. Hudson, 
the author of the " Naturalist in La Plata," and that 
the latter knew nothing whatever of pumas from personal 
experience, and had accepted as facts utterly wild 

Undoubtedly, said the doctor, the puma in South 
America, like the puma in North America, is as a 
general rule a cowardly animal which not only never 
attacks man, but rarely makes any efficient defence 
when attacked. The Indian and white hunters have no 
fear of it in most parts of the country, and its harmlessness 
to man is proverbial. But there is one particular spot 
in southern Patagonia where cougars, to the doctor's 
own personal knowledge, have for years been dangerous 
foes of man. This curious local change in habits, by 
the way, is nothing unprecedented as regards wild 
animals. In portions of its range, as I am informed by 
Mr. Lord Smith, the Asiatic tiger can hardly be forced 
to fight man, and never preys on him, while throughout 
most of its range it is a most dangerous beast, and often 
turns man-eater. So there are waters in which sharks are 
habitual man-eaters, and others where they never touch 
men ; and there are rivers and lakes where crocodiles 
or caymans are very dangerous, and others where they 
are practically harmless — I have myself seen this in 

In March, 1877, Doctor Moreno, with a party of men 
working on the boundary commission, and with a 
number of Patagonian horse-Indians, was encamped for 
some weeks beside Lake Viedma, which had not before 
been visited by white men for a century, and which 
was rarely visited even by Indians. One morning, just 
before sunrise, he left his camp by the south shore of 

28 THE START [chap, i 

the lake, to make a topographical sketch of it. He 
was unarmed, but carried a prismatic compass in a 
leather case with a strap. It was cold, and he wrapped 
his poncho of guanaco-hide round his neck and head. 
He had walked a few hundred yards, when a puma, a 
female, sprang on him from behind and knocked him 
down. As she sprang on him she tried to seize his 
head with one paw, striking him on the shoulder with 
the other. She lacerated his mouth and also his back, 
but tumbled over with him, and in the scuffle they 
separated before she could bite him. He sprang to his 
feet, and, as he said, was forced to think quickly. She 
had recovered herself, and sat on her haunches hke a 
cat, looking at him, and then crouched to spring again ; 
whereupon he whipped off his poncho, and as she sprang 
at him he opened it, and at the same moment hit her 
head with the prismatic compass in its case which he 
held by the strap. She struck the poncho, and was 
evidently puzzled by it, for, turning, she slunk off to 
one side, under a bush, and then proceeded to try to 
get round behind him. He faced her, keeping his eyes 
upon her, and backed off. She followed him for three 
or four hundred yards. At least t^idce she came up to 
attack him, but each him he opened his poncho and 
yelled, and at the last moment she shrank back. She 
continually, however, tried, by taking advantage of 
cover, to sneak up to one side, or behind, to attack 
him. Finally, when he got near camp, she abandoned 
the pursuit, and went into a small patch of bushes. He 
raised the alarm ; an Indian rode up and set fire to the 
bushes from the windward side. When the cougar 
broke from the bushes, the Indian rode after her, and 
threw his bolas, which twisted around her hind -legs ; 
and while she was struggling to free herself, he brained 


her with his second bolas. The doctor's injuries were 
rather painful, but not serious. 

Twenty-one years later, in April, 1898, he was 
camped on the same lake, but on the north shore, at 
the foot of a basaltic cliff. He was in company with 
four soldiers, with whom he had travelled from the 
Strait of Magellan. In the night he was aroused by 
the shriek of a man and the barking of his dogs. As 
the men sprang up from where they were lying asleep, 
they saw a large puma run off out of the firelight into 
the darkness. It had sprung on a soldier named 
Marcelino Huquen while he was asleep, and had tried 
to carry him off. Fortunately, the man was so wrapped 
up in his blanket, as the night was cold, that he was 
not injured. The puma was never found or killed. 

About the same time a surveyor of Doctor Moreno's 
party, a Swede named Arneberg, was attacked in 
similar fashion. The doctor was not with him at the 
tipae. Mr. Arneberg was asleep in the forest near Lake 
San Martin. The cougar both bit and clawed him, and 
tore his mouth, breaking out three teeth. The man 
was rescued ; but this puma also escaped. 

The doctor stated that in this particular locality the 
Indians, who elsewhere paid no heed whatever to the 
puma, never let their women go out after wood for fuel 
unless two or three were together. This was because 
on several occasions women who had gone out alone 
were killed by pumas. Evidently in this one locality 
the habit of at least occasional man-eating has become 
chronic with a species which elsewhere is the most 
cowardly, and to man the least dangerous, of all the 
big cats. 

These observations of Doctor Moreno have a peculiar 
value, because, as far as I know, they are the first trust- 

30 THE START [chap, i 

worthy accounts of a cougar's having attacked man 
save under cu:cumstances so exceptional as to make the 
attack signify little more than the similar exceptional 
instances of attack by various other species of wild 
animals that are not normally dangerous to man. 

The jaguar, however, has long been known not only 
to be a dangerous foe when itself attacked, but also 
now and then to become a man-eater. Therefore the 
instances of such attacks furnished me are of merely 
corroborative value. 

In the excellent zoological gardens at Buenos Aires, 
the curator, Doctor OneUi, a naturalist of note, showed 
us a big male jaguar which had been trapped in the 
Chaco, where it had already begun a career as a man- 
eater, having killed three persons. They were killed, 
and two of them were eaten ; the animal was trapped, 
in consequence of the alarm excited by the death of his 
third victim. This jaguar was very savage ; whereas a 
yoimg jaguar, which was in a cage with a young tiger, 
was playful and friendly, as was also the case with the 
young tiger. On my trip to visit La Plata Museum, I 
was accompanied by Captain Mcente Montes, of the 
Argentine Navy, an accomphshed officer of scientific 
attainments. He had at one time been engaged on a 
survey of the boundary between the Argentine and 
Parana and Brazil. They had a quantity of dried beef 
in camp. On several occasions a jaguar came into 
camp after this dried beef Finally they succeeded in 
protecting it so that he could not reach it. The result, 
however, was disastrous. On the next occasion that he 
visited camp, at midnight, he seized a man. Everybody 
was asleep at the time, and the jaguar came in so noise- 
lessly as to elude the vigilance of the dogs. As he 
seized the man, the latter gave one yell, but the next 


moment was killed, the jaguar driving his fangs through 
the man's skull into the brain. There was a scene of 
uproar and confusion, and the jaguar was forced to drop 
his prey and flee into the woods. Next morning they 
followed him with the dogs, and finally killed him. He 
was a large male, in first-class condition. The only 
feature of note about these two incidents was that in 
each case the man-eater was a powerful animal in the 
prime of life ; whereas it frequently happens that the 
jaguars that turn man-eaters are old animals, and have 
become too inactive or too feeble to catch their ordi- 
nary prey. 

During the two months before starting from Asuncion, 
in Paraguay, for our journey into the interior, T was 
kept so busy that 1 had scant time to think of natural 
history. But in a strange land a man who cares for 
wild birds and wild beasts always sees and hears some- 
thing that is new to him and interests him. In the 
dense tropical woods near Rio Janeiro I heard, in late 
October — springtime near the southern tropic — the 
songs of many birds that I could not identify. But the 
most beautiful music was from a shy woodland thrush, 
sombre-coloured, which lived near the ground in the 
thick timber, but sang high among the branches. At 
a great distance we could hear the ringing, musical, 
bell-like note, long-drawn and of piercing sweetness, 
which occurs at intervals in the song ; at first I thought 
this was the song, but when it was possible to approach 
the singer, I found that these far-sounding notes were 
scattered through a continuous song of great melody. 
I never listened to one that impressed me more. In 
different places in Argentina I heard and saw the 
Argentine mocking-bird, which is not very much unlike 

32 THE START [chap, i 

our own, and is also a delightful and remarkable singer. 
But I never heard the wonderful white-banded mocking- 
bird, which is said by Hudson, who knew weU the birds 
of both South America and Europe, to be the song-bird 
of them aU. 

Most of the birds I thus noticed while hurriedly- 
passing through the country were, of course, the con- 
spicuous ones. The spurred lapwings, big, tame, boldly 
marked plover, were eveiywhere ; they were very noisy 
and active, and both inquisitive and daring, and they 
have a very curious dance custom. No man need look 
for them. They will look for him, and when they find 
him they will fairly yell the discovery to the universe. 
In the marshes of the lower Parana I saw flocks of 
scarlet-headed blackbirds on the tops of the reeds ; the 
females are as strikingly coloured as the males, and their 
jet-black bodies and brilliant red heads make it impos- 
sible for them to escape observation among their natural 
surroundings. On the plains to the west I saw flocks of 
the beautiful rose-breasted starlings ; unhke the red- 
headed blackbirds, which seemed fairly to court attention, 
these starlings sought to escape observation by crouching 
on the ground, so that their red breasts were hidden. 
There were yellow-shouldered blackbirds in wet places, 
and cow-buntings abounded. 

But the most conspicuous birds I saw were members 
of the family of tjrrant flycatchers, of which our own 
king-bird is the most familiar example. This family is 
very numerously represented in Argentina, both in 
species and individuals. Some of the species are so 
striking, both in colour and habits, and in one case also 
ia shape, as to attract the attention of even the un- 
observant. The least conspicuous, and nevertheless 
very conspicuous, among those that I saw was the 


bientevido, which is brown above, yellow beneath, with 
a boldly marked black and white head, and a yellow 
crest. It is very nbisy, is common in the neighbourhood 
of houses, and builds a big domed nest. It is really a 
big, heavy king-bird, fiercer and more powerful than 
any northern king-bird. I saw them assail not only the 
big but the small hawks with fearlessness, driving them 
in headlong flight. They not only capture insects, but 
pounce on mice, small frogs, lizards, and httle snakes, 
rob birds'-nests of the fledgling young, and catch tadpoles 
and even small fish. 

Two of the tyrants which I observed are like two 
with which I grew fairly familiar in Texas. • The scissor- 
taU is common throughout the open country, and the 
long tail feathers, which seem at times to hamper its 
flight, attract attention whether the bird is in flight or 
perched on a tree. It has a habit of occasionally soaring 
into the air and descending in loops and spirals. The 
scarlet tyrant I saw in the orchards and gardens. The 
male is a fascinating little .bird, coal-black above, while 
his crested head and the body beneath are brilliant scarlet. 
He utters his rapid, low- voiced musical trill in the air, 
rising with fluttering wings to a height of a hundred 
feet, hovering while he sings, and then falling back to 
earth. The colour of the bird and the character of his 
performance attract the attention of every observer — 
bird, beast, or man — within reach of vision. 

The red-backed tyrant is utterly unlike any of his 

kind in the United States, and until I looked him up 

in Sclater and Hudson's ornithology I never dreamed 

that he belonged to this family. He— for only the male 

is so brightly coloured — is coal-black with a dull red 

back. I saw these birds on December 1 near Barilloche, 

out on the bare Patagonian plains. They behaved like 


34 THE START [chap, i 

pipits or longspurs, running actively over the ground in 
the same manner, and showing the same restlessness and 
the same kind of flight. But whereas pipits are incon- 
spicuous, the red-backs at once attracted attention by 
the contrast between their bold colouring and the greyish 
or yellowish tones of the ground along which they ran. 
The silver-biU tyrant, however, is much more con- 
spicuous ; I saw it in the same neighbourhood as the red- 
back, and also in many other places. The male is jet 
black, with white bill and wings. He runs about on the 
ground like a pipit, but also frequently perches on some 
bush to go through a strange flight-song performance. 
He perches motionless, bolt upright, and even then his 
black colouring advertises him for a quarter of a mile 
round about. But every few minutes he springs up into 
the air to the height of twenty or thirty feet, the white 
wings flashing in contrast to the black body, screams and 
gyrates, and then instantly returns to his former post 
and resumes his erect pose of waiting. It is hard to 
imagine a more conspicuous bird than the silver-bill ; 
but the next and last tyrant flycatcher of which I shall 
speak possesses on the whole the most advertising 
coloration of any small bird I have ever seen in the 
open country, and, moreover, this advertising coloration 
exists in both sexes and throughout the year. It is a 
briUiant white aU over, except the long wing quiUs and 
the ends of the tail feathers, which are black. The fii'st 
one I saw, at a very long distance, I thought must be an 
albino. It perches on the top of a bush or tree, watching 
for its prey, and it shines in the sun Hke a silver mirror. 
Every hawk, cat, or man must see it ; no one can help 
seeing it. 

These common Argentine birds, most of them of the 
open country, and aU of them with a strikingly ad- 


vertising coloration, are interesting because of their 
beauty and their habits. They are also interesting 
because they offer such illuminating examples of the 
truth that many of the most common and successful 
birds not merely lack a concealing coloration, but 
possess a coloration which is in the highest degree 
revealing. The coloration and the habits of most of 
these birds are such that every hawk or other foe that 
can see at all must have its attention attracted to them. 
Evidently in their cases neither the coloration nor any 
habit of concealment based on the coloration is a sur- 
vival factor, and this although they live in a land teeming 
with bird-eating hawks. Among the higher vertebrates 
there are many known factors which have influence — 
some in one set of cases, some in another set of cases — in 
the development and preservation of species. Courage, 
intelligence, adaptability, prowess, bodily vigour, speed, 
alertness, ability to hide, ability to build structures which 
wiU protect the young while they are helpless, fecundity 
— all, and many more like them, have their several places ; 
and behind all these visible causes there are at work other 
and often more potent causes of which as yet science can 
say nothing. Some species owe much to a given attri- 
bute which may be wholly lacking in influence on other 
species ; and every one of the attributes above enumer- 
ated is a survival factor in some species, while in others 
it has no survival value whatever, and in yet others, 
although of benefit, it is not of sufficient benefit to offset 
the benefit conferred on foes or rivals by totally different 
attributes. Intelligence, for instance, is of course a sur- 
vival factor; but to-day there exist multitudes of animals 
with very little intelligence which have persisted through 
immense periods of geologic time either unchanged or 
else without any change in the direction of increased 

36 THE START [chap, i 

intelligence ; and during their species-life they have 
witnessed the death of countless other species of far 
greater intelligence, but in other ways less adapted to 
succeed in the euAaronmental complex. The same state- 
ment can be made of all the many, many other known 
factors in development, from fecundity to concealing 
coloration ; and behind them lie forces as to which we 
veil our ignorance by the use of high-sounding nomen- 
clature — as when we use such a convenient but far from 
satisfactory term as " orthogenesis." 



On the afternoon of December 9 we left the attrac- 
tive and picturesque city of Asuncion to ascend the 
Paraguay. With generous courtesy the Paraguayan 
Government had put at my disposal the gunboat-yacht 
of the President himself, a most comfortable river 
steamer, and so the opening days of our trip were 
pleasant in every way. The food was good, our 
quarters, were clean, we slept well below or on deck, 
usually without our mosquito-nettings, and in daytime 
the deck was pleasant under the awnings. It was hot, 
of course, but we were dressed suitably in our exploring 
and hunting clothes, and did not mind the heat. The 
river was low, for there had been dry weather for some 
weeks — judging from the vague and contradictory 
information I received there is much elasticity to the 
terms " wet season " and " dry season " at this part of the 
Paraguay. Under the brilliant sky we steamed steadily 
up the mighty river ; the sunset was glorious as we 
leaned on the port raihng ; and after nightfall the moon, 
nearly full and hanging high in the heavens, turned the 
water to shimmering radiance. On the mud-flats and 
sand-bars, and among the green rushes of the bays and 
inlets, were stately water-fowl ; crimson flamingoes and 
rosy spoonbills, dark-coloured ibis, and white storks 


38 UP THE PARAGUAY [chap, ii 

with black wings. Darters, with snake-like necks and 
pointed bills, perched in the trees on the brink of the 
river. Snowy egrets flapped across the marshes. Cay- 
mans were common, and differed from the crocodiles 
we had seen in Africa in two points : they were not 
alarmed by the report of a rifle when fired at, and they 
lay with the head raised instead of stretched along 
the sand. 

For three days, as we steamed northward toward the 
Tropic of Capricorn, and then passed it, we were within 
the Republic of Paraguay. On our right, to the east, 
there was a fairly weU settled country, where bananas 
and oranges were cultivated and other crops of hot 
countries raised. On the banks we passed an occasional 
small town, or saw a ranch-house close to the river's 
brink, or stopped for wood at some little settlement. 
Across the river to the west lay the level, swampy, 
fertile wastes known as the Chaco, still given over 
either to the wild Indians or to cattle-ranching on a 
gigantic scale. The broad river ran in curves between 
mud-banks, where terraces marked successive periods 
of flood. A belt of forest stood on each bank, but it 
was only a couple of hundred yards wide. Back of it 
was the open country ; on the Chaco side this was a 
vast plain of grass dotted with tall, graceful palms. In 
places the belt of forest vanished and the palm-dotted 
prairie came to the river's edge. The Chaco is an ideal 
cattle country, and not really unhealthy. It will be 
covered with ranches at a not distant day. But mos- 
quitoes and many other winged insect pests swarm over 
it. Cherrie and Miller had spent a week there collect- 
ing mammals and birds prior to my arrival at Asuncion. 
They were veterans of the tropics, hardened to the 
insect plagues of Guiana and the Orinoco. But they 


reported that never had they been so tortured as in the 
Chaco. The sand-flies crawled through the meshes in 
the mosquito-nets, and forbade them to sleep ; if in 
their sleep a knee touched the net the mosquitoes fell 
on it so that it looked as if riddled by bird-shot ; and 
the nights were a torment, although they had done well 
in their work, collecting some two hundred and fifty 
specimens of birds and mammals. 

Nevertheless, for some as yet inscrutable reason the 
river served as a barrier to certain insects which are 
menaces to the cattlemen. With me on the gunboat 
was an old Western friend, Tex Rickard, of the Pan- 
handle and Alaska and various places in between. He 
now has a large tract of land and some thirty-five 
thousand head of cattle in the Chaco, opposite Con- 
cepcion, at which city he was to stop. He told me that 
horses did not do well in the Chaco, but that cattle 
throve, and that, while ticks swarmed on the east bank 
of the great river, they would not live on the west bank. 
Again and again he had crossed herds of cattle which 
were covered with the loathsome bloodsuckers ; and in 
a couple of months every tick would be dead. The 
worst animal foes of man, indeed the only dangerous 
foes, are insects ; and this is especially true in the 
tropics. Fortunately, exactly as certain differences, 
too minute for us as yet to explain, render some insects 
deadly to man or domestic animals, while closely allied 
forms are harmless, so, for other reasons, which also we 
are not as yet able to fathom, these insects are for the 
most part strictly limited by geographical and other 
considerations. The war against what Sir Harry 
Johnston calls the really material devil, the devil of 
evil wild nature in the tropics, has been waged with 
marked success only during the last two decades. The 

40 UP THE PARAGUAY [chap, ii 

men, in the United States, in England, France, Ger- 
many, Italy — the men like Doctor Cruz in Rio Janeiro 
and Doctor Vital Brazil in Sao Paulo — who work ex- 
perimentally within and without the laboratory in their 
warfare against the disease and death bearing insects 
and microbes, are the true leaders in the fight to make 
the tropics the home of civilized man. 

Late on the evening of the second day of our trip, 
just before midnight, we reached Concepcion. On this 
day, when we stopped for wood or to get provisions — at 
picturesque places, where the women from rough mud 
and thatched cabins were washing clothes in the river, 
or where ragged horsemen stood gazing at us from the 
bank, or where dark, well-dressed ranchmen stood in 
front of red-roofed houses — we caught many fish. They 
belonged to one of the most formidable genera of fish in 
the world, the piranha, or cannibal fish, the fish that eats 
men when it can get the chance. Farther north there 
are species of small piranha that go in schools. At this 
point on the Paraguay the piranha do not seem to go in 
regular schools, but they swarm in all the waters, and 
attain a length of eighteen inches or over. They are 
the most ferocious fish in the world. Even the most 
formidable fish, the sharks, or the barracudas, usually 
attack things smaller than themselves. But the piranhas 
habitually attack things much larger than themselves. 
They will snap a finger off a hand incautiously trailed 
in the water ; they mutilate swimmers — in every river 
town in Paraguay there are men who have been thus 
mutilated ; they wiU rend and devour alive any wounded 
man or beast ; for blood in the water excites them to 
madness. They will tear wounded wild fowl to pieces, 
and bite off" the tails of big fish as they grow exhausted 
when fighting after being hooked. Miller, before I 

Man-eating fish, piranha 
Note the razor-edged teeth 
From photographs by Harper 


reached Asuncion, had been badly bitten by one. Those 
that we caught sometimes bit through the hooks, or the 
double strands of copper wire that served as leaders, and 
got away. Those that we hauled on deck lived for 
many minutes. Most predatory fish are long and slim, 
like the alligator-gar and pickerel. But the piranha 
is a short, deep-bodied fish, with a blunt face and a 
heavily under-shot or projecting lower jaw which gapes 
widely. The razor-edged teeth are wedge-shaped like 
a shark's, and the jaw muscles possess great power. 
The rabid, furious snaps drive the teeth through flesh 
and bone. The head, with its short muzzle, staring 
malignant eyes, and gaping, cruelly armed jaws, is the 
embodiment of evil ferocity ; and the actions of the fish 
exactly match its looks. I never witnessed an exhibition 
of such impotent, savage fury as was shown by the 
piranhas as they flapped on deck. When fresh from 
the water and thrown on the boards they uttered an 
extraordinary squealing sound. As they flapped about 
they bit with vicious eagerness at whatever presented 
itself One of them flapped into a cloth and seized it 
with a bulldog grip. Another grasped one of his 
fellows ; another snapped at a piece of wood, and left 
the teeth-marks deep therein. They are the pests of 
the waters, and it is necessary to be exceedingly cautious 
about either swimming or wading where they are found. 
If cattle are driven into, or of their own accord enter, 
the water, they are commonly not molested ; but if by 
chance some unusually big or ferocious specimen of 
these fearsome fishes does bite an animal — taking off 
part of an ear, or perhaps of a teat from the udder 
of a cow — the blood brings up every member of the 
ravenous throng which is anywhere near, and unless the 
attacked animal can immediately make its escape from 

42 UP THE PARAGUAY [chap, ii 

the water it is devoured alive. Here on the Paraguay 
the natives hold them in much respect, whereas the 
caymans are not feared at all. The only redeeming 
feature about them is that they are themselves fairly 
good to eat, although with too many bones. 

At daybreak of the third day, finding we were still 
moored off Concepcion, we were rowed ashore, and 
strolled off through the streets of the quamt, picturesque 
old town ; a town which, like Asuncion, was founded by 
the conquiscadores three-quarters of a century before 
our own Enghsh and Dutch forefathers landed in what 
is now the United States. The Jesuits then took prac- 
tically complete possession of what is now Paraguay, 
controlling and Christianizing the Indians, and raising 
their flourishing missions to a pitch of prosperity they 
never elsewhere achieved. They were expelled by the 
civil authorities (backed by the other representatives of 
ecclesiastical authority) some fifty years before Spanish 
South America became independent. But they had 
already made the language of the Indians, Guarany, 
a culture-tongue, reducing it to writing, and printing 
rehgious books in it. Guarany is one of the most wide- 
spread of the Indian tongues, being originally found in 
various closely allied forms, not only in Paraguay, but 
in Uruguay and over the major part of Brazil. It 
remains here and there, as a lingua geral at least, and 
doubtless in cases as an original tongue, among the wild 
tribes. In most of Brazil, as around Para and around 
Sao Paulo, it has left its traces in place-names, but has 
been completely superseded as a language by Por- 
tuguese. In Paraguay it stiU exists side by side with 
Spanish as the common language of the lower people and 
as a familiar tongue among the upper classes. The 
blood of the people is mixed, their language dual ; the 


lower classes are chiefly of Indian blood, but with a 
white admixture; while the upper classes are pre- 
dominantly white, with a strong infusion of Indian. 
There is no other case quite parallel to this in the 
annals of European colonization, although the Goanese 
in India have a native tongue and a Portuguese creed, 
while in several of the Spanish- American states the 
Indian blood is dominant, and the majority of the popu- 
lation speak an Indian tongue, perhaps itself, as with the 
Quichuas, once a culture -tongue of the archaic type. 
Whether in Paraguay one tongue will ultimately drive 
out the other, and, if so, which will be the victor, it is 
yet too early to prophesy. The English missionaries 
and the Bible Society have recently published parts of 
the Scriptures in Guarany ; and in Asuncion a daily 
paper is published with the text in parallel columns — 
Spanish and Guaran^ — just as in Oklahoma there is 
a similar paper published in English and in the tongue 
which the extraordinary Cherokee chief Sequoia, a 
veritable Cadmus, made a literary language. 

The Guaran^-speaking Paraguayan is a Christian, and 
as much an inheritor of our common culture as most of 
the peasant populations of Europe. He has no kinship 
with the wild Indian, who hates and fears him. The 
Indian of the Chaco, a pure savage, a bow-bearing 
savage, will never come east of the Paraguay, and the 
Paraguayan is only beginning to venture into the 
western interior, away from the banks of the river — 
under the lead of pioneer settlers like Rickard, whom, 
by the way, the wild Indians thoroughly trust, and for 
whom they work eagerly and faithfully. There is a 
great development ahead for Paraguay, as soon as they 
can definitely shake off the revolutionary habit and 
establish an orderly permanence of government. The 

44 UP THE PARAGUAY [chap, ii 

people are a fine people ; the strains of blood — white 
and Indian — are good. 

We walked up the streets of Concepcion, and inter- 
estedly looked at everything of interest : at the one- 
story houses, their windows covered with gratings of 
fretted ironwork, and their occasional open doors giving 
us ghmpses into cool inner courtyards, with trees and 
flowers; at the two-wheel carts, drawn by mules or 
oxen ; at an occasional rider, with spurs on his bare feet, 
and his big toes thrust into the small stirrup-rings ; at 
the little stores, and the warehouses for matt^ and hides. 
Then we came to a pleasant little irm, kept by a 
Frenchman and his wife, of old Spanish style, with its 
patio, or inner court, but as neat as an inn in Normandy 
or Brittany. We were sitting at coffee, around a little 
table, when in came the Colonel of the garrison — for 
Concepcion is the second city in Paraguay. He told 
me that they had prepared a reception for me ! I was 
in my rough hunting-clothes, but there was nothing to 
do but to accompany my kind hosts and trust to their 
good nature to pardon my shortcomings in the matter 
of dress. The Colonel drove me about in a smart open 
carriage, with two good horses and a Uveried driver. 
It was a much more fashionable turnout than would be 
seen in any of our cities save the largest, and even in 
them probably not in the service of a pubhc official. In 
all the South American countries there is more pomp 
and ceremony in connection with public functions than 
with us, and at these functions the liveried servants, 
often with knee-breeches and powdered hair, are like 
those seen at similar European functions ; there is not 
the democratic simplicity which better suits our own 
habits of life and ways of thought. But the South 
Americans often surpass us, not merely in pomp and 


ceremony, but in what is of real importance, courtesy ; 
in civility and courtesy we can well afford to take 
lessons from them. 

We first visited the barracks, saw the troops in the 
setting - up exercises, and inspected the arms, the 
artillery, the equipment. There was a German Lieu- 
tenant with the Paraguayan officers ; one of several 
German officers who are now engaged in helping the 
Paraguayans with their army. The equipments and 
arms were in good condition ; the enlisted men evidently 
offered fine material ; and the officers were doing hard 
work. It is worth while for anti- militarists to ponder 
the fact that, in every South American country where 
a really efficient army is developed, the increase in 
military efficiency goes hand in hand with a decrease in 
lawlessness and disorder, and a growing reluctance to 
settle internal disagreements by violence. They are 
introducing universal military service in Paraguay ; the 
officers, many of whom have studied abroad, are 
growing to feel an increased esprit de corps, an increased 
pride in the army, and therefore a desire to see the 
army made the servant of the nation as a whole, and 
not the tool of any faction or individual. If these 
feelings grow strong enough, they vdll be powerful 
factors in giving Paraguay what she most needs, free- 
dom from revolutionary disturbance, and therefore the 
chance to achieve the material prosperity without which 
as a basis there can be no advance in other and even 
more important matters. 

Then I was driven to the City Hall, accompanied by 
the intendente, or mayor, a German long settled in the 
country, and one of the leading men of the city. There 
was a breakfast. When I had to speak I impressed into 
my service as interpreter a young Paraguayan, who was 

46 UP THE PARAGUAY [chap, ii 

a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. He was 
able to render into Spanish my ideas — on such subjects 
as orderly liberty and the far-reaching mischief done by 
the revolutionary habit — with clearness and vigour, 
because he thoroughly understood not only how I felt, 
but also the American way of looking at such things. 
My hosts were hospitahty itself, and I enjoyed the 
unexpected greeting. 

We steamed on up the river. Now and then we 
passed another boat — a steamer, or, to my surprise, 
perhaps a barkentine or schooner. The Paraguay is 
a highway of traffic. Once we passed a big beef- 
canning factory. Ranches stood on either bank a few 
leagues apart, and we stopped at wood-yards on the 
west bank. Indians worked around them. At one 
such yard the Indians were evidently part of the 
regular force. Their squaws were with them, cooking 
at queer open-air ovens. One small child had as pets 
a parrot and a young coati — a kind of long-nosed 
raccoon. Loading wood, the Indians stood in a line, 
tossing the logs from one to the other. These Indians 
wore clothes. 

On this day we got into the tropics. Even in the 
heat of the day the deck was pleasant under the 
awnings ; the sun rose and set in crimson splendour ; 
and the nights, with the moon at the full, were wonder- 
ful. At night Orion blazed overhead, and the Southern 
Cross hung in the star- brilliant heavens behind us. But 
after the moon rose the constellations paled, and clear 
in her light the tree-clad banks stood on either hand as 
we steamed steadily against the swirling current of the 
great river. 

At noon on the 12 th we were at the Brazilian 
boundary. On this day we here and there came on 


low, conical hills close to the river. In places the palm- 
groves broke through the belts of deciduous trees, and 
stretched for a mile or so right along the river's bank. 
At times we passed cattle on the banks or sand-bars, 
followed by their herders ; or a handsome ranch-house, 
under a cluster of shady trees, some bearing a wealth of 
red and some a wealth of yellow blossoms ; or we saw a 
horse-corral among the trees close to the brink, with 
the horses in it, and a barefooted man in shirt and 
trousers leaning against the fence ; or a herd of cattle 
among the palms ; or a big tannery or factory, or a 
little native hamlet came in sight. We stopped at one 
tannery. The owner was a Spaniard, the manager an 
" Oriental," as he called himself, a Uruguayan, of 
German parentage. The peons, or workers, who lived 
in a long line of wooden cabins back of the main build- 
ing, were mostly Paraguayans, with a few Brazilians, 
and a dozen German and Argentine foremen. There 
were also some wild Indians, who were camped in the 
usual squalid fashion of Indians who are hangers-on 
round the white man, but have not yet adopted his 
ways. Most of the men were at work cutting wood for 
the tannery. The women and children were in camp. 
Some individuals of both sexes were naked to the waist. 
One little girl had a young ostrich as a pet. 

Water-fowl were plentiful. We saw large flocks of 
wild muscovy ducks. Our tame birds come from this 
wUd species, and its absurd misnaming dates back to the 
period when the turkey and the guinea-pig were mis- 
named in similar fashion — our European forefathers 
taking a large and hazy view of geography, and in- 
cluding Turkey, Guinea, India, and Muscovy as places 
which, in their capacity of being outlandish, could be 
comprehensively used as including America. The mus- 

48 UP THE PARAGUAY [chap, it 

covy ducks were very good eating. Darters and 
cormorants swarmed. They waddled on the sand-bars 
m big flocks, and crowded the trees by the water's edge. 
Beautiful snow-white egrets also ht in the trees, often 
well back from the river. A fuU-foliaged tree of vivid 
green, its round surface crowded with these bu-ds, as if 
it had suddenly blossomed with huge white flowers, is 
a sight worth seeing. Here and there on the sand-bars 
we saw huge jabiru storks, and once a flock of white 
wood-ibis among the trees on the bank. 

On the Brazihan boundary we met a shallow river 
steamer carrying Colonel Candido Mariano da Silva 
Rondon and several other Brazilian members of the 
expedition. Colonel Rondon immediately showed that 
he was all, and more than all, that could be desired. 
It was evident that he knew his business thoroughly, 
and it was equally evident that he would be a pleasant 
companion, j He was a classmate of Mr. Lauro MuUer 
at the Brazilian Military Academy. He is of almost 
pure Indian blood, and is a Positivist — the Positivists 
are a reaUy strong body in Brazil, as they are in France 
and, indeed, in Chile. The Colonel's seven children have 
all been formally made members of the Positivist 
Church in Rio Janeiro. Brazil possesses the same 
complete hberty in matters religious, spiritual, and 
intellectual as we, for our great good fortune, do in the 
United States, and my Brazilian companions included 
CathoHcs and equally sincere men who described them- 
selves as " libres penseurs." Colonel Rondon has spent 
the last twenty-four years in exploring the western 
highlands of Brazil, pioneering the way for telegraph- 
lines and raUroads. During that time he has 
travelled some fourteen thousand mUes, on territory 
most of which had not previously been traversed by 



'^'"y/S^.r Sy' 


Indians rolling logs at wood station 
Frovi a photograph by Kermit Roosevelt 

Palms along the bank of the river 
From a photograph by Kermit Roosevelt 


civilized man, and has built three thousand miles of 
telegraph. He has an exceptional knowledge of the 
Indian tribes, and has always zealously endeavoured to 
serve them, and indeed to serve the cause of humanity, 
wherever and whenever he was able. Thanks mainly 
to his efforts, four of the wild tribes of the region he 
has explored have begun to tread the road of civiUzation. 
They have taken the first steps toward becoming 
Christians. It may seem strange that among the first- 
fruits of the efforts of a Positivist should be the conver- 
sion to Christianity of those he seeks to benefit. But 
in South America, Christianity is at least as much a 
status as a theology. It represents the indispensable first 
step upward from savagery. In the wilder and poorer 
districts men are divided into the two great classes of 
" Christians " and " Indians." When an Indian becomes 
a Christian he is accepted into, and becomes wholly 
absorbed or partly assimilated by, the crude and simple 
neighbouring civilization, and then he moves up or down 
like anyone else among his fellows. 

Among Colonel Rondon's companions were Captain 
AmUcar de Magalhaes, Lieutenent Joao Lyra, Lieu- 
tenant Joaquin de Mello Filho, and Doctor Euzebio de 
Oliveira, a geologist. 

The steamers halted ; Colonel Rondon and several of 
his officers, spick and span in their white uniforms, came 
aboard ; and in the afternoon I visited him on his 
steamer to talk over our plans. When these had been 
fuUy discussed and agreed on, we took tea. I happened 
to mention that one of our naturahsts, Miller, had been 
bitten by a piranha, and the man-eating fish at once 
became the subject of conversation. Curiously enough, 
one of the Brazilian taxidermists had also just been 
severely bitten by a piranha. My new companions had 


50 UP THE PARAGUAY [chap, ii 

story after story to tell of them. Only three weeks 
previously a twelve-year-old boy who had gone in 
swimming near Corumba was attacked, and literally 
devoured alive by them. Colonel Rondon during his 
exploring trips had met with more than one unpleasant 
experience in connection with them. He had lost one 
of his toes by the bite of a piranha. He was about 
to bathe, and had chosen a shallow pool at the edge of 
the river, which he carefully inspected until he was 
satisfied that none of the man-eating fish were in it ; 
yet as soon as he put his foot into the water one of 
them attacked him and bit off a toe. On another 
occasion, while wading across a narrow stream, one of 
his party was attacked ; the fish bit him on the thighs 
and buttocks, and, when he put down his hands, tore 
them also ; he was near the bank, and by a rush reached 
it and swung himself out of the water by means of an 
overhanging hmb of a tree ; but he was terribly injured, 
and it took him six months before his wounds healed 
and he recovered. An extraordinary incident occurred 
on another trip. The party were without food and very 
hungry. On reaching a stream they dynamited it, and 
waded in to seize the stunned fish as they floated on the 
surface. One man. Lieutenant Pyrineus, having his 
hands full, tried to hold one fish by putting its head 
into his mouth ; it was a piranha, and seemingly stunned, 
but in a moment it recovered, and bit a big section out 
of his tongue. Such a haemorrhage followed that his life 
was saved with the utmost difficulty. On another 
occasion a member of the party was off by himself on 
a mule. The mule came into camp alone. Following 
his track back, they came to a ford, where in the water 
they found the skeleton of the dead man, his clothes 
uninjured, but every particle of flesh stripped from his 


bones. Whether he had been drowned, and the fishes had 
then eaten his body, or whether they had killed him, it 
was impossible to say. They had not hurt the clothes, 
getting in under them, which made it seem likely that 
there had been no struggle. These man-eating fish are 
a veritable scourge in the waters they frequent. But it 
must not be understood by this that the piranhas— or, 
for the matter of that, the New World caymans and 
crocodiles — ever become such dreaded foes of man as, 
for instance, the man-eating crocodiles of Africa. 
Accidents occur, and there are certain places where 
swimming and bathing are dangerous ; but in most places 
the people swim freely, although they are usually careful 
to find spots they believe safe, or else to keep together 
and make a splashing in the water. 

During his trips Colonel Rondon had met with 
various experiences with wild creatures. The Paraguayan 
caymans are not ordinarily dangerous to man ; but 
they do sometimes become man-eaters, and should be 
destroyed whenever the opportunity offers. The huge 
caymans and crocodiles of the Amazon are far more 
dangerous, and the Colonel knew of repeated instances 
where men, women, and children had become their 
victims. Once, while dynamiting a stream for fish for 
his starving party, he partially stunned a giant anaconda, 
which he killed as it crept slowly off. He said that it 
was of a size that no other anaconda he had ever seen 
even approached, and that in his opinion such a brute, if 
hungry, would readily attack a full-grown man. Twice 
smaller anacondas had attacked his dogs ; one was 
carried under water — for the anaconda is a water-loving 
serpent — but he rescued it. One of his men was bitten 
by a jararaca ; he killed the venomous snake, but was 
not discovered and brought back to camp until it was too 

52 UP THE PARAGUAY [chap, ii 

late to save his life. The puma Colonel Rondon had 
found to be as cowardly as I have always found it, but 
the jaguar was a formidable beast, which occasionally 
turned man-eater, and often charged savagely when 
brought to bay. He had known a hunter to be killed 
by a jaguar he was following in thick grass cover. 

AU such enemies, however, he regarded as utterly 
trivial compared to the real dangers of the wilderness — 
the torment and menace of attacks by the swarming 
insects, by mosquitoes and the even more intolerable 
tiny gnats, by the ticks, and by the vicious poisonous 
ants which occasionally cause villages, and even whole 
districts, to be deserted by human beings. These insects, 
and the fevers they cause, and dysentery and starvation 
and wearing hardship and accidents in rapids, are what 
the pioneer explorers have to fear. The conversation 
was to me most interesting. The Colonel spoke French 
about to the extent I did ; but, of course, he and the 
others preferred Portuguese ; and then Kermit was the 

In the evening, soon after moonrise, we stopped for 
wood at the Httle Brazilian town of Porto Martinho. 
There are about twelve hundred inhabitants. Some of 
the buildings were of stone ; a large private house with 
a castellated tower was of stone ; there were shops, and 
a post-office, stores, a restaurant and billiard-hall, and 
warehouses for matte, of which much is grown in the 
region roundabout. Most of the houses were low, with 
overhanging, sloping eaves ; and there were gardens 
with high walls, inside of which trees rose, many of 
them fragrant. We wandered through the wide, dusty 
streets, and along the narrow sidewalks. It was a hot, 
still evening ; the smell of the tropics was on the hea%'y 
December air. Through the open doors and windows 


we caught dim glimpses of the half-clad inmates of the 
poorer houses ; women and young girls sat outside their 
thresholds in the moonlight. All whom we met were 
most friendly: the Captain of the little Brazilian garrison; 
the intendente, a local trader ; another trader and ranch- 
man, a Uruguayan, who had just received his newspaper 
containing my speech in Montevideo, and who, as I 
gathered from what I understood of his rather voluble 
Spanish, was much impressed by my views on democracy, 
honesty, liberty, and order (rather well-worn topics) ; and 
a Catalan who spoke French, and who was accompanied 
by his pretty daughter, a dear little girl of eight or ten, 
who said with much pride that she spoke three languages 
— Brazilian, Spanish, and Catalan ! Her father expressed 
strongly his desire for a church and for a school in the 
little city. 

When at last the wood was aboard we resumed our 
journey. The river was like glass. In the white moon- 
light the palms on the edge of the banks stood mirrored 
in the still water. We sat forward, and as we rounded 
the curves the long silver reaches of the great stream 
stretched ahead of us, and the ghostly outlines of hills 
rose in the distance. Here and there prairie fires burned, 
and the red glow warred with the moon's radiance. 

Next morning was overcast. Occasionally we passed 
a wood-yard, or factory, or cabin, now on the eastern, 
the Brazilian, now on the western, the Paraguayan, bank. 
The Paraguay was known to men of European birth, 
bore soldiers and priests and merchants as they sailed 
and rowed up and down the current of its stream, and 
beheld httle towns and forts rise on its banks, long 
before the Mississippi had become the white man's 
highway. Now, along its upper course, the settlements 
are much like those on the Mississippi at the end of the 

54 UP THE PARAGUAY [chap, ii 

first quarter of the last century ; and in the not distant 
future it will witness a burst of growth and prosperity 
much like that which the Mississippi saw when the old 
men of to-day were very young. ^ 

In the early forenoon we stopped at a little Paraguayan 
hamlet, nestling in the green growth under a group of 
low hiUs by the river-brink. On one of these hUls stood 
a picturesque old stone fort, known as Fort Bourbon in 
the Spanish, the colonial, days. Now the Paraguayan 
flag floats over it, and it is garrisoned by a handful of 
Paraguayan soldiers. Here Father Zahm baptized two 
children, the youngest of a large family of fair-skinned, 
Ught-haired smaU people, whose father was a Paraguayan 
and the mother an " Oriental," or Uruguayan. No priest 
had visited the vUlage for three years, and the children 
were respectively one and two years of age. The 
sponsors included the local commandante and a married 
couple from Austria. In answer to what was supposed 
to be the perfunctory question whether they were 
CathoKcs, the parents returned the unexpected answer 
that they were not. Further questioning ehcited the 
fact that the father called himself a " free-thinking 
CathoUc," and the mother said she was a " Protestant 
Catholic," her mother having been a Protestant, the 
daughter of an immigrant from Normandy. However, 
it appeared that the older children had been baptized by 
the Bishop of Asuncion, so Father Zahm, at the earnest 
request of the parents, proceeded with the ceremony. 
They were good people ; and, although they wished 
hberty to think exactly as they individually pleased, they 
also wished to be connected and to have their children 
connected with some Church, by preference the Church 
of the majority of their people. A very short experience 
of communities where there is no Church ought to con- 


vince the most heterodox of the absolute need of a 
Church. I earnestly wish that there could be such an 
increase in the personnel and equipment of the Roman 
Catholic Church in South America as to permit the 
establishment of one good and earnest priest in every 
village or httle community in the far interior. Nor is there 
any inconsistency between this wish and the further wish 
that there could be a marked extension and develop- 
ment of the native Protestant Churches, such as I saw 
established here and there in Brazil, Uruguay, and 
Argentina, and of the Y M.C. Associations. Most 
of the good people who profess religion will con- 
tinue to be Roman Catholic, but the spiritual needs of a 
more or less considerable minority will best be met by 
the establishment of Protestant Churches, or in places 
even of a Positivist Church or Ethical Culture Society. 
Not only is the establishment of such Churches a good 
thing for the body politic as a whole, but a good thing 
for the Cathohc Church itself; for their presence is a 
constant spur to activity and clean and honourable 
conduct, and a constant reflection on sloth and moral 
laxity. The government in each of these common- 
wealths is doing everything possible to further the 
cause of education, and the tendency is to treat 
education as peculiarly a function of government, and 
to make it, where the government acts, non-sectarian, 
obligatory, and free — a cardinal doctrine of our own 
great democracy, to which we are committed by every 
principle of sound Americanism. There must be abso- 
lute religious hberty, for tyranny and intolerance are as 
abhorrent in matters intellectual and spiritual as in 
matters political and material ; and more and more we 
must all realize that conduct is of infinitely greater 
importance than dogma. But no democracy can afford 

56 UP THE PARAGUAY [chap, ii 

to overlook the vital importance of the ethical and 
spiritual, the truly religious, element in Hfe ; and in 
practice the average good man grows clearly to under- 
stand this, and to express the need in concrete form by 
saying that no community can make much headway if 
it does not contain both a church and a school. 
/ ''We took breakfast — the eleven o'clock Brazilian 
/ breakfast — on Colonel Rondon's boat. Caymans were 
becoming more plentiful. The ugly brutes lay on the 
sand-flats and mud- banks hke logs, always with the 
head raised, sometimes with the jaws open. They are 
often dangerous to domestic animals, and are always 
destructive to fish, and it is good to shoot them. I 
killed half a dozen, and missed nearly as many more— a 
throbbing boat does not improve one's aim. We passed 
forests of palms that extended for leagues, and vast 
marshy meadows, where storks, herons, and ibis were 
gathered, with flocks of cormorants and darters on the 
sand-bars, and stilts, skimmers, and clouds of beautiful 
swaying terns in the foreground. About noon we 
passed the highest point which the old Spanish con- 
quistadores and explorers, Irala and Ayolas, had reached 
in the course of their marvellous journeys in the first 
half of the sixteenth century — at a time when there 
was not a settlement in what is now the United States, 
and when hardly a single English sea-captain had 
ventured so much as to cross the Atlantic. 

By the following day the country on the east bank 
had become a vast marshy plain, dotted here and there 
by tree-clad patches of higher land. The morning was 
rainy — a contrast to the fine weather we had hitherto 
encountered. We passed wood-yards and cattle-ranches. 
At one of the latter the owner, an Argentine of Irish 
parentage, who still spoke English with the accent of 


&H ^ 

I 1 


I I, 


the land of his parents' nativity, remarked that this was 
the first time the American flag had been seen on the 
upper Paraguay, for our gunboat carried it at the mast- 
head. Early in the afternoon, having reached the part 
where both banks of the river were Brazilian territory, 
we came to the old colonial Portuguese fort of Coimbra. ' 
It stands where two steep hills rise, one on either side 
of the river, and it guards the water-gorge between 
them. It was captured by the Paraguayans in the war 
of nearly half a century ago. Some modern guns have 
been mounted, and there is a garrison of Brazilian 
troops. The white fort is perched on the hillside, where 
it chngs and rises, terrace above terrace, with bastion 
and parapet and crenellated wall. At the foot of the 
hill, on the riverine plain, stretches the old-time village 
with its roofs of palm. In the village dwell several 
hundred souls, almost entirely the officers and soldiers 
and their families. There is one long street. The 
one- story, daub-and- wattle houses have low eaves, and 
steep sloping roofs of palm-leaves or of split palm- 
trunks. Under one or two old but small trees there 
are rude benches, and for a part of the length of 
the street there is a rough stone sidewalk. A little 
graveyard, some of the tombs very old, stands at one 
end. As we passed down the street, the wives and the 
swarming children of the garrison were at the doors and 
windows ; there were women and girls with skins as 
fair as any in the northland, and others that were pre- 
dominantly negro. Most were of intervening shades. 
All this was paralleled among the men, and the fusion 
of the colours was going on steadily. 

Around the village black vultures were gathered. 
Not long before reaching it we passed some rounded 
green trees, their tops covered with the showy wood- 

58 UP THE PARAGUAY [chap, n 

ibis ; at the same time we saw behind them, farther 
inland, other trees crowded with the more delicate 
forms of the shining white egrets. 

The river now widened, so that in places it looked 
hke a long lake ; it wound in every direction through 
the endless marshy plain, whose surface was broken 
here and there by low mountaiQS. The splendour of 
the sunset I never saw surpassed. We were steaming 
east toward clouds of storm. The river ran, a broad 
highway of molten gold, into the flaming sky ; the far- 
off mountains loomed purple across the marshes ; belts 
of rich green, the river-banks stood out on either side 
against the rose hues of the rippling water ; in front, as 
we forged steadily onward, hung the tropic night, dim 
and vast. 

On December 15 we reached Corumba. For three 
or four miles before it is reached, the west bank, on 
which it stands, becomes high rocky ground, falling 
away into cliffs. The country round about was evi- 
dently well peopled. We saw gauchos, cattle-herders — 
the equivalent of our own cowboys — riding along the 
bank. Women were washing clothes, and their naked 
children bathing on the shore — we were told that cay- 
mans and piranhas rarely ventured near a place where 
so much was going on, and that accidents generally 
occurred in ponds or lonely stretches of the river. 
Several steamers came out to meet us, and accom- 
panied us for a dozen miles, with bands playing and the 
passengers cheering, just as if we were nearing some 
town on the Hudson. 

Corumba is on a steep hillside, with wide, roughly- 
paved streets, some of them lined with beautiful trees 
that bear scarlet flowers, and with well-built houses, 
most of them of one story, some of two or three stories. 


We were greeted with a reception by the municipal 
council, and were given a state dinner. The hotel, 
kept by an Italian, was as comfortable as possible — 
stone floors, high ceilings, big windows and doors, a 
cool, open courtyard, and a shower-bath. Of course, 
Corumba is still a frontier town. The vehicles are ox- 
carts and mule- carts ; there are no carriages ; and oxen 
as well as mules are used for riding. The water comes 
from a big central well ; around it the water-carts 
gather, and their contents are then peddled around at 
the different houses. The families showed the mixture 
of races characteristic of Brazil ; one mother, after the 
children had been photographed in their ordinary cos- 
tume, begged that we return and take them in their 
Sunday clothes, which was accordingly done. In a 
year the railway from Rio will reach Corumba, and 
then this city, and the country round about, will see 
much development. 

At this point we rejoined the rest of the party, and 
very glad we were to see them. Cherrie and Miller 
had already collected some eight hundred specimens of 
mammals and birds. 



The morning after our arrival at Corumba I asked 
Colonel Rondon to inspect our outfit ; for his experience 
of what is necessary in tropical travelling has been 
gained through a quarter of a century of arduous 
exploration in the wilderness. It was Fiala who had 
assembled our food-tents, cooking utensils, and supplies 
of all kinds, and he and Sigg, during their stay in 
Corumba, had been putting everything in shape for our 
start. Colonel Rondon, at the end of his inspection, 
said he had nothing whatever to suggest ; that it 
was extraordinary that Fiala, without personal know- 
ledge of the tropics, could have gathered the things 
most necessary, with the minimum of bulk and 
maximum of usefulness. 

Miller had made a special study of the piranhas, 
which swarmed at one of the camps he and Cherrie 
had made in the Chaco. So numerous were they that 
the members of the party had to be exceedingly careful 
in dipping up water. MiUer did not find that they 
were cannibals toward their own kind ; they were 
"cannibals" only in the sense of eating the flesh of 
men. When dead piranhas, and even when mortally 
injured piranhas, with the blood flowing, were thrown 
among the ravenous living, they were left unmolested. 



Moreover, it was Miller's experience, the direct con- 
trary of what we had been told, that splashing and a 
commotion in the water attracted the piranhas, whereas 
they rarely attacked anything that was motionless 
unless it was bloody. Dead birds and mamni^ls, 
thrown whole and unskinned into the water, were 
permitted to float off unmolested, whereas the skinne;d 
carcass of a good-sized monkey was at once seized, 
pulled under the water, and completely devoured by 
the blood-crazy fish. A man who had dropped some- 
thing of value waded in after it to above the knees, but 
went very slowly and quietly, avoiding every possibility 
of disturbance, and not venturing to put his hands into 
the water. But nobody could bathe, and even the 
slightest disturbance in the water, such as that made by 
scrubbing the hands vigorously with soap, immediately 
attracted the attention of the savage little creatures, 
who darted to the place, evidently hoping to fiud some 
animal in difficulties. Once, while MUler and some 
Indians were attempting to launch a boat, and were 
making a great commotion in the water, a piranha 
attacked a naked Indian who belonged to the party, 
and mutilated him as he struggled and splashed, waist- 
deep in the stream. Men not making a splashing and 
struggling are rarely attacked ; but if one is attacked 
by any chance, the blood in the water maddens the 
piranhas, and they assail the man with frightful ferocity. 
At Corumba the weather was hot. In the patio of 
the comfortable little hotel we heard the cicadas ; but 
I did not hear the extraordinary screaming whistle of 
the locomotive cicada, which I had heard in the gardens 
of the house in which I stayed at Asuncion. This was 
as remarkable a sound as any animal sound to which I 
have listened, except only the batrachian-like wailing 


of the tree hyrax in East Africa ; and, like the East 
African mammal, this South American insect has a 
voice, or rather utters a sound, which, so far as it 
resembles any other animal sound, at the beginning 
remotely suggests batrachian affinities. The locomotive 
whistle part of the utterance, however, resembles 
nothing so much as a small steam siren ; when first 
heard it seems impossible that it can be produced by an 

On December 17 Colonel Rondon and several mem- 
bers of our party started on a shallow river steamer for 
the ranch of Senhor de Barros, "Las Palmeiras," on 
the Rio Taquary. We went down the Paraguay for 
a few miles, and then up the Taquary. It was a 
beautiful trip. The shallow river — we were aground 
several times — wound through a vast marshy plain, 
with occasional spots of higher land on which trees 
grew. There were many water-birds. Darters swarmed. 
But the conspicuous and attractive bird was the stately 
jabiru stork. Flocks of these storks whitened the 
marshes and lined the river-banks. They were not shy 
for such big birds ; before flying they had to run a few 
paces and then launch themselves on the air. Once, at 
noon, a couple soared round overhead in wide rings, 
rising higher and higher. On another occasion, late in 
the day, a flock passed by, gleaming white with black 
points in the long afternoon lights, and with them were 
spoonbills, showing rosy amid their snowy companions. 
Caymans, always called jacar^s, swarmed ; and we killed 
scores of the noxious creatures. They were singularly 
indifferent to our approach and to the sound of the 
shots. Sometimes they ran into the water erect on 
their legs, looking like miniatures of the monsters of 
the prime. One showed by its behaviour how httle an 


ordinary shot pains or affects these dull-nerved, cold- 
blooded creatures. As it lay on a sand-bank, it was hit 
with a long 22 bullet. It slid into the water, but 
found itself in the midst of a school of fish. It at once 
forgot everything except its greedy appetite, and began 
catching the fish. It seized fish after fish, holding its 
head above water as soon as its jaws had closed on a 
fish ; and a second bullet killed it. Some of the 
crocodiles when shot performed most extraordinary 
antics. Our weapons, by the way, were good, except 
Miller's shotgun. The outfit furnished by the American ■ 
museum was excellent — except in guns and cartridges ; 
this gun was so bad that Miller had to use Fiala's gun 
or else my Fox 12-bore. 

In the late afternoon we secured a more interesting 
creature than the jacar^s. Kermit had charge of two 
hounds which we owed to the courtesy of one of our 
Argentine friends. They were biggish, nondescript 
animals, obviously good fighters, and they speedily 
developed the utmost affection for all the members of 
the expedition, but especially for Kermit, who took care 
of them. One we named " Shenzi," the name given the 
wild bush natives by the Swahili, the semi-civiUzed 
African porters. He was good-natured, rough, and 
stupid— hence his name. The other was called by a 
native name, " Trigueiro." The chance now came to 
try them. We were steaming between long stretches 
of coarse grass, about three feet high, when we spied 
from the deck a black object, very conspicuous against 
the vivid green. It was a giant ant-eater, or tamandud 
bandeira, one of the most extraordinary creatures of the 
latter-day world. It is about the size of a rather small 
black bear. It has a very long, narrow, toothless snout, 
with a tongue it can project a couple of feet; it is 


covered with coarse black hair, save for a couple of 
white stripes ; it has a long, bushy tail and very powerful 
claws on its fore-feet. It walks on the sides of its fore- 
feet, with these claws curved in under the foot. The 
claws are used in digging out ant-hills ; but the beast 
has courage, and in a grapple is a rather unpleasant 
enemy, in spite of its toothless mouth, for it can strike a 
formidable blow with these claws. It sometimes hugs 
a foe, gripping him tight ; but its ordinary method of 
defending itself is to strike with its long, stout, curved 
claws, which, driven by its muscular forearm, can rip 
open man or beast. Several of our companions had had 
dogs killed by these ant-eaters ; and we came across one 
man with a very ugly scar down his back where he had 
been hit by one, which charged him when he came up 
to kiU it at close quarters. 

As soon as we saw the giant tamandua we pushed off 
in a rowboat, and landed only a couple of hundred yards 
distant from our clumsy quarry. The tamandua through- 
out most of its habitat rarely leaves the forest, and it is 
a helpless animal in the open plain. The two dogs ran 
ahead, followed by Colonel Rondon and Kermit, with 
me behind carrying the rifle. In a minute or two the 
hounds overtook the cantering, shuffling creature, and 
promptly began to fight with it. The combatants were 
so mixed up that I had to wait another minute or so 
before I could fire without risk of hitting a dog. We 
carried our prize back to the bank and hoisted it aboard 
the steamer. The sun was just about to set, behind dim 
mountains, many miles distant across the marsh. 

Soon afterward we reached one of the out-stations of 
the huge ranch we were about to visit, and hauled up 
alongside the bank for the night. There was a landing- 
place, and sheds and corrals. Several of the peons or 


gauchos had come to meet us. After dark they kindled 
fires, and sat beside them singing songs in a strange minor 
key and strumming guitars. The red firehght flickered 
over their wild figures as they squatted away from the 
blaze, where the light and the shadow met. It was still 
and hot. There were mosquitoes, of course, and other 
insects of aU kinds swarmed round every light ; but the 
steamboat was comfortable, and we passed a pleasant 

At sunrise we were off for the fazenda, the ranch of 
M. de Barros. The baggage went in an ox-cart — which 
had to make two trips, so that all of my belongings 
reached the ranch a day later than I did. We rode 
small, tough ranch horses. The distance was some 
twenty miles. The whole country was marsh, varied 
by stretches of higher ground ; and, although these 
stretches rose only three or four feet above the marsh, 
they were covered with thick jungle, largely palmetto 
scrub, or else with open palm forest. For three or four 
miles we splashed through the marsh, now and then 
crossing boggy pools where the little horses laboured 
hard not to mire down. Our dusky guide was clad in a 
shirt, trousers, and fringed leather apron, and wore spurs 
on his bare feet ; he had a rope for a bridle, and two 
or three toes of each foot were thrust into little iron 

The pools in the marsh were drying. They were 
filled with fish, most of them. dead or dying; and the 
birds had gathered to the banquet. The most notable 
dinner guests were the great jabiru storks ; the stately 
creatures dotted the marsh. But ibises and herons 
abounded ; the former uttered queer, querulous cries 
when they discovered our presence. The spurred lap- 
wings were as noisy as they always are. The ibis and 



plover did not pay any heed to the fish ; but the black 
carrion vultures feasted on them ia the mud ; and in the 
pools that were not dry, small alligators, the jacare-tinga, 
were feasting also. In many places the stench from the 
dead fish was unpleasant. 

Then for miles we rode through a beautiful open 
forest of tall, slender caranda palms, with other trees 
scattered among them. Green parakeets with black 
heads chattered as they flew ; noisy green and red 
parrots cKmbed among the palms ; and huge macaws, 
some entirely blue, others almost entirely red, screamed 
loudly as they perched in the trees or took wing at our 
approach. If one was wounded, its cries kept its com- 
panions circling around overhead. The naturahsts found 
the bird fauna totally different from that which they 
had been collecting in the hill-country near Corumba, 
seventy or eighty miles distant ; and birds swarmed, 
both species and individuals. South America has the 
most extensive and most varied avifauna of all the 
continents. On the other hand, its mammalian fauna, 
although very interesting, is rather poor in number of 
species and individuals and in the size of the beasts. It 
possesses more mammals that are unique and distinctive 
in type than does any other continent save Australia ; 
and they are of higher and much more varied types than 
in Australia. But there is nothing approaching the 
majesty, beauty, and swarming mass of the great 
mammahan Mfe of Africa, and in a less degree of 
tropical Asia ; indeed, it does not even approach the 
similar mammahan hfe of North America and northern 
Eurasia, poor though this is compared with the seething 
vitality of tropical hfe in the Old World. During a 
geologically recent period, a period extending into that 
which saw man spread over the world in substantially 


the physical and cultural stage of many existing savages, 
South America possessed a varied and striking fauna of 
enormous beasts — sabre-tooth tigers, huge lions, masto- 
dons, horses of many kinds, camel-like pachyderms, 
giant ground-sloths, mylodons the size of the rhinoceros, 
and many, many other strange and wonderful creatures. 
P'rom some cause, concerning the nature of which we 
cannot at present even hazard a guess, this vast and 
giant fauna vanished completely, the tremendous catas- 
trophe (the duration of which is unknown) not being 
consummated until within a few thousand or a few 
score thousand years. When the white man reached 
South America, he found the same weak and impover- 
ished mammalian fauna that exists practically unchanged 
to-day. Elsewhere civilized man has been even more 
destructive than his very destructive uncivilized brothers 
of the magnificent mammalian life of the wilderness ; 
for ages he has been rooting out the higher forms of 
beast life in Europe, Asia, and North Africa ; and in 
our own day he has repeated the feat, on a very large 
scale, in the rest of Africa and in North America. But 
in South America, although he is in places responsible 
for the wanton slaughter of the most interesting and 
the largest, or the most beautiful, birds, his advent has 
meant a positive enrichment of the wild mammalian 
fauna. None of the native grass-eating mammals, the 
graminivores, approach in size and beauty the herds of 
wild or half-wild cattle and horses, or so add to the 
interest of the landscape. There is every reason why 
the good people of South America should waken, as we 
of North America, very late in the day, are beginning 
to waken, and as the peoples of northern Europe — not 
southern Europe — have already partially wakened, to 
the duty of preserving from impoverishment and ex- 


tinction the wild life which is an asset of such interest 
and value in our several lands ; but the case against 
civilized man ia this matter is gruesomely heavy any- 
how, when the plain truth is told, and it is harmed by 

After five or six hours' travelling through this country 
of marsh and of palm forest we reached the ranch for 
which we were heading. In the neighbourhood stood 
giant fig-trees, singly or in groups, with dense dark 
green foliage. Ponds, overgrown with water-plants, 
lay about ; wet meadow, and drier pastureland, open or 
dotted with palms and varied with tree-jungle, stretched 
for many miles on every hand. There are some thirty 
thousand head of cattle on the ranch, besides herds of 
horses and droves of swine, and a few flocks of sheep 
and goats. The home buildings of the ranch stood in a 
quadrangle, surrounded by a fence or low stockade. 
One end of the quadrangle was formed by the ranch-house 
itself, one story high, with whitewashed walls and red- 
tiled roof Inside, the rooms were bare, with clean, 
whitewashed walls and palm-trunk rafters. There were 
solid wooden shutters on the unglazed windows. We 
slept in hammocks or on cots, and we feasted royally 
on delicious native Brazilian dishes. On another side 
of the quadrangle stood another long, low white build- 
ing with a red-tiled roof ; this held the kitchen and the 
living-rooms of the upper-grade peons, the headmen, 
the cook, the jaguar-hunters, with their families : dark- 
skirmed men, their wives showdng varied strains of white, 
Indian, and negro blood. The children tumbled mer- 
rily in the dust, and were fondly tended by their mothers. 
Opposite the kitchen stood a row of buildings, some 
whitewashed daub-and- wattle, with tin roofs, others of 
erect palm-logs with palm-leaf thatch. These were the 


saddle-room, storehouse, chicken-house, and stable. 
The chicken-house was allotted to Kermit and Miller 
for the preparation of the specimens ; and there they 
worked industriously. With a big skin, like that of the 
giant ant-eater, they had to squat on the ground ; while 
the ducklings and wee chickens scuffled not only round 
the skin, but all over it, grabbing the shreds and scraps 
of meat and catching flies. The fourth end of the quad- 
rangle was formed by a corral and a big wooden scaf- 
folding on which hung hides and strips of drying meat. 
Extraordinary to relate, there were no mosquitoes at 
the ranch ; why I cannot say, as they ought to swarm in 
these vast pantanals, or swamps. Therefore, in spite 
of the heat, it was very pleasant. Near by stood other 
buildings : sheds, and thatched huts of palm-logs in 
which the ordinary peons lived, and big corrals. In the 
quadrangle were flamboyant trees, with their masses of 
brilliant red flowers and delicately cut, vivid green foli- 
age. Noisy oven-birds haunted these trees. In a high 
palm in the garden a family of green parakeets had 
taken up their abode, and were preparing to buUd nests. 
They chattered incessantly both when they flew and 
when they sat or crawled among the branches. Ibis 
and plover, crying and wailing, passed immediately 
overhead. Jacanas frequented the ponds near by ; the 
peons, with a familiarity which to us seems sacrilegious, 
but to them was entirely inoffensive and matter-of- 
course, called them "the Jesus Christ birds," because 
they walked on the water. There was a wealth of 
strange bird life in the neighbourhood. There were 
large papyrus-marshes, the papyrus not being a fifth, 
perhaps not a tenth, as high as in Africa. In these 
swamps were many blackbirds. Some uttered notes 
that reminded me of our own redwings. Others, with 


crimson heads and necks and thighs, fairly blazed ; often 
a dozen sat together on a swajdng papyrus-stem, which 
their weight bent over. There were all kinds of extra- 
ordinary birds'-nests in the trees. There is still need 
for the work of the collector in South America. But I 
believe that already, so far as birds are concerned, there 
is infinitely more need for the work of the careful 
observer, who to the power of appreciation and obser- 
vation adds the power of vivid, truthful, and interesting 
narration — which means, as scientists no less than histo- 
rians should note, that training in the writing of good 
Enghsh is indispensable to any learned man who expects 
to make his learning count for what it ought to count 
in the effect on his feUow-men. The outdoor naturalist, 
the faunal naturaUst, who devotes himself primarily to 
a study of the habits and of the life-histories of birds, 
beasts, fish, and reptUes, and who can portray, truth- 
fully and vividly, what he has seen, could do work of 
more usefulness than any mere collector, in this upper 
Paraguay country. The work of the collector is indis- 
pensable ; but it is only a small part of the work that 
ought to be done ; and after collecting has reached a 
certain point the work of the field observer with the 
gift for recording what he has seen becomes of far more 

The long days spent riding through the swamp, 
the pantanal, were pleasant and interesting. Several 
times we saw the tamandua bandeira, the giant ant- 
bear. Kermit shot one because the naturalists eagerly 
wished for a second specimen ; afterward we were 
reUeved of all necessity to molest the strange, out-of- 
date creatures. It was a surprise to us to find them 
habitually frequenting the open marsh. They were 
always on muddy ground, and in the papyrus-swamp 


we found them in several inches of water. The stomach 
is thick- walled, like a gizzard ; the stomachs of those 
we shot contained adult and larval ants, chiefly termites, 
together with plenty of black mould and fragments of 
leaves, both green and dry. Doubtless the earth and 
the vegetable matter had merely been taken incidentally, 
adhering to the viscid tongue when it was thrust into 
the ant masses. Out in the open marsh the tamandua 
could neither avoid observation, nor fight effectively, 
nor make good its escape by flight. It was curious to 
see one lumbering off at a rocking canter, the big bushy 
tail held aloft. One, while fighting the dogs, suddenly 
threw itself on its back, evidently hoping to grasp a dog 
with its paws ; and it now and then reared in order to 
strike at its assailants. In one patch of thick jungle we 
saw a black howler monkey sitting motionless in a tree- 
top. We also saw the swamp-deer, about the size of 
our blacktail. It is a real swamp animal, for we found 
it often in the papyrus-swamps, and out in the open 
marsh, knee-deep in the water, among the aquatic 

The tough little horses bore us well through the 
marsh. Often, in crossing bayous and ponds, the water 
rose almost to their backs ; but they splashed and waded, 
and, if necessary, swam through. The dogs were a 
wild - looking set. Some were of distinctly wolfish 
appearance. These, we were assured, were descended, 
in part, from the big red wolf of the neighbourhood, a 
taU, lank animal, with much smaller teeth than the big 
northern wolf. The domestic dog is undoubtedly de- 
scended from at least a dozen different species of wild 
dogs, wolves, and jackals, some of them probably be- 
longing to what we style " different genera." The degree 
of fecundity or lack of fecundity between different 


species varies in extraordinary and inexplicable fashion 
in different families of mammals. In the horse family, 
for instance, the species are not fertile inter se ; whereas 
among the oxen, species seemingly, at least, as widely 
separated as the horse, ass, and zebra — species such as 
the domestic ox, bison, yak, and gaur — breed freely 
together, and their oiFspring are fertile ; the lion and 
tiger also breed together, and produce offspring which 
will breed with either parent stock ; and tame dogs in 
different quarters of the world, although all of them 
fertile inter se, are in many cases obviously blood-kin to 
the neighbouring wild, wolf-like or jackal-like creatures 
which are specifically, and possibly even generically, 
distinct from one another. The big red wolf of the 
South American plains is not closely related to the 
northern wolves ; and it was to me unexpected to find 
it interbreeding with ordinary domestic dogs. 

