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Full text of "Through the Brazilian wilderness"

Presented to the 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 
LIBRARY 

by the 

ONTARIO LEGISLATIVE 
LIBRARY 

1980 



BOOKS BY THEODORE ROOSEVELT 

PUBLISHED BY CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 



THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS. 

Illustrated. Large 8vo $3.50 net 

LIFE-HISTORIES OF AFRICAN GAME ANI- 
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THE ELKHORN EDITION. Complete Works of 
Theodore Roosevelt. 26 volumes. Illustrated. 
8vo. Sold by subscription. 






- 

.' 

' N V 




THROUGH THE 
BRAZILIAN WILDER 




BY 

THEODORE ROOSEVELT 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS FROM PHOTOGRAPHS BY KERMIT ROOSEVELT 
AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE EXPEDITION 



fiECTRONIC VERSION 
AYAltABtg 










/ NEW YORK 

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 

1914 




COPYRIGHT, 1914. BY 
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 



AU rights reserved, including that of translation into 
foreign languages, including the Scandinavian 



Published October, 1914 




TO 

H. E. LAURO MULLER 

SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS FOR BRAZIL, AND TO HIS 
GOVERNMENTAL COLLEAGUES 

AND TO 

COLONEL RONDON 

GALLANT OFFICER, HIGH-MINDED GENTLEMAN, AND INTREPID EXPLORER 
AND TO HIS ASSISTANTS 

CAPTAIN AMILCAR, LIEUTENANT LYRA, LIEUTENANT MELLO, 

LIEUTENANT LAURIADO, AND DOCTOR CAJAZEIRA, OF 

THE BRAZILIAN ARMY, AND EUSEBIO OLIVEIRA 

OUR COMPANIONS IN SCIENTIFIC WORK AND IN THE EXPLORATION 
OF THE WILDERNESS 

THIS BOOK 

IS INSCRIBED, WITH ESTEEM, REGARD, AND AFFECTION 
BY THEIR FRIEND 

THEODORE ROOSEVELT 



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I C M O - 

~S? UM 










c pf the lira 













CC I h: 

* always^fqei 



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lo 






70 



Roosevelt's trip is MOW* with an unbroken 



save on the I'nknown Hirer 



which la shown by broken line thus, 

Fiala's trip down the Papagaio ( never be/art de- 
scended ) and the Tapajos is shown thus, X XX X 
Miller's trip down the Gy-Parana and the 
Madeira is shown thus 




80 Low 70 Wet from 60 Green. 40 



Map showing the entire South American journey of Colonel Roosevelt and members of the expedition 



PREFACE 

THIS is an account of a zoogeographic reconnoissance 
through the Brazilian hinterland. 

The official and proper title of the expedition is that 
given it by the Brazilian Government: Expedicao Scien- 
tifica Roosevelt-Rondon. When I started from the United 
States, it was to make an expedition, primarily concerned 
with mammalogy and ornithology, for the American Mu- 
seum of Natural History of New York. This was under- 
taken under the auspices of Messrs. Osborn and Chapman, 
acting on behalf of the Museum. In the body of this 
work I describe how the scope of the expedition was en- 
larged, and how it was given a geographic as well as a zoo- 
logical character, in consequence of the kind proposal of 
the Brazilian Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Gen- 
eral Lauro Miiller. In its altered and enlarged form the 
expedition was rendered possible only by the generous 
assistance of the Brazilian Government. Throughout the 
body of the work will be found reference after reference 
to my colleagues and companions of the expedition, whose 
services to science I have endeavored to set forth, and for 
whom I shall always feel the most cordial friendship and 
regard. 

THEODORE ROOSEVELT. 

SAGAMORE HILL, 

September I, 1914. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. THE START i 

II. UP THE PARAGUAY 38 

III. A JAGUAR-HUNT ON THE TAQUARY 62 

IV. THE HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 95 

V. UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS 132 

VI. THROUGH THE HIGHLAND WILDERNESS OF WESTERN 

BRAZIL 167 

VII. WITH A MULE-TRAIN ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND . . 203 
VIII. THE RIVER OF DOUBT 243 

IX. DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER INTO THE EQUATORIAL 

FOREST 282 

X. To THE AMAZON AND HOME; ZOOLOGICAL AND GEOGRAPH- 
ICAL RESULTS OF THE EXPEDITION 321 

APPENDICES 

A. THE WORK OF THE FIELD ZOOLOGIST AND FIELD 
GEOGRAPHER IN SOUTH AMERICA 343 

B. THE OUTFIT FOR TRAVELLING IN THE SOUTH 
AMERICAN WILDERNESS 353 

C. MY LETTER OF MAY i TO GENERAL LAURO 

MlJLLER 370 

INDEX 373 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



Colonel Roosevelt and Colonel Rondon at Navaite on the River of 

Doubt Frontispiece 

Photogravure from a photograph by Cherrie. 

FACING PAGE 

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

Man-eating fish, piranha 42 

Group Indian boy with coati (coon-like animal) and parakeet. Tupi 

girl with young ostrich. Indian girl at cooking-pot 48 

Group Indians rolling logs at wood station. Palms along the bank of 

the river 50 

Cattle on the upper Paraguay River 58 

Group Nips with the marsh deer. Returning to the fazenda (ranch) 

with the marsh deer on the saddle 76 

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 80 

Group A South American puma. A South American jaguar .... 84 
Group Nine-banded armadillo. Capybaras. Collared peccary ... 88 
The entire party on the way back to the ranch 92 

An Indian village 102 

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 106 

Group A jabiru's nest. A troupial nest 118 

xi 



xii ILLUSTRATIONS 

FACING PAGE 

Snake-birds and cormorants 120 

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 134 

Colonel Roosevelt and Colonel Rondon with bush deer 138 

We hung the buck in a tree. 

The return from a day's hunt 142 

Tapir, white-lipped peccary, and bush deer. 

Kermit Roosevelt 152 

Two pranchas being pulled by launch with our baggage and provisions . 160 

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

Colonel Roosevelt and Colonel Rondon looking over the vast landscape . 174 
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 188 

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 192 

Group The game of headball played by Parcels Indians at Utiarity 

Falls 194 

The kick-off: a player runs forward, throws himself flat on the ground, 
and butts the ball 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 196 

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 198 

The dance of the Parecis Indians 200 

A number carried pipes through which 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 . 208 

At the Juruena we met a party of Nhambiquaras, very friendly and so- 
ciable, and very glad to see Colonel Rondon 216 



ILLUSTRATIONS xiii 

FACING PAGE 

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 218 

Group Maloca or beehive hut of the Nhambiquaras. A Nhambiquara 

shelter hut and utensils 220 

The ant-hills were not infrequently taller than a horseman's head . . . 222 

Group A Nhambiquara family. Nhambiquara women and children. 

"Adam and Eve" ' * 236 

Group Nhambiquara archer. First position. Second position . . . 240 

Group I did my writing in headnet and gauntlets. Colonel Roosevelt's 

canoe disappears down the River of Doubt 244 

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

Bandeira 248 

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

The rapids of Navai'te 250 

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

Cherrie holding a rifle to show the width of the rapids at Navai'te . . . 252 

At one point it was less than two yards across. 

Portaging around Navai'te Rapids 254 

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

Rapids of the Diivida 258 

Dragging the canoes over a portage by means of ropes and logs . . . 262 

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

the big canoe which was soon afterward lost 266 

Group The Upper Duvida. Cherrie in his canoe 284 

Group Red-and-yellow macaw. Egret. Curassow. Hyacinthine macaw. 

Toco toucan. Trumpeter 290 

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

mountains 300 

Group Rapids at the chasm. We bathed and swam in the river al- 
though in it we caught piranhas 308 



xiv ILLUSTRATIONS 

FACING PACE 

Group Castanho-tree (Brazil-nut). Pacova-tree 314 

Group At the rubber-man's house. The canoe rigged with a cover 

under which Colonel Roosevelt travelled when sick 324 

The camaradas, gathered around the monument erected by Colonel 

Rondon 332 



MAPS 

FACING PAGE 

Map showing the entire South American journey of Colonel Roosevelt 

and members of the expedition vii 

Map of the River of Doubt (Duvida), christened Rio Roosevelt and sub- 
sequently Rio Teodoro by direction of the Brazilian Government . 338 



THROUGH THE 
BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 



THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN 
WILDERNESS 

CHAPTER I 
THE START 

ONE day in 1908, when my presidential term was com- 
ing 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 correspon- 
dent and friend of Skobeloff. 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 small 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 ap- 
pointed minister to Denmark. 

On the occasion in question Father Zahm had just re- 
turned from a trip across the Andes and down the Ama- 
zon, and came in to propose that after I left the presidency 
he and I should go up the Paraguay into the interior of 



2 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

South America. At the time I wished to go to Africa, and 
so the subject was dropped; but from time to time after- 
ward we talked it over. Five years later, in the spring of 
1913, I accepted invitations conveyed through the govern- 
ments 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 valley 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 nat- 
uralists 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 invitation 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 col- 
lectors. He saw Henry Fairfield Osborn, the president of 



THE START 3 

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 accepted 
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 lit- 
erary 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 Ver- 
mont. 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 born 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 camp- 
ing-place, where they had intended to spend the night, be- 
cause 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 spending three months in a prison of a certain 



4 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

South American state, expecting each day to be taken out 
and shot. In 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 follow- 
ing 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-running. 

In Anthony Fiala, a former arctic explorer, we found 
an excellent man for assembling equipment and taking 
charge of its handling 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-by 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 south- 
ern 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 der- 
rick, 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, 



THE START 5 

and in our veins ran about every strain of blood that there 
was on this side of the water during colonial times. Cher- 
rie's father was born in Ireland, and his mother in Scot- 
land; they came here when very young, and his father 
served throughout the Civil War in an Iowa cavalry regi- 
ment. 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 Revolu- 
tionary 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 Presbyterian, 
Fiala a Baptist, Sigg a Lutheran, while I belonged to the 
Dutch Reformed Church. 