In the evenings after dinner we sat in the bare ranch 
dining-room, or out under the trees in the hot darkness, 
and talked of many things : natural history with the 
naturalists, and all kinds of other subjects, both with 
them and with our Brazilian friends. Colonel Rondon 
is not simply " an officer and a gentleman " in the sense 
that is honourably true of the best army officers in 
every good military service. He is also a peculiarly 
hardy and competent explorer, a good field naturalist 
and scientific man, a student and a philosopher. With 
him the conversation ranged from jaguar-hunting and 
the perils of exploration in the " Matto Grosso," the 
great wilderness, to Indian anthropology, to the dangers 
of a purely materialistic industrial civilization, and to 
Positivist morality. The Colonel's Positivism was, in 
very fact to him, a religion of humanity, a creed which 
bade him be just and kindly and useful to his fellow- 


men, to live his life bravely, and no less bravely to face 
death, without reference to what he believed, or did not 
believe, or to what the unknown hereafter might hold 
for him. 

The native hunters who accompanied us were swarthy 
men of mixed blood. They were barefooted and scantily 
clad, and each carried a long, clumsy spear and a keen 
machete, in the use of which he was an expert. Now 
and then, in thick jungle, we had to cut out a path, and 
it was interesting to see one of them, although cumbered 
by his unwieldy spear, handling his half-broken little 
horse with complete ease while he hacked at limbs and 
branches. Of the two ordinarily with us one was much 
the younger ; and whenever we came to an unusually 
doubtful-looking ford or piece of boggy ground the 
elder man always sent the younger one on and sat on 
the bank until he saw what befell the experimenter. 
Tn that rather preposterous book of our youth, the 
" Swiss Family Robinson," mention is made of a tame 
monkey called Nips, which was used to test all edible- 
looking things as to the healthfulness of which the 
adventurers felt doubtful ; and because of the obvious 
resemblance of function we christened this younger 
hunter Nips. Our guides were not only hunters, but 
cattle-herders. The coarse dead grass is burned to 
make room for the green young grass on which the 
cattle thrive. Every now and then one of the men, as 
he rode ahead of us, without leaving the saddle, would 
drop a lighted match into a tussock of tall dead blades ; 
and even as we who were behind rode by tongues of 
hot flame would be shooting up, and a local prairie fire 
would have started. 

Kermit took Nips off with him for a solitary hunt 
one day. He shot two of the big marsh-deer, a buck 


and a doe, and preserved them as museum specimens. 
They were in the papyrus growth, but their stomachs 
contained only the fine marsh-grass which grows in the 
water and on the land along the edges of the swamps ; 
the papyrus was used only for cover, not for food. The 
buck had two big scent-glands beside the nostrils ; in 
the doe these were rudimentary. On this day Kermit 
also came across a herd of the big, fierce, white-lipped 
peccary ; at the sovmd of their grunting Nips promptly 
spurred his horse and took to his heels, explaining that 
the peccaries would charge them, hamstring the horses, 
and kill the riders. Kermit went into the jungle after 
the truculent httle wild hogs on foot, and followed them 
for an hour, but never was able to catch sight of them. 

In the afternoon of this same day one of the jaguar- 
hunters — merely ranch hands, who knew something of the 
chase of the jaguar — who had been searching for tracks, 
rode in with the information that he had found fresh 
signs at a spot in the swamp about nine miles distant. 
Next morning we rose at two, and had started on our 
jaguar-hunt at three. Colonel Rondon, Kermit, and I, 
with the two trailers or jaguar-hunters, made up the 
party, each on a weedy, imdersized marsh pony, accus- 
tomed to traversing the vast stretches of morass ; and 
we were accompanied by a brown boy, with saddle-bags 
holding our lunch, who rode a long-homed trotting 
steer, which he managed by a string through its nostrU 
and lip. The two trailers carried each a long clumsy 
spear. We had a rather poor pack. Besides our own 
two dogs, neither of which was used to jaguar-hunting, 
there were the ranch-dogs, which were wellnigh worth- 
less, and then two jaguar hounds, borrowed for the 
occasion from a ranch six or eight leagues distant. 
These were the only hounds on which we could place 






t, '^ 


I ■ 






any trust, and they were led in leashes by the two 
trailers. One was a white bitch, the other, the best 
one we had, was a gelded black dog. They were lean, 
half-starved creatures with prick ears and a look of 
furtive wildness. 

As our shabby little horses shuffled away from the 
ranch-house, the stars were brilliant and the Southern 
Cross hung well up in the heavens, tilted to the right. 
The landscape was spectral in the light of the waning 
moon. At the first shallow ford, as horses and dogs 
splashed across, an alligator, the jacar^-tinga, some five 
feet long, floated unconcernedly among the splashing 
hoofs and paws ; evidently at night it did not fear us. 
Hour after hour we shogged along. Then the night 
grew ghostly with the first dim grey of the dawn. The 
sky had become overcast. The sun rose red and angry 
through broken clouds ; his disc flamed behind the tall, 
slender columns of the palms, and lit the waste fields 
of papyrus. The black monkeys howled mournfully. 
The birds awoke. Macaws, parrots, parakeets, screamed 
at us and chattered at us as we rode by. Ibis called 
with wailing voices, and the plovers shrieked as they 
wheeled in the air. We waded across bayous and ponds, 
where white lilies floated on the water and thronging 
lilac-flowers splashed the green marsh with colour. 

At last, on the edge of a patch of jungle, in wet 
ground, we came on fresh jaguar tracks. Both the 
jaguar hounds challenged the sign. They were un- 
leashed and galloped along the trail, while the other 
dogs noisily accompanied them. The hunt led right 
through the marsh. Evidently the jaguar had not the 
least distaste for water. Probably it had been hunting 
for capybaras or tapirs, and it had gone straight through 
ponds and long, winding, narrow ditches or bayous. 


where it must now and then have had to swim for 
a stroke or two. It had also wandered through the 
island-hke stretches of tree-covered land, the trees at 
this point being mostly palms and tarumans ; the taru- 
man is almost as big as a live-oak, with glossy foliage 
and a fruit like an olive. The pace quickened, the 
motley pack burst into yelUng and howling ; and then 
a sudden quickening of the note showed that the game 
had either climbed a tree or turned to bay in a thicket. 
The former proved to be the case. The dogs had entered 
a patch of tall tree-jungle, and as we cantered up through 
the marsh we saw the jaguar high among the forked 
limbs of a taruman-tree. It was a beautiful picture— 
the spotted coat of the big, lithe, formidable cat fairly 
shone as it snarled defiance at the pack below. I did 
not trust the pack ; the dogs were not stanch, and if 
the jaguar came down and started I feared we might 
lose it. So I fired at once, from a distance of seventy 
yards. I was using my favourite rifle, the little Spring- 
field with which I have kUled most kinds of African 
game, from the Uon and elephant down ; the bullets 
were the sharp, pointed kind, with the end of naked 
lead. At the shot the jaguar fell like a sack of sand 
through the branches, and, although it staggered to its 
feet, it went but a score of yards before it sank down, 
and when I came up it was dead under the palms, with 
three or four of the bolder dogs riving at it. 

The jaguar is the king of South American game, 
ranking on an equality with the noblest beasts of the 
chase of North America, and behind only the huge and 
fierce creatures which stand at the head of the big game 
of Africa and Asia. This one was an adult female. 
It was heavier and more powerful than a full-grown 
male cougar, or African panther or leopard. It was 

The brown boy on the long-horned trotting steer, which he managed hy a 
string through its nostril and lip 
From a photograph by Kermit Roosevelt 

Colonel Roosevelt and the first jaguar 
From a -photOKratih by Kermit Roosevelt 


a big, powerfully-built creature, giving the same effect 
of strength that a tiger or lion does, and that the lithe 
leopards and pumas do not. Its flesh, by the way, 
proved good eating, when we had it for supper, although 
it was not cooked in the way it ought to have been. I 
tried it because I had found cougars such good eating ; 
I have always regretted that in Africa I did not try 
lion's flesh, which 1 am sure must be excellent. 

Next day came Kermit's turn. We had the miscel- 
laneous pack with us, all much enjoying themselves; 
but, although they could help in a jaguar-hunt to the 
extent of giving tongue and following the chase for half 
a mile, cowing the quarry by their clamour, they were 
not sufficiently staunch to be of use if there was any 
difficulty in the hunt. The only two dogs we could 
trust were the two borrowed jaguar hounds. This was 
the black dog's day. About ten in the morning we 
came to a long, deep, winding bayou. On the opposite 
bank stood a capybara, looking like a blunt-nosed pig, 
its wet hide shining black. I killed it, and it shd into 
the water. Then I found that the bayou extended for 
a mile or two in each direction, and the two hunter- 
guides said they did not wish to swim across for fear of 
the piranhas. Just at this moment we came across fresh 
jaguar tracks. It was hot, we had been travelling for 
five hours, and the dogs were much exhausted. The 
black hound in particular was nearly done up, for he 
had been led in a leash by one of the horsemen. He 
lay flat on the ground, panting, unable to catch the 
scent. Kermit threw water over him, and when he 
was thoroughly drenched and freshened, thrust his nose 
into the jaguar's footprints. The game old hound at 
once and eagerly responded. As he snuffed the scent 
he challenged loudly, while still lying down. Then he 


staggered to his feet and started on the trail, going 
stronger with every leap. Evidently the big cat w^as 
not far distant. Soon we found where it had swum 
across the bayou. Piranhas or no piranhas, we now 
intended to get across ; and we tried to force our horses 
in at what seemed a Mkely spot. The matted growth of 
water-plants, with their leathery, slippery stems, formed 
an unpleasant barrier, as the water was swimming-deep 
for the horses. The latter were very unwilling to attempt 
the passage. Kermit finally forced his horse through 
the tangled mass, swimming, plunging, and struggling. 
He left a lane of clear water, through which we swam 
after him. The dogs splashed and swam behind us. 
On the other bank they struck the fresh trail and 
followed it at a run. It led into a long belt of timber, 
chiefly composed of low-growing nacury palms, with 
long, drooping, many-fronded branches. In silhouette 
they suggest coarse bamboos ; the nuts hang in big 
clusters, and look like bunches of small, unripe bananas. 
Among the lower palms were scattered some big ordinary 
trees. We cantered along outside the timber belt, hsten- 
ing to the dogs within ; and in a moment a burst of 
yelling clamour from the pack told that the jaguar was 
afoot. These few minutes are the really exciting moments 
in the chase, wdth hounds, of any big cat that wiU tree. 
The furious bapng of the pack, the shouts and cheers 
of encouragement from the galloping horsemen, the wil- 
derness surroundings, the knowledge of what the quarry 
is — all combine to make the moment one of fierce and 
thrilhng excitement. Besides, in this case there was 
the possibihty the jaguar might come to bay on the 
ground, in which event there would be a shght element 
of risk, as it might need straight shooting to stop a 
charge. However, about as soon as the long-drawn 


howling and eager yelping showed that the jaguar 
had been overtaken, we saw him, a huge male, up 
in the branches of a great fig-tree. A bullet behind 
the shoulder, from Kermit's 405 Winchester, brought 
him dead to the ground. He was heavier than the very 
big male horse-kilUng cougar I shot in Colorado, whose 
skull Hart Merriam reported as the biggest he had ever 
seen ; he was very nearly double the weight of any of 
the male African leopards we shot; he was nearly or 
quite the weight of the smallest of the adult African 
lionesses we shot while in Africa. He had the big 
bones, the stout frame, and the heavy muscular build 
of a small lion ; he was not lithe and slender and long 
like a cougar or leopard ; the tail, as with all jaguars, 
was short, while the girth of the body was great ; his 
coat was beautiful, with a satiny gloss, and the dark 
brown spots on the gold of his back, head, and sides 
were hardly as conspicuous as the black of the equally 
well-marked spots against his white belly. 

This was a well-known jaguar. He had occasionally 
indulged in cattle-killing ; on one occasion during the 
floods he had taken up his abode near the ranch-house, 
and had killed a couple of cows and a young steer. The 
hunters had followed him, but he had made his escape, 
and for the time being had abandoned the neighbour- 
hood. In these marshes each jaguar had a wide irreg- 
ular range, and travelled a good deal, perhaps only 
passing a day or two in a given locality, perhaps spend- 
ing a week where game was plentiful. .Jaguars love the 
water. They drink greedily and swim freely. In this 
country they rambled through the night across the 
marshes and prowled along the edges of the ponds and 
bayous, catching the capybaras and the caymans ; for 
these small pond caymans, the jacare-tinga, form part 


of their habitual food, and a big jaguar when hungry 
will attack and kill large caymans and crocodiles if he 
can get them a few yards from the water. On these 
marshes the jaguars also followed the peccary herds ; it 
is said that they always strike the hindmost of a band of 
the fierce little wild pigs. Elsewhere they often prey 
on the tapir. If in timber, however, the jaguar must 
kill it at once, for the squat, thick-skinned, wedge- 
shaped tapir has no respect for timber, as Colonel 
Rondon phrased it, and rushes with such bhnd, head- 
long speed through and among branches and trunks 
that if not immediately kiUed it brushes the jaguar 
off, the claws leaving long raking scars in the tough 
hide. Cattle are often kiUed. The jaguar wiU not 
meddle with a big bull ; and is cautious about attacking 
a herd accompanied by a buU ; but it wUl at times, 
where wild game is scarce, kill every other domestic 
animal. It is a thirsty brute, and if it kiUs far from 
water will often drag its victim a long distance toward 
a pond or stream ; Colonel Rondon had once come 
across a horse which a jaguar had thus kUled and 
dragged for over a mile. Jaguars also stalk and kill 
the deer ; in this neighbourhood they seemed to be less 
habitual deer-hunters than the cougars ; whether this is 
generally the case I cannot say. They have been known 
to pounce on and devour good-sized anacondas. 

In this particular neighbourhood the ordinary jaguars 
molested the cattle and horses hardly at aU except now 
and then to kill calves. It was only occasionally that 
under special circumstances some old male took to 
cattle-killing. There were plenty of capybaras and 
deer, and evidently the big spotted cats preferred the 
easier prey when it was available ; exactly as in East 
Airica we found the lions living almost exclusively on 

A South American puma 



A South American jaguar 
from photographs by Ehiin R. Sanborn 


zebra and antelope, and not molesting the buffalo and 
domestic cattle, which in other parts of Africa furnish 
their habitual prey. In some other neighbourhoods, 
not far distant, our hosts informed us that the jaguars 
lived almost exclusively on horses and cattle. They 
also told us that the cougars had the same habits as the 
jaguars except that they did not prey on such big 
animals. The cougars on this ranch never molested 
the foals, a fact which astonished me, as in the Rockies 
they are the worst enemies of foals. It was interesting 
to find that my hosts, and the mixed-blood hunters and 
ranch workers, combined special knowledge of many of 
the habits of these big cats with a curious ignorance of 
of other matters concerning them and a readiness to 
believe fables about them. This was precisely what 
I had found to be the case with the old-time North 
American hunters in discussing the puma, bear, and 
wolf, and with the English and Boer hunters of Africa 
when they spoke of the lion and rhinoceros. Until the 
habit of scientific accuracy in observation and record is 
achieved, and until specimens are preserved and care- 
fully compared, entirely truthful men, at home in the 
vidlderness, will whole-heartedly accept, and repeat as 
matters of gospel faith, theories which split the grizzly 
and black bears of each locality in the United States, 
and the lions and black rhinos of South Africa, or the 
jaguars and pumas of any portion of South America, 
into several different species, all with widely different 
habits. They will, moreover, describe these imaginary 
habits with such sincerity and minuteness that they 
deceive most listeners ; and the result sometimes is that 
an otherwise good naturalist will perpetuate these fables, 
as Hudson did when he wrote of the puma. Hudson 
was a capital observer and writer when he dealt with 


the ordinary birds and mammals of the well-settled 
districts near Buenos Aires and at the mouth of the 
Rio Negro ; but he knew nothing of the wilderness. 
This is no reflection on him ; his books are great 
favourites of mine, and are to a large degree models 
of what such books should be ; I only wish that there 
were hundreds of such writers and observers who would 
give us similar books for all parts of America. But it is 
a mistake to accept him as an authority on that con- 
cerning which he was ignorant. 

An interesting incident occurred on the day we killed 
our first jaguar. We took our lunch beside a small but 
deep and obviously permanent pond. I went to the 
edge to dip up some water, and something growled or 
bellowed at me only a few feet away. It was a jacare- 
tinga, or small cayman, about five feet long. I paid no 
heed to it at the moment. But shortly afterward when 
our horses went down to drink, it threatened them 
and frightened them ; and then Colonel Rondon and 
Kermit called me to watch it. It lay on the surface of 
the water only a few feet distant from us and threatened 
us ; we threw cakes of mud at it, whereupon it clashed 
its jaws and made short rushes at us, and when we 
threw sticks it seized them and crunched them. We 
could not drive it away. Why it should have 
shown such truculence and heedlessness I cannot 
imagine, unless perhaps it was a female, with eggs near 
by. In another Uttle pond a jacar^-tinga showed no 
less anger when another of my companions approached. 
It bellowed, opened its jaws, and lashed its tail. Yet 
these pond jacares never actually molested even our 
dogs in the ponds, far less us on our horses. 

This same day others of our party had an interesting 
experience with the creatures in another pond. One 


of them was Commander da Cunha (of the BrazUian 
Navy), a capital sportsman and delightful companion. 
They found a deepish pond a hundred yards or so long, 
and thirty or forty across. It was tenanted by the 
smaU caymans and by capybaras— the largest known 
rodent, a huge aquatic guinea-pig, the size of a small 
sheep. It also swarmed with piranhas, the ravenous 
fish of which I have so often spoken. Undoubtedly 
the caymans were subsisting largely on these piranhas. 
But the tables were readily turned if any caymans were 
injured. When a capybara was shot and sank in the 
water, the piranhas at once attacked it, and had eaten 
half the carcass ten minutes later. But much more 
extraordinary was the fact that when a cayman about 
five feet long was wounded, the piranhas attacked and 
tore it, and actually drove it out on the bank to face its 
human foes. The fish first attacked the wound ; then, 
as the blood maddened them, they attacked all the soft 
parts, their terrible teeth cutting out chunks of tough 
hide and flesh. Evidently they did not molest either 
cayman or capybara while it was unwounded, but blood 
excited them to frenzy. Their habits are in some ways 
inexplicable. We saw men frequently bathing un- 
molested ; but there are places where this is never safe, 
and in any place if a school of the fish appear swimmers 
are in danger ; and a wounded man or beast is in deadly 
peril if piranhas are in the neighbourhood. Ordinarily 
it appears that an unwounded man is attacked only by 
accident. Such accidents are rare, but they happen 
with sufficient frequency to justify much caution in 
entering water where piranhas abound. 

We frequently came across ponds tenanted by 
numbers of capybaras. The huge, pig-like rodents are 
said to be shy elsewhere. Here they were tame. The 


water was their home and refuge. They usually went 
ashore to feed on the grass, and made well-beaten trails 
in the marsh immediately around the water ; but they 
must have travelled these at night, for we never saw 
them more than a few feet away from the water in the 
daytime. Even at midday we often came on them 
standing beside a bayou or pond. The dogs would 
rush wildly at such a standing beast, which would wait 
until they were only a few yards off, and then dash into 
and under the water. The dogs would also run full tUt 
into the water, and it was then really funny to see their 
surprise and disappointment at the sudden and com- 
plete disappearance of their quarry. Often a capybara 
would stand or sit on its haunches in the water, with 
only its blunt, short- eared head above the surface, quite 
heedless of our presence. But if alarmed it would dive, 
for capybaras swim with equal facility on or below the 
surface ; and if they wish to hide, they rise gently 
among the rushes or water-lily leaves with only their 
nostrils exposed. In these waters the capybaras and 
small caymans paid no attention to one another, swim- 
ming and resting in close proximity. They both had 
the same enemy, the jaguar. The capybara is a game 
animal only in the sense that a hare or rabbit is. The 
flesh is good to eat, and its amphibious habits and 
queer nature and surroundings make it interesting. In 
some of the ponds the water had about gone, and the 
capybaras had become for the time being beasts of the 
marsh and the mud ; although they could always find 
little slimy pools, under a mass of water-lihes, in which 
to lie and hide. 

Our whole stay on this ranch was delightful. On the 
long rides we always saw something of interest, and 
often it was something entirely new to us. Early one 


morning we came across two armadillos — the big, 
nine-banded armadillo. We were riding with the pack 
through a dry, sandy pasture country, dotted with clumps 
of palms, round the trunks of which grew a dense jungle 
of thorns and Spanish bayonets. The armadillos were 
feeding in an open space between two of these jungle 
clumps, which were about a hundred yards apart. One 
was on all fours ; the other was in a squatting position, 
with its forelegs off the ground. Their long ears were 
very prominent. The dogs raced at them. I had 
always supposed that armadillos merely shuffled along, 
and curled up for protection when menaced ; and I was 
almost as surprised as if I had seen a turtle gallop 
when these two armadillos bounded off at a run, going 
as fast as rabbits. One headed back for the nearest 
patch of jungle, which it reached. The other ran at 
full speed^ — and ran really fast, too — until it nearly 
reached the other patch, a hundred yards distant, the 
dogs in full cry immediately behind it. Then it sud- 
denly changed its mind, wheeled in its tracks, and came 
back like a bullet right through the pack. Dog after 
dog tried to seize it or stop it, and turned to pursue it ; 
but its wedge-shaped snout and armoured body, joined 
to the speed at which it was galloping, enabled it to 
drive straight ahead through its pursuers, not one of 
which could halt it or grasp it, and it reached in safety 
its thorny haven of refuge. It had run at speed about 
a hundred and fifty yards. I was much impressed by 
this unexpected exhibition ; evidently this species of 
armadillo only curls up as a last resort, and ordi- 
narily trusts to its speed, and to the protection its 
build and its armour give it while running, in order 
to reach its burrow or other place of safety. Twice, 
while laying railway tracks near Sao Paulo, Kermit 


had accidentally dug up armadillos with a steam- 

There were big ant-hills, some of them of huge 
dimensions, scattered through the country. Sometimes 
they were built against the stems of trees. We did 
not here come across any of the poisonous or biting 
ants, which, when sufficiently numerous, render certain 
districts uninhabitable. They are ordinarily not very 
numerous. Those of them that march in large bodies 
kill nestling birds, and at once destroy any big animal 
unable to get out of their way. It has been suggested 
that nestlings in their nests are in some way immune 
j&om the attack of these ants. The experiments of our 
naturahsts tended to show that this was not the case. 
They plundered any nest they came across and could 
get at. 

Once we saw a small herd of peccaries, one a sow 
followed by three httle pigs — they are said to have only 
two young, but we saw three, although, of course, it is 
possible one belonged to another sow. The herd 
galloped into a mass of thorny cover the hounds could 
not penetrate ; and when they were in safety we heard 
them utter, from the depths of the jungle, a curious 
moaning sound. 

On one ride we passed a clump of palms which were 
fairly ablaze with bird colour. There were magnificent 
hyacinth macaws ; green parrots with red splashes ; 
toucans with varied plumage, black, white, red, yellow ; 
green jacmars ; flaming orioles and both blue and dark 
red tanagers. It was an extraordinary collection. AU 
were noisy. Perhaps there was a snake that had drawn 
them by its presence ; but we could find no snake. 
The assembly dispersed as we rode up ; the huge blue 
macaws departed in pairs, uttering their hoarse " ar- 

Nine-banded armadillo 


'-"' '■*t*0f^iiji^- 


Collared peccary 
From photographs by Elwin R. Sanborn 


rah-h, ar-rah-h." It has been said that parrots in the 
wilderness are only noisy on the wing. They are 
certainly noisy on the wing ; and those that we saw 
were quiet while they were feeding ; but ordinarily 
when they were perched among the branches, and 
especially when, as in the case of the little parakeets 
near the house, they were gathering materials for nest- 
building, they were just as noisy as while flying. 

The water-birds were always a delight. We shot 
merely the two or three specimens the naturalists needed 
for the museum. I killed a wood-ibis on the wing with 
the handy little Springfield, and then lost all the credit 
I had thus gained by a series of inexcusable misses, at 
long range, before I finally kiUed a jabiru. Kermit shot 
a jabiru with the Liiger automatic. The great, splendid 
birds, standing about as tall as a man, show fight when 
wounded, and advance against their assailants, clattering 
their formidable bills. One day we found the nest of 
a jabiru in a mighty fig-tree, on the edge of a patch of 
jungle. It was a big platform of sticks, placed on a 
horizontal branch. There were four half-grown young 
standing on it. We passed it in the morning, when 
both parents were also perched alongside ; the sky was 
then overcast, and it was not possible to photograph it 
with the small camera. In the early afternoon when we 
again passed it the sun was out, and we tried to get 
photographs. Only one parent bird was present at this 
time. It showed no fear. I noticed that, as it stood 
on a branch near the nest, its bill was slightly open. 
It was very hot, and I suppose it had opened its bill 
just as a hen opens her bill in hot weather. As we 
rode away the old bird and the four young birds were 
standing motionless, and with gliding flight the other 
old bird was returning to the nest. It is hard to give 


an adequate idea of the wealth of bird life in these 
marshes. A naturahst could, with the utmost advantage, 
spend six months on such a ranch as that we visited. 
He would have to do some collecting, but only a httle. 
Exhaustive observation in the field is what is now most 
needed. Most of this wonderful and harmless bird life 
should be protected by law ; and the mammals should 
receive reasonable protection. The books now most 
needed are those dealing with the life-histories of wild 

Near the ranch-house, walking famiharly among the 
cattle, we saw the big, deep-billed Ani blackbirds. 
They feed on the insects disturbed by the hoofs of the 
cattle, and often cling to them and pick off the ticks. 
It was the end of the nesting season, and we did not 
find their curious communal nests, in which half a dozen 
females lay their eggs indiscriminately. The common 
ibises in the ponds near by — which usually went in 
pairs, instead of in flocks like the wood-ibis — were very 
tame, and so were the night herons and all the smaU 
herons. In flying, the ibises and storks stretch the 
neck straight in front of them. The jabiru — a 
splendid bird on the wing — also stretches his neck 
out in front, but there appears to be a slight downward 
curve at the base of the neck, which may be due merely 
to the craw. The big slender herons, on the contrary, 
bend the long neck back in a beautiful curve, so that 
the head is nearly between the shoulders. One day I 
saw what I at first thought was a small yellow-bellied 
kingfisher hovering over a pond, and finally plunging 
down to the surface of the water after a school of tiny 
young fish ; but it proved to be a bien-te-vi king-bird. 
Curved-bUl wood-hewers, birds the size and somewhat 
the coloration of veeries, but with long, slender sickle- 


bills, were common in the little garden back of the 
house ; their habits were those of creepers, and they 
scrambled with agility up, along, and under the trunks 
and branches, and along the posts and rails of the fence, 
thrusting the bill into crevices for insects. The oven- 
birds, which had the carriage and somewhat the look 
of wood-thrushes, I am sure would prove delightful 
friends'on a close acquaintance ; they are very individual, 
not only in the extraordinary domed mud nests they 
build, but in all their ways, in their bright alertness, 
their interest in and curiosity about whatever goes on, 
their rather jerky quickness of movement, and their 
loud and varied calls. With a little encouragement they 
become tame and familiar. The parakeets were too 
noisy, but otherwise were most attractive little birds, 
as they flew to and fro and scrambled about in the top of 
the palm behind the house. There was one showy kind 
of king-bird or tyrant flycatcher, lustrous black with a 
white head. 

One afternoon several score cattle were driven into a 
big square corral near the house, in order to brand the 
calves and a number of unbranded yearlings and two- 
year-olds. A special element of excitement was added 
by the presence of a dozen big bulls which were to be 
turned into draught-oxen. The agility, nerve, and 
prowess of the ranch workmen, the herders or gauchos, 
were noteworthy. The dark-skinned men were obviously 
mainly of Indian and negro descent, although some of 
them also showed a strong strain of white blood. They 
wore the usual shirt, trousers, and fringed leather apron, 
with jim-crow hats. Their bare feet must have been 
literally as tough as horn ; for when one of them roped 
a big bull he would brace himself, bending back until he 
was almost sitting down and digging his heels into the 


ground, and the galloping beast would be stopped short 
and whirled completely round when the rope tautened. 
The maddened bulls, and an occasional steer or cow, 
charged again and again with furious wrath ; but two 
or three ropes would settle on the doomed beast, and 
down it would go ; and when it was released and rose 
and charged once more, with greater fury than ever, the 
men, shouting with laughter, would leap up the sides of 
the heavy stockade. 

We stayed at the ranch until a couple of days before 
Christmas. Hitherto the weather had been lovely. The 
night before we left there was a torrential tropic down- 
pour. It was not unexpected, for we had been told 
that the rainy season was overdue. The following fore- 
noon the baggage started, in a couple of two-wheeled 
ox- carts, for the landing where the steamboat awaited 
us. Each cart was drawn by eight oxen. The huge 
wheels were over seven feet high. Early in the after- 
noon we followed on horseback, and overtook the carts 
as darkness fell, just before we reached the landing on 
the river's bank. The last few miles, after the final 
reaches of higher, tree-clad ground had been passed, 
were across a level plain of low ground on which the 
water stood, sometimes only up to the ankles of a man 
on foot, sometimes as high as his waist. Directly in 
front of us, many leagues distant, rose the bold moun- 
tains that lie west of Corumba. Behind them the sun 
was setting and kindled the overcast heavens with lurid 
splendour. Then the last rose tints faded from the sky ; 
the horses plodded wearily through the water ; on every 
side stretched the marsh, vast, lonely, desolate in the 
grey of the half-light. We overtook the ox-carts. The 
cattle strained in the yokes ; the drivers wading along- 
side cracked their whips and uttered strange cries ; the 



carts rocked and swayed as the huge wheels churned 
through the mud and water. As the last light faded 
we reached the small patches of dry land at the landing, 
where the flat-bottomed side-wheel steamboat was 
moored to the bank. The tired horses and oxen were 
turned loose to graze. Water stood in the corrals, but 
the open shed was on dry ground. Under it the half- 
clad, wild-looking ox-drivers and horse-herders slung 
their hammocks ; and close by they lit a fire and 
roasted, or scorched, slabs and legs of mutton, spitted 
on sticks and propped above the smouldering flame. 

Next morning, with real regret, we waved good-bye 
to our dusky attendants, as they stood on the bank, 
grouped around a little fire, beside the big, empty 
ox-carts. A dozen miles down-stream a row-boat 
fitted for a sprit-sail put off from the bank. The 
owner, a countryman from a small ranch, asked for 
a tow to Corumba, which we gave. He had with him 
in the boat his comely brown wife —who was smoking a 
very large cigar — their two children, a young man, and 
a couple of trunks and various other belongings. On 
Christmas Eve we reached Corumba, and rejoined the 
other members of the expedition. 



At Corumba our entire party, and all their belong- 
ings, came aboard our good little river boat, the Nyoac. 
Christmas Day saw us making our way steadily up- 
stream against the strong current, and between the 
green and beautiful banks of the upper Paraguay. The 
shallow Uttle steamer was jammed with men, dogs, 
rifles, partially cured skins, boxes of provisions, ammu- 
nition, tools, and photographic suppKes, bags containing 
tents, cots, bedding, and clothes, saddles, hammocks, 
and the other necessaries for a trip through the "great 
wUderness," the " matto grosso " of Western Brazil. 

It was a brilliantly clear day, and, although of course 
in that latitude and at that season the heat was intense 
later on, it was cool and pleasant in the early morning. 
We sat on the forward deck, admiring the trees on the 
brink of the sheer river banks, the lush, rank grass of the 
marshes, and the many water-birds. The two pilots, 
one black and one white, stood at the wheel. Colonel 
Rondon read Thomas a Kempis. Kermit, Cherrie, and 
Miller squatted outside the railing on the deck over one 
paddle-wheel and put the final touches on the jaguar- 
skins. Fiala satisfied himself that the boxes and bags 
were in place. It was probable that hardship lay in the 
future ; but the day was our own, and the day was 



pleasant. In the evening the after-deck, open all 
around, where we dined, was decorated with green 
boughs and rushes, and we drank the health of the 
President of the United States and of the President 
of Brazil. 

Now and then we passed little ranches on the river's 
edge. This is a fertile land, pleasant to live in, and any 
settler who is willing to work can earn his living. There 
are mines ; there is water-power ; there is abundance 
of rich soil. The country will soon be opened by rail. 
It offers a fine field for immigration and for agriculture, 
mining, and business development ; and it has a great 

Cherrie and MUler had secured a little owl a month 
before in the Chaco, and it was travelling with them 
in a basket. It was a dear little bird, very tame and 
affectionate. It liked to be handled and petted ; and 
when Miller, its especial protector, came into the cabin, 
it would make queer little noises as a signal that it 
wished to be taken up and perched on his hand. Cherrie 
and Miller had trapped many mammals. Among them 
was a tayra weasel, whitish above and black below, 
as big and bloodthirsty as a fisher-martin ; and a tiny 
opossum no bigger than a mouse. They had taken four 
species of opossum, but they had not found the curious 
water-opossum which they had obtained on the rivers 
flowing into the Caribbean Sea. This opossum, which 
is black and white, swims in the streams' like a musk-rat 
or otter, catching fish and living in burrows which open 
under water. Miller and Cherrie were puzzled to know 
why the young throve, leading such an existence of 
constant immersion ; one of them once found a female 
swimming and diving freely with four quite weU-grown 
young in her pouch. 


We saw on the banks screamers — big, crested waders 
of archaic tjrpe, with spurred wings, rather short bills, 
and no especial affinities with other modern birds. In 
one meadow by a pond we saw three marsh-deer, a buck 
and two does. They stared at us, with their thickly 
haired tails raised on end. These tails are black under- 
neath, instead of white as in our whitetaU deer. One 
of the vagaries of the ultra-conceahng colorationists has 
been to uphold the (incidentally quite preposterous) 
theory that the tail of our deer is coloured white beneath 
so as to harmonize with the sky and thereby mislead the 
cougar or wolf at the critical moment when it makes its 
spring ; but this marsh-deer shows a black instead of a 
white flag, and yet has just as much need of protection 
from its enemies, the jaguar and the cougar. In South 
America concealing coloration plays no more part in 
the lives of the adult deer, the tamandua, the tapir, the 
peccary, the jaguar, and the puma than it plays in Africa 
in the lives of such animals as the zebra, the sable ante- 
lope, the wildebeeste, the hon, and the hunting hyena. 

Next day we spent ascending the Sao Lourenco. It 
was narrower than the Paraguay, naturally, and the 
swirling brown current was, if anything, more rapid. 
The strange tropical trees, standing densely on the 
banks, were matted together by long bush ropes — 
lianas, or vines, some very slender and very long. 
Sometimes we saw brUhant red or blue flowers, or 
masses of scarlet berries on a queer palm-like tree, or 
an array of great white blossoms on a much larger tree. 
In a lagoon bordered by the taquara bamboo a school 
of big otters were playing ; when they came to the 
surface, they opened their mouths like seals, and made 
a loud hissing noise. The crested screamers, dark grey 
and as large as turkeys, perched on the very topmost 


branches of the tallest trees. Hyacinth macaws screamed 
harshly as they flew across the river. Among the trees 
was the guan, another peculiar bird as big as a big grouse, 
and with certain habits of the wood-grouse, but not akin 
to any northern game-bird. The windpipe of the male 
is very long, extending down to the end of the breast- 
bone, and the bird utters queer guttural screams. A 
dead cayman floated down-stream, with a black vulture 
devouring it. Capybaras stood or squatted on the banks ; 
sometimes they stared stupidly at us ; sometimes they 
plunged into the river at our approach. At long intervals 
we passed little clearings. In each stood a house of 
palm-logs, with steeply pitched roof of palm thatch ; 
and near by were patches of corn and mandioc. The 
dusky owner, and perhaps his family, came out on the 
bank to watch us as we passed. It was a hot day — the 
thermometer on the deck in the shade stood at nearly 
100° F. Biting flies came aboard even when we were 
in mid-stream. 

Next day we were ascending the Cuyaba River. It 
had begun raining in the night, and the heavy downpour 
continued throughout the forenoon. In the morning 
we halted at a big cattle-ranch to get fresh milk and 
beef. There were various houses, sheds, and corrals 
near the river's edge, and fifty or sixty milch cows were 
gathered in one corral. Spurred plover, or lapwings, 
strolled familiarly among the hens. Parakeets and red- 
headed tanagers lit in the trees over our heads. A kind 
of primitive houseboat was moored at the bank. A 
woman was cooking breakfast over a little stove at one 
end. The crew were ashore. The boat was one of 
those which are really stores, and which travel up and 
down these rivers, laden with what the natives most 
need, and stopping wherever there is a ranch. They 


are the only stores which many of the country-dwellers 
see from year's end to year's end. They float down- 
stream, and up-stream are poled by their crew, or now 
and then get a tow from a steamer. This one had a 
house with a tin roof ; others bear houses with thatched 
roofs, or with roofs made of hides. The river wound 
through vast marshes broken by belts of woodland. 

Always the two naturalists had something of interest 
to tell of their past experience, suggested by some bird 
or beast we came across. Black and golden orioles, 
slightly crested, of two different species were found 
along the river ; they nest in colonies, and often we 
passed such colonies, the long pendulous nests hanging 
from the boughs of trees directly over the water. Cherrie 
told us of finding such a colony built round a big wasp- 
nest, several feet in diameter. These wasps are venomous 
and irritable, and few foes would dare venture near birds'- 
nests that were under such formidable shelter ; but the 
birds themselves were entirely unafraid, and obviously 
were not in any danger of disagreement vsdth their 
dangerous protectors. We saw a dark ibis flying across 
the bow of the boat, uttering his deep, two-syllabled 
note. Miller told how on the Orinoco these ibises 
plunder the nests of the big river-turtles. They are 
very skilful in finding where the female turtle has laid 
her eggs, scratch them out of the sand, break the shells, 
and suck the contents. 

It was astonishing to find so few mosquitoes on these 
marshes. They did not in any way compare as pests 
with the mosquitoes on the lower Mississippi, the New 
Jersey coast, the Red River of the North, or the 
Kootenay. Back in the forest near Corumba the 
natvurahsts had found them very bad indeed. Cherrie 
had spent two or three days on a mountain-top which 


was bare of forest ; he had thought there would be few 
mosquitoes, but the long grass harboured them (they 
often swarm in long grass and bush, even where there 
is no water), and at night they were such a torment 
that as soon as the sun set he had to go to bed under 
his mosquito-netting. Yet on the vast marshes they 
were not seriously troublesome in most places. I was 
informed that they were not in any way a bother on 
the grassy uplands, the high country north of Cuyaba, 
which from thence stretches eastward to the coastal 
re^on. It is at any rate certain that this inland region 
of BrazU, including the state of Matto Grosso, which 
we were traversing, is a healthy region, excellently 
adapted to settlement ; railroads will speedily penetrate 
it, and then it will witness an astonishing development. 
On the morning of the 28th we reached the home 
buildings of the great Sao J oao fazenda, the ranch of 
Senhor Joao da Costa Marques. Our host himself, and 
his son, Dom Joao the younger, who was state secretary 
of agriculture, and the latter 's charming wife, and the 
president of Matto Grosso, and several other ladies and 
gentlemen, had come down the river to greet us, from 
the city of Cuyaba, several hundred miles farther up- 
stream. As usual, we were treated with whole-hearted 
and generous hospitahty. Some miles below the ranch- 
house the party met us, on a stem-wheel steamboat and 
a launch, both decked with many flags. The handsome 
white ranch-house stood only a few rods back from the 
river's brink, in a grassy opening dotted with those 
noble trees, the royal palms. Other trees, buildings 
of all kinds, flower-gardens, vegetable-gardens, fields, 
corrals, and enclosures with high white walls stood near 
the house. A detachment of soldiers or state police, 
with a band, were in front of the house, and two flag- 


poles, one with the Brazilian flag already hoisted. The 
American flag was run up on the other as I stepped 
ashore, while the band played the national anthems of 
the two countries. The house held much comfort ; and 
the comfort was all the more appreciated because even 
indoors the thermometer stood at 97° F. In the late 
afternoon heavy rain fell, and cooled the air. We were 
riding at the time. Around the house the birds were 
tame : the parrots and parakeets crowded and chattered 
in the tree-tops ; jacanas played in the wet ground just 
back of the garden ; ibises and screamers called loudly 
in the swamps a little distance off". 

Until we came actually in sight of this great ranch- 
house we had been passing through a hot, fertile, 
pleasant wilderness, where the few small palm-roofed 
houses, each in its little patch of sugar-cane, corn, and 
mandioc, stood very many miles apart. One of these 
little houses stood on an old Indian mound, exactly hke 
the mounds which form the only hillocks along the 
lower Mississippi, and which are also of Indian origin. 
These occasional Indian mounds, made ages ago, are 
the highest bits of ground in the immense swamps of 
the upper Paraguay region. There are still Indian tribes 
in this neighbourhood. We passed an Indian fishing 
village on the edge of the river, mth huts, scaffoldings 
for drying the fish, hammocks, and rude tables. They 
cultivated patches of bananas and sugar-cane. Out in a 
shallow place in the river was a scaffolding on which the 
Indians stood to spear fish. The Indians were friendly, 
peaceable souls, for the most part dressed like the poorer 
classes among the Brazilians. 

Next morning there was to have been a great rodeo, 
or round-up, and we determined to have a hunt first, as 
there were still several kinds of beasts of the chase. 

S? S tc 


notably tapirs and peccaries, of which the naturalists 
desired specimens. Dom Joao, our host, and his son 
accompanied us. Theirs is a noteworthy family. Born 
in Matto Grosso, in the tropics, our host had the look 
of a northerner and, although a grandfather, he possessed 
an abounding vigour and energy such as very few men 
of any climate or surroundings do possess. AU of his 
sons are doing well. The son who was with us was a 
stalwart, powerful man, a pleasant companion, an able 
public servant, a finished horseman, and a skilled hunter. 
He carried a sharp spear, not a rifle, for in Matto Grosso 
it is the custom in hunting the jaguar for riflemen and 
spearmen to go in at him together when he turns at bay, 
the spearman holding him off" if the first shot fails to 
stop him, so that another shot can be put in. Altogether, 
our host and his son reminded one of the best type of 
American ranchmen and planters, of those planters and 
ranchmen who are adepts in bold and manly field sports, 
who are capital men of business, and who also often 
supply to the state skilled and faithful public servants. 
The hospitality the father and son extended to us was 
patriarchal : neither, for instance, would sit at table with 
their guests at the beginning of the formal meals ; instead 
they exercised a close personal supervision over the feast. 
Our charming hostess, however, sat at the head of the 

At six in the morning we started, all of us on fine 
horses. The day was lowering and overcast. A dozen 
dogs were with us, but only one or two were worth 
anything. Three or four ordinary countrymen, the 
ranch hands, or vaqueiros, accompanied us ; they were 
mainly of Indian blood, and would have been called 
peons, or caboclos, in other parts of Brazil, but here 
were always spoken to and of as " camaradas." They 


were, of course, chosen from among the men who were 
hunters, and each carried his long, rather heavy and 
clumsy jaguar-spear. In front rode our vigorous host 
and his strapping son, the latter also carrying a jaguar- 
spear. The bridles and saddles of the big ranchmen and 
of the gentlefolk generally were handsome, and were 
elaborately ornamented with silver. The stirrups, for 
instance, were not only of silver, but contained so much 
extra metal in ornamented bars and rings that they 
would have been awkward for less-practised riders. 
Indeed, as it was, they were adapted only for the tips of 
boots with long, pointed toes, and were impossible for 
our feet ; our hosts' stirrups were long, narrow silver 
slippers. The camaradas, on the other hand, had jim- 
crow saddles and bridles, and rusty little iron stirrups 
into which they thrust their naked toes. But all, gentry 
and commonalty alike, rode equally well and with the 
same skill and fearlessness. To see our hosts gallop at 
headlong speed over any kind of country toward the 
sound of the dogs with their quarry at bay, or to see them 
handle their horses in a morass, was a pleasure. It was 
equally a pleasure to see a camarada carrjdng his heavy 
spear, leading a hound in a leash, and using his machete 
to cut his way through the tangled vine-ropes of a jungle, 
all at the same, time and all without the slightest refer- 
ence to the plunges, and the odd and exceedingly jerky 
behaviour, of his wild, half-broken horse — for on such a 
ranch most of the horses are apt to come in the 
categories of half-broken or else of broken-down. One 
dusky tatterdemalion wore a pair of boots from which 
he had removed the soles, his bare, spur-clad feet pro- 
jecting from beneath the uppers. He was on a little 
devil of a stallion, which he rode blindfold for a couple 
of miles, and there was a regular circus when he removed 


the bandage ; but evidently it never occurred to him that 
the animal was hardly a comfortable riding-horse for a 
man going out hunting and encumbered with a spear, 
a machete, and other belongings. 

The eight hours that we were out we spent chiefly in 
splashing across the marshes, with excursions now and 
then into vine-tangled belts and clumps of timber. Some 
of the bayous we had to cross were uncomfortably boggy. 
We had to lead the horses through one, wading ahead 
of them ; and even so two of them mired down, and 
their saddles had to be taken off before they could be 
gotten out. Among the marsh plants were fields and 
strips of the great caetd rush. These caetd flags towered 
above the other and lesser marsh plants. They were 
higher than the heads of the horsemen. Their two or 
three huge banana-like leaves stood straight up on end. 
The large brilliant flowers — orange, red, and yellow — 
were joined into a singularly shaped and solid string or 
cluster. Humming-birds buzzed round these flowers ; 
one species, the sickle-billed hummer, has its bill especially 
adapted for use in these queerly shaped blossoms, and 
gets its food only from them, never appearing around 
any other plant. 

The birds were tame, even those striking and beautiful 
birds which under man's persecution are so apt to become 
scarce and shy. The huge jabiru storks, stalking through 
the water with stately dignity, sometimes refused to fly 
until we were only a hundred yards off; one of them 
flew over our heads at a distance of thirty or forty 
yards. The screamers, crying curu-curu, and the ibises, 
wailing dolefully, came even closer. The wonderful 
hyacinth macaws, in twos and threes, accompanied us 
at times for several hundred yards, hovering over our 
heads and uttering their rasping screams. In one wood 


we came on the black howler monkey. The place smelt 
almost like a menagerie. Not watching with sufficient 
care I brushed against a sapling on which the venomous 
fire-ants swarmed. They burnt the skin like red-hot 
cinders, and left httle sores. More than once in the 
drier parts of the marsh we met small caymans making 
their way from one pool to another. My horse stepped 
over one before I saw it. The dead carcasses of others 
showed that on their wanderings they had encountered 
jaguars or human foes. 

We had been out about three hours when one of the 
dogs gave tongue in a large belt of woodland and jungle 
to the left of our line of march through the marsh. The 
other dogs ran to the sound, and after a while the long 
barking told that the thing, whatever it was, was at bay 
or else in some refuge. We made our way toward the 
place on foot. The dogs were baying excitedly at the 
mouth of a huge hollow log, and very short examination 
showed us that there were two peccaries within, doubt- 
less a boar and sow. However, just at this moment the 
peccaries bolted from an unsuspected opening at the 
other end of the log, dove into the tangle, and instantly 
disappeared with the hoimds in fuU cry after them. It 
was twenty minutes later before we again heard the 
pack baying. With much difficulty, and by the inces- 
sant swinging of the machetes, we opened a traU through 
the network of vines and branches. This time there 
was only one peccary, the boar. He was at bay in a 
half-hollow stump. The dogs were about his head, 
raving with excitement, and it was not possible to use 
the rifle ; so I borrowed the spear of Dom Joao the 
younger, and killed the fierce httle boar therewith. 

This was an animal akin to our collared peccary, 
smaller and less fierce than its white-jawed kinsfolk. 


It is a valiant and truculent little beast, nevertheless, 
and if given the chance will bite a piece the size of 
a teacup out of either man or dog. It is found singly 
or in small parties, feeds on roots, fruits, grass, and 
delights to make its home in hollow logs. If taken 
young it makes an affectionate and entertaining pet. 
When the two were in the hollow log we heard them 
utter a kind of moaning, or menacing, grunt, long 

An hour or two afterward we unexpectedly struck 
the fresh tracks of two jaguars and at once loosed the 
dogs, who tore off yelling, on the line of the scent. 
Unfortunately, just at this moment the clouds burst 
and a deluge of rain drove in our faces. So heavy was 
the downpour that the dogs lost the trail and we lost 
the dogs. We found them again only owing to one of 
our cahoclos ; an Indian with a queer Mongolian face, 
and no brain at all that I could discover, apart from his 
special dealings with wild creatures, cattle, and horses. 
He rode in a huddle of rags ; but nothing escaped his 
eyes, and he rode anything anywhere. The downpour 
continued so heavily that we knew the rodeo had been 
abandoned, and we turned our faces for the long, dripping, 
splashing ride homeward. Through the gusts of driving 
rain we could hardly see the way. Once the rain lightened, 
and half a mile away the sunshine gleamed through a 
rift in the leaden cloud-mass. Suddenly ia this rift of 
shimmering brightness there appeared a flock of beautiful 
white egrets. With strong, graceful wing-beats the birds 
urged their flight, their plumage flashing in the sun. 
They then crossed the rift and were swallowed in the 
grey gloom of the day. 

On the marsh the dogs several times roused capy- 
baras. Where there were no ponds of sufficient size 


the capybaras sought refuge in flight through the tangled 
marsh. They ran well. Kermit and Fiala went after 
one on foot, fuU-speed, for a mile and a half, with two 
hounds which then bayed it — literally bayed it, for the 
capybara fought with the courage of a gigantic wood- 
chuck. If the pack overtook a capybara, they, of course, 
speedily finished it ; but a single dog of our not very 
valorous outfit was not able to overmatch its shriU- 
squeaking opponent. 

Near the ranch-house, about forty-feet up in a big 
tree, was a jabiru's nest containing young jabirus. The 
young birds exercised themselves by walking solemnly 
round the edge of the nest and opening and shutting 
their wings. Their heads and necks were down-covered, 
instead of being naked like those of their parents. Fiala 
wished to take a moving-picture of them while thus 
engaged, and so, after arranging his machine, he asked 
Harper to rouse the young birds by throwing a stick up 
to the nest. He did so, whereupon one young jabiru 
hastily opened its wings in the desired fashion, at the 
same time seizing the stick in its biU ! It dropped it 
at once, wdth an air of comic disappointment, when it 
found that the stick was not edible. 

There were many strange birds round about. Toucans 
were not uncommon. I have never seen any other bird 
take such grotesque and comic attitudes as the toucan. 
This day I saw one standing in the top of a tree with 
the big bOl pointing straight into the air and the tail 
also cocked perpendicularly. The toucan is a born 
comedian. On the river and in the ponds we saw the 
finfoot, a bird with feet Mke a grebe and bill and tail 
like those of a darter ; but, Uke so many South American 
birds, with no close affihations among other species. 
The exceedingly rich bird fauna of South America 





Wood ibis 
Frotn a photograph by Elzvin R. Sanborn 

South American jabiru 
From a photograph by Elzvin R. Sanborn 

From a photograph by Mil/cr 


contains many species which seem to be survivals from 
a very remote geologic past, whose kinsfolk have perished 
under the changed conditions of recent ages ; and in the 
case of many, like the hoatzin and screamer, their like is 
not known elsewhere. Herons of many species swarmed 
in this neighbourhood. The handsomest was the richly 
coloured tiger bittern. Two other species were so unlike 
ordinary herons that I did not recognize them as herons 
at all until Cherrie told me what they were. One had 
a dark body, a white-speckled or ocellated neck, and 
a bill almost like that of an ibis. The other looked 
white, but was really mauve-coloured, with black on 
the head. When perched on a tree, it stood like an 
ibis ; and instead of the measured wing-beats charac- 
teristic of a heron's flight, it flew with a quick, vigorous 
flapping of the wings. There were queer mammals, too, 
as well as birds. In the fields Miller trapped mice of a 
kind entirely new. 

Next morning the sky was leaden, and a drenching 
rain fell as we began our descent of the river. The 
rainy season had fairly begun. For our good fortune 
we were still where we had the cabins aboard the boat, 
and the ranch-house, in which to dry our clothes and 
soggy shoes ; but in the intensely humid atmosphere, 
hot and steaming, they stayed wet a long time, and 
were still moist when we put them on again. Before 
we left the house where we had been treated with such 
courteous hospitality — the finest ranch-house in Matto 
Grosso, on a huge ranch where there are some sixty 
thousand head of horned cattle — the son of our host, 
Dom Joao the younger, the jaguar-hunter, presented 
me with two magnificent volumes on the palms of 
Brazil, the work of Doctor Barboso Rodriguez, one- 
time director of the Botanical Gardens at Rio Janeiro. 


The two folios were in a box of native cedar. No gift 
more appropriate, none that I would in the future value 
more as a reminder of my stay in Matto Grosso, could 
have been given me. 

All that afternoon the rain continued. It was still 
pouring in torrents when we left the Cuyaba for the 
Sao Lourenijo and steamed up the latter a few miles 
before anchoring ; Dom Joao the younger had accom- 
panied us in his launch. The little river steamer was 
of very open buUd, as is necessary in such a hot chmate; 
and to keep things dry necessitated also keeping the 
atmosphere stifling. The German taxidermist who was 
with Colonel Rondon's party, Reinish, a very good fellow 
from Vienna, sat on a stool, alternately drenched with 
rain and sweltering with heat, and muttered to himself : 
" Ach, Schweinerei !" 

Two small caymans, of the common species, with 
prominent eyes, where at the bank where we moored, 
and betrayed an astonishing and stupid tameness. 
Neither the size of the boat nor the commotion caused 
by the paddles in any way affected them. They lay 
inshore, not twenty feet from us, half out of water ; 
they paid not the shghtest heed to our presence, and 
only reluctantly left when repeatedly poked at, and 
after having been repeatedly hit with clods of mud and 
sticks ; and even then one first crawled up on shore, to 
find out if thereby he could not rid himself of the armoy- 
ance we caused him. 

Next morning it was still raining, but we set off on a 
hunt, anyway, going afoot. A couple of brown cama- 
radas led the way, and Colonel Rondon, Dom Joao, 
Kermit, and I, followed. The incessant downpour 
speedily wet us to the skin. We made our way slowly 
through the forest, the machetes playing right and left. 


up and down, at every step, for the trees were tangled 
in a network of vines and creepers. Some of the vines 
were as thick as a man's leg. Mosquitoes hummed 
about us, the venomous fire-ants stung us, the sharp 
spines of a small palm tore our hands — -afterward some 
of the wounds festered. Hour after hour we thus 
walked on through the Brazilian forest. We saw 
monkeys, the common yellowish kind, a species of 
cebus ; a couple were shot for the museum and the 
others raced off among the upper branches of the trees. 
Then we came on a party of coatis, which look like 
reddish, long-snouted, long-tailed, lanky raccoons. They 
were in the top of a big tree. One, when shot at and 
missed, bounced down to the ground, and ran off through 
the bushes ; Kermit ran after it and secured it. He 
came back to find us peering hopelessly up into the 
tree-top, trying to place where the other coatis were. 
Kermit solved the difficulty by going up along some 
huge twisted lianas for forty or fifty feet and exploring 
the upper branches ; whereupon down came three other 
coatis through the branches, one being caught by the 
dogs and the other two escaping. Coatis fight savagely 
with both teeth and claws. Miller told us that he once 
saw one of them kiU a dog. They feed on all small 
mammals, birds, and reptiles, and even on some large 
ones ; they kill iguanas ; Cherrie saw a rattling chase 
through the trees, a coati following an iguana at full 
speed. We heard the rush of a couple of tapirs as they 
broke away in the jungle in front of the dogs, and 
headed, according to their custom, for the river ; but 
we never saw them. One of the party shot a bush deer 
— a very pretty, graceful creature, smaller than our 
whitetail deer, but kin to it, and doubtless the southern- 
most representative of the whitetail group. 


The whitetail deer — using the word to designate a 
group of deer which can either be called a subgenus 
with many species, or a widely spread species diverging 
into many varieties — is the only North American species 
which has spread down into and has outlying repre- 
sentatives in South America. It has been contended 
that the species has spread from South America north- 
ward. I do not think so ; and the specimen thus ob- 
tained ftirnished a probable refutation of the theory. 
It was a buck, and had just shed its small antlers. The 
antlers are, therefore, shed at the same time as in the 
north, and it appears that they are grown at the same 
time as in the north. Yet this variety now dwells in 
the tropics south of the equator, where the spring, and 
the breeding season for most birds, comes at the time 
of the northern fall in September, October, and Novem- 
ber. That the deer is an intrusive immigrant, and that 
it has not yet been in South America long enough to 
change its mating season in accordance with the climate, 
as the birds — geologically doubtless very old residents 
— have changed their breeding season, is rendered prob- 
able by the fact that it conforms so exactly in the time 
of its antler growth to the universal rule which obtains 
in the great arctogeal realm, where deer of many species 
abound, and where the fossil forms show that they have 
long existed. The marsh-deer, which has diverged much 
farther from the northern type than this bush-deer (its 
horns show a hkeness to those of a blacktail) often 
keeps its antlers until June or July, although it begins 
to grow them again in August ; however, too much 
stress must not be laid on this fact, inasmuch as the 
wapiti and the cow caribou both keep their antlers until 
spring. The specialization of the marsh-deer, by the 
way, is further shown in its hoofs, which, thanks to its 


semiaquatic mode of life, have grown long, like those 
of such African swamp antelopes as the lechwe and 

Miller, when we presented the monkeys to him, told 
us that the females both of these monkeys and of the 
howlers themselves, took care of the young, the males 
not assisting them, and, moreover, that when the young 
one was a male he had always found the mother keeping 
by herself, away from the old males. On the other 
hand, among the marmosets he found the fathers taking 
as much care of the young as the mothers ; if the mother 
had twins, the father would usually carry one, and 
sometimes both, around with him. 

After we had been out four hours our camaradas got 
lost ; three several times they travelled round in a com- 
plete circle ; and we had to set them right with the 
compass. About noon the rain, which had been falling 
almost without interruption for forty-eight hours, ceased, 
and in an hour or two the sun came out. We went 
back to the river, and found our row-boat. In it the 
hounds — a motley and rather worthless lot — and the 
rest of the party were ferried across to the opposite 
bank, whUe Colonel Rondon and I stayed in the boat, 
on the chance that a tapir might be roused and take to 
the river. However, no tapir was found ; Kermit killed 
a collared peccary, and I shot a capybara representing 
a colour-phase the naturalists wished. 

Next morning, January 1, 1914, we were up at five 
and had a good New Year's Day breakfast of hardtack, 
ham, sardines, and coffee before setting out on an all- 
day's hunt on foot. I much feared that the pack was 
almost or quite worthless for jaguars, but there were 
two or three of the great spotted cats in the neighbour- 
hood, and it seemed worth while to make a try for 


them, anyhow. After an hour or two we found the 
fresh tracks of two, and after them we went. Our 
party consisted of Colonel Rondon, Lieutenant Roga- 
ciano — an excellent man, himself a native of Matto 
Grosso, of old Matto Grosso stock — two others of the 
party from the Sao Joao ranch, Kermit, and myself, 
together with four dark-skinned camaradas, cow-hands 
from the same ranch. We soon found that the dogs would 
not by themselves foUow the jaguar trail ; nor would 
the camaradas, although they carried spears. Kermit 
was the one of our party who possessed the requisite 
speed, endurance, and eyesight, and accordingly he led. 
Two of the dogs would foUow the track half a dozen 
yards ahead of him, but no farther ; and two of the 
camaradas could just about keep up with him. For an 
hour we went through thick jungle, where the machetes 
were constantly at work. Then the trail struck off 
straight across the marshes, for jaguars swim and wade 
as freely as marsh-deer. It was a hard walk. The sun 
was out. We were drenched with sweat. We were 
torn by the spines of the innumerable clusters of small 
palms with thorns like needles. We were bitten by 
the hosts of fire-ants, and by the mosquitoes, which we 
scarcely noticed where the fire-ants were found, exactly 
as aU dread of the latter vanished when we were 
menaced by the big red wasps, of which a dozen stings 
will disable a man, and if he is weak, or in bad health, 
will seriously menace his Ufe. In the marsh we were 
continually wading, now up to our knees, now up to 
our hips. Twice we came to long bayous so deep that 
we had to swim them, holding our rifles above water in 
our right hands. The floating masses of marsh grass, 
and the sUmy stems of the water-plants, doubled our 
work as we swam, cumbered by our clothing and boots 


and holding our rifles aloft. One result of the swim, 
hy the way, was that my watch, a veteran of Cuba and 
Africa, came to an indignant halt. Then on we went, 
hampered by the weight of our drenched clothes, while 
our soggy boots squelched as we walked. There was no 
breeze. In the undimmed sky the sun stood almost 
overhead. The heat beat on us in waves. By noon I 
could only go forward at a slow walk, and two of the 
party were worse off than I was. Kermit, with the 
dogs and two camaradas close behind him, disap- 
peared across the marshes at a trot. At last, when he 
was out of sight, and it was obviously useless to follow 
him, the rest of us turned back toward the boat. The 
two exhausted members of the party gave out, and we 
left them under a tree. Colonel Rondon and Lieu- 
tenant Rogaciano were not much tired ; I was some- 
what tired, but was perfectly able to go for several 
hours more if I did not try to go too fast ; and we 
three walked on to the river, reaching it about half-past 
four, after eleven hours' stiff walking with nothing to 
eat. We were soon on the boat. A relief party went 
back for the two men under the tree, and soon after it 
reached them, Kermit also turned up with his hounds 
and his camaradas trailing wearily behind him. He 
had followed the jaguar trail until the dogs were so 
tired that even after he had bathed them, and then held 
their noses in the fresh footprints, they would pay no 
heed to the scent. A hunter of scientific tastes, a 
hunter-naturalist, or even an outdoors naturalist, or 
faunal naturalist interested in big mammals, with a 
pack of hounds such as those with which Paul Rainey 
hunted lion and leopard in Africa, or such a pack as the 
packs of Johnny Goff or Jake Borah, with which I 
hunted cougar, lynx, and bear in the Rockies, or such 


packs as those of the Mississippi and Louisiana planters, 
with whom I have hunted bear, wUd-eat, and deer in 
the cane-brakes of the lower Mississippi, would not 
only enjoy fine hunting in these vast marshes of the 
upper Paraguay, but would also do work of real scien- 
tific value as regards all the big cats. 

Only a limited number of the naturahsts who have 
worked in the tropics have had any experience with the 
big beasts whose life-histories possess such peculiar in- 
terest. Of aU the biologists who have seriously studied 
the South American fauna on the ground. Bates 
probably rendered most service ; but he hardly seems 
even to have seen the animals with which the hunter 
is fairly familiar. His interests, and those of the other 
biologists of his kind, lay in other directions. In conse- 
quence, in treating of the Hfe-histories of the very inter- 
esting big game, we have been largely forced to rely 
either on native report, in which acutely accurate obser- 
vation is invariably mixed with wild fable, or else on 
the chance remarks of travellers or mere sportsmen, 
who had not the training to make them understand 
even what it was desirable to observe. Nowadays there 
is a growing proportion of big-game hunters, of sports- 
men, who are of the Schilling, Selous, and Shiras type. 
These men do work of capital value for science. The 
mere big-game butcher is tending to disappear as a 
type. On the other hand, the big-game hunter who is 
a good observer, a good field naturaUst, occupies at 
present a more important position than ever before, and 
it is now recognized that he can do work which the 
closet naturahst cannot do. The big-game hunter of this 
type, and the out-doors, faxmal naturalist, the student of 
the life-histories of big mammals, have open to them in 
South America a wonderful field in which to work. 


The fire-ants, of which I have above spoken, are 
generally found on a species of small tree or sapling, 
with a greenish trunk. They bend the whole body as 
they bite, the tail and head being thrust downward. A 
few seconds after the bite the poison causes considerable 
patin ; later it may make a tiny festering sore. There is 
certainly the most extraordinary diversity in the traits 
by which nature achieves the perpetuation of species. 
Among the warrior and predaceous insects the prowess 
is, in some cases, of such type as to render the possessor 
practically immune from danger. In other cases the 
condition of its exercise may normally be the sacrifice 
of the life of the possessor. There are wasps that prey 
on formidable fighting spiders, which yet instinctively 
so handle themselves that the prey practically never 
succeeds in either defending itself or retaliating, being 
captured and paralyzed with unerring efficiency and 
with entire security to the wasp. The wasp's safety is 
absolute. On the other hand, these fighting ants, in- 
cluding the soldiers even among the termites, are fran- 
tically eager for a success which generally means their 
annihilation ; the condition of their efficiency is abso- 
lute indifference to their own security. Probably the 
majority of the ants that actually lay hold on a foe 
suffer death in consequence ; certainly they not merely 
run the risk of, but eagerly invite, death. 

The following day we descended the Sao Louren90 
to its junction vdth the Paraguay, and once more began 
the ascent of the latter. At one cattle-ranch where we 
stopped, the troupials, <or big black-and-yellow orioles, 
had built a large colony of their nests on a dead tree 
near the primitive little ranch-house. The birds were 
breeding ; the old ones were feeding the young. In 
this neighbourhood the naturalists found many birds 


that were new to them, including a tiny woodpecker no 
bigger than a ruby-crowned kinglet. They had collected 
two night monkeys — nocturnal monkeys, not as agile 
as the ordinary monkey ; these two were found at dawn, 
having stayed out too late. 

The early morning was always lovely on these rivers, 
and at that hour many birds and beasts were to be seen. 
One morning we saw a fine marsh buck, holding his 
head aloft as he stared at us, his red coat vivid against 
the green marsh. Another of these marsh-deer swam 
the river ahead of us ; I shot at it as it landed, and 
ought to have got it, but did not. As always with 
these marsh-deer — and as with so many other deer — 
I was struck by the revealing or advertising quality of 
its red coloration ; there was nothing in its normal 
surroundings with which this coloration harmonized ; 
so far as it had any effect whatever it was always a 
reveahng and not a concealing effect. When the animal 
fled, the black of the erect tail was an additional reveahng 
mark, although not of such starthngly advertising quahty 
as the flag of the whitetail. The whitetail, in one of its 
forms, and with the ordinary whitetail custom of dis- 
playing the white flag as it runs, is found in the immediate 
neighbourhood of the swamp-deer. It has the same foes. 
E\ddently it is of no survival consequence whether the 
running deer displays a white or a black flag. Any 
competent observer of big game must be struck by the 
fact that in the great majority of the species the colora- 
tion is not conceahng, and that in ntiny it has a highly 
reveahng quahty. Moreover, if the spotted or striped 
young represent the ancestral coloration, and if, as 
seems probable, the spots and stripes have, on the 
whole, some shght concealing value, it is evident that 
in the hfe-history of most of these large mammals, both 

A jabiru's nest 

The young birds exercised themselves by walking 
solemnly round the edge of the nest 

From a -photograph by Harper 

A troupial nest 

The troupials, or big black and yellow orioles, had 
built a large colonj' of their nests_on a dead tree 

From a photograph by Kermii Roosevelt 


among those that prey and those that are preyed on, 
conceahng coloration has not been a survival factor ; 
throughout the ages during which they have survived 
they have gradually lost w^hatever of concealing colora- 
tion they may once have had — if any — and have developed 
a coloration which under present conditions has no con- 
cealing and perhaps even has a revealing quality, and 
which in aU probability never would have had a con- 
cealing value in any " environmental complex " in which 
the species as a whole lived during its ancestral develop- 
ment. Indeed, it seems astonishing, when one observes 
these big beasts — and big waders and other water-birds 
— in their native surroundings, to find how utterly non- 
harmful their often strikingly revealing coloration is. 
Evidently the various other survival factors, such as 
habit, and in many cases covert, etc., are of such over- 
mastering importance that the coloration is generally 
of no consequence whatever, one way or the other, and 
is only very rarely a factor of any serious weight. 

The junction of the Sao Louren9o and the Paraguay 
is a day's journey above Corumba. From Corumba 
there is a regular service by shallow steamers to Cuyaba, 
at the head of one fork, and to Sao Luis de Cdceres, at 
the head of the other, l^he steamers are not powerful 
and the voyage to each little city takes a week. There 
are other forks that are navigable. Above Cuyaba and 
Cdceres launches go up-stream for several days' journey, 
except during the dry est parts of the season. North of 
this marshy plain lies the highland, the Plan Alto, where 
the nights are cool and the climate healthy. But I wish 
emphatically to record my view that these marshy plains, 
although hot, are also healthy ; and, moreover, the mos- 
quitoes, in most places, are not in sufficient numbers to 
be a serious pest, although, of course, there must be 


nets for protection against them at night. The country 
is excellently suited for settlement, and offers a remark- 
able field for cattle-growing. Moreover, it is a paradise 
for water-birds and for many other kinds of birds, and 
for many mammals. It is literally an ideal place in 
which a field naturahst could spend six months or a 
year. It is readily accessible, it offers an almost virgin 
field for work, and the hfe would be healthy as well as 
delightfully attractive. The man should have a steam- 
launch. In it he could with comfort cover all parts of 
the country from south of Coimbra to north of Cuyaba 
and Caceres. There would have to be a good deal of 
collecting (although nothing in the nature of butchery 
should be tolerated), for the region has only been super- 
ficially worked, especially as regards mammals. But if 
the man were only a collector he would leave undone 
the part of the work best worth doing. The region 
offers extraordinary opportunities for the study of the 
life-histories of birds which, because of their size, theii* 
beauty, or their habits, are of exceptional interest. All 
kinds of problems would be worked out. For example, 
on the morning of the 3rd, as we were ascending the 
Paraguay, we again and again saw in the trees on the 
bank big nests of sticks, into and out of which parakeets 
were flying by the dozen. Some of them had straws or 
twigs in their bills. In some of the big globular nests 
we could make out several holes of exit or entrance. 
Apparently these parakeets were building or remodeUing 
communal nests ; but whether they had themselves built 
these nests, or had taken old nests and added to or 
modified them, we could not teU. There was so much 
of interest aU along the banks that we were continually 
longing to stop and spend days where we were. Mixed 
flocks of scores of cormorants and darters covered certain 


trees, both at sunset and after sunrise. Although there 
was no deep forest, merely belts or fringes of trees along 
the river, or in patches back of it, we frequently saw 
monkeys in this riverine tree-fringe — active common 
monkeys and black howlers of more leisurely gait. We 
saw caymans and capybaras sitting socially near one 
another on the sand-banks. At night we heard the 
calling of large flights of tree-ducks. These were now 
the most common of all the ducks, although there were 
many muscovy ducks also. The evenings were pleasant 
and not hot, as we sat on the forward deck ; there was 
a waxing moon. The screamers were among the most 
noticeable birds. They were noisy ; they perched on 
the very tops of the trees, not down among the branches ; 
and they were not shy. They should be carefully pro- 
tected by law, for they readily became tame, and then 
come familiarly round the houses. From the steamer 
we now and then saw beautiful orchids in the trees on 
the river bank. 

One afternoon we stopped at the home buildings, or 
headquarters, of one of the great outlying ranches of 
the Brazil Land and Cattle Company, the Farquhar 
syndicate, under the management of Murdo Mackenzie 
— than whom we have had in the United States no 
better citizen or more competent cattleman. On this 
ranch there are some seventy thousand head of stock. 
We were warmly greeted by McLean, the head of the 
ranch, and his assistant Ramsey, an old Texan friend. 
Among the other assistants, all equally cordial, were 
several Belgians and Frenchmen. The hands were 
Paraguayans and Brazilians, and a few Indians — a hard- 
bit set, each of whom always goes armed and knows 
how to use his arms, for there are constant collisions 
with cattle thieves from across the Bolivian border. 


and the ranch has to protect itself. These cow-hands, 
vaqueiros, were of the type with which we were now 
famihar : dark-skinned, lean, hard-faced men, in slouch- 
hats, worn shirts and trousers, and fringed leather aprons, 
with heavy spurs on their bare feet. They are wonder- 
ful riders and ropers, and fear neither man nor beast. 
I noticed one Indian vagueiro standing in exactly the 
attitude of a ShiHuk of the White Nile, with the sole 
of one foot against the other leg, above the knee. This 
is a region with extraordinary possibilities of cattle- 

At this ranch there was a tannery, a slaughter-house, 
a cannery, a church, buildings of various kinds and aU 
degrees of comfort for the thirty or forty famiUes who 
made the place their headquarters ; and the handsome, 
white, two-story big house, standing among lemon- 
trees and flamboyants on the river-brink. There were 
all kinds of pets around the house. The most fascinating 
was a wee spotted fawn, which loved being petted. 
Half a dozen curassows of different species strolled 
through the rooms ; there were also parrots of several 
different species, and immediately outside the house 
four or five herons, with undipped wings, which would 
let us come within a few feet and then fly gracefully off, 
shortly afterward returning to the same spot. They 
included big and little white egrets and also the mauve 
and pearl-coloured heron, with a partially black head 
and many-coloured bill, which flies with quick, re- 
peated wing-flappings, instead of the usual slow heron 

In the warehouse were scores of skins of jaguar, 
puma, ocelot, and jaguarundi, and one skin of the big, 
small-toothed red wolf. These were all brought in by 
the cow-hands and by friendly Indians, a price being 



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Snake-birds and cormorants 
Mixed flocks of scores of cormorants and darters covered certain trees, both at sunset and after sunrise 

From photographs by Harper 


put on each, as they destroyed the stock. The jaguars 
occasionally killed horses and full-grown cows, but not 
bulls. The pumas killed the calves. The others killed 
an occasional very young calf, but ordinarily only sheep, 
little pigs, and chickens. There was one black jaguar- 
skin ; melanism is much more common among jaguars 
than pumas, although once Miller saw a black puma 
that had been killed by Indians. The patterns of the 
jaguar-skins, and even more of the ocelot-skins, showed 
wide variation, no two being alike. The pumas were 
for the most part bright red, but some were reddish- 
grey, there being much the same dichromatism that I 
found among the Colorado kinsfolk. The jaguarundis 
were dark brownish-grey. All these animals — ^the 
spotted jaguars and ocelots, the monochrome black 
jaguars, red pumas, and dark grey jaguarundis — were 
killed in the same locality, with the same environment. 
A glance at the skins and a moment's serious thought 
would have been enough to show any sincere thinker 
that in these cats the coloration pattern, whether con- 
cealing or revealing, is of no consequence one way or 
the other as a survival factor. The spotted patterns 
conferred no benefit as compared with the nearly or 
quite monochrome blacks, reds, and dark greys. The 
bodily condition of the various beasts was equally good, 
showing that their success in life — that is, their ability 
to catch their prey — was unaffected by their several 
colour schemes. Except white, there is no colour so 
conspicuously advertising as black ; yet the black jaguar 
had been a fine, well-fed, powerful beast. The spotted 
patterns in the forests, and perhaps even in the marshes 
which the jaguars so frequently traversed, are probably 
a shade less conspicuous than the monochrome red and 
grey, but the puma and jaguarundi are just as hard to 


see, and evidently find it just as easy to catch prey, as 
the jaguar and ocelot. The little fawn which we saw 
was spotted ; the grown deer had lost the spots ; if the 
spots do really help to conceal the wearer, it is evident 
that the deer has found the original concealing colora- 
tion of so little value that it has actually been lost in 
the course of the development of the species. When 
these big cats and the deer are considered, together 
with the dogs, tapirs, peccaries, capybaras, and big ant- 
eaters which live in the same environment, and when 
we also consider the difference between the young and 
the adult deer and tapirs (both of which when adult 
have substituted a complete or partial monochrome for 
the ancestral spots and streaks), it is evident that in the 
present Ufe and in the ancestral development of the big 
mammals of South America coloration is not and has 
not been a survival factor ; any pattern and any colour 
may accompany the persistence and development of the 
quaUties and attributes which are survival factors. In- 
deed, it seems hard to believe that in their ordinary 
environments such colour schemes as the bright red of 
the marsh-deer, the black of the black jaguar, and the 
black with white stripes of the great tamandua, are not 
positive detriments to the wearers. Yet such is evidently 
not the case. Evidently the other factors in species- 
survival are of such overwhelming importance that the 
coloration becomes neghgible from this standpoint, 
whether it be conceahng or reveaUng. The cats mould 
themselves to the ground as they crouch or crawl. 
They take advantage of the tiniest scrap of cover. 
They move with extraordinary stealth and patience. 
The other animals which try to sneak off in such a 
manner as to escape observation approach more or less 
closely to the ideal which the cats most nearly realize. 


Wariness, sharp senses, the habit of being rigidly motion- 
less when there is the least suspicion of danger, and 
ability to take advantage of cover, all count. On the 
bare, open, treeless plain, whether marsh, meadow, or 
upland, anything above the level of the grass is seen at 
once. A marsh-deer out in the open makes no effort 
to avoid observation ; its concern is purely to see its 
foes in time to leave a dangerous neighbourhood. The 
deer of the neighbouring forest skulk and hide and lie 
still in dense cover to avoid being seen. The white- 
lipped peccaries make no effort to escape observation 
by being either noiseless or motionless ; they trust for 
defence to their gregariousness and truculence. The 
collared peccary also trusts to its truculence, but seeks 
refuge in a hole where it can face any opponent with its 
formidable biting apparatus. As for the giant tamandua, 
in spite of its fighting prowess I am wholly unable 
to understand how such a slow and clumsy beast has 
been able through the ages to exist and thrive sur- 
rounded by jaguars and pumas. Speaking generally, 
the animals that seek to escape observation trust pri- 
marily to smell to discover their foes or their prey, and 
see whatever moves and do not see whatever is mo- 

By the morning of January 5 we had left the marsh 
region. There were low hills here and there, and the 
land was covered with dense forest. From time to 
time we passed little clearings with palm-thatched 
houses. We were approaching Caceres, where the 
easiest part of our trip would end. We had lived in 
much comfort on the little steamer. The food was 
plentiful and the cooking good. At night we slept on 
deck in cots or hammocks. The mosquitoes were 
rarely troublesome, although in the daytime we were 


sometimes bothered by numbers of biting horse-flies. 
The bird-life was wonderful. One of the characteristic 
sights we were always seeing was that of a number of 
heads and necks of cormorants and snake-birds, without 
any bodies, projecting above water, and disappearing as 
the steamer approached. Skimmers and thick-billed 
tern were plentiful here right in the heart of the conti- 
nent. In addition to the spurred lapwing, characteristic 
and most interesting resident of most of South America, 
we found tiny red-legged plover, which also breed and 
are at home in the tropics. The contrasts in habits 
between closely aUied species are wonderful. Among 
the plovers and bay snipe there are species that Hve all 
the year round in almost the same places, in tropical 
and subtropical lands ; and other related forms which 
wander over the whole earth, and spend nearly all their 
time, now in the arctic and cold temperate regions of 
the far north, now in the cold temperate regions of the 
south. These latter wide-wandering birds of the sea- 
shore and the river-bank pass most of their lives in 
regions of almost perpetual sunlight. They spend the 
breeding season, the northern summer, in the land of 
the midnight sun, during the long arctic day. They 
then fly for endless distances down across the north 
temperate zone, across the equator, through the lands 
where the days and nights are always of equal length, 
into another hemisphere, and spend another summer of 
long days and long twihghts in the far south, where the 
antarctic winds cool them, while their nesting home, at 
the other end of the world, is shrouded beneath the iron 
desolation of the polar night. 

In the late afternoon of the 5th we reached the 
quaint old-fashioned little town of Sao Luis de Caceres, 
on the outermost fringe of the settled region of the 


state of Matto Grosso, the last town we should see 
before reaching the villages of the Amazon. As we 
approached we passed half-clad black washerwomen on 
the river's edge. The men, with the local band, were 
gathered at the steeply sloping foot of the main street, 
where the steamer came to her moorings. Groups of 
women and girls, white and brown, watched us from 
the low bluflf; their skirts and bodices were red, blue, 
green, of all colours. Sigg had gone ahead with much 
of the baggage ; he met us in an improvised motor-boat, 
consisting of a dugout, to the side of which he had 
clamped our Evinrude motor ; he was giving several of 
the local citizens of prominence a ride, to their huge 
enjoyment. The streets of the little town were unpaved, 
with narrow brick sidewalks. The one-story houses 
were white or blue, with roofs of red tiles and window- 
shutters of latticed woodwork, come down from colonial 
days and tracing back through Christian and Moorish 
Portugal to a remote Arab ancestry. Pretty faces, 
some dark, some hght, looked out from these windows ; 
their mothers' mothers, for generations past, must thus 
have looked out of similar windows in the vanished 
colonial days. But now, even here in Caceres, the 
spirit of the new Brazil is moving ; a fine new govern- 
ment school has been started, and we met its principal, 
an earnest man doing excellent work, one of the many 
teachers who, during the last few years, have been 
brought to Matto Grosso from Sao Paulo, a centre of 
the new educational movement which will do so much 
for Brazil. 

Father Zahm went to spend the night with some 
French Franciscan friars, capital fellows. I spent the 
night at the comfortable house of Lieutenant Lyra ; 
a hot-weather house with thick walls, big doors, and an 


open patio bordered by a gallery. Lieutenant Lyra 
was to accompany us ; he was an old companion of 
Colonel Rondon's explorations. We visited one or two 
of the stores to make some final purchases, and in the 
evening stroUed through the dusky streets and under 
the trees of the plaza ; the women and girls sat in 
groups in the doorways or at the windows, and here 
and there a stringed instrument tinkled in the darkness. 
From Caceres onward we were entering the scene of 
Colonel Rondon's explorations. For some eighteen 
years he was occupied in exploilng and in opening tele- 
graph-lines through the eastern or north-middle part of 
the great forest state — the wilderness state of the Matto 
Grosso, the Great Wilderness, or, as Australians 
would call it, the Bush. Then, in 1907, he began to 
penetrate the unknown region lying to the north and 
west. He was the head of the exploring expeditions 
sent out by the Brazilian Government to traverse for 
the first time this unknown land ; to map for the first 
time the courses of the rivers, which from the same 
divide run into the upper portions of the Tapajos and 
the Madeira, two of the mighty affluents of the Amazon, 
and to buUd telegraph-lines across to the Madeu-a, where 
a line of BraziUan settlements, connected by steamboat 
lines and a railroad, again occurs. Three times he pene- 
trated into this absolutely unknown, Indian-haunted 
wilderness, being absent for a year or two at a time, 
and suffering every imaginable hardship, before he made 
his way through to the Madeira and completed the 
telegraph-line across. The officers and men of the 
BraziUan Army and the civUian scientists who followed 
him shared the toil and the credit of the task. Some of 
his men died of beriberi ; some were kiUed or wounded 
by the Indians ; he himself almost died of fever ; again 


and again his whole party was reduced almost to the 
last extremity by starvation, disease, hardship, and the 
overexhaustion due to wearing fatigues. In dealing 
with the wild, naked savages he showed a combination 
of fearlessness, wariness, good judgment, and resolute 
patience and kindliness. The result was that they ulti- 
mately became his firm friends, guarded the telegraph- 
lines, and helped the few soldiers left at the isolated, 
widely separated little posts. He and his assistants 
explored, and mapped for the first time, the Juruena 
and the Gy-Parana, two important affluents of the 
Tapajos and the Madeira respectively. The Tapajos 
and the Madeira, like the Orinoco and Rio Negro, have 
been highways of travel for a couple of centuries. The 
Madeira (as later the Tapajos) was the chief means of 
ingress, a century and a half ago, to the little Portu- 
guese settlements of this far interior region of Brazil ; 
one of these little towns, named Matto Grosso, being 
the original capital of the province. It has long been 
abandoned by the Government, and practically so by 
its inhabitants, the ruins of palace, fortress, and church 
now rising amid the rank, tropical luxuriance of the 
wild forest. The mouths of the main affluents of these 
highway rivers were as a rule well known. But in 
many cases nothing but the mouth was known. The 
river itself was not known, and it was placed on the 
map by guesswork. Colonel Rondon found, for example, 
that the course of the Gy-Parana was put down on the 
map two degrees out of its proper place. He with his 
party was the first to find out its sources, the first to 
traverse its upper course, the first to map its length. 
He and his assistants performed a similar service for 
the Juruena, discovering the sources, discovering and 
descending some of the branches, and for the first time 


making a trustworthy map of the main river itself, imtil 
its junction with the Tapajos. Near the watershed 
between the Juruena and the Gy-Parana he estabhshed 
his farthest station to the westward, named Josd Boni- 
facio, after one of the chief repubhcan patriots of Brazil. 
A couple of days' march north-westward from this 
station, he in 1909 came across a part of the stream of 
a river running northward between the Gy-Parana and 
the Juruena ; he could only guess where it debouched, 
believing it to be into the Madeira, although it was 
possible that it entered the Gy-Parana or Tapajos. 
The region through which it flows was unknown, no 
civilized man having ever penetrated it ; and as all con- 
jecture as to what the river was, as to its length, and as 
to its place of entering into some highway river, was 
mere guesswork, he had entered it on his sketch-maps 
as the Rio da Duvida, the River of Doubt. Among 
t;he officers of the Brazihan Army and the scientific 
civihans who have accompanied him there have been 
not only expert cartographers, photographers, and tele- 
graphists, but astronomers, geologists, botanists, and 
zoologists. Their reports, published in excellent shape 
by the Brazilian Government, make an invaluable series 
of volumes, reflecting the highest credit on the explorers, 
and on the Government itself. Colonel Rondon's own 
accounts of his explorations, of the Indian tribes he has 
visited, and of the beautiful and wonderful things he 
has seen, possess a peculiar interest. 



After leaving Caceres we went up the Sepotuba, which 
in the local Indian dialect means River of Tapirs. This 
river is only navigable for boats of size when the water 
is high. It is a swift, fairly clear stream, rushing down 
from the Plan Alto, the high uplands, through the 
tropical lowland forest. On the right hand, or western 
bank, and here and there on the left bank, the forest is 
broken by natural pastures and meadows, and at one of 
these places, known as Porto Campo, sixty or seventy 
miles above the mouth, there is a good-sized cattle- 
ranch. Here we halted, because the launch, and the 
two pranchas — native trading-boats with houses on 
their decks — which it towed, could not carry our entire 
party and outfit. Accordingly most of the baggage and 
some of the party were sent ahead to where we were to 
meet our pack-train, at Tapirapoan. Meanwhile the 
rest of us made our first camp under tents at Porto 
Campo, to wait the return of the boats. The tents 
were placed in a line, with the tent of Colonel Rondon 
and the tent in which Kermit and I slept, in the middle, 
beside one another. In front of these two, on tall poles, 
stood the Brazilian and American flags ; and at sunrise 
and sunset the flags were hoisted and hauled down while 
the trumpet sounded and all of us stood at attention. 


128 UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS [chap, v 

Camp was pitched beside the ranch buildings. In the 
trees near the tents grew wonderful violet orchids. 

Many birds were around us ; I saw some of them, 
and Cherrie and Miller many, many more. They ranged 
from party-coloured macaws, green parrots, and big 
gregarious cuckoos down to a briUiant green- and-chest- 
nut kingfisher, five and a quarter inches long, and a tiny 
orange-and green manakin, smaller than any bird I have 
ever seen except a hummer. We also saw a bird that 
really was protectively coloured : a kind of whip-poor- wUl, 
which even the sharp-eyed naturalists could only make 
out because it moved its head. We saw orange-bellied 
squirrels with showy orange tails. Lizards were common. 
We killed our first poisonous snake (the second we had 
seen), an evU lance-headed jararaca that was swimming 
the river. We also saw a black-and-orange harmless 
snake, nearly eight feet long, which we were told was 
akin to the mussurama ; and various other snakes. One 
day while paddling in a canoe on the river, hoping that 
the dogs might drive a tapir to us, they drove into the 
water a couple of small bush-deer instead. There was 
no point in shooting them ; we caught them with ropes 
thrown over their heads ; for the naturahsts needed 
them as specimens, and aU of us needed the meat. 
One of the men was stung by a single big red maribundi 
wasp. For twenty-four hours he was in great pain and 
incapacitated for work. In a lagoon two of the dogs 
had the tips of their tails bitten of by piranhas as they 
swam, and the ranch hands told us that in this lagoon 
one of their hounds had been torn to pieces and com- 
pletely devoured by the ravenous fish. It was a further 
illustration of the uncertainty of temper and behaviour 
of these ferocious httle monsters. In other lagoons they 
had again and again left us and our dogs unmolested. 


They vary locally in aggressiveness just as sharks and 
crocodiles in different seas and rivers vary. 

On the morning of January 9th we started out for 
a tapir-hunt. Tapirs are hunted with canoes, as they 
dwell in thick jungle and take to the water when 
hounds follow them. In this region there were ex- 
tensive papyrus-swamps and big lagoons, back from 
the river, and often the tapirs fled to these for refuge, 
throwing off" the hounds. In these places it was exceed- 
ingly difficult to get them ; our best chance was to keep 
to the river in canoes, and paddle toward the spot in the 
direction of which the hounds, by the noise, seemed to 
be heading. We started in four canoes. Three of them 
were Indian dugouts, very low in the water. The fourth 
was our Canadian canoe, a beauty ; light, safe, roomy, 
made of thin slats of wood and cement-covered canvas. 
Colonel Rondon, Fiala with his camera, and I went in 
this canoe, together with two paddlers. The paddlers 
were natives of the poorer class. They were good men. 
The bowsman was of nearly pure white blood ; the 
steersman was of nearly pure negro blood, and was 
evidently the stronger character and better man of the 
two. The other canoes carried a couple oi fazendeiros, 
ranchmen, who had come up from Caceres with their 
dogs. These dugouts were manned by Indian and half- 
caste paddlers, and the fazendeiros, who were of nearly 
pure white blood, also at times paddled vigorously. 
All were dressed in substantially similar clothes, the 
difference being that those of the camaradas, the poorer 
men or labourers, were in tatters. In the canoes no 
man wore anything save a shirt, trousers, and hat, the 
feet being bare. On horseback they wore long leather 
leggings which were really simply high, rather flexible 
boots with the soles off; their spurs were on their tough 


130 UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS [chap, v 

bare feet. There was every gradation between and 
among the nearly pure whites, negroes, and Indians. 
On the whole, there was most white blood in the upper 
ranks, and most Indian and negro blood among the 
camaradas ; but there were exceptions in both classes, 
and there was no discrimination on account of colour. 
All ahke were courteous and friendly. 

The hounds were at first carried in two of the dugouts, 
and then let loose on the banks. We went up-stream 
for a couple of hours against the swift current, the 
paddlers making good headway with their pointed 
paddles — the broad blade of each paddle was tipped 
with a long point, so that it could be thrust into the 
mud to keep the low dugout against the bank. The 
tropical forest came down almost like a waU, the taU 
trees laced together with vines, and the spaces between 
their trunks filled with a low, dense jungle. In most 
places it could only be penetrated by a man with a 
machete. With few exceptions the trees were unknown 
to me, and their native names told me nothing. On 
most of them the foliage was thick ; among the excep- 
tions were the cecropias, growing by preference on 
new-formed alluvial soil bare of other trees, whose 
rather scanty leaf bunches were, as I was informed, 
the favourite food of sloths. We saw one or two 
squirrels among the trees, and a family of monkeys. 
There were few sand-banks in the river, and no water- 
fowl save an occasional cormorant. But as we pushed 
along near the shore, where the branches overhung and 
dipped in the swirhng water, we continually roused httle 
flocks of bats. They were hanging from the boughs 
right over the river, and when our approach roused 
them they zigzagged rapidly in front of us for a few 
rods, and then again dove in among the branches. 

The great ant-eater 

South American tapir 
From photographs by El::-,,' R Sanhorn 


At last we landed at a point of ground where there 
was little jungle, and where the forest was composed of 
palms and was fairly open. It was a lovely bit of forest. 
The Colonel stroUed off in one direction, returning an 
hour later with a squirrel for the naturalists. Mean- 
while Fiala and I went through the palm-wood to a 
papyrus-swamp. Many trails led through the woods, 
and especially along the borders of the swamp ; and, 
although their principal makers had evidently been 
cattle, yet there were in them footprints of both tapir 
and deer. The tapir makes a footprint much like 
that of a small rhinoceros, being one of the odd-toed 
ungulates. We could hear the dogs now and then, 
evidently scattered and running on various trails. They 
were a worthless lot of cur-hounds. They would chase 
tapir or deer or anything else that ran away from them 
as long as the trail was easy to follow ; but they were 
not staunch, even after animals that fled, and they would 
have nothing whatever to do with animals that were 

While standing by the marsh we heard something 
coming along one of the game-paths. In a moment 
a buck of the bigger species of bush-deer appeared, a 
very pretty and graceful creature. It stopped and darted 
back as soon as it saw us, giving us no chance for a shot ; 
but in another moment we caught glimpses of it running 
by at full speed, back among the palms. I covered an 
opening between two tree-trunks. By good luck the 
buck appeared in the right place, giving me just time 
to hold well ahead of him and fire. At the report he 
went down in a heap, the " umbrella-pointed " bullet 
going in at one shoulder, and, ranging forward, break- 
ing the neck. The leaden portion of the bullet, in the 
proper mushroom or umbrella shape, stopped under the 

132 UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS [chap, v 

neck skin on the farther side. It is a very efiFeetive 

Miller particularly wished specimens of these various 
species of bush-deer, because their mutual relationships 
have not yet been satisfactorily worked out. This was 
an old buck. The antlers were single spikes, five or 
six inches long ; they were old and white and would 
soon have been shed. In the stomach were the remains 
of both leaves and grasses, but especially the former; 
the buck was both a browser and grazer. There were 
also seeds, but no berries or nuts such as I have some- 
times found in deers' stomachs. This species, which is 
abundant in this neighbourhood, is sohtary in its habits, 
not going in herds. At this time the rut was past, the 
bucks no longer sought the does, the fawns had not 
been born, and the yearlings had left their mothers ; so 
that each animal usually went by itself. AVhen chased 
they were very apt to take to the water. This instinct 
of taking to the water, by the way, is quite exphcable 
as regards both deer and tapir, for it aiFords them refuge 
against their present-day natural foes, but it is a httle 
puzzling to see the jaguar readily climbing trees to 
escape dogs ; for ages have passed since there were in 
its habitat any natural foes from which it needed to seek 
safety in trees. But it is possible that the habit has been 
kept alive by its seeking refuge in them on occasion 
from the big peccaries, which are among the beasts on 
which it ordinarily preys. 

We hung the buck in a tree. The Colonel returned, 
and not long afterward one of the paddlers who had 
been watching the river called out to us that there was 
a tapir in the water, a good distance up-stream, and that 
two of the other boats were after it. We jumped into 
the canoe, and the two paddlers dug their blades in 


the water as they drove her against the strong current, 
edging over for the opposite bank. The tapir was 
coming down-stream at a great rate, only its queer 
head above water, while the dugouts were closing rapidly 
on it, the paddlers uttering loud cries. As the tapir 
turned slightly to one side or the other the long, slightly 
upturned snout and the strongly pronounced arch of the 
crest along the head and upper neck gave it a marked 
and unusual aspect. I could not shoot, for it was 
directly in line with one of the pursuing dugouts. 
Suddenly it dived, the snout being slightly curved 
downward as it did so. There was no trace of it ; we 
gazed eagerly in all directions ; the dugout in front 
came alongside our canoe and the paddlers rested, their 
paddles ready. Then we made out the tapir clambering 
up the bank. It had dived at right angles to the course 
it was following and swum under water to the very edge 
of the shore, rising under the over-hanging tree-branches 
at a point where a drinking-trail for game led down a 
break in the bank. The branches partially hid it, and 
it was in deep shadow, so that it did not offer a very 
good shot. My bullet went into its body too far back, 
and the tapir disappeared in the forest at a gallop as if 
unhurt, although the bullet really secured it, by making 
it unwilling to trust to its speed and leave the neigh- 
bourhood of the water. Three or four of the hounds 
were by this time SAvimming the river, leaving the 
others yelling on the opposite side ; and as soon as the 
swimmers reached the shore they were put on the tapir's 
trail and galloped after it, giving tongue. In a couple 
of minutes we saw the tapir take to the water far up- 
stream, and after it we went as fast as the paddles could 
urge us through the water. We were not in time to 
head it, but fortunately some of the dogs had come 

134 UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS [chap, v 

down to the river's edge at the very point where the tapir 
was about to land, and turned it back. Two or three 
of the dogs were swimming. We were more than half 
the breadth of the river away from the tapir, and some- 
what down-stream, when it dived. It made an astonish- 
ingly long swim beneath the water this time, almost 
as if it had been a hippopotamus, for it passed completely 
under our canoe and rose between us and the hither bank. 
I shot it, the bullet going into its brain, while it was 
thirty or forty yards from shore. It sank at once. 

There was now nothing to do but wait until the body 
floated. I feared that the strong current would roU it 
down-stream over the river-bed ; but my companions 
assured me that this was not so, and that the body 
would remain where it was until it rose, which would 
be in an hour or two. They were right, except as to 
the time. For over a couple of hours we paddled, or 
anchored ourselves by clutching branches close to the 
spot, or else drifted down a mile and paddled up again 
near the shore, to see if the body had caught anywhere. 
Then we crossed the river and had lunch at the lovely 
natural picnic-ground where the buck was hung up. 
We had very nearly given up the tapir when it sud- 
denly floated only a few rods from where it had sunk. 
With no httle difficulty the big, round black body was 
hoisted into the canoe, and we all turned our prows 
down-stream. The skies had been lowering for some 
time, and now — too late to interfere with the hunt or 
cause us any annoyance — a heavy downpour of rain 
came on and beat upon us. Little we cared, as the 
canoe raced forward, with the tapir and the buck 
lying in the bottom, and a dry, comfortable camp 
ahead of us. 

When we reached camp, and Father Zahm saw the 

Colonel Roosevelt and Colonel Rondon with bush deer 
Wc hung the buck in a tree 
from a photograph by Fiala 


tapir, he reminded me of something I had completely 
forgotten. When, some six years previously, he had 
spoken to me in the White House about taking this 
South American trip, I had answered that I could not, 
as I intended to go to Africa ; but added that I hoped 
some day to go to South America, and that if I did so 
I should try to shoot both a jaguar and a tapir, as they 
were the characteristic big-game animals of the country. 
" Well," said Father Zahm, " now you've shot them 
both !" The storm continued heavy until after sunset. 
Then the rain stopped, and the full moon broke through 
the cloud-rack. Father Zahm and I walked up and 
down in the moonlight, talking of many things, from 
Dante, and our own plans for the future, to the deeds 
and the wanderings of the old-time Spanish conquista- 
dores in their search for the Gilded King, and of the 
Portuguese adventurers who then divided with them the 
mastery of the oceans and of the unknown continents 

This was an attractive and interesting camp in more 
ways than one. The vaqueiros with their wives and 
families were housed on the two sides of the field in 
which our tents were pitched. On one side was a big, 
whitewashed, tile-roofed house in which the foreman 
dwelt — an olive-skinned, slightly built, wiry man, with 
an olive-skinned wife and eight as pretty, fair-haired 
children as one could wish to see. He usually went 
barefoot, and his manners were not merely good but 
distinguished. Corrals and out-buildings were near this 
big house. On the opposite side of the field stood the 
row of steep-roofed, palm-thatched huts in which the 
ordinary cow-hands lived with their dusky helpmeets 
and children. Each night from these palm-thatched 
quarters we heard the faint sounds of a music that 

136 UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS [chap, v 

went far back of ci^-ilization to a savage ancestry near 
by in point of time and othermse immeasurably remote ; 
for through the stUl, hot air, under the brilliant moon- 
hght, we heard the monotonous throbbing of a tomtom 
drum, and the twanging of some odd-stringed instru- 
ment. The small black turkey-buzzards, here always 
called crows, were as tame as chickens near the big 
house, walking on the ground or perched in the trees 
beside the corral, waiting for the oJfFal of the slaughtered 
cattle. Two palm-trees near ovu* tent were crowded 
with the long, hanging nests of one of the cacique 
orioles. We Mved well, with plenty of tapir beef, which 
was good, and venison of the bush-deer, which was 
excellent ; and as much ordinary beef as we wished, and 
fresh milk, too — a rarity in this country. There were 
very few mosquitoes, and everything was as comfortable 
as possible. 

The tapir I IdUed was a big one. I did not wish to 
kUl another, unless, of course, it became ad\dsable to 
do so for food ; whereas I did wish to get some speci- 
mens of the big, white-Hpped peccary, the " queixa " 
(pronounced " cashada ") of the BraziUans, which would 
make our collection of the big mammals of the BraziUan 
forests almost complete. The remaining members of 
the party killed two or three more tapirs. One was a 
bull, full grown but very much smaller than the animal 
I had killed. The himters said that this was a distinct 
kind. The skull and skin were sent back with the other 
specimens to the American INIuseum, where, after due 
examination and comparison, its specific identity will 
be estabhshed. Tapirs are sohtary beasts. Two are 
rarely found together, except in the case of a cow and 
and its spotted and streaked calf. They hve in dense 
cover, usually lying down in the daytime, and at night 


coming out to feed, and going to the river or to some 
lagoon to bathe and swim. From this camp Sigg took 
Lieutenant Lyra back to Caceres to get something that 
had been overlooked. They went in a rowboat to 
which the motor had been attached, and at night on the 
way back almost ran over a tapir that was swimming. 
But in unfrequented places, tapirs both feed and bathe 
during the day. The stomach of the one I shot con- 
tained big palm-nuts ; they had been swallowed with- 
out enough mastication to break the kernel, the outer 
pulp being what the tapir prized. Tapirs gallop well, 
and their tough hide and wedge shape enable them to 
go at speed through very dense cover. They try to 
stamp on, and even to bite, a foe, but are only clumsy 

The tapir is a very archaic type of ungulate, not un- 
like the non-specialized beasts of the oligocene. From 
some such ancestral type the highly specialized one-toed 
modern horse has evolved, while during the uncounted 
ages that saw the horse thus develop, the tapir has con- 
tinued substantially unchsfcged. Originally the tapirs 
dwelt in the northern hemisphere, but there they 
gradually died out, the more specialized horse, and 
even for long ages the rhinoceros, persisting after they 
had vanished ; and nowadays the surviving tapirs are 
found in Malaysia and South America, far from their 
original home. The relations of the horse and tapir in 
the paleontological history of South America are very 
curious. Both were, geologically speaking, compara- 
tively recent immigrants, and if they came at different 
dates it is almost certain that the horse came later. 
The horse for an age or two, certainly for many 
hundreds of thousands of years, throve greatly, and 
developed not only several different species, but even 

138 UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS [chap, v 

different genera. It was much the most highly special- 
ized of the two, and in the other continental regions 
where both were fomid, the horse outlasted the tapir. 
But in South America the tapir outlasted the horse. 
From unknown causes the various genera and species 
of horses died out, while the tapir has persisted. The 
highly speciahzed, highly developed beasts, which repre- 
sented such a full evolutionary development, died out, 
while their less specialized remote kinsfolk, which had 
not developed, clung to life and throve ; and this, 
although the direct reverse was occurring in North 
America and in the Old World. It is one of the in- 
numerable and at present insoluble problems in the 
history of life on our planet. 

I spent a couple of days of hard work in getting the 
big white-lipped peccaries — white-Hpped being rather a 
misnomer, as the entire under jaw and lower cheek are 
white. They were said to be found on the other side 
of, and some distance back from, the river. Colonel 
Rondon had sent out one of our attendants, an old 
follower of his, a full-blood Parecis Indian, to look for 
tracks. This was an excellent man, who dressed and 
behaved just hke the other good men we had, and was 
called Antonio Parecis. He found the tracks of a herd 
of thirty or forty cashadas, and the following morning 
we started after them. 

On the first day we killed nothing. We were rather 
too large a party, for one or two of the visiting fazen- 
deiros came along with their dogs. I doubt whether 
these men very much vdshed to overtake our game, 
for the big peccary is a murderous foe of dogs (and is 
sometimes dangerous to men). One of their number 
frankly refused to come or to let his dogs come, explain- 
ing that the fierce wild swine were " very badly brought 

O CI. 

H -I 


up " (a literal translation of his words), and that respect- 
able dogs and men ought not to go near them. The 
other fazendeiros merely feared for their dogs ; a ground- 
less fear, I believe, as I do not think that the dogs could 
by any exertion have been dragged into dangerous 
proximity with such foes. The ranch foreman, Bene- 
detto, came with us, and two or three other camaradas, 
including Antonio, the Parecis Indian. The horses 
were swum across the river, each being led beside a 
dugout. Then we crossed with the dogs ; our horses 
were saddled, and we started. 

It was a picturesque cavalcade. The native hunters, 
of every shade from white to dark copper, all wore 
leather leggings that left the soles of their feet bare, 
and on their bare heels wore spurs with wheels four 
inches across. They went in single file, for no other 
mode of travel was possible ; and the two or three 
leading men kept their machetes out, and had to cut 
every yard of our way while we were in the forest. 
The hunters rode little stallions, and their hounds were 

Most of the time we were in forest or swampy jungle. 
Part of the time we crossed or skirted marshy plains. 
In one of them a herd of half- wild cattle was feeding. 
Herons, storks, ducks, and ibises were in these marshes, 
and we saw one flock of lovely roseate spoonbills. 

In one grove the fig-trees were killing the palms, just 
as in Africa they kill the sandal-wood trees. In the 
gloom of this grove there were no flowers, no bushes ; 
the air was heavy ; the ground was brown with moulder- 
ing leaves. Almost every palm was serving as a prop for 
a fig-tree. The fig-trees were in every stage of growth. 
The youngest ones merely ran up the palms as vines. 
In the next stage the vine had thickened and was send- 

140 UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS [chap, v 

ing out shoots, wrapping the palm stem in a deadly hold. 
Some of the shoots were thrown round the stem like 
the tentacles of an immense cuttlefish. Others looked 
like claws, that were hooked into every crevice, and 
round every projection. In the stage beyond this the 
palm had been killed, and its dead carcass appeared 
between the big, winding vine-trunks ; and later the 
palm had disappeared, and the vines had united into a 
great fig-tree. Water stood in black pools at the foot 
of the murdered trees, and of the trees that had mur- 
dered them. There was something sinister and evil in 
the dark stiUness of the grove ; it seemed as if sentient 
beings had writhed themselves round, and were strangling 
other sentient beings. 

We passed through wonderfully beautiful woods of 
tall palms, the ouaoua9a palm — wawasa palm, as it 
should be spelled in Enghsh. The trunks rose tall and 
strong and slender, and the fronds were branches twenty 
or thirty feet long, with the many long, narrow green 
blades starting from the midrib at right angles in pairs. 
Round the ponds stood stately burity palms, rising like 
huge columns, with great branches that looked like 
fans, as the long, stiff blades radiated from the end of 
the midrib. One tree was gorgeous with the brilliant 
hues of a flock of parti- coloured macaws. Green parrots 
flew shrieking overhead. 

Now and then we were bitten and stung by the 
venomous fire-ants, and ticks crawled upon us. Once 
we were assailed by more serious foes, in the shape of a 
nest of maribundi wasps, not the biggest kind, but about 
the size of our hornets. We were at the time passing 
through dense jungle, under tall trees, in a spot where 
the down timber, holes, tangled creepers, and thorns 
made the going difficult. The leading men were not 


assailed, although they were now and then cutting the 
trail. Colonel Rondon and I were in the middle of the 
column, and the swarm attacked us ; both of us were 
badly stung on the face, neck, and hands, the Colonel 
even more severely than I was. He wheeled and rode 
to the rear and I to the front ; our horses were stung 
too ; and we went at a rate that a moment previously 
I would have deemed impossible over such ground. 

At the close of the day, when we were almost back 
at the river, the dogs killed a jaguar kitten. There was 
no trace of the mother. Some accident must have 
befallen her, and the kitten was trying to shift for her- 
self. She was very emaciated. In her stomach were 
the remains of a pigeon and some tendons from the 
skeleton or dried carcass of some big animal. The 
loathsome berni flies, which deposit eggs in living 
beings — cattle, dogs, monkeys, rodents, men — had been 
at it. There were seven huge, white grubs making big 
abscess-like swellings over its eyes. These flies deposit 
their grubs in men. In 1909, on Colonel Rondon's hardest 
trip, every man of the party had from one to five grubs 
deposited in him, th e fly actin g with great speed, and 
driving its ovipositor through clothing. The grubs 
cause torture ; but a couple of cross cuts with a lancet 
permit the loathsome creatures to be squeezed out. 

In these forests the multitude of insects that bite, 
sting, devour, and prey upon other creatures, often with 
accompaniments of atrocious suffering, passes belief. 
The very pathetic myth of " beneficent nature " could 
not deceive even the least wise being if he once saw for 
himself the iron cruelty of life in the tropics. Of course 
" nature " — in common parlance a wholly inaccurate 
term, by the way, especially when used as if to express 
a single entity — is entirely ruthless, no less so as regards 

142 UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS [chap, v 

types than as regards individuals, and entirely indifferent 
to good or evU, and works out her ends or no ends with 
utter disregard of pain and woe. 

The following morning at sunrise we started again. 
This time only Colonel Rondon and I went with Bene- 
detto and Antonio the Indian. We brought along four 
dogs, which, it was fondly hoped, might chase the 
eashadas. Two of them disappeared on the track of 
a tapir, and we saw them no more ; one of the others 
promptly fled when we came across the tracks of our 
game, and would not even venture after them in our 
company ; the remaining one did not actually run away, 
and occasionally gave tongue, but could not be per- 
suaded to advance unless there was a man ahead of 
him. However, Colonel Rondon, Benedetto, and Antonio 
formed a trio of hunters who could do fairly weU without 

After four hours of riding, Benedetto, who was in 
the lead, suddenly stopped and pointed downward. We 
were riding along a grassy interval between masses of 
forest, and he had found the fresh track of a herd of big 
peccaries crossing from left to right. There were appar- 
ently thirty or forty in the herd. The small peccaries 
go singly or in small parties, and when chased take 
refuge in holes or hoUow logs, where they show valiant 
fight ; but the big peccaries go in herds of considerable 
size, and are so truculent that they are reluctant to run, 
and prefer either to move slowly off chattering their 
tusks and grunting, or else actually to charge, ^^'^here 
much persecuted the survivors gradually grow more 
willing to run, but their instinct is not to run, but to 
trust to their truculence and their mass-action for safety. 
They inflict a fearful bite and frequently kill dogs. They 
often charge the hunters, and I have heard of men being 


badly wounded by them, while almost every man who 
hunts them often is occasionally forced to scramble up 
a tree to avoid a charge. But I have never heard of a 
man being killed by them. They sometimes surround 
the tree in which the man has taken refuge, and keep 
him up it. Cherrie, on one occasion in Costa Rica, was 
thus kept up a tree for several hours by a great herd of 
three or four hundred of these peccaries ; and this 
although he killed several of them. Ordinarily, how- 
ever, after making their charge, they do not turn, but 
pass on out of sight. Their great foe is the jaguar, but 
unless he exercises much caution they will turn the 
tables on him. Cherrie, also, in Costa Rica, came on 
the body of a jaguar, which had evidently been killed 
by a herd of peccaries some twenty-four hours pre- 
viously. The ground was trampled up by their hoofs, 
and the carcass was rent and slit into pieces. 

Benedetto, as soon as we discovered the tracks, 
slipped oiF his horse, changed his leggings for sandals, 
threw his rifle over his arm, and took the trail of the 
herd, followed by the only dog which would accompany 
him. The peccaries had gone into a broad belt of 
forest, with a marsh on the farther side. At first 
Antonio led the Colonel and me, all of us on horseback, 
at a canter round this belt to the marsh side, thinking 
the peccaries had gone almost through it. But we 
could hear nothing. The dog only occasionally barked, 
and then not loudly. Finally we heard a shot. 
Benedetto had found the herd, which showed no fear of 
him ; he had backed out and fired a signal shot. We 
all three went into the forest on foot toward where the 
shot had been fired. It was dense jungle and stiflingly 
hot. We could not see clearly for more than a few 
feet, or move easily without free use of the machetes. 

144 UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS [chap, v 

Soon we heard the ominous gi'oaning of the herd, in 
front of us, and almost on every side. Then Benedetto 
joined us, and the dog appeared in the rear. We 
moved slowly forward, toward the sound of the fierce 
moaning grunts which were varied at times by a castanet 
chattering of the tusks. Then we dimly made out the 
dark forms of the peccaries moving very slowly to the 
left. My companions each chose a tree to climb at 
need and pointed out one for me. I fired at the half- 
seen form of a hog through the vines, leaves, and 
branches ; the Colonel fii-ed ; I fired three more shots 
at other hogs ; and the Indian also fired. The peccaries 
did not charge ; walking and trotting, with bristles erect, 
groaning and clacking their tusks, they disappeared into 
the jungle. We could not see one of them clearly ; and 
not one was left dead. But a few paces on we came across 
one of my wounded ones, standing at bay by a palm 
trunk ; and I killed it forthwith. The dog would not 
even traU the wounded ones ; but here Antonio came to 
the front. With eyes almost as quick and sure as those 
of a wild beast he had watched after every shot, and 
was able to tell the results in each case. He said that 
in addition to the one I had just killed I had wounded 
two others so seriously that he did not think they would 
go far, and that Colonel Rondon and he himself had 
each badly wounded one ; and, moreover, he showed 
the trails each wounded animal had taken. The event 
justified him. In a few minutes we found my second 
one dead. Then we found Antonio's. Then we found 
my third one alive and at bay, and I kUled it with 
another bullet. Finally we found the Colonel's. I told 
him I should ask the authorities of the American museum 
to mount his and one or two of mine in a group, to 
commemorate our hunting together. 

Kcrmit Roosevelt 
fro?n a photograph by Fiala 


If we had not used crippling rifles the peccaries might 
have gotten away, for in the dark jungle, with the 
masses of intervening leaves and branches, it was im- 
possible to be sure of placing each bullet properly in the 
half-seen moving beast. We found where the herd had 
wallowed in the mud. The stomachs of the peccaries 
we killed contained wild figs, palm nuts, and bundles of 
root fibres. The dead beasts were covered with ticks. 
They were at least twice the weight of the smaller 

On the ride home we saw a buck of the small species 
of bush-deer, not half the size of the kind I had already 
shot. It was only a patch of red in the bush, a good 
distance off, but I was lucky enough to hit it. In spite 
of its small size it was a full-gi"own male, of a species we 
had not yet obtained. The antlers had recently been 
shed, and the new antler growth had just begun. A 
great jabiru stork let us ride by him a hundred and 
fifty yards off without thinking it worth while to take 
flight. This day we saw many of the beautiful violet 
orchids ; and in the swamps were multitudes of flowers, 
red, yellow, lilac, of which I did not know the names. 

I aUuded above to the queer custom these people in 
the interior of Brazil have of gelding their hunting-dogs. 
This absurd habit is doubtless the chief reason why 
there are so few hounds worth their salt in the more 
serious kinds of hunting, where the quarry is the jaguar 
or big peccary. Thus far we had seen but one dog as 
good as the ordinary cougar hound or bear hound, in 
such packs as those with which I had hunted in the 
Rockies and in the cane-brakes of the lower Mississippi. 
It can hardly be otherwise when every dog that shows 
himself worth anything is promptly put out of the cate- 
gory of breeders — the theory apparently being that the 


146 UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS [chap, v 

dog will then last longer. All the breeding is from worth- 
less dogs, and no dog of proved worth leaves descendants. 
The country along this river is a fine natural cattle 
country, and some day it will surely see a great develop- 
ment. It was opened to development by Colonel 
Rondon only five or six years ago. Already an 
occasional cattle-ranch is to be found along the banks. 
When railroads are built into these interior portions 
of Matto Grosso the whole region will grow and thrive 
amazingly — and so will the railroads. The growth wiU 
not be merely material. An immense amount wiQ be 
done in education ; using the word education in its 
broadest and most accurate sense, as applying to both 
mind and spirit, to both the child and the man. 
Colonel Rondon is not merely an explorer. He has 
been, and is now, a leader in the movement for the 
vital betterment of his people, the people of Matto 
Grosso. The poorer people of the back country every- 
where suffer because of the harsh and improper laws of 
debt. In practice these laws have resulted in establish- 
ing a system of peonage, such as has grovim up here 
and there in our own nation. A radical change is 
needed in this matter ; and the Colonel is fighting for 
the change. In school matters the Colonel has precisely 
the ideas of our vpisest and most advanced men and 
women in the United States. Cherrie — who is not only 
an exceedingly efficient naturalist and explorer in the 
tropics, but is also a thoroughly good citizen at home — 
is the chairman of the school board of the town of 
Newfane, in Vermont. He and the Colonel, and 
Kermit and I, talked over school matters at length, and 
were in hearty accord as to the vital educational needs of 
both Brazil and the United States: the need of combining 
industrial with purely mental training, and the need of 


having the widespread popular education, which is and 
must be supported and paid for by the government, 
made a purely governmental and absolutely non-sectarian 
function, administered by the state alone, without 
interference with, nor furtherance of, the beliefs of any 
reputable church. The Colonel is also head of the 
Indian service of Brazil, being what corresponds roughly 
with our Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Here also he 
is taking the exact view that is taken in the United 
States by the staunchest and wisest friends of the 
Indians. The Indians must be treated with intelligent 
and sympathetic understanding, no less than with 
justice and firmness ; and until they become citizens, 
absorbed into the general body politic, they must be 
the wards of the nation, and not of any private associa- 
tion, lay or clerical, no matter how well-meaning. 

The Sepotuba River was scientifically explored and 
mapped for the first time by Colonel Rondon in 1908, 
as head of the Brazilian Telegraphic Commission. This 
was during the second year of his exploration and opening 
of the unknown northwestern wilderness of Matto 
Grosso. Most of this wilderness had never previously 
been trodden by the foot of a civilized man. Not only 
were careful maps made and much other scientific work 
accomplished, but posts were established and telegraph- 
lines constructed. When Colonel Rondon began the 
work he was a major. He was given two promotions, 
to lieutenant-colonel and colonel, while absent in the 
wilderness. His longest and most important exploring 
trip, and the one fraught with most danger and hardship, 
was begun by him in 1909, on May 3, the anniversary 
of the discovery of Brazil, He left Tapirapoan on that 
day, and he reached the Madeira River on Christmas, 
December 25, of the same year, having descended the 

148 UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS [chap, v 

Gy-Parana. The mouth of this river had long been 
known, but its upper course for half its length was 
absolutely unknown when Rondon descended it. Among 
those who took part under him in this piece of explora- 
tion were the present Captain Amilcar and Lieutenant 
Lyra ; and two better or more efficient men for such 
wilderness work it would be impossible to find. They 
acted as his two chief assistants on our trip. In 1909 
the party exhausted all their food, including even the 
salt, by August. For the last four months they lived 
exclusively on the game they killed, on fruits, and on 
wild honey. Their equipage was what the men could 
carry on their backs. By the time the party reached 
the Madeira they were worn out by fatigue, exposure, 
and semi-starvation, and their enfeebled bodies were 
racked by fever. 

The work of exploration accomphshed by Colonel 
Rondon and his associates during these years was as 
remarkable as, and in its results even more important 
than, any similar work undertaken elsewhere on the 
globe at or about the same time. Its value was recog- 
nized in Brazil. It received no recognition by the geo- 
graphical societies of Europe or the United States. 

The work done by the original explorers of such a 
wilderness necessitates the undergoing of untold hardship 
and danger. Their successors, even their immediate 
successors, have a relatively easy time. Soon the road 
becomes so well beaten that it can be traversed without 
hardship by any man who does not venture from it — 
although if he goes off into the wilderness for even a 
day, hunting or collecting, he will have a shght taste of 
what his predecessors endured. The wilderness explored 
by Colonel Rondon is not yet wholly subdued, and stiU 
holds menace to human life. At Caceres he received 


notice of the death of one of his gallant subordinates, 
Captain Cardozo. He died from beriberi, far out 
in the wilderness along our proposed line of march. 
Colonel Rondon also received news that a boat ascend- 
ing the Gy-Parana, to carry provisions to meet those of 
our party who were to descend that stream, had been 
upset, the provisions lost, and three men drowned. The 
risk and hardship are such that the ordinary men, the 
camaradas, do not like to go into the wilderness. The 
men who go with the Telegraphic Commission on the 
rougher and wilder work are paid seven times as much 
as they earn in civilization. On this trip of ours Colonel 
Rondon met with much difficulty in securing someone 
who could cook. He asked the cook on the httle steamer 
Nyoac to go with us ; but the cook with unaffected 
horror responded : " Senhor, / have never done anything 
to deserve punishment !" 

Five days after leaving us, the launch, with one of the 
native trading-boats lashed alongside, returned. On the 
13th we broke camp, loaded ourselves and all our 
belongings on the launch and the house-boat, and 
started up-stream for Tapirapoan. All told there were 
about thirty men, with five dogs and tents, bedding and 
provisions ; fresh beef, growing rapidly less fresh ; skins 
— all and everything jammed together. 

It rained most of the first day and part of the first 
night. After that the weather was generally overcast 
and pleasant for travelling ; but sometimes rain and 
torrid sunshine alternated. The cooking — and it was 
good cooking — was done at a funny little open-air fire- 
place, with two or three cooking-pots placed at the stern 
of the house-boat. 

The fireplace was a platform of earth, taken from 
ant-hills, and heaped and spread on the boards of the 

150 UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS [chap, v 

boat. Around it the dusky cook worked with philo- 
sophic solemnity in rain and shine. Our attendants, 
friendly souls with skins of every shade and hue, slept 
most of the time, curled up among boxes, bundles, and 
slabs of beef. An enormous land-turtle was tethered 
toward the bow of the house-boat. When the men slept 
too near it, it made futile efforts to scramble over them; 
and in return now and then one of them gravely used it 
for a seat. 

Slowly the throbbing engine drove the launch and its 
unwieldy side-partner against the swift current. The 
river had risen. We made about a mile and a half an 
hour. Ahead of us the brown water street stretched in 
curves between endless walls of dense tropical forest. It 
was like passing through a gigantic greenhouse. Wawasa 
and burity palms, cecropias, huge figs, feathery bamboos, 
strange yellow-stemmed trees, low trees with enormous 
leaves, tall trees with foliage as delicate as lace, trees 
with buttressed trunks, trees with boles rising smooth 
and straight to lofty heights, all woven together by a 
tangle of vines, crowded down to the edge of the river. 
Their drooping branches hung down to the water, 
forming a screen through which it was impossible to 
see the bank, and exceedingly difficult to penetrate to 
the bank. Rarely one of them showed flowers — large 
white blossoms, or small red or yellow blossoms. More 
often the hlac flowers of the begonia-vine made large 
patches of colour. Innumerable epiphytes covered the 
limbs, and even grew on the roughened trunks. We 
saw Httle bird life — a darter now and then, and king- 
fishers flitting from perch to perch. At long intervals 
we passed a ranch. At one the large, red-tiled, white- 
washed house stood on a grassy slope behind mango- 
trees. The wooden shutters were thrown back from the 


unglazed windows, and the big rooms were utterly bare — 
not a book, not an ornament. A palm, loaded with scores 
of the pendulous nests of the troupials, stood near the 
door. Behind were orange-trees and cofFee-plants, and 
near by fields of bananas, rice, and tobacco. The sallow 
foreman was courteous and hospitable. His dark-skinned 
women-folk kept in the furtive background. Like most 
of the ranches, it was owned by a company with head- 
quarters at Caceres. 

The trip was pleasant and interesting, although there 
was not much to do on the boat. It was too crowded 
to move around save with a definite purpose. We 
enjoyed the scenery ; we talked — in English, Portu- 
guese, bad French, and broken German. Some of us 
wrote. Fiala made sketches of improved tents, ham- 
mocks, and other field equipment, suggested by what 
he had already seen. Some of us read books. Colonel 
Rondon, neat, trim, alert, and soldierly, studied a 
standard work on applied geographical astronomy. 
Father Zahm read a novel by Fogazzaro. Kermit read 
Camoens and a couple of Brazihan novels, " O Guarani " 
and" Innocencia." My own reading varied from " Quentin 
Durward " and Gibbon to the " Chanson de Roland." 
Miller took out his httle pet owl Moses, from the 
basket in which Moses dwelt, and gave him food and 
water. Moses crooned and chuckled gratefully when 
he was stroked and tickled. 

Late the first evening we moored to the bank by a 
little fazenda of the poorer type. The houses were of 
palm-leaves. Even the walls were made of the huge 
fronds or leafy branches of the wawasa palm, stuck 
upright in the ground, and the blades plaited together. 
Some of us went ashore. Some stayed on the boats. 
There were no mosquitoes, the weather was not 

152 UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS [chap, v 

oppressively hot, and we slept well. By five o'clock 
next morning we had each drunk a cup of delicious 
Brazilian coffee, and the boats were under way. 

All day we steamed slowly up-stream. We passed 
two or three fazendas. At one, where we halted to get 
milk, the trees were overgrown with pretty little yellow 
orchids. At dark we moored at a spot where there 
were no branches to prevent our placing the boats 
directly alongside the bank. There were hardly any 
mosquitoes. Most of the party took their hammocks 
ashore, and the camp was pitched amid singularly beau- 
tiful surroundings. The trees were wawasa palms, some 
with the fronds cresting very tall trunks, some with 
the fronds — seemingly longer — rising almost from the 
ground. The fronds were of great length ; some could 
not have been less than fifty feet long. Bushes and 
tall grass, dew-drenched and glittering with the green 
of emeralds, grew in the open spaces between. We left 
at sunrise the following morning. One of the sailors 
had strayed inland. He got turned round and could 
not find the river ; and we started before discovering 
his absence. We stopped at once, and with much diffi- 
culty he forced his way through the vine-laced and 
thorn-guarded jungle toward the sound of the launch's 
engines and of the bugle which was blown. In this 
dense jungle, when the sun is behind clouds, a man 
without a compass who strays a hundred yards from 
the river may readily become hopelessly lost. 

As we ascended the river the wawasa palms became 
constantly more numerous. At this point, for many 
miles, they gave their own character to the forest on 
the river-banks. Everywhere their long, curving fronds 
rose among the other trees, and in places their lofty 
trunks made them hold their heads higher than the 


other trees. But they were never as tall as the giants 
among the ordinary trees. On one towering palm we 
noticed a mass of beautiful violet orchids growing from 
the side of the trunk, half-way to the top. On another 
big tree, not a palm, which stood in a httle opening, 
there hung well over a hundred troupials' nests. Be- 
sides two or three small ranches, we this day passed a 
large ranch. The various houses and sheds, all palm- 
thatched, stood by the river in a big space of cleared 
ground, dotted with wawasa palms. A native house- 
boat was moored by the bank. Women and children 
looked from the unglazed windows of the houses ; men 
stood in front of them. The biggest house was enclosed 
by a stockade of palm-logs, thrust end-on into the 
ground. Cows and oxen grazed round about ; and 
carts with solid wheels, each wheel made of a single 
disc of wood, were tilted on their poles. 

We made our noon-day halt on an island where very 
tall trees grew, bearing fruits that were pleasant to the 
taste. Other trees on the island were covered with rich 
red and yellow blossoms ; and masses of delicate blue 
flowers and of star-shaped white flowers grew underfoot. 
Hither and thither across the surface of the river flew 
swallows, with so much white in their plumage that, as 
they flashed in the sun, they seemed to have snow- 
white bodies borne by dark wings. The current of the 
river grew swifter ; there were stretches of broken 
water that were almost rapids ; the labouring engine 
strained and sobbed as, with increasing difficulty, it 
urged forward the launch and her clumsy consort. At 
nightfall we moored beside the bank, where the forest 
was open enough to permit a comfortable camp. That 
night the ants ate large holes in Miller's mosquito- 
netting, and almost devoured his socks and shoe-laces. 

154 UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS [chap, v 

At sunrise we again started. There were occasional 
stretches of swift, broken water, ahnost rapids, in the 
river ; everywhere the current was swift, and our pro- 
gress was slow. The prancha was towed at the end of 
a hawser, and her crew poled. Even thus we only just 
made the rififle in more than one case. Two or three 
times cormorants and snake-birds, perched on snags in 
the river or on trees alongside it, permitted the boat to 
come within a few yards. In one piece of high forest 
we saw a party of toucans, conspicuous even among 
the tree-tops, because of their huge bUls and the 
leisurely expertness with which they crawled, chmbed, 
and hopped among the branches. We went by several 

Shortly before noon — January 16 — we reached Tapira- 
poan, the headquarters of the Telegraphic Commission. 
It was an attractive place, on the river-front, and it was 
gaUy bedecked with flags, not only those of Brazil and 
the United States, but of aU the other American 
repubhcs, in our honour. There was a large, green 
square, with trees standing in the middle of it. On 
one side of this square were the buildings of the Tele- 
graphic Commission, on the other those of a big ranch, 
of which this is the headquarters. In addition, there 
were stables, sheds, out-houses, and corrals ; and there 
were cultivated fields near by. Milch cows, beef-cattle, 
oxen, and mules wandered almost at will. There were 
two or three waggons and carts, and a traction auto- 
mobile, used in the construction of the telegraph-line, 
but not available in the rainy season, at the time of our 

Here we were to begin our trip overland, on pack- 
mules and pack-oxen, scores of which had been gathered 
to meet us. Several days were needed to apportion the 

Two pranchas being pulled by launch with our baggage and provisions 

The prancha was towed at the end of a hawser and her crew poled 

Frovi a photograph by Harper 


loads and arrange for the several divisions, in which it 
was necessary that so large a party should attempt the 
long wilderness march, through a country where there 
was not much food for man or beast, and where it was 
always possible to run into a district in which fatal 
cattle or horse diseases were prevalent. Fiala, with his 
usual efficiency, took charge of handling the outfit of 
the American portion of the expedition, with Sigg as 
an active and useful assistant. Harper, who, like the 
others, worked with whole-hearted zeal and cheerful- 
ness, also helped him, except when he was engaged in 
helping the naturalists. The two latter, Cherrie and 
Miller, had so far done the hardest and the best work of 
the expedition. They had collected about a thousand 
birds and two hundred and fifty mammals. It was not 
probable that they would do as well during the re- 
mainder of our trip, for we intended thenceforth to 
halt as little, and march as steadily, as the country, the 
weather, and the condition of our means of transporta- 
tion permitted. I kept continually wishing that they 
had more time in which to study the absorbingly inter- 
esting life-histories of the beautiful and wonderful 
beasts and birds we were all the time seeing. Every 
first-rate museum must still employ competent collectors ; 
but I think that a museum could now confer most last- 
ing benefit, and could do work of most permanent good, 
by sending out into the immense wildernesses, where 
wild nature is at her best, trained observers with the 
gift of recording what they have observed. Such men 
should be collectors, for collecting is still necessary ; but 
they should also, and indeed primarily, be able them- 
selves to see, and to set vividly before the eyes of others, 
the full life-histories of the creatures that dwell in the 
waste spaces of the world. 

156 UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS [chap, v 

At this point both Cherrie and Miller collected a 
number of mammals and birds which they had not 
previously obtained ; whether any were new to science 
could only be determined after the specimens reached 
the American museum. While making the round of 
his small mammal traps one morning, MiUer encountered 
an army of the formidable foraging-ants. The species 
was a large black one, moving with a well-extended 
front. These ants, sometimes called army-ants, like the 
driver-ants of Africa, move in big bodies and destroy or 
make prey of every living thing that is unable or un- 
willing to get out of their path in time. They run fast, 
and everything runs away from their advance. Insects 
form their chief prey ; and the most dangerous and 
aggressive lower-hfe creatures make astonishingly httle 
resistance to them. Miller's attention was first attracted 
to this army of ants by noticing a big centipede, nine or 
ten inches long, trying to flee before them. A number 
of ants were biting it, and it writhed at each bite, but 
did not try to use its long curved jaws against its 
assailants. On other occasions he saw big scorpions 
and big hairy spiders trying to escape in the same way, 
and showing the same helpless inability to injure their 
ravenous foes, or to defend themselves. The ants climb 
trees to a great height, much higher than most birds' 
nests, and at once kiU and tear to pieces any fledghngs 
in the nests they reach. But they are not as common as 
some writers seem to imagine ; days may elapse before 
their armies are encountered, and doubtless most nests 
are never visited or threatened by them. In some 
instances it seems likely that the birds save themselves 
and their young in other ways. Some nests are in- 
accessible. From others it is probable that the parents 
remove the young. MiUer once, in Guiana, had been 


watching for some days a nest of ant-wrens which con- 
tained young. Going thither one morning, he found 
the tree, and the nest itself, swarming with foraging-ants. 
He at first thought that the fledghngs had been devoured, 
but he soon saw the parents, only about thirty yards off, 
with food in their beaks. They were engaged in entering 
a dense part of the jungle, coming out again without 
food in their beaks, and soon reappearing once more 
with food. Miller never found their new nests, but 
their actions left him certain that they were feeding 
their young, which they must have themselves removed 
from the old nest. These ant-wrens hover in front of 
and over the columns of foraging-ants, feeding not only 
on the other insects aroused by the ants, but on the ants 
themselves. This fact has been doubted ; but Miller 
has shot them with the ants in their bills and in their 
stomachs. Dragon-flies, in numbers, often hover over 
the columns, darting down at them ; MiUer could not 
be certain he had seen them actually seizing the ants, 
but this was his belief I have myself seen these ants 
plunder a nest of the dangerous and highly aggressive 
wasps, while the wasps buzzed about in great excitement, 
but seemed unable effectively to retaliate. I have also 
seen them clear a sapling tenanted by their kinsmen, the 
poisonous red ants, or fire-ants ; the fire-ants fought and 
I have no doubt injured or killed some of their swarming 
and active black foes ; but the latter quickly did away 
with them. I have only come across black foraging- 
ants ; but there are red species. They attack human 
beings precisely as they attack all animals, and 
precipitate flight is the only resort. 

Around our camp here butterflies of gorgeous colour- 
ing swarmed, and there were many fungi as delicately 
shaped and tinted as flowers. The scents in the woods 

158 UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS [chap, v 

were wonderful. There were many whip-poor-wiUs, or 
rather Brazihan birds related to them ; they uttered at 
intervals through the night a succession of notes sug- 
gesting both those of our whip-poor-will and those of our 
big chuck-wUl's-widow of the Gulf States, but not 
identical with either. There were other birds which 
were nearly akin to famihar birds of the United States : 
a dull-coloured catbird, a dull-coloured robin, and a 
sparrow belonging to the same genus as our common 
song-sparrow and sweetheart sparrow ; Miller had heard 
this sparrow singing by day and night, fourteen thousand 
feet up on the Andes, and its song suggested the songs 
of both of our sparrows. There were doves and wood- 
peckers of various species. Other birds bore no re- 
semblance to any of ours. One honey-creeper was a 
perfect little gem, with plumage that was black, purple, 
and turquoise, and brilliant scarlet feet. Two of the 
birds which Cherrie and MiUer procured were of extra- 
ordinaiy nesting habits. One, a nunlet, in shape re- 
sembles a short-taUed bluebird. It is plumbeous, with 
a fulvous belly and white tail coverts. It is a stupid 
little bird, and does not like to fly away even when shot 
at. It catches its prey and ordinarily acts like a rather 
duU flycatcher, perching on some dead tree, swooping on 
insects and then returning to its perch, and never going 
on the ground to feed or run about. But it nests in 
burrows which it digs itself, one bird usually digging, 
whUe the other bird perches in a bush near by. Some- 
times these burrows are in the side of a sand-bank, the 
the sand being so loose that it is a marvel that it does 
not cave in. Sometimes the burrows are in the level 
plain, running down about three feet, and then rising 
at an angle. The nest consists of a few leaves and 
grasses, and the eggs are white. The other bird, called 


a nun or waxbill, is about the size of a thrush, greyish 
in colour, with a waxy red bill. It also burrows in the 
level soil, the burrow being five feet long ; and 
over the mouth of the burrow it heaps a pile of sticks 
and leaves. 

At this camp the heat was great — from 91° to 
104° F. — and the air very heavy, being saturated 
with moisture ; and there were many rain-storms. But 
there were no mosquitoes, and we were very comfortable. 
Thanks to the neighbourhood of the ranch, we fared 
sumptuously, with plenty of beef, chickens, and fresh 
milk. Two of the Brazilian dishes were delicious : 
canja, a thick soup of chicken and rice, the best soup a 
hungry man ever tasted ; and beef chopped in rather 
small pieces and served with a well-flavoured but 
simple gravy. The mule allotted me as a riding-beast 
was a powerful animal, with easy gaits. The Brazilian 
Government had waiting for me a very handsome 
silver-mounted saddle and bridle ; I was much pleased 
with both. However, my exceedingly rough and shabby 
clothing made an incongruous contrast. 

At Tapirapoan we broke up our baggage — as well as 
our party. We sent forward the Canadian canoe — 
which, with the motor-engine and some kerosene, went 
in a cart drawn by six oxen^ — and a hundred sealed tin 
cases of provisions, each containing rations for a day for 
six men. They had been put up in New York under 
the special direction of Fiala, for use when we got 
where we wished to take good and varied food in small 
compass. AU the skins, skulls, and alcoholic specimens, 
and all the baggage not absolutely necessary, were sent 
back down the Paraguay and to New York, in charge 
of Harper. The separate baggage-trains, under the 
charge of Captain Amilcar, were organized to go 

160 UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS [chap, v 

in one detachment. The main body of the expe- 
dition, consisting of the American members, and 
of Colonel Rondon, Lieutenant Lyra, and Doctor 
Cajazeira, with their baggage and provisions, formed 
another detachment. 




We were now in the land of the bloodsucking bats, the 
vampire bats that suck the blood of living creatures, 
clinging to or hovering against the shoulder of a horse 
or cow, or the hand or foot of a sleeping man, and making 
a wound from which the blood continues to flow long 
after the bat's thirst has been satiated. At Tapirapoan 
there were milch cattle, and one of the calves turned up 
one morning weak from loss of blood, which was still 
trickling from a wound in front of the shoulder, made 
by a bat. But the bats do little damage in this neigh- 
bourhood compared to what they do in some other 
places, where not only the mules and cattle but the 
chickens have to be housed behind bat-proof protection 
at night or their lives may pay the penalty. The chief 
and habitual offenders are various species of rather 
smaU bats ; but it is said that other kinds of Brazilian 
bats seem to have become, at least sporadically and 
locally, affected by the evil example, and occasionally 
vary their customary diet by draughts of living blood. 
One of the Brazilian members of our party, Hoehne, 
the botanist, was a zoologist also. He informed me 
that he had known even the big fruit-eating bats to take 
to bloodsucking. They did not, according to his 

161 11 


observations, themselves make the original wound, but 
after it had been made by one of the true vampires 
they would lap the flowing blood and enlarge the 
wound. South America makes up for its lack, relatively 
to Africa and India, of large man-eating carnivores 
by the extraordinary ferocity or bloodthirstiness of 
certain smaU creatures of which the kinsfolk else- 
where are harmless. It is only here that fish no 
bigger than trout kiU swimmers, and bats the size _ 
of the ordinary "flittermice" of the northern hemi- 
sphere drain the life-blood of big beasts and of man 

There was not much large mammalian life in the 
neighbourhood. Kermit hunted industriously, and 
brought in an occasional armadillo, coati, or agouti for 
the naturahsts. Miller trapped rats and a queer 
opossum new to the collection. Cherrie got many birds. 
Cherrie and MiUer skinned their specimens in a little 
open hut or shed. Moses, the small pet owl, sat on a 
cross-bar overhead, an interested spectator, and chuckled 
whenever he was petted. Two wrens, who bred just 
outside the hut, were much excited by the presence 
of Moses, and paid him visits of noisy unfiiendliness. 
The little white-throated sparrows came famiUarly about 
the palm cabins and whitewashed houses and trilled on 
the roof-trees. It was a simple song, with just a hint of 
our northern whitethroat's sweet and plaintive melody, 
and of the opening bars of our song-sparrow's pleasant, 
homely lay. It brought back dear memories of glorious 
April mornings on Long Island, when through the 
singing of robin and song-sparrow comes the piercing 
cadence of the meadow -lark ; and of the far northland 
woods in June, fragrant with the breath of pine and 
balsam-fir, where sweetheart sparrows sing from wet 


spruce thickets, and rapid brooks rush under the 
drenched and swaying alder-boughs. 