For arms the naturalists took i6-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 Win- 
chesters, a 405 and 30-40, the Fox 12-gauge shotgun, and 
another i6-gauge gun, and a couple of revolvers, a Colt and 
a Smith & 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 in- 
valuable on our canoe trip. Each equipped himself with 
the clothing he fancied. Mine consisted of khaki, such as 



6 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

I wore in Africa, 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 
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 con- 
taining a day's provisions for five men, made up by Fiala. 
The trip I proposed to take can be understood only if 
there is 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. South- 
ernmost South America, including over half of the terri- 
tory of the Argentine Republic, consists chiefly of a cool, 
open plains country. Northward of this country, and east- 
ward of the Andes, lies the great bulk of the South Ameri- 
can continent, which is included in the tropical and the 
subtropical regions. Most of this territory is Brazilian. 
Aside from certain relatively small stretches drained by 
coast rivers, this immense region of tropical and subtrop- 
ical 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 Ori- 
noco 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 



THE START 7 

sundered by a stretch of high land, which toward the east 
broadens out into the central plateau of Brazil. Geologi- 
cally 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 Ama- 
zon, 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 Am- 
azon, and thence in most places northward to the Carib- 
bean 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 torrential rains and steaming heat the rank 
growth of vegetation becomes almost impenetrable, and 
the streams difficult of navigation; while white men suffer 
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 particu- 
larly anxious to obtain collections from the divide between 
the headwaters 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 



8 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

canoes built on the spot. The Paraguay is regularly navi- 
gated 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 Miiller, who had been kind 
enough to take great personal interest in my trip, informed 
me that he had arranged that on the headwaters of the 
Paraguay, at the town of Caceres, I would be met by a 
Brazilian Army colonel, himself chiefly Indian by blood, 
Colonel Rondon. Colonel Rondon has been for a quarter 
of a century the foremost explorer of the Brazilian hin- 
terland. He was at the time in Manaos, but his lieuten- 
ants were in Caceres and had been notified that we were 
coming. 

More important still, Mr. Lauro Miiller who is not 
only an efficient public servant but a man of wide culti- 
vation, with a quality 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 development of the 
interior of Brazil, and he believed 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 un- 
dertake the leadership of a serious expedition into the un- 
explored portion of western Matto Grosso, and to attempt 
the descent of a river which flowed nobody knew whither, 
but which the best-informed men believed 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 START 9 

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 head- 
waters. 

I had to travel through Brazil, Uruguay, the Argentine, 
and Chile for six weeks to fulfil my speaking 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 Corumba, 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 pos- 
sible importance to us because of the trip we were about 
to take. South America even more than Australia and 
Africa, and almost as much as India, is a country of poi- 
sonous snakes. As in India, although not to the same 
degree, these snakes are responsible for a very serious mor- 
tality among human beings. One of the most interesting 
evidences of the modern advance in Brazil is the estab- 
lishment near Sao Paulo of an institution especially for 
the study of these poisonous snakes, so as to secure anti- 
dotes to the poison and to develop enemies to the snakes 
themselves. We wished to take into the interior with us 



10 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

some bottles of the anti-venom serum, for on such an ex- 
pedition 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 al- 
ready working 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 
snakes and the vipers. Most of the colubrine snakes are 
entirely harmless, and are the common snakes that we 
meet everywhere. But some of them, the cobras for in- 
stance, develop into what are on the whole perhaps the 
most formidable of all snakes. The only poisonous colu- 
brine 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 Ar- 
gentine. These coral-snakes are not vicious and have 
small teeth which cannot penetrate even ordinary clothing. 
They are only dangerous if actually trodden on by some 
one with bare feet or if seized in the hand. There are 
harmless snakes very like them in color which are some- 
times kept as pets; but it behooves 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 divi- 
sion of the widely spread family of vipers which is known 
as the pit-vipers. In South America these include two 
distinct subfamilies or genera whether they are called 



THE START 11 

families, subfamilies, or genera would depend, 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 
Brazilian 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 lachecis. These are active, vicious, 
aggressive 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 rat- 
tlesnake 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 danger- 
ous bushmaster of Guiana are included in this genus. A 
dozen species are known in Brazil, the biggest one being 
identical with the Guiana bushmaster, and the most com- 
mon one, the jararaca, being identical or practically iden- 
tical 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 
night. 

The poison of venomous serpents is not in the least 
uniform in its quality. On the contrary, the natural forces 



12 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 poisoned 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-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 bush- 
master, 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 colubrine 
snakes is totally different from, although to the full as 
deadly as, the effect of the poison of the rattlesnake or 
jararaca. The serum that is an antidote as regards the 



THE START 13 

pit-viper is wholly or well-nigh 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 col- 
ubrines becomes watery and incapable of coagulation. 

Snakes are highly specialized in every way, including 
their prey. Some live exclusively on warm-blooded ani- 
mals, 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 ex- 
cessively irritable, and on rare occasions will even attack 
of their own accord when entirely unprovoked and un- 
threatened. 

On reaching Sao Paulo on our southward journey from 
Rio to Montevideo, we drove out to the " Instituto Serum- 



14 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

therapico," designed for the study of the effects of the 
venom of poisonous Brazilian snakes. Its director is Doc- 
tor Vital Brazil, who has performed a most extraordinary 
work and whose experiments and investigations are not 
only of the utmost value to Brazil but will ultimately 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, with all the best appliances, in which 
experiments are carried on with all kinds of serpents, liv- 
ing and dead, with the object of discovering all the prop- 
erties of their several kinds of venom, and of developing 
various anti-venom serums which nullify the effects of the 
different venoms. Every effort is made to teach the peo- 
ple at large by practical demonstration in the open field 
the lessons thus learned in the laboratory. One notable 
result has been the 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 de- 
voted 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 op- 
portunity of witnessing for ourselves the action of the mus- 
surama toward a dangerous snake. 

The doctor first showed us specimens of the various 



THE START 15 

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 produce two 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 lachecis genus. These poisons 
are somewhat different and moreover there appear to be 
some differences between the poisons of the different spe- 
cies of lachecis; in some cases the poison is nearly color- 
less, and in others, as in that of the jararaca, whose poi- 
son I saw, it is yellow. 

But the vital difference is that between all these poi- 
sons 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 some one 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 lachecis 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- 



16 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

handled steel hook. All that is necessary to do is to in- 
sert this under the snake and lift him off the ground. He 
is not only unable to escape, but he is unable 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 ordi- 
nary 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 innumer- 
able mysteries of nature which are at 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 lachecis 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 



THE START 17 

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 onlookers. 
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 lachecis came a large 
quantity of yellow venom, a liquid which speedily crystal- 
lized 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 
lachecis 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 individual 
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, sometimes even longer, 
nearly black, lighter below, with a friendly, placid temper. 
It lives exclusively on other snakes, and is completely im- 
mune to the poison of the lachecis and rattlesnake groups, 
which contain all the really dangerous snakes of America. 
Doctor Brazil told me that he had conducted many experi- 
ments 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 fortnight. 



18 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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-poi- 
sonous 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. Moreover, 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 distur- 
bance or interference will prevent their eating. There are 
other snakes, however, 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 attractive 
snake, the king-snake, with much the same habits as the 
mussurama. It is friendly toward mankind, and not poi- 
sonous, so that it can be handled freely. It feeds on other 
serpents, and will kill 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 posses- 
sion. They are good-natured and can generally be han- 
dled with impunity, but I have known them to bite, whereas 
Doctor Brazil informed me that it was almost impossible 
to make the mussurama bite a man. The king-snake will 



THE START 19 

feed greedily 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 In- 
dian snake-eating cobra or hamadryad of about the same 
size. It killed the cobra but made no effort to swallow 
it, and very soon showed the effects of the cobra poison. 
I believe it afterward died, but unfortunately 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 impunity 
killed and eaten several rattlesnakes and representatives 
of the lachecis genus, also killed and ate a venomous coral- 
snake, but shortly afterward 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 
Doctor 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 
exceptional, 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 



20 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 poisonous 
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 individuals 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 cobra. 

All these and many other questions would be speedily 
settled by Doctor Brazil if he were given the opportunity 
to test them. It must be remembered, moreover, 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 favorite prey of the mussurama is the 
most common and therefore the most dangerous poison- 
ous snake of Brazil, the jararaca, which is known in Mar- 
tinique as the fer-de-lance. In Martinique and elsewhere 



THE START 21 

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 mus- 
surama to that island. The mortality 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 ser- 
pents, 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 
specialized creature, the higher its specialization, is apt to 
be proportionately helpless when once its peculiar special- 
ized 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 
their 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, includ- 
ing 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, 



22 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 
experiments, 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 killed 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 reversed. 

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 slightest trace of either nervous- 
ness or bad temper. Meanwhile the doctor bade his at- 
tendant put on the table a big jararaca, 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 mussu- 
rama. The latter, which I continued to hold in my arms, 
behaved with friendly and impassive indifference, moving 



THE START 23 

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 mus- 
surama would behave, for it had recently eaten 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 ap- 
petite. 