From Tapirapoan our course lay northward up to 
and across the Plan Alto, the highland wilderness of 
Brazil. From the edges of this highland country, which 
is geologically very ancient, the affluents of the Amazon 
to the north, and of the Plate to the south, flow, with 
immense and devious loops and windings. 

Two days before we ourselves started with our mule- 
train, a train of pack-oxen left, loaded with provisions, 
tools, and other things, which we would not need until, 
after a month or six weeks, we began our descent into 
the valley of the Amazon. There were about seventy 
oxen. Most of them were well broken, but there were 
about a score which were either not broken at all or 
else very badly broken. These were loaded with much 
difficulty, and bucked like wild broncos. Again and 
again they scattered their loads over the corral and over 
the first part of the road. The pack-men, however— 
copper-coloured, black, and dusky-white — were not only 
masters of their art, but possessed tempers that could 
not be ruffled ; when they showed severity it was because 
severity was needed, and not because they were angry. 
They finally got all their longhorned beasts loaded, and 
started on the trail with them. 

On January 21 we ourselves started, with the mule- 
train. Of course, as always in such a journey, there 
was some confusion before the men and the animals of 
the train settled down to the routine performance of 
duty. In addition to the pack-animals we all had 
riding-mules. The first day we journeyed about twelve 
miles, then crossed the Sepotuba and camped beside 
it, below a series of falls, or rather rapids. The country 
was level. It was a great natural pasture, covered with 


a very open forest of low, twisted trees, bearing a super- 
ficial likeness to the cross-timbers of Texas and Okla- 
homa. It is as well fitted for stock-raising as Oklahoma ; 
and there is also much fine agricultural land, while the 
river will ultimately jdeld electric power. It is a fine 
country for settlement. The heat is great at noon, but 
the nights are not uncomfortable. We were supposed 
to be in the middle of the rainy season, but hitherto 
most of the days had been fine, varied with showers. 
The astonishing thing was the absence of mosquitoes. 
Insect pests that work by day can be stood, and especially 
by settlers, because they are far less serious foes in the 
clearings than in the woods. The mosquitoes and other 
night foes offer the really serious and unpleasant problem, 
because they break one's rest. Hitherto, during our 
travels up the Paraguay and its tributaries, in this 
level, marshy, tropical region of western BrazU, we had 
practically not been bothered by mosquitoes at aU in 
our home camps. Out in the woods they were at times 
a serious nuisance, and Cherrie and MiUer had been 
subjected to real torment by them during some of then- 
special expeditions ; but there were practically none on 
the ranches and in our camps iu the open fields by the 
river, even when marshes were close by. I was puzzled 
— and dehghted — by then- absence. Settlers need not 
be deterred from coming to this region by the fear of 
insect foes. 

This does not mean that there are not such foes. 
Outside of the clearings, and of the beaten tracks of 
travel, they teem. There are ticks, poisonous ants, 
wasps — of which some species are really serious menaces 
— biting flies, and gnats. I merely mean that, unlike so 
many other tropical regions, this particular region is, 
from the standpoint of the settler and the ordinary 


traveller, relatively free from insect pests, and a pleasant 
place of residence. The original explorer, and to an only 
less degree the hard-working field-naturalist or big-game 
hunter, have to face these pests, just as they have to 
face countless risks, hardships, and difficulties. This 
is inherent in their several professions or avocations. 
Many regions in the United States, where life is now 
absolutely comfortable and easy-going, offered most 
formidable problems to the first explorers a century 
or two ago. We must not fall into the foolish error of 
thinking that the first explorers need not suffer terrible 
hardships, merely because the ordinary travellers, and 
even the settlers who come after them, do not have 
to endure such danger, privation, and wearing fatigue — 
although the first among the genuine settlers also have 
to undergo exceedingly trying experiences. The early 
explorers and adventurers make fairly well-beaten trails 
at heavy cost to themselves. Ordinary travellers, with 
little discomfort and no danger, can then traverse these 
trails ; but it is incumbent on them neither to boast of 
their own experiences nor to misjudge the efforts of the 
pioneers because, thanks to these very efforts, their own 
lines fall in pleasant places. The ordinary traveller, who 
never goes off the beaten route and who on this beaten 
route is carried by others, without himself doing any- 
thing or risking anything, does not need to show much 
more initiative and intelligence than an express package. 
He does nothing ; others do all the work, show aU the 
forethought, take all the risk— and are entitled to all 
the credit. He and his valise are carried in practically 
the same fashion ; and for each the achievement stands 
about on the same plane. If this kind of traveller is 
a writer, he can, of course, do admirable work — work 
of the highest value ; but the value comes because he 


is a writer and observer, not because of any particular 
credit that attaches to him as a traveller. We all 
recognize this truth as far as highly civilized regions 
are concerned : when Bryce writes of the American 
commonwealth, or Lowell of European legislative as- 
semblies, our admiration is for the insight and thought of 
the observer, and we are not concerned with his travels. 
When a man travels across Arizona in a Pullman car, 
we do not think of him as having performed a feat 
bearing even the most remote resemblance to the feats 
of the first explorers of those waterless wastes ; whatever 
admiration we feel in connection with his trip is reserved 
for the traffic-superintendent, engineer, fireman, and 
brakeman. But as regards the less-known continents, 
such as South America, we sometimes fail to remember 
these obvious truths. There yet remains plenty of 
exploring work to be done in South America, as hard, 
as dangerous, and almost as important as any that has 
already been done ; work such as has recently been 
done, or is now being done, by men and women such 
as Haseman, Farrabee, and Miss Snethlage. The col- 
lecting naturalists who go into the wilds and do first- 
class work encounter every kind of risk and undergo 
every kind of hardship and exertion. Explorers and 
naturalisjs of the right type have open to them in 
South America a field of extraordinary attraction and 
difficulty. But to excavate ruins that have already 
long been known, to visit out-of-the-way towns that 
date from colonial days, to traverse old, even if uncom- 
fortable, routes of travel, or to ascend or descend high- 
way rivers Uke the Amazon, the Paraguay, and the 
lower Orinoco — all of these exploits are well worth 
performing, but they in no sense represent exploration 
or adventure, and they do not entitle the performer, no 


matter how well he writes and no matter how much 
of real value he contributes to human knowledge, to 
compare himself in any way with the real wilderness 
wanderer, or to criticize the latter. Such a performance 
entails no hardship or difficulty worth heeding. Its 
value depends purely on observation, not on action. 
The man does little ; he merely records what he sees. 
He is only the man of the beaten routes. The true 
wilderness wanderer, on the contrary, must be a man 
of action as well as of observation. He must have the 
heart and the body to do and to endure, no less than 
the eye to see and the brain to note and record. 

Let me make it clear that I am not depreciating the 
excellent work of so many of the men who have not 
gone off the beaten trails. I merely wish to make it 
plain that this excellent work must not be put in the 
class with that of the wilderness explorer. It is excellent 
work, nevertheless, and has its place, just as the work of 
the true explorer has its place. Both stand in sharpest 
contrast with the actions of those alleged explorers, 
among whom Mr. Savage Landor stands in unpleasant 

From the Sepotuba rapids our course at the outset 
lay westward. The first day's march away from the 
river lay through dense tropical forest. Away from the 
broad, beaten route every step of a man's progress repre- 
sented slashing a trail with the machete through the 
tangle of bushes, low trees, thorny scrub, and interlaced 
creepers. There were palms of new kinds, very tall, 
slender, straight, and graceful, with rather short and 
few fronds. The wild plantains, or pacovas, thronged 
the spaces among the trunks of the tall trees ; their boles 
were short, and their broad, erect leaves gigantic ; they 
bore brilliant red-and-orange flowers. There were trees 


whose trunks bellied into huge swellings. There were 
towering trees with buttressed trunks, whose leaves 
made a fretwork against the sky far overhead. Gorgeous 
red-and-green trogons, with long tails, perched motion- 
less on the lower branches and uttered a loud, thrice- 
repeated whistle. We heard the caUing of the false 
beU-bird, which is grey instead of white like the true 
bell-birds ; it keeps among the very topmost branches. 
Heavy rain fell shortly after we reached our camping- 

Next morning at sunrise we climbed a steep slope to 
the edge of the Parecis plateau, at a level of about two 
thousand feet above the sea. We were on the Plan 
Alto, the high central plain of Brazil, the healthy land 
of dry air, of cool nights, of clear, running brooks. The 
sun was directly behind us when we topped the rise. 
Reining in, we looked back over the vast Paraguayan 
marshes, shimmering in the long morning Ughts. Then, 
turning again, we rode forward, casting shadows far 
before us. It was twenty miles to the next water, and 
in hot weather the journey across this waterless, shade- 
less, sandy stretch of country is hard on the mules and 
oxen. But on this day the sky speedily grew overcast 
and a cool wind blew in our faces as we travelled at a 
quick, running walk over the immense roUing plain. 
The ground was sandy ; it was covered with grass and 
with a sparse growth of stunted, twisted trees, never 
more than a few feet high. There were rheas — ostriches 
— and small pampas- deer on this plain ; the coloration 
of the rheas made it difficult to see them at a distance, 
whereas the bright red coats of the little deer, and their 
uplifted flags as they ran, advertised them afar off. We 
also saw the footprints of cougars and of the small- 
toothed, big, red wolf. Cougars are the most inveterate 



^* ^'V' "^'' 

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., ■ '^>' ' ■ ^ 

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■i^.^ .■-■ 

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Colonel Roosevelt and Colonel Rondon looking over the vast landscape 
The ground was sandy, covered with grass and with a sparse growth of stunted, twisted trees, never more 

than a few feet high 
From a photograph by Kermit Roosevelt 


enemies of these small South American deer, both those 
of the open grassy plain and those of the forest. 

It is not nearly as easy to get lost on these open 
plains as in the dense forest ; and where there is a long 
reasonably straight road or river to come back to, a man, 
even without a compass, is safe. But in these thick 
South American forests, especially on cloudy days, a 
compass is an absolute necessity. We were struck by 
the fact that the native hunters and ranchmen on such 
days continually lost themselves and, if permitted, 
travelled for miles through the forest, either in circles or 
in exactly the wrong direction. They had no such 
sense of direction as the forest-dwelling 'Ndorobo 
hunters in Africa had, or as the true forest-dwelling 
Indians of South America are said to have. On certainly 
half a dozen occasions our guides went completely astray, 
and we had to take command, to disregard their asser- 
tions, and to lead the way aright by sole reliance on our 

On this cool day we travelled well. The air was 
wonderful ; the vast open spaces gave a sense of 
abounding vigour and freedom. Early in the afternoon 
we reached a station made by Colonel Rondon in the 
course of his first explorations. There were several 
houses with whitewashed walls, stone floors, and tiled or 
thatched roofs. They stood in a wide, gently sloping 
valley. Through it ran a rapid brook of cool water, in 
which we enjoyed delightful baths. The heavy, intensely 
humid atmosphere of the low, marshy plains had gone ; 
the air was clear and fresh ; the sky was brilliant ; far 
and wide we looked over a landscape that seemed limit- 
less ; the breeze that blew in our faces might have come 
from our own northern plains. The midday sun was 
very hot ; but it was hard to realize that we were in the 


torrid zone. There were no mosquitoes, so that we 
never put up our nets when we went to bed ; but 
wrapped ourselves in our blankets, and slept soundly 
through the cool, pleasant nights. Surely in the future 
this region wiU be the home of a healthy, highly civilized 
population. It is good for cattle-raising, and the valleys 
are fitted for agriculture. From June to September the 
nights are often really cold. Any sound northern race 
could live here ; and in such a land, with such a climate, 
there would be much joy of living. 

On these plains the Telegraphic Commission uses 
motor-trucks ; and these now served to relieve the mules 
and oxen ; for some of them, especially among the oxen, 
already showed the effects of the strain. Travelling in 
a wild country with a pack-train is not easy on the pack- 
animals. It was strange to see these big motor-vans 
out in the wilderness where there was not a settler, not 
a civilized man except the employees of the Tele- 
graphic Commission. They were handled by Lieutenant 
Lauriadd, who, with Lieutenant Mello, had taken special 
charge of our transport service ; both were exceptionally 
good and competent men. 

The following day we again rode on across the Plan 
Alto. In the early afternoon, in the midst of a down- 
pour of rain, we crossed the divide between the basins 
of the Paraguay and the Amazon. That evening we 
camped on a brook whose waters ultimately ran into 
the Tapajos. The rain feU throughout the afternoon, 
now lightly, now heavily, and the mule-train did not 
get up until dark. But enough tents and flies were 
pitched to shelter all of us. Fires were lit, and — after 
a fourteen hours' fast — we feasted royally on beans and 
rice and pork and beef, seated around ox- skins spread 
upon the ground. The sky cleared ; the stars blazed 


down through the cool night ; and wrapped in our 
blankets we slept soundly, warm and comfortable. 

Next morning the trail had turned, and our course 
led northward and at times east of north. We traversed 
the same high, rolling plains of coarse grass and stunted 
trees. Kermit, riding a big, iron-mouthed, bull-headed 
white mule, rode off to one side on a hunt, and rejoined 
the line of march carrying two bucks of the little pampas- 
deer, or field-deer, behind his saddle. These deer are 
very pretty and graceful, with a tail like that of the 
Columbian black-tail. . Standing motionless facing one, in 
the sparse scrub, they are hard to make out ; if seen side- 
ways the reddish colour of their coats, contrasted with the 
greens and greys of the landscape, betrays them ; and 
when they bound off, the upraised white tail is very 
conspicuous. They carefully avoid the woods in which 
their cousins, the little bush-deer, are found, and go 
singly or in couples. Their odour can be made out at 
a considerable distance, but it is not rank. They still 
carried their antlers. Their venison was delicious. 

We came across many queer insects. One red grass- 
hopper when it flew seemed as big as a small sparrow ; 
and we passed in some places such multitudes of active 
little green grasshoppers that they frightened the mules. 
At our camping-place we saw an extraordinary colony 
of spiders. It was among some dwarf trees, standing 
a few yards apart from one another by the water. When 
we reached the camping-place, early in the afternoon — 
the pack-train did not get in until nearly sunset, just 
ahead of the rain — no spiders were out. They were 
under the leaves of the trees. Their webs were tenant- 
less, and indeed for the most part were broken down. 
But at dusk they came out from their hiding-places, 
two or three hundred of them in all, and at once began 


to repair the old and spin new webs. Each spun its 
own circular web, and sat in the middle ; and each web 
was connected on several sides with other webs, while 
those nearest the trees were hung to them by spun 
ropes, so to speak. The result was a kind of sheet of 
web consisting of scores of wheels, in each of which 
the owner and proprietor sat ; and there were half a 
dozen such sheets, each extending between two trees. 
The webs could hardly be seen, and the eiFect was of 
scores of big, formidable-looking spiders poised in mid- 
air, equidistant from one another, between each pair of 
trees. When darkness and rain fell they were still out, 
fixing their webs, and pouncing on the occasional insects 
that blundered into the webs. I have no question that 
they are nocturnal ; they certainly hide in the daytime, 
and it seems impossible that they can come out only 
for a few minutes at dusk. 

In the evenings, after supper or dinner — it is hard to 
teU by what title the exceedingly movable evening meal 
should be called — the members of the party sometimes 
told stories of incidents in their past lives. Most of 
them were men of varied experiences. Rondon and 
Lyra told of the hardship and suiFering of the first trips 
through the wilderness across which we were going with 
such comfort. On this very plateau they had once lived 
for weeks on the fruits of the various fruit-bearing trees. 
Naturally they became emaciated and feeble. In the 
forests of the Amazonian basin they did better, because 
they often shot birds and plundered the hives of the 
wild honey-bees. In cutting the trail for the telegraph- 
line through the Juruena basin they lost every single 
one of the hundred and sixty mules with which they 
had started. Those men pay dear who build the first 
foundations of empire ! Fiala told of the long polar 


nights, and of white bears that came round the snow- 
huts of the explorers, greedy to eat them, and themselves 
destined to be eaten by them. Of all the party Cherrie's 
experiences had covered the widest range. This was 
partly owing to the fact that the latter-day naturalist 
of the most vigorous type who goes into the untrodden 
wastes of the world must see and do many strange 
things ; and still more owing to the character of the 
man himself. The things he had seen and done and 
undergone often enabled him to cast the light of his 
own past experience on unexpected subjects. Once we 
were talking about the proper weapons for cavalry, and 
someone mentioned the theory that the lance is especially 
formidable because of the moral eflFect it produces on the 
enemy. Cherrie nodded emphatically ; and a little cross- 
examination elicited the fact that he was speaking from 
lively personal recollection of his own feelings when 
charged by lancers. It was while he was fighting with 
the Venezuelan insurgents in an unsuccessful uprising 
against the tyranny of Castro. He was on foot, with 
five Venezuelans, all cool men and good shots. In an 
open plain they were charged by twenty of Castro's 
lancers, who galloped out from behind cover two or 
three hundred yards off. It was a war in which neither 
side gave quarter, and in which the wounded and the 
prisoners were butchered — ^just as President Madero 
was butchered in Mexico. Cherrie knew that it meant 
death for him and his companions if the charge came 
home ; and the sight of the horsemen running in at full 
speed, with their long lances in rest and the blades 
glittering, left an indelible impression on his mind. 
But he and his companions shot deliberately and ac- 
curately; ten of the lancers were killed, the nearest 
falling within fifty yards ; and the others rode off in 


headlong haste. A cool man with a rifle, if he has 
mastered his weapon, need fear no foe. 

At this camp the auto-vans again joined us. They 
were to go direct to the first telegraph station, at the 
great falls of the Utiarity, on the Rio Papagaio. Of 
course, they travelled faster than the mule-train. Father 
Zahm, attended by Sigg, started for the falls in them. 
Cherrie and Miller also went in them, because they had 
found that it was very difficult to collect birds, and 
especially mammals, when we were moving every day, 
packing up early each morning and the mule-train 
arriving late in the afternoon or not until nightfall. 
Moreover, there was much rain, which made it difficult 
to work except under the tents. Accordingly, the two 
naturahsts desired to get to a place where they could 
spend several days and collect steadily, thereby doing 
more effective work. The rest of us continued with 
the mule-train, as was necessary. 

It was always a picturesque sight when camp was 
broken, and again at nightfall when the laden mules 
came stringing in, and their burdens were thrown down, 
while the tents were pitched and the fires lit. We 
breakfasted before leaving camp, the alumiuium cups 
and plates being placed on ox-hides, round which we 
sat, on the ground or on camp-stools. We fared well 
on ricfe, beans, and crackers, with canned corned beef 
and salmon or any game that had been shot, and coffee, 
tea, and matt^. I then usually sat down somewhere to 
write, -and when the mules were nearly ready I popped 
my writing-materials into my duffel-bag — war-sack, as 
we would have called it in the old days on the plains. 
I found that the mules usually arrived so late in the 
afternoon or evening that I could not depend upon 
being able to write at that time. Of course, if we made 


a very early start I could not write at all. At night 
there were no mosquitoes. In the daytime gnats and 
sand-flies and horse-flies sometimes bothered us a little, 
but not much. Small, stingless bees lit on us in numbers 
and crawled over the skin, making a slight tickling ; but 
we did not mind them until they became very numerous. 
There was a good deal of rain, but not enough to cause 
any serious annoyance. 

Colonel Rondon and Lieutenant Lyra held many 
discussions as to whither the Rio da Duvida flowed, and 
where its mouth might be. Its provisional name — 
" River of Doubt " — was given it precisely because of 
this ignorance concerning it ; an ignorance which it was 
one of the purposes of our trip to dispel. It might go 
into the Gy-Parana, in which case its course must be 
very short ; it might flow into the Madeira low down, 
in which case its course would be very long ; or, which 
was unlikely, it might flow into the Tapajos. There was 
another river, the headwaters of which Colonel Rondon 
had come across, whose course was equally doubtful, 
although in its case there was rather more probability 
of its flowing into the Juruena, by which name the 
Tapajos is known for its upper half. To this unknown 
river Colonel Rondon had given the name Ananas, 
because when he came across it he found a deserted 
Indian field with pineapples, which the hungry explorers 
ate greedily. Among the things the Colonel and I 
hoped to accomplish on the trip was to do a little work 
in clearing up one or the other of these two doubtful 
geographical points, and thereby to push a little forward 
the knowledge of this region. Originally, as described 
in the first chapter, my trip was undertaken primarily 
in the interest of the American Museum of Natural 
History of New York, to add to our knowledge of the 


birds and mammals of the far interior of the western 
Brazilian wilderness ; and the labels of our baggage and 
scientific equipment, printed by the museum, were 
entitled " Colonel Roosevelt's South American expedi- 
tion for the American Museum of Natural History." 
But, as I have already mentioned, at Rio the Brazilian 
Government, through the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, 
Doctor Lauro Mliller, suggested that I should combine 
the expedition with one by Colonel Rondon, which they 
contemplated making, and thereby make both expedi- 
tions of broader scientific interest. I accepted the 
proposal with much pleasure ; and we found, when we 
joined Colonel Rondon and his associates, that their 
baggage and equipment had been labelled by the 
Brazilian Government "Expedi(jao Scientifica Roosevelt- 
Rondon." This thenceforth became the proper and 
official title of the expedition. Cherrie and Miller did 
the chief zoological work. The geological work was 
done by a Brazilian member of the expedition, Euzebio 
OUveira. The astronomical work necessary for obtaining 
the exact geographical location of the rivers and points 
of note was to be done by Lieutenant Lyra, under the 
supervision of Colonel Rondon ; and at the telegraph 
stations this astronomical work would be checked by 
wire communications with one of Colonel Rondon's 
assistants at Cuyaba, Lieutenant Caetano, thereby 
securing a minutely accurate comparison of time. The 
sketch-maps and surveying and cartographical work 
generally were to be made under the supervision of 
Colonel Rondon by Lyra, with assistance from Fiala and 
Kermit. Captain Amilcar handled the worst problem — 
transportation. The medical member was Doctor 

At night around the camp-fire my Brazilian com- 


panions often spoke of the first explorers of this vast 
wilderness of western Brazil — men whose very names 
are now hardly known, but who did each his part in 
opening the country which will some day see such 
growth and development. Among the most notable 
of them was a Portuguese, Ricardo Franco, who spent 
forty years at the work, during the last quarter of the 
eighteenth and the opening years of the nineteenth 
centuries. He ascended for long distances the Xingu 
and the Tapajos, and went up the Madeira and Guapor^, 
crossing to the headwaters of the Paraguay and partially 
exploring there also. He worked among and with the 
Indians, much as Mungo Park worked with the natives 
of West Africa, having none of the aids, instruments, 
and comforts with which even the hardiest of modern 
explorers are provided. He was one of the men who 
established the beginnings of the province of Matto 
Grosso. For many years the sole method of communi- 
cation between this remote interior province and civi- 
lization was by the long, difficult, andperilous route which 
led up the Amazon and Madeira ; and its then capital, 
the town of Matto Grosso, the seat of the Captain- 
General, with its palace, cathedral, and fortress, was 
accordingly placed far to the west, near the Guapor^. 
When less circuitous lines of communication were 
established farther eastward the old capital was 
abandoned, and the tropic wilderness surged over the 
lonely little town. The tomb of the old colonial 
explorer stiU stands in the ruined cathedral, where the 
forest has once more come to its own. But civilization 
is again advancing to j-eclaim the lost town and to 
revive the memory of the wilderness wanderer who 
helped to found it. Colonel Rondon has named 
a river after Franco — a range of mountains has also been 



named after him — and the Colonel, acting for the 
Brazilian Government, has estabUshed a telegraph 
station in what was once the palace of the Captain- 

Our northward trail led along the high ground a 
league or two to the east of the northward-flowing Rio 
Sacre. Each night we camped on one of the small tribu- 
tary brooks that fed it. Fiala, Kermit, and I, occupied 
one tent. In the daytime the " pium " flies, vicious Uttle 
sand- flies, became bad enough to make us finally use 
gloves and head-nets. There were many heavy rains, 
which made the travelling hard for the mules. The soil 
was more often clay than sand, and it was slippery when 
wet. The weather was overcast, and there was usually 
no oppressive heat even at noon. At intervals along 
the trail we came on the staring skuU and bleached 
skeleton of a mule or ox. Day after day we rode for- 
ward acroifs endless flats of grass and of low open 
scrubby forest, the trees standing far apart and in most 
places being but little higher than the head of a horse- 
man. Some of them carried blossoms, white, orange, 
yellow, pink ; and there were many flowers, the most 
beautiful being the morning-glories. Among the trees 
were bastard rubber-trees, and dwarf palmetto ; if the 
latter grew more than a few feet high their tops were 
torn and dishevelled by the wind. There was very 
httle bird or mammal life ; there were few long vistas, 
for in most places it was not possible to see far among 
the grey, gnarled trunks of the wind-beaten Uttle trees. 
Yet the desolate landscape had a certain charm of its 
own, although not a charm that would be felt by any man 
who does not take pleasure in mere space, and freedom 
and vdldness, and in plains standing empty to the sun, 
the wind, and the rain. The country bore some 

ANTS 179 

resemblance to the country west of Redjaf on the White 
Nile, the home of the giant eland ; only here there was 
no big game, no chance of seeing the towering form of 
the giraffe, the black bulk of elephant or buffalo, the 
herds of straw-coloured hartebeests, or the ghostly 
shimmer of the sun glinting on the coats of roan and 
eland as they vanished silently in the grey sea of 
withered scrub. 

One feature in common with the African landscape 
was the abundance of ant-hills, some as high as a man. 
They were red in the clay country, grey where it was 
sandy ; and the dirt houses were also in trees, while their 
raised tunnels traversed trees and ground alike. At some 
of the camping-places we had to be on our watch against 
the swarms of leaf-carrying ants. These are so called in 
the books — the Brazilians call them " carregadores," or 
porters — because they are always carrying bits of leaves 
and blades of grass to their underground homes. They 
are inveterate burden-bearers, and they industriously cut 
into pieces and carry off" any garment they can get at ; 
and we had to guard our shoes and clothes from them, 
iust as we had often had to guard all our belongings 
against the termites. These ants did not bite us ; but 
we encountered huge black ants, an inch and a quarter 
long, which were very vicious, and their bite was not 
only painful but quite poisonous. Praying-mantes were 
common, and one evening at supper one had a comical 
encounter with a young dog, a jovial near-puppy, of 
Colonel Rondon's, named Cartucho. He had been 
christened " the joUy-cum-pup," from a character in one 
of Frank Stockton's stories, which I suppose are now 
remembered only by elderly people, and by them only 
if they are natives of the United States. Cartucho was 
lying with his head on the ox-hide that served as table. 


waiting with poorly dissembled impatience for his share 
of the banquet. The mantis flew down on the ox-hide 
and proceeded to crawl over it, taking little flights from 
one corner to another ; and whenever it thought itself 
menaced it assumed an attitude of seeming devotion and 
real defiance. Soon it lit in front of Cartucho's nose. 
Cartucho cocked his big ears forward, stretched his neck, 
and cautiously sniffed at the new arrival, not with any 
hostile design, but merely to find out whether it would 
prove to be a playmate. The mantis promptly assumed 
an attitude of prayer. This struck Cartucho as both 
novel and interesting, and he thrust his sniffing black 
nose stUl nearer. The mantis dexterously thrust forward 
first one and then the other armed fore leg, touching the 
intrusive nose, which was instantly jerked back and again 
slowly and inquiringly brought forward. Then the 
mantis suddenly flew in Cartucho's face, whereupon 
Cartucho, with a smothered yelp of dismay, almost 
turned a back somersault ; and the triumphant mantis 
flew back to the middle of the ox-hide, among the plates, 
where it reared erect and defied the laughing and 
applauding company. 

On the morning of the 29th we were rather late in 
starting, because the rain had continued through the 
night into the morning, drenching everjrthing. After 
nightfall there had been some mosquitoes, and the piums 
were a pest during daylight ; where one bites it leaves a 
tiny black spot on the skin which lasts for several weeks. 
In the shppery mud one of the pack-mules fell and 
injured itself so that it had to be abandoned. Soon after 
starting we came on the telegraph-hne, which runs from 
Cayuba ; this was the first time we had seen it. Two 
Parecis Indians joined us, leading a pack-bullock. They 
were dressed in hat, shirt, trousers, and sandals, precisely 


like the, ordinary Brazilian caboclos, as the poor back- 
woods peasants, usually with little white blood in them, 
are colloquially and half- derisively styled — caboclo being 
originally a Guarany word meaning "naked savage." 
Thfese two Indians were in the employ of the Tele- 
graphic Commission, and had been patrolling the 
telegraph-line. The bullock carried their personal 
belongings and the tools with which they could repair 
a break. The commission pays the ordinary Indian 
worker 66 cents a day ; a very good worker gets $1, and 
the chief $1.66. No man gets anything unless he works. 
Colonel Rondon, by just, kindly, and understanding 
treatment of these Indians, who previously had often 
been exploited and maltreated by rubber-gatherers, has 
made them the loyal friends of the government. He 
has gathered them at the telegraph stations, where they 
cultivate fields of mandioc, beans, potatoes, maize, and 
other vegetables, and where he is introducing them to 
stock-raising ; and the entire work of guarding and 
patrolling the line is theirs. 

After six hours' march we came to the crossing of the 
Rio Sacre at the beautiful waterfall appropriately called 
the Salto Bello. This is the end of the automobile road. 
Here there is a small Parecfs village. The men of the 
village work the ferry by which everything is taken 
across the deep and rapid river. The ferry-boat is made 
of planking placed on three dugout canoes, and runs on 
a trolley. Before crossing we enjoyed a good swim in 
the swift, clear, cool water. The Indian village, where 
we camped, is placed on a jutting tongue of land round 
which the river sweeps just before it leaps from the 
overhanging precipice. The falls themselves are very 
lovely. .Fust above them is a wooded island, but the 
river joins again before it races forward for the final 


plunge. There is a sheer drop of forty or fifty yards, 
with a breadth two or three times as great; and the 
volume of water is large. On the left or hither bank a 
cliif extends for several hundred yards below the falls. 
Green vines have flung themselves down over its face, 
and they are met by other vines thrusting upward from 
the mass of vegetation at its foot, glistening in the 
perpetual mist from the cataract, and clothing even the 
rock surfaces in vivid green. The river, after throwing 
itself over the rock wall, rushes off in long curves at the 
bottom of a thickly wooded ravine, the white water 
churning among the black boulders. There is a perpetual 
rainbow at the foot of the falls. The masses of green 
water that are hurling themselves over the brink dissolve 
into shifting, foaming columns of snowy lace. 

On the edge of the cliff below the falls Colonel 
Rondon had placed benches, giving a curious touch of 
rather conventional tourist- civilization to this cataract 
far out in the lonely wilderness. It is well worth visiting 
for its beauty. It is also of extreme interest because of 
the promise it holds for the future. Lieutenant Lyra 
informed me that they had calculated that this fall would 
furnish thirty-six thousand horse-power. Eight miles off 
we were to see another fall of much greater height and 
power. There are many rivers in this region which 
would furnish almost unlimited motive force to populous 
manufacturing communities. The country round about is 
healthy. It is an upland region of good climate ; we 
were visiting it in the rainy season, the season when the 
nights are far less cool than in the dry season, and yet 
we found it delightful. There is much fertile soil in the 
neighbourhood of the streams, and the teeming lowlands 
of the Amazon and the Paraguay could readily — and 
with immense advantage to both sides — be made 


tributary to an industrial civilization seated on these 
highlands. A telegraph-line has been built to and 
across them. A railroad should follow. Such a line 
could be easily built, for there are no serious natural 
obstacles. In advance of its construction a trolley-line 
could be run from Cuyaba to the falls, using the power 
furnished by the latter. Once this is done the land will 
offer extraordinary opportunities to settlers of the right 
kind: to home-makers and to enterprising business 
men of foresight, coolness, and sagacity who are 
willing to work with the settlers, the immigrants, 
the home-makers, for an advantage which shall be 

The Parecis Indians, whom we met here, were exceed- 
ingly interesting. They were to all appearance an un- 
usually cheerful, good-humoured, pleasant - natured 
people. Their teeth were bad ; otherwise they appeared 
strong and vigorous, and there were plenty of children. 
The colonel was received as a valued friend and as a 
leader who was to be followed and obeyed. He is 
raising them by degrees — the only way by which to 
make the rise permanent. In this village he has got 
them to substitute for the flimsy Indian cabins houses 
of the type usual among the poorer field labourers and 
back-country dwellers in Brazil. These houses have 
roofs of palm thatch, steeply pitched. They are usually 
open at the sides, consisting merely of a framework of 
timbers, with a wall at the back ; but some have the 
ordinary four walls, of erect palm-logs. The hammocks 
are slung in the houses, and the cooking is also done in 
them, with pots placed on small open fires, or occasionally 
in a kind of clay oven. The big gourds for water, and 
the wicker baskets, are placed on the ground, or hung 
on the poles. 


The men had adopted, and were wearing, shirts and 
trousers, but the women had made little change in their 
clothing, A few wore print dresses, but obviously only 
for ornament. Most of them, especially the girk and 
young married women, wore nothing but a loin-cloth in 
addition to bead necklaces and bracelets. The nursing 
mothers — and almost all the mothers were nursing — 
sometimes carried the child slung against their side or 
hip, seated in a cloth belt, or sling, which went over the 
opposite shoulder of the mother. The women seemed 
to be well treated, although polygamy is practised. The 
children were loved by every one ; they were petted by 
both men and women, and they behaved well to one 
another, the boys not seeming to bully the girls or the 
smaller boys. Most of the children were naked, but 
the girls early wore the loin-cloth; and some, both of 
the httle boys and the little girls, wore coloured print 
garments, to the evident pride of themselves and their 
parents. In each house there were several famihes, and 
hfe went on with no privacy but with good humour, 
consideration, and fundamentally good manners. The 
man or woman who had nothing to do lay in a hammock 
or squatted on the ground leaning against a post or waU. 
The children played together, or lay in little hammocks, 
or tagged round after their mothers ; and when called 
they came trustfully up to us to be petted or given some 
small trinket ; they were friendly little souls, and accus- 
tomed to good treatment. One woman was weaving a 
cloth, another was making a hammock ; others made 
ready melons and other vegetables and cooked them over 
tiny fires. The men, who had come in from work at the 
ferry or along the telegraph-lines, did some work them- 
selves, or played with the children ; one cut a small boy's 
hair, and then had his own hair cut by a friend. But 

One woman was making a hammock 
From a photograph by Kermil Roosevelt 

The mothers carried the child slung against their side or hip, seated in a cloth belt, or 

sling, which went over the opposite shoulder of the mother 

[A few wore print dresses — most of them wore nothing but a ioin-clothl 

From photographs by Cherrie and Miller 


the absorbing amusement of the men was an extra- 
ordinary game of ball. 

In our family we have always relished Oliver Herford's 
nonsense rhymes, including the account of Willie's dis- 
pleasure with his goat : 

" I do not like my billy goat, 
I wish that he was dead ; 
Because he kicked me, so he did, 
He kicked me with his head." 

Well, these Parecis Indians enthusiastically play foot- 
ball with their heads. The game is not only native to 
them, but I have never heard or read of its being played 
by any other tribe or people. They use a light hollow 
rubber ball, of their own manufacture. It is circular 
and about eight inches in diameter. The players are 
divided into two sides, and stationed much as in Associa- 
tion football, and the ball is placed on the ground to be 
put in play as in football. Then a player runs forward, 
throws himself flat on the ground, and butts the ball 
toward the opposite side. This first butt, when the 
ball is on the ground, never lifts it much and it rolls and 
bounds toward the opponents. One or two of the latter 
run toward it ; one throws himself flat on his face and 
butts the ball back. Usually this butt lifts it,. and it 
flies back in a curve well up in the air ; and an opposite 
player, rushing toward it, catches it on his head with 
such a swing of his brawny neck, and such precision and 
address that the ball bounds back through the air as a 
football soars after a drop-kick. If the ball flies off" to 
one side or the other it is brought back, and again put 
in play. Often it will be sent to and fro a dozen times, 
from head to head, until finally it rises with such a sweep 
that it passes far over the heads of the opposite players 


and descends behind them. Then shrill, rolling cries of 
good-humoured triumph arise from the victors ; and the 
game instantly begins again with fresh zest. There are, 
of course, no such rules as in a specialized ball-game of 
civilization ; and I saw no disputes. There may be eight 
or ten, or many more, players on each side. The ball is 
never touched with the hands or feet, or with anything 
except the top of the head. It is hard to decide whether 
to wonder most at the dexterity and strength with which 
it is hit or butted with the head, as it comes down through 
the air, or at the reckless speed and skill with which the 
players throw themselves headlong on the ground to 
return the ball if it comes low down. Why they do 
not grind oiF their noses I cannot imagine. Some of the 
players hardly ever failed to catch and return the ball if 
it came in their neighbourhood, and with such a 
vigorous toss of the head that it often flew in a 
great curve for a really astonishing distance. 

That night a pack-ox got into the tent in which 
Kermit and I were sleeping, entering first at one end 
and then at the other. It is extraordinary that he did 
not waken us ; but we slept undisturbed, while the ox 
deliberately ate our shirts, socks, and underclothes I It 
chewed them into rags. One of my socks escaped, and 
my undershirt, although chewed full of holes, was stiU 
good for some weeks' wear ; but the other things were 
in fragments. 

In the morning Colonel Rondon arranged for us to 
have breakfast over on the benches under the trees by 
the waterfall, whose roar, lulled to a thunderous 
murmur, had been in our ears before we slept and 
when we waked. There could have been no more 
picturesque place for the breakfast of such a party as 
ours. All travellers who really care to see what is 

The kick-oif: a player runs forward, throws himself flat on the ground, and butts the ball toward the 

opposite side 

From a photograph by Kermit Roosevelt 

Often it will be sent to and fro a dozen times, from head to head until finally it rises 
From a photograph by Fiala 

The game of headball played hy Parecis Indians at Utiarlty Falls 


most beautiful and most characteristic of the far interior 
of South America should in their journey visit this 
region, and see the two great waterfalls. They are, 
even now, easy of access ; and as soon as the traffic 
warrants it they will be made still more so ; then, from 
Sao Luis de Caceres, they will be speedily reached by 
light steamboat up the Sepotuba, and by a day or two's 
automobile ride, with a couple of days on horseback in 

The Colonel held a very serious council with the 
Parecis Indians over an incident which caused him 
grave concern. One of the Commission's employees, 
a negro, had kiUed a wild Nhambiquara Indian ; but it 
appeared that he had really been urged on and aided by 
the Parecis, as the members of the tribe to which the 
dead Indian belonged were much given to carrying off 
the Parecis women, and in other ways making them- 
selves bad neighbours. The Colonel tried hard to get 
at the truth of the matter ; he went to the biggest 
Indian house, where he sat in a hammock — an Indian 
child cuddling solemnly up to him, by the way — while 
the Indians sat in other hammocks, and stood round 
about ; but it was impossible to get an absolutely frank 

It appeared, however, that the Nhambiquaras had 
made a descent on the Parecis village in the momentary 
absence of the men of the village ; but the latter, notified 
by the screaming of the women, had returned in time 
to rescue them. The negro was with them and, having 
a good rifle, he killed one of the aggressors. The Parecis 
were, of course, in the right, but the Colonel could not 
afford to have his men take sides in a tribal quarrel. 

It was only a two hours' march across to the Papa- 
gaio at the Falls of Utiarity, so named by their dis- 


coverer, Colonel Rondon, after the sacred falcon of the 
Parecis. On the way we passed our Indian friends, 
themselves bound thither; both the men and the 
women bore burdens — the burdens of some of the 
women, poor things, were heavy — and even the small 
naked children carried the live hens. At Utiarity there 
is a big Parecis settlement, and a telegraph station kept 
by one of the employes of the Commission. His pretty 
brown wife is acting as schoolmistress to a group of 
little Parecis girls. The Parecis chief has been made 
a major, and wears a uniform accordingly. The Com- 
mission has erected good buildings for its own employees, 
and has superintended the erection of good houses for 
the Indians. Most of the latter still prefer the simplicity 
of the loin-cloth, in their ordinary lives, but they proudly 
wore their civilized clothes in our honour. When in 
the late afternoon the men began to play a regular 
match game of headball, with a scorer or umpire to 
keep count, they soon discarded most of their clothes, 
coming down to nothing but trousers or a loin-cloth. 
Two or three of them had their faces stained with red 
ochre. Among the women and children looking on 
were a couple of little girls who paraded about on stilts. 
The great waterfall was half a mile below us. Lovely 
though we had found Salto Bello, these falls were far 
superior in beauty and majesty. They are twice as 
high and twice as broad ; and the lie of the land is such 
that the various landscapes in which the waterfall is a 
feature are more striking. A few hundred yards above 
the falls the river turns at an angle and widens. The 
broad, rapid shallows are crested with whitecaps. Be- 
yond this wide expanse of flecked and hurrying water 
rise the mist columns of the cataract ; and as these 
colunms are swayed and broken by the wind the forest 

The Falls of Utiarity 

I doubt whether, excepting, of course, Niagara, there is a waterfall in North America which outranks this 

if both volume and beauty are considered 

From a photograph by Clierrie 


appears through and between them. From below the 
view is one of singular grandeur. The fall is over a 
shelving ledge of rock, which goes in a nearly straight 
line across the river's course. But at the left there is 
a salient in the clifF-line, and here, accordingly, a great 
cataract of foammg water comes down almost as a 
separate body, in advance of the line of the main fall. 
I doubt whether, excepting of course, Niagara, there is a 
waterfall in North America which outranks this if both 
volume and beauty are considered. Above the fall the 
river flows through a wide valley with gently sloping 
sides. Below, it slips along, a torrent of whity-green 
water, at the bottom of a deep gorge ; and the sides of 
the gorge are clothed with a towering growth of tropical 

Next morning the cacique of these Indians, in his 
major's uniform, came to breakfast, and bore himself 
with entire propriety. It was raining heavily — it rained 
most of the time — and a few minutes previously I had 
noticed the cacique's two wives, with three or four other 
young women, going out to the mandioc fields. It was 
a picturesque group. The women were all mothers, 
and each carried a nursing child. They wore loin- 
cloths or short skirts. Each carried on her back a 
wickerwork basket supported by a head-strap which 
went around her forehead. Each carried a belt slung 
diagonally across her body, over her right shoulder ; in 
this the child was carried, against and perhaps astride 
of her left hip. They were comely women, who did 
not look jaded or cowed ; and they laughed cheerfully, 
and nodded to us as they passed through the rain, on 
their way to the fields. But the contrast between them 
and the chief, in his soldier's uniform, seated at break- 
fast, was rather too striking ; and incidentally it etched. 


in bold lines, the folly of those who ideahze the life of 
even exceptionally good and pleasant-natured savages. 

Although it was the rainy season, the trip up to this 
point had not been difficult, and from May to October, 
when the climate is dry and at its best, there would be 
practically no hardship at all for travellers and visitors. 
This is a healthy plateau. But, of course, the men 
who do the first pioneering, even in country Uke this, 
encounter dangers and run risks ; and they make pay- 
ment with their bodies. At more than one halting- 
place we had come across the forlorn grave of some 
soldier or labourer of the Commission. The grave- 
mound lay within a rude stockade ; and an uninscribed 
wooden cross, grey and weather-beaten, marked the 
last resting-place of the unknown and forgotten man 
beneath, the man who had paid with his humble life 
the cost of pushing the frontier of civUization into the 
wild savagery of the wilderness. Farther west the con- 
ditions become less healthy. At this station Colonel 
Rondon received news of sickness and of some deaths 
among the employees of the commission in the country 
to the westward, which we were soon to enter. Beriberi 
and malignant malarial fever were the diseases which 
claimed the major number of the victims. 

Surely these are " the men who do the work for 
which they draw the wage." Kermit had with him the 
same copy of Kipling's poems which he had carried 
through Africa. At these falls there was one sunset of 
angry splendour ; and we contrasted this going down 
of the sun, through broken rain-clouds and over leagues 
of wet tropical forest, with the desert sunsets we had 
seen in Arizona and Sonora, and along the Guaso Nyiro 
north and west of Mount Kenia, when the barren 
mountains were changed into flaming " ramparts of 

A lonely grave by the wayside 

At more than one halting-placc we had come across the forlorn grave of some soldier or labourer of the 


From a photograph by Cherrie 

The Parecis dance 

Most of them wore on one leg anklets which rattled 
From a photograph by Mtller 


slaughter and peril" standing above "the wine-dark 
flats below." 

It rained during most of the day after our arrival 
at Utiarity. Whenever there was any let-up, the men 
promptly came forth from their houses and played 
headball with the utmost vigour ; and we would listen 
to their shrill undulating cries of applause and triumph 
until we also grew interested and strolled over to look 
on. They are more infatuated with the game than an 
American boy is with baseball or football. It is an 
extraordinary thing that this strange and exciting game 
should be played by, and only by, one little tribe of 
Indians in what is almost the very centre of South 
America. If any traveller or ethnologist knows of a 
tribe elsewhere that plays a similar game, I wish he 
would let me know. To play it demands great activity, 
vigour, skill, and endurance. Looking at the strong, 
supple bodies of the players, and at the number of 
children round about, it seemed as if the tribe must be 
in vigorous health ; yet the Parecis have decreased in 
numbers, for measles and smallpox have been fatal 
to them. 

By the evening the rain was coming down more 
heavily than ever. It was not possible to keep the 
moisture out of our belongings ; everything became 
mouldy except what became rusty. It rained all that 
night ; and daylight saw the downpour continuing with 
no prospect of cessation. The pack-mules could not 
have gone on with the march ; they were already rather 
done up by their previous ten days' labour through rain 
and mud, and it seemed advisable to wait until the 
weather became better before attempting to go forward. 
Moreover, there had been no chance to take the desired 
astronomical observations. There was very little grass 


for the mules ; but there was abundance of a small- 
leaved plant eight or ten inches high — unfortunately, 
not very nourishing — on which they fed greedily. In 
such weather and over such muddy trails oxen travel 
better than mules. 

In spite of the weather Cherrie and Miller, whom, 
together with Father Zahm and Sigg, we had found 
awaiting us, made good collections of birds and mam- 
mals. Among the latter were opossums and mice that 
were new to them. The birds included various forms 
so unlike our home birds that the enumeration of their 
names would mean nothing. One of the most interesting 
was a large black-and-white woodpecker, the white pre- 
dominating in the plumage. Several of these wood- 
peckers were usually found together. They were showy, 
noisy, and restless, and perched on twigs, in ordinary 
bird fashion, at least as often as they clung to the 
trunks in orthodox wood-pecker style. The prettiest 
bird was a tiny manakin, coal-black, with a red-and- 
orange head. 

On February 2 the rain ceased, although the sky 
remained overcast and there were occasional showers. 
I walked oif with my rifle for a couple of leagues ; at 
that distance, from a slight hillock, the mist columns 
of the falls were conspicuous in the landscape. The 
only mammal I saw on the walk was a rather hairy 
armadillo, with a flexible tail, which I picked up and 
brought back to Miller ; it showed none of the speed of 
the nine-banded armadillos we met on our jaguar-hunt. 
Judging by its actions, as it trotted about before it saw 
me, it must be diurnal in habits. It was new to the 

I spent much of the afternoon by the waterfall. 
Under the overcast sky the great cataract lost the deep 


green and fleecy-white of the sunlit falling waters. 
Instead it showed opaline hues and tints of topaz and 
amethyst. At all times, and under all lights, it was 
majestic and beautiful. 

Colonel Rondon had given the Indians various pre- 
sents, those for the women including calico prints, and, 
what they especially prized, bottles of scented oil, from 
Paris, for their hair. The men held a dance in the 
late afternoon. For this occasion most, but not all, of 
them cast aside their civilized clothing, and appeared 
as doubtless they would all have appeared had none 
but themselves been present. They were absolutely 
naked except for a beaded string round the waist. 
Most of them were spotted and dashed with red paint, 
and on one leg wore anklets which rattled, A number 
carried pipes through which they blew a kind of deep 
stifled whistle in time to the dancing. One of them 
had his pipe leading into a huge gourd, which gave out 
a hollow, moaning boom. Many wore two red or 
green or yellow macaw feathers in their hair, and one 
had a macaw feather stuck transversely through the 
septum of his nose. They circled slowly round and 
round, chanting and stamping their feet, while the 
anklet rattles clattered and the pipes droned. They 
advanced to the wall of one of the houses, again and 
again chanting and bowing before it ; I was told this 
was a demand for drink. They entered one house and 
danced in a ring around the cooking-fire in the middle 
of the earth floor; I was told that they were then 
reciting the deeds of mighty hunters and describing how 
they brought in the game. They drank freely from 
gourds and pannikins of a fermented drink made from 
mandioc which were brought out to them. During the 
first part of the dance the women remained in the 



houses, and aU the doors and windows were shut and 
blankets hung to prevent the possibiUty of seeing out. 
But during the second part all the women and girls 
come out and looked on. They were themselves to 
have danced when the men had finished, but were 
overcome with shyness at the thought of dancing with 
so many strangers looking on. The children played 
about with unconcern throughout the ceremony, one of 
them throwing high in the air, and again catching in 
his hands, a loaded feather, a kind of shuttlecock. 

In the evening the growing moon shone through the 
cloud-rack. Anything approaching fair weather always 
put our men in good spirits ; and the muleteers squatted 
in a circle, by a fire near a pile of packs, and hstened to 
a long monotonously and rather mournfully chanted song 
about a dance and a love-affair. We ourselves worked 
busily with our photographs and our writing. There 
was so much humidity in the air that everything grew 
damp and stayed damp, and mould gathered quickly. 
At this season it is a country in which writing, taking 
photographs, and preparing specimens are all works of 
difficulty, at least so far as concerns preserving and 
sending home the results of the labour ; and a man's 
clothing is never really dry. 

From here Father Zahm returned to Tapirapoan, 
accompanied by Sigg. 






From this point we were to enter a still wilder region, 
the land of the naked Nhambiquaras. On February 3 
the weather cleared and we started with the mule-train 
and two ox-carts. Fiala and Lieutenant Lauriadd 
stayed at Utiarity to take canoes and go down the 
Papagaio, which had not been descended by any scientific 
party, and perhaps by no one. They were then to 
descend the Juruena and Tapajos, thereby performing 
a necessary part of the work of the expedition. Our 
remaining party consisted of Colonel Rondon, Lieutenant 
Lyra, the doctor, Oliveira, Cherrie, Miller, Kermit, and 
myself. On the Juruena we expected to meet the pack 
ox-train with Captain Amilcar and Lieutenant Mello ; 
the other Brazilian members of the party had returned. 
We had now begun the difficult part of the expedition. 
The pium flies were becoming a pest. There was much 
fever and beriberi in the country we were entering. 
The feed for the animals was poor ; the rains had made 
the trails slippery and difficult ; and many, both of the 
mules and the oxen, were already weak, and some had 
to be abandoned. We left the canoe, the motor, and 
the gasolene ; we had hoped to try them on the 
Amazonian rivers, but we were obliged to cut down 
everything that was not absolutely indispensable. 



Before leaving we prepared for shipment back to the 
museum some of the bigger skins, and also some of the 
weapons and utensils of the Indians, which Kermit had 
collected. These included woven fillets, and fillets made 
of macaw feathers, for use in the dances, woven belts, 
a gourd in which the sacred drink is offered to the god 
Enoerey, wickerwork baskets, flutes or pipes, anklet 
rattles, hammocks, a belt of the kind used by the 
women in carrying the babies, with the weaving-frame. 
AU these were Parecis articles. He also secured fi-om 
theNhambiquaras wickerwork baskets of a diflFerent type, 
and bows and arrows. The bows were seven feet long 
and the arrows five feet. There were blunt-headed 
arrows for birds, arrows with long, sharp wooden blades 
for tapir, deer, and other mammals ; and the poisoned 
war-arrows, with sharp barbs, poison-coated and bound 
on by fine thongs, and with a long, hollow wooden 
guard to slip over the entire point and protect it until 
the time came to use it. When people talk glibly of 
" idle " savages they ignore the immense labour entailed 
by many of their industries, and the really extraordinary 
amount of work they accomplish by the skilful use of 
their primitive and ineffective tools. 

It was not until early in the afternoon that we started 
into the " sertao,"* as BraziUans call the wilderness. 
We drove with us a herd of oxen for food. After going 
about fifteen miles we camped beside the swampy head- 
waters of a little brook. It was at the spot where 
nearly seven years previously Rondon and Ljn-a had 
camped on the trip when they discovered Utiarity Falls 
and penetrated to the Juruena. When they reached 
this place they had been thirty-six hours without food. 

* Pronounced " sairtown," as nearly as, with our preposterous 
methods of spelHng and pronunciation, I can render it. 


They killed a bush deer — a small deer — and ate literally 
every particle. The dogs devoured the entire skin. 
For much of the time on this trip they lived on wild 
fruit, and the two dogs that remained alive would wait 
eagerly under the trees and eat the fruit that was 
skaken down. 

In the late afternoon the piums were rather bad at 
this camp, but we had gloves and head-nets, and were 
not bothered; and, although there were some mos- 
quitoes, we slept well under our mosquito-nets. The 
frogs in the swamp uttered a peculiar, loud shout. 
Miller told of a little tree-frog in Colombia which 
swelled itself out with air, until it looked like the frog 
in iEsop's fables, and then brayed like a mule ; and 
Cherrie told of a huge frog in Guiana that uttered a 
short, loud roar. 

Next day the weather was still fair. Our march lay 
through country like that which we had been traversing 
for ten days. Skeletons of mules and oxen were more 
frequent ; and once or twice by the wayside we passed 
the graves of officers or men who had died on the road. 
Barbed wire encircled the desolate little mounds. We 
camped on the west bank of the Burity River. Here 
there is a balsa, or ferry, run by two Parecis Indians, as 
employes of the Telegraphic Commission, under the 
Colonel. Each had a thatched house, and each had 
two wives — all these Indians are pagans. All were 
dressed much like the poorer peasants of the Brazilian 
back-country, and all were pleasant and weU-behaved. 
The women ran the ferry about as well as the men. 
They had no cultivated fields, and for weeks they had 
been living only on game and honey ; and they hailed 
with joy our advent and the quantities of beans and 
rice which, together with some beef, the Colonel left 


with them. They feasted most of the night. Their 
houses contained their hammocks, baskets, and other 
belongings, and they owned some poultry. In one 
house was a tiny parakeet, very much at home, and 
familiar, but by no means friendly, with strangers. 
There are wild Nhambiquaras in the neighbourhood, and 
recently several of these had menaced the two ferrymen 
with an attack, even shooting arrows at them. The 
ferrymen had driven them off by firing their rifles in 
the air ; and they expected and received the Colonel's 
praise for their self-restraint ; for the Colonel is doing 
all he can to persuade the Indians to stop their blood- 
feuds. The rifles were short and light Winchester car- 
bines, of the kind so universally used by the rubber- 
gatherers and other adventurous wanderers in the forest 
wilderness of Brazil. There were a number of rubber- 
trees in the neighbourhood, by the way. 

We enjoyed a good bath in the Burity, although it 
was impossible to make headway by swimming against 
the racing current. There were few mosquitoes. On 
the other hand, various kinds of piums were a little too 
abundant ; they vary from things like small gnats to 
things like black flies. The small stingless bees have 
no fear and can hardly be frightened away when they 
light on the hands or face ; but they never bite, and 
merely cause a slight tickhng as they crawl over the 
skin. There were some big bees, however, which, 
although they crawled about harmlessly after lighting 
if they were undisturbed, yet stung fiercely if they 
were molested. The insects were not ordinarily a 
serious bother, but there were occasional hours when 
they were too numerous for comfort, and now and then 
I had to do my writing in a head-net and gauntlets. 

The night we reached the Burity it rained heavily, 




Tres Burity 
from a pkoiograph by Kerrnit Roosevelt 

The kitchen under the ox-hide at Campos Novos 

From a pkoiograph by Theodore Roosevelt 


and next day the rain continued. In the morning the 
mules were ferried over, while the oxen were swum 
across. Half a dozen of our men — whites, Indians, 
and negroes, all stark naked and uttering wild cries — 
drove the oxen into the river, and then, with powerful 
overhand strokes, swam behind and alongside them as 
they crossed, half-breasting the swift current. It was 
a fine sight to see the big, long-horned, staring beasts 
swimming strongly, while the sinewy naked men urged 
them forward, utterly at ease in the rushing water. We 
made only a short day's journey, for, owing to the lack 
of grass, the mules had to be driven off nearly three 
miles from our line of march, in order to get them feed. 
We camped at the headwaters of a little brook called 
Huatsui, which is Parecis for " monkey." 

Accompanying us on this march was a soldier bound 
for one of the remoter posts. With him trudged his 
wife. They made the whole journey on foot. There 
were two children. One was so young that it had to 
be carried alternately by the father and mother. The 
other, a small boy of eight, and much the best of the 
party, was already a competent wilderness worker. He 
bore his share of the belongings on the march, and 
when camp was reached sometimes himself put up the 
famUy shelter. They were mainly of negro blood. 
Struck by the woman's uncomplaining endurance of 
fatigue, we offered to take her and the baby in the 
automobile, while it accompanied us. But, alas ! this 
proved to be one of those melancholy cases where the 
effort to relieve hardship well endured results only in 
showing that those who endure the adversity cannot stand 
even a slight prosperity. The woman proved a querulous 
traveller in the auto, complaining that she was not made 
as comfortable as, apparently, she had expected ; and 


after one day the husband declared he was not willing 
to have her go unless he went too; so the family 
resumed their walk. 

In this neighbourhood there were multitudes of the 
big, gregarious, crepuscular, or nocturnal spiders, which 
I have before mentioned. On arriving in camp, at about 
four in the afternoon, I ran into a number of remains of 
their webs, and saw a very few of the spiders themselves 
sitting in the webs midway between trees. I then 
strolled a couple of miles up the road ahead of us, 
under the line of telegraph-poles. It was still bright sun- 
light, and no spiders were out ; in fact, I did not suspect 
their presence along the line of telegraph-poles, although 
I ought to have done so, for I continually ran into long 
strings of tough, fine web, which got across my face or 
hands or rifle-barrel. I returned just at sunset, and the 
spiders were out in force. I saw dozens of colonies, 
each of scores or hundreds of individuals. Many were 
among the small trees alongside the broad, cleared trail. 
But most were dependent from the wire itself. Their 
webs had all been made or repaired since I had passed. 
Each was sitting in the middle of his own wheel, and 
all the wheels were joined to one another ; and the whole 
pendent fabric hung by fine ropes from the wire above, 
and was, in some cases, steadied by guy-ropes, thrown 
thirty feet off" to little trees alongside. I watched them 
until nightfall, and evidently, to them, after their day's 
rest, their day's work had just begun. Next morning 
— owing to a desire to find out what the facts were as 
regards the ox-carts, which were in difficulties — Cherrie, 
Miller, Kermit, and I, walked back to the Burity River, 
where Colonel Rondon had spent the night. It was a 
misty, overcast morning, and the spiders in the webs 
that hung from the telegraph-wire were just going to 


their day homes. These were in and under the big, 
white china insulators on the telegraph-poles. Hundreds 
of spiders were already climbing up into these. When, 
two or three hours later, we returned, the sun was out, 
and not a spider was to be seen. 

Here we had to cut down our baggage and rearrange 
the loads for the mule-train. Cherrie and Miller had a 
most workmanlike equipment, including a very hght 
tent and two light flies. One fly they gave for the 
kitchen use, one fly was allotted to Kermit and me, and 
they kept only the tent for themselves. Colonel Rondon 
and Lyra went in one tent, the doctor and Oliveira in 
another. Each of us got rid of everything above the 
sheer necessities. This was necessary because of the 
condition of the baggage-animals. The oxen were so 
weak that the effort to bring on the carts had to be 
abandoned. Nine of the pack- mules had already been 
left on the road during the three days' march from 
Utiarity. In the first expeditions into this country all 
the baggage-animals had died ; and even in our case the 
loss was becoming very heavy. This state of affairs is 
due to the scarcity of forage and the type of country. 
Good grass is scanty, and the endless leagues of sparse, 
scrubby forest render it exceedingly difficult to find the 
animals when they wander. They must be turned 
absolutely loose to roam about and pick up their scanty 
subsistence, and must be given as long a time as possible 
to feed and rest ; even under these conditions most of 
them grow weak when, as in our case, it is impossible to 
carry corn. They cannot be found again until after 
daylight, and then hours must be spent in gathering 
them; and this means that the march must be made 
chiefly during the heat of the day, the most trying time. 
Often some of the animals would not be brought in until 


so late that it was well on in the forenoon, perhaps mid- 
day, before the bulk of the pack-train started ; and they 
reached the camping-place as often after nightfall as 
before it. Under such conditions many of the mules 
and oxen grew constantly weaker, and ultimately gave 
out ; and it was imperative to load them as lightly as 
possible, and discard all luxuries, especially heavy or 
bulky luxuries. Travelling through a wild country 
where there is httle food for man or beast is beset with 
difficulties almost inconceivable to the man who does 
not himself know this kind of wilderness, and especially 
to the man who only knows the ease of civilization. A 
scientific party of some size, with the equipment 
necessary in order to do scientific work, can only go at 
aU if the men who actually handle the problems of food 
and transportation do their work thoroughly. 

Our march continued through the same type of high, 
nearly level upland, covered with scanty, scrubby forest. 
It is the kind of country known to the BrazOians as 
' chapadao " — pronounced almost as if it were a French 
word and speUed shapadon. Our camp on the fourth 
night was in a beautiful spot, an open grassy space, 
beside a clear, cool, rushing little river. We ourselves 
reached this, and waded our beasts across the deep, 
narrow stream, in the late afternoon ; and we then 
enjoyed a bath and swim. The loose bullocks arrived at 
sunset, and with shrill cries the mounted herdsmen 
urged them into and across the swift water. The mule- 
train arrived long after nightfall, and it was not deemed 
wise to try to cross the laden animals. Accordingly the 
loads were taken off and brought over on the heads of 
the men ; it was fine to see the sinewy, naked figures 
bearing their burdens through the broken moonlit water 
to the liither bank. The night was cool and pleasant. 


We kindled a fire and sat beside the blaze. Then, 
healthily hungry, we gathered around the ox-hides to 
a dehcious dinner of soup, beef, beans, rice, and coffee. 

Next day we made a short march, crossed a brook, 
and camped by another clear, deep, rapid little river, 
swollen by the rains. All these rivers that we were 
crossing run actually into the Juruena, and therefore 
form part of the headwaters of the Tapajos ; for the 
Tapajos is a mighty river, and the basin which holds 
its headwaters covers an immense extent of country. 
This country and the adjacent regions, forming the high 
interior of western Brazil, will surely some day support 
a large industrial population ; of which the advent would 
be hastened, although not necessarily in permanently 
better fashion, if Colonel Rondon's anticipations about 
the development of mining, especially gold-mining, are 
realized. In any event the region will be a healthy 
home for a considerable agricultural and pastoral popu- 
lation. Above all, the many swift streams, with their 
numerous waterfalls, some of great height and volume, 
offer the chance for the upgrowth of a number of big 
manufacturing communities, knit by railroads to one 
another and to the Atlantic coast and the vaUeys of 
the Paraguay, Madeira, and the Amazon, feeding and 
being fed by the dwellers in the rich, hot, alluvial 
lowlands that surround this elevated territory. The 
work of Colonel Rondon and his associates of the 
Telegraphic Commission has been to open this great 
and virgin land to the knowledge of the world and to 
the service of their nation. In doing so they have 
incidentally founded the Brazilian school of exploration. 
Before their day almost all the scientific and regular 
exploration of Brazil was done by foreigners. But, of 
course, there was much exploration and settlement by 


nameless Brazilians, who were merely endeavouring to 
make new homes or advance their private fortunes : in 
recent years by rubber-gatherers, for instance, and a 
century ago by those bold and restless adventurers, 
partly of Portuguese and partly of Indian blood, the 
Paolistas, from one of whom Colonel Kondon is himself 
descended on his father's side. 

The camp by this river was in some old and grown- 
up fields, once the seat of a rather extensive maize and 
mandioc cultivation by the Nhambiquaras. On this day 
Cherrie got a number of birds new to the collection, and 
two or three of them probably new to science. We had 
found the birds for the most part in worn plumage, for 
the breeding season, the southern spring and northern 
faU, was over. But some birds were stiU breeding. In 
the tropics the breeding season is more irregular than in 
the north. Some birds breed at very different times 
from that chosen by the majority of their fellows ; some 
can hardly be said to have any regular season ; Cherrie 
had found one species of honey-creeper breeding in eveiy 
month of the year. Just before sunset and just after 
sunrise big, noisy, blue-and-yellow macaws flew over 
this camp. They were plentiful enough to form a loose 
flock, but each pair kept to itself, the two individuals 
always close together and always separated from the 
rest. Although not an abundant, it was an interesting, 
fauna which the two naturahsts found in this upland 
country, where hitherto no collections of birds and 
mammals had been made. MiUer trapped several species 
of opossums, mice, and rats which were new to him. 
Cherrie got many birds which he did not recognize. At 
this camp, among totally strange forms, he found an old 
and familiar acquaintance. Before breakfast he brought 
in several birds : a dark-coloured flycatcher, with white 


forehead and rump and two very long tail-feathers ; a 
black and slate-blue tanager ; a black ant-thrush with a 
concealed white spot on its back, at the base of the neck, 
and its dull-coloured mate ; and other birds which he 
believed to be new to science, but whose relationships 
with any of our birds are so remote that it is hard to 
describe them save in technical language. Finally, 
among these unfamiliar forms was a veery, and the sight 
of the rufous-olive back and faintly spotted throat of 
this singer of our northern Junes made us almost home- 

Next day was brilliantly clear. The mules could not 
be brought in until quite late in the morning, and we 
had to march twenty miles under the burning tropical 
sun, right in the hottest part of the day. From a rise 
of ground we looked back over the vast, sunlit land- 
scape, the endless rolling stretches of low forest. Mid- 
way on our journey we crossed a brook. The dogs 
minded the heat much. They continually ran off to 
one side, lay down in a shady place, waited until we 
were several hundred yards ahead, and then raced after 
us, overtook us, and repeated the performance. The 
pack-train came in about sunset ; but we ourselves 
reached the Juruena in the middle of the afternoon. 

The Juruena is the name by which the Tapajos goes 
along its upper course. Where we crossed, it was a 
deep, rapid stream, flowing in a heavily wooded valley 
with rather steep sides. We were ferried across on the 
usual balsa, a platform on three dugouts, running by 
the force of the current on a wire trolley. There was 
a clearing on each side, with a few palms, and on the 
farther bank were the buildings of the telegraph station. 
This is a wild country, and the station was guarded by 
a few soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Marino, 


a native of Rio Grande do Sul, a blond man who looked 
like an Englishman — an agreeable companion, and a 
good and resolute officer, as aU must be who do their 
work in this wilderness. The Juruena was first followed 
at the end of the eighteenth century by the Portuguese 
explorer Franco, and not again until over a hundred 
years had elapsed, when the Telegraphic Commission 
not only descended, but for the first time accurately 
placed and mapped its course. 

There were several houses on the rise of the farther 
bank, aU with thatched roofs, some of them with walls 
of upright tree-trunks, some of them daub and wattle. 
Into one of the latter, with two rooms, we took our 
belongings. The sand-flies were bothersome at night, 
coming through the interstices in the ordinary mosquito- 
nets. The first night they did this I got no sleep until 
morning, when it was cool enough for me to roU myself 
in my blanket and put on a head-net. Afterward we 
used fine nets of a kind of cheese-cloth. They were 
hot, but they kept out aU, or almost aU, of the sand- 
flies and other small tormentors. 

Here we overtook the rearmost division of Captain 
Amilcar's bullock-train. Our own route had diverged, 
in order to pass the great falls. Captain Amilcar had 
come direct, overtaking the pack-oxen, which had left 
Tapirapoan before we did, laden with material for the 
Duvida trip. He had brought the oxen through in 
fine shape, losing only three beasts with their loads, and 
had himseK left the Juruena the morning of the day we 
reached there. His weakest animals left that evening, 
to make the march by moonlight ; and as it was desirable 
to give them thirty- six hours' start, we halted for a day 
on the banks of the river. It was not a wasted day. 
In addition to bathing and washing our clothes, the 






naturalists made some valuable additions to the collec- 
tion — including a boldly marked black, blue, and white 
jay— and our photographs were developed and our 
writing brought abreast of the date. Travelling through 
a tropical wilderness in the rainy season, when the amount 
of baggage that can be taken is strictly limited, entails 
not only a good deal of work, but also the exercise of 
considerable ingenuity if the writing and photographing, 
and especially the preservation, of the specimens are to 
be done in satisfactory shape. 