The jararaca was alert and vicious. It partly coiled 
itself on the table, threatening the bystanders. I put the 
big black serpent 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 excite- 
ment. 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 exhibi- 
tion 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. Im- 
mediately the latter struck in return, and the counter-at- 
tack 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 



24 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 ef- 
fect. 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 grad- 
ually 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 pur- 
pose it twisted its own head and neck round so that the 
lighter-colored surface was uppermost; and indeed at one 




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 of Dr. Vital Brazil 



THE START 25 

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 convulsively. 
When satisfied that its opponent was 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 deliberately, but with 
unbroken speed, to devour its opponent by the simple 
process of crawling outside it, the body and tail of the 
jararaca writhing and struggling 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 indifferent to our 
presence, but it was totally indifferent 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 par- 
tially 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- 



26 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

natured, and 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 behavior 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 Fran- 
cisco P. Moreno, of Buenos Aires. Doctor Moreno is at 
the present day a member of the National Board of Edu- 
cation 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 intro- 
duced 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 Argen- 
tine, 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 START 27 

the strange representatives of the giant South American 
pleistocene fauna had lasted down to within a compara- 
tively 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 Ari- 
zona, 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 undoubt- 
edly 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 have said, is not only an eminent citizen, but an eminent 
scientific man, and his account of what occurred is unques- 
tionably a scientifically accurate statement of the facts. 



28 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 
on the Plata," and that the latter knew nothing whatever 
of pumas from personal experience and had accepted as 
facts utterly wild fables. 

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 unprece- 
dented 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 Africa. 

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 



THE START 29 

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 the lake, to make a 
topographical sketch of the lake. 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 shoul- 
der 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 like a cat, 
looking at him, and then crouched to spring again; where- 
upon 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 
twice she came up to attack him, but each time he opened 
his poncho and yelled, and at the last moment she shrank 
back. She continually, however, tried, by taking advan- 
tage of cover, to sneak up to one side, or behind, to at- 
tack 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 



30 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 sol- 
dier 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 time. 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 



THE START 31 

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- 
worthy accounts of a cougar's having attacked man save 
under circumstances 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 Onelli, 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 young 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 
Vicente Montes, of the Argentine Navy, an accomplished 
officer of scientific attainments. He had at one time been 
engaged on a survey of the boundary between the Argen- 
tine and Parana and Brazil. They had a quantity of 
dried beef in camp. On several occasions a jaguar came 



32 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 con- 
fusion, 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 ordinary prey. 

During the two months before starting from Asuncion, 
in Paraguay, for our journey into the interior, I was kept 
so busy that I 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 something 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-colored, which lived near the 
ground in the thick timber, but sang high among the 
branches. At a great distance we could hear the ringing, 



THE START 33 

musical, bell-like note, long-drawn and of piercing sweet- 
ness, 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 list- 
ened to one that impressed me more. In different places 
in Argentina I heard and saw the Argentine mocking-bird, 
which is not very unlike 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 
well the birds of both South America and Europe, to be 
the song-king of them all. 

Most of the birds I thus noticed while hurriedly pass- 
ing through the country were, of course, the conspicuous 
ones. The spurred lapwings, big, tame, boldly marked 
plover, were everywhere; 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 colored 
as the males, and their jet-black bodies and brilliant red 
heads make it impossible for them to escape observation 
among their natural surroundings. On the plains to the 
west I saw flocks of the beautiful rose-breasted starlings; 
unlike the red-headed blackbirds, which seemed fairly to 
court attention, these starlings sought to escape observa- 
tion by crouching on the ground so that their red breasts 
were hidden. There were yellow-shouldered blackbirds in 
wet places, and cow-buntings abounded. 



34 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

But the most conspicuous birds I saw were members of 
the family of tyrant 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 
color and habits, and in one case also in shape, as to at- 
tract the attention of even the unobservant. The least con- 
spicuous, 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 noisy, is common in 
the neighborhood of houses, and builds a big domed nest. 
It is really a big, heavy king-bird, fiercer and more power- 
ful 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 little 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- 
tail is common throughout the open country, and the long 
tail feathers, which seem at times to hamper its flight, at- 
tract 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 fasci- 
nating 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 flut- 
tering wings to a height of a hundred feet, hovering while 



THE START 35 

he sings, and then falling back to earth. The color of the 
bird and the character of his performance attract the at- 
tention of every observer, bird, beast, or man, withm 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 be- 
longed to this family. He for only the male is so brightly 
colored is coal-black with a dull-red back. I saw these 
birds on December i near Barilloche, out on the bare Pata- 
gonian plains. They behaved like 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 inconspicuous, the red-backs at 
once attracted attention by the contrast between their 
bold coloring and the grayish or yellowish tones of the 
ground along which they ran. The silver-bill tyrant, how- 
ever, is much more conspicuous; I saw it in the same 
neighborhood 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 coloring 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 im- 
agine a more conspicuous bird than the silver-bill; but 
the next and last tyrant flycatcher of which I shall speak 



36 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 brilliant white, all over, 
except the long wing-quills and the ends of the tail-feathers, 
which are black. The first one I saw, at a very long dis- 
tance, 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 like 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 all of them with a strikingly advertis- 
ing 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 con- 
cealing 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, intel- 
ligence, adaptability, prowess, bodily vigor, speed, alert- 
ness, ability to hide, ability to build structures which will 
protect the young while they are helpless, fecundity all, 
and many more like them, have their several places; and 



THE START 37 

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 attribute 
which may be wholly lacking in influence on other species; 
and every one of the attributes above enumerated is a sur- 
vival factor in some species, while in others it has no sur- 
vival value whatever, and in yet others, although of bene- 
fit, it is not of sufficient benefit to offset the benefit conferred 
on foes or rivals by totally different attributes. Intelli- 
gence, for instance, is of course a survival 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 intelligence; and dur- 
ing 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 environmental 
complex. The same statement 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 nomenclature as when we use such a con- 
venient but far from satisfactory term as orthogenesis. 



CHAPTER II 
UP THE PARAGUAY 

ON the afternoon of December 9 we left the attractive 
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 him- 
self, a most comfortable river steamer, and so the open- 
ing 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 Para- 
guay. Under the brilliant sky we steamed steadily up the 
mighty river; the sunset was glorious as we leaned on the 
port railing; and after nightfall the moon, nearly full and 
hanging high in the heavens, turned the water to shim- 
mering 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- 
colored ibis and white storks with black wings. Darters, 
with snakelike necks and pointed bills, perched in the trees 
on the brink of the river. Snowy egrets flapped across the 

38 



UP THE PARAGUAY 39 

marshes. Caymans 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 well-settled country, where bananas and or- 
anges 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 suc- 
cessive 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 cov- 
ered with ranches at a not distant day. But mosquitoes 
and many other winged insect pests swarm over it. Cherrie 
and Miller had spent a week there collecting mammals and 
birds prior to my arrival at Asuncion. They were veter- 
ans 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 



40 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 
birdshot; 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 men- 
aces to the cattlemen. With me on the gunboat was an 
old Western friend, Tex Rickard, of the Panhandle 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 Concepcion, 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 con- 
siderations. 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 men, in the United States, in 



UP THE PARAGUAY 41 

England, France, Germany, Italy the men like Doctor 
Cruz in Rio Janeiro and Doctor Vital Brazil in Sao Paulo 
who work experimentally within and without the labora- 
tory 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 pic- 
turesque 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 pi- 
ranha 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 Para- 
guay the piranha do not seem to go in regular schools, but 
they swarm in all the waters and attain a length of eigh- 
teen 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 them- 
selves. 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 will 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 ex- 



42 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

hausted when fighting after being hooked. Miller, before 
I 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 wit- 
nessed an exhibition of such impotent, savage fifry as was 
shown by the piranhas as they flapped on deck. When 
fresh from the water and thrown on the boards they ut- 
tered 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 its fellows; an- 
other 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 swim- 
ming 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 




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



UP THE PARAGUAY 43 

member of the ravenous throng which is anywhere near, 
and unless the attacked animal can immediately make its 
escape from 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, rinding we were still 
moored off Concepcion, we were rowed ashore and strolled 
off through the streets of the quaint, picturesque old town; 
a town which, like Asuncion, was founded by the con- 
quistadores three-quarters of a century before our own En- 
glish and Dutch forefathers landed in what is now the 
United States. The Jesuits then took practically complete 
possession of what is now Paraguay, controlling and Chris- 
tianizing 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 religious 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 Portuguese. In Paraguay 



44 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

it still 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 In- 
dian blood but with a white admixture; while the upper 
classes are predominantly white, with a strong infusion of 
Indian. There is no other case quite parallel to this in 
the annals of European colonization, although the Goa- 
nese in India have a native tongue and a Portuguese creed, 
while in several of the Spanish-American states the In- 
dian blood is dominant and the majority of the population 
speak an Indian tongue, perhaps itself, as with the Qui- 
chuas, 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 Guarany 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 lan- 
guage. 

The Guarany-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 set- 



UP THE PARAGUAY 45 

tiers 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 Para- 
guay, as soon as they can definitely shake off the revolu- 
tionary habit and establish an orderly permanence of gov- 
ernment. The 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 glimpses 
into cool inner courtyards, with trees and flowers; at the 
two-wheel carts, drawn by mules or oxen; at an occa- 
sional 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 matte and hides. Then we came to a 
pleasant little inn, 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 Para- 
guay. 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 liveried 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 public official. In all the 
South American countries there is more pomp and cere- 



46 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

mony 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 lieutenant 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 Ameri- 
can 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 reluc- 
tance to settle internal disagreements by violence. They 
are introducing universal military service in Paraguay; the 
officers, many of whom have studied abroad, are grow- 
ing 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 will be powerful factors in giving Paraguay what she 
most needs, freedom from revolutionary disturbance and 
therefore the chance to achieve the material prosperity 



UP THE PARAGUAY 47 

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 coun- 
try and one of the leading men of the city. There was a 
breakfast. When I had to speak I impressed into my ser- 
vice as interpreter a young Paraguayan who was a gradu- 
ate 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 revolu- 
tionary habit with clearness and vigor, because he thor- 
oughly understood not only how I felt but also the American 
way of looking at such things. My hosts were hospitality 
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 bar- 
kentine 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, cook- 
ing at queer open-air ovens. One small child had as pets 
a parrot and a young coati a kind of long-nosed rac- 
coon. 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 splendor; and the nights, with 
the moon at the full, were wonderful. At night Orion 



48 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 twelfth we were at the Brazilian bound- 
ary. 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 Uru- 
guayan, of German parentage. The peons, or workers, who 
lived in a long line of wooden cabins back of the main 
building, 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. 




o , 



UP THE PARAGUAY 49 

Water-fowl were plentiful. We saw large flocks of wild 
muscovy ducks. Our tame birds come from this wild spe- 
cies and its absurd misnaming dates back to the period 
when the turkey and guinea-pig were misnamed in similar 
fashion our European forefathers taking a large and hazy 
view of geography, and including Turkey, Guinea, India, 
and Muscovy as places which, in their capacity of being 
outlandish, could be comprehensively used as including 
America. The muscovy ducks were very good eating. 
Darters and cormorants swarmed. They waddled on the 
sand-bars in big flocks and crowded the trees by the water's 
edge. Beautiful snow-white egrets also lit in the trees, often 
well back from the river. A full-foliaged tree of vivid 
green, its round surface crowded with these birds, 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 Brazilian boundary we met a shallow river 
steamer carrying Colonel Candido Mariano da Silva Ron- 
don 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 evi- 
dent that he would be a pleasant companion. He was a 
classmate of Mr. Lauro Miiller at the Brazilian Military 
Academy. He is of almost pure Indian blood, and is a 
Positivist the Positivists are a really 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 



50 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

same complete liberty in matters religious, spiritual, and 
intellectual as we, for our great good fortune, do in the 
United States, and my Brazilian companions included 
Catholics and equally sincere men who described them- 
selves as "libres penseurs." Colonel Rondon has spent 
the last twenty-four years in exploring the western high- 
lands of Brazil, pioneering the way for telegraph-lines and 
railroads. During that time he has travelled some four- 
teen thousand miles, on territory most of which had not 
previously been traversed by civilized man, and has built 
three thousand miles of telegraph. He has an exceptional 
knowledge of the Indian tribes and has always zealously 
endeavored 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 civiliza- 
tion. 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 of those he seeks to benefit to Christianity. But in 
South America Christianity is at least as much a status as 
a theology. It represents the indispensable first step up- 
ward 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 neighboring civiliza- 
tion, and then he moves up or down like any one else 
among his fellows. 

Among Colonel Rondon's companions were Captain 
Amilcar de Magalhaes, Lieutenant Joao Lyra, Lieutenant 




Indians rolling logs at wood station 
From a photograph by Kerm.it Roosevelt 




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



52 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

food and very hungry. On reaching a stream they dyna- 
mited 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 sec- 
tion out of his tongue. Such a hemorrhage 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 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 some- 
times become man-eaters and should be destroyed when- 



UP THE PARAGUAY 51 

Joaquin dc 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 fully dis- 
cussed and agreed on we took tea. I happened to mention 
that one of our naturalists, Miller, had been bitten by a 
piranha, and the man-eating fish at once became the sub- 
ject of conversation. Curiously enough, one of the Bra- 
zilian taxidermists had also just been severely bitten by a 
piranha. My new companions had 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 limb of a tree; but he was 
terribly injured, and it took him six months before his 
wounds healed and he recovered. An extraordinary inci- 
dent occurred on another trip. The party were without 



UP THE PARAGUAY 53 

ever the opportunity offers. The huge caymans and croc- 
odiles 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 dynamit- 
ing 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 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 occasion- 
ally 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. 

All such enemies, however, he regarded as utterly triv- 
ial 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 oc- 
casionally 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 ex- 
plorers have to fear. The conversation was to me most 
interesting. The colonel spoke French about to the ex- 



54 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

tent I did; but of course he and the others preferred Portu- 
guese; and then Kermit was the interpreter. 

In the evening, soon after moonrise, we stopped for 
wood at the little Brazilian town of Porto Martinho. There 
are about twelve hundred inhabitants. Some of the build- 
ings 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 heavy 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 Bra- 
zilian garrison; the intendente, a local trader; another 
trader and ranchman, 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 de- 
mocracy, honesty, liberty, and order (rather well-worn top- 
ics); and a Catalan who spoke French, and who was ac- 
companied 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. 



UP THE PARAGUAY 55 

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 sol- 
diers and priests and merchants as they sailed and rowed 
up and down the current of its stream, and beheld little 
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 first quarter of the last cen- 
tury; and in the not distant future it will witness a burst 
of growth and prosperity much like that which the Missis- 
sippi 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 
hills by the river-brink. On one of these hills stood a pic- 
turesque 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 Para- 
guayan soldiers. Here Father Zahm baptized two children, 
the youngest of a large family of fair-skinned, light-haired 
small people, whose father was a Paraguayan and the 
mother an "Oriental," or Uruguayan. No priest had 



56 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

visited the village for three years, and the children were 
respectively one and two years of age. The sponsors in- 
cluded the local commandante and a married couple from 
Austria. In answer to what was supposed to be the per- 
functory question whether they were Catholics, the parents 
returned the unexpected answer that they were not. Fur- 
ther questioning elicited the fact that the father called him- 
self a "free-thinking Catholic/' 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 cere- 
mony. They were good people; and, although they wished 
liberty 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 convince 
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 Catholic Church in South 
America as to permit the establishment of one good and 
earnest priest in every village or little community in the 
far interior. Nor is there any inconsistency between this 
wish and the further wish that there could be a marked ex- 
tension and development of the native Protestant churches, 
such as I saw established here and there in Brazil, Uru- 
guay, and Argentina, and of the Y. M. C. Associations. 
The bulk of these good people who profess religion will 
continue to be Catholics, but the spiritual needs of a more 



UP THE PARAGUAY 57 

or less considerable minority will best be met by the es- 
tablishment 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 Catholic 
Church itself; for their presence is a constant spur to 
activity and clean and honorable conduct, and a constant 
reflection on sloth and moral laxity. The government in 
each of these commonwealths 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, ob- 
ligatory, and free a cardinal doctrine of our own great 
democracy, to which we are committed by every principle 
of sound Americanism. There must be absolute religious 
liberty, 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 to overlook the vital impor- 
tance of the ethical and spiritual, the truly religious, ele- 
ment in life; and in practice the average good man grows 
clearly to understand 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 break- 
fast on Colonel Rondon's boat. Caymans were becom- 
ing more plentiful. The ugly brutes lay on the sand-flats 
and mud-banks like logs, always with the head raised, 
sometimes with the jaws open. They are often dangerous 



58 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 ex- 
tended 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 set- 
tlement 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 the land of his parents' 
nativity, remarked that this was the first time the Ameri- 
can flag had been seen on the upper Paraguay; for our 
gunboat carried it at the masthead. Early in the after- 
noon, 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 Para- 
guayans in the war of nearly half a century ago. Some 





60 ~ 

2 i 



U -c 
Q* ^s 
G <i. 







UP THE PARAGUAY 59 

modern guns have been mounted, and there is a garrison 
of Brazilian troops. The white fort is perched on the hill- 
side, where it clings 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 hun- 
dred 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 predomi- 
nantly negro. Most were of intervening shades. All this 
was paralleled among the men; and the fusion of the colors 
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-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 like 
a long lake; it wound in every direction through the 
endless marshy plain, whose surface was broken here and 
there by low mountains. The splendor of the sunset I 
never saw surpassed. We were steaming east toward 
clouds of storm. The river ran, a broad highway of mol- 



60 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

ten 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 roundabout was evidently 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 caymans and piranhas rarely ventured 
near a place where so much was going on, and that acci- 
dents 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 com- 
fortable as possible stone floors, high ceilings, big win- 
dows 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, 



61 

and their contents are then peddled around at the different 
houses. The families showed the mixture of races charac- 
teristic of Brazil; one mother, after the children had been 
photographed in their ordinary costume, 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 mam- 
mals and birds. 



CHAPTER III 
A JAGUAR-HUNT ON THE TAQUARY 

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 sug- 
gest; that it was extraordinary that Fiala, without per- 
sonal knowledge 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. Miller did not find that they were cannibals to- 
ward 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 contrary of what we had been told, that splashing 
and a commotion in the water attracted the piranhas, 

62 



A JAGUAR-HUNT ON THE TAQUARY 63 

whereas they rarely attacked anything that was motionless 
unless it was bloody. Dead birds and mammals, thrown 
whole and unskinned into the water were permitted to 
float off unmolested, whereas the skinned 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 something of value waded in after it 
to above the knees, but went very slowly and quietly, avoid- 
ing 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 
find some animal in difficulties. Once, while Miller 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 re- 
markable 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 



64 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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, re- 
sembles nothing so much as a small steam siren; when 
first heard it seems impossible that it can be produced by 
an insect. 

On December 17 Colonel Rondon and several members 
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 them- 
selves on the air. Once, at noon, a couple soared round 
overhead in wide rings, rising higher and higher. On an- 
other occasion, late in the day, a flock passed by, gleam- 
ing white with black points in the long afternoon lights, and 
with them were spoonbills, showing rosy amid their snowy 
companions. Caymans, always called jacares, 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 behavior how little an ordinary 



A JAGUAR-HUNT ON THE TAQUARY 65 

shot pains or affects these dull-nerved, cold-blooded crea- 
tures. 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 extraor- 
dinary antics. Our weapons, by the way, were good, ex- 
cept Miller's shotgun. The outfit furnished by the Amer- 
ican 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 jacares. Kermit had charge of two 
hounds which we owed to the courtesy of one of our Ar- 
gentine 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 semicivilized 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 ta- 
mandua 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 



66 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 com- 
panions 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 kill 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 over- 
took the cantering, shuffling creature, and promptly began 
a 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 dis- 
tant across the marsh. 