At the telegraph office we received news that the 
voyage of Lauriadd and Fiala down the Papagaio had 
opened with a misadventure. In some bad rapids, not 
many miles below the falls, two of the canoes had been 
upset, half of their provisions and all of Fiala's baggage 
lost, and Fiala himself nearly drowned. The Papagaio 
is known both at the source and the mouth ; to descend 
it did not represent a plunge into the unknown, as in 
the case of the Duvida or the Ananas ; but the actual 
water work, over the part that was unexplored, offered 
the same possibilities of mischance and disaster. It is 
a hazardous thing to descend a swift, unknown river 
rushing through an uninhabited wilderness. To descend 
or ascend the ordinary great highway rivers of South 
America, such as the Amazon, Paraguay, Tapajos, and, 
in its lower course, the Orinoco, is now so safe and easy, 
whether by steamboat or big, native cargo-boat, that 
people are apt to forget the very serious difficulties 
offi5red by the streams, often themselves great rivers, 
which run into or form the upper courses of these same 
water highways. Few things are easier than the former 
feat, and few more difficult than the latter ; and ex- 
perience in ordinary travelling on the lower courses of 
the rivers is of no benefit whatever in enabling a man 


to form a judgment as to what can be done, and how 
to do it, on the upper courses. Failure to remember 
this fact is one of the obstacles in the way of securing 
a proper appreciation of the needs, and the results, of 
South American exploration. 

At the Juruena we met a party of Nhambiquaras, 
very friendly and sociable, and very glad to see Colonel 
Rondon. They were originally exceedingly hostile and 
suspicious ; but the Colonel's unwearied thoughtfulness 
and good temper, joined with his indomitable resolution, 
enabled him to avoid war and to secure their friendship 
and even their aid. He never killed one. Many of 
them are known to him personally. He is on remark- 
ably good terms with them, and they are very fond of 
him — although this does not prevent them from now 
and then yielding to temptation, even at his expense, 
and stealing a dog or something else which strikes them 
as offering an irresistible attraction. They cannot be 
employed at steady work ; but they do occasional odd 
jobs, and are excellent at hunting up strayed mules or 
oxen ; and a few of the men have begun to wear clothes 
purely for ornament. Their confidence and bold friend- 
liness showed how weU they had been treated. Probably 
half of our visitors were men ; several were small boys ; 
one was a woman with a baby ; the others were young 
married women and girls. 

Nowhere in Africa did we come across wilder or 
more absolutely primitive savages, although these 
Indians were pleasanter and better featured than any 
of the African tribes at the same stage of culture. 
Both sexes were weU made and rather good-looking, 
with fairly good teeth, although some of them seemed 
to have skin diseases. They were a laughing, easy- 
tempered crew, and the women were as well-fed as the 


men, and were obviously well treated, from the savage 
.standpoint ; there was no male brutaUty like that which 
forms such a revolting feature in the life of the 
Australian black fellows and, although to a somewhat 
less degree, in the life of so many negro and Indian 
tribes. They were practically absolutely naked. In 
many savage tribes the men go absolutely naked, but 
the women wear a breech-clout or loin-cloth. In certain 
tribes we saw near Lake Victoria Nyanza, and on the 
upper White Nile, both men and women were practically 
naked. Among these Nhambiquaras the women were 
more completely naked than the men, although the 
difference was not essential. The men wore a string 
around the waist. Most of them wore nothing else, 
but a few had loosely hanging from this string in front 
a scanty tuft of dried grass, or a small piece of cloth, 
which, however, was of purely symbolic use so far as 
either protection or modesty was concerned. The 
women did not wear a stitch of any kind anywhere on 
their bodies^ They did not have on so much as a string, 
or a bead, or even an ornament in their hair. They 
were all, men and women, boys and well-grown young 
girls, as entirely at ease and unconscious as so many 
friendly animals. All of them — men, women, and 
children, laughing and talking — crowded around us, 
whether we were on horseback or on foot. They 
flocked into the house, and when I sat down to write 
surrounded me so closely that I had to push them 
gently away. The women and girls often stood holding 
one another's hands, or with their arms over one an- 
other's shoulders or around one another's waists, offering 
an attractive picture. The men had holes pierced 
through the septum of the nose and through the upper 
lip, and wore a straw through each hole. The women 



were not marked or mutilated. It seems like a contra- 
diction in terms, but it is nevertheless a fact that the 
behaviour of these completely naked women and men 
was entirely modest. There was never an indecent 
look or a consciously indecent gesture. They had no 
blankets or hammocks, and when night came simply 
lay down in the sand. Colonel Rondon stated that they 
never wore a covering by night or by day, and if it was 
cool slept one on each side of a smaU fire. Their huts 
were merely slight shelters against the rain. 

The moon was nearly full, and after nightfall a few 
of the Indians suddenly held an improvised dance for 
us in front of our house. There were four men, a small 
boy, and two young women or grown girls. Two of 
the men had been doing some work for the Commission, 
and were dressed, one completely and one partially, in 
ordinary clothes. Two of the men and the boy were 
practically naked, and the two young women were 
absolutely so. All of them danced in a circle, vvdthout 
a touch of embarrassment or impropriety. The two 
girls kept hold of each other's hands throughout, 
dancing among the men as modestly as possible, and 
with the occasional interchange of a laugh or jest, in 
as good taste and temper as in any dance in civilization. 
The dance consisted in slowly going round in a circle, 
first one way, then the other, rhythmically beating time 
with the feet to the music of the song they were chanting. 
The chants — there were three of them, all told — were 
measured and rather slowly uttered melodies, varied 
with an occasional half-subdued shrill cry. The women 
continually uttered a kind of long-drawn wailing or 
droning ; I am not enough of a musician to say whether 
it was an overtone or the sustaining of the burden of 
the ballad. The young boy sang better than any of the 


others. It was a strange and interesting sight to see 
these utterly wild, friendly savages, circling in their 
slow dance, and chanting their immemorial melodies, in 
the brilliant tropical moonlight, with the river rushing 
by in the background, through the lonely heart of the 

The Indians stayed with us, feasting, dancing, and 
singing, until the early hours of the morning. They 
then suddenly and silently disappeared in the darkness, 
and did not return. In the morning we discovered that 
they had gone off with one of Colonel Rondon's dogs. 
Probably the temptation had proved irresistible to one 
of their number, and the others had been afraid to 
interfere, and also afraid to stay in, or return to our 
neighbourhood. We had not time to go after them, 
but Rondon remarked that as soon as he again came 
to the neighbourhood he would take some soldiers, hunt 
up the Indians, and reclaim the dog. It has been his 
mixture of firmness, good nature, and good judgment 
that has enabled him to control these bold, warlike 
savages, and even to reduce the warfare between them 
and the Parecis. In spite of their good nature and 
laughter, their fearlessness and familiarity showed how 
necessary it was not to let them get the upper hand. 
They are always required to leave all their arms a 
mile or two away before they come into the encampment. 
They are much wilder and more savage, and at a much 
lower cultural level, than the Parecis. 

In the afternoon of the day following our arrival there 
was a heavy rain-storm which drove into the unglazed 
windows, and here and there came through the roof and 
walls of our daub-and-wattle house. The heat was 
intense and there was much moisture in this valley. 
During the downpour I looked out at the dreary little 


houses, showing through the driving rain, while the 
sheets of muddy water slid past their door-sills ; and I 
felt a sincere respect for the lieutenant and his soldiers 
who were holding this desolate outpost of civilization. 
It is an unhealthy spot ; there has been much malarial 
fever and beriberi — an obscure and deadly disease. 

Next morning we resumed our march. It soon began 
to rain and we were drenched when, some fifteen nules 
on, we reached the river where we were to camp. After 
the great heat we felt quite cold in our wet clothes, and 
gladly crowded round a fire which was kindled under 
a thatched shed, beside the cabin of the ferrymen. This 
ferry-boat was so small that it could only take one mule, 
or at most two, at a time. The mules and a span of 
six oxen dragging an ox-cart, which we had overtaken, 
were ferried slowly to the farther side that afternoon, 
as there was no feed on the hither bank, where we our- 
selves camped. The ferryman was a soldier in the 
employ of the Telegraphic Commission. His good- 
looking, pleasant-maimered wife, evidently of both 
Indian and negro blood, was with him, and was doing 
all she could do as a housekeeper, in the comfortless little 
cabin, with its primitive bareness of furniture and fittings. 

Here we saw Captain Amilcar, who had come back 
to hurry up his rear-guard. We stood ankle-deep in 
mud and water, by the swollen river, whUe the rain beat 
on us, and enjoyed a few minutes' talk with the cool, 
competent officer who was doing a difficult job with 
such workmanlike efficiency. He had no poncho, and 
was wet through, but was much too busy in getting his 
laden oxen forward to think of personal discomfort. 
He had had a good deal of trouble with his mules, but 
his oxen were still in fair shape. 

After leaving the Juruena the ground became some- 

Maloca or beehive hut of the Nhambiquaras 
From a photograph by Kermit Roosevelt 



A Nhambiquara shelter hut and utensils 

Their huts were merely slight shelters against the rain 

From a photograph by Kermit Roosevelt 




what more hilly, and the scrubby forest was less open, 
but otherwise there was no change in the monotonous, 
and yet to me rather attractive, landscape. The ant- 
hills, and the ant-houses in the trees — arboreal ant-hills, 
so to speak — were as conspicuous as ever. The architects 
of some were red ants, of others black ants ; and others, 
which were on the whole the largest, had been built by 
the white ants, the termites. The latter were not 
infrequently taller than a horseman's head. 

That evening round the camp-fire Colonel Rondon 
happened to mention how the brother of one of the 
soldiers with us — a Parecis Indian — had been killed by 
a jararaca snake. Cherrie told of a narrow escape he 
had from one while collecting in Guiana. At night he 
used to set traps in camp for small mammals. One 
night he heard one of these traps go off under his 
hammock. He reached down for it, and as he fumbled 
for the chain he felt a snake strike at him, just missing 
him in the darkness, but actually brushing his hand. 
He lit a light and saw that a big jararaca had been 
caught in the trap ; and he preserved it as a specimen. 
Snakes frequently came into his camp after nightfall. 
He killed one rattlesnake which had swallowed the 
skinned bodies of four mice he had prepared as 
specimens ; which shows that rattlesnakes do not 
always feed only on living prey. Another rattlesnake 
which he killed in Central America had just swallowed 
an opossum which proved to be of a species new to 
science. Miller told how once on the Orinoco he saw 
on the bank a small anaconda, some ten feet long, 
killing one of the iguanas — big, active, truculent, 
carnivorous lizards, equally at home on the land and 
in the water. Evidently the iguanas were digging out 
holes in the bank in which to lay their eggs ; for there 


were several such holes, and iguanas working at them. 
The snake had crushed its prey to a pulp ; and not more 
than a couple of feet away another iguana was stUl 
busily, and with entire unconcern, engaged in making 
its burrow. At MiEer's approach the anaconda left the 
dead iguana and rushed into the water, and the live 
iguana promptly followed it. Miller also told of the 
stone gods and altars and temples he had seen in the 
great Colombian forests, monuments of strange civiliza- 
tions which flourished and died out ages ago, and of 
which all memory has vanished. He and Cherrie told 
of giant rivers and waterfalls, and of forests never pene- 
trated, and mountains never ascended by civilized man ; 
and of bloody revolutions that devastated the settled 
regions. Listening to them I felt that they could 
write " Tales of Two Naturalists " that would be worth 

They were short of literature, by the way — a party 
such as ours always needs books — and as Kermit's 
reading-matter consisted chiefly of Camoens and other 
Portuguese, or else Brazilian, writers, I strove to supply 
the deficiency with spare volumes of Gibbon. At the 
end of our march we were usually far ahead of the 
mule- train, and the rain was also usually falling. 
Accordingly we would sit about under trees, or under 
a shed or lean-to, if there was one, each solemnly 
reading a volume of Gibbon — and no better reading 
can be found. In my own case, as I had been having 
rather a steady course of Gibbon, I varied him now and 
then with a volume of Arsfene Lupin lent me by Kermit. 

There were many swollen rivers to cross at this point 
of our journey. Some we waded at fords. Some we 
crossed by rude bridges. The larger ones, such as the 
Juina, we crossed by ferry, and when the approaches 


were swampy, and the river broad and swift, many hours 
might be consumed in getting the mule-train, the loose 
bullocks, and the ox-cart over. We had few accidents, 
although we once lost a ferry-load of provisions, which 
was quite a misfortune in a country where they could 
not be replaced. The pasturage was poor, and it was 
impossible to make long marches with our weakened 

At one camp three Nhambiquaras paid us a visit at 
breakfast-time. They left their weapons behind them 
before they appeared, and shouted loudly while they 
were still hid by the forest, and it was only after repeated 
answering calls of welcome that they approached. 
Always in the wilderness friends proclaim their presence ; 
a silent advance marks a foe. Our visitors were men, 
and stark naked, as usual. One seemed sick ; he was 
thin, and his back was scarred with marks of the grub 
of the loathsome berni fly. Indeed, aU of them showed 
scars, chiefly from insect wounds. But the other two 
were in good condition, and, although they ate greedily 
of the food offered them, they had with them a big 
mandioc cake, some honey, and a little fish. One of 
them wore a high helmet of puma-skin, with the tail 
hanging down his back — handsome head-gear, which he 
gladly bartered for several strings of bright coral-red 
beads. Around the upper arms of two of them were 
bands bound so tightly as to cut into and deform the 
muscles — a singular custom, seemingly not only purpose- 
less but mischievous, which is common among this tribe 
and many others. 

The Nhambiquaras are a numerous tribe, covering a 
large region. But they have no general organization. 
Each group of families acts for itself. Half a dozen 
years previously they had been very hostile, and Colonel 


Rondon had to guard his camp and exercise every pre- 
caution to guarantee his safety, whUe at the same time 
successfully endeavouring to avoid the necessity of him- 
self shedding blood. Now they are, for the most part, 
friendly. But there are groups or individuals that are 
not. Several soldiers have been killed at these little 
lonely stations ; and while in some cases the attack may 
have been due to the soldiers' having meddled with 
Nhambiquara women, in other cases the kUMng was 
entirely wanton and unprovoked. Sooner or later these 
criminals or outlaws wiU have to be brought to justice ; 
it win not do to let their crimes go unpunished. Twice 
soldiers have deserted and fled to the Nhambiquaras. 
The runaways were well received, were given wives, and 
adopted into the tribe. 

The country, when opened, will be a healthy abode 
for white settlers. But pioneering in the wilderness is 
grim work for both man and beast. Continually, as we 
journeyed onward, under the pitiless glare of the sun or 
through blinding torrents of rain, we passed desolate 
little graves by the roadside. They marked the last 
resting-places of men who had died by fever, or dysentery, 
or Nhambiquara arrows. We raised our hats as our 
mules plodded slowly by through the sand. On each 
grave was a frail wooden cross, and this and the 
paling round about were already stained by the weather 
as grey as the tree-trunks of the stunted forest that 
stretched endlessly on every side. 

The skeletons of mules and oxen were frequent along 
the road. Now and then we came across a mule or ox 
which had been abandoned by Captain Amilcar's party, 
ahead of us. The animal had been left with the hope 
that when night came it would foUow along the trail to 
water. Sometimes it did so. Sometimes we found it 


dead, or standing motionless waiting for death. From 
time to time we had to leave behind one of our own 

It was not always easy to recognize what pasturage 
the mules would accept as good. One afternoon we 
pitched camp by a tiny rivulet, in the midst of the 
scrubby upland forest ; a camp, by the way, where the 
piums, the small, biting flies, were a torment during 
the hours of daylight, while after dark their places were 
more than taken by the diminutive gnats which the 
Brazilians expressively term " polvora," or powder, and 
which get through the smallest meshes of a mosquito- 
net. The feed was so scanty, and the cover so dense, 
at this spot that I thought we would have great difficulty 
in gathering the mules next morning. But we did not. 
A few hours later, in the afternoon, we camped by 
a beautiful open meadow ; on one side ran a rapid 
brook, with a waterfall 8 feet high, under which we 
bathed and swam. Here the feed looked so good that 
we all expressed pleasure. But the mules did not like 
it, and after nightfall they harked back on the trail, and 
it was a long and arduous work to gather them next 

I have touched above on the insect pests. Men 
unused to the South American wilderness speak with 
awe of the danger therein from jaguars, crocodiles, and 
poisonous snakes. In reality, the danger from these 
sources is trivial, much less than the danger of being 
run down by an automobile at home. But at times the 
torment of insect plagues can hardly be exaggerated. 
There are many different species of mosquitoes, some of 
them bearers of disease. There are many different kinds 
of small, biting flies and gnats, loosely grouped together 
under various titles. The ones more especially called 


piums by my companions were somewhat like our 
northern black flies. They gorged themselves with 
blood. At the moment their bites did not hurt, but 
they left an itching scar. Head-nets and gloves are a 
protection, but are not very comfortable in stifling hot 
weather. It is impossible to sleep without mosquito- 
bars. When settlers of the right type come into a new 
land they speedily learn to take the measures necessary 
to minimize the annoyance caused by all these pests. 
Those that are winged have plenty of kinsfolk in so 
much of the northern continent as has not yet been 
subdued by man. But the most noxious of the South 
American ants have, thank Heaven, no representatives in 
North America. At the camp of the piums a column of 
the carnivorous foraging ants made its appearance before 
nightfall, and for a time we feared it might put us out 
of our tents, for it went straight through camp, between 
the kitchen-tent and our own sleeping-tents. However, 
the column turned neither to the right nor the left, 
streaming uninterruptedly past for several hours, and 
doing no damage except to the legs of any incautious 
man who walked near it. 

On the afternoon of February 15 we reached Campos 
Novos. This place was utterly unlike the country we 
had been traversing. It was a large basin, several miles 
across, traversed by several brooks. The brooks ran in 
deep, swampy valleys, occupied by a matted growth of 
tall tropical forest. Between them the ground rose in 
bold hills, bare of forest and covered with grass, on 
which our jaded animals fed eagerly. On one of these 
rounded hills a number of buildings were ranged in 
a quadrangle, for the pasturage at this spot is so good 
that it is permanently occupied. There were milch 
cows, and we got delicious fresh milk ; and there were 


goats, pigs, turkeys, and chickens. Most of the buildings 
were made of upright poles, with roofs of palm thatch. 
One or two were of native brick, plastered with mud, 
and before these there was an enclosure with a few 
ragged palms, and some pineapple plants. Here we 
halted. Our attendants made two kitchens : one was 
out in the open air, one was under a shelter of ox-hide. 
The view over the surrounding grassy hills, riven by 
deep, wooded valleys, was lovely. The air was cool and 
fresh. We were not bothered by insects, although 
mosquitoes swarmed in every belt of timber. Yet there 
has been much fever at this beautiful and seemingly 
healthy place. Doubtless when settlement is sufficiently 
advanced a remedy will be developed. The geology of 
this neighbourhood was interesting — Oliveira found 
fossil tree-trunks which he believed to be of cretaceous 

Here we found Amilcar and Mello, who had waited 
for us with the rear-guard of their pack-train, and we 
enjoyed our meeting with the two fine fellows, than 
whom no military service of any nation could produce 
more efficient men for this kind of difficult and respon- 
sible work. Next morning they mustered their soldiers, 
muleteers, and pack- ox men, and marched off. Reinisch 
the taxidermist was with them. We followed in the 
late afternoon, camping after a few miles. We left the 
ox-cart at Campos Novos ; from thence on the trail was 
only for pack-animals. 

In this neighbourhood the two naturalists found many 
birds which we had not hitherto met. The most con- 
spicuous was a huge oriole, the size of a smaU crow, with 
a naked face, a black-and-red bill, and gaudily variegated 
plumage of gi-een, yellow, and chestnut. Very interest- 
ing was the false bell-bird, a grey bird, with loud, 


metallic notes. There was also a tiny, soft- tailed wood- 
pecker, no larger than a kinglet ; a queer humming-bird 
with a slightly flexible bill ; and many species of ant- 
thrush, tanager, manakin, and tody. Among these 
unfamiliar forms was a vireo, looking much Uke our 
solitary vireo. At one camp Cherrie collected a dozen 
perching birds ; Miller a beautiful little rail ; and Kermit, 
with the small Liiger belt-rifle, a handsome curassow, 
nearly as big as a turkey, out of which, after it had been 
skinned, the cook made a delicious canja, the thick 
Brazilian soup of fowl and rice than which there is 
nothing better of its kind. All these birds were new to 
the collection — no naturaUsts had previously worked 
this region — so that the afternoon's work represented 
nine species new to the collection, six new genera, and 
a most excellent soup. 

Two days after leaving Campos Novos we reached 

VUhena, where there is a telegraph station. We camped 

once at a small river named by Colonel Rondon the 

" Twelfth of October," because he reached it on the day 

Columbus discovered America — I had never before 

known what day it was ! — and once at the foot of a hill 

which he had named after Lyra, his companion in the 

exploration. The two days' march — really one full day 

and part of two others — was through beautiful country, 

and we enjoyed it thoroughly, although there were 

occasional driving rain-storms, when the rain came in 

almost level sheets and drenched eveiyone and every- 

tliing. The country was like that around Campos Novos, 

and offered a striking contrast to the level, barren, sandy 

wastes of the chapadao, which is a healthy region, 

where great industrial centres can arise, but not suited 

for extensive agriculture as are the lowland flats. For 

these forty-eight hours the trail chmbed into and out 


The ant-hills were not infrequently taller than a horseman's head 
From a photograph by Milhr 


of steep valleys and broad basins and up and down hills. 
In the deep valleys were magnificent woods, in which 
giant rubber-trees towered, while the huge leaves of the 
low-growing pacova, or wild banana, were conspicuous 
in the undergrowth. Great azure butterflies flitted 
through the open, sunny glades, and the bell-birds, 
sitting motionless, uttered their ringing calls from the 
dark stillness of the columned groves. The hillsides 
were grassy pastures, or else covered with low, open 

A huge frog, brown above, with a light streak down 
each side, was found hiding under some sticks in a damp 
place in one of the improvised kitchens ; and another 
frog, with discs on his toes, was caught on one of the 
tents. A coral- snake puzzled us. Some coral-snakes are 
harmless ; others are poisonous, although not aggressive. 
The best authorities give an infallible recipe for dis- 
tinguishing them by the pattern of the colours, but this 
particular specimen, although it corresponded exactly 
in colour-pattern with the description of the poisonous 
snakes, nevertheless had no poison-fangs that even 
after the most minute examination we could discover. 
Miller and one of the dogs caught a sariema — a big 
long-legged, bustard-like bird — in rather a curious way. 
We were on the march, plodding along through as 
heavy a tropic downpour as it was our ill-fortune to 
encounter. The sariema, evidently as drenched and 
uncomfortable as we were, was hiding under a bush to 
avoid the pelting rain. The dog discovered it, and 
after the bird valiantly repelled him. Miller was able to 
seize it. Its stomach contained about half a pint of 
grasshoppers and beetles and young leaves. At Vilhena 
there was a tame sariema, much more familiar and at 
home than any of the poultry. It was without the 


least fear of man or dog. The sariema (like the screamer 
and the curassow) ought to be introduced into our 
barnyards and on our fawns, at any rate in the Southern 
States ; it is a good-looking, friendly, and attractive 
bird. Another bird we met is in some places far more 
intimate, and domesticates itself. This is the pretty 
little honey-creeper. In Columbia, MiUer found the 
honey-creepers habitually coming inside the houses and 
hotels at meal-times, hopping about the table, and 
climbing into the sugar-bowl. 

Along this part of our march there was much of what 
at a hasty glance seemed to be volcanic rock ; but 
Oliveira showed me that it was a kind of conglomerate, 
with bubbles or hoUows in it, made of sand and iron- 
bearing earth. He said it was a superficial quaternary 
deposit, formed by erosion from the cretaceous rocks, 
and that there were here no tertiary deposits. He 
described the geological structure of the lands through 
which we had passed as follows : The pantanals were 
of pleistocene age. Along the upper Sepotuba, in the 
region of the rapids, there were sandstones, shales, and 
clays of permian age. The rolUng country east of this 
contained eruptive rocks — a porphyritic diabase, with 
zeolite, quartz, and agate of triassic age. With the 
chapadao of the Parcels plateau we came to a land of 
sand and clay, dotted with lumps of sandstone and 
pieces of petrified wood ; this, according to Oliveii'a, is 
of mesozoic age, possibly cretaceous, and similar to the 
South African formation. There are geologists who 
consider it as of permian age. 

At VUhena we were on a watershed which drained 
into the Gy-Parana, which itself runs into the Madeira 
nearly midway between its sources and its mouth. A 
little farther along and northward we again came to 


streams running ultimately into the Tapajos ; and 
between them, and close to them, were streamlets 
which drained into the Diivida and Anands, whose 
courses and outlets were unknown. This point is part 
of the divide between the basins of the Madeira and 
Tapajos. A singular topographical feature of the Plan 
Alto, the great interior sandy plateau of Brazil, is that 
at its westernmost end the southward-flowing streams, 
instead of running into the Paraguay as they do farther 
east, form the headwaters of the Guapord, which may, 
perhaps, be called the upper main stream of the Madeira. 
These westernmost streams from the southern edge of 
the plateau, therefore, begin by flowing south ; then for 
a long stretch they flow south-west, then north, and 
finally north-east into the Amazon. According to some 
exceptionally good geological observers, this is probably 
due to the fact that in a remote geologic past the ocean 
sent in an arm from the south between the Plan Alto 
and what is now the Andean chain. These rivers then 
emptied into the Andean Sea. The gradual upheaval 
of the soil has resulted in substituting dry land for this 
arm of the ocean, and in reversing the course of what 
is now the Madeira, just as, according to these geologists, 
in somewhat familiar fashion the Amazon has been 
reversed, it having once been, at least for the upper 
two-thirds of its course, an affluent of the Andean Sea. 
From Vilhena we travelled in a generally northward 
direction. For a few leagues we went across the 
chapadao, the sands or clays of the nearly level upland 
plateau, grassy or covered with thin, stunted forest, the 
same type of country that had been predominant ever 
since we ascended the Parecis table-land on the morning 
of the third day after leaving the Sepotuba. Then, at 
about the point where the trail dipped into a basin con- 


taining the headsprings of the Ananas, we left this type 
of country and began to march through thick forest, not 
very high. There was httle feed for the animals on the 
chapadao. There was less in the forest. Moreover, the 
continual heavy rains made the travelling difficult and 
laborious for them, and they weakened. However, a 
couple of marches before we reached Tres Burity, where 
there is a big ranch with hundreds of cattle, we were 
met by ten fresh pack-oxen, and our serious difficulties 
were over. 

There were piums in plenty by day, but neither 
mosquitoes nor sand-flies by night ; and for us the trip 
was very pleasant, save for moments of anxiety about 
the mules. The loose bullocks furnished us abundance 
of fresh beef, although, as was inevitable in the 
circumstances, of a decidedly tough quality. One of 
the biggest of the bullocks was attacked one night by a 
vampire bat, and next morning his withers were literally 
bathed in blood. 

With the chapadao we said good-bye to the curious, 
gregarious, and crepuscular or nocturnal spiders which 
we found so abundant along the line of the telegraph- 
wire. They have oiFered one of the small problems with 
which the Commission has had to deal. They are not 
common in the dry season. They swarm during the 
rains ; and, when their tough webs are wet, those that 
lead from the wire to the ground sometimes effectually 
short-circuit the wire. They have on various occasions 
caused a good deal of trouble in this manner. 

The third night out from Vilhena we emerged for a 
moment from the endless close -growing forest in which 
our poor animals got such scanty pickings, and came to 
a beautiful open country, where grassy slopes, dotted 
with occasional trees, came down on either side of a 


little brook which was one of the headwaters of the 
Duvida. It was a pleasure to see the mules greedily 
bury their muzzles in the pasturage. Our tents were 
pitched in the open, near a shady tree, which sent out 
its low branches on every side. At this camp Cherrie 
shot a lark, very characteristic of the open upland 
country, and MUler found two bats in the rotten wood 
of a dead log. He heard them squeaking and dug 
them out ; he could not tell by what method they had 
gotten in. 

Here Kermit, while a couple of miles from our tents, 
came across an encampment of Nhambiquaras. There 
were twenty or thirty of them — men, women, and a few 
children. Kermit, after the manner of honest folk in 
the wUdemess, advanced ostentatiously in the open, 
calling out to give warning of his coming. Like sur- 
roundings may cause like manners. The early Saxons in 
England deemed it legal to kUl any man who came 
through the woods without shouting or blowing a horn ; 
and in Nhambiquaraland at the present time it is against 
etiquette, and may be very unhealthy, to come through 
the woods toward strangers without loudly announcing 
one's presence. The Nhambiquaras received Kermit 
with the utmost cordiahty, and gave him pineapple- 
wine to drink. They were stark naked as usual ; they 
had no hammocks or blankets, and their huts were 
flimsy shelters of palm-branches. Yet they were in fine 
condition. Half a dozen of the men and a couple of 
boys accompanied Kermit back to our camp, paying no 
slightest heed to the rain which was falling. They were 
bold and friendly, good-natured — at least superficially — 
and very inquisitive. In feasting, the long reeds thrust 
through holes in their lips did not seem to bother them, 
and they laughed at the suggestion of removing them ; 



evidently to have done so would have been rather bad 
manners — like using a knife as an aid in eating ice-cream. 

They held two or three dances, and we were again 
struck by the rhythm and weird, haunting melody of 
their chanting. After supper they danced beside the 
camp-fire ; and finally, to their delight, most of the 
members of our own party, Americans and Brazihans, 
enthusiastically joined the dance, while the Colonel and 
I furnished an appreciative and applauding audience. 
Next morning, when we were awakened by the chattering 
and screaming of the numerous macaws, parrots, and 
parakeets, we found that nearly all the Indians, men 
and women, were gathered outside the tent. As far as 
clothing was concerned, they were in the condition of 
Adam and Eve before the fall. One of the women 
carried a httle squirrel monkey. She put it up the big 
tree some distance from the tents ; and when she called, 
it came scampering to her across the grass, ran up her, 
and clung to her neck. They would have hked to 
pilfer ; but as they had no clothes it was difficult for 
them to conceal anything. One of the women was 
observed to take a fork; but as she did not possess a 
rag of clothing of any kind all she could do was to try 
to bury the fork in the sand and then sit on it ; and it 
was reclaimed without difficulty. One or two of the 
children wore necklaces and bracelets made of the 
polished wood of the tucum palm, and of the molars of 
small rodents. 

Next day's march led us across a hUly country of 
good pastureland. The valleys were densely wooded, 
palms of several kinds being conspicuous among the 
other trees ; and the brooks at the bottoms we crossed 
at fords or by the usual rude pole bridges. On the open 
pastures were occasional trees, usually slender bacaba 

A Nhambiquara family 
From a photograph by Kermit Roosevelt 

Nhambiquara women and children "Adam and Eve' 

From photographs by Cherrie 


palms, with heads which the winds had dishevelled until 
they looked like mops. It was evidently a fine natural 
cattle country, and we soon began to see scores, perhaps 
hundreds, of the cattle belonging to the government 
ranch at Tres Burity, which we reached in the early 
afternoon. It is beautifully situated : the view round 
about is lovely, and certainly the land will prove healthy 
when settlements have been definitely established. Here 
we revelled in abundance of good fresh milk and eggs ; 
and for dinner we had chicken canja and fat beef roasted 
on big wooden spits ; and we even had 'watermelons. 
The latter were from seeds brought down by the 
American engineers who built the Madeira - Marmord 
Railroad — a work which stands honourably distinguished 
among the many great and useful works done in the 
development of the tropics of recent years. 

AmUcar's pack-oxen, which were nearly worn out, had 
been left in these fertile pastures. Most of the fresh 
oxen which he took in their places were unbroken, and 
there was a perfect circus before they were packed and 
marched off; in every direction, said the gleeful narrators, 
there were bucking oxen and loads strewed on the ground. 
This cattle-ranch is managed by the Colonel's uncle, his 
mother's brother, a hale old man of seventy, white- 
haired but as active and vigorous as ever ; with a fine, 
kindly, intelligent face. His name is Miguel Evangalista. 
He is a native of Matto Grosso, of practically pure 
Indian blood, and was dressed in the ordinary costume 
of the caboelo — hat, shirt, trousers, and no shoes or 
stockings. Within the last year he had killed three 
jaguars, which had been living on the mules ; as long as 
they could get mules they did not at this station molest 
the cattle. 

It was with this uncle's father, Colonel Rondon's own 


grandfather, that Colonel Rondon as an orphan spent 
the first seven years of his hfe. His father died before 
he was born, and his mother when he was only a year 
old. He lived on his grandfather's cattle-ranch, some 
fifty miles from Cuyaba. Then he went to live in 
Cuyabd with a kinsman on his father's side, from whom 
he took the name of Rondon ; his own father's name 
was Da Silva. He studied in the Cuyaba Government 
School, and at sixteen was inscribed as one of the 
instructors. Then he went to Rio, served for a year in 
the army as an enlisted man in the ranks, and succeeded 
finally in getting into the military school. After five 
years as pupil he served three years as professor of 
mathematics in this school, and then, as a heutenant of 
engineers in the Brazilian army, he came back to his 
home in Matto Grosso and began his life-work of 
exploring the wilderness. 

Next day we journeyed to the telegraph station at 
Bonafacio, through alternate spells of glaring sunshine 
and heavy rain. On the way we stopped at an aldea — 
village — of Nhambiquaras. We first met a couple of 
men going to hunt, with bows and arrows longer than 
themselves. A rather comely young woman, carrjdng 
on her back a wickerwork basket, or creel, supported 
by a forehead band, and accompanied by a small child, 
was with them. At the village there were a number of 
men, women, and children. Although as completely 
naked as the others we had met, the members of this 
band were more ornamented with beads, and wore 
earrings made from the inside of mussel-shells or very 
big snail-shells. They were more hairy than the ones we 
had so far met. The women, but not the men, completely 
remove the hair from their bodies — and look more, in- 
stead of less, indecent in consequence. The chief, whose 


body was painted red with the juice of a fruit, had what 
could fairly be styled a moustache and imperial ; and 
one old man looked somewhat like a hairy Ainu, or 
perhaps even more like an Australian black fellow. 
My companion told me that this probably represented 
an infusion of negro blood, and possibly of mulatto 
blood, from runaway slaves of the old days, when some 
of the Matto Grosso mines were worked by slave labour. 
They also thought it possible that this infiltration of 
Africanjnegroes might be responsible for the curious shape 
of the bigger huts, which were utterly unlike their flimsy, 
ordinary shelters, and bore no resemblance in shape to 
those of the other Indian tribes of this region ; whereas 
they were not unlike the ordinary beehive huts of the 
agricultural African negroes. There were in this village 
several huts or shelters open at the sides, and two of the 
big huts. These were of closely woven thatch, circular 
in outline, with a rounded dome, and two doors a couple 
of feet high opposite each other, and no other opening. 
There were fifteen or twenty people to each hut. 
Inside were their implements and utensils, such as 
wicker baskets (some of them filled with pineapples), 
gourds, fire-sticks, wooden knives, wooden mortars, 
and a board for grating mandioc, made of a thick slab 
of wood inset with sharp points of a harder wood. 
From the Brazilians one or two of them had obtained 
blankets, and one a hammock; and they had also obtained 
knives, which they sorely needed, for they are not even 
in the stone age. One woman shielded herself from the 
rain by holding a green palm-branch down her back. 
Another had on her head what we at first thought to 
be a monkey-skin head-dress. But it was a httle, live, 
black monkey. It stayed habitually with its head above 
her forehead, and its arms and legs spread so that it lay 


moulded to the shape of her head ; but both woman and 
monkey showed some reluctance about having their 
photographs taken. 

Bonafacio consisted of several thatched one-room 
cabins, connected by a stockade which was extended to 
form an enclosure behind them. A number of tame 
parrots and parakeets, of several different species, 
scrambled over the roofs and entered the houses. In 
the open pastures near by were the curious, extensive 
burrows of a gopher rat, which ate the roots of grass, 
not emerging to eat the grass but pulling it into the 
buiTows by the roots. These burrows bore a close 
hkeness to those of our pocket gophers. MUler found 
the animals difficult to trap. Finally, by the aid of 
Colonel Rondon, several Indians, and two or three of 
our men, he dug one out. From the central shaft 
several surface galleries radiated, running for many 
rods about a foot below the surface, with, at intervals 
of half a dozen yards, mounds where the loose earth had 
been expelled. The central shaft ran straight down for 
about eight feet, and then laterally for about fifteen 
feet, to a kind of chamber. The animal dug hard to 
escape, but when taken and put on the surface of the 
ground it Inoved slowly and awkwardly. It showed 
vicious courage. In looks it closely resembled our 
pocket gophers, but it had no pockets. This was one 
of the most interesting small mammals that we secured 

After breakfast at Bonafacio a number of Nhambi- 
quaras — men, women, and children — strolled in. The 
men gave us an exhibition of not very good archery ; 
when the bow was bent, it was at first held so that the 
arrow pointed straight upwards and was then lowered 
so that the arrow was aimed at the target. Several 
of the women had been taken from other tribes, after 


their husbands or fathers had been killed; for the 
Nhambiquaras are light-hearted robbers and murderers. 
Two or three miserable dogs accompanied them, half- 
starved and mangy, but each decorated with a collar of 
beads, The headmen had three or four wives apiece, 
and the women were the burden-bearers, but apparently 
were not badly treated. Most of them were dirty, 
although looking well-fed, and their features were of 
a low type ; but some, especially among the children, 
were quite attractive. 

From Bonafacio we went about seven miles, across 
a rolling prairie dotted with trees and clumps of scrub. 
There, on February 24, we joined Amilcar, who was 
camped by a brook which flowed into the Duvida. We 
were only some six miles from our place of embarkation 
on the Duvida, and we divided our party and our 
belongings. Amilcar, Miller, Mello, and Oliveira were 
to march three days to the Gy-Parana, and then 
descend it, and continue down the Madeira to Manaos. 
Rondon, Lyra, the doctor, Cherrie, Kermit, and I, with 
sixteen paddlers, in seven canoes, were to descend the 
Duvida, and find out whether it led into the Gy-Parana, 
into the Madeira, or into the Tapajos. If within a few 
days it led into the Gy-Parana, our purpose was 
to return and descend the Ananas, whose outlet was 
also unknown. Having this in view, we left a fortnight's 
provisions for our party of six at Bonafacio. We took 
with us provisions for about fifty days, not full rations, 
for we hoped in part to live on the country — on fish, 
game, nuts, and palm-tops. Our personal baggage was 
already well cut down : Cherrie, Kermit, and I, took 
the naturalist's fly to sleep under, and a very light little 
tent extra for anyone who might fall sick. Rondon, 
Lyra, and the doctor took one of their own tents. The 


things that we carried were necessities — food, medicines, 
bedding, instruments for determining the altitude and 
longitude and latitude — except a few books, each in 
small compass : Lyra's were in German, consisting of 
two tiny volumes of Goethe and Schiller ; Kermit's 
were in Portuguese ; mine, aU in English, included the 
last two volumes of Gibbon, the plays of Sophocles, 
More's " Utopia," Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus, the 
two latter lent me by a friend. Major Shipton of the 
Regulars, our MUitary Attache at Buenos Aires. 

If our canoe voyage was prosperous, we would gradu- 
ally lighten the loads by eating the provisions. If we 
met with accidents, such as losing canoes and men in 
the rapids, or losing men in encounters with Indians, or 
if we encountered overmuch fever and dysentery, the 
loads would lighten themselves. We were all armed. 
We took no cartridges for sport. Cherrie had some to 
be used sparingly for collecting specimens. The others 
were to be used — unless in the unhkely event of having 
to repel an attack- — only to procure food. The food and 
the arms we carried represented all reasonable pre- 
cautions against suflfering and starvation ; but, of course, 
if the course of the river proved very long and difficult, 
if we lost our boats over falls or in rapids, or had to 
make too many and too long portages, or were brought 
to a halt by impassable swamps, then we would have to 
reckon with starvation as a possibility. Anything might 
happen. We were about to go into the unknown, and 
no one could say what it held. 



On February 27, 1914, shortly after midday, we started 
down the River of Doubt into the unknown. We were 
quite uncertain whether after a week we should find 
ourselves in the Gy-Parana, or after six weeks in the 
Madeira, or after three months we knew not where. 
That was why the river was rightly christened the 

We had been camped close to the river, where the 
trail that follows the telegraph-line crosses it by a rough 
bridge. As our laden dugouts swung into the stream, 
Amilcar and Miller and all the others of the Gy-Parana 
party were on the banks and the bridge to wave farewell 
and wish us good-bye and good luck. It was the height 
of the raiay season, and the swollen torrent was swift 
and brown. Our camp was at about 12° 1' latitude 
south and 60° 15' longitude west of Greenwich. Our 
general course was to be northward toward the equator, 
by waterway through the vast forest. 

We had seven canoes, all of them dugouts. One was 
small, one was cranky, and two were old, waterlogged, 
and leaky. The other three were good. The two old 
canoes were lashed together, and the cranky one was 
lashed to one of the others. Kermit with two paddlers 
went in the smallest of the good canoes ; Colonel Rondon 


234 THE RIVER OF DOUBT [chap, viii 

and Lyra with three other paddlers in the next largest ; 
and the doctor, Cherrie, and 1, in the largest with three 
paddlers. The remaining eight camaradas — there were 
sixteen in all — were equally divided between our two 
pairs of lashed canoes. Although our personal baggage 
was cut down to the limit necessary for health and 
efficiency, yet on such a trip as ours, where scientific 
work has to be done and where food for twenty-two 
men for an unknown period of time has to be carried, it 
is impossible not to take a good deal of stuff; and the 
seven dugouts were too heavily laden. 

The paddlers were a strapping set. They were expert 
river-men and men of the forest, skilled veterans in 
wilderness work. They were Uthe as panthers and 
brawny as bears. They swam like water-dogs. They 
were equally at home with pole and paddle, with axe 
and machete ; and one was a good cook and others were 
good men around camp. They looked hke pirates in the 
pictures of Howard Pyle or Maxfield Parrish ; one or 
two of them were pirates, and one worse than a pirate ; 
but most of them were hard-working, willing, and 
cheerful. They were white — or, rather, the olive of 
southern Europe — black, copper-coloured, and of all 
intermediate shades. In my canoe Luiz the steersman, 
the headman, was a Matto Grosso negro ; Julio the 
bowsman was from Bahia, and of pure Portuguese 
blood ; and the third man, Antonio, was a Parcels 

The actual surveying of the river was done by Colonel 
Rondon and Lyra, with Kermit as their assistant. 
Kermit went first in his httle canoe Avith the sighting- 
rod, on which two discs, one red and one white, were 
placed a metre apart. He selected a place which com- 
manded as long vistas as possible up and down stream, 


and which therefore might be at the angle of a bend ; 
landed ; cut away the branches which obstructed the 
view, and set up the sighting-pole — incidentally en- 
countering maribundi wasps and swarms of biting and 
stinging ants. Lyra, from his station up-stream, with 
his telemeter estabhshed the distance, while Colonel 
Rondon with the compass took the direction, and made 
the records. Then they moved on to the point Kermit 
had left, and Kermit established a new point within 
their sight. The first half-day's work was slow. The 
general course of the stream was a trifle east of north, 
but at short intervals it bent and curved literally toward 
every point of the compass. Kermit landed nearly a 
hundred times, and we made but nine and a third 

My canoe ran ahead of the surveying canoes. The 
height of the water made the going easy, for most of the 
snags and fallen trees were well beneath the surface. 
Now and then, however, the swift water hurried us 
toward ripples that marked ugly spikes of sunken 
timber, or toward uprooted trees that stretched almost 
across the stream. Then the muscles stood out on the 
backs and arms of the paddlers as stroke on stroke they 
urged us away from and past the obstacle. If the leaning 
or fallen trees were the thorny, slender-stemmed boritana 
palms, which love the wet, they were often, although 
plunged beneath the river, in full and vigorous growth, 
their stems curving upward, and their frond-crowned 
tops shaken by the rushing water. It was interesting 
work, for no civilized man, no white man, had ever gone 
down or up this river or seen the country through which 
we were passing. The lofty and matted forest rose like 
a green wall on either hand. The trees were stately and 
beautiful. The looped and twisted vines hung from them 

236 THE RIVER OF DOUBT [chap, viii 

like great ropes. Masses of epiphytes grew both on the 
dead trees and the living ; some had huge leaves like 
elephants' ears. Now and then fragrant scents were 
blown to us from flowers on the banks. There 
were not many birds, and for the most part the forest 
was silent; rarely we heard strange calls from the depths 
of the woods, or saw a cormorant or ibis. 

My canoe ran only a couple of hours. Then we halted 
to wait for the others. After a couple of hours more, as 
the surveyors had not turned up, we landed and made 
camp at a spot where the bank rose sharply for a hundred 
yards to a level stretch of ground. Our canoes were 
moored to trees. The axemen cleared a space for the 
tents ; they were pitched, the baggage was brought up, 
and fires were kindled. The woods were almost sound- 
less. Through them ran old tapir trails, but there was 
no fresh sign. Before nightfall the surveyors arrived. 
There were a few piums and gnats, and a few mosquitoes 
after dark, but not enough to make us uncomfortable. 
The small stingless bees, of shghtly aromatic odour, 
swarmed while daylight lasted, and crawled over our 
faces and hands ; they were such tame, harmless little 
things that when they tickled too much I always tried to 
brush them away without hurting them. But they 
became a great nuisance after a whUe. It had been 
raining at intervals, and the weather was overcast ; but 
after the sun went down the sky cleared. The stars 
were brUliant overhead, and the new moon hung in the 
west. It was a pleasant night, the air almost cool, and 
we slept soundly. 

Next morning the two surveying canoes left immedi- 
ately after breakfast. An hour later the two pairs of 
lashed canoes pushed off. I kept our canoe to let Cherrie 
collect, for in the early hours we could hear a number of 

I did my writing in headnet and gauntlets 
From a photograph by Kennil Roosevelt 

Colonel Roosevelt's canoe disappears down the River of Doubt 
From a photograph by MilUr 


birds in the woods near by. The most interesting birds 
he shot were a cotinga, brilUant turquoise-blue with a 
magenta-purple throat, and a big woodpecker, black 
above and cinnamon below with an entirely red head 
and neck. It was almost noon before we started. We 
saw a few more birds ; there were fresh tapir andjpaca 
tracks at one point where we landed ; once we heard 
howler monkeys from the depth of the forest, and once 
we saw a big otter in mid-stream. As we drifted and 
paddled down the swirling brown current, through the 
vivid rain-drenched green of the tropic forest, the trees 
leaned over the river from both banks. When those 
that had fallen in the river at some narrow point were 
very tall, or where it happened that two fell opposite 
each other, they formed barriers which the men in the 
leading canoes cleared with their axes. There were 
many palms, both the burity with its stiff fronds like 
enormous fans, and a handsome species of bacaba, with 
very long, gracefully curving fronds. In places the palms 
stood close together, towering and slender, their stems a 
stately colonnade, their fronds an arched fretwork against 
the sky. Butterflies of many hues fluttered over the 
river. The day was overcast, with showers of rain. 
When the sun broke through rifts in the clouds, his 
shafts turned the forest to gold. 

In mid-afternoon we came to the mouth of a big and 
swift affluent entering from the right. It was un- 
doubtedly the Bandeira, which we had crossed well 
toward its head, some ten days before, on our road to 
Bonafacio. The Nhambiquaras had then told Colonel 
Rondon that it flowed into the Duvida. After its 
junction, with the added volume of water, the river 
widened without losing its depth. It was so high that 
it had overflowed and stood among the trees on the 

238 THE RIVER OF DOUBT [chap, viii 

lower levels. Only the higher stretches were dry. On 
the sheer banks where we landed we had to push the 
canoes for yards or rods through the branches of the 
submerged trees, hacking and hewing. There were 
occasional bays and ox-bows from which the current 
had shifted. In these the coarse marsh grass grew talL 

This evening we made camp on a flat of dry ground, 
densely wooded, of course, directly on the edge of the 
river and five feet above it. It was fine to see the speed 
and sinewy ease with which the choppers cleared an open 
space for the tents. Next morning, when we bathed 
before svmrise, we dived into deep water right from the 
shore, and from the moored canoes. This second day 
we made sixteen and a half kilometres along the course 
of the river, and nine kilometres in a straight line almost 
due north. 

The following day, March 1, there was much rain — 
sometimes showers, sometimes vertical sheets of water. 
Our course was somewhat west of north, and we made 
twenty and a half kilometres. We passed signs of Indian 
habitation. There were abandoned palm-leaf shelters on 
both banks. On the left bank we came to two or three 
old Indian fields, grown up with coarse fern and studded 
with the burned skeletons of trees. At the mouth of a 
brook which entered from the right some sticks stood in 
the water, marking the site of an old fish-trap. At one 
point we found the tough vine hand-rail of an Indian 
bridge running right across the river, a couple of feet 
above it. Evidently the bridge had been buUt at low 
water. Three stout poles had been driven into the 
stream-bed in a line at right angles to the current. The 
bridge had consisted of poles fastened to these supports, 
leading between them and from the support at each 
end to the banks. The rope of tough vines had been 

O ■'' 

S s 


'Ti ^ /~- 



° 1 



stretched as a hand-rail, necessary with such precarious 
footing. The rise of the river had swept away the 
bridge, but the props and the rope hand-rail remained. 
In the afternoon, from the boat, Cherrie shot a large 
dark grey monkey with a prehensile tail. It was very 
good eating. 

We camped on a dry level space, but a few feet above, 
and close beside, the river — so that our swimming-bath 
was handy. The trees were cleared and camp was made 
with orderly hurry. One of the men almost stepped on 
a poisonous coral-snake, which would have been a serious 
thing, as his feet were bare. But I had on stout shoes, 
and the fangs of these serpents — unlike those of the pit- 
vipers — are too short to penetrate good leather. I 
promptly put my foot on him, and he bit my shoe with 
harmless venom. It has been said that the brilliant hues 
of the coral-snake when in its native haunts really confer 
on it a concealing coloration. In the dark and tangled 
woods, and to an only less extent in the ordinary varied 
landscape, anything motionless, especially if partially 
hidden, easily eludes the eye. But against the dark 
brown mould of the forest floor on which we found this 
coral-snake its bright and varied coloration was distinctly 
revealing ; infinitely more so than the duller mottling of 
the jararaca and other dangerous snakes of the genus 
lachesis. In the same place, however, we found a 
striking example of genuine protective or mimetic 
coloration and shape. A rather large insect larva — at 
least we judged it to be a larval form, but we were none 
of us entomologists — bore a resemblance to a partially 
curled dry leaf which was fairly startling. The tail 
exactly resembled the stem or continuation of the midrib 
of the dead leaf The flattened body was curled up at 
the sides, and veined and coloured precisely like the 

240 THE KIVER OF DOUBT [chap, viii 

leaf. The head, coloured like the leaf, projected in 

We were still in the Brazilian highlands. The forest 
did not teem with life. It was generally rather silent ; 
we did not hear such a chorus of birds and mammals as 
we had occasionally heard even on our overland journey, 
when more than once we had been awakened at dawn 
by the howling, screaming, yelping, and chattering of 
monkeys, toucans, macaws, parrots, and parakeets. 
There were, however, from time to time, queer sounds 
from the forest, and after nightfall different kinds of 
frogs and insects uttered strange cries and calls. In 
volume and frequency these seemed to increase until 
midnight. Then they died away and before dawn every- 
thing was silent. 

At this camp the carregadores ants completely 
devoured the doctor's undershirt, and ate holes in 
his mosquito-net ; and they also ate the strap of Lyra's 
gun-case. The little stingless bees, of many kinds, 
swarmed in such multitudes, and were so persevering, 
that we had to wear our head-nets when we wrote or 
skinned specimens. 

The following day was almost without rain. It was 
delightful to drift and paddle slowly down the beautiful 
tropical river. Until mid-afternoon the current was not 
very fast, and the broad, deep, placid stream bent and 
curved in every direction, although the general course 
was north-west. The country was flat, and more of the 
land was under than above water. Continually we found 
ourselves travelling between stretches of marshy forest 
where for miles the water stood or ran among the trees. 
Once we passed a hillock. We saw brilliantly coloured 
parakeets and trogons. At last the slow current 
quickened. Faster it went, and faster, until it began 


to run like a mill-race, and we heard the roar of 
rapids ahead. We pulled to the right bank, moored 
the canoes, and while most of the men pitched camp 
two or three of them accompanied us to examine the 
rapids. We had made twenty kilometres. 

We soon found that the rapids were a serious obstacle. 
There were many curls, and one or two regular falls, 
perhaps six feet high. It would have been impossible 
to run themj and they stretched for nearly a mile. The 
carry, however, which led through woods and over rocks 
in a nearly straight line, was somewhat shorter. It was 
not an easy portage over which to carry heavy loads 
and drag heavy dugout canoes. At the point where the 
descent was steepest there were great naked flats of 
friable sandstone and conglomerate. Over parts of these, 
where there was a surface of fine sand, there was a growth 
of coarse grass. Other parts were bare and had been 
worn by the weather into fantastic shapes — one projec- 
tion looked like an old-fashioned beaver hat upside down. 
In this place, where the naked flats of rock showed the 
projection of the ledge through which the river had cut 
its course, the torrent rushed down a deep, sheer-sided, 
and extremely narrow channel. At one point it was 
less than two yards across, and for some distance not 
more than five or six yards. Yet only a mile or two 
above the rapids the deep, placid river was at least a 
hundred yards wide. It seemed extraordinary, almost 
impossible, that so broad a river could in so short a 
space of time contract its dimensions to the width of the 
strangled channel through which it now poured its 
entire volume. 

This had for long been a station where the Nhambi- 
quaras at intervals built their ephemeral villages and 
tUled the soil with the rude and destructive cultivation 


242 THE iEllViER OF Doubt [chap, vm 

of savages. There were several abandoned old fields, 
where the dense growth of rank fern hid the tangle of 
burnt and fallen logs. Nor had the Nhambiquai-as been 
long absent. In one trail we found what gipsies would 
have called a " pateran," a couple of branches arranged 
crosswise, eight leaves to a branch ; it had some special 
significance, belonging to that class of signals, each with 
some peculiar and often complicated meaning, which 
are commonly used by many wild peoples. The Indians 
had thrown a simple bridge, consisting of four long poles, 
without a hand-rail, across one of the narrowest parts of 
the rock gorge through which the river foamed in its 
rapid descent. This subtribe of Indians was called the 
Navaite ; we named the rapids after them — Navaite 
Rapids. By observation Lyra found them to be (in 
close approximation to) latitude 11° 44' south and longi- 
tude 60° 18' west from Greenwich. 

We spent March 3 and 4 and the morning of the 5th 
in portaging around the rapids. The first night we 
camped in the forest beside the spot where we had 
halted. Next morning we moved the baggage to the 
foot of the rapids, where we intended to launch the 
canoes, and pitched our tents on the open sandstone flat. 
It rained heavily. The Uttle bees were in such swarms 
as to be a nuisance. Many small stinging bees were 
with them, which stung badly. We were bitten by 
huge horse-flies, the size of bumblebees. More serious 
annoyance was caused by the pium and boroshuda flies 
during the hours of daylight, and by the polvora, the 
sand-flies, after dark. There were a few mosquitoes. 
The boroshudas were the worst pests ; they brought the 
blood at once, and left marks that lasted for weeks. I 
did my writing in head-net and gauntlets. Fortunately 
we had with us several bottles of " fly dope " — so named 



The Rapids of Navaite 

There were many curls, and one or two regular falls 

From a photograph by Cherrie 


on the label — put up, with the rest of our medicine, by 
Dr. Alexander Lambert ; he had tested it in the north 
woods and found it excellent. I had never before been 
forced to use such an ointment, and had been reluctant 
to take it with me ; but now I was glad enough to have 
it, and we all of us found it exceedingly useful. I would 
never again go into mosquito gr sand-fly country with- 
out it. The effect of an application wears off after half 
an hour or so, and under many conditions, as when one 
is perspiring freely, it is of no use ; but there are times 
when minute mosquitoes and gnats get through head- 
nets and under mosquito-bars, and when the ointment 
occasionally renewed may permit one to get sleep or rest 
which would otherwise be impossible of attainment. 
The termites got into our tent on the sand-flat, ate holes 
in Cherrie's mosquito-net and poncho, and were starting 
to work at our duffel-bags, when we discovered them. 

Packing the loads across was simple. Dragging the 
heavy dugouts was labour. The biggest of the two 
water-logged ones was the heaviest. Lyra and Kermit 
did the job. All the men were employed at it except 
the cook and one man who was down with fever. A 
road was chopped through the forest, and a couple of 
hundred stout six-foot poles, or small logs, were cut as 
rollers and placed about two yards apart. With block 
and tackle the seven dugouts were hoisted out of the 
river, up the steep banks, and up the rise of ground until 
the level was reached. Then the men harnessed them- 
selves two by two on the drag-rope, while one of their 
number pried behind with a lever, and the canoe, bump- 
ing and sliding, was twitched through the woods. Over 
the sandstone flats there were some ugly ledges, but on 
the whole the course was down-hill and relatively easy. 
Looking at the way the work was done, at the good- 

244 THE RI\^ER OF DOUBT [chap, viii 

will, the endurance, and the bull-like strength of the 
camaradas, and at the intelligence and the unwearied 
efforts of their commanders, one could but wonder at 
the ignorance of those who do not realize the energy 
and the power that are so often possessed by, and that 
may be so readUy developed in, the men of the tropics. 
Another subject of perpetual wonder is the attitude of 
certain men who stay at home, and still more the attitude 
of certain men who travel under easy conditions, and 
who belittle the achievements of the real explorers of, 
the real adventures in, the great wUdemess. The im- 
postors and romancers among explorers or would-be 
explorers and wilderness wanderers have been unusually 
prominent in connection Avith South America (although 
the conspicuous ones are not South Americans, by the 
way) ; and these are fit subjects for condemnation and 
derision. But the work of the genuine explorer and 
wilderness wanderer is fraught with fatigue, hardship, 
and danger. Many of the men of little knowledge talk 
glibly of portaging as if it were simple and easy. A 
portage over rough and unknown ground is always a 
work of difficulty and of some risk to the canoe ; and in 
the untrodden, or even in the unfrequented, wilderness, 
risk to the canoe is a serious matter. This particular 
portage at Navaite Rapids was far from being unusually 
difficult ; yet it not only cost two and a half days of severe 
and incessant labour, but it cost something in damage 
to the canoes. One in particular, the one in which I 
had been journeying, was split in a manner which caused 
us serious uneasiness as to how long, even after being 
patched, it would last. Where the canoes were launched, 
the bank was sheer, and one of the water-logged canoes 
filled and went to the bottom ; and there was more 
work in raising it. 


We were still wholly unable to tell where we were 
going or what lay ahead of us. Round the camp-fire, 
after supper, we held endless discussions and hazarded 
all kinds of guesses on both subjects. The river might 
bend sharply to the west and enter the Gy-Parand. high 
up or low down, or go north to the Madeira, or bend 
eastward and enter the Tapajos, or fall into the Canumd 
and finally through one of its mouths enter the Amazon 
direct. Lyra inclined to the first, and Colonel Rondon 
to the second, of these propositions. We did not know 
whether we had one hundred or eight hundred kilometres 
to go, whether the stream would be fairly smooth or 
whether we would encounter waterfalls, or rapids, or 
even some big marsh or lake. We could not tell 
whether or not we would meet hostile Indians, although 
no one of us ever went ten yards from camp without 
his rifle. We had no idea how much time the trip 
would take. We had entered a land of unknown pos- 

We started down-stream again early in the afternoon 
of March 5. Our hands and faces were swollen from 
the bites and stings of the insect pests at the sand-flat 
camp, and it was a pleasure once more to be in the 
middle of the river, where they did not come, in any 
numbers, while we were in motion. The current was 
swift, but the river was so deep that there were no 
serious obstructions. Twice we went down over slight 
riffles, which in the dry season were doubtless rapids ; 
and once we struck a spot where many whirlpools 
marked the presence underneath of boulders which 
would have been above water had not the river been so 
swollen by the rains. The distance we covered in a day 
going down-stream would have taken us a week if we 
had been going up. The course wound hither and 

246 THE RIVER OF DOUBT [chap, vm 

thither, sometimes in sigmoid curves ; but the general 
direction was east of north. As usual, it was very 
beautiful; and we never could teU what might appear 
around any curve. In the forest that rose on either 
hand were tall rubber-trees. The surveying canoes, as 
usual, went first, while I shepherded the two pairs of 
lashed cargo canoes. I kept them always between me 
and the surveying canoes — ahead of me untU I passed 
the surveying canoes, then behind me untU, after an 
hour or so, I had chosen a place to camp. There was 
so much overflowed ground that it took us some httle 
time this afternoon before we found a flat place high 
enough to be dry. Just before reaching camp Cherrie 
shot a jacu, a handsome bird somewhat akin to, but 
much smaller than, a turkey ; after Cherrie had taken 
its skin, its body made an excellent canja. We saw 
parties of monkeys ; and the false bell-birds uttered their 
ringing whistles in the dense timber around our tents. 
The giant ants, an inch and a quarter long, were rather 
too plentiful around this camp ; one stung Kermit ; it 
was almost like the sting of a small scorpion, and pained 
severely for a couple of hours. This half-day we made 
twelve kilometres. 

On the following day we made nineteen kilometres, 
the river twisting in every direction, but in its general 
course running a little west of north. Once we stopped 
at a bee-tree to get honey. The tree was a towering 
giant, of the kind called milk-tree, because a thick, 
milky juice runs freely from any cut. Our camaradas 
eagerly drank the white fluid that flowed from the 
wounds made by their axes. I tried it. The taste was 
not unpleasant, but it left a sticky feeling in the mouth. 
The helmsman of my boat, Luiz, a powerful negro, 
chopped into the tree, balancing himself with springy 


<.' ■ ^ 

■ 4. 

S fe 

P-i ■? 


ease on a slight scaffolding. The honey was in a hollow, 
and had been made by medium-sized stingless bees. 
At the mouth of the hollow they had buUt a curious 
entrance of their own, in the shape of a spout, of wax, 
about a foot long. At the opening the walls of the 
spout showed the wax formation, but elsewhere it had 
become in colour and texture indistinguishable from 
the bark of the tree. The honey was delicious, sweet, 
and yet with a tart flavour. The comb differed much 
from that of our honey-bees. The honey-cells were 
very large, and the brood-cells, which were small, were 
in a single instead of a double row. By this tree I came 
across an example of genuine concealing coloration. 
A huge tree-toad, the size of a bullfrog, was seated 
upright — not squatted flat — on a big, rotten limb. It 
was absolutely motionless ; the yellow brown of its 
back, and its dark sides, exactly harmonized in colour 
with the light and dark patches on the log ; the colour 
was as concealing, here in its natural surroundings, as 
is the colour of our common wood-frog among the dead 
leaves of our woods. When I stirred it up it jumped 
to a small twig, catching hold with the discs of its 
finger-tips, and balancing itself with unexpected ease 
for so big a creature, and then hopped to the ground, 
and again stood motionless. Evidently it trusted for 
safety to escaping observation. We saw some monkeys 
and fresh tapir sign, and Kermit shot a jacu for the pot. 
At about three o'clock I was in the lead, when the 
current began to run more quickly. We passed over 
one or two decided ripples, and then heard the roar of 
rapids ahead, while the stream began to race. We 
drove the canoe into the bank, and then went down 
a tapir trail, which led alongside the river, to reconnoitre. 
A quarter of a mile's walk showed us that there were 

248 THE RIVER OF DOUBT [chap, viii 

big rapids, down which the canoes could not go ; and 
we returned to the landing. All the canoes had 
gathered there, and Rondon, Lyra, and Kermit started 
down -stream to explore. They returned in an hour, 
with the information that the rapids continued for a 
long distance, with falls and steep pitches of broken 
water, and that the portage would take several days. 
We made camp just above the rapids. Ants swarmed, 
and some of them bit savagely. Our men, in clearing 
away the forest for our tents, left several very taU and 
slender accashy palms ; the bole of this palm is as 
straight as an arrow, and is crowned with delicate, 
gracefully curved fronds. We had come along the 
course of the river almost exactly a hundred kilometres ; 
it had twisted so that we were only about fifty-five 
kilometres north of our starting-point. The rock was 

The 7th, 8th, and 9th we spent in carrying the loads 
and dragging and floating the dugouts past the series 
of rapids at whose head we had stopped. 

The first day we shifted camp a kilometre and a half 
to the foot of this series of rapids. This was a charming 
and picturesque camp. It was at the edge of the river, 
where there was a little shallow bay, with a beach of 
firm sand. In the water, at the middle point of the 
beach, stood a group of three burity palms, their great 
trunks rising like columns. Round the clearing in 
which our tents stood were several very big trees ; 
two of them were rubber-trees. Kermit went down- 
stream five or six kilometres, and returned, having shot 
a jacu, and found that at the point which he had 
reached there was another rapid, almost a fall, which 
would necessitate our again dragging the canoes over 
a portage. Antonio, the Parecis, shot a big monkey ; 


of this I was glad, because portaging is hard work, and 
the men appreciated the meat. So far Cherrie had 
collected sixty birds on the Duvida, all of them new to 
the collection, and some probably new to science. We 
saw the fresh sign of paca, agouti, and the small peccary, 
and Kermit with the dogs roused a tapir, which crossed 
the river right through the rapids, but no one got a 
shot at it. 

Except at one, or perhaps two, points a very big 
dugout, lightly loaded, could probably run all these 
rapids. But even in such a canoe it would be silly to 
make the attempt on an exploring expedition, where 
the loss of a canoe or of its contents means disaster ; 
and, moreover, such a canoe could not be taken, for it 
would be impossible to drag it over the portages on the 
occasions when the portages became inevitable. Our 
canoes would not have lived half a minute in the wild 

On the second day the canoes and loads were brought 
down to the foot of the first rapids. Lyra cleared the 
path and laid the logs for rollers, while Kermit dragged 
the dugouts up the bank from the water with block 
and tackle, with strain of rope and muscle. Then they 
joined forces, as over the uneven ground it needed the 
united strength of all their men to get the heavy dug- 
outs along. Meanwhile the Colonel with one attendant 
measured the distance, and then went on a long hunt, 
but saw no game. I strolled down beside the river for 
a couple of miles, but also saw nothing. In the dense 
tropical forest of the Amazonian basin hunting is very 
difficult, especially for men who are trying to pass 
through the country as rapidly as possible. On such a 
trip as ours, getting game is largely a matter of chance. 

On the following day Lyra and Kermit brought down 

250 THE RIVER OF DOUBT [chap, viii 

the canoes and loads, with hard labour, to the little 
beach by the three palms where our tents were pitched. 
Many pacovas grew round about. The men used their 
immense leaves, some of which were twelve feet long 
and two and a half feet broad, to roof the flimsy shelters 
under which they hung their hammocks. 1 went into 
the woods, but in the tangle of vegetation it would 
have been a mere hazard had I seen any big animal. 
Generally the woods were silent and empty. Now and 
then Uttle troops of birds of many kinds passed — wood- 
hewers, ant-thrushes, tanagers, flycatchers ; as in the 
spring and fall similar troops of warblers, chickadees, 
and nuthatches pass through our northern woods. On 
the rocks and on the great trees by the river grew 
beautiful white and Hlac orchids — the sobraha, of sweet 
and delicate fragrance. For the moment my own books 
seemed a trifle heavy, and perhaps I would have found 
the day tedious if Kermit had not lent me the Oxford 
Book of French Verse. Eustache Deschamp, Joachim 
du Bellay, Ronsard, the charming La Fontaine, the 
delightful but appalling Vfllon, Victor Hugo's 
" Guitare," Madame Desbordes - Valmore's lines on 
the little girl and her pillow, as dear little verses 
about a child as ever were written — these and many 
others comforted me much, as I read them in head-net 
and gauntlets, sitting on a log by an unknown river in 
the Amazonian forest. 

On the 10th we again embarked, and made a kilo- 
metre and a half, spending most of the time in getting 
past two more rapids. Near the first of these we saw a 
small cayman, a jacard-tinga. At each set of rapids the 
canoes were unloaded, and the loads borne past on the 
shoulders of the camaradas ; three of the canoes were 
paddled down by a couple of naked paddlers apiece ; 


and the two sets of double canoes were let down by 
ropes, one of one couple being swamped, but rescued, 
and brought safely to shore on each occasion. One of 
the men was upset while working in the swift water, 
and his face was cut against the stones. Lyra and 
Kermit did the actual work with the camaradas. 
Kermit, dressed practically like the camaradas them- 
selves, worked in the water, and, as the overhanging 
branches were thronged with crowds of biting and 
stinging ants, he was marked and blistered over his 
whole body. Indeed, we all suffered more or less from 
these ants ; while the swarms of biting flies grew con- 
stantly more numerous. The termites ate holes in my 
helmet, and also in the cover of my cot. Everyone else 
had a hammock. At this camp we had come down 
the river about 102 kilometres, according to the 
surveying records, and in height had descended nearly 
100 metres, as shown by the aneroid — although the 
figure in this case is only an approximation, as an 
aneroid cannot be depended on for absolute accuracy of 

Next morning we found that, during the night we 
had met with a serious misfortune. We had halted at 
the foot of the rapids. The canoes were moored to 
trees on the bank, at the tail of the broken water. 
The two old canoes, although one of them was our 
biggest cargo-carrier, were water-logged and heavy, and 
one of them was leaking. In the night the river rose. 
The leaky canoe, which at best was too low in the 
water, must have gradually filled from the wash of the 
waves. It sank, dragging down the other ; they began 
to roll, bursting their moorings ; and in the morning 
they had disappeared. A canoe was launched to look 
for them ; but, rolling over the boulders on the rocky 

252 THE RIVER OF DOUBT [chap, viii 

bottom, they had at once been riven asunder, and the 
big fragments that were soon found, floating in eddies, 
or along the shore, showed that it was useless to look 
farther. We called these rapids Broken Canoe Rapids. 

It was not pleasant to have to stop for some days ; 
thanks to the rapids, we had made slow progress, and 
with our necessarily limited supply of food, and no 
knowledge whatever of what was ahead of us, it was 
important to make good time. But there was no alter- 
native. We had to build either one big canoe or two 
small ones. It was raining heavily as the men started 
to explore in different directions for good canoe trees. 
Three — which ultimately proved not very good for the 
purpose — -were found close to camp ; splendid-looking 
trees, one of them five feet in diameter three feet from 
the ground. The axemen immediately attacked this 
one under the superintendence of Colonel Rondon. 
Lyra and Kermit started in opposite directions to 
hunt. Lyra killed a jacu for us, and Kermit killed two 
monkeys for the men. Toward nightfall it cleared. 
The moon was nearly fuU, and the foaming river 
gleamed like silver. 

Our men were "regional volunteers," that is, they 
had enlisted in the service of the Telegraphic Com- 
mission especially to do this wilderness work, and were 
highly paid, as was fitting, in view of the toil, hardship, 
and hazard to life and health. Two of them had been 
with Colonel Rondon during his eight months' explora- 
tion in 1909, at which time his men were regulars, from 
his own. battalion of engineers. His four aides during 
the closing months of this trip were Lieutenants Lyra, 
Amarante, Alencarliense, and Pyrineus. The naturalist, 
Miranda Ribeiro, also accompanied him. This was the 
year when, marching on foot through an absolutely 

"2 °* 




unknown wilderness, the Colonel and his party finally- 
reached the Gy-Parana, which, on the maps was then 
(and on most maps is now) placed in an utterly wrong 
course, and over a degree out of its real position. When 
they reached the affluents of the Gy-Parana a third of 
the members of the party were so weak with fever that 
they could hardly crawl. They had no baggage. Their 
clothes were in tatters, and some of the men were 
almost naked. For months they had had no food 
except what little game they shot, and especially the 
wild fruits and nuts ; if it had not been for the great 
abundance of the Brazil-nuts they would all have died. 
At the first big stream they encountered they built a 
canoe, and Alencarliense took command of it, and de- 
scended to map the course of the river. With him 
went Ribeiro, the doctor Tanageira, who could no 
longer walk on account of the ulceration of one foot, 
three men whom the fever had rendered unable longer 
to walk, and six men who were as yet well enough to 
handle the canoe. By the time the remainder of the 
party came to the next navigable river eleven more 
fever-stricken men had nearly reached the end of their 
tether. Here they ran across a poor devil who had 
for four months been lost in the forest, and was djdng 
of slow starvation. He had eaten nothing but Brazil- 
nuts and the grubs of insects. He could no longer 
walk, but could sit erect and totter feebly for a few 
feet. Another canoe was built, and in it Pyrineus started 
down-stream with the eleven fever patients and the 
starving wanderer. Colonel Rondon kept up the morale 
of his men by still carrying out the forms of military 
discipline. The ragged bugler had his bugle. Lieu- 
tenant Pyrineus had lost every particle of his clothing 
except a hat and a pair of drawers. The half-naked 

254 THE RIVER OF DOUBT [chap, viii 

lieutenant drew up his eleven fever patients in line ; the 
bugle sounded ; everyone came to attention ; and the 
haggard Colonel read out the orders of the day. Then 
the dugout, with its load of sick men, started down- 
stream, and Rondon, Lyra, Amarante, and the twelve 
remaining men resumed their weary march. When, a 
fortnight later, they finally struck a camp of rubber- 
gatherers, three of the men were hterally and entirely 
naked. Meanwhile AmUcar had ascended the Jacy- 
parana a month or two previously with provisions to 
meet them ; for at that time the maps incon*ectly 
treated this river as larger, instead of smaller, than the 
Gy- Parana, which they were in fact descending ; and 
Colonel Rondon had supposed that they were going 
down the former stream. Amilcar returned after him- 
self suffering much hardship and danger. The different 
parties finally met at the mouth of the Gy-Parana, 
where it enters the Madeira. The lost man whom 
they had found seemed on the road to recovery, and 
they left him at a ranch on the Madeira, where he could 
be cared for ; yet after they had left him they heard 
that he had died. 

On the 12th the men were still hard at work hollowing 
out the hard wood of the big tree, with axe and adze, 
while watch and ward were kept over them to see that 
the idlers did not shirk at the expense of the industrious. 
Kermit and Lyra again hunted ; the former shot a 
curassow, which was welcome, as we were endeavouring 
in aU ways to economize our food supply. We were 
using the tops of palms also. I spent the day hunting 
in the woods, for the most part by the river, but saw 
nothing. In the season of the rains game is away from 
the river, and fish are scarce and turtles absent. Yet it 
was pleasant to be in the great silent forest. Here and 


there grew immense trees, and on some of them mighty 
buttresses sprang from the base. The Uanas and vines 
were of every size and shape. Some were twisted and 
some were not. Some came down straight and slender 
from branches a hundred feet above. Others curved 
like long serpents around the trunks. Others were like 
knotted cables. In the shadow there was little noise. 
The wind rarely moved the hot, humid air. There 
were few flowers or birds. Insects were altogether 
too abundant, and even when travelling slowly it was 
impossible always to avoid them — not to speak of our 
constant companions the bees, mosquitoes, and especially 
the boroshudas or bloodsucking flies. Now, while burst- 
ing through a tangle, I disturbed a nest of wasps, whose 
resentment was active ; now I heedlessly stepped among 
the outliers of a small party of the carnivorous foraging 
ants ; now, grasping a branch as I stumbled, I shook 
down a shower of fire-ants ; and among all these my 
attention was particularly arrested by the bite of one 
of the giant ants, which stung like a hornet, so that 
I felt it for three hours. The camaradas generally went 
barefoot or only wore sandals ; and their ankles and feet 
were swollen and inflamed from the bites of the boro- 
shudas and ants, some being actually incapacitated from 
work. All of us suiFered more or less, our faces and 
hands swelUng slightly from the boroshuda bites ; and 
in spite of our clothes we were bitten all over our bodies, 
chiefly by ants and the small forest ticks. Because of 
the rain and the heat our clothes were usually wet when 
we took them them off" at night, and just as wet when 
we put them on again in the morning. 

All day on the 13th the men worked at the canoe, 
making good progress. In rolling and shifting the 
huge, heavy tree-trunk everyone had to assist now and 

256 THE RIVER OF DOUBT [chap, viii 

then. The work continued until ten in the evening, 
as the weather was clear. After nightfall some of the 
men held candles and the others plied axe or adze, 
standing within or beside the great, half-hoUowed logs, 
while the flicker of the lights showed the tropic forest 
rising in the darkness round about. The night air was 
hot and still and heavy with moisture. The men were 
stripped to the waist. Olive and copper and ebony, 
their skins glistened as if oiled, and rippled with the 
ceaseless play of the thews beneath. 

On the morning of the 14th the work was resumed 
in a torrential tropic downpour. The canoe was 
finished, dragged down to the water, and launched soon 
after midday, and another hour or so saw us vmder way. 
The descent was marked, and the swollen river raced 
along. Several times we passed great whirlpools, some- 
times shifting, sometimes steady. Half a dozen times 
we ran over rapids, and, although they were not high 
enough to have been obstacles to loaded Canadian 
canoes, two of them were serious to us. Our hea\Tly 
laden, clumsy dugouts were sunk to within three or 
four inches of the surface of the river, and, although 
they were buoyed on each side with bundles of burity- 
palm branch-stems, they shipped a great deal of water 
in the rapids. The two biggest rapids we only just 
made, and after each we had hastily to push ashore in 
order to bail. In one set of big ripples or waves my 
canoe was nearly swamped. In a wilderness, where 
what is ahead is absolutely unknown, alike in terms of 
time, space, and method — for we had no idea where we 
would come out, how we would get out, or when we 
would get out — it is of vital consequence not to lose 
one's outfit, especially the provisions ; and yet it is of 
only less consequence to go as rapidly as possible lest 

Dragging the canoes over a portage by means of ropes and logs 
From a photograph by Kermit Roosevelt 


all the provisions be exhausted and the final stages of 
the expedition be accomplished by men weakened from 
semi-starvation, and therefore ripe for disaster. On this 
occasion, of the two hazards, we felt it necessary to risk 
running the rapids ; for our progress had been so very 
slow that unless we made up the time, it was probable 
that we would be short of food before we got where we 
could expect to procure any more except what little 
the country, in the time of the rains and floods, might 
yield. We ran until after five, so that the work of 
pitching camp was finished in the dark. We had made 
nearly sixteen kilometres in a direction slightly east of 
north. This evening the air was fresh and cool. 

The following morning, March 15, we started in 
good season. For six kilometres we drifted and paddled 
down the swift river without incident. At times we 
saw lofty BrazU-nut trees rising above the rest of the 
forest on the banks ; and back from the river these 
trees grow to enormous proportions, towering like giants. 
There were great rubber-trees also, their leaves always 
in sets of threes. Then the ground on either hand rose 
into boulder-strewn, forest-clad hills, and the roar of 
broken water announced that once more our course 
was checked by dangerous rapids. Round a bend we 
came on them ; a wide descent of white water, with an 
island in the middle, at the upper edge. Here grave 
misfortune befell us, and graver misfortune was narrowly 

Kermit, as usual, was leading in his canoe. It was 
the smallest and least seaworthy of all. He had in it 
little except a week's supply of our boxed provisions 
and a few tools ; fortunately none of the food for the 
camaradas. His dog Trigueiro was with him. Besides 
himself, the crew consisted of two men : Joao, the helms- 


258 THE RIVER OF DOUBT [chap, viii 

man, or pilot, as he is called in Brazil, and Simplicio, the 
howsman. Both were negroes and exceptionally good 
men in every way. Kermit halted his canoe on the left 
bank, above the rapids, and waited for the Colonel's 
canoe. Then the Colonel and Lyra walked down the 
bank to see what was ahead. Kermit took his canoe 
across to the island to see whether the descent could 
be better accomplished on the other side. Having 
made his investigation, he ordered the men to return 
to the bank he had left, and the dugout was headed 
up-stream accordingly. Before they had gone a dozen 
yards, the paddlers digging their paddles with all their 
strength into the swift current, one of the shifting 
whirlpools of which I have spoken came down-stream, 
whirled them around, and swept them so close to the 
rapids that no human power could avoid going over 
them. As they were drifting into them broadside on, 
Kermit yelled to the steersman to turn her head, so as 
to take them in the only way that offered any chance 
whatever of safety. The water came aboard, wave after 
wave, as they raced down. They reached the bottom 
with the canoe upright, but so full as barely to float, 
and the paddlers urged her toward the shore. They 
had nearly reached the bank when another whii'pool or 
whirling eddy tore them away and hurried them back 
to mid-stream, where the dugout filled and turned over. 
Joao, seizing the rope, started to swim ashore ; the rope 
was pulled from his hand, but he reached the bank. 
Poor Simphcio must have been pulled under at once, 
and his life beaten out on the boulders beneath the 
racing torrent. He never rose again, nor did we ever 
recover his body. Kermit clutched his rifle, his favourite 
405 Winchester with which he had done most of his 
hunting both in Africa and America, and climbed on 

Manner of dragging the canoes across a hilly portage 
From a pkotograpk by Cherrie 

Making the big canoe which was soon afterward lost 

The inside of the log has been hollowed out and the men are rolling it over to shape the bottom of the canoe 

From a photograph by Kermit Roosevelt 


the bottom of the upset boat. In a minute he was 
swept into the second series of rapids, and whirled 
away from the roUing boat, losing his rifle. The water 
beat his helmet down over his head and face, and drove 
him beneath the surface ; and when he rose at last he 
was almost drowned, his breath and strength almost 
spent. He was in swift but quiet water, and swam 
toward an overhanging branch. His jacket hindered 
him ; but he knew he was too nearly gone to be able to 
get it off, and, thinking with the curious calm one feels 
when death is but a moment away, he realized that the 
utmost his failing strength could do was to reach the 
branch. He reached, and clutched it, and then almost 
lacked strength to haul himself out on the land. Good 
Trigueiro had faithfully swum alongside him through 
the rapids, and now himself scrambled ashore. It was 
a very narrow escape. Kermit was a great comfort and 
help to me on the trip ; but the fear of some fatal acci- 
dent befalling him was always a nightmare to me. He 
was to be married as soon as the trip was over ; and it 
did not seem to me that I could bear to bring bad tidings 
to his betrothed and to his mother. 

Simplicio was unmarried. Later we sent to his mother 
all the money that would have been his had he lived. 
The following morning we put on one side of the post 
erected to mark our camping-spot the following inscrip- 
tion, in Portuguese : 

" In These Rapids Died Poor Simplicio." 

On an expedition such as ours death is one of the 
accidents that may at any time occur, and narrow 
escapes from death are too common to be felt as they 
would be felt elsewhere. One mourns sincerely, but 
mourning cannot interfere with labour. We immedi- 

260 THE RIVER OF DOUBT [chap, viii 

ately proceeded with the work of the portage. From 
the head to the tail of this series of rapids the distance 
was about six hundred yards. A path was cut along 
the bank, over which the loads were brought. The 
empty canoes ran the rapids without mishap, each with 
two skilled paddlers. One of the canoes almost ran 
into a swimming tapir at the head of the rapids ; it went 
down the rapids, and then climbed out of the river. 
Kermit, accompanied by Joao, went three or four mUes 
down the river, looking for the body of Simplicio and 
for the sunk canoe. He found neither. But he found 
a box of provisions and a paddle, and salvaged both by 
swimming into mid-stream after them. He also found 
that a couple of kilometres below there was another 
stretch of rapids, and following them on the left-hand 
bank to the foot he found that they were worse than 
the ones we had just passed, and impassable for canoes 
on this left-hand side. 

We camped at the foot of the rapids we had just 
passed. There were many small birds here, but it was 
extremely difficult to see or shoot them in the lofty 
tree-tops, and to find them in the tangle beneath if they 
were shot. However, Cherrie got four species new to 
the collection. One was a tiny hummer, one of the 
species known as woodstars, with dainty but not 
brilhant plumage ; its kind is never found except in the 
deep, dark woods, not coming out into the sunshine. 
Its crop was filled with ants ; when shot it was feeding 
at a cluster of long red flowers. He also got a very 
handsome trogon and an exquisite Httle tanager, as 
brilliant as a cluster of jewels ; its throat was hlac, its 
breast turquoise, its crown and forehead topaz, while 
above it was glossy purple-black, the lower part of the 
back ruby-red. This tanager was a female ; I can 


hardly imagine that the male is more brilliantly coloured. 
The fourth bird was a queer hawk of the genus ibycter, 
black, with a white belly, naked red cheeks and throat 
and red legs and feet. Its crop was filled with 
the seeds of fruits and a few insect remains ; an 
extraordinary diet for a hawk. 

The morning of the 16th was dark and gloomy. 
Through sheets of blinding rain we left our camp of 
misfortune for another camp where misfortune also 
awaited us. Less than half an hour took our dugouts 
to the head of the rapids below. As Kermit had 
already explored the left-hand side, Colonel Rondon and 
Lyra went down the right-hand side and found a 
channel which led round the worst part, so that they 
deemed it possible to let down the canoes by ropes from 
the bank. The distance to the foot of the rapids was 
about a kilometre. While the loads were being brought 
down the left bank, Luiz and Antonio Correa, our two 
best watermen, started to take a canoe down the right 
side, and Colonel Rondon walked ahead to see anything 
he could about the river. He was accompanied by one 
of our three dogs, Lobo. After walking about a kilo- 
metre he heard ahead a kind of howling noise, which he 
thought was made by spider-monkeys. He walked in 
the direction of the sound and Lobo ran ahead. In a 
minute he heard Lobo yeU with pain, and then, stiU 
yelping, come toward him, while the creature that was 
howling also approached, evidently in pursuit. In a 
moment a second yell from Lobo, followed by silence, 
announced that he was dead ; and the sound of the 
howling, when near, convinced Rondon that the dog 
had been killed by an Indian, doubtless with two arrows. 
Probably the Indian was howling to lure the spider- 
monkeys toward him. Rondon fired his rifle in the air 

262 THE RIVER OF DOUBT [chap, viii 

to warn off the Indian or Indians, who in all probability 
had never seen a civilized man, and certainly could not 
imagine that one was in the neighbourhood. He then 
returned to the foot of the rapids, where the portage 
was still going on, and, in company with Lyra, Kermit, 
and Antonio Parcels, the Indian, walked back to where 
Lobo's body lay. Sure enough he found him, slain by 
two arrows. One arrow-head was in him, and near by 
was a strange stick used in the very primitive method 
of fishing of all these Indians. Antonio recognized its 
purpose. The Indians, who were apparently two or 
three in number, had fled. Some beads and trinkets 
were left on the spot to show that we were not angry, 
and were friendly. 

Meanwhile Cherrie stayed at the head and I at the 
foot of the portage as guards. Luiz and Antonio 
Correa brought down one canoe safely. The next was 
the new canoe, which was very large and heavy, being 
made of wood that would not float. In the rapids the 
rope broke, and the canoe was lost, LuizHbeing nearly 

It was a very bad thing to lose the canoe, but it was 
even worse to lose the rope and pulleys. This meant 
that it would be physically impossible to hoist big 
canoes up even small hiUs or rocky hillocks, such as 
had been so frequent beside the many rapids we had 
encountered. It was not wise to spend the four days 
necessary to build new canoes where we were, in 
danger of attack from the Indians. Moreover, new 
rapids might be very near, in which case the new canoes 
would hamper us. Yet the four remaining canoes 
would not carry all the loads and all the men, no matter 
how we cut the loads down ; and we intended to cut 
everything down at once. We had been gone eighteen 


days. We had used over a third of our food. We 
had gone only 125 kilometres, and it was probable that 
we had at least five times, perhaps six or seven times, 
this distance still to go. We had taken a fortnight to 
descend rapids amounting in the aggregate to less than 
seventy yards of fall. A very few yards of fall makes 
a dangerous rapid when the river is swoUen and swift, 
and there are obstructions. We had only one aneroid 
to determine our altitude, and therefore could make 
merely a loose approximation to it, but we probably 
had between two and three times this descent in the 
aggregate of rapids ahead of us. So far the country 
had offered little in the way of food except palm-tops. 
We had lost four canoes and one man. We were in 
the country of wild Indians, who shot well with their 
bows. It behoved us to go warily, but also to make 
all speed possible if we were to avoid serious trouble. 

The best plan seemed to be to march thirteen men 
down along the bank, while the remaining canoes, 
lashed two and two, floated down beside them. If 
after two or three days we found no bad rapids, and 
there seemed a reasonable chance of going some dis- 
tance at decent speed, we could then build the new 
canoes — preferably two small ones this time, instead of 
one big one. We left all the baggage we could. We 
were already down as far as comfort would permit ; but 
we now struck off much of the comfort. Cherrie, 
Kermit, and I, had been sleeping under a very light 
fly, and there was another small light tent for one 
person, kept for possible emergencies. The last was 
given to me for my cot, and all five of the others swung 
their hammocks under the big fly. This meant that 
we left two big and heavy tents behind. A box of 
surveying instruments was also abandoned. Each of 

264 THE RIVER OF DOUBT [chap, viii 

us got his personal belongings down to one box or 
duffel-bag — although there was only a small diminution 
thus made — because we had so little that the only way 
to make a serious diminution was to restrict ourselves 
to the clothes on our backs. 

The biting flies and ants were to us a source of 
discomfort, and at times of what could fairly be called 
torment. But to the camaradas, most of whom went 
barefoot or only wore sandals — and they never did or 
would wear shoes — the effect was more serious. They 
wrapped their legs and feet in pieces of canvas or hide ; 
and the feet of three of them became so swollen that 
they were crippled, and could not walk any distance. 
The doctor, whose courage and cheerfulness never 
flagged, took excellent care of them. Thanks to him, 
there had been among them hitherto but one or two 
slight cases of fever. He administered to each man 
daily a half-gram — nearly eight grains — of quinine, and 
every third or fourth day a double dose. 

The following morning Colonel Rondon, Lyra, 
Kermit, Cherrie, and nine of the camaradas started in 
single file down the bank, while the doctor and I went 
in the two double canoes, with six camaradas, three of 
them the invalids with swollen feet. We halted con- 
tinually, as we went about three times as fast as the 
walkers ; and we traced the course of the river. After 
forty minutes' actual going in the boats, we came to 
some rapids ; the unloaded canoes ran them without 
difficulty, while the loads were portaged. In an hour 
and a half we were again under way, but in ten minutes 
came to other rapids, where the river ran among islands, 
and there were several big curls. The clumsy, heavily- 
laden dugouts, lashed in couples, were unwieldy and 
hard to handle. The rapids came just round a sharp 


bend, and we got caught in the upper part of the swift 
water, and had to run the first set of rapids in conse- 
quence. We in the leading pair of dugouts were within 
an ace of coming to grief on some big boulders, against 
which we were swept by a cross current at the turn. 
All of us paddling hard — scraping and bumping — we 
got through by the skin of our teeth, and managed to 
make the bank and moor our dugouts. It was a narrow 
escape from grave disaster. The second pair of lashed 
dugouts profited by our experience, made the run — 
with risk, but with less risk — and moored beside us. 
Then all the loads were taken out, and the empty 
canoes were run down through the least dangerous 
channels among the islands. 

This was a long portage, and we camped at the foot 
of the rapids, having made nearly seven kilometres. 
Here a little river, a rapid stream of volume equal to 
the Diivida at the point where we first embarked, 
joined from the west. Colonel Rondon and Kermit 
came to it first, and the former named it Rio Kermit. 
There was in it a waterfall about six or eight feet high, 
just above the junction. Here we found plenty of fish. 
Lyra caught two pacu, good-sized, deep-bodied fish. 
They were delicious eating. Antonio the Parcels said 
that these fish never came up heavy rapids in which 
there were falls they had to jump. We could only 
hope that he was correct, as in that case the rapids 
we would encounter in the future would rarely be so 
serious as to necessitate our dragging the heavy dugouts 
overland. Passing the rapids we had hitherto encoun- 
tered had meant severe labour and some danger. But 
the event showed that he was mistaken. The worst 
rapids were ahead of us. 

While our course as a whole had been almost due 

266 THE RIVER OF DOUBT [chap, viii 

north, and sometimes east of north, yet where there 
were rapids the river had generally, although not always, 
turned westward. This seemed to indicate that to the 
east of us there was a low northward projection of the 
central plateau across which we had travelled on mule- 
back. This is the kind of projection that appears on 
the maps of this region as a sierra. Probably it sent 
low spurs to the west, and the farthest points of these 
spurs now and then caused rapids in our course (for the 
rapids generally came where there were hills), and for 
the moment deflected the river westward from its 
general down-hill trend to the north. There was no 
longer any question that the Diivida was a big river, 
a river of real importance. It was not a minor affluent 
of some other affluent. But we were still wholly in the 
dark as to where it came out. It was still possible, 
although exceedingly improbable, that it entered the 
Gy-Parana, as another river of substantially the same 
size, near its mouth. It was much more likely, but not 
probable, that it entered the Tapajos. It was probable, 
although far from certain, that it entered the Madeira 
low down, near its point of junction with the Amazon. 
In this event it was hkely, although again far from 
certain, that its mouth would prove to be the Aripuanan. 
The Aripuanan does not appear on the maps as a 
river of any size ; on a good standard map of South 
America which I had with me its name does not appear 
at all, although a dotted indication of a small river or 
creek at about the right place probably represents it. 
Nevertheless, from the report of one of his lieutenants 
who had examined its mouth, and from the stories of 
the rubber-gatherers, or seringuerros. Colonel Rondon 
had come to the conclusion that this was the largest 
affluent of the Madeira, with such a body of water that 


it must have a big drainage ' basin. He thought that 
the Duvida was probably one of its head streams — 
although every existing map represented the lay of the 
land to be such as to render impossible the existence of 
such a river system and drainage basin. The rubber- 
gatherers reported that they had gone many days' 
journey up the river, to a point where there was a 
series of heavy rapids with above them the junction- 
point of two large rivers, one entering from the west. 
Beyond this they had difficulties because of the hos- 
tility of the Indians ; and where the junction-point was 
no one could say. On the chance Colonel Rondon had 
directed one of his subordinate officers, Lieutenant 
Pyrineus, to try to meet us, with boats and provisions, 
by ascending the Aripuanan to the point of entry of its 
first big affluent. This was the course followed when 
Amilcar had been directed to try to meet the explorers 
who in 1909 came down the Gy-Parana. At that time 
the effort was a failure, and the two parties never met ; 
but we might have better luck, and in any event the 
chance was worth taking. 

On the morning following our camping by the mouth 
of the Rio Kermit, Colonel Rondon took a good deal of 
pains in getting a big post set up at the entry of the 
smaller river into the Duvida. Then he summoned 
me and aU the others to attend the ceremony of its 
erection. We found the camaradas drawn up in line, 
and the Colonel preparing to read aloud " the orders of 
the day." To the post was nailed a board with " Rio 
Kermit " on it ; and the Colonel read the orders reciting 
that by the direction of the Brazilian Government, and 
inasmuch as the unknown river was evidently a great 
river, he formally christened it the Rio Roosevelt. This 
was a complete surprise to me. Both Lauro Miiller 

268 THE RIVER OF DOUBT [chap, vm 

and Colonel Rondon had spoken to me on the subject, 
and I had urged, and Kermit had urged, as strongly as 
possible that the name be kept as Rio da Duvida. We 
felt that the " River of Doubt " was an unusually good 
name ; and it is always well to keep a name of this 
character. But my kind friends insisted otherwise, and 
it would have been churlish of me to object longer. I 
was much touched by their action, and by the ceremony 
itself At the conclusion of the reading Colonel Rondon 
led in cheers for the United States, and then for me 
and for Kermit ; and the camaradas cheered with a will. 
I proposed three cheers for Brazil, and then for Colonel 
Rondon, and Lyra, and the doctor, and then for all the 
camaradas. Then Lyra said that everybody had been 
cheered except Cherrie ; and so we all gave three cheers 
for Cherrie, and the meeting broke up in high good 

Immediately afterward the walkers set off on their 
march down-stream, looking for good canoe-trees. In 
a quarter of an hour we followed with the canoes. As 
often as we overtook them we halted untU they had 
again gone a good distance ahead. They soon found 
fresh Indian sign, and actually heard the Indians ; but 
the latter fled in panic. They came on a httle Indian 
fishing village, just abandoned. The three low, oblong 
huts of palm-leaves had each an entrance for a man on 
all fours, but no other opening. They were dark inside, 
doubtless as a protection against the swarms of biting 
flies. On a pole in this village an axe, a knife, and 
some strings of red beads were left, with the hope that 
the Indians would return, find the gifts, and realize that 
we were friendly. We saw further Indian signs on both 
sides of the river. 

After about two hours and a half we came on a httle 

The Upper Duvida 

Chcrrlc in his canoe 
J^rom photographs by Kermit Roosevelt 


river entering from the east. It was broad, but shallow, 
and at the point of entrance rushed down, green and 
white, over a sharply inclined sheet of rock. It was 
a lovely sight, and we halted to admire it. Then on we 
went, until, when we had covered about eight kilometres, 
we came on a stretch of rapids. The canoes ran them 
with about a third of the loads, the other loads being 
carried on the men's shoulders. At the foot of the 
rapids we camped, as there were several good canoe- 
trees near, and we had decided to build two rather small 
canoes. After dark the stars came out ; but in the 
deep forest the glory of the stars in the night of the 
sky, the serene radiance of the moon, the splendour of 
sunrise and sunset, are never seen as they are seen on 
the vast open plains. 

The following day, the 19th, the men began work on 
the canoes. The iU-fated big canoe had been made of 
wood so hard that it was difficult to work, and so heavy 
that the chips sank like lead in the water. But these 
trees were araputangas, with wood which was easier to 
work, and which floated. Great buttresses, or flanges, 
jutted out from their trunks at the base, and they bore 
big hard nuts or fruits which stood erect at the ends of 
the branches. The first tree felled proved rotten, and, 
moreover, it was chopped so that it smashed a number 
of lesser trees into the kitchen, overthrowing everything, 
but not inflicting serious damage. Hard-working, 
willing, and tough though the camaradas were, they 
naturally did not have the skill of northern lumberjacks. 

We hoped to finish the two canoes in three days. A 
space was cleared in the forest for our tents. Among 
the taller trees grew huge-leaved pacovas, or wild 
bananas. We bathed and swam in the river, although 
in it we caught piranhas. Carregadores ants swarmed 

270 THE RIVER OF DOUBT [chap, viii 

all around our camp. As many of the nearest of their 
holes as we could we stopped with fire ; but at night 
some of them got into our tents and ate things we could 
lU spare. In the early morning a column of foraging 
ants appeared, and we drove them back, also with fire. 
When the sky was not overcast the sun was very hot, 
and we spread out everything to dry. There were many 
wonderful butterflies round about, but only a few birds. 
Yet in the early morning and late afternoon there was 
some attractive bird-music in the woods. The two best 
performers were our old friend the false bell-bird, with 
its series of ringing whistles, and a shy, attractive ant- 
thrush. The latter walked much on the ground, with 
dainty movements, courtesying, and raising its tail ; and 
in accent and sequence, although not in tone or time, its 
song resembled that of our white-throated sparrow. 

It was three weeks since we had started down the 
River of Doubt. We had come along its winding 
course about 140 kilometres, with a descent of some- 
where in the neighbourhood of 124 metres. It had been 
slow progress. We could not tell what physical obstacles 
were ahead of us, nor whether the Indians would be 
actively hostile. But a river normally describes in its 
course a parabola, the steep descent being in the upper 
part ; and we hoped that in the future we should not 
have to encounter so many and such difficult rapids as 
we had already encountered, and that therefore we would 
make better time — a hope destined to failure. 




The mightiest river in the world is the Amazon. It 
runs from west to east, from the sunset to the sunrise, 
from the Andes to the Atlantic. The main stream 
flows almost along the equator, while the basin which 
contains its affluents extends many degrees north and 
south of the equator. This gigantic equatorial river 
basin is filled with an immense forest, the largest in the 
world, with which no other forests can be compared save 
those of western Africa and Malaysia. We were within 
the southern boundary of this great equatorial forest, on 
a river which was not merely unknown but unguessed 
at, no geographer having ever suspected its existence. 
This river flowed northward toward the equator, but 
whither it would go, whether it would turn one way or 
another, the length of its course, where it would come 
out, the character of the stream itself, and the character 
of the dwellers along its banks — all these things were 
yet to be discovered. 

One morning while the canoes were being built, 
Kermit and I walked a few kilometres down the river 
and surveyed the next rapids below. The vast, stiU 
forest was almost empty of life. We found old Indian 
signs. There were very few birds, and these in the tops 


272 DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER [chap, ix 

of the tall trees. We saw a recent tapir-track ; and 
under a cajazeira-tree by the bank there were the tracks 
of capybaras which had been eating the fallen fruit. 
This fruit is delicious, and would make a valuable addi- 
tion to our orchards. The tree, although tropical, is 
hardy, thrives when domesticated, and propagates rapidly 
from shoots. The Department of Agriculture should 
try whether it would not grow in southern California 
and Florida. This was the tree from which the doctor's 
family name was taken. His paternal grandfather, 
although of Portuguese blood, was an intensely patriotic 
Brazilian. He was a very young man when the inde- 
pendence of Brazil was declared, and did not wish to 
keep the Portuguese family name ; so he changed it 
to that of the fine Brazilian tree in question. Such 
change of family names is common in Brazil. Dr. Vital 
Brazil, the student of poisonous serpents, was given his 
name by his father, whose own family name was entirely 
diflFerent ; and his brother's name was again different. 

There were tremendous downpours of rain, lasting for 
a couple of hours and accompanied by thunder and 
lightning. But on the whole it seemed as if the rains 
were less heavy and continuous than they had been. 
We all of us had to help in buUding the canoes now and 
then. Kermit, accompanied by Antonio the Parecis 
and Joao, crossed the river and walked back to the little 
river that had entered from the east, so as to bring back 
a report of it to Colonel Rondon. Lyra took observa- 
tions, by the sun and by the stars. We were in about 
latitude 11° 21' south, and due north of where we had 
started. The river had wound so that we had gone two 
miles for every one we made northward. Our pro- 
gress had been very slow ; and until we got out of the 
region of incessant rapids, with their attendant labour 


and hazard, it was not likely that we should go much 

On the morning of March 22 we started in our six 
canoes. We made ten kilometres. Twenty minutes 
after starting we came to the first rapids. Here every- 
one walked except the three best paddlers, who took the 
canoes down in succession — an hour's job. Soon after 
this we struck a bees' nest in the top of a tree over- 
hanging the river ; our steersman climbed out and 
robbed it, but, alas ! lost the honey on the way back. 
We came to a small steep fall, which we did not dare 
run in our overladen, clumsy, and cranky dugouts. 
Fortunately we were able to follow a deep canal which 
led off for a kilometre, returning just below the falls, 
fifty yards from where it had started. Then, having 
been in the boats and in motion only one hour and 
a half, we came to a long stretch of rapids which it took 
us six hours to descend, and we camped at the foot. 
Everything was taken out of the canoes, and they were 
run down in succession. At one difficult and perilous 
place they were let down by ropes ; and even thus we 
almost lost one. 

We went down the right bank. On the opposite 
bank was an Indian village, evidently inhabited only 
during the dry season. The marks on the stumps of 
trees showed that these Indians had axes and knives ; 
and there were old fields in which maize, beans, and 
cotton had been grown. The forest dripped and steamed. 
Rubber-trees were plentiful. At one point the tops of 
a group of tall trees were covered with yellow-white 
blossoms. Others bore red blossoms. Many of the big 
trees, of different kinds, were buttressed at the base 
with great thin walls of wood. Others, including both 
palms and ordinary trees, showed an even stranger 


274 DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER [chap, ix 

peculiarity. The trunk, near the base, but sometimes 
six or eight feet from the ground, was split into a dozen 
or twenty branches or small trunks which sloped outward 
in tent-Uke shape, each becoming a root. The larger 
trees of this type looked as if their trunks were seated 
on the tops of the pole-frames of Indian tepees. At one 
point in the stream, to our great surprise, we saw a 
flying-fish. It skimmed the water hke a swallow for 
over twenty yards. 

Although we made only ten kilometres we worked 
hard all day. The last canoes were brought down and 
moored to the bank at nightfall. Our tents were pitched 
in the darkness. 

Next day we made thirteen kilometres. We ran, 
all told, a little over an hour and three-quarters. 
Seven hours were spent in getting past a series of 
rapids at which the portage, over rocky and difficult 
ground, was a kilometre long. The canoes were 
run down empty — a hazardous run, in which one of 
them upset. 

Yet while we were actually on the river, paddling and 
floating down-stream along the reaches of swift, smooth 
water, it was very lovely. When we started in the morn- 
ing, the day was overcast and the air was heavy with 
vapour. Ahead of us the shrouded river stretched 
between dim walls of forest, half-seen in the mist. Then 
the sun burned up the fog, and loomed through it in a 
red splendour that changed first to gold and then to 
molten white. In the dazzling light, under the brilliant 
blue of the sky, every detail of the magnificent forest 
was vivid to the eye: the great trees, the network of 
bush-ropes, the caverns of greenery, where thick-leaved 
vines covered all things else. Wherever there was a 
hidden boulder the surface of the current was broken by 


waves. In one place, in mid-stream, a pyramidal rock 
thrust itself six feet above the surface of the river. On 
the banks we found fresh Indian sign. 

At home in Vermont, Cherrie is a farmer, with a farm 
of six hundred acres, most of it woodland. As we sat at 
the foot of the rapids, watching for the last dugouts with 
their naked paddlers to swing into sight round the bend 
through the white water, we talked of the northern spring 
that was just beginning. He sells cream, eggs, poultry, 
potatoes, honey, occasionally pork and veal ; but at this 
season it was the time for the maple-sugar crop. He has 
a sugar orchard, where he taps twelve hundred trees, and 
hopes soon to tap as many more in addition. Said 
Cherrie : " It's a busy time now for Fred Rice " — Fred 
Rice is the hired man, and in sugar time the Cherrie 
boys help him with enthusiasm, and, moreover, are paid 
with exact justice for the work they do. There is much 
wild life about the farm, although it is near Brattleboro. 
One night in early spring a bear left his tracks near the 
sugar-house ; and now and then in summer Cherrie has 
had to sleep in the garden to keep the deer away from 
the beans, cabbages, and beets. 

There was not much bird life in the forest, but Cherrie 
kept getting species new to the collection. At this camp 
he shot an interesting little ant-thrush. It was the size 
of a warbler, jet-black, with white under-surfaces of the 
wings and tail, white on the tail-feathers, and a large 
spot of white on the back, normally almost concealed, 
the feathers on the back being long and fluffy. When 
he shot the bird, a male, it was showing off before a 
dull-coloured little bird, doubtless the female ; and the 
chief feature of the display was this white spot on the 
back. The white feathers were raised and displayed so 
that the spot flashed hke the " chrysanthemum " on a 

276 DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER [chap, ix 

prongbuck whose curiosity has been aroused. In the 
gloom of the forest the bird was hard to see, but the 
flashing of this patch of white feathers revealed it at 
once, attracting immediate attention. It was an 
excellent example of a coloration mark which served a 
purely advertising purpose ; apparently it was part of a 
courtship display. The bird was about thirty feet up in 
the branches. 

In the morning, just before leaving this camp, a tapir 
swam across stream a little way above us ; but unfortu^ 
nately we could not get a shot at it. An ample supply 
of tapir beef would have meant much to us. We had 
started with fifty days' rations; but this by no means 
meant full rations, in the sense of giving every man all 
he wanted to eat. We had two meals a day, and were 
on rather short commons — both our mess and the 
camaradas' — except when we got plenty of palm-tops. 
For our mess we had the boxes chosen by Fiala, each 
containing a day's rations for six men, our number. But 
we made each box last a day and a half, or at times two 
days, and in addition we gave some of the food to the 
camaradas. It was only on the rare occasions when we 
had killed some monkeys or curassows, or caught some 
fish, that everybody had enough. We would have 
welcomed that tapir. So far the game, fish, and fruit 
had been too scarce to be an element of weight in our 
food supply. In an exploring trip hke ours, through a 
difficult and utterly unknown country, especially if 
densely forested, there is Uttle time to halt, and game 
cannot be counted on. It is only in lands hke our own 
West thirty years ago, like South Africa in the middle 
of the last century, like East Africa to-day, that game 
can be made the chief food supply. On this trip our 
only substantial food supply from the country hitherto 

1. Red-and -Yellow Macaw. 2. Hyacinthine Macaw. 3. Egret. 4. Toco Toucan. 
5. Ciirasso. 6. Trumpeter. 


had been that furnished by the palm-tops. Two men 
were detailed every day to cut down palms for food. 

A kilometre and a half after leaving this camp we 
came on a stretch of big rapids. The river here twists 
in loops, and we had heard the roaring of these rapids 
the previous afternoon. Then we passed out of earshot 
of them ; but Antonio Correa, our best waterman, 
insisted all along that the roaring meant rapids worse 
than any we had encountered for some days. " I was 
brought up in the water, and I know it like a fish, and 
all its sounds," said he. He was right. We had to 
carry the loads nearly a kilometre that afternoon, and 
the canoes were pulled out on the bank so that they 
might be in readiness to be dragged overland next day. 
Rondon, Lyra, Kermit, and Antonio Correa explored 
both sides of the river. On the opposite or left bank 
they found the mouth of a considerable river, bigger 
than the Rio Kermit, flowing in from the west and 
making its entrance in the middle of the rapids. This 
river we christened the Taunay, in honour of a 
distinguished Brazilian, an explorer, a soldier, a senator, 
who was also a writer of note. Kermit had with him 
two of his novels, and 1 had read one of his books dealing 
with a disastrous retreat during the Paraguayan war. 

Next morning, the 25th, the canoes were brought 
down. A path was chopped for them and rollers laid ; 
and half-way down the rapids Lyra and Kermit, who 
were overseeing the work as well as doing their share of 
the pushing and hauling, got them into a canal of smooth 
water, which saved much severe labour. As our food 
supply lowered we were constantly more desirous of 
economizing the strength of the men. One day more 
would complete a month since we had embarked on the 
Duvida — as we had started in February, the lunar and 

278 DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER [chap, ix 

calendar months coincided. We had used up over half 
our provisions. We had come only a trifle over 
160 kilometres, thanks to the character and number of 
the rapids. We believed we had three or four times 
the distance yet to go before coming to a part of the 
river where we might hope to meet assistance, either 
from rubber-gatherers or from Pyrineus, if he were 
really coming up the river which we were going down. 
If the rapids continued to be as they had been it could 
not be much more than three weeks before we were in 
straits for food, aside from the ever-present danger of 
accident in the rapids ; and if our progress were no faster 
than it had been — and we were straining to do our best 
— ^we would in such event still have several hundreds of 
kilometres of unknown river before us. We could not 
even hazard a guess at what was in front. The river 
was now a really big river, and it seemed impossible 
that it could flow either into the Gy-Parana or the 
Tapajos. It was possible that it went into the Canuma, 
a big affluent of the Madeira low down, and next to the 
Tapajos. It was more probable that it was the head- 
waters of the Aripuanan, a river which, as I have said, 
was not even named on the excellent English map of 
Brazil I carried. Nothing but the mouth had been 
known to any geographer ; but the lower course had 
long been known to rubber-gatherers, and recently a 
commission from the Government of Amazonas had 
part-way ascended one branch of it — not as far as the 
rubber-gatherers had gone, and, as it turned out, not 
the branch we came down. 

Two of our men were down with fever. Another 
man, Julio, a fellow of powerful frame, was utterly 
worthless, being an inborn, lazy shirker with the heart 
of a ferocious cur in the body of a buUock. The others 


were good men, some of them very good indeed. They 
were under the immediate supervision of Pedrinho 
Craveiro, who was first-class in every way. 

This camp was very lovely. It was on the edge of a 
bay, into which the river broadened immediately below 
the rapids. There was a beach of white sand, where we 
bathed and washed our clothes. All around us, and 
across the bay, and on both sides of the long water- 
street made by the river, rose the splendid forest. There 
were flocks of parakeets, coloured green, blue, and red. 
Big toucans called overhead, lustrous green-black in 
colour, with white throats, red gorgets, red-and-yellow 
tail coverts, and huge black-and-yellow biUs. Here the 
soil was fertile ; it will be a fine site for a coiFee-plantation 
when this region is open to settlement. Surely such a 
rich and fertile land cannot be permitted to remain idle, 
to lie as a tenantless wilderness, while there are such 
teeming swarms of human beings in the overcrowded, 
overpeopled countries of the Old World. The very 
rapids and waterfalls which now make the navigation of 
the river so difficult and dangerous would drive electric 
troUeys up and down its whole length and far out on 
either side, and run miUs and factories, and lighten the 
labour on farms. With the incoming of settlement and 
with the steady growth of knowledge how to fight and 
control tropical diseases, fear of danger to health would 
vanish. A land like this is a hard land for the first 
explorers, and perhaps for their immediate followers, 
but not for the people who come after them. 

In mid-afternoon we were once more in the canoes ; 
but we had paddled with the current only a few minutes, 
we had gone only a kilometre, when the roar of rapids 
in front again forced us to haul up to the bank. As 
usual, Rondon, Lyra, and Kermit, with Antonio Correa, 


explored both sides while camp was being pitched. The 
rapids were longer and of steeper descent than the last, 
but on the opposite or western side there was a passage 
down which we thought we could get the empty dug- 
outs at the cost of dragging them only a few yards at 
one spot. The loads were to be carried down the hither 
bank, for a kilometre, to the smooth water. The river 
foamed between great rounded masses of rock, and at 
one point there was a sheer fall of six or eight feet. We 
found and ate wild pineapples. Wild beans were in 
flower. At dinner we had a toucan and a couple of 
parrots, which were very good. 

AU next day was spent by Lyra in superintending 
our three best watermen as they took the canoes down 
the west side of the rapids, to the foot, at the spot to 
which the camp had meantime been shifted. In the 
forest some of the huge sipas, or rope vines, which were 
as big as cables, bore clusters of fragrant flowers. The 
men found several honey-trees, and fruits of various 
kinds, and small cocoanuts ; they chopped down an 
ample number of palms for the palm-cabbage ; and, 
most important of all, they gathered a quantity of big 
Brazil-nuts, which when roasted tasted hke the best of 
chestnuts, and are nutritious ; and they caught a number 
of big piranhas, which were good eating. So we aU had 
a feast, and everybody had enough to eat and was happy. 

By these rapids, at the fall, Cherrie found some 
strange carvings on a bare mass of rock. They were 
evidently made by men a long time ago. As far as is 
known, the Indians thereabouts make no such figures 
now. They were in two groups, one on the surface of 
the rock facing the land, the other on that facing the 
water. The latter were nearly obhterated. The former 
were in good preservation, the figures sharply cut into 


the rock. They consisted, upon the upper flat part 
of the rock, of four multiple circles with a dot in the 
middle, very accurately made and about a foot and 
a half in diameter ; and below them, on the side of the 
rock, four multiple m's or inverted w's. What these 
curious symbols represented, or who made them, we 
could not, of course, form the slightest idea. It may 
be that in a very remote past some Indian tribes of 
comparatively advanced culture had penetrated to this 
lovely river, just as we had now come to it. Before 
white men came to South America there had already 
existed therein various semicivilizations, some rude, 
others fairly advanced, which rose, flourished, and 
persisted through immemorial ages, and then vanished. 
The vicissitudes in the history of humanity during its 
stay on this southern continent have been as strange, 
varied, and inexplicable as paleontology shows to have 
been the case, on the same continent, in the history 
of the higher forms of animal life during the age of 
mammals. Colonel Rondon stated that such figures 
as these are not found anywhere else in Matto Grosso 
where he has been, and therefore it was all the more 
strange to find them in this one place on the unknown 
river (never before visited by white men) which we were 

Next morning we went about three kilometres before 
coming to some steep hiUs, beautiful to look upon, clad 
as they were in dense, tall, tropical forest, but ominous 
of new rapids. Sure enough, at their foot we had to 
haul up and prepare for a long portage. The canoes 
we ran down empty. Even so, we were within an ace 
of losing two, the lashed couple in which I ordinarily 
journeyed. In a sharp bend of the rapids, between two 
big curls, they were swept among the boulders and 

282 DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER [chap, ix 

under the matted branches which stretched out from 
the bank. They filled, and the racing current pinned 
them where they were, one partly on the other. All of 
us had to help get them clear. Their fastenings were 
chopped asunder with axes. Kermit and half a dozen 
of the men, stripped to the skin, made their way to 
a small rock island in the Httle falls just above the 
canoes, and let down a rope which we tied to the outer- 
most canoe. The rest of us, up to our armpits and 
barely able to keep our footing as we slipped and 
stumbled among the boulders in the swift current, 
lifted and shoved, while Kermit and his men pulled the 
rope and fastened the slack to a half-submerged tree. 
Each canoe in succession was hauled up the little rock 
island, baled, and then taken down in safety by two 
paddlers. It was nearly four o'clock before we were 
again ready to start, having been delayed by a rain- 
storm so heavy that we could not see across the river. 
Ten minutes' run took us to the head of another series 
of rapids ; the exploring party returned with the news 
that we had an all day's job ahead of us ; and we made 
camp in the rain, which did not matter much, as we 
were already drenched through. It was impossible, 
with the wet wood, to make a fire sufficiently hot to 
dry all our soggy things, for the rain was still faUing. 
A tapir was seen from our boat, but, as at the moment 
we were being whisked round in a complete circle by 
a whirlpool, I did not myself see it in time to shoot. 

Next morning we went down a kilometre, and then 
landed on the other side of the river. The canoes were 
run down, and the loads carried to the other side of 
a little river coming in from the west, which Colonel 
Rondon christened Cherrie River. Across this we 
went on a bridge consisting of a huge tree felled by 


Macario, one of our best men. Here we camped, while 
Rondon, Lyra, Kermit, and Antonio Correa explored 
what was ahead. They were absent until mid-after- 
noon. Then they returned with the news that we were 
among ranges of low mountains, utterly different in 
formation from the high plateau region to which the 
first rapids, those we had come to on March 2, be- 
longed. Through the first range of these mountains 
the river ran in a gorge, some three kilometres long, 
immediately ahead of us. The ground was so rough 
and steep that it would be impossible to drag the canoes 
over it and difficult enough to carry the loads ; and the 
rapids were so bad, containing several falls, one of at 
least ten metres in height, that it was doubtful how 
many of the canoes we could get down them. Kermit, 
who was the only man with much experience of rope 
work, was the only man who believed we could get 
the canoes down at all ; and it was, of course, possible 
that we should have to build new ones at the foot to 
supply the place of any that were lost or left behind. 
In view of the length and character of the portage, and 
of all the unpleasant possibilities that were ahead, and 
of the need of keeping every pound of food, it was 
necessary to reduce weight in every possible way and 
to throw away everything except the barest necessities. 
We thought we had reduced our baggage before, but 
now we cut to the bone, We kept the fly for all six of 
us to sleep under. Kermit's shoes had gone, thanks to 
the amount of work in the water which he had been 
doing ; and he took the pair I had been wearing, while 
I put on my spare pair. In addition to the clothes I 
wore, I kept one set of pyjamas, a spare pair of drawers, a 
spare pair of socks, half a dozen handkerchiefs, my wash- 
kit, my pocket medicine- case, and a little bag containing 

284 DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER [chap, ix 

my spare spectacles, gun-grease, some adhesive plaster, 
some needles and thread, the " fly-dope," and my purse 
and letter of credit, to be used at Manaos. All of these 
went into the bag containing my cot, blanket, and 
mosquito-net. I also carried a cartridge -bag containing 
my cartridges, head-net, and gauntlets. Kermit cut 
down even closer, and the others about as close. 

The last three days of March we spent in getting to 
the foot of the rapids in this gorge. Lyra and Kermit, 
with four of the best watermen, handled the empty 
canoes. The work was not only difficult and laborious 
in the extreme, but hazardous ; for the walls of the 
gorge were so sheer that at the worst places they had 
to cling to narrow shelves on the face of the rock, while 
letting the canoes down with ropes. Meanwhile Rondon 
surveyed and cut a trail for the burden-bearers, and 
superintended the portage of the loads. The rocky 
sides of the gorge were too steep for laden men to 
attempt to traverse them. Accordingly the trail had 
to go over the top of the mountain, both the ascent 
and the descent of the rock-strewn, forest-clad slopes 
being very steep. It was hard work to carry loads over 
such a trail. From the top of the mountain, through 
an opening in the trees on the edge of a cliff, there was 
a beautiful view of the country ahead. All around and 
in front of us there were ranges of low mountains about 
the height of the lower ridges of the Alleghanies. Their 
sides were steep and they were covered with the matted 
grovd;h of the tropical forest. Our next camping-place, 
at the foot of the gorge, was almost beneath us, and 
from thence the river ran in a straight line, flecked with 
white water, for about a kilometre. Then it disappeared 
behind and between mountain ridges, which we sup- 
posed meant further rapids. It was a view well worth 


seeing ; but, beautiful although the country ahead of 
us was, its character was such as to promise further 
hardships, difficulty, and exhausting labour, and especi- 
ally further delay ; and delay was a serious matter to 
men whose food supply was beginning to run short, 
whose equipment was reduced to the minimum, who 
for a month, with the utmost toil, had made very slow 
progress, and who had no idea of either the distance or 
the difficulties of the route in front of them. 

There was not much life in the woods, big or little. 
Small birds were rare, although Cherrie's unwearied 
effiarts were rewarded from time to time by a species 
new to the collection. There were tracks of tapir, deer, 
and agouti ; and if we had taken two or three days to 
devote to nothing else than hunting them we might 
perchance have killed something ; but the chance was 
much too uncertain, the work we were doing was too 
hard and wearing, and the need of pressing forward 
altogether too great to permit us to spend any time in 
such manner. The hunting had to come in incidentally. 
This type of wellnigh impenetrable forest is the one 
in which it is most difficult to get even what little game 
exists therein. A couple of curassows and a big 
monkey were killed by the Colonel and Kermit. On 
the day the monkey was brought in Lyra, Kermit, and 
their four associates had spent from sunrise to sunset in 
severe, and at moments dangerous, toil among the rocks 
and in the swift water, and the fresh meat was 
appreciated. The head, feet, tail, skin, and entrails 
were boiled for the gaunt and ravenous dogs. The 
flesh gave each of us a few mouthfuls ; and how good 
those mouthfuls tasted ! 

Cherrie, in addition to being out after birds in every 
spare moment, helped in all emergencies. He was a 

286 DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER [chap, ix 

veteran in the work of the tropic wilderness. We talked 
together often, and of many things, for our views of life, 
and of a man's duty to his wife and children, to other 
men, and to women, and to the state in peace and war, 
were in aU essentials the same. His father had served 
all through the Civil War, entering an Iowa cavalry 
regiment as a private and coming out as a Captain ; 
his breast-bone was shattered by a blow from a musket- 
butt, in hand-to-hand fighting at Shiloh. 

During this portage the weather favoured us. We 
were coming toward the close of the rainy season. On 
the last day of the month, when we moved camp to the 
foot of the gorge, there was a thunder-storm ; but on the 
whole we were not bothered by rain until the last night, 
when it rained heavily, driving under the fly so as to 
wet my cot and bedding. However, I slept comfortably 
enough, rolled in the damp blanket. Without the 
blanket I should have been uncomfortable ; a blanket 
is a necessity for health. On the third day Ljrra and 
Kermit, with their daring and hard-working watermen, 
after wearing labour, succeeded in getting five canoes 
through the worst of the rapids to the chief fall. The 
sixth, which was frail and weak, had its bottom beaten 
out on the jagged rocks of the broken water. On this 
night, although I thought I had put my clothes out of 
reach, both the termites and the carregadores ants got 
at them, ate holes in one boot, ate one leg of my 
drawers, and riddled my handkerchief; and I now had 
nothing to replace anything that was destroyed. 

Next day Lyra, Kermit, and their camaradas brought 
the five canoes that were left down to camp. They 
had in four days accomplished a work of incredible 
labour and of the utmost importance ; for at the first 
glance it had seemed an absolute impossibility to avoid 


abandoning the canoes when we found that the river 

sank into a cataract-broken torrent at the bottom of a 

canyon-like gorge between steep mountains. On April 2 

we once more started, wondering how soon we should 

strike other rapids in the mountains ahead, and whether 

in any reasonable time we should, as the aneroid 

indicated, be so low down that we should necessarily be 

in a plain where we could make a journey of at least a 

few days without rapids. We had been exactly a 

month going through an uninterrupted succession of 

rapids. During that month we had come only about 

110 kilometres, and had descended nearly 150 metres — 

the figures are approximate but fairly accurate.* We 

had lost four of the canoes with which we started, and 

one other, which we had built, and the life of one man ; 

and the life of a dog which by its death had, in all 

probability, saved the life of Colonel Rondon. In a 

straight hne northward, toward our supposed destination, 

we had not made more than a mile and a quarter a day; 

at the cost of bitter toil for most of the party, of much 

risk for some of the party, and of some risk and some 

hardship for all the party. Most of the camaradas 

were downhearted, naturally enough, and occasionally 

asked one of us if we really believed that we should 

ever get out alive ; and we had to cheer them up as 

best we could. 

There was no change in our work for the time being. 
We made but three kilometres that day. Most of the 
party walked all the time ; but the dugouts carried the 
luggage until we struck the head of the series of rapids 
which were to take up the next two or three days. The 

* The first four days before we struck the upper rapids, and during 
which we made nearly seventy kilometres, are, of course, not included 
when I speak of our making our way down the rapids. 

288 DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER [chap, ix 

river rushed through a wild gorge, a chasm or canyon, 
between two mountains. Its sides were very steep, 
mere rock walls, although in most places so covered 
with the luxuriant growth of the trees and bushes that 
clung in the crevices, and with green moss, that the 
naked rock was hardly seen. Rondon, Lyra, and 
Kermit, who were in front, found a small level spot, 
with a beach of sand, and sent back word to camp there, 
while they spent several hours in exploring the country 
ahead. The canoes were run down empty, and the 
loads carried painfully along the face of the chflEs ; 
so bad was the trail that I found it rather hard to foUow, 
although carrying nothing but my rifle and cartridge- 
bag. The explorers returned with the information that 
the mountains stretched ahead of us, and that there 
were rapids as far as they had gone. We could only 
hope that the aneroid was not hopelessly out of kilter, 
and that we should, therefore, fairly soon find ourselves 
in comparatively level country. The severe toil, on a 
rather hmited food supply, was telling on the strength 
as well as on the spirits of the men ; Lyra and Kermit, 
in addition to their other work, performed as much 
actual physical labour as any of them. 

Next day, April 3, we began the descent of these 
sinister rapids of the chasm. Colonel Rondon had gone 
to the summit of the mountain in order to find a better 
trail for the burden-bearers, but it was hopeless, and 
they had to go along the face of the cliffs. Such an 
exploring expedition as that in which we were engaged 
of necessity involves hard and dangerous labour, and 
perUs of many kinds. To follow down-stream an un- 
known river, broken by innumerable cataracts and 
rapids, rushing through mountains of which the existence 
has never been even guessed, bears no resemblance 


whatever to following even a fairly dangerous river 
which has been thoroughly explored and has become 
in some sort a highway, so that experienced pilots can 
be secured as guides, while the portages have been 
pioneered and trails chopped out, and .every dangerous 
feature of the rapids is known beforehand. In this case 
no one could foretell that the river would cleave its way 
through steep mountain chains, cutting narrow clefts 
in which the cliff walls rose almost sheer on either hand. 
When a rushing river thus "canyons," as we used to 
say out West, and the mountains are very steep, it 
becomes almost impossible to bring the canoes down 
the river itself, and utterly impossible to portage them 
along the cliff sides, while even to bring the loads over 
the mountain is a task of extraordinary labour and 
difficulty. Moreover, no one can tell how many times 
the task wiU have to be repeated, or when it will end, 
or whether the food will hold out ; every hour of work 
in the rapids is fraught mth the possibility of the 
gravest disaster, and yet it is imperatively necessary to 
attempt it ; and all this is done in an uninhabited 
wilderness, or else a wilderness tenanted only by un- 
friendly savages, where failure to get through means 
death by disease and starvation. Wholesale disasters 
to South American exploring parties have been frequent. 
The first recent effort to descend one of the unknown 
rivers to the Amazon from the Brazilian highlands 
resulted in such a disaster. It was undertaken in 1889 
by a party about as large as ours under a Brazilian 
engineer officer. Colonel Telles Peres. In descending 
some rapids they lost everything — canoes, food, 
medicine, implements — everything. Fever smote them, 
and then starvation. All of them died except one 
officer and two men, who were rescued months later. 


290 DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER [chap, ix 

Recently, in Guiana, a wilderness veteran, Andre, lost 
two-thirds of his party by starvation. Genuine wilder- 
ness exploration is as dangerous as warfare. The 
conquest of wild nature demands the utmost vigour, 
hardihood, and daring, and takes from the conquerors 
a heavy toll of life and health. 

Lyra, Kermit, and Cherrie, with four of the men, 
worked the canoes half-way down the canyon. Again 
and again it was touch and go whether they could get 
past a given point. At one spot the channel of the furious 
torrent was only fifteen yards across. One canoe was 
lost, so that of the seven with which we had started only 
two were left. Cherrie laboured with the other men at 
times, and also stood as guard over them, for, while 
actually working, of course no one could carry a rifle. 
Kermit's experience in bridge building was invaluable 
in enabling him to do the rope work by which alone it 
was possible to get the canoes down the canyon. He 
and Lyra had now been in the water for days. Their 
clothes were never dry. Their shoes were rotten. The 
bruises on their feet and legs had become sores. On 
their bodies some of the insect bites had become fester- 
ing wounds, as indeed was the case with all of us. 
Poisonous ants, biting flies, ticks, wasps, bees, were a 
perpetual torment. However, no one had yet been 
bitten by a venomous serpent, a scorpion, or a centiped, 
although we had killed all of the three within camp 

Under such conditions whatever is evil in men's 
natures comes to the front. On this day a strange and 
terrible tragedy occurred. One of the camaradas, a man 
of pure European blood, was the man named Julio, of 
whom I have already spoken. He was a very powerful 
feUow and had been importunately eager to come on 


the expedition ; and he had the reputation of being a 
good worker. But, like so many men of higher stand- 
ing, he had had no idea of what such an expedition really 
meant, and under the strain of toil, hardship, and danger 
his nature showed its true depths of selfishness, coward- 
ice, and ferocity. He shirked all work. He shammed 
sickness. Nothing could make him do his share ; and 
yet unlike his self-respecting fellows he was always 
shamelessly begging for favours. Kermit was the only 
one of our party who smoked, and he was continually 
giving a little tobacco to some of the camaradas, who 
worked especially well under him. The good men did 
not ask for it ; but Julio, who shirked every labour, was 
always, and always in vain, demanding it. Colonel 
Rondon, Lyra, and Kermit each tried to get work out 
of him, and in order to do anything with him had to 
threaten to leave him in the wilderness. He threw all 
his tasks on his comrades ; and, moreover, he stole their 
food as well as ours. On such an expedition the theft 
of food comes next to murder as a crime, and should by 
rights be punished as such. We could not trust him to 
cut down palms or gather nuts, because he would stay 
out and eat what ought to have gone into the common 
store. Finally, the men on several occasions themselves 
detected him stealing their food. Alone of the whole 
party, and thanks to the stolen food, he had kept in full 
flesh and bodily vigour. 

One of our best men was a huge negro named Paixao 
— Paishon— a corporal and acting sergeant in the en- 
gineer corps. He had, by the way, literally torn his 
trousers to pieces, so that he wore only the tatters of a 
pair of old drawers until I gave him my spare trousers 
when we lightened loads. He was a stern disciplinarian. 
One evening he detected Julio stealing food and smashed 

292 DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER [chap, ix 

him in the mouth. Julio came crying to us, his face 
working with fear and malignant hatred ; but after 
investigation he was told that he had got off uncom- 
monly lightly. The men had three or four carbines, 
which were sometimes carried by those who were not 
their owners. 

On this morning, at the outset of the portage, Pe- 
drinho discovered Julio steaUng some of the men's dried 
meat. Shortly afterward Paishon rebuked him for, as 
usual, lagging behind. By this time we had reached 
the place where the canoes were tied to the bank and 
then taken down one at a time. We were sitting down, 
waiting for the last loads to be brought along the trail. 
Pedrinho was still in the camp we had left. Paishon 
had just brought in a load, left it on the ground with 
his carbine beside it, and returned on the trail for another 
load. Julio came in, put down his load, picked up the 
carbine, and walked back on the trail, muttering to 
himself but showing no excitement. We thought 
nothing of it, for he was always muttering ; and occa- 
sionally one of the men saw a monkey or big bird and 
tried to shoot it, so it was never surprising to see a man 
with a carbine. 

In a minute we heard a shot ; and in a short time 
three or four of the men came up the trail to teU us 
that Paishon was dead, having been shot by Julio, who 
had fled into the woods. Colonel Rondon and Lyra 
were ahead ; I sent a messenger for them, directed 
Cherrie and Kermit to stay where they were and guard 
the canoes and provisions, and started down the trail 
with the doctor — an absolutely cool and plucky man, 
with a revolver but no rifle — and a couple of the cama- 
radas. We soon passed the dead body of poor Paishon. 
He lay in a huddle, in a pool of his own blood, where 


he had fallen, shot through the heart. 1 feared that 
Julio had run amuck, and intended merely to take more 
lives before he died, and that he would begin with 
Pedrinho, who was alone and unarmed in the camp we 
had left. Accordingly 1 pushed on, followed by my 
companions, looking sharply right and left ; but when 
we came to the camp the doctor quietly walked by me, 
remarking : " My eyes are better than yours, Colonel ; 
if he is in sight I'll point him out to you, as you have 
the rifle." However, he was not there, and the others 
soon joined us with the welcome news that they had 
found the carbine. 

The murderer had stood to one side of the path and 
killed his victim, when a dozen paces off, with deliberate 
and malignant purpose. Then evidently his murderous 
hatred had at once given way to his innate cowardice, 
and, perhaps hearing someone coming along the path, 
he fled in panic terror into the wilderness. A tree had 
knocked the carbine from his hand. His footsteps 
showed that after going some rods he had started to 
return, doubtless for the carbine, but had fled again, 
probably because the body had then been discovered. 
It was questionable whether or not he would live to 
reach the Indian villages, which were probably his goal. 
He was not a man to feel remorse — never a common 
feeling ; but surely that murderer was in a living hell, 
as, with fever and famine leering at him from the 
shadows, he made his way through the empty desola- 
tion of the wilderness. Franca, the cook, quoted out 
of the melancholy proverbial philosophy of the people 
the proverb : " No man knows the heart of anyone ; " 
and then expressed with deep conviction a weird 
ghostly belief I had never encountered before : 
"Paishon is following Julio now, and will follow 

294 DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER [chap, ix 

him until he dies; Paishon fell forward on his hands 
and knees, and when a murdered man falls like that, 
his ghost will foUow the slayer as long as the slayer 

We did not attempt to pursue the murderer. We 
could not legally put him to death, although he was a 
soldier who in cold blood had just deliberately killed a 
fellow-soldier. If we had been near civilization, we 
would have done our best to bring him in and turn 
him over to justice. But we were in the wilderness, 
and how many weeks' journey were ahead of us we 
could not tell. Our food was running low, sickness 
was beginning to appear among the men, and both 
their courage and their strength were gradually ebbing. 
Our first duty was to save the hves and the health of 
the men of the expedition who had honestly been per- 
forming, and had still to perform, so much perilous 
labour. If we brought the murderer in, he would have 
to be guarded night and day on an expedition where 
there were always loaded firearms about, and where 
there would continually be opportunity and temptation 
for him to make an effort to seize food and a weapon 
and escape, perhaps murdering some other good man. 
He could not be shackled while climbing along the 
cliflF slopes ; he could not be shackled in the canoes, 
where there was always chance of upset and drowning ; 
and standing guard would be an additional and severe 
penalty on the weaiy, honest men already exhausted 
by overwork. The expedition was in peril, and it was 
wise to take every chance possible that would help 
secure success. Whether the murderer lived or died 
in the wilderness was of no moment compared with the 
duty of doing everything to secure the safety of the 
rest of the party. For the two days following we were 


always on the watch against his return, for he could 
have readily killed someone else by rolling rocks down 
on any of the men working on the cliff sides or in the 
bottom of the gorge. But we did not see him until 
the morning of the third day. We had passed the 
last of the rapids of the chasm, and the four boats were 
going down -stream when he appeared behind some 
trees on the bank, and called out that he wished to 
surrender and be taken aboard ; for the murderer was 
an arrant craven at heart — a strange mixture of ferocity 
and cowardice. Colonel Rondon's boat was far in 
advance ; he did not stop nor answer. I kept on in 
similar fashion with the rear boats, for I had no inten- 
tion of taking the murderer aboard, to the jeopardy of 
the other members of the party, unless Colonel Rondon 
told me that it would have to be done in pursuance 
of his duty as an officer of the army and a servant of 
the Government of Brazil. At the first halt Colonel 
Rondon came up to me and told me that this was his 
view of his duty ; but that he had not stopped because 
he wished first to consult me as the chief of the ex- 
pedition. I answered that for the reasons enumerated 
above, I did not believe that in justice to the good 
men of the expedition we should jeopardize their 
safety by taking the murderer along, and that if the 
responsibility were mine I should refuse to take 
him, but that he. Colonel Rondon, was the superior 
officer of both the murderer and of all the other 
enlisted men and army officers on the expedition, 
and in return was responsible for his actions to his 
own governmental superiors and to the laws of Brazil ; 
and that in view of this responsibility, he must act 
as his sense of duty bade him. Accordingly, at the 
next camp he sent back two men, expert woodsmen, 

296 DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER [chap, ix 

to find the murderer and bring him in. They failed 
to find him.* 

I have anticipated my narrative, because I do not 
wish to recur to the horror more than is necessary. I 
now return to my story. After we found that Juho 
had fled, we returned to the scene of the tragedy. The 
murdered man lay with a handkerchief thrown over his 
face. We buried him beside the place where he fell. 
With axes and knives the camaradas dug a shallow 
grave, while we stood by with bared heads. Then 
reverently and carefully we lifted the poor body, which 
but half an hour before had been so full of vigorous 
Kfe. Colonel Rondon and I bore the head and shoulders. 
We laid him in the grave, and heaped a mound over 
him, and put a rude cross at his head. We fired a 
volley for a brave and loyal soldier, who had died doing 
his duty. Then we left him for ever, under the great 
trees beside the lonely river. 

That day we got only half-way down the rapids. 
There was no good place to camp. But at the foot of 
one steep cliff there was a narrow, boulder -covered 
slope, where it was possible to sUng hammocks and 
cook ; and a slanting spot was found for my cot, which 
had sagged until by this time it looked Uke a broken- 
backed centiped. It rained a little during the night, 
but not enough to wet us much. Next day Lyra, 
Kermit, and Cherrie finished their job, and brought the 
four remaining canoes to camp, one leaking badly from 
the battering on the rocks. We then went down- 
stream a few hundred yards, and camped on the oppo- 
site side ; it was not a good camping-place, but it was 
better than the one we left. 