Soon afterward we reached one of the outstations of 



A JAGUAR-HUNT ON THE TAQUARY 67 

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 firelight 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 all kinds swarmed round every light; but the 
steamboat was comfortable, and we passed a pleasant night. 

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 for- 
est. For three or four miles we splashed through the 
marsh, now and then crossing boggy pools where the little 
horses labored 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 stirrups. 

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 



68 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

the marsh. But ibis and herons abounded; the former ut- 
tered queer, querulous cries when they discovered our 
presence. The spurred lapwings 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 in 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 un- 
pleasant. 

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 climbed 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 companions circling around overhead. The 
naturalists 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 spe- 
cies and individuals and in the size of the beasts. It pos- 
sesses 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 mammalian life of 
Africa and, in a less degree, of tropical Asia; indeed, it does 



A JAGUAR-HUNT ON THE TAQUARY 69 

not even approach the similar mammalian life of North 
America and northern Eurasia, poor though this is com- 
pared with the seething vitality of tropical life in the Old 
World. During a geologically recent period, a period ex- 
tending into that which saw man spread over the world in 
substantially the physical and cultural stage of many exist- 
ing savages, South America possessed a varied and striking 
fauna of enormous beasts sabre-tooth tigers, huge lions, 
mastodons, horses of many kinds, camel-like pachyderms, 
giant ground-sloths, mylodons the size of the rhinoceros, 
and many, many other strange and wonderful creatures. 
From some cause, concerning the nature of which we can- 
not at present even hazard a guess, this vast and giant fauna 
vanished completely, the tremendous catastrophe (the dura- 
tion 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 impoverished 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, ap- 
proach in size and beauty the herds of wild or half-wild 



70 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

cattle and horses, or so add to the interest of the land- 
scape. 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 impov- 
erishment and extinction the wild life which is an asset of 
such interest and value in our several lands; but the case 
against civilized man in this matter is grewsomely heavy 
anyhow, when the plain truth is told, and it is harmed by 
exaggeration. 

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 neighborhood 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, sur- 
rounded 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 building with a red-tiled roof; this held the 



A JAGUAR-HUNT ON THE TAQUARY 71 

kitchen and the living-rooms of the upper-grade peons, 
the headmen, the cook, and jaguar-hunters, with their 
families: dark-skinned men, their wives showing varied 
strains of white, Indian, and negro blood. The children 
tumbled merrily in the dust, and were fondly tended by 
their mothers. Opposite the kitchen stood a row of build- 
ings, 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 scaffold- 
ing on which hung hides and strips of drying meat. Ex- 
traordinary 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 build- 
ings: sheds, and thatched huts of palm-logs in which the 
ordinary peons lived, and big cdrrals. In the quadrangle 
were flamboyant trees, with their masses of brilliant red 
flowers and delicately cut, vivid-green foliage. 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 build nests. They chattered 
incessantly both when they flew and when they sat or 
crawled among the branches. Ibis and plover, crying and 



72 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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," be- 
cause they walked on the water. There was a wealth of 
strange bird life in the neighborhood. There were large pa- 
pyrus-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 sway- 
ing papyrus-stem which their weight bent over. There 
were all kinds of extraordinary bird's-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 
observation adds the power of vivid, truthful, and inter- 
esting narration which means, as scientists no less than 
historians should note, that training in the writing of 
good English is indispensable to any learned man who 
expects to make his learning count for what it ought to 
count in the effect on his fellow men. The outdoor natu- 
ralist, the faunal naturalist, who devotes himself primarily 
to a study of the habits and of the life-histories of birds, 
beasts, fish, and reptiles, and who can portray truthfully 
and vividly what he has seen, could do work of more use- 
fulness than any mere collector, in this upper Paraguay 
country. The work of the collector is indispensable; 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 



A JAGUAR-HUNT ON THE TAQUARY 73 

of the field observer with the gift for recording what he has 
seen becomes of far more importance. 

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. Ker- 
mit shot one, because the naturalists eagerly wished for a 
second specimen; afterward we were relieved of all neces- 
sity 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 frag- 
ments of leaves, both green and dry. Doubtless the earth 
and the vegetable matter had merely been taken inciden- 
tally, adhering to the viscid tongue when it was thrust 
into the ant masses. Out in the open marsh the taman- 
dua 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 plants. 

The tough little horses bore us well through the marsh. 



74 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

Often in crossing bayous and ponds the water rose almost 
to their backs; but they splashed and waded and if nec- 
essary 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 neighborhood, a tall, lank animal, with much 
smaller teeth than a big northern wolf. The domestic dog 
is undoubtedly descended from at least a dozen different 
species of wild dogs, wolves, and jackals, some of them 
probably belonging to what we style different genera. 
The degree of fecundity or lack of fecundity between dif- 
ferent species varies in extraordinary and inexplicable fash- 
ion 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 sep- 
arated as the horse, ass, and zebra species such as the 
domestic ox, bison, yak, and gaur breed freely together 
and their offspring 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 neighboring 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 na- 
turalists, and all kinds of other subjects both with them 



A JAGUAR-HUNT ON THE TAQUARY 75 

and with our Brazilian friends. Colonel Rondon is not 
simply "an officer and a gentleman" in the sense that is 
honorably true of the best army officers in every good 
military service. He is also a peculiarly hardy and com- 
petent 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 in- 
dustrial civilization, and to Positivist morality. The colo- 
nel's Positivism was in very fact to him a religion of hu- 
manity, 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 here- 
after 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. In that rather preposterous book 
of our youth, the "Swiss Family Robinson," mention is 
made of a tame monkey called Nips, which was used to 



76 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 tus- 
sock 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 rudi- 
mentary. On this day Kermit also came across a herd of 
the big, fierce white-lipped peccary; at the sound 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 little 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 sign 




* 

Hi 



A JAGUAR-HUNT ON THE TAQUARY 77 

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, undersized marsh pony, accustomed to trav- 
ersing the vast stretches of morass; and we were accom- 
panied by a brown boy, with saddle-bags holding our lunch, 
who rode a long-horned trotting steer which he managed 
by a string through its nostril 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 
well-nigh worthless, 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 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 crea- 
tures 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 jacare-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 gray of the dawn. The sky had become 
overcast. The sun rose red and angry through broken 
clouds; his disk flamed behind the tall, slender columns of 



78 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 plov- 
ers 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 
color. 

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 unleashed 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-like stretches of tree-covered land, the trees at 
this point being mostly palms and tarumans; the taruman 
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 yelling and howling; and then a sudden quick- 
ening 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 



A JAGUAR-HUNT ON THE TAQUARY 79 

were not stanch, and if the jaguar came down and started 
I feared we might lose it. So I fired at once, from a dis- 
tance of seventy yards. I was using my favorite rifle, the 
little Springfield with which I have killed most kinds of 
African game, from the lion and elephant down; the bul- 
lets 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, rank- 
ing on an equality with the noblest beasts of the chase of 
North America, and behind only the huge and fierce crea- 
tures 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 Afri- 
can panther or leopard. It was 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 I 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, cow- 
ing the quarry by their clamor, they were not sufficiently 
stanch to be of use if there was any difficulty in the hunt. 



80 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 slid 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 was 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 likely spot. The matted growth of water- 
plants, with their leathery, slippery stems, formed an un- 
pleasant barrier, as the water was swimming-deep for the 
horses. The latter were very unwilling to attempt the pas- 
sage. 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 




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

From a photograph by KermU Roosevelt 




Colonel Roosevelt and the first jaguar 
From a photograph by Hermit Roosevelt 



A JAGUAR-HUNT ON THE TAQUARY 81 

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, listening to the dogs within; and in a moment 
a burst of yelling clamor from the pack told that the jag- 
uar was afoot. These few minutes are the really exciting 
moments in the chase, with hounds, of any big cat that 
will tree. The furious baying of the pack, the shouts and 
cheers of encouragement from the galloping horsemen, the 
wilderness surroundings, the knowledge of what the quarry 
is all combine to make the moment one of fierce and thrill- 
ing excitement. Besides, in this case there was the possi- 
bility the jaguar might come to bay on the ground, in 
which event there would be a slight 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-killing 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 lion- 
esses we shot while in Africa. He had the big bones, the 
stout frame, and the heavy muscular build of a small lion; he 



82 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 neighborhood. In 
these marshes each jaguar had a wide irregular range and 
travelled a good deal, perhaps only passing a day or two 
in a given locality, perhaps spending a week where game 
was plentiful. Jaguars love the water. They drink greed- 
ily 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 blind, headlong speed through and among 



A JAGUAR-HUNT ON THE TAQUARY 83 

branches and trunks that if not immediately killed it 
brushes the jaguar off, the claws leaving long raking scars 
in the tough hide. Cattle are often killed. The jaguar 
will not meddle with a big bull; and is cautious about at- 
tacking a herd accompanied by a bull; but it will at times, 
where wild game is scarce, kill every other domestic animal. 
It is a thirsty brute, and if it kills 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 jag- 
uar had thus killed and dragged for over a mile. Jaguars 
also stalk and kill the deer; in this neighborhood 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 neighborhood the ordinary jaguars 
molested the cattle and horses hardly at all 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 Africa we found the 
lions living almost exclusively on zebra and antelope, and 
not molesting the buffalo and domestic cattle, which in 
other parts of Africa furnish their habitual prey. In some 
other neighborhoods, 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 



84 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 hab- 
its of these big cats with a curious ignorance 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 dis- 
cussing 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 carefully compared, entirely truthful 
men, at home in the wilderness, 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 de- 
ceive 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 ordi- 
nary 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 favorites 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. 