* The above account of all the circumstances connected with the 
murder was read to and approved as correct by all six members of the 


The men were growing constantly weaker under the 
endless strain of exhausting labour. Kermit was having 
an attack of fever, and Lyra and Cherrie had touches of 
dysentery, but all three continued to work. While in 
the water trying to help with an upset canoe I had, by 
my own clumsiness, bruised my leg against a boulder ; 
and the resulting inflammation was somewhat bother- 
some. I now had a sharp attack" of fever, but, thanks 
to the excellent care of the doctor, was over it in about 
forty-eight hours ; but Kermit's fever grew worse, and 
he too was unable to work for a day or two. We could 
walk over the portages, however. A good doctor is an 
absolute necessity on an exploring expedition in such 
a country as that we were in, under penalty of a fright- 
ful mortality among the members ; and the necessary 
risks and hazards are so great, the chances of disaster so 
large, that there is no warrant for increasing them by 
the failure to take all feasible precautions. 

The next day we made another long portage round 
some rapids, and camped at night stiU in the hot, wet, 
sunless atmosphere of the gorge. The following day, 
April 6, we portaged past another set of rapids, which 
proved to be the last of the rapids of the chasm. For 
some kilometres we kept passing hills, and feared lest at 
any moment we might again find ourselves fronting 
another mountain gorge, with, in such case, further 
days of grinding and perilous labour ahead of us, 
while our men were disheartened, weak, and sick. 
Most of them had already begun to have fever. Their 
condition was inevitable after over a month's uninter- 
rupted work of the hardest kind in getting through the 
long series of rapids we had just passed ; and a long 
further delay, accompanied by wearing labour, would 
have almost certainly meant that the weakest among 

298 DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER [chap, ix 

our party would have begun to die. There were 
ah'eady two of the camaradas who were too weak to 
help the others, their condition being such as to cause 
us serious concern. 

However, the hUls gradually sank into a level plain, 
and the river carried us through it at a rate that enabled 
us during the remainder of the day to reel off thirty-six 
kilometres, a record that for the first time held out 
promise. Twice tapirs swam the river while we passed, 
but not near my canoe. However, the previous evening 
Cherrie had killed two monkeys and Kermit one, and 
we all had a few mouthfuls of fresh meat ; we had 
already had a good soup made out of a turtle Kermit 
had caught. We had to portage by one short set of 
rapids, the unloaded canoes being brought down without 
difficulty. At last, at four in the afternoon, we came 
to the mouth of a big river running in from the right. 
We thought it was probably the Ananas, but, of course, 
could not be certain. It was less in volume than the 
one we had descended, but nearly as broad ; its breadth 
at this point being ninety-five yards as against one 
hundred and twenty for the larger river. There were 
rapids ahead, immediately after the junction, which 
took place in latitude 10° 58' south. We had come 
216 kilometres all told, and were nearly north of where 
we had started. We camped on the point of land 
between the two rivers. It was extraordinary to reahze 
that here about the eleventh degree we were on such 
a big river, utterly unknown to the cartographers and 
not indicated by even a hint on any map. We named 
this big tributary Rio Cardozo, after a gallant officer 
of the Commission who had died of beriberi just as our 
expedition began. We spent a day at this spot, deter- 
mining our exact position by the sun, and afterward by 

Rapids at the chasm 
From a photograph by Ckerrie 

We bathed and swam in the river although in it we caught piranhas 
From a photograph by Kermk Roosevelt 


the stars, and sending on two men to explore the rapids 
in advance. They returned with the news that there 
were big cataracts in them, and that they would form 
an obstacle to our progress. They had also caught a 
huge siluroid fish, which furnished an excellent meal 
for everybody in camp. This evening at sunset the 
view across the broad river, from our camp where the 
two rivers joined, was very lovely ; and for the first 
time we had an open space in front of and above us, so 
that after nightfall the stars and the great waxing moon 
were glorious overhead, and against the rocks in mid- 
stream the broken water gleamed like tossing silver. 

The huge catfish which the men had caught was over 
three feet and a half long, with the usual enormous 
head, out of aU proportion to the body, and the 
enormous mouth, out of all proportion to the head. 
Such fish, although their teeth are small, swallow very 
large prey. This one contained the nearly digested 
remains of a monkey. Probably the monkey had been 
seized while drinking from the end of a branch ; and 
once engulfed in that yawning cavern there was no 
escape. We Americans were astounded at the idea of 
a catfish making prey of a monkey ; but our Brazilian 
friends told us that, in the lower Madeira and the part 
of the Amazon near its mouth, there is a still more 
gigantic catfish, which, in similar fashion, occasionally 
makes prey of man. This is a greyish- white fish over 
nine feet long, with the usual disproportionately large 
head and gaping mouth, with a circle of small teeth ; 
for the engulfing mouth itself is the danger, not the 
teeth. It is called the piraiba — pronounced in four 
syllables. While stationed at the small city of Ita- 
coatiara, on the Amazon, at the mouth of the Madeira, 
the doctor had seen one of these monsters which had 

300 DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER [chap, ix 

been killed by the two men it had attacked. They 
were fishing in a canoe when it rose from the bottom — 
for it is a ground fish — and, raising itself half out of the 
water, lunged over the edge of the canoe at them, with 
open mouth. They killed it with their falcons, as 
machetes are called in Brazil. It was taken round the 
city in triumph in an ox-cart ; the doctor saw it, and 
said it was three metres long. He said that swimmers 
feared it even more than the big cayman, because they 
could see the latter, whereas the former lay hid at the 
bottom of the water. Colonel Rondon said that, in 
many villages where he had been on the lower ]\Iadeu-a, 
the people had built stockaded enclosures in the water 
in which they bathed, not venturing to swiva. in the 
open water for fear of the piraiba and the big cayman. 

Next day, April 8, we made five kilometres only, as 
there was a succession of rapids. We had to carry the 
loads past two of them, but ran the canoes without 
difficulty, for on the west side were long canals of 
swift water through the forest. The river had been 
higher, but was still very high, and the current raced 
round the many islands that, at this point, divided the 
channel. At four we made camp at the head of another 
stretch of rapids, over which the Canadian canoes would 
have danced without shipping a teaspoonful of water, 
but which our dugouts could only run empty. Cherrie 
killed three monkeys and Lyra caught two big piranhas, 
so that we were again all of us well provided with dinner 
and breakfast. When a number of men, doing hard 
work, are most of the time on half-rations, they grow 
to take a lively interest in any reasonably full meal that 
does arrive. 

On the 10th we repeated the proceedings : a short 
quick run ; a few hundred metres' portage, occupying. 


however, at least a couple of hours ; again a few minutes 
run ; again other rapids. We again made less than five 
kilometres ; in the two days we had been descending 
nearly a metre for every kilometre we made in advance ; 
and it hardly seemed as if this state of things could last, 
for the aneroid showed that we were getting very low 
down. How I longed for a big Maine birch-bark, such 
as that in which I once went down the Mattawamkeag 
at high water ! It would have slipped down these rapids 
as a girl trips through a country-dance. But our loaded 
dugouts would have shoved their noses under every curl. 
The country was lovely. The wide river, now in one 
channel, now in several channels, wound among hiUs ; 
the shower-freshened forest glistened in the sunlight ; 
the many kinds of beautiful palm-fronds and the huge 
pacova-leaves stamped the peculiar look of the tropics 
on the whole landscape — it was like passing by water 
through a gigantic botanical garden. In the afternoon 
we got an elderly toucan, a piranha, and a reasonably 
edible side- necked river-turtle ; so we had fresh meat 
again. We slept as usual in earshot of rapids. We had 
been out six weeks, and almost all the time we had been 
engaged in wearily working our way down and past 
rapid after rapid. Rapids are by far the most dangerous 
enemies of explorers and travellers who journey along 
these rivers. 

Next day was a repetition of the same work. All the 
morning was spent in getting the loads to the foot of 
the rapids at the head of which we were encamped, 
down which the canoes were run empty. Then for 
thirty or forty minutes we ran down the swift, twisting 
river, the two lashed canoes almost coming to grief at 
one spot where a swirl of the current threw them against 
some trees on a small submerged island. Then we came 

302 DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER [chap, ix 

to another set of rapids, carried the baggage down past 
them, and made camp long after dark in the rain— a 
good exercise in patience for those of us who were still 
suffering somewhat from fever. No one was in really 
buoyant health. For some weeks we had been sharing 
part of the contents of our boxes with the camaradas ; 
but our food was not very satisfying to them. They 
needed quantity, and the mainstay of each of their meals 
was a mass of palmitas ; but on this day they had no 
time to cut down palms. We finally decided to run 
these rapids with the empty canoes, and they came 
down in safety. On such a trip it is highly undesirable 
to take any save necessary risks, for the consequences of 
disaster are too serious ; and yet if no risks are taken the 
progress is so slow that disaster comes anyhow ; and it 
is necessary perpetually to vary the terms of the per- 
petual working compromise between rashness and over- 
caution. This night we had a very good fish to eat, a 
big sUvery fellow called a pescada, of a kind we had not 
caught before. 

One day Trigueiro failed to embark with the rest of 
us, and we had to camp where we were next day to find 
him. Easter Sunday we spent in the fashion with which 
we were altogether too famiMar. We only ran in a 
clear course for ten minutes all told, and spent eight 
hours in portaging the loads past rapids down which 
the canoes were run ; the balsa was almost swamped. 
This day we caught twenty-eight big fish, mostly 
piranhas, and everybody had aU he could eat for 
dinner, and for breakfast the following morning. 

The forenoon of the following day was a repetition of 
this wearisome work ; but late in the afternoon the river 
began to run in long quiet reaches. We made fifteen 
kilometres, and for the first time in several weeks camped 


where we did not hear the rapids. The silence was 
soothing and restful. The following day, April 14, we 
made a good run of some thirty-two kilometres. We 
passed a little river which entered on our left. We ran 
two or three light rapids, and portaged the loads by 
another. The river ran in long and usually tranquil 
stretches. In the morning when we started the view 
was lovely. There was a mist, and for a couple of miles 
the great river, broad and quiet, ran between the high 
walls of tropical forest, the tops of the giant trees 
showing dim through the haze. Different members 
of the party caught many fish, and shot a monkey and 
a couple of jacu-tinga — birds akin to a turkey, but the 
size of a fowl — so we again had a camp of plenty. The 
dry season was approaching, but there were still heavy, 
drenching rains. On this day the men found some new 
nuts of which they liked the taste ; but the nuts proved 
unwholesome and half of the men were very sick and 
unable to work the following day. In the balsa only 
two were left fit to do anything, and Kermit plied a 
paddle all day long. 

Accordingly, it was a rather sorry crew that embarked 
the following morning, April 15. But it turned out a 
red-letter day. The day before, we had come across 
cuttings, a year old, which were probably but not 
certainly made by pioneer rubber-men. But on this 
day — during which we made twenty-five kilometres — 
after running two hours and a half we found on the left 
bank a board on a post, with the initials J. A., to show 
the farthest-up point which a rubber-man had reached 
and claimed as his own. An hour farther down we 
came on a newly-built house in a little planted clearing ; 
and we cheered heartily. No one was at home, but the 
house, of palm-thatch, was clean and cool. A couple of 

304 DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER [chap, ix 

dogs were on watch, and the belongings showed that a 
man, a woman, and a child lived there, and had only 
just left. Another hour brought us to a similar house 
where dwelt an old black man, who showed the innate 
courtesy of the Brazilian peasant. We came on these 
rubber-men and their houses in about latitude 10° 24'. 

In mid-afternoon we stopped at another clean, cool, 
picturesque house of palm-thatch. The inhabitants all 
fled at our approach, fearing an Indian raid ; for they 
were absolutely unprepared to have any one come from 
the unknown regions up-stream. They returned and 
were most hospitable and communicative ; and we spent 
the night there. Said Antonio Correa to Kermit : " It 
seems like a dream to be in a house again, and hear the 
voices of men and women, instead of being among those 
mountains and rapids." The river was known to them as 
the Castanho, and was the main affluent, or rather the 
left or western branch, of the Aripuanan ; the Castanho 
is a name used by the rubber-gatherers only ; it is 
unknown to the geographers. We were, according to 
our informants, about fifteen days' journey from the 
confluence of the two rivers ; but there were many 
rubber-men along the banks, some of whom had become 
permanent settlers. We had come over three hundred 
kilometres, in forty-eight days, over absolutely unknown 
ground ; we had seen no human being, although we had 
twice heard Indians. Six weeks had been spent in 
steadily slogging our way down through the inter- 
minable series of rapids. It was astonishing before, 
when we were on a river of about the size of the upper 
Rhine or Elbe, to realize that no geographer had any 
idea of its existence. But, after all, no civilized man of 
any kind had ever been on it. Here, however, was a 
river with people dwelling along the banks, some of 


whom had lived in the neighbourhood for eight or ten 
years ; and yet on no standard map was there a hint of 
the river's existence. We were putting on the map 
a river, running through between five and six degrees 
of latitude — ^of between seven and eight if, as should 
properly be done, the lower Aripuanan is included as 
part of it — of which no geographer, in any map pub- 
lished in Europe, or the United States, or Brazil, had 
even admitted the possibility of the existence ; for the 
place actually occupied by it was filled, on the maps, 
by other — imaginary — streams, or by mountain ranges. 
Before we started, the Amazonas Boundary Commission 
had come up the lower Aripuanan, and then the eastern 
branch, or upper Aripuanan, to 8° 48', following the 
course which for a couple of decades had been followed 
by the rubber-men, but not going as high. An em- 
ployd, either of this Commission or of one of the big 
rubber-men, had been up the Castanho, which is easy 
of ascent in its lower course, to about the same latitude, 
not going nearly as high as the rubber-men had gone ; 
this we found out while we ourselves were descending 
the lower Castanho. The lower main stream, and the 
lower portion of its main affluent, the Castanho, had 
been commercial highways for rubber-men and settlers 
for nearly two decades, and, as we speedily found, were 
as easy to traverse as the upper stream, which we had 
just come down, was difficult to traverse ; but the 
governmental and scientific authorities, native and 
foreign, remained in complete ignorance ; and the 
rubber-men themselves had not the slightest idea of 
the headwaters, which were in country never hitherto 
traversed by civilized men. Evidently the Castanho 
was, in length at least, substantially equal, and probably 
superior, to the upper Aripuanan ; it now seemed even 


306 DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER [chap, ix 

more likely that the Ananas was the headwaters of the 
main stream than of the Cardozo.* For the first 
time this great river, the greatest affluent of the 
Madeira, was to be put on the map ; and the under- 
standing of its real position and real relationship, and 
the clearing up of the complex problem of the sources 
of all these lower right-hand affluents of the Madeira, 
was rendered possible by the seven weeks of hard and 
dangerous labour we had spent in going down an abso- 
lutely unknown river, through an absolutely unknown 
wilderness. At this stage of the growth of world geo- 
graphy I esteemed it a great piece of good fortune to 
be able to take part in such a feat — a feat which repre- 
sented the capping of the pyramid which during the 
previous seven years had been built by the labour of the 
Brazilian Telegraphic Commission. 

We had passed the period when there was a chance 
of peril, of disaster, to the whole expedition. There 
might be risk ahead to individuals, and some difficulties 
and annoyances for all of us ; but there was no longer 
the least likelihood of any disaster to the expedition as 
a whole. We now no longer had to face continual 
anxiety, the need of constant economy with food, the 
duty of labour with no end in sight, and bitter un- 
certainty as to the future. 

It was time to get out. The wearing work, under 
very unhealthy conditions, was beginning to tell on 
every one. Half of the camaradas had been down with 

* I hope that this year the Ananas, or Pineapple, will also be put 
on the map. One of Colonel Rondon's subordinates is to attempt the 
descent of the river. We passed the headwaters of the Pineapple on 
the high plateau, very possibly we passed its mouth, although it is 
also possible that it empties into the Canama or Tapajos. But it will 
not be " put on the map " until someone descends and finds out 
where, as a matter of fact, it really does go. 


fever and were much weakened ; only a few of them 
retained their original physical and moral strength. 
Cherrie and Kermit had recovered ; but both Kermit 
and Lyra still had bad sores on their legs, from the 
bruises received in the water work. 1 was in worse 
shape. The after effects of the fever still hung on ; and 
the leg which had been hurt while working in the rapids 
with the sunken canoe had taken a turn for the bad and 
developed an abscess. The good doctor, to whose un- 
wearied care and kindness I owe much, had cut it open 
and inserted a drainage tube ; an added charm being 
given the operation, and the subsequent dressings, by 
the enthusiasm with which the piums and boroshudas 
took part therein. I could hardly hobble, and was 
pretty well laid up. But " there aren't no ' stop, con- 
ductor,' while a battery's changing ground." No man 
has any business to go on such a trip as ours unless he 
wUl refuse to jeopardize the welfare of his associates by 
any delay caused by a weakness or ailment of his. It is 
his duty to go forward, if necessary on all fours, until he 
drops. Fortunately, I was put to no such test. I 
remained in good shape until we had passed the last 
of the rapids of the chasms. When my serious trouble 
came we had only canoe-riding ahead of us. It is not 
ideal for a sick man to spend the hottest hours of the 
day stretched on the boxes in the bottom of a small 
open dugout, under the wellnigh intolerable heat of the 
torrid sun of the mid-tropics, varied by bhnding, drench- 
ing downpours of rain ; but I could not be sufficiently 
grateful for the chance. Kermit and Cherrie took care 
of me as if they had been trained nurses ; and Colonel 
Rondon and Lyra were no less thoughtful. 

The north was calling strongly to the three men 
of the north— Rocky Dell Farm to Cherrie, Sagamore 

308 DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER [chap, ix 

Hill to me ; and to Kermit the call was stronger still. 
After nightfall we could now see the Dipper well above 
the horizon — upside down, with the two pointers point- 
ing to a north star below the world's rim ; but the 
Dipper, with all its stars. In our home country spring 
had now come, the wonderful northern spring of long, 
glorious days, of brooding twilights, of cool delightful 
nights. Robin and bluebird, meadow-lark and song- 
sparrow, were singing in the mornings at home ; the 
maple-buds were red ; windflowers and bloodroot were 
blooming, while the last patches of snow still lingered ; 
the rapture of the hermit- thrush in Vermont, the serene 
golden melody of the wood-thrush on Long Island, 
would be heard before we were there to hsten. Each 
man to his home, and to his true love ! Each was long- 
ing for the homely things that were so dear to him, for 
the home people who were dearer still, and for the one 
who was dearest of all. 



Our adventures and our troubles were alike over. 
We now experienced the incalculable contrast between 
descending a known and travelled river, and one that is 
utterly unknown. After four days we hired a rubber- 
man to go Avith us as guide. He knew exactly what 
channels were passable when we came to the rapids, 
when the canoes had to unload, and where the carry- 
trails were. It was all child's play compared to what 
we had gone through. We made long days' journeys, 
for at night we stopped at some palm-thatched house, 
inhabited or abandoned, and therefore the men were 
spared the labour of making camp ; and we bought 
ample food for them, so there was no further need of 
fishing and chopping down palms for the palm-tops. 
The heat of the sun was blazing ; but it looked as if 
we had come back into the rainy season, for there were 
many heavy rains, usually in the afternoon, but some- 
times in the morning or at night. The mosquitoes were 
sometimes rather troublesome at night. In the daytime 
the piums swarmed, and often bothered us even when 
we were in mid-stream. 

For four days there were no rapids we could not run 
without unloading. Then, on the 19th, we got a canoe 


310 TO THE AMAZON AND HOME [chap, x 

from Senhor Barboso. He was a most kind and hos- 
pitable man, who also gave us a duck and a chicken and 
some mandioc and six pounds of rice, and would take 
no payment ; he lived in a roomy house with his dusky, 
cigar-smoking vdfe and his many children. The new 
canoe was light and roomy, and we were able to rig up 
a low shelter under which I could lie ; I was still sick. 
At noon we passed the mouth of a big river, the Rio 
Branco, coming in from the left ; this was about in 
latitude 9° 38'. Soon afterward we came to the first 
serious rapids, the Panela. We carried the boats past, 
ran down the empty canoes, and camped at the foot 
in a roomy house. The doctor bought a handsome 
trumpeter bird, very friendly and confiding, which was 
thenceforth my canoe companion. 

We had already passed many inhabited — and a still 
larger number of uninhabited — houses. The dwellers 
were rubber-men, but generally they were permanent 
settlers also, home-makers, with their wives and children. 
Some, both of the men and women, were apparently of 
pure negro blood, or of pure Indian or south European 
blood ; but in the great majority all three strains were 
mixed in varying degrees. They were most friendly, 
courteous, and hospitable. Often they refused payment 
for what they could afford, out of their little, to give 
us. When they did charge, the prices were very high, 
as was but just, for they live back of the beyond, and 
everything costs them fabulously, save what they raise 
themselves. The cool, bare houses of poles and palm- 
thatch contained little except hammocks and a few 
simple cooking-utensils ; and often a clock or sewing- 
machine, or Winchester rifle, from our own country. 
They often had flowers planted, including fragrant 
roses. Their only live stock, except the dogs, were 

At the rubber-man's house 

The canoe rigged with a cover under which Colonel Roosevelt travelled when sick 
From photographs by Cherrie 


a few chickens and ducks. They planted patches of 
mandioc, maize, sugar-cane, rice, beans, squashes, pine- 
apples, bananas, lemons, oranges, melons, peppers ; and 
various purely native fruits and vegetables, such as the 
kniabo — a vegetable -fruit growing on the branches of 
a high bush — which is cooked with meat. They get 
some game from the forest, and more fish from the 
river. There is no representative of the government 
among them — indeed, even now their very existence is 
barely known to the governmental authorities ; and the 
church has ignored them as completely as the state. 
When they wish to get married they have to spend 
several months getting down to and back from Manaos 
or some smaller city ; and usually the first christening 
and the marriage ceremony are held at the same time. 
They have merely squatter's right to the land, and are 
always in danger of being ousted by unscrupulous big 
men who come in late, but with a title technically 
straight. The land laws should be shaped so as to give 
each of these pioneer settlers the land he actually takes 
up and cultivates, and upon which he makes his home. 
The small home-maker, who owns the land which he 
tills with his own hands, is the greatest element of 
strength in any country. 

These are real pioneer settlers. They are the true 
wUderness-winners. No continent is ever really con- 
quered, or thoroughly explored, by a few leaders, or 
exceptional men, although such men can render great 
service. The real conquest, the thorough exploration 
and settlement, is made by a nameless multitude of 
small men of whom the most important are, of course, 
the home-makers. Each treads most of the time in the 
footsteps of his predecessors, but for some few miles, at 
some time or other, he breaks new ground ; and his 

312 TO THE AMAZON AND HOME [chap, x 

house is built where no house has ever stood before. 
Such a man, the real pioneer, must have no strong 
desire for social life and no need, probably no know- 
ledge, of any luxury, or of any comfort save of the 
most elementary kind. The pioneer who is always 
longing for the comfort and luxury of civUization, and 
especially of great cities, is no real pioneer at all. 
These settlers whom we met were contented to live in 
the wilderness. They had found the climate healthy 
and the soil fruitful ; a visit to a city was a very rare 
event, nor was there any overwhelming desire for it. 

In short, these men, and those like them everywhere 
on the frontier between civihzation and savagery in 
Brazil, are now playing the part played by our back- 
woodsmen when over a century and a quarter ago they 
began the conquest of the great basin of the Mississippi ; 
the part played by the Boer farmers for over a century 
in South Africa, and by the Canadians when less than 
half a century ago they began to take possession of their 
North- West. Every now and then someone says that the 
" last frontier " is now to be found in Canada or Africa, 
and that it has almost vanished. On a far larger scale 
this frontier is to be found in Brazil — a country as big 
as Europe or the United States — and decades will pass 
before it vanishes. The first settlers came to Brazil 
a century before the first settlers came to the United 
States and Canada. For three hundred years progress 
was very slow — Portuguese colonial government at 
that time was almost as bad as Spanish. For the last 
half-century and over there has been a steady increase 
in the rapidity of the rate of development ; and this 
increase bids fair to be constantly more rapid in the 

The Paolistas, hunting for lands, slaves, and mines. 


were the first native Brazilians who, a hundred years 
ago, played a great part in opening to settlement vast 
stretches of wilderness. The rubber-hunters have played 
a similar part during the last few decades. Rubber 
dazzled them, as gold and diamonds have dazzled other 
men and driven them forth to wander through the wide 
waste spaces of the world. Searching for rubber they 
made highways of rivers, the very existence of which 
was unknown to the governmental authorities, or to any 
map-makers. Whether they succeeded or failed, they 
everywhere left behind them settlers, who toiled, married, 
and brought up children. Settlement began ; the con- 
quest of the wilderness entered on its first stage. 

On the 20th we stopped at the first store, where we 
bought, of course at a high price, sugar and tobacco for 
the camaradas. In this land of plenty the camaradas 
over-ate, and sickness was as rife among them as ever. 
In Cherrie's boat he himself and the steersman were the 
only men who paddled strong and continuously. The 
storekeeper's stock of goods was very low, only what 
he still had left from that brought in nearly a year 
before ; for the big boats, or batelaos — batelons — had 
not yet worked as far up-stream. We expected to meet 
them somewhere below the next rapids, the Infernao. 
The trader or rubber-man brings up his year's supply of 
goods in a batelao, starting in February and reaching 
the upper course of the river early in May, when the 
rainy season is over. The parties of rubber-explorers 
are then equipped and provisioned ; and the settlers 
purchase certain necessities, and certain things that 
strike them as luxuries. This year the Brazil-nut crop 
on the river had failed, a serious thing for all explorers 
and wilderness wandei'ers. 

On the 20th we made the longest run we had made, 

314 TO THE AMAZON AND HOME [chap, x 

fifty-two kilometres. Lyra took observations where we 
camped ; we were in latitude 8° 49'. At this camping- 
place the great, beautiful river was a little over three 
hundred metres wide. We were in an empty house. The 
marks showed that in the high water, a couple of 
months back, the river had risen until the lower part of 
the house was flooded. The difference between the 
level of the river during the floods and in the dry season 
is extraordinary. 

On the 21st we made another good run, getting down 
to the Infernao rapids, which are in latitude 8° 19' south. 
Until we reached the Cardozo we had run almost due 
north ; since then we had been running a little west of 
north. Before we reached these rapids we stopped at a 
large, pleasant, thatch house, and got a fairly big and 
roomy, as well as light boat, leaving both our two 
smaller dugouts behind. Above the rapids a small river, 
the Madeirainha, entered from the left. The rapids had 
a faU of over ten metres, and the water was very wild 
and rough. Met with for the first time, it would doubt- 
less have taken several days to explore a passage and, 
with danger and labour, get the boats down. But we 
were no longer exploring, pioneering, over unknown 
country. It is easy to go where other men have pre- 
pared the way. We had a guide ; we took our baggage 
down by a carry three-quarters of a kilometre long ; and 
the canoes were run through known channels the follow- 
ing morning. At the foot of the rapids was a big house 
and store ; and camped at the head were a number of 
rubber-workers, waiting for the big boats of the head 
rubber-men to work their way up from below. They 
were a reckless set of brown daredevils. These men 
lead hard Uves of labour and peril ; they continually face 
death themselves, and they think little of it in connec- 


tion with others. It is small wonder that they some- 
times have difficulties with the tribes of utterly wild 
Indians with whom they are brought in contact, although 
there is a strong Indian strain in their own blood. 

The following morning, after the empty canoes had 
been run down, we started, and made a rather short 
afternoon's journey. We had to take the baggage by 
one rapid. We camped in an empty house, in the rain. 
Next day we ran nearly fifty kilometres, the river making 
a long sweep to the west. We met half a dozen batelaos 
making their way up-stream, each with a crew of six or 
eight men, and two of them with women and children 
in addition. The crew were using very long poles, with 
crooks, or rather the stubs of cut branches which served 
as crooks, at the upper end. With these they hooked 
into the branches and dragged themselves up along the 
bank, in addition to poling where the depth permitted 
it. The river was as big as the Paraguay at Corumba ; 
but, in striking contrast to the Paraguay, there were few 
water-birds. We ran some rather stiff rapids, the 
Infernino, without unloading, in the morning. In the 
evening we landed for the night at a large, open, shed- 
like house, where there were two or three pigs, the first 
live stock we had seen other than poultry and ducks. 
It was a dirty place, but we got some eggs. 

The following day, the 24th, we ran down some fifty 
kilometres to the Carupanan rapids, which by observa- 
tion Lyra found to be in latitude 7° 47'. We met 
several batelaos, and the houses on the bank showed 
that the settlers were somewhat better off than was the 
case farther up. At the rapids was a big store, the 
property of Senhor Caripe, the wealthiest rubber-man 
who works on this river ; many of the men we met were 
in his employ. He has himself risen from the ranks. 

316 TO THE AMAZON AND HOME [chap, x 

He was most kind and hospitable, and gave us another 
boat to replace the last of our shovel-nosed dugouts. 
The large, open house was cool, clean, and comfortable. 

With these began a series of half a dozen sets of rapids, 
all coming within the next dozen kilometres, and all 
offering very real obstacles. At one we saw the graves 
of four men who had perished therein ; and many more 
had died whose bodies were never recovered ; the toU of 
human life had been heavy. Had we been still on an 
unknown river, pioneering our own way, it would doubt- 
less have taken us at least a fortnight of labour and peril 
to pass. But it actually took only a day and a half. 
All the channels were known, all the trails cut. Senhor 
Caripe, a first-class waterman — cool, fearless, and brawny 
as a bull — came with us as guide. Half a dozen times 
the loads were taken out and carried down. At one 
cataract the canoes were themselves dragged overland ; 
elsewhere they were run down empty, shipping a good 
deal of water. At the foot of the cataract, where we 
dragged the canoes overland, we camped for the night. 
Here Kermit shot a big cayman. Our camp was along- 
side the graves of three men who at this point had 
perished in the swift water. 

Senhor Caripe told us many strange adventures of 
rubber-workers he had met or employed. One of his 
men, working on the Gy-Parana, got lost, and after 
twenty-eight days found himself on the Madeirainha, 
which he thus discovered. He was in excellent health, 
for he had means to start a fire, and he found abundance 
of Brazil-nuts and big land-tortoises. Senhor Caripe 
said that the rubber-men now did not go above the 
ninth degree, or thereabouts, on the upper Aripuanan 
proper, having found the rubber poor on the reaches 
above. A year previously five rubber-men, Mundurucu 


Indians, were working on the Canumd at about that 
level. It is a difficult stream to ascend or descend. 
They made excursions into the forest for days at a time 
after caoutchouc. On one such trip, after fifteen days, 
they, to their surprise, came out on the Aripuanan. 
They returned and told their " patron " of their dis- 
covery, and by his orders took their caoutchouc overland 
to the Aripuanan, built a canoe, and ran down with 
their caoutchouc to Manaos. They had now returned, 
and were working on the upper Aripuanan. The 
Mundurucus and Brazilians are always on the best 
terms, and the former are even more inveterate enemies 
of the wild Indians than are the latter. 

By mid-forenoon on April 26 we had passed the last 
dangerous rapids. The paddles were plied with hearty 
good will, Cherrie and Kermit, as usual, working like 
the camaradas, and the canoes went dancing down the 
broad, rapid river. The equatorial forest crowded on 
either hand to the water's edge ; and, although the river 
was falling, it was still so high that in many places little 
islands were completely submerged, and the current 
raced among the trunks of the green trees. At one 
o'clock we came to the mouth of the Castanho proper, 
and in sight of the tent of Lieutenant Pyrineus, with 
the flags of the United States and Brazil flying before it ; 
and, with rifles firing from the canoes and the shore, we 
moored at the landing of the neat, soldierly, well-kept 
camp. The upper Aripuanan, a river of substantially 
the same volume as the Castanho, but broader at this 
point, and probably of less length, here joined the 
Castanho from the east, and the two together formed 
what the rubber-men called the lower Aripuanan. The 
mouth of this was indicated, and sometimes named, on 
the maps, but only as a small and unimportant stream. 

318 TO THE AMAZON AND HOME [chap, x 

We had been two months in the canoes — from 
February 27 to April 26. We had gone over 750 kilo- 
metres. The river from its source, near the thirteenth 
degree, to where it became navigable and we entered 
it, had a course of some 200 kilometres — probably more, 
perhaps 300 kilometres. Therefore we had now put on 
the map a river nearly 1,000 kilometres in length, of 
which the existence was not merely unknown, but 
impossible, if the standard maps were correct. But this 
was not all. It seemed that this river of 1,000 kilo- 
metres in length was really the true upper course of the 
Aripuanan proper, in which case the total length was 
nearly 1,500 kilometres. Pyrineus had been waiting 
for us over a month, at the junction of what the rubber- 
men called the Castanho, and of what they called the 
upper Aripuanan. (He had no idea as to which stream 
we would appear upon, or whether we would appear upon 
either.) On March 26 he had measured the volume of 
the two, and found that the Castanho, although the 
narrower, was the deeper and swifter, and that in volume 
it surpassed the other 'by 84 cubic metres a second. 
Since then the Castanho had fallen ; our measurements 
showed it to be shghtly smaller than the other ; the 
volume of the river after the junction was about 
4,500 cubic metres a second. This was in 7° 34'. 

We were glad indeed to see Pyrineus and be at his 
attractive camp. We were only four hours above the 
little river hamlet of Sao Joao, a port of call for rubber- 
steamers, from which the larger ones go to Manaos in 
two days. These steamers mostly belong to Senhor 
Caripe. From P5Tineus we learned that Lauriadd and 
Fiala had reached Manaos on March 26. On the swift 
water in the gorge of the Papagaio Fiala's boat had 
been upset and all his belongings lost, while he himself 


had narrowly escaped with his life. I was glad, indeed, 
that the fine and gallant fellow had escaped. The 
Canadian canoe had done very well. We were no less 
rejoiced to learn that Amilcar, the head of the party 
that went down the Gy-Parana, was also all right, 
although his canoe, too, had been upset in the rapids, 
and his instruments and all his notes lost. He had 
reached Manaos on April 10. Fiala had gone home. 
Miller was collecting near Manaos. He had been doing 
capital work. 

The piranhas were bad here, and no one could bathe. 
Cherrie, while standing in the water close to the shore, 
was attacked and bitten ; but with one bound he was 
on the bank before any damage could be done. 

We spent a last night under canvas, at Pyrineus's 
encampment. It rained heavily. Next morning we 
all gathered at the monument which Colonel Rondon 
had erected, and he read the orders of the day. These 
recited just what had been accomplished : set forth the 
fact that we had now by actual exploration and investiga- 
tion discovered that the river whose upper portion had 
been called the Dtivida on the maps of the Telegraphic 
Commission and the unknown major part of which we 
had just traversed, and the river known to a few rubber- 
men, but to no one else, as the Castanho, and the lower 
part of the river known to the rubber-men as the 
Aripuanan (which did not appear on the maps save as 
its mouth was sometimes indicated, with no hint of its 
size) were all parts of one and the same river, and that 
by order of the Brazilian Government this river, the 
largest affluent of the Madeira, with its source near the 
thirteenth degree and its mouth a little south of the 
fifth degree, hitherto utterly unknown to cartographers, 
and in large part utterly unknown to any save the 

320 TO THE AMAZON AND HOME [chap, x 

local tribes of Indians, had been named the Rio 

We left Rondon, Lyra, and Pyrineus to take observa- 
tions, and the rest of us embarked for the last time on 
the canoes, and, borne swiftly on the rapid current, we 
passed over one set of not very important rapids, and 
ran down to Senhor Caripe's little hamlet of Sao Joao, 
which we reached about one o'clock on April 27, just 
before a heavy afternoon rain set in. We had run 
nearly 800 kilometres during the sixty days we had 
spent in the canoes. Here we found and boarded 
Pyrineus's river steamer, which seemed in our eyes 
extremely comfortable. In the senhor's pleasant house 
we were greeted by the senhora, and they were both 
more than thoughtful and generous in their hospitality. 
Ahead of us lay merely thirty-six hours by steamer to 
Manaos. Such a trip as that we had taken tries men 
as if by fire. Cherrie had more than stood every test ; 
and in him Kermit and I had come to recognize a 
friend with whom our friendship would never falter or 
grow less. 

Early the following afternoon our whole party, 
together with Senhor Caripe, started on the steamer. 
It took us a little over twelve hours' swift steaming to 
run down to the mouth of the river on the upper course 
of which our progress had been so slow and painful ; 
from source to mouth, according to our itinerary and to 
Lyra's calculations, the course of the stream down which 
we had thus come was about 1,500 kilometres in length 
— about 900 mUes, perhaps nearly 1,000 mUes — fi-om its 
source near the 13th degree in the highlands to its mouth 
in the Madeira, near the 5th degree. Next morning we 
were on the broad sluggish current of the lower Madeira, 
a beautiful tropical river. There were heavy rainstorms. 





as usual, although this is supposed to be the very end of 
the rainy season. In the afternoon we finally entered 
the wonderful Amazon itself, the mighty river which 
contains one-tenth of all the running water of the globe. 
It was miles across, where we entered it ; and indeed we 
could not tell whether the farther bank, which we saw, 
was that of the mainland or an island. We went up it 
until about midnight, then steamed up the Rio Negro 
for a short distance, and at one in the morning of 
April 30 reached Manaos. 

Manaos is a remarkable city. It is only three degrees 
south of the equator. Sixty years ago it was a nameless 
Uttle collection of hovels, tenanted by a few Indians and 
a few of the poorest class of Brazilian peasants. Now it 
is a big, handsome modern city, with opera-house, tram- 
ways, good hotels, fine squares and public buildings, and 
attractive private houses. The brilliant colouring and odd 
architecture give the place a very foreign and attractive 
flavour in northern eyes. Its rapid growth to prosperity 
was due to the rubber trade. This is now far less 
remunerative than formerly. It will undoubtedly in 
some degree recover ; and in any event the development 
of the immensely rich and fertile Amazonian valley is 
sure to go on, and it wUl be immensely quickened when 
closer connections are made with the Brazilian highland 
country lying south of it. 

Here we found Miller, and glad indeed we were to 
see him. He had made good collections of mammals 
and birds on the Gy-Parana, the Madeira, and in the 
neighbourhood of Manaos ; his entire collection of 
mammals was really noteworthy. Among them was 
the only sloth any of us had seen on the trip. The most 
interesting of the birds he had seen was the hoatzin. 
This i? a most curious bird of very archaic type. Its 


322 TO THE AMAZON AND HOME [chap, x 

flight is feeble, and the naked young have spurs on their 
wings by the help of which they crawl actively among 
the branches before their feathers grow. They swim no 
less easily, at the same early age. MUler got one or 
two nests, and preserved specimens of the surroundings 
of the nests; and he made exhaustive records of the 
habits of the birds. Near Megasso a jaguar had kUled 
one of the buUocks that were being driven along for 
food. The big cat had not seized the ox with its claws 
by the head, but had torn open its throat and neck. 

Every one was most courteous at Manaos, especially 
the governor of the state and the mayor of the city. 
Mr. Robiliard, the British consular representative, and 
also the representative of the Booth Hne of steamers, was 
particularly kind. He secured for us passages on one of 
the cargo boats of the line to Para, and thence on one 
of the regular cargo-and-passenger steamers to Barbados 
and New York. The Booth people were most courteous 
to us. 

I said good-bye to the camaradas with real friendship 
and regret. The parting gift I gave to each was in gold 
sovereigns ; and I was rather touched to learn later that 
they had agreed among themselves each to keep one 
sovereign as a medal of honour and token that the owner 
had been on the trip. They were a fine set, brave, 
patient, obedient, and enduring. Now they had forgotten 
their hard times ; they were fat from eating, at leisure, 
all they wished ; they were to see Rio Janeiro, always 
an object of ambition with men of their stamp ; and they 
were very proud of their membership in the expedition. 

Later, at Bel^n, I said good-bye to Colonel Rondon, 
Doctor Cajazeira, and Lieutenant Lyra. Together with 
my admiration for their hardihood, courage, and resolu- 
tion, 1 had grown to feel a strong and affectionate friend- 


ship for them. I had become very fond of them ; and 1 
was glad to feel that I had been their companion in the 
performance of a feat which possessed a certain lasting 

On May 1 we left Manaos for Bel^n — Para, as until 
recently it was called. The trip was interesting. We 
steamed down through tempest and sunshine ; and the 
towering forest was dwarfed by the giant river it fringed. 
Sunrise and sunset turned the sky to an unearthly flame 
of many colours above the vast water. It all seemed 
the embodiment of loneliness and wild majesty. Yet 
everywhere man was conquering the loneliness and 
wresting the majesty to his own uses. We passed many 
thriving, growing towns ; at one we stopped to take on 
cargo. Everywhere there was growth and development. 
The change since the days when Bates and Wallace 
came to this then poor and utterly primitive region is 
marvellous. One of its accompaniments has been a 
large European, chiefly south European, immigration. 
The blood is everywhere mixed ; there is no colour line, 
as in most English-speaking countries, and the negro 
and Indian strains are very strong ; but the dominant 
blood, the blood already dominant in quantity, and that 
is steadily increasing its dominance, is the olive-white. 

Only rarely did the river show its full width. Gener- 
ally we were in channels or among islands. The surface 
of the water was dotted with little islands of floating 
vegetation. Miller said that much of this came from 
the lagoons such as those where he had been hunting, 
beside the Sohmoens — lagoons filled with the huge and 
splendid Victoria lily, and with masses of water hyacinths. 
Miller, who was very fond of animals and always took 
much care of them, had a small collection which he was 
bringing back for the Bronx Zoo. An agouti was so 

324 TO THE AMAZON AND HOME [chap, x 

bad-tempered that he had to be kept solitary; but three 
monkeys, big, middle-sized, and little, and a young pec- 
cary formed a happy family. The largest monkey cried, 
shedding real tears, when taken in the arms and pitied. 
The middle-sized monkey was stupid and kindly, and all 
the rest of the company imposed on it ; the little monkey 
invariably rode on its back, and the peccary used it as a 
head pillow when it felt sleepy. 

Bel^n, the capital of the state of Para, was an admirable 
illustration of the genuine and almost startling progress 
which Brazil has been making of recent years. It is a 
beautiful city, nearly under the equator. But it is not 
merely beautiful. The docks, the dredging operations, 
the warehouses, the stores and shops, all tell of energy 
and success in commercial life. It is as clean, healthy, 
and well-policed a city as any of the size in the north 
temperate zone. The public buildings are handsome, 
the private dwellings attractive ; there are a fine opera- 
house, an excellent tramway system, and a good museum 
and botanical gardens. There are cavalry stables, 
where lights burn all night long to protect the horses 
from the vampire bats. The parks, the rows of palms 
and mango-trees, the open-air restaurants, the gay life 
under the lights at night, all give the city its own special 
quality and charm. Belen and Manaos are very striking 
examples of what can be done in the mid-tropics. The 
governor of Para and his charming wife were more than 

Cherrie and Miller spent the day at the reaUy capital 
zoological gardens, with the curator. Miss Snethlage. 
Miss Snethlage, a German lady, is a first-rate field 
and closet naturalist, and an explorer of note, who has 
gone on foot from the Xingu to the Tapajos. Most 
wisely she has confined the Belen zoo to the animals 


of the lower Amazon valley, and in consequence I know 
of no better local zoological gardens. She has an in- 
valuable collection of birds and mammals of the region ; 
and it was a privilege to meet her and talk with her. 

We also met Professor Farabee, of the University of 
Pennsylvania, the ethnologist. He had just finished a 
very difficult and important trip, from Manaos by the 
Rio Branco to the highlands of Guiana, across them on 
foot, and down to the seacoast of British Guiana. He 
is an admirable representative of the men who are now 
opening South America to scientific knowledge. 

On May 7 we bade good-bye to our kind Brazihan 
friends and sailed northward for Barbados and New York. 

Zoologically the trip had been a thorough success. 
Cherrie and Miller had collected over twenty- five 
hundred birds, about five hundred mammals, and a few 
reptiles, batrachians, and fishes. Many of them were 
new to science ; for much of the region traversed had 
never previously been worked by any scientific collector. 

Of course, the most important work we did was the 
geographic work, the exploration of the unknown river, 
undertaken at the suggestion of the Brazilian Govern- 
ment, and in conjunction with its representatives. No 
piece of work of this kind is ever achieved save as it 
is based on long-continued previous work. As I have 
before said, what we did was to put the cap on the 
pyramid that had been built by Colonel Rondon and his 
associates of the Telegraphic Commission during the six 
previous years. It was their scientific exploration of 
the chapadao, their mapping the basin of the Juruena, 
and their descent of the Gy-Parand that rei^dered it 
possible for us to solve the mystery of the River of 
Doubt. On the map facing p. 1 I have given the 

326 TO THE AMAZON AND HOME [chap, x 

outline route of my entire South American trip. The 
course of the new river is given separately. 

The work of the commission, much the greatest 
work of the kind ever done in South America, is one of 
the many, many achievements which the republican 
government of Brazil has to its credit. Brazil has been 
blessed beyond the average of her Spanish- American 
sisters because she won her way to repubhcanism by 
evolution rather than revolution. They plunged into 
the extremely difficult experiment of democratic, of 
popular, self-government, after enduring the atrophy 
of every quahty of self-control, self-reliance, and initia- 
tive throughout three withering centuries of existence 
under the worst and most foolish form of colonial 
government, both from the ci^^l and the religious stand- 
point, that has ever existed. The marvel is not that 
some of them failed, but that some of them have 
eventually succeeded in such striking fashion. Brazil, 
on the contrary, when she achieved independence, first 
exercised it under he form of an authoritative empire, 
then under the form of a liberal empire. When the 
repubUc came, the people were reasonably ripe for it. 
The great progress of Brazil — and it has been an aston- 
ishing progress — has been made under the republic. I 
could give innumerable examples and illustrations of 
this. The change that has converted Rio Janeiro from 
a picturesque pest-hole into a singularly beautiful, 
healthy, clean, and efficient modern great city is one of 
these. Another is the work of the Telegraphic Com- 

We put upon the map a river some fifteen hundred 
kilometres in length, of which the upper course was 
not merely utterly unknown to, but unguessed at by, 
anybody ; while the lower course, although known for 


years to a few rubber-men, was utterly unknown to 
cartographers. It is the chief affluent of the Madeira, 
which is itself the chief affluent of the Amazon. 

The source of this river is between the 12th and 13th 
parallels of latitude south and the 59th and 60th 
degrees of longitude west from Greenwich. We em- 
barked on it at about latitude 12° 1' south, and about 
longitude 60° 15' west. After that its entire course 
lay between the 60th and 61st degrees of longitude, 
approaching the latter most closely about latitude 
8° 15'. The first rapids we encountered were in lati- 
tude 11° 44', and in uninterrupted succession they con- 
tinued for about a degree, without a day's complete 
journey between any two of them. At 11° 23' 
the Rio Kermit entered from the left, at 11° 22' the 
Rio Marciano Avila from the right, at 11° 18' the 
Taunay from the left, at 10° 58' the Cardozo from the 
right. In 10° 24' we encountered the first rubber-men. 
The Rio Branco entered from the left at 9° 38'. Our 
camp at 8° 49' was nearly on the boundary between 
Matto Grosso and Amazonas. The confluence with 
the Aripuanan, which joined from the right, took place 
at 7° 34'. The entrance into the Madeira was at about 
5° 20' (this point we did not determine by observation, 
as it is already on the maps). The stream we had 
followed down was from the river's highest sources ; 
we had followed its longest course. 




2!fa^pZiirnt> .CentintiZ. .da, Ci^. 






Map forwarded by Lieutenant Lyra, showing the route at the expedition, and the positions of the new river and of the Gy-Parana, and of the upper tributar 

nant Lyra, showing the route of the expedition, and the positions of the new river and of the Gy-Parana, and of the upper tributaries of the Juruena 




Portions of South America are now entering on a career of great 
social and industrial development. Much remains to be known, so 
far as the outside world is concerned, of the social and industrial con- 
ditions in the long-settled interior regions. More remains to be done, 
in the way of pioneer exploring and of scientific work, in the great 
stretches of virgin wilderness. The only two other Continents where 
such work, of like volume and value, remains to be done are Africa 
and Asia ; and neither Africa nor Asia offers a more inviting field 
for the best kind of field-worker in geographical exploration and 
in zoological, geological, and paleontological investigation. The 
explorer is merely the most adventurous kind of field geographer ; 
and there are two or three points worth keeping in mind in deal- 
ing with the South American work of the field geographer and 
field zoologist. 

Roughly, the travellers who now visit (like those who for the 
past century have visited) South America come in three categories 
— although, of course, these categories are not divided by hard- 
and-fast lines. 

First, there are the travellers who skirt the continent in comfort- 
able steamers, going from one great seaport to another, and occa- 
sionally taking a short railway journey to some big interior city 
not too far from the coast. This is a trip well worth taking by 
all intelligent men and women who can afford it ; and it is being 
taken by such men and women with increasing frequency. It 
entails no more difficulty than a similar trip to the Mediterranean 
— than such a trip as that which Mark Twain immortalized. It is 



a trip which to a learned and broad-minded observer offers the 
same chance for acquiring knowledge and, if he is himself gifted 
with wisdom, the same chance of imparting his knowledge to others 
that is offered by a trip of similar length through the larger cities 
of Europe or the United States. Probably the best instance of 
the excellent use to which such an observer can put his experience 
is afforded by the volume of Mr. Bryce. Of course, such a trip 
represents travelling of essentially the same kind as travelling by 
railroad from Atlanta to Calgary or from Madrid to Moscow. 

Next there are the travellers who visit the long-settled districts 
and colonial cities of the interior, travelling over land or river 
highways which have been traversed for centuries but which are still 
primitive as regards the inns and the modes of conveyance. Such 
travelling is difficult in the sense that travelling in parts of Spain 
or southern Italy or the Balkan states is difficult. Men and women 
who have a taste for travel in out-of-the-way places, and who, 
therefore, do not mind slight discomforts and inconveniences, have 
the chance themselves to enjoy, and to make othei-s profit by, 
travels of this kind in South America. In economic, social, and 
political matters the studies and observations of these travellers are 
essential in order to supplement, and sometimes to correct, those 
of travellers of the first category ; for it is not safe to generalize 
overmuch about any country merely from a visit to its capital or 
its chief seaport. These travellers of the second category can give 
us most interesting and valuable information about quaint little 
belated cities ; about backward country-folk, kindly or the reverse, 
who show a mixture of the ideas of savagery with the ideas of an 
ancient peasantry ; and about rough old highways of travel which 
in comfort do not differ much from those of medieval Europe. 
The travellers who go up or down the highway rivers that have 
been travelled for from one to four hundred years — rivers like the 
Paraguay and Parana, the Amazon, the Tapajos, the Madeira, the 
lower Orinoco — come in this category. They can add little to our 
geographical knowledge ; but if they are competent zoologists or 
archaeologists, especially if they live or sojourn long in a locality, 
their work may be invaluable from the scientific standpoint. The 
work of the archasologists among the immeasurably ancient ruins 
of the lowland forests and the Andean plateaux is of this kind. 


What Agassiz did for the fishes of the Amazon and what Hudson 
did for the birds of the Argentine, are other instances of the work 
that can thus be done. Burton's writings on the interior of Brazil 
offer an excellent instance of the value of a sojourn or trip of this 
type, even without any especial scientific object. 

Of course travellers of this kind need to remember that their 
experiences in themselves do not qualify them to speak as wilder- 
ness explorers. Exactly as a good archaeologist may not be com- 
petent to speak of current social or political problems, so a man 
who has done capital work as a tourist observer in little-visited 
cities and along remote highways, must beware of regarding him- 
self as being thereby rendered fit for genuine wilderness work or 
competent to pass judgment on the men who do such work. To 
cross the Andes on mule-back along the regular routes is a feat 
comparable to the feats of the energetic tourists who by thousands 
traverse the mule trails in out-of-the-way nooks of Switzerland. 
An ordinary trip on the highway portions of the Amazon, Para- 
guay, or Orinoco, in itself no more qualifies a man to speak of or 
to take part in exploring unknown South American rivers than a 
trip on the lower Saint Lawrence qualifies a man to regard himself 
as an expert in a canoe voyage across Labrador or the Barren 
Grounds west of Hudson Bay. 

A hundred years ago, even seventy or eighty years ago, before 
the age of steamboats and railroads, it was more difficult than at 
present to define the limits between this class and the next ; and, 
moreover, in defining these limits I emphatically disclaim any 
intention of thereby attempting to establish a single standard of 
value for books of travel. Darwin's " Voyage of the Beagle " is to 
me the best book of the kind ever written ; it is one of those 
classics which decline to go into artificial categories, and which 
stand by themselves ; and yet Darwin, with his usual modesty, 
spoke of it as in effect a yachting voyage. Humboldt's work had 
a profound effect on the thought of the civilized world ; his trip 
was one of adventure and danger ; and yet it can hardly be called 
exploratifflfc, proper. He visited places which had been settled and 
inhabited for centuries, and traversed places which had been 
travelled by civilized men for years before he followed in their foot- 
steps. But these places were in Spanish colonies, and access to 


of the latter by whoever has studied some of the wild theories 
propounded in the name of science concerning the history of life 
on the South American continent. There is, however, one serious 
criticism to be made on Haseman : the extreme obscurity of his 
style — an obscurity mixed with occasional bits of scientific pedantry, 
which makes it difficult to tell whether or not on some points his 
thought is obscure also. Modem scientists, like modem historians, 
and, above all, scientific and historical educators, should ever keep 
in mind that cleamess of speech and writing is essential to clear- 
ness of thought, and that a simple, clear, and, if possible, vivid 
style is vital to the production of the best work in either science 
or history. Darwin and Huxley are classics, and they would not 
have been if they had not written good English. The thought is 
essential, but ability to give it clear expression is only less essential. 
Ability to write well, if the writer has nothing to write about, 
entitles him to mere derision. But the greatest thought is robbed 
of an immense proportion of its value if expressed in a mean or 
obscure manner. Mr. Haseman has such excellent thought that it 

perform, and did not even attempt to perform, the work he had contracted to 
do in exploration for the Brazilian Government. Mr. Landor had asserted 
and promised that he would go through unknown country along the line of 
eleven degrees latitude south, and, as Colonel Rondon states, it was because 
of this proposal of his that the Brazilian Government gave him material 
financial assistance in advance. However, Colonel Rondon sets forth that 
Mr. Landor did not keep his word or make any serious effort to fulfil his 
obligation to do as he had said he would do. In a letter to me under 
date of May 1, 1914 — a letter which has been published in full in France — 
Colonel Rondon goes at length into the question of what territory Mr. Landor 
had traversed. Colonel Rondon states that — excepting on one occasion, when 
Mr. Landor, wandering off a beaten trail, immediately got lost and shortly 
returned to his starting-point without making any discoveries — he kept to old, 
well-travelled routes. One sentence of the Colonel's letter to me runs as 
follows : " I can guarantee to you that in Brazil Mr. Landor did not cross a 
hand's breadth of laud that had not been explored, the greater part of it 
many centuries ago." As regards Mr. Landor's sole and brief experience in 
leaving a beaten route, Colonel Rondon states that at Sao Manoel Mr. Landor 
engaged from Senhor Jose Sotero Barreto (the revenue officer of Matto 
Grosso, at Sao Manoel) a guide to lead him across a well-travelled trail which 
connects the Tapajos vpith the Madeira via the Canama. The guide, however, 
got lost, and after a few days they all returned to the point of departure 
instead of going through to the Canama. 

Seuhor Barreto, a gentleman of high standing, related this last incident to 


is a pity to make it a work of irritating labour to find out just 
what the thought is. Surely, if he will take as much pains with 
his writing as he has with the far more difficult business of ex- 
ploring and collecting, he will become able to express his thought 
clearly and forcefully. At least he can, if he chooses, go over his 
sentences until he is reasonably sure that they can be parsed. He 
can take pains to see that his whole thought is expressed, instead 
of leaving vacancies which must be filled by the puzzled and 
groping reader. His own views and his quotations from the views 
of others about the static and dynamic theories of distribution are 
examples of an important principle, so imperfectly expressed as to 
make us doubtful whether it is perfectly apprehended by the writer. 
He can avoid the use of those pedantic terms, which are really 
nothing but offensive, and, fortunately, ephemeral scientific slang. 
There has been, for instance, a recent vogue for the extensive mis- 
use, usually tautological misuse, of the word " complexus " — an 
excellent word if used rarely and for definite purposes. Mr. Base- 
man drags it in continually when its use is either pointless and 
redundant, or else serves purely to darken wisdom. He speaks of 

Fiala when Fiala descended the Tapajos (and, by the way, Fiala's trip down 
the Papagaio, Juruena, and Tapajos was infinitely more important than all 
the work Mr. Landor did in South America put together). Lieutenants 
Pyrineus and Mello, mentioned in the body of this workj informed me that 
they accompanied Mr. Landor on most of his overland trip before he embarked 
on the Arinos, and that he simply followed the highroad or- else the telegraph- 
line, and, furthermore, Colonel Rondon states that the Indians whom Mr. 
Landor encountered and photographed were those educated at the missions. 

Colonel Rondon's official report to the Brazilian Government and his letter 
to me are of interest to all geographers and other scientific men who have 
any concern with the alleged discoveries of Mr. Landor. They contain very 
grave charges, with which it is not necessary for me to deal. Suffice it to say 
that Mr. Landor's accounts of his alleged exploration cannot be considered as 
entitled to the slightest serious consideration until he has satisfactorily and in 
detail answered Colonel Rondon ; and this he has thus far signally failed 
to do. 

Fortunately, there are numerous examples of exactly the opposite type of 
work. From the days of Humboldt and Spix and Martius to the present 
time, German explorers have borne a conspicuous part in the exploration of 
South America. As representatives of the men and women who have done 
such capital work, who have fronted every hazard and hardship, and laboured 
in the scientific spirit, and who have added greatly to our fund of geographic, 
biologic, and ethnographic knowledge, I may mention Miss Snethlage and 
Herr Karl von den Steinen. 



the "Antillean complex'" when he means the Antilles, of the 
" organic complex " instead of the characteristic or bodily charac- 
teristics of an animal or species, and of the "environmental 
complex," when he means nothing whatever but the environment. 
In short, Mr. Haseman, and those whose bad example he in this 
instance foUows, use " complexus " in much the same spirit as that 
displayed by the famous old lady who derived rehgious — instead 
of scientific — consolation from the use of " the blessed word 

The reason that it is worth while to enter this protest against 
Mr. Haseman's style is because his work is of such real and marked 
value. The pamphlet on the distribution of South American 
species shows that to exceptional ability as a field worker, he adds 
a rare power to draw, with both caution and originality, the 
necessary general conclusions from the results of his own observa- 
tions and from the recorded studies of other men ; and there is 
nothing more needed at the present moment among our scientific 
men than the development of a school of men who, while indus- 
trious and minute observers and collectors and cautious generalizers, 
yet do not permit the faculty of wise generalization to be atrophied 
by excessive devotion to labyrinthine detail. 

Haseman upholds with strong reasoning the theory that since 
the appearance of all but the lowest forms of life on this globe, 
there have always been three great continental masses — sometimes 
solid, sometimes broken — extending southward from the northern 
hemisphere, and from time to time connected in the north, but 
not in the middle regions or the south since the carboniferous 
epoch. He holds that life has been intermittently distributed 
southward along these continental masses when there were no 
breaks in their southward connection, and intermittently exchanged 
between them when they were connected in the north ; and he also 
upholds the view that from a common ancestral form the same 
species has been often developed in entirely disconnected localities 
when in these localities the conditions of environment were the same. 

The opposite view is that there have been frequent connections 
between the great land masses, alike in the tropics, in the south 
temperate zone, and in the antarctic region. The upholders of 
this theory base it almost exclusively on the distribution of living 


and fossil forms of life ; that is, it is based almost exclusively on 
biological and not geological considerations. Unquestionably, the 
distribution of many forms of life, past and present, offers problems 
which with our present paleontological knowledge we are wholly 
unable to solve. If we consider only the biological facts concerning 
some one group of animals it is not only easy but inevitable to 
conclude that its distribution must be accounted for by the 
existence of some former direct land bridge extending, for 
instance, between Patagonia and Australia, or between Brazil and 
South Africa, or between the West Indies and the Mediterranean, 
or between a part of the Andean region and north-eastern Asia. 
The trouble is that as more groups of animals are studied from the 
standpoint of this hypothesis the number of such land bridges 
demanded to account for the existing facts of animal distribution 
is constantly and indefinitely extended. A recent book by one of 
the most learned advocates of this hypothesis calls for at least ten 
such land bridges between South America and all the other 
continents, present and past, of the world since a period geologic- 
ally not very remote. These land bridges, moreover, must, many 
of them, have been literally bridges ; long, narrow tongues of land 
thrust in every direction across the broad oceans. According to 
this view the continental land masses have been in a fairly fluid 
condition of instability. By parity of reasoning, the land bridges 
could be made a hundred instead of merely ten in number. The 
facts of distribution are in many cases inexplicable with our present 
knowledge; yet if the existence of widely separated but closely 
allied forms is habitually to be explained in accordance with the 
views of the extremists of this school we could, from the exclusive 
study of certain groups of animals, conclude that at different 
periods the United States and almost every other portion of the 
earth were connected by land and severed from all other regions by 
water — and, from the study of certain other groups of animals, 
arrive at directly opposite and incompatible conclusions. 

The most brilliant and unsafe exponent of this school was 
Ameghino, who possessed and abused two gifts, both essential to 
the highest type of scientist, and both mischievous unless this 
scientist possess a rare and accurate habit of thought joined to 
industry and mastery of detail — namely, the gift of clear and 


interesting writing, and the gift of generalization. Ameghino 
rendered marked services to paleontology. But he generalized 
with complete recklessness from the slenderest data; and even 
these data he often completely misunderstood or misinterpreted. 
His favourite thesis included the origin of mammalian life and of 
man himself in southernmost South America, with, as incidents, 
the belief that the mammalian-bearing strata of South America 
were of much greater age than the strata with corresponding 
remains elsewhere; that in South America various species and 
genera of men existed in tertiary times, some of them at least as 
advanced as fairly well advanced modern savages ; that there 
existed various land bridges between South America and other 
southern continents, including Africa ; and that the ancestral types 
of modern mammals and of man himself wandered across one of 
these bridges to the old world, and that thence their remote 
descendants, after ages of time, returned to the new. In addition 
to valuable investigations of fossil-bearing beds in the Argentine, 
he made some excellent general suggestions, such as that the 
pithecoid apes, like the baboons, do not stand in the line of man's 
ancestral stem but represent a divergence from it away from 
humanity and toward a retrogressive bestialization. But of his 
main theses he proves none, and what evidence we have tells 
against them. At the Museum of La Plata I found that the 
authorities were practically a unit in regarding his remains of 
tertiary men and proto-men as being either the remains of tertiary 
American monkeys or of American Indians from strata that were 
long post-tertiary. The extraordinary discovery, due to that 
eminent scientist and public servant Doctor Moreno, of the remains 
of man associated with the remains of the great extinct South 
American fauna, of the mylodon, of a giant ungulate, of a huge 
cat like the lion, and of an extraordinary aberrant horse (of a wholly 
different genus from the modern horse) conclusively shows that in 
its later stages the South American fauna consisted largely of types 
that elsewhere had already disappeared and that these types per- 
sisted into what was geologically a very recent period only some 
tens of thousands of years ago, when savage man of practically 
a modern type had already appeared in South America. The 
evidence we have, so far as it goes, tends to show that the South 


American fauna always has been more archaic in type than the 
arctogeal fauna of the same chronological level. 

To loose generalizations, and to elaborate misinterpretations of 
paleontological records, the kind of work done by Mr. Haseman 
furnishes an invaluable antiscorbutic. To my mind, he has estab- 
lished a stronger presumption in favour of the theory he champions 
than has been established in favour of the theories of any of the 
learned and able scientific men from whose conclusions he dissents. 
Further research, careful, accurate, and long extended, can alone 
enable us to decide definitely in the matter ; and this research, to 
be effective, must be undertaken by many men, each of whom shall 
in large measure possess Mr. Haseman's exceptional power of 
laborious work both in the field and in the study, his insight and 
accuracy of observation, and his determination to follow truth with 
inflexible rectitude wherever it may lead — one of the greatest among 
the many great qualities which lifted Huxley and Darwin above 
their fellows. 



South America includes so many different kinds of country that it 
is impossible to devise a scheme of equipment which shall suit all. 
A hunting trip in the pantanals, in the swamp country of the upper 
Paraguay, offers a simple problem. An exploring trip through an 
unknown tropical forest region, even if the work is chiefly done by 
river, offers a very difficult problem. All that I can pretend to do 
is to give a few hints as the results of our own experience. 

For bedding there should be a hammock, mosquito-net, and light 
blanket. These can be obtained m Brazil. For tent a light fly 
is ample ; ours were brought with us from New York. In exploring 
only the open fly should be taken ; but on trips where weight of 
luggage is no objection, there can be walls to the tent and even a 
canvas floor-cloth. Camp-chairs and a camp -table should be 
brought — any good outfitter in the United States will supply them — 
and not thrown away until it becomes imperative to cut everything 
down. On a river trip first-class pulleys and ropes — preferably 
steel, and at any rate very strong — should be taken. Unless the 
difficulties of transportation are insuperable, canvas-and-cement 
canoes, such as can be obtained from various firms in Canada and 
the United States, should by all means be taken. They are incom- 
parably superior to the dugouts. But on different rivers wholly 
different canoes, of wholly different sizes, will be needed ; on some 
steam or electric launches may be used ; it is not possible to lay 
down a general rule. 

As regards arms, a good plain 12-bore shot-gun with a 30-30 
rifle-barrel underneath the others is the best weapon to have 
constantly in one's hand in the South American forests, where big 



game is rare and yet may at any time come in one's path. When 
specially hunting the jaguar, marsh-deer, tapir, or big peccary, an 
ordinary light repeating rifle — the 30-30, 30-40, or 256 — is prefer- 
able. No heavy rifle is necessary for South America. Tin boxes 
or trunks are the best in which to carry one's spare things. A good 
medicine-chest is indispensable. Nowadays doctors know so much 
of tropical diseases that there is no difficulty in fitting one out. It 
is better not to make the trip at all than to fail to take an ample 
supply of quinine pills. Cholera pills and cathartic pills come next 
in importance. In liquid shape there should be serum to inject for 
the stoppage of amoebic dysentery, and anti-snake-venom seram. 
Fly-dope should be taken in quantities. 

For clothing Kermit and I used what was left over from 
our African trip. Sun helmets are best in the open ; slouch-hats 
are infinitely preferable in the woods. There should be hobnailed 
shoes — the nails many and small, not few and large — and also 
moccasins or rubber-soled shoes, and light, flexible leggings. 
Tastes diff^er in socks ; I like mine of thick wool. A khaki-coloured 
shirt should be worn, or, as a better substitute, a khaki jacket 
with many pockets. Very light underclothes are good. If one's 
knees and legs are, unfortunately, tender, knickerbockers, with long 
stockings and leggings, should be worn ; ordinary trousers tend to 
bind the knee. Better still, if one's legs will stand the exposure, 
are shorts, not coming down to the knee. A kilt would probably 
be best of all. Kermit wore shorts in the Brazilian forest, as he 
had" already worn them in Africa, in Mexico, and in the New 
Brunswick woods. Some of the best modern hunters always wear 
shorts ; as, for example, that first-class sportsman the Duke of Alva. 

Mr. Fiala, after the experience of his trip down the Papagaio, 
the Juruena, and the Tapajos, gives his judgment about equipment 
and provisions as follows : 

The history of South American exploration has been full of the 
losses of canoes and cargoes and lives. The native canoe made 
from the single trunk of a forest giant is the craft that has been 
used. It is durable, and if lost can be readily replaced from the 
forest by good men with axes and adzes. But, because of its great 
weight and low free-board, it is unsuitable as a freight carrier, and, 


by reason of the limitations of its construction is not of the correct 
form to successfully run the rapid and bad waters of many of the 
South American rivers. The North American Indian has un- 
doubtedly developed a vastly superior craft in the birch-bark canoe, 
and with it will run rapids that a South American Indian, with 
his log canoe, would not think of attempting, though, as a general 
thing, the South American Indian is a wonderful waterman, the 
equal, and in some ways the superior, of his northern contemporary. 
At the many carries or portages the light birch-bark canoe or its 
modem representative, the canvas-covered canoe, can be picked up 
bodily, and carried by from two to four men for several miles, if 
necessary, while the log canoe has to be hauled by ropes and back- 
breaking labour over rollers that have first to be cut from trees in 
the forest, or, at great risk, led along the edge of the rapids with 
ropes and hooks and poles ; the men often up to their shoulders in 
the rushing waters, guiding the craft to a place of safety. 

The native canoe is so long and heavy that it is difficult to 
navigate without some bumps on the rocks. In fact, it is usually 
dragged over the rocks in the shallow water near shore in prefer- 
ence to taking the risk of a plunge through the rushing volume of 
deeper water, for reasons stated above. The North American canoe 
can be turned with greater facility in critical moments in bad water. 
Many a time I heard my steersman exclaim with delight as we took 
a difficult passage between two rocks with our loaded Canadian 
canoe. In making the same passage the dugout would go sideways 
toward the rapid, until, by a supreme effort, her three powerful 
paddlers and steersman would right her just in time. The native 
canoe would ship great quantities of water in places the Canadian 
canoe came through without taking any water on board. We did 
bump a few rocks under water, but the canoe was so elastic that no 
damage was done. 

Our nineteen-foot carewas-covered freight canoe, a type especially 
built for the purpose on deep, full lines with high free-board, 
weighed about one hundred and sixty pounds, and would carry a 
ton ot cargo with ease — and also take it safely where the same 
cargo distributed among two or three native thirty or thirty-five 
foot canoes would be lost. The native canoes weigh from about 
nine hundred to two thousand five hundred pounds and more. 