A South American puma 




A South American jaguar 
From photographs by Elwin R. Sanborn 



A JAGUAR-HUNT ON THE TAQUARY 85 

But it is a mistake to accept him as an authority on that 
concerning 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 dis- 
tant 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 little pond a jacare-tinga showed no less anger 
when another of my companions approached. It bellowed, 
opened its jaws, and lashed its tail. Yet these pond ja- 
cares 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 Brazilian 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 small cay- 
mans and by capybaras the largest known rodent, a huge 
aquatic guinea-pig, the size of a small sheep. It also 



86 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 at- 
tacked 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 pi- 
ranhas 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 at- 
tacked 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 
unmolested; 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 neighborhood. Ordinarily it 
appears that an unwounded man is attacked only by acci- 
dent. Such accidents are rare; but they happen with suffi- 
cient 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 trav- 
elled these at night, for we never saw them more than a 



A JAGUAR-HUNT ON THE TAQUARY 87 

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 tilt into the water, and it was then 
really funny to see their surprise and disappointment at 
the sudden and complete 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 gen- 
tly 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, swimming 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 sur- 
roundings 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-lilies, 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 arma- 
dillo. We were riding with the pack through a dry, sandy 
pasture country, dotted with clumps of palms, round the 



88 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 fore legs 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 men- 
aced; 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 suddenly 
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 armored 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; evi- 
dently this species of armadillo only curls up as a last re- 
sort, and ordinarily trusts to its speed, and to the protection 
its build and its armor 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 acciden- 
tally dug up armadillos with a steam-shovel. 

There were big ant-hills, some of them of huge dimen- 




Nine-banded armadillo 




Capybaras 




Collared peccary 

/"row photographs by Elwin R. Sanborn 



A JAGUAR-HUNT ON THE TAQUARY 89 

sions, 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 from the attack of these ants. The 
experiments of our naturalists 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 fol- 
lowed by three little 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 color. There were magnificent 
hyacinth macaws; green parrots with red splashes; tou- 
cans with varied plumage, black, white, red, yellow; green 
jacmars; flaming orioles and both blue and dark-red tan- 
agers. It was an extraordinary collection. All were noisy. 
Perhaps there was a snake that had drawn them by its 
presence; but we could find no snake. The assembly dis- 
persed as we rode up; the huge blue macaws departed 
in pairs, uttering their hoarse " ar-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 



90 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 killed a jabiru. Kermit shot a jab- 
iru 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 for- 
midable 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 no- 
ticed 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 JAGUAR-HUNT ON THE TAQUARY 91 

A naturalist 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 little. Exhaustive ob- 
servation in the field is what is now most needed. Most 
of this wonderful and harmless bird life should be pro- 
tected by law; and the mammals should receive reasonable 
protection. The books now most needed are those dealing 
with the life-histories of wild creatures. 

Near the ranch-house, walking familiarly 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 small 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- 
bill wood-hewers, birds the size and somewhat the coloration 
of veeries, but with long, slender sickle-bills, were common 



92 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 some- 
what 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 be- 
come 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 work- 
men, 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, bend- 
ing back until he was almost sitting down and digging his 




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A JAGUAR-HUNT ON THE TAQUARY 93 

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 stock- 
ade. 

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 downpour. 
It was not unexpected, for we had been told that the rainy 
season was overdue. The following forenoon the baggage 
started, in a couple of two-wheeled ox-carts, for the land- 
ing where the steamboat awaited us. Each cart was drawn 
by eight oxen. The huge wheels were over seven feet 
high. Early in the afternoon 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 mountains that 
lie west of Corumba. Behind them the sun was setting 
and kindled the overcast heavens with lurid splendor. 
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 gray of the half- 
light. We overtook the ox-carts. The cattle strained in 



-.-$ 






94 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

the yokes; the drivers wading alongside 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-by 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 rowboat fitted for a spritsail 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. 



CHAPTER IV 
THE HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 

AT Corumba our entire party, and all their belongings, 
came aboard our good little river boat, the Nyoac. Christ- 
mas 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 little steamer 
was jammed with men, dogs, rifles, partially cured skins, 
boxes of provisions, ammunition, tools, and photographic 
supplies, bags containing tents, cots, bedding, and clothes, 
saddles, hammocks, and the other necessaries for a trip 
through the "great wilderness/' 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 Ron- 
don 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 eve- 
ning the after-deck, open all around, where we dined, was 

95 



96 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 agricultural, mining, 
and business development; and it has a great future. 

Cherrie and Miller 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 affection- 
ate. 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 opos- 
sum, which is black and white, swims in the streams like 
a muskrat or otter, catching fish and living in burrows 
which open under water. Miller and Cherrie were puz- 
zled to know why the young throve, leading such an exis- 
tence of constant immersion; one of them once found a 
female swimming and diving freely with four quite well- 
grown young in her pouch. 

We saw on the banks screamers big, crested waders of 



HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 97 

archaic type, 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 underneath, 
instead of white as in our whitetail deer. One of the 
vagaries of the ultraconcealing-colorationists has been to 
uphold the (incidentally quite preposterous) theory that 
the tail of our deer is colored white beneath so as to har- 
monize 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 conceal- 
ing 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 ani- 
mals as the zebra, the sable antelope, the wildebeeste, the 
lion, 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 brilliant 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 gray 



98 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 cay- 
man 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 per- 
haps 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 degrees Fahrenheit. Biting 
flies came aboard even when we were in midstream. 

Next day we were ascending the Cuyaba River. It had 
begun raining in the night, and the heavy downpour con- 
tinued 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 house- 
boat 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, 



HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 99 

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 diam- 
eter. These wasps are venomous and irritable, and few 
foes would dare venture near bird's-nests that were under 
such formidable shelter; but the birds themselves were 
entirely unafraid, and obviously were not in any danger of 
disagreement with 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 



100 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

coast, the Red River of the North, or the Kootenay. Back 
in the forest near Corumba the naturalists 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 har- 
bored 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 in- 
formed 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 region. It 
is at any rate certain that this inland region of Brazil, 
including the state of Matto Grosso, which we were trav- 
ersing, is a healthy region, excellently adapted to settle- 
ment; railroads will speedily penetrate it, and then it will 
witness an astonishing development. 

On the morning of the 28th we reached the home build- 
ings of the great Sao Joao fazenda, the ranch of Senhor 
Joao da Costa Marques. Our host himself, and his son, 
Dom Joao the younger, who was state secretary of agricul- 
ture, 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 hospitality. 
Some miles below the ranch-house the party met us, on a 
stern-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 



HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 101 

dotted with those noble trees, the royal palms. Other 
trees, buildings of all kinds, flower-gardens, vegetable-gar- 
dens, 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 
flagpoles, 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 com- 
fort 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, exactry like 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 neighborhood. We passed an 
Indian fishing village on the edge of the river, with huts, 
scaffoldings for drying the fish, hammocks, and rude tables. 
They cultivated patches of bananas and sugar-cane. Out 



102 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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, 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 trop- 
ics, our host had the look of a northerner and, although a 
grandfather, he possessed an abounding vigor and energy 
such as very few men of any climate or surroundings do 
possess. All of his sons are doing well. The son who was 
with us was a stalwart, powerful man, a pleasant compan- 
ion, 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 ser- 
vants. 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 table. 




< '= 8 



HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 103 

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 "cama- 
radas." 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 vigor- 
ous host and his strapping son, the latter also carrying a 
jaguar-spear. The bridles and saddles of the big ranch- 
men 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 plea- 
sure. It was equally a pleasure to see a camarada carrying 
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 ref- 



104 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

erence to the plunges, and the odd and exceedingly jerky be- 
havior, 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 projecting 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 caete 
rush. These caete 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 



HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 105 

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 dole- 
fully, 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 sap- 
ling on which the venomous fire-ants swarmed. They 
burnt the skin like red-hot cinders, and left little 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 car- 
casses 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, doubtless 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 



106 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

hounds in full cry after them. It was twenty minutes 
later before we again heard the pack baying. With much 
difficulty, and by the incessant swinging of the machetes, 
we opened a trail 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 little 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 par- 
ties, feeds on roots, fruits, grass, and delights to make its 
home in hollow logs. If taken young it makes an affec- 
tionate and entertaining pet. When the two were in the 
hollow log we heard them utter a kind of moaning, or 
menacing, grunt, long drawn. 

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. Unfortu- 
nately, 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 caboclos; 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 




Wood ibis 
From a photograph by El-win R. Sanborn 





South American jabiru 
From a photograph by Ekcin R. Sanborn 



Sariema 
From a photograph by Miller 



HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 107 

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 in this rift of shimmering brightness there ap- 
peared 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 gray gloom of the day. 

On the marsh the dogs several times roused capybaras. 
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, full- 
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 woodchuck. If the pack over- 
took a capybara, they of course speedily finished it; but 
a single dog of our not very valorous outfit was not able 
to overmatch its shrill-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, where- 
upon one young jabiru hastily opened its wings in the de- 
sired fashion, at the same time seizing the stick in its bill ! 



108 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

It dropped it at once, with 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 bill 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 like a grebe and bill and tail like those of a darter, 
but, like so many South American birds, with no close affil- 
iations among other species. The exceedingly rich bird 
fauna of South America 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 neighborhood. The hand- 
somest was the richly colored tiger bittern. Two other 
species were so unlike ordinary herons that I did not recog- 
nize 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-colored, with black 
on the head. When perched on a tree it stood like an ibis; 
and instead of the measured wing-beats characteristic 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 



HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 109 

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 fin- 
est 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 
Lourenco and steamed up the latter a few miles before 
anchoring; Dom Joao the younger had accompanied us in 
his launch. The little river steamer was of very open 
build, as is necessary in such a hot climate; and to keep 
things dry necessitated also keeping the atmosphere stifling. 
The German taxidermist who was with Colonel Rondon's 
party, Reinisch, 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 promi- 
nent eyes, were at the bank where we moored, and be- 



110 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

trayed 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 slightest 
heed to our presence, and only reluctantly left when re- 
peatedly 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 annoyance we caused him. 

Next morning it was still raining, but we set off on a 
hunt, anyway, going afoot. A couple of brown camaradas 
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 



HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 111 

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 kill a dog. They 
feed on all small mammals, birds, and reptiles, and even 
on some large ones; they kill iguanas; Cherrie saw a rat- 
tling 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 southernmost rep- 
resentative 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 representatives in 
South America. It has been contended that the species 
has spread from South America northward. I do not 
think so; and the specimen thus obtained furnished 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, Oc- 



112 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

tober, and November. That the deer is an intrusive im- 
migrant, 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 ren- 
dered probable 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 further from the northern type than this bush deer 
(its horns show a likeness 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 situtunga. 

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 



HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 113 

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, let up, and in an hour 
or two the sun came out. We went back to the river, and 
found our rowboat. In it the hounds a motley and rather 
worthless lot and the rest of the party were ferried across 
to the opposite bank, while 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 color-phase the naturalists wished. 

Next morning, January i, 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 neighborhood 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 Rogaciano 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, cowhands from 
the same ranch. We soon found that the dogs would not 
by themselves follow the jaguar trail; nor would the 
camaradas, although they carried spears. Kermit was the 
one of our party who possessed the requisite speed, endur- 
ance, and eyesight, and accordingly he led. Two of the 
dogs would follow the track half a dozen yards ahead of 



114 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 all 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 life. In the marsh we were contin- 
ually 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 
slimy 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, by 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, 



HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 115 

the rest of us turned back toward the boat. The two ex- 
hausted members of the party gave out, and we left them 
under a tree. Colonel Rondon and Lieutenant Rogaciano 
were not much tired; I was somewhat tired, but was per- 
fectly 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 re- 
lief 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-natural- 
ist, 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 and 
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, wild- 
cat, 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 
scientific value as regards all the big cats. 

Only a limited number of the naturalists who have 
worked in the tropics have had any experience with the 
big beasts whose life-histories possess such peculiar interest. 
Of all the biologists who have seriously studied the South 
American fauna on the ground, Bates probably rendered 



116 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

most service; but he hardly seems even to have seen the 
animals with which the hunter is fairly familiar. His in- 
terests, and those of the other biologists of his kind, lay 
in other directions. In consequence, in treating of the life- 
histories of the very interesting big game, we have been 
largely forced to rely either on native report, in which 
acutely accurate observation 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 under- 
stand 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 naturalist, occupies at present a more impor- 
tant position than ever before, and it is now recognized that 
he can do work which the closet naturalist cannot do. The 
big-game hunter of this type and the outdoors, faunal nat- 
uralist, 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 gen- 
erally 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 pain; 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 



HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 117 

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 prac- 
tically never succeeds in either defending itself or retaliat- 
ing, 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 an- 
nihilation; the condition of their efficiency is absolute 
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 Lourenco to 
its junction with 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 primi- 
tive little ranch-house. The birds were breeding; the old 
ones were feeding the young. In this neighborhood the 
naturalists found many birds that were new to them, in- 
cluding a tiny woodpecker no bigger than a ruby-crowned 
kinglet. They had collected two night monkeys noctur- 
nal 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 



118 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 ad- 
vertising 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 al- 
ways a revealing and not a concealing effect. When the 
animal fled the black of the erect tail was an additional 
revealing mark, although not of such startlingly advertis- 
ing quality as the flag of the whitetail. The whitetail, in 
one of its forms, and with the ordinary whitetail custom of 
displaying the white flag as it runs, is found in the im- 
mediate neighborhood of the swamp-deer. It has the same 
foes. Evidently 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 coloration is 
not concealing, and that in many it has a highly revealing 
quality. Moreover, if the spotted or striped young repre- 
sent the ancestral coloration, and if, as seems probable, the 
spots and stripes have, on the whole, some slight conceal- 
ing value, it is evident that in the life history of most of 
these large mammals, both among those that prey and those 
that are preyed on, concealing coloration has not been a 
survival factor; throughout the ages during which they 
have survived they have gradually lost whatever of con- 
cealing coloration they may once have had if any and 
have developed a coloration which under present conditions 
has no concealing and perhaps even has a revealing quality, 




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 colony of their nests on a dead tree 

From a photograph by Kermit Roosevelt 



HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 119 

and which in all 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 cover, etc., are of such overmastering 
importance that the coloration is generally of no con- 
sequence whatever, one way or the other, and is only very 
rarely a factor of any serious weight. 

The junction of the Sao Lourenco 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 Caceres, at the head 
of the other. The steamers are not powerful and the voy- 
age to each little city takes a week. There are other forks 
that are navigable. Above Cuyaba and Caceres launches 
go up-stream for several days' journey, except during the 
dryest 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 mosquitoes, 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 remarkable field for cattle-growing. More- 
over, it is a paradise for water-birds and for many other 
kinds of birds, and for many mammals. It is literally an 



120 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

ideal place in which a field naturalist could spend six 
months or a year. It is readily accessible, it offers an al- 
most virgin field for work, and the life 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 superfi- 
cially 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 extraor- 
dinary opportunities for the study of the life-histories of 
birds which, because of their size, their beauty, or their 
habits, are of exceptional interest. All kinds of problems 
would be worked out. For example, on the morning of the 
3d, 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 
remodelling communal nests; but whether they had them- 
selves built these nests, or had taken old nests and added 
to or modified them, we could not tell. There was so much 
of interest all 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 mon- 



- v 

:.. *> 

%**/- 




Snake-birds and cormorants 

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

From photographs by Harper 



HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 121 

keys in this riverine tree-fringe active common monkeys 
and black howlers of more leisurely gait. We saw cay- 
mans 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 protected by law, for they readily 
become 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 Farquahar syndi- 
cate, 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 assis- 
tant Ramsey, an old Texan friend. Among the other as- 
sistants, 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 Bo- 
livian border, and the ranch has to protect itself. These 
cowhands, vaqueiros, were of the type with which we were 



122 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

now familiar: 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 wonderful 
riders and ropers, and fear neither man nor beast. I no- 
ticed one Indian vaqueiro standing in exactly the attitude 
of a Shilluk 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-raising. 

At this ranch there was a tannery; a slaughter-house; 
a cannery; a church; buildings of various kinds and all 
degrees of comfort for the thirty or forty families 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 cu- 
rassows 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-colored heron, with a par- 
tially black head and many-colored bill, which flies with 
quick, repeated wing-flappings, instead of the usual slow 
heron wing-beats. 

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 put on each, 
as they destroyed the stock. The jaguars occasionally 



HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 123 

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 In- 
dians. 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 gray, there being much the same dichroma- 
tism that I found among their Colorado kinsfolk. The 
jaguarundis were dark brownish gray. All these animals, 
the spotted jaguars and ocelots, the monochrome black 
jaguars, red pumas, and dark-gray 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 concealing or reveal- 
ing, is of no consequence one way or the other as a sur- 
vival factor. The spotted patterns conferred no benefit as 
compared with the nearly or quite monochrome blacks, 
reds, and dark grays. 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 color schemes. Except white, there is no 
color 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 gray, but the puma and jaguarundi are just as 



124 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 coloration 
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 differ- 
ence 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 life and in the ancestral 
development of the big mammals of South America colora- 
tion is not and has not been a survival factor; any pattern 
and any color may accompany the persistence and devel- 
opment of the qualities and attributes which are survival 
factors. Indeed, it seems hard to believe that in their 
ordinary environments such color 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 evi- 
dently not the case. Evidently the other factors in species- 
survival are of such overwhelming importance that the 
coloration becomes negligible from this standpoint, whether 
it be concealing or revealing. The cats mould themselves 
to the ground as they crouch or crawl. They take advan- 
tage of the tiniest scrap of cover. They move with extraor- 
dinary stealth and patience. The other animals which try 
to sneak off in such manner as to escape observation 



HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 125 

approach more or less closely to the ideal which the cats 
most nearly realize. Wariness, sharp senses, the habit of 
being rigidly motionless 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 neighborhood. The deer 
of the neighboring forest skulk and hide and lie still in 
dense cover to avoid being seen. The white-lipped pec- 
caries 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 appa- 
ratus. 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 surrounded by jaguars and pumas. Speaking 
generally, the animals that seek to escape observation trust 
primarily to smell to discover their foes or their prey, and 
see whatever moves and do not see whatever is motionless. 
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. 



126 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 char- 
acteristic sights we were always seeing was that of a num- 
ber of heads and necks of cormorants and snake-birds, 
without any bodies, projecting above water, and disap- 
pearing as the steamer approached. Skimmers and thick- 
billed tern were plentiful here right in the heart of the con- 
tinent. 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 allied species are wonderful. Among the plovers 
and bay snipe there are species that live 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 tem- 
perate regions of the south. These latter wide-wandering 
birds of the seashore 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 hemi- 
sphere, and spend another summer of long days and long 
twilights 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. 



HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 127 

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 bluff; their skirts and 
bodices were red, blue, green, of all colors. Sigg had gone 
ahead with much of the baggage; he met us in an impro- 
vised motor-boat, consisting of a dugout to the side of which 
he had clamped our Evinrude motor; he was giving sev- 
eral 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 light, 
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 government 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. 