In view of the above facts the explorer-traveller is advised to 
take with him the North American canoe if he intends serious 
work. Two canoes would be a good arrangement for from five to 
seven men, with at least one steersman and two paddlers to each 
canoe. The canoes can be purchased in two sizes, and nested for 
transportation, an arrangement which would save considerable 
expense in freight bills. At least six paddles should be packed 
with each boat, in length four and one-half, four and three-fourths, 
and five feet. Other paddles, from six and one-half feet to eight 
and one-half feet, should be provided for steering-oars. The native 
paddler, after he has used the light Canadian paddle, prefers it to the 
best native make. My own paddlers lost or broke all of their own 
paddles so as to get the North American ones, which they marked 
with their initials, and used most carefully. 

To each canoe it would be well to have two copper air-tanks 
fitted, one fore, one aft, a hand-hole in each with a water-tight screw 
cover on hatch. In these tanks could be kept a small supply of 
matches, the chronometer or watch which is used for position, and 
the scientific records and diary. Of course, the fact should be kept 
in mind that these are air- tanks, not to be used so as to appreciably 
diminish their buoyancy. Each canoe should also carry a small 
repair kit, attached to one of the thwarts, containing cement, 
a piece of canvas same as cover of canoe, copper tacks, rivets, and 
some galvanized nails ; a good hatchet and a hammer ; a small 
can of canoe-paint, spar varnish, and copper paint for worn places 
would be a protection against termites and torrential downpours. 
In concluding the subject of canoes I can state that the traveller 
in South America will find no difiiculty in disposing of his craft at 
the end of his trip. 

Motors. — We had with us a three and one-half horse-power 
motor which could be attached to stem or gunwale of canoe or 
boat. It was made by the Evinrude Motor Company, who had a 
magneto placed .in the fly-wheel of the engine so that we never had 
to resort to the battery to run the motor. Though the motor was 
left out in the rain and sun, often without a cover, by careless 
native help, it never failed us. We found it particularly valuable 
in going against the strong current of the Sepotuba River where 
several all-night trips were made up-stream, the motor attached 


to a heavy boat. For exploration up-stream it would be valuable, 
particularly as it is easily portable, weighing for the two horse-power 
motor fifty pounds, for three and one-half horse-power one hun- 
dred pounds. If a carburettor could be attached so that kerosene 
could be used, it would add to its value many times, for kerosene 
can be purchased almost anywhere in South America. 

Tents. — ^There is nothing better for material than the light 
waterproof Sea Island cotton of American manufacture, made under 
the trade name of waterproof silk. It keeps out the heaviest rain 
and is very light. Canvas becomes water-soaked, and cravenetted 
material lets the water through. A waterproof canvas floor is a 
luxury, and, though it adds to the weight, it may with advantage 
be taken on ordinary trips. The tent should be eight by eight or 
eight by nine feet, large enough to swing a comfortable hammock. 
A waterproof canvas bag and a loose-fitting envelope for the tent 
should be provided. Native help is, as a rule, careless, and the 
bag would save wear and tear. 

Hammocks. — The hammock is the South American bed, and the 
traveller will find it exceedingly comfortable. After leaving the 
larger cities and settlements a bed is a rare object. All the houses 
are provided with extra hammock hooks. The traveller will be 
entertained hospitably, and after dinner will be given two hooks 
upon which to hang his hammock, for he will be expected to have 
his hammock and, in insect time, his net, if he has nothing else. 
As a rule a native hammock and net can be procured in the field ; 
but it is best to take a comfortable one along, arranged with a fine- 
meshed net. 

In regard to the folding cot : It is heavy, and its numerous legs 
form a sort of highway system over which all sorts of insects can 
crawl up to the sleeper. The ants are special pests, and some 
of them can bite with the enthusiastic vigour of beasts many times 
their size. The canvas floor in a tent obviates to a degree the 
insect annoyance. 

The headwaters of the rivers are usually reached by pack-trains 
of mules and oxen. The primitive ox-cart also comes in where the 
trail is not too bad. One hundred and sixty to one hundred and 
eighty pounds is a good load for the pack-animals, and none of the 


cases should weigh more than fifty or sixty pounds. Each case 
should be marked with its contents and gross and net weight in 

For personal baggage the light fibre sample case used by 
travelling men in the United States does admirably. The regulation 
fibre case with its metal binding sold for the piu-pose is too heavy 
and has the bad feature of swelling up under the influence of rain 
and dampness, often necessitating the use of an axe or heavy 
hammer to remove cover. 

The ordinary fibre trunk is good for rail and steamer travel, but 
it is absolutely unpractical for mule-back or canoe. The fibre 
sample case could be developed into a container particularly 
fitted for exploration. The fibre should be soaked in hot paraffin 
and then hot-calendered or hot-pressed. This case could then 
be covered with waterproof canvas with throat opening like a 

The waterproof duffel-bags usually sold are too light in texture 
and wear through. A heavier grade should be used. The small 
duffel-bag is very convenient for hammock and clothing, but 
generally the thing wanted will be at the bottom of the bag ! We 
took with us a number of small cotton bags. As cotton is very 
absorbent, I had them paraffined. Each bag was tagged, and all 
were placed in the large duffel-bag. The light fibre case 
described above, made just the right size for mule pack, divided 
by partitions, and covered with a duffel-bag, would prove a great 

The light steel boxes made in England for travellers in India 
and Africa would prove of value in South American exploration. 
They have the advantage of being insect and water proof and the 
disadvantage of being expensive. 

It would be well if the traveller measured each case for personal 
equipment and computed the limit of weight that it could carry 
and still float. By careful distribution of light and heavy articles 
in the different containers he could be sure of his belongings 
floating if accidentally thrown into the water. 

It is not always possible to get comfortable native saddles. They 
are all constructed on heavy lines with thick padding, which be- 
comes water-soaked in the rainy season. A United States military 


saddle, with Whitman or McCIellan tree, would be a positive 
luxury. Neither of them is padded, so would be the correct thing 
for all kinds of weather. The regulation army saddle-blanket is 
also advised as a protection for the mule's back. The muleteer 
should wash the saddle-blanket often. For a long mule-back trip 
through a game country, it would be well to have a carbine boot 
on the saddle (United States Army) and saddle-bags with winteen 
and cup. In a large pack-train much time and labour are lost 
every morning collecting the mules which strayed while grazing. 
It would pay in the long run to feed a little com at a certain hour 
every morning in camp, always ringing a bell or blowing a horn at 
the time. The mules would get accustomed to receiving the feed 
and would come to camp for it at the signal. 

All the rope that came to my attention in South America was 
three-strand hemp, a hard material, good for standing rigging but 
not good for tackle or for use aboard canoes. A four-ply bolt 
rope of best manilla, made in New Bedford, Mass., should be 
taken. It is the finest and most pliable line in the world, as any 
old whaler will tell you. Get a sailor of the old school to relay 
the coils before you go into the field so that the rope will be ready 
for use. Five-eighths to seven-eighths inch diameter is large 
enough. A few balls of marline come in conveniently as also does 
heavy linen fish-line. 

A small-sized duffel-bag should be provided for each of the men 
as a container for hammock and net, spare clothing, and mess-kit. 
A very small waterproof pouch or bag should be furnished also for 
matches, tobacco, etc. 

The men should be limited to one duffel-bag each. These bags 
should be numbered consecutively. In fact, every piece in the 
entire equipment should be thus numbered and a list kept in detail 
in a book. 

The explorer should personally see that each of his men has a 
hammock, net, and poncho ; for the native, if left unsupervised, 
will go into the field with only the clothing he has on. 

Food. — Though South America is rich in food and food 
possibilities, she has not solved the problem of living economically 
on her frontiers. The prices asked for food in the rubber districts 
we passed through were amazing. Five milreis (one dollar and 


fifty cents) was cheap for a chicken, and eggs at five hundred reis 
(fifteen cents) apiece were a rarity. Sugar was bought at the rate 
of one to two milreis a kilo — in a country where sugar-cane grows 
luxuriantly. The main dependence is the mandioc, or farina, as it 
is called. It is the bread of the country and is served at every 
meal. The native puts it on his meat and in his soup and mixes 
it with his rice and beans. When he has nothing else, he eats the 
farina, as it is called, by the handful. It is seldom cooked. The 
small mandioc tubers when boiled are very good and are used 
instead of potatoes. Native beans are nutritious and form one of 
the chief foods. 

In the field the native cook wastes much time. Generally pro- 
vided with an inadequate cooking equipment, hours are spent 
cooking beans after the day's work, and. then, of course, they are 
often only partially cooked. A kettle or aluminium Dutch oven 
should be taken along, large enough to cook enough beans for both 
breakfast and dinner. The beans should be cooked all night, a 
fire kept burning for the purpose. It would only be necessary 
then to warm the beans for breakfast and dinner, the two South 
American meals. 

For meat the rubber hunter and explorer depends upon his rifle 
and fish-hook. The rivers are full of fish, which can readily be 
caught, and in Brazil, the tapir, capybara, paca, agouti, two or 
three varieties of deer, and two varieties of wild pig, can occasionally 
be shot ; and most of the monkeys are used for food. Turtles and 
turtle eggs can be had in season, and a great variety of birds, some 
of them delicious in flavour and heavy in meat. In the hot, moist 
climate fresh meat will not keep, and even salted meat has been 
known to spoil. For use on the Roosevelt expedition I arranged 
a ration for five men for one day packed in a tin box ; the party 
which went down the Diivida made each ration do for six men for 
a day and a half, and in addition gave over half the bread or hard- 
tack to the camaradas. By placing the day's allowance of bread 
in this same box, it was lightened sufficiently to float if dropped 
into water. There were seven variations in the arrangement of 
food in these boxes, and they were numbered from 1 to 7, so that 
a different box could be used every day of the week. In addition 
to the food, each box contained a cake of soap, a piece of cheese- 



cloth, two boxes of matches, and a box of table salt. These tin 
boxes were lacquered to protect from rust and enclosed in wooden 
cases for transportation. A number in large type was printed on 

Daily Bation lor Five Men. 



























Tea-biscuits ... 















Dehydrated potatoes... 








Dehydrated onions ... 
















Evaporated soups 








Baked beans 






Condensed milk 








Bacon ... 








Roast beef 







Braised beef 






Corned beef 
















Curry and chicken ... 







Boned chicken 







Fruits : evaporated 




. — 













































Sweet chocolate 








Each box also contained . 

Muslin, one yard 








Matches, boxes 








Soap, one cake 








The above weights of food are net in avoirdupois ounces. Each complete 
ration with its tin container weighed nearly twenty-seven pounds. The five 
pounds over net weight of daily ration was taken up in tin necessary for pro- 
tection of food. The weight of component parts of daily ration had to be 
governed to some extent by the size of the commercial package in which the 
food could be purchased on short notice. Austin, Nichols and Co., of New 
York, who supplied the food stores for my polar expedition, worked day and 
night to complete the packing of the rations on time. 


each. No. I was cased separately ; Nos. 2 and 3, 4 and 5, 6 and 7, 
were cased together. For canoe travel the idea was to take these 
wooden cases off". I did not have an opportunity personally to 
experience the management of these food cases. We had sent 
them all ahead by pack-train for the explorers of the Diivida 
River. The exploration of the Papagaio was decided upon during 
the march over the plateau of Matto Grosso, and was accomplished 
with dependence upon native food only. 

The food cases described above were 'used on Colonel Roosevelt's 
descent of the Rio da Ddvida and also by the party who journeyed 
down the Gy-Parand and Madeira Rivers. Leo Miller, the 
naturalist, who was a member of the last-named party, arrived 
in Manaos, Brazil, while I was there and, in answer to my question, 
told me that the food served admirably and was good, but that the 
native cooks had a habit of opening a number of cases at a time 
to satisfy their personal desire for special delicacies. Bacon was 
the article most sought for. Speaking critically, for a strenuous 
piece of work like the exploration of the Diivida, the food was 
somewhat bulky. A ration arrangement such as I used on my 
sledge trips north would have contained more nutritious elements 
in a smaller space. We could have done without many of the 
luxuries. But the Duvida had not been contemplated and had no 
place in the itinerary mapped out in New York. The change of 
plan and the decision to explore the Duvida River came about in 
Rio Janeiro, long after our rations had been made out and 

" Matt^," the tea of Brazil and Paraguay, used in most of the 
states of South America, should not be forgotten. It is a valuable 
beverage. With it a native can do a wonderful amount of work on 
little food. Upon the tired traveller it has a very refreshing 

Doctor Peckolt, celebrated chemist of Rio de Janeiro, has com- 
pared the analysis of matte with those of green tea, black tea, and 
coffee, and obtained the result as shown in table on p. 352, 

Some experiments have been made lately with the use of matte 
in the German army, and probably it would be a valuable beverage 
for the use of our own troops. Two plates and a cup, knife, fork, 
and spoon should be provided for each member of the party. The 



United States Army mess-kit would serve admirably. Each man's 
mess-kit should be numbered to correspond with the number on 
his dufFel-bag. 

An aluminium (for lightness) cooking outfit, or the Dutch oven 
mentioned, with three or four kettles nested within, a coffee-pot or 
a teapot would suffice. The necessary large spoons and forks for 
the cook, a small meat grinder, and a half-dozen skinning knives 
could all be included in the fibre case. These outfits are usually 
sold with the cups, plates, etc., for the table. As before suggested, 
each member of the party should have his own mess-kit. It should 
not be carried with the general cooking outfit. By separating the 

In 1,000 Parts of— 

Green Tea. 

Black Tea. 



Natural oil 

Chlorophyl ... 


Alkaloids : 


CofFeinaj ■" 
Extractive substances 

Cellulose and fibres 




























Manner of preparation : The matte tea is prepared in the same manner as 
the Indian tea — that is to say, by pouring upon it boiling water during ten to 
fifteen minutes before using. To obtain a good infusion five spoonfuls of 
matte are sufficient for a litre of water. 

eating equipments thus, one of the problems of hygiene and cleanli- 
ness is simplified. 

Rifles — Ammunition. — A heavy rifle is not advised. The only 
animals that can be classed as dangerous are the jaguar and white- 
jawed peccary, and a 30-30 or 44 calibre is heavy enough for such 
game. The 44-calibre Winchester or Remington carbine is the 
arm generally used throughout South America, and 44 calibre is 
the only ammunition that one can depend upon securing in the 
field. Every man has his own preference for an arm. However, 
there is no need of carrying a 9 or 10 pound weapon when a 
rifle weighing only from 6| to 7^ pounds will do all that is necessary. 
I, personally, prefer the small calibre rifle, as it can be used for 


birds also. The three- barrelled gun, combining a double shot-gun 
and a rifle, is an excellent weapon, and it is particularly valuable 
for the collector of natural-history specimens. A new gun has just 
come on the market which may prove valuable in South America, 
where there is such a variety of game, a four-barrel gun, weighing 
only 8^ pounds. It has two shot-gun barrels, one 30- to 44!-calibre 
rifle and the rib separating the shot-gun barrels is bored for a 
22-calibre rifle cartridge. The latter is particularly adapted for the 
large food birds, which a heavy rifle-bullet might tear. Twenty- 
two-calibre ammunition is also very light and the long 22-calibre 
exceedingly powerful. Unless in practice it proves too complicated, 
it would seem to be a good arm for all-round use — 16- to 20-gauge 
is large enough for the shot-gun barrels. Too much emphasis 
cannot be placed upon the need of being provided with good 
weapons. After the loss of all our arms in the rapids we secured 
four poor, rusty rifles which proved of no value. We lost three 
deer, a tapir, and other game, and finally gave up the use of the 
rifles, depending upon hook and line. A 25- or 30-calibre high- 
power automatic pistol with 6- or 7-inch barrel would prove a 
valuable arm to carry always on the person. It could be used for 
large game and yet would not be too large for food birds. It is to 
be regretted that there is nothing in the market of this character. 

We had our rifle ammunition packed by the U.M.C. Company 
in zinc cases of one hundred rounds each, a metallic strip with pull 
ring closing the two halves of the box. Shot- cartridge, 16-gauge, 
were packed the same way, twenty-five to the box. 

The explorer would do well always to have on his person a 
compass, a light waterproof bag containing matches, a waterproof 
box of salt, and a strong, light, linen or silk fish-line with several 
hooks, a knife, and an automatic pistol at his belt, with several loaded 
magazines for the latter in his pocket. Thus provided, if acci- 
dentally lost for several days in the forest (which often happens to 
the rubber-hunters in Brazil), he will be provided with the possi- 
bility of getting game, and making himself shelter and fire at night. 

Fish. — For small fish like the pacu and piranha an ordinary bass 
hook will do. For the latter, because of its sharp teeth, a hook 
with a long shank and phosphor-bronze leader is the best ; the same 
character of leader is best on the hook to be used for the big fish. 



A tarpon-hook will hold most of the great fish of the rivers. A 
light rod and reel would be a convenience in catching the pacu. 
We used to fish for the latter variety in the quiet pools while 
allowing the canoe to drift, and always saved some of the fish as bait 
for the big fellows. We fished for the pacu as the native does, 
kneading a ball of mandioc farina with water and placing it on the 
hook as bait. I should not be surprised, though, if it were possible, 
with carefully chosen flies, to catch some of the fish that every 
once in a while we saw rise to the surface and drag some luckless 
insect under. 

Clothing. — Even the experienced traveller when going into a 
new field will commit the crime of carrying too much luggage. 
Articles which he thought to be camp necessities become camp 
nuisances, which worry his men and kill his mules. The lighter 
one can travel the better. In the matter of clothing — before the 
actual wilderness is reached — the costume one would wear to business 
in New York in summer is practical for most of South America, 
except, of course, the high mountain regions, where a warm wrap is 
necessary. A white or natural linen suit is a very comfortable 
garment. A light blue unlined serge is desirable as a change and 
for wear in rainy weather. 

Strange to relate, the South American seems to have a fondness 
for stiff collars. Even in Corumba, the hottest place I have ever 
been in, the native does not think he is dressed unless he weaxs one 
of these stiff abominations around his throat. A light negligee 
shirt, with interchangeable or attached soft collars, is vastly prefer- 
able. In the frontier regions and along the rivers the pyjama seems 
to be the conventional garment for day as well as night wear. 
Several such suits of light material should be carried — the more 
ornamented and beautifully coloured the greater favour will they 
find along the way. A light cravenetted mackintosh is necessaxy 
for occasional cool evenings and as a protection against the rain. 
It should have no cemented rubber seams to open up in the warm, 
moist climate. Yachting Oxfords and a light pair of leather 
shppers complete the outfit for steamer travel. For the field, two 
or three light woollen khaki-coloured shirts, made with two breast 
pockets with buttoned flaps, two pairs of long khaki trousers, two 
pairs of riding breeches, a khaki coat cut military fashion with 


four pockets with buttoned flaps, two suits of pyjamas, handerchiefs, 
socks, etc., would be necessary. The poncho should extend to 
below the knees, and should be provided with a hood large enough 
to cover the helmet. It should have no cemented seams ; the 
material recently adopted by the United States Army for ponchos 
seems to be the best. For footgear the traveller needs two pairs of 
stout, high hunting shoes, built on the moccasin form with soles. 
Hobnails should be taken along to insert if the going is over rocky 
places. It is also advisable to provide a pair of very light leather 
slipper boots to reach to just under the knee for wear in camp. 
They protect the legs and ankles from insect stings and bites. The 
traveller who enters ti'opical South America should protect his 
head with a wide-brimmed soft felt hat with ventilated head-band, 
or the best and lightest pith helmet that can be secured, one large 
enough to shade the face and back of neck. There should be a 
ventilating space all around the head-band ; the wider the space 
the better. These helmets can be secured in Rio and Buenos Aires. 
Head-nets with face plates of horsehair are the best protection 
against small insect pests. They are generally made too small and 
the purchaser should be careful to get one large enough to go over 
his helmet and come down to the breast. Several pairs of loose 
gloves rather long in the wrist will be needed as protection against 
the flies, piums and boroshudas which draw blood with every bite 
and are numerous in many parts of South America. A waterproof 
sun umbrella, with a jointed handle about 6 feet long terminating 
in a point, would be a decided help to the scientist at work in the 
field. A fine-meshed net fitting around the edge of the umbrella 
would make it insect proof. When folded it would not be bulky 
and its weight would be negligible. Such an umbrella could also 
be attached, with a special clamp, to the thwart of a canoe and so 
prove a protection from both sun and rain. 

There are little personal conveniences which sometimes grow into 
necessities. One of these in my own case was a little electric flash- 
light taken for the purpose of reading the verniers of a theodolite 
or sextant in star observations. It was used every night and for 
many purposes. As a matter of necessity, where insects are 
numerous, one turns to the protection of his hammock and net 
immediately after the evening meal. It was at such times that I 


found the electric lamp so helpful. Reclining in the hammock, 
I held the stock of the light under my left arm and with diary in 
my lap wrote up my records for the day. I sometimes read by its 
soft, steady light. One charge of battery, to my surprise, lasted 
nearly a month. When forced to pick out a camping spot after 
dark, an experience which comes to every traveller in the tropics in 
the rainy season, we found its light very helpful. Neither rain nor 
wind could put it out and the light could be directed wherever 
needed. The charges should be calculated on the plan of one for 
every three weeks. The acetylene lamp for camp illumination is an 
advance over the kerosene lantern. It has been found that for 
equal weight the carbide will give more light than kerosene or 
candle. The carbide should be put in small containers, for each 
time a box is opened some of the contents turns into gas from 
contact with the moist air. 

Tools. — Three or four good axes, several bill-hooks, a good 
hatchet with hammer-head and nail-puller should be in the tool 
kit. In addition, each man should be provided with a belt-knife 
and a machete with sheath. Collins makes the best machetes. 
His axes, too, are excellent. The bill-hook, caWed Jhice in Brazil, 
is a most valuable tool for clearing away small trees, vines, and 
undergrowths. It is marvellous how quickly an experienced hand 
can clear the ground in a forest with one of these instruments. 
All of these tools should have handles of second-growth American 
hickory of first quality, and several extra handles should be taken 
along. The list of tools should be completed with a small outfit 
of pliers, tweezers, files, etc. — the character, of course, depending 
upon the mechanical ability of the traveller, and the scientific 
instruments he has with him that might need repairs. 

SuR-vTEY Instkuments. — The choice of instruments will depend 
largely upon the character of the work intended. If a compass 
survey will suffice, there is nothing better than the cavalry sketch- 
ing-board used in the United States Army for reconnaissance. 
With a careful hand it approaches the high degree of perfection 
attained by the plane-table method. It is particularly adapted for 
river survey, and, after one gets accustomed to its use, it is very 
simple. If the plasmatic compass is preferred, nothing smaller 
than two and one-half inches in diameter should be used. In the 


smaller sizes the magnet is not powerful enough to move the dial 
quickly or accurately. 

Several good pocket compasses must be provided. They should 
all have good-sized needles, with the north end well marked and 
degrees engraved in metal. If the floating dial is preferred, it 
should be of aluminium, and nothing smaller than two and one- 
half inches, for the same reason as mentioned above regarding the 
prismatic compass. 

Expense should not be spared if it is necessary to secure good 
compasses. Avoid paper dials and leather cases which absorb 
moisture. The compass case should allow taking apart for clean- 
ing and drying. 

The regular chronometer movement, because of its delicacy, is 
out of the question for rough land or water travel. We had with 
us a small-sized half-chronometer movement, recently brought out 
by the Waltham Company as a yacht chronometer. It gave a 
surprisingly even rate under the most adverse conditions. I was 
sorry to lose it in the rapids of the Papagaio when our canoes 
went down. 

The watches should be waterproof with strong cases, and several 
should be taken. It would be well to have a dozen cheap but 
good watches, and the same number of compasses, for use around 
camp, and for gifts or trade along the line of travel. Money is of 
no value after one leaves the settlements. I was surprised to find 
that many of the rubber-hunters were not provided with com- 
passes, and I listened to an American who told of having been 
lost in the depths of the great forest, where for days he lived on 
monkey-meat secured with his rifle, until he found his way to the 
river. He had no compass, and could not get one. I was sorry I 
had none to give ; I had lost mine in the rapids. 

For the determination of latitude and longitude, there is nothing 
better than a small 4- or 5-inch theodolite, not over fifteen 
pounds in weight. It should have a good prism eyepiece with an 
angle tube attached, so it would not be necessary to break one's 
neck in reading high altitudes. For days we travelled in the 
direction the sun was going, with altitudes varying from 88° to 
90°. Because of these high altitudes of the sun, the sextant with 
artificial horizon could not be used unless one depended upon star 


observations altogether, an uncertain dependence because of the 
many cloudy nights. 

Barometers. — The Goldsmith form of direct-reading aneroid is 
the most accurate portable instrument and, of course, should be 
compared with a standard mercurial at the last weather-bureau 

Thermometers. — A swing thermometer, with wet and dry bulbs 
for determination of the amount of moistm'e in the air, and the 
maximum and minimum thermometer of the signal-service or 
weather-bureau type should be provided, with a case to protect 
them from injury. 

A tape measm'e with metric scale of measurements on one side 
and feet and inches on the other is most important. Two small, 
light waterproof cases could be constructed and packed with 
scientific instruments, data, and spare clothing, and yet not exceed 
the weight limit of flotation. In transit by pack-train these two 
cases would form but one mule load. 

Photographic. — From the experience gained in several fields of 
exploration, it seems to me that the voyager should limit himself to 
one small -sized camera, which he can always have with him, and 
then carry a duplicate of it, soldered in tin, in the baggage. The 
duplicate need not be equipped with as expensive a lens and shutter 
as the camera carried for work ; 3| x 4J is a good size. Nothing 
larger than 3J x 5 J is advised. We carried the 3A special Kodak 
and found it a light, strong, and effective instrument. It seems to 
me that the ideal form of instrument would be one with a front 
board large enough to contain an adapter fitted for three lenses. 
For the 3i x 4 J : 

One lens 

4 or 4 J focus 

One lens 

.. 6 or 7 „ 

One lens telephoto or telecentric . 

.. 9 to 12 „ 

The camera should be made of metal and fitted with focal-plane 
shutter and direct view-finder. 

A sole-leather case with shoulder-strap should contain the camera 
and lenses, with an extra roll of films, all within instant reach, so 
that a lens could be changed without any loss of time. 

Plates, of coui-se, are the best, but their weight and frailty, with 


difficulty of handling, rule them out of the question. The roll film 
is the best, as the film pack sticks together and the stubs pull off 
in the moist, hot climate. The films should be purchased in rolls 
of six exposures, each roll in a tin, the cover sealed with surgical 
tape. Twelve of these tubes should be soldered in a tin box. In 
places where the air is charged with moisture a roll of films should 
not be left in a camera over twenty-four hours. 

Tank development is best for the field. The tanks provided for 
developing by the Kodak Company are best for fixing also. A nest 
of tanks would be a convenience ; one tank should be kept separate 
for the fixing-bath. As suggested in the Kodak circular, for tropical 
development a large-size tank can be used for holding the freezing 
mixture of hypo. This same tank would become the fixing tank 
after development. In the rainy season it is a difficult matter to 
dry films. Development in the field, with washing water at 80° F., 
is a patience-trying operation. It has occurred to me that a small 
air-pump with a supply of chloride of calcium in small tubes might 
solve the problem of preserving films in the tropics. The air-pump 
and supply of chloride of calcium would not be as heavy or bulky 
as the tanks and powders needed for development. By means of the 
air-pump the films could be sealed in tin tubes free from moisture, 
and kept thus until arrival at home or at a city where the air was 
fairly dry and cold water for washing could be had. 

AVhile I cordially agree with most of the views expressed by 
Mr. Fiala, there are some as to which I disagree ; for instance, we 
came very strongly to the conclusion, in descending the Diivida, 
where bulk was of great consequence, that the films should be in 
rolls of ten or twelve exposures. I doubt whether the four-barrel 
gun would be practical ; but this is a matter of personal taste. 



The first report on the expedition, made by me immediately after 
my arrival at Manaos, and published in Rio Janeiro upon its 
receipt, is as follows : 

To His Excellency The Minister of Foreig)i Affairs, 
Rio de Janeiro. 

May 1st, 1914. 
My deae General Lauro Muller : 

I wish first to express my profound acknowledgments to 
you personally and to the other members of the Brazilian Govern- 
ment whose generous courtesy alone rendered possible the Expedicao 
Scientifica Roosevelt-Rondon. I wish also to express my high 
admiration and regard for Colonel Rondon and his associates who 
have been my colleagues in this work of exploration. In the third 
place, I wish to point out that what we have just done was rendered 
possible only by the hard and perilous labour of the Brazilian 
Telegraphic Commission in the unexplored western wilderness of 
Matto Grosso during the last seven years. We have had a hard 
and somewhat dangerous but very successful trip. No less than 
six weeks were spent in slowly and with peril and exhausting 
labour forcing our way down through what seemed a literally end- 
less succession of rapids and cataracts. For forty-eight days we 
saw no human being. In passing these rapids we lost five of the 
seven canoes with which we started and had to build others. One 
of our best men lost his life in the rapids. Under the strain one 
of the men went completely bad, shirked all his work, stole his 



comrade's food, and when punished by the sergeant he, with cold- 
blooded deliberation, murdered the sergeant and fled into the 
wilderness. Colonel Rondon's dog running ahead of him while 
hunting, was shot by two Indians ; by his death he in all probability 
saved the life of his master. We have put on the map a river 
about 1,500 kilometres in length running from just south of the 
13th degree to north of the 5th degree and the biggest aflluent 
of. the Madeira. Until now its upper course has been utterly un- 
known to every one, and its lower course, although known for years 
to the rubber men, utterly unknown to all cartographers. ; Its 
source is between the 12th and 13th parallels of latitude south, 
and between longitude 59 degrees and longitude 60 degrees west 
from Greenwich. We embarked on it about at latitude 12 degrees 

I minute south and longitude 60 degrees 18 west. After that its 
entire course was between the 60th and 61st degrees of longitude 
approaching the latter most closely about in latitude 8 degrees 
15 minutes. The first rapids were at Navaite in 11 degrees 
44 minutes, and after that they were continuous and very difficult 
and dangerous until the rapids named after the murdered sergeant 
Paishon in 11 degrees 12 minutes. At 11 degrees 23 minutes the 
river received the Rio Kermit from the left. At 11 degrees 
22 minutes the Marciano Avila entered it from the right. At 

II degrees 18 minutes the Taunay entered from. the left. At 
10 degrees 58 minutes the Cardozo entered from the right. At lO 
degrees 24 minutes we encountered the first rubber man. The 
Rio Branco entered from the left at 9 degrees 38 minutes. We 
camped at 8 degrees 49 minutes or approximately the boundary 
line between Matto Grosso and Amazonas. The confluence with 
the upper Aripuanan, which entered from the right, was in 
7 degrees 34 minutes. The mouth where it entered the Madeira 
was in about 5 degrees 30 minutes. The stream we have followed 
down is that which rises farthest away from the mouth, and its 
generail course is almost due north. 

My dear Sir, I thank you from my heart for the chance to take 
part in this great work of exploration. 
With high regard and respect, believe me 

Very sincerely yours, 

Theodoiie Roosevelt. 



" African Game Trails," 21 

Agassizj 333 

Agouti, 162, 323 

Alencarliense, Lieutenant, 252 

Alligator, 75 

Alva, Duke of, Appendix B, 343 

Amarante, Lieutenant, 252, 254 

Amazon, 7, 271, 321 

Amazonas, Boundary Commission of, 
305, 327 

Ameghino, Doctor, 26 ; Appendix A, 

American Museum of Natural His- 
tory, 2, 7, 63, 136, 175 

Amilcar, Captain, 148, 159, 176, 195, 
206, 212, 219, 231, 264 ; loss of his 
notes and instruments, 319 ; arrives 
at Manaos, 319 

Ammunition, Appendix B, 352 

Anaconda, 51, 213 

Ananas River, 175, 224, 231, 298; 
note, 306 

Andes, 6 

Andre, 290 

Aneroid, 251, 263, 301 

Animals, wild, curious local change 
in habits of, 27 ; ignorance of some 
hunters concerning, 81 

Ant-eater, giant, tamandua bandeira, 
63, 64, 70 

Ant-hills, giant, 86, 179, 213 

Ants, 163, 235 ; poisonous, 52, 86 ; 
fire-ants, 102, 107, 110, 113, 140 ; 
foraging, 166, 167, 218, 269 ; leaf- 
carrying, 179, 240; giant, 246, 

Ants, socks and mosquito - netting 
eaten by, 163, 240, 286 

Argentina, 2 

Argentine, 9, 26 

Aripuanan, the, 266, 267, 278, 304, 
305, 316, 317, 318, 327 

Armadillos, 85, 86, 162, 192 

Arms, 5, 63, 232 ; Fox, 63 ; Spring- 
field rifle, 76, 87 ; Luger, 87, 220 ; 
Winchester, 79, 198, 310 ; Appen- 
dix B, 342, 352 

Arneherg, Mr., 29 

Arrows, 261 

Asuncion, 7 ; leave, 37, 42 

Automobile, a querulous traveller in 
the, 199, 200 

Ayolas, the Spanish explorer, 66 

Baggage, rearrangement of, 201 ; 
cutting down of, 231 ; further re- 
duction of, 263; final reduction of, 
283 ; personal. Appendix B, 347, 

Balsa, or ferry, 197, 205 

Bandeira, the, 237, 238 

Barbados, sail for, 325 

Barboso, Senhor, 310 

Barilloche, 33 

Barometers, Appendix B, 358 

Barros, Senhor de, 62 

Bates, H. W., 112, 323 ; Appendix A, 
334, 336 

Bats, 130 ; blood-sucking, 162, 163, 
224, 225 

Bedding, Appendix B, 342 

Bees, 198, 236, 240, 242, 247 

Belin (formerly Para), 322, 323, 324 ; 
zoological gardens at, 324 

Benedetto, 139-142, 143 

Beriberi, 149, 190, 298 

Birds, songs of, 31, 32, 270 ; bien- 
tevido, 33 ; tyrant flycatchers, 32, 
33, 34 ; advertising coloration of, 
34 ; habits of, 34 ; survival factors 
iu. species of, 35 ; water-fowl, 37, 
47, 56, 62, 66 ; difference in bird 
fauna, 66, 69 ; " Jesus Christ,'' 
69 ; wealth of bird life, 69 ; nests 




of, 69, 322 ; need for work of care- 
ful observer of, 70, 75 ; ants attack 
nestling, 86 ; extraordinary collec- 
tion of, 86, 88 ; oven-birds, 89 ; 
owl, 93, 151, 162; Guan, 95; 
sickle-billed bumming, 101 ; egrets, 
103 ; toucan, grotesque attitudes 
of, 104, 154 ; finfoots, 104 ; herons, 
105 ; troupials, 113 ; opportunity 
for study of, 110 ; parakeets, 116 ; 
screamers, 117 ; curassows, 118, 
285 ; snake, 122 ; cormorants, 122 ; 
spurred lapwing, 122 ; contrasts in 
habits between closely allied species 
of, 122 ; manakin, 128 ; whip-poor- 
will, 158 ; honey-creeper, 158 ; nun- 
lets, 158 ; waxbill, 159 ; trogons, 
168; false bell-bird, 108; wood- 
pecker, 192 ; some new, 204; breed- 
ing season of, 204 ; macaws, 204 ; 
old and new kinds of, 204 ; valuable 
addition to collection of, 207 ; un- 
familiar, 219, 220 ; sariema, 221, 
222 ; cotinga, 237 ; sixty new, 249 ; 
four new species of, 260 ; ant- 
thrush, 275, 279, 301 ; jacai'6-tiuga, 
303 ; trumpeter, 310 ; few water, 
315 ; hoatzin, archaic type of, 321 

Boats, house, 96 ; their use as stores, 

Bonifacio, Jos4, station of, 126, 228, 
230 ; provisions left at, 231 

Books, 161, 214, 232, 250 ; of travel. 
Appendix A, 333, 334 

Booth Line, 322 

Borah, Jake, 111 

BrazU, invitation of Government of, 
2 ; arrival at boundary of, 46, 48 ; 
intellectual and spiritual liberty of, 
48 ; healthiness of inland region of, 
97 ; invaluable reports of explora- 
tions published by Government of, 
126 ; educational needs of, 146 ; 
silver-mounted saddle and bridle 
presented to Colonel Roosevelt by 
Government of, 159 ; suggestion to 
combine the two expeditions made 
by Government of, 176 ; iirst ex- 
plorers of, 177 ; houses of labourers 
in, 183 ; healthy region for settle- 
ment offered by high interior of 
western, 203 ; courtesy of peasants 
of, 304; "last frontier" still exists 
in, 312 ; development of, 312, 313 ; 
Government of, orders Diivida River 
to be named Rio Roosevelt, 320 ; 

achievements of Government of, 
325, 326 ; Colonel Bondon's report 
of Savage Landor to Government 
of. Appendix A, note, 336, 337 

Braza, Doctor Vital, 13, 15, 18, 19, 
20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 40, 272 

Brazil Land and Cattle Company, 
headquarters of, 117, 118 

Bridge, an Indian, 238, 239 

Bronx Zoo, 323 

Bryce, James, 166; Appendix A, 

Buenos Aires, 9, 30 

Bullets, umbrella-pointed, 136 

Bullock-train, 206 

Butterflies, 167, 221 

Burity River, camp at, 197, 198, 199 

Burton, 333 

Gaboclos, 181, 227 

Caetano, Lieutenant, 176 

Caet^ flags, 101 

Cajazeira, Doctor, 160, 176, 195, 264, 
272, 292, 293, 300, 307 ; good-bye 
to, 322 

Camaradas, 99, 100 ; skilful riding 
of, 100, 110, 111, 129 ; wilderness 
work disliked by, 149, 234, 250, 
204 ; discouragement of, 287 ; 
tragedy among the, 290, 296 ; fever 
among, 297 ; share food with, 302 ; 
lose strength, 306 ; ill from over- 
eating, 313 ; parting gift to, 322 

Camp chairs and table, Appendix B, 

Campos Novos, 218, 219 

Canja, 159, 220 

Canoes, 129 ; Canadian, 169, 231, 233, 
234 ; portaging the, 243, 244, 246, 
250; loss of two, 261 ; buUding new, 
254, 255, 256; lose another, 262, 
204 ; build two more, 269, 281, 283 ; 
rocks break, 286, 287, 290, 301, 
302, 309 ; obtain boat to replace, 
316 ; two months in, 318 ; last trip 
in, 320 ; Appendix B, 342, 343, 344, 

Canuma River, 245, 278, 317 

Capricorn, Tropic of, 38 

Capybaras, or tapirs, 75, 77, 80, 84, 
103, 109 

Cardozo, Captain, 149 

Caripe, Senhor, 315 ; his stories of 
rubber-workers, 316, 318, 320 

"Carregadores," 179, 240, 269, 270 

Cartucho, the puppy, 179, 180 



Carvings, rock, 280 

"Cashada," the Brazilian name for 

peccary, 136, 138 
Castanho, the, 304, 305, 306, 317 
Cataracts, 299 
Catfish, 299 

Cattle, 67 ; jaguars attack, 80 ; brand- 
ing of, 89, 90 ; regions of extra- 
ordinary possibilities for raising, 
116, 118, 146 
Caymans, 38, 51, 56 ; jacards, usual 
name for, 62, 63 ; interesting in- 
stance of truculence of, 82, 83 ; 
astonishing tameness of, 106, 300 

Centiped, 290 

Chaco, the, 38, 39 

Chapadao, 202, 220, 222, 224, 325 

Chapman, Frank, 2, 3 

Chasm, a, 288, 289 

Cherrie, George K., 3, 5, 9, 38, 69, 
93, 96, 97, 143 ; good citizenship 
of, 146 ; good work done by, 155, 
156, 162 ; widely varied experiences 
of, 173, 176, 192, 195, 197, 201, 
204, 213 ; interesting tales told by, 
214, 220, 225, 231, 239, 246, 249, 
260, 262, 264 ; home life of, 275 ; 
helpfulness of, 285, 290, 292, 296, 
300, 307, 317 ; piranha attacks, 
319; friendship inspired by, 320, 
324, 325, 334 

Cherrie River, 282 

Chile, 9 

Cicadas, 61 

Climate, difficulties of working in a 
damp, 194 

Clothing, Appendix B, 343, 348, 354, 

Coati, 46, 107 

Coimbra, 57 

Coloration, advertising, of birds, 34, 
276 ; theories concerning conceal- 
ing, 94 ; concealing, not universal 
among big game, 114, 116, 119, 
120, 121 ; coral - snake possesses 
revealing, 239 ; examples of pro- 
tective, 239, 247 

Compass, necessity for a, 162, 169 ; 
Appendix B, 357 

Concepcion, 39, 40, 42, 44 ; visit to 
barracks at, 45; breakfast q,t City 
Hall at, 45 

Cooking, 149 ; equipment for. Ap- 
pendix B, 349, 350 

Correa, Antonio, 261, 262, 277, 279, 
283, 304 

Corumba, 9. 58, 50, 60, 61 ; arrival 

at, 91, 115, 315 
Cougar, or puma, 25, 26, 27 ; man 

attacked by, 28, 29, 30, 52, 118, 

119 ; deer preyed on by, 168 
Craveiro, Pedrinho, 279, 292 
Crops, 38, 313 
Cruz, Doctor, 40 
Cuyabd River, 95 ; party leaves the, 

106, 115 

Da Cunha, Commander, 83 

Dance, an Indian, 193, 194; Nham- 

biquara, 209, 226 
Darwin, his " Voyage of the Beaarle," 

Deer, bush, 107, 131, 132, 133, 

Deer, marsh, 73, 94; revealing 

coloration of, 114 
Deer, pampas, 168, 171 
Deer, whitetail, 108, 109, 114 
Dipper, the, 308 
Diseases, 190, 191 
Ditmars, R. L., 18 
Dogs, 63, 71, 74, 77, 102, 103, 110, 

111 ; jaguar-hunt exhausts. 111 ; 

need for good. 111 ; worthlessness 

of the, 131 ; custom of gelding 

hunting, 146 ; heat tries, 205 
Ducks, muscovy, 47 ; tree, 117 
Duffel-bags, Appendix B, 347, 348 

Easter Sunday, 302 

Education, need of, 146, 147 

Egan, Maurice Francis, 1 

Electric flashlight. Appendix B, 355, 

Enoerey, the god, 196 

Equipment, 6, 6, 201, 202 ; compass 
a necessary part of, 152, 169 ; for 
trip down unknown river, 231 ; 
blankets a necessary of, 286 ; 
Colonel Roosevelt's suggestion for. 
Appendix B, 342, 343 ; Fiala's sug- 
gestion for, 343-359 

Evangalista, Miguel, 227 

Expedition, the, origin of, 1 ; mem- 
bers of, 3, 4, 5 ; ground to be 
covered by, 6, 7, 8 ; scientific 
character of, 25 ; arrival of Brazilian 
members of, 48, 49 ; division of the, 
159 ; primary purpose of, 175 ; 
ofiScial title of, 175, 176 ; individual 
work done by members of, 176 ; 
begin difficult part of, 195 ; final 



divisiou of belongings and mem- 
bers ofj 231, 232 ; penlous state of, 
294; a good doctor essential ou, 
297 ; ill health of members of, 302 ; 
a red-letter day for, 303 ; no longer 
fear of disaster to, 306 ; complete 
zoological success of, 325 ; most 
important work done by, 325 
Explorers, dangers to pioneer, 52, 
148, 165-167 ; work of Brazilian, 
203 ; disasters to parties of, 289 ; 
much work in South America for. 
Appendix A, 331, 334 ; need for 
accuracy and common - sense in 
writings of, 335, 336, 337; note, 
337 ; useful articles which should 
always be carried by, 362, 353 

Farrabee, Professor, 166, 325 ; Ap- 
pendix A, 334 

Fauna, 7 ; pleistocene, 26 ; bird, 66 ; 
mammalian, 66 ; South America 
rich in bird, 104 ; an interesting, 
204 ; extinct South American, Ap- 
pendix A, 340, 341 

Fazendas, 151, 152 

Fazendeiros, 129, 138 

Ferry, the, 181 

Fiala, Anthony, 4, 5, 9 ; outiit as- 
sembled by, 60 ; takes moving pic- 
ture, 104 ; efficiency of, 155, 169, 
172, 176, 195 ; loses baggage and 
provisions, 207 ; rations chosen by, 
276 ; goes home, 319 ; his sugges- 
tions for equipment and provisions. 
Appendix B, 343-359 

Fish, best hooks and rods for. Ap- 
pendix B, 353 

Fishing stick, 262 

Flies, horse, 122, 242 ; pium, 178, 
242 ; polvora, 242 ; boroshuda, 242 ; 
berni, 141, 216 

Floating islands, 323 

"Fly-dope," 242 ; Appendix B, 343 

Flying-fish, 274 

Food, 174 ; oxen for, 196, 224, 232 ; 
monkeys as, 239 ; economizing, 254 ; 
palm-tops used for, 263 ; shortage 
of, 276 ; country furnishes scant 
supply of, 276, 277 ; toucan and 
parrots as, 280; high prices for, 
310 ; vegetables and fruits raised 
by settlers for, 311 ; Appendix B, 
348 ; itemized list of, 350, 361 

Football, extraordinary game of, 185, 

Forage, scarcity of, 201, 202, 217, 

Forests, 7, 56, 66, 127, 128; multi- 
tudes of insects inhabit, 141, 167, 
168 ; absolute necessity for a com- 
pass in, 152, 169, 202, 235 ; diffi- 
culty of hunting in, 249, 254, 255, 

Fort Bourbon, 54 

Franca, the cook, ghostly belief of, 

Franco, Ricardo, 177, 206 

Frogs, peculiar cries of, 197, 221 

Fungi, 157 

Game, big, inadequate knowledge of 
life histories of, 112 

Gauchos, 89 

Geographer, work of field, in South 
America, Appendix A, 331, 334 

Geological structure of land, 222, 223 

GoflF, Johnny, 111 

Gopher rat, 230 

Graves, forlorn, 190, 197, 216 

(luapore, the, 177 

Guaran^, 42, 43 

Guiana, 325 

Gy-Parana, the, 125, 126 ; descent of 
the, 148 ; boat, men, and pro- 
visions lost ascending the, 149, 231, 
253, 254, 325 

Hammocks, Appendix B, 342, 346 

Harper, Frank, 4, 6, 156 ; specimens 
and unnecessary baggage returned 
to New York in care of, 159 

Haseman, John D., 166, Appendix A, 
335, 336 ; theories of, 337, 338 

Headball, 186, 186, 191 

Head-nets, 206, 218 

Herford, Oliver, nonsense rhymes of, 

Hoehne, the botanist, 161 

Honey, 246 

Honey-creeper, 222 

Horses, 66, 72 ; curious relations of 
tapirs and, 137 

Houses, native, 206, 229, 230 

Huatsui, camp at, 199 

Hudson, Mr., author of ''Naturalist 
on the Plata," 27, 32, 81 ; Appen- 
dix A, 333 

Huguen, Marcelino, 29 

Humboldt, 333 

Hunters, native, 73 ; one christened 
"Nips," 73 ; curious ignorance re- 



garding habits of animals of native 
and other, 81 ; riding costume of, 
139 ; lack of sense of direction of, 
Huxley, 336, 341 

Ibis, turtles' nests plundered by, 

Iguanas, 213 

Indian mounds, 98 

Indians, 46, 47 ; civilization of tribes 
of, 49 ; fishing village of, 98 ; 
governmental treatment of the, 
146 ; wages paid the, 181 ; Colonel 
Rondon's treatment of, 181 ; tele- 
graph-line patrolled by, 181 ; dog 
kiUed by, 261, 262, 268 

Insects, 38, 39 ; man's worst animal 
foes, 39, 40 ; a menace to wilder- 
ness travel, 52, 65 ; perpetuation 
of species of, 112, 113 ; atrocious 
suffering caused by, 141, 164, 166 ; 
many queer, 171, 180, 198 ; tor- 
ments from, 217 ; danger from 
wild animals less than from, 217, 
218, 242, 245, 250, 256, 264, 286 ; 
festering wounds caused by bites 
of, 290, 309. See Mosquitoes, Flies, 
Wasps, Ants 
"Instituto Serumtherapico," 13, 14 
Irala, the Spanish explorer, 56 
Itacoatiara, 299 

Jabiru storks, 48, 62, 65, 87, 88; 

Fiala takes a moving picture of, 

104, 146 
Jacanas, 69 

Jacare-tinga. See Caymans 
Jacu, a, 246, 247 
Jacyparana, the, 264 
Jaguar, 26, 30, 31, 62 ; hunt for, 74- 

80 ; cattle preyed on by, 80 ; spears 

and rifles used in hunting, 99 ; 

unsuccessful hunt for, 110, 111 ; 

melanism common among, 119 ; 

trees refuge of, 132 ; kills bullock, 

Jaguarundi, 118, 119 
Jararaca, 11, 12, 20, 21, 22 ; mussu- 

rama fights, 23, 24; man bitten 

by, 61, 128 ; stories of, 213 
Jesuits, missions of the, 42 
Joao, Kermit's helmsman, 257, 258, 

Johnston, Sir Harry, 39 
Juina, the, 214 

Julio, 234, 278; story of tragedy 

caused by, 290-296 
Jungle, man strayed in, 162 
Juruena, the, 125, 126, 176, 196, 203 ; 

arrival at, 206, 326 

Kipling, poems of, 190 

Lambert, Doctor Alexander, 243 

Lamps, Appendix B, 355 

Landor, Mr. Savage, 167 ; Colonel 

Rondon's scathing review of, note. 

Appendix A, 335, 336 
Languages, Guarany, 42, 43, 151 
La Plata Museum, 30 ; Appendix A, 

''Las Palmeiras," visit to ranch of, 

62, 64 ; cattle at, 67 ; delightful 

stay at, 84 ; leave, 106 
" Last Frontier," in Brazil, 312 
Lauriado, Lieutenant, 170, 196, 207, 

Lecture engagements, 2, 9 
Lobo, 261 

Long Island, spring on, 162, 308 
Lowell, 166 

Luiz, steersman, 234, 246, 261, 262 
Lyra, Lieutenant, Joao, 49, 123, 148, 

160, 172, 175, 176, 196, 196, 220, 

234, 236, 242, 243, 245, 249, 251, 

262, 254, 261, 264, 272, 277, 279, 
284, 286, 286, 288, 290, 291, 296, 
297, 300, 307, 320, 322 

Macario, 282 

MacGahan, Januarius Aloysius, 1 

Machetes, 110, 139, 167; falcons, 

Brazilian name for, 300 
Mackenzie, Murdo, 117 
Madeira, the, 124, 125, 177, 231, 254, 

306, 320, 327 
Madeira- Marmore Railroad, 227 
Madeirainha River, 314, 316 
Magalhaes, Captain Amilcar de, 49 
Mammals, 66 ; variety in fecundity 

of different families of, 71, 93, 

106, 155 ; noteworthy collection 

of, 321 
Manaos, 231, 317, 318, 320, 321, 322, 

Mandioc, 181 
Mantes, Praying, 179, 180 
Marino, Lieutenant, 206 
Marques, Dom Joao, the younger, 

99 ; his gift to Colonel Roosevelt, 

106, 106 




Marques, Senhor Joao da Costa, 97 ; 
noteworthy family of, 99 

Marsh, difficult swim across, 110 

Marsh plants, 101, 110 

Matte, 44, 174 ; Appendix B, 351 

Matto Grosso, 8, 97 ; largest ranch- 
house in, 106, 124, 126 ; future 
possibilities of interior of, 146, 147 ; 
beginnings of province of, 177, 

McLean, Mr., 117 

Meat, Appendix B, 349, 360 

Medicines, Appendix B, 343 

Mello Filho, Lieutenant Joaquin, 49, 
170, 195, 219, 231 

Merriam, Hart, 79 

Mess-kit, Appendix B, 352 

Mice, new varieties of, 105 

Miller, Leo E., 3, 6, 9, 38, 40, 60, 61, 
69, 92, 96 ; good work done by, 
156, 166, 162, 174, 176, 192, 195, 
197, 200, 204, 213 ; interesting 
tales told by, 214, 220, 221, 225, 
230, 231, 319 ; rejoins party, 321, 
323, 324, 325 ; Appendix A, 334 

Monkeys, black howler, 102, 107," 
109; nocturnal, 114; 117, 229, 
237; flesh of, good eating, 239, 
285 ; fish eats, 299, 324 

Montes, Captain Vicente, 30 

Montevideo, 13 

Moreno, Doctor Francisco P., 25 ; 
extraordinary discoveries of, 25, 
26, 27; puma attacks, 28, 29; 
Appendix A, 340, 341 

Mosquito-bars, 218 

Mosquitoes, 96, 97, 107, 110, 116; 
few, 152; absence of, 176, 219, 

Motoi's, Appendix B, 345 

Motor-trucks, 170, 174 

Mountains, 283, 284 

Mules, pack, 164, 163 ; weather ex- 
hausts, 191 ; loads for the, 201 ; 
weakness of, 201, 202 ; abandoned, 
216 ; pasturage for, 217 ; loads for. 
Appendix B, 346 

Mijller, General Lauro, 7, 8, 48, 
267 ; Colonel Roosevelt's letter to. 
Appendix C, 360, 361 

Mundurucu Indians, 317 

Museums, trained observers should 
be sent into wilderness by, 165 

Music, 135, 193, 194, 210, 226 

Mussurama, 14, 16, 17, 18, 21 ; jara- 
raca fights, 22, 23, 24 

Natives,' 129 

Naturalists, outdoor, possibilities for 
useful work of, 70, 71, 88 ; slight 
experience of big game possessed 
by most, 112 ; ideal place for work 
of field, 116 ; museums should send 
into the wilderness trained, 155 

Navait^ Rapids, 242-244 

Nests, communal, 116 ; troupials', 

Nhambiquara Indians, 187 ; land of 
the, 196, 198; Colonel Rondon's 
just treatment of the, 208, 209 ; no 
wilder savages than the, 208 ; life 
and habits of, 208, 209 ; improvised 
dance of the, 210 ; dog stolen by, 
-211; a visit from three, 215; 
former hostility of, 215, 216 ; an 
encampment of, 226, 226 ; their 
lack of clothing, 225 ; ornaments 
of, 228 ; probable strain of negro 
blood in, 229; archery of, 230; 
the Navaite, a subtribe of the, 

"Nips," a native hunter, 73 

North, the call of the, 307 

Nunlet, 158 

Nuts, Brazil, 280 ; crop of, fails, 313 

Nuts, unwholesome, 303 

Nyoac, the, the river boat, 92 

Ocelot, 118, 119 

Oliveira, Doctor Euzebio de, the 
geologist, 49, 176, 196, 218, 222 

Onelli, Doctor, 30 

Opossum, 93, 162 

Orchids, 128, 146, 152, 163 ; sobralia, 

Orioles, wasps surround nests of, 96 

Ornithology, Sclater and Hudson's, 

Osborn, Henry Fairfield, 2 

Otter, 237 

Outfit for South American wilderness. 
Appendix B, 342-369 

Outlook, The, 26 

Overland, trip begun, 164 

Owl, Moses, the tame, 93, 161, 162 

Ox-carts, 90, 91 

Oxen, pack, 164; difficulty in load- 
ing, 163; clothes eaten by, 186, 
192, 206 ; secure some fresh, 224 ; 
loads for. Appendix B, 346 

Paca, 237 
Pacu, 265 



Paddlers, 231, 234 

Paixao (Paishon), 201, 292 ; Julio 
kills, 292 ; burial of, 296, 361 

Paleontological knowledge, our pre- 
sent, 339 

Palms, nacury, 78 ; Dr. Rodriguez's 
book on, 105 ; fig-trees kill, 139 ; 
wawasa, 140, 162 ; burity, 140, 
167; bacaba, 226; boritana, 235, 
237 ; accashy, 248 

" Pantanals," or swamps, 69 

Paolistas, the, 204, 312 

Papyrus swamps, 129, 131 

Para, 322, 323, 324 

Paraguay, 38 ; language and people 
of, 42, 43 ; development ahead of, 
43 ; military service introduced in, 

Paraguay, the, 6, 7, 8, 37, 38 et seq. ; 
early knowledge of the, 53 ; Amer- 
ican flag first seen on the upper, 
57 ; renewed ascent of the, 113 ; 
junction of Sao Louren90 and, 116, 
177, 315 

Parana, 32 

Parecis, Antonio, 139, 142, 143, 144, 
234, 248, 262, 265 

Parecis Indians, 180, 183, 184 ; extra- 
ordinary game of football played 
by, 185, 186 ; Colonel Rondon 
holds a council with the, 187, 188 ; 
settlement of, 188, 189, 190 ; pre- 
sents for the, 193 ; dance of the, 
193, 194 ; ferry run by, 197, 198 

Parecis plateau, 168 

Park, Mungo, 177 

Patagonia, 25 

" Pateran," a, 242 

Peccary, white-lipped, 74, 86, 102, 
103, 109, 136, 138, 142, 143, 144, 

Peckolt, Doctor, Appendix B, 851 

Peonage, 146 

Peons, 47, 68 

Peres, Colonel Telles, 289 

Pescada, a, 302 

Photographic supplies. Appendix B, 
358, 359 

Pineapples, wild, 280 

Pioneers, 311, 312 

Pipes, natives dance to, 193 

Piraiba, 299, 300 

Piranha, or cannibal fish, 40, 41, 269 ; 
stories of attacks by, 49, 50 ; Mil- 
ler's study of the, 60, 61, 83 ; dogs' 
tails bitten off by, 128 ; flesh of. 

good eating, 280, 300, 301, 302 ; 
attack Cherrie, 319 

Plan Alto, the, 116, 163 ; healthy 
region of, 168-170 ; singular topo- 
graphical feature of, 223 

Plantains, or pacovas, 167, 250 

Portages, 241, 243, 281, 284, 297, 

Porto Campo, 127, 134, 135 

Porto Martinho, 52 

Positivists, the, 48 

Pranchas, native trading-boats, 127, 

Provisions, 6, 40, 150 ; tin cases of, 
159, 160; loss of ferry-load of, 
215, 231, 232 ; half supply of, con- 
sumed, 278 ; Fiala's suggestions for, 
Appendix B, 348, 352 

Puma. See Cougar 

Puma-skin helmet, a, 215 

Pyrineus, Lieutenant, 50, 252, 263, 
267, 278, 317, 318, 319, 320 

" Queixada," the, 136 
Quinine, 264 

Rain, severe storm of, 103 ; begin- 
ning of rainy season, 105, 106 ; 
forty-eight hours fall of, 109, 168, 
178,189,191 ; difficulties of travel- 
ling in rainy season, 207, 211, 212, 
220, 221, 238, 272 ; end of rainy 
season, 286, 309 

Rainey, Paul, hounds used by. 111 

Ramsey, Mr., 117 

Ranches, 150, 151, 153, 154 

Rapids, 154 ; a mishap in the, 206 ; 
form serious obstacle, 241, 242, 
244, 246, 247, 248, 250; Broken 
Canoe, 251, 256, 257, 258, 259, 
262, 264, 273, 274, 277, 279, 281, 
282, 283; time spent in going 
through, 287 ; note on, 287, 288, 
297, 300, 301, 302 ; Panela, 310 ; 
Inferno, 313, 314 ; Infernino, 316 ; 
Carupanan, 315 ; last of the, 317 

" Regional Volunteers," 252 

Regions, healthy, 182, 190 ; enter 
wilder, 195 ; rich and fertile, 279 ; 
beautiful, 301 

Reinisch, Colonel Rondon's taxider- 
mist, 106, 219 

Religions, 5, 54, 65 ; need for churches 
of all, 64, 55; liberty for all, 

Rheas, ostriches, 168 



RibeirOj Miranda, 252 

Rickard, Tex, 39, 43 

Rifles, 5, 198, 220, 258 ; Appendix B, 
342, 352 

Rio Branco, 310 

Rio Cardozo, 298, 306, 314 

Rio de Janeiro, 7, 326 

Rio Grande do Sul, 206 

Rio Kermit, 265, 267, 327 

Rio Marciano AvUa, 327 

Rio Negro, 321 

Rio Papagaio, 174, 187, 194 ; Fiala's 
loss on, 207, 208, 321 

Rio Sacre, 178, 181 

River of Doubt (Rio da Diivida), 8, 
126, 175 ; preparations for descent 
of the, 231, 232 ; start down, 232 ; 
probable direction of, 245 ; im- 
portance of the, 266 ; possible 
course of, 266 ; forEaally christened 
Rio Roosevelt, 267 ; conjectures 
as to, 278 ; losses in rapids of, 287 ; 
junction of Rio Cardozo and, 298 ; 
is put upon the map, 305, 306 ; 
length of the, 318, 320, 326 ; source 
of, 327 

Rivers, 6, 7, 203; hazards of de- 
scending unknown, 207, 288, 289 ; 
methods of crossing, 214, 220 ; 
courses and outlets of, 223 

RobUiard, Mr., 322 

Rodeo, or round-up, 98 

Rodriguez, Doctor Barboso, 105 

Rogaciano, Lieutenant, 110, 111 

Rondon, Colonel Candido Mariano 
da Silva, 8, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52 ; out- 
fit inspected by, 60 ; characteristics 
of, 72, 74, 92, 106, 109, 111 ; ex- 
plorations of, 124, 125, 126, 141, 
144, 146 ; people of Matto Grosso 
befriended by, 146 ; Indian service 
of Brazil headed by, 147 ; Sepotuba 
River explored and north-western 
wilderness of Matto Grosso opened 
by, 147 ; most important exploring 
trip of, 147, 148, 160, 169; his 
stories of past experiences, 172, 
175, 176, 177, 178 ; holds a council 
with the Indians, 187 ; Utiarity 
Falls discovered by, 187 ; gives 
presents to the Indians, 193, 195- 
198 ; work of, 203 ; friendship of 
Nhambiquaras for, 208, 209, 211, 
213, 215 ; early life and education 
of, 228, 231, 233, 234, 245, 252 ; 
Lis eight months' exploration, 252, 

253, 261, 264, 265, 266, 267; 
formally christens Rio Roosevelt, 
267, 268, 277, 279, 281, 282 ; trail 
cut by, 284, 285, 287, 288, 291 ; 
his decision as to murderer, 296, 
296, 300, 307 ; reads record of 
party's accomplishments, 319, 320 ; 
good-bye to, 322, 325 ; Appendix A, 
334 ; charges made against Mr. 
Savage Landor by, 336, 336 

Roosevelt, Kermit, 4, 6, 63, 64, 69, 
70, 73, 74, 77, 78, 79, 87, 107, 110 ; 
speed and endurance of, 110, 111, 
146, 151, 162, 171, 176, 190, 195, 
220, 225, 231, 233, 234, 243, 248, 
249,252,264,257; accident befalls, 
258, 259, 261, 264; river called 
after, 266, 268, 272, 277, 279, 282, 
283 ; his experience of rope work, 
283, 284, 285, 286, 287, 288, 290 ; 
his bridge -building experience, 290, 
291, 292 ; fever attacks, 297, 298, 
303, 307, 308, 316, 317 ; Appen- 
dix B, 343 

Roosevelt, Theodore : is invited to 
attempt descent of unknown river, 
8 ; reception to, 44, 45 ; Dom 
Joao's gift to, 105 ; receives sUver- 
mounted saddle and bridle, 159 ; 
unknown river formally christened 
for, 267 ; injures his leg, 297 ; has 
an attack of fever, 297 ; his illness 
increases, 307 ; quotation from 
Colonel Rondon's letter to. Ap- 
pendix A, note, 336, 337 ; his sug- 
gestions for outfits in South Ameri- 
can wilderness, 342, 343, 359 ; his 
report to General Lauro Miiller, 
360, 361 

Rope, Appendix B, 348 

Rubber-gatherers, 204, 303, 305 ; act 
as guide, 309 ; homes of, 310, 311, 
312 ; work of, in opening wilder- 
ness, 313 ; hard lives of, 314 ; ad- 
ventures of, 316 

Saddles, Appendix B, 347 

Salto Bello waterfall, 181, 182; 
future value of, 182 ; splendid op- 
portunities for settlement in region 
of, 182, 183; breakfast at the, 

Sao Joao fazenda, arrival at, 97, 98, 
near hamlet of, 318, 320 

Sao Louren90, 106-113 ; junction of 
Paraguay and, 116 



Sao Luis de Caceres, 8, 115 ; arrival 
at 122 ; fine government school at, 
123, 187 

Sao Paulo, 13, 14, 123 

Scents, 157 

Scorpion, a, 290 

Sepotuba, the, or River of Tapirs, 
127 ; fine cattle country along the, 

146 ; exploration and first maps of, 

147 ; camp beside, 163, 187 
Sequoia, 43 

Serpents, 290 

" Sertao," or wilderness, note, 196 

Serums, anti-venom, 9, 12, 13, 15, 
Appendix B, 343 

" Shenzi," one of the dogs, G3 

Shipton, Major, 232 

Sigg, Jacob, 4, 6, 9 ; motor-boat im- 
povised by, 123, 155, 174, 192 ; 
return to Tapirapoan, 194 

Simplicio, 258 ; death of, 258 

Skobelo£f, 1 

Sloth, a, 321 

Smith, Mr. Lord, 27 

Snakes, 9, 10, 11 ; poison of, 12, 13- 
20 ; some mammals immune to 
bites of, 20, 21, 128; stories of, 
213, 221, 239, 240 

Snethlage, Miss, 166, 324 

Solimoens, 323 

South America, topography of, 6, 7 ; 
ceremony of public functions in, 
44 ; Christianity in, 49 ; education 
in, 65 ; mammalian and avifauna 
of, 66, 67 ; need for work of col- 
lector in, 70 ; rich bird fauna of, 
104 ; field for work of big-game 
hunter and faunal naturalist in, 
112 ; ferocity of certain small 
animals in, 162 ; much exploring 
work to be done in, 166 ; two great 
waterfalls of, 187 ; impostors among 
explorers of, 244 ; early semiciviliza- 
tions in, 281 ; social and industrial 
development of. Appendix A, 331 ; 
travellers in, 331, 333, 334 ; wilder- 
ness work to be done in, 334 

Southern Cross, the, 46, 75 

Sparrows, 162 

Spear, jaguar, 100 

Spiders, a colony of, 171, 200, 201, 

Squirrels, 128 

Stilts, 188 

Stirrups, ornamental, 100 

Stockton, Frank, stories by, 179 

Store, the first, 313 

Sunsets, contrasted, 190 

Surveying, method of, 234, 235 ; in- 
struments for, Appendix B, 366, 

" Swiss Family Robinson," 73 

TamanduA bandeira. See Ant-eater 

Tanageira, Doctor, 253 

Tapajos, the, 124, 125, 175, 177, 203, 

231, 324 
Tapirapoan, 147 ; start up-stream for, 

149 ; arrival at, 154 ; party divides 

at, 159, 161 
Tapirs, 129, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136 ; 

curious relation of horse and, 137 
Tapirs, River of. See Sepotuba 
Taquary, the, 60, 62 
Taunay River, 277, 327 
Telegraph, establishment of, 147 ; 

high wages paid for work on wilder- 
ness lines of, 149, 181 ; spiders 

swarm on, 224 
Telegraphic Commission, 164, 170, 

197 ; work of, 203 ; Juruena first 

mapped by, 206 ; labour of, 306 ; 

solution of River of Doubt mystery 

made possible by previous work of, 

325, 326 
Tents, 201, 231 ; Appendix B, 342 
Thermometers, Appendix B, 358 
Tools, Appendix B, 356 
Tragedy, a terrible, 290-296; note, 

Transportation, 176 
Travellers, status of the ordinary, 

164,165, 166 ; ignorance of certain, 

244 ; three categories of. Appen- 
dix A, 331, 332, 333, 334 
Trees, 47, 48, 69 ; taruman, 76, 94 ; 

flowers on, 94, 130 ; fig, 139, 150 ; 

fruit and flowers on, 153, 168, 178 ; 

fossil trunk of, 219, 221, 236; 

barriers formed by, 237 ; bee, 246 ; 

rubber, 257, 273 ; araputanga, 269 ; 

fruit of cajazeira, 272 ; peculiarity 

of, 273, 280. See Palm 
Tree-toad, 247 
Tres Burity, Government ranch at, 

"Trigueiro," one of the dogs, 63, 

257, 259, 302 
Tropics, entered the, 46 ; iron cruelty 

of life in the, 141 
Turtle, a land, 150, 301 
"Twelfth of October," 220 



University of Pennsylvania, a Para- 
guayan graduate of the, 46 

Uruguay, 9 

Utensils of the Indians, 196, 229 

Utiarity Falls, 174 ; arrival at, 187 ; 
telegraph station at, 188 ; beauty 
of the, 188, 192 

Vaqueiros, 99, 118, 135 
Viedma, Lake, 27 
Vilhena, 220, 221, 222 
Vines, 107 

Wallace, 323 

Wasps, orioles' nests surrounded by, 

96 ; dangerous sting of red, 110 ; 

spiders preyed on by, 113 ; mari- 

bundi, 128, 140, 235 ; ants plunder 

nests of, 157 
Weapons, Indian, 196, 229 
Weasel, tayra, 93 

Weather, 56, 61, 90, 106, 149, 

Wilderness, party enters the, 196 ; 
difficulties of travel in, 202 ; eti- 
quette of the, 225 ; first stage of 
conquest of the, 313 ; geographical 
and zoological work still to be done 
in the. Appendix A, 334 

Wolf, red, 118 

Woods, 221 

Wrens, ant, 157 

Xingu, 177, 324 

Zahm, Father, 1, 2, 6 ; children bap- 
tized by, 64, 123 ; Colonel Roose- 
velt reminded of his wish to shoot 
tapir and jaguar by, 136, 161, 174, 
192 ; returns to Tapirapoan, 194 

Zoologist, work of field, in South 
America, Appendix A, 331, 334