128 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 bor- 
dered by a gallery. Lieutenant Lyra was to accompany 
us; he was an old companion of Colonel Rondon's explora- 
tions. We visited one or two of the stores to make some 
final purchases, and in the evening strolled 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 exploring and in opening telegraph- 
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 build telegraph-lines across 
to the Madeira, where a line of Brazilian settlements, con- 
nected by steamboat lines and a railroad, again occurs. 
Three times he penetrated into this absolutely unknown, 
Indian-haunted wilderness, being absent for a year or two 
at a time and suffering every imaginable hardship, before 



HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 129 

he made his way through to the Madeira and completed 
the telegraph-line across. The officers and men of the 
Brazilian Army and the civilian scientists who followed 
him shared the toil and the credit of the task. Some of 
his men died of beriberi; some were killed or wounded by 
the Indians; he himself almost died of fever; again and 
again his whole party was reduced almost to the last ex- 
tremity by starvation, disease, hardship, and the over- 
exhaustion due to wearing fatigues. In dealing with the 
wild, naked savages he showed a combination of fearless- 
ness, wariness, good judgment, and resolute patience and 
kindliness. The result was that they ultimately 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 impor- 
tant 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 cen- 
turies. The Madeira (as later the Tapajos) was the chief 
means of ingress, a century and a half ago, to the little 
Portuguese 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 aban- 
doned by the government, and practically so by its inhabi- 
tants, 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 



130 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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, until 
its junction with the Tapajos. Near the watershed be- 
tween the Juruena and the Gy-Parana he established his 
farthest station to the westward, named Jose Bonofacio, 
after one of the chief republican patriots of Brazil. A 
couple of days' march northwestward from this station, 
he in 1909 came across a part of the stream of a river 
running northward between the Gy-Parana and the Ju- 
ruena; 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 conjecture 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 the officers of the Brazilian Army and the 
scientific civilians who have accompanied him there have 
been not only expert cartographers, photographers, and 
telegraphists, 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 



HEADWATERS OF THE PARAGUAY 131 

of his explorations, of the Indian tribes he has visited, and 
of the beautiful and wonderful things he has seen, possess 
a peculiar interest. 



CHAPTER V 
UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS 

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 Ron- 
don and the tent in which Kermit and I slept, in the mid- 
dle, beside one another. In front of these two, on tall 
poles, stood the Brazilian and American flags; and at sun- 
rise and sunset the flags were hoisted and hauled down 
while the trumpet sounded and all of us stood at attention. 
Camp was pitched beside the ranch buildings. In the trees 
near the tents grew wonderful violet orchids. 

132 



UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS 133 

Many birds were around us; I saw some of them, and 
Cherrie and Miller many, many more. They ranged from 
party-colored macaws, green parrots, and big gregarious 
cuckoos down to a brilliant green-and-chestnut 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 
colored; a kind of whippoorwill 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 evil 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 naturalists needed them 
as specimens, and all 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 off 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 completely devoured by the raven- 
ous fish. It was a further illustration of the uncertainty of 
temper and behavior of these ferocious little monsters. In 
other lagoons they had again and again left us and our 
dogs unmolested. They vary locally in aggressiveness 



134 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 extensive 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 exceedingly 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 ca- 
noes. 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 of fazendeiros, 
ranchmen, who had come up from Caceres with their dogs. 
These dugouts were manned by Indian and half-caste pad- 
dlers, 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 laborers, were 
in tatters. In the canoes no man wore anything save a 
shirt, trousers, and hat, the feet being bare. On horse- 
back they wore long leather leggings which were really 




The great ant-eater 




South American tapir 
From photographs by Ekvin R. Sanborn 



UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS 135 

simply high, rather flexible boots with the soles off; their 
spurs were on their tough bare feet. There was every 
gradation between and among the nearly pure whites, ne- 
groes, 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 color. 
All alike 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 wall, the tall 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 favorite 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 swirling water, we continu- 
ally roused little flocks of bats. They were hanging from 
the boughs right over the river, and when our approach 



136 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

roused them they zigzagged rapidly in front of us for a 
few rods, and then again dove in among the branches. 

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 strolled off in one direction, returning an hour 
later with a squirrel for the naturalists. Meanwhile 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 foot- 
print 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 stanch, even after animals that fled, and they 
would have nothing whatever to do with animals that 
were formidable. 

While standing by the marsh we heard something com- 
ing 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 



UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS 137 

"umbrella-pointed" bullet going in at one shoulder, and 
ranging forward, breaking the neck. The leaden portion 
of the bullet, in the proper mushroom or umbrella shape, 
stopped under the neck skin on the farther side. It is a 
very effective bullet. 

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 ber- 
ries or nuts such as I have sometimes found in deers* 
stomachs. This species, which is abundant in this neigh- 
borhood, is solitary 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. When chased they were very apt to take to the 
water. This instinct of taking to the water, by the way, 
is quite explicable as regards both deer and tapir, for it 
affords them refuge against their present-day natural foes, 
but it is a little 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 occa- 
sion 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 



138 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 dug- 
outs 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 pad- 
dles 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 overhanging 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 dis- 
appeared 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 neighborhood of the water. Three 
or four of the hounds were by this time swimming the 
river, leaving the others yelling on the opposite side; and 




Colonel Roosevelt and Colonel Rondon with bush deer 

We hung the buck in a tree 
From a photograph by Fiala 



UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS 139 

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 
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 somewhat 
down-stream, when it dived. It made an astonishingly 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 roll it 
down-stream over the river bed, but my companions as- 
sured 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 suddenly floated only a few rods from where 
it had sunk. With no little difficulty the big, round black 
body was hoisted into the canoe, and we all turned our 



140 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 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 
conquistadores 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 
beyond. 

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 



UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS 141 

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 cowhands lived with their 
dusky helpmeets and children. Each night from these 
palm-thatched quarters we heard the faint sounds of a 
music that went far back of civilization to a savage ances- 
try near by in point of time and otherwise immeasurably 
remote; for through the still, hot air, under the brilliant 
moonlight, we heard the monotonous throbbing of a tom- 
tom 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 offal of the slaughtered cattle. Two 
palm-trees near our tent were crowded with the long, hang- 
ing nests of one of the cacique orioles. We lived well, 
with plenty of tapir beef, which was good, and venison of 
the bush deer, which was excellent; and as much ordi- 
nary beef as we wished, and fresh milk, too a rarity in 
this country. There were very few mosquitoes, and every- 
thing was as comfortable as possible. 

The tapir I killed was a big one. I did not wish to 
kill another, unless, of course, it became advisable to do 
so for food; whereas I did wish to get some specimens of 
the big, white-lipped peccary, the "queixa" (pronounced 
"cashada") of the Brazilians, which would make our col- 
lection of the big mammals of the Brazilian forests almost 
complete. The remaining members of the party killed 



142 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

two or three more tapirs. One was a bull, full grown but 
very much smaller than the animal I had killed. The 
hunters said that this was a distinct kind. The skull and 
skin were sent back with the other specimens to the Ameri- 
can Museum, where after due examination and compari- 
son its specific identity will be established. Tapirs are 
solitary beasts. Two are rarely found together, except in 
the case of a cow and its spotted and streaked calf. They 
live 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 contained 
big palm-nuts; they had been swallowed without 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 fighters. 

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 continued sub- 
stantially unchanged. Originally the tapirs dwelt in the 
northern hemisphere, but there they gradually died out, 
the more specialized horse, and even for long ages the 




I 

*J T3 



e 

W 5 

-C - 



UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS 143 

rhinoceros, persisting after they had vanished; and nowa- 
days 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 speak- 
ing, comparatively 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 devel- 
oped not only several different species but even different 
genera. It was much the most highly specialized of the 
two, and in the other continental regions where both were 
found 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 specialized, highly devel- 
oped beasts, which represented 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 innu- 
merable 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-lipped being rather a mis- 
nomer, 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 Parcels Indian, to look for tracks. This was an ex- 
cellent man, who dressed and behaved just like the other 



144 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 fazendeiros 
came along with their dogs. I doubt whether these men 
very much wished to overtake our game, for the big pec- 
cary 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, explaining that the fierce wild swine 
were "very badly brought up" (a literal translation of his 
words) and that respectable dogs and men ought not to 
go near them. The other fazendeiros merely feared for 
their dogs; a groundless 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 fore- 
man, Benedetto, 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 gelded. 

Most of the time we were in forest or swampy jungle. 



UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS 145 

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 sandalwood-trees. In the gloom 
of this grove there were no flowers, no bushes; the air 
was heavy; the ground was brown with mouldering leaves. 
Almost every palm was serving as a prop for a fig-tree. 
The fig-trees were in every stage of growth. The young- 
est ones merely ran up the palms as vines. In the next 
stage the vine had thickened and was sending 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 murdered them. There was something sinister 
and evil in the dark stillness 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 ouaouaca palm wawasa palm, as it should be 
spelled in English. 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 



146 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 party-colored 
macaws. Green parrots flew shrieking overhead. 

Now and then we were bitten and stung by the ven- 
omous 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 herself. She 
was very emaciated. In her stomach were the remains of 
a pigeon and some tendons from the skeleton or dried car- 
cass of some big animal. The loathsome berni flies, which 
deposit eggs in living beings cattle, dogs, monkeys, ro- 
dents, 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 



UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS 147 

Rondon's hardest trip, every man of the party had from 
one to five grubs deposited in him, the fly acting 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 accompa- 
niments of atrocious suffering, passes belief. The very pa- 
thetic 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 en- 
tirely ruthless, no less so as regards types than as regards 
individuals, and entirely indifferent to good or evil, 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 Benedetto 
and Antonio the Indian. We brought along four dogs 
which it was fondly hoped might chase the cashadas. 
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 persuaded 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 
well without dogs. 

After four hours of riding, Benedetto, who was in the 



148 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

lead, suddenly stopped and pointed downward. We were 
riding along a grassy intervale between masses of forest, 
and he had found the fresh track of a herd of big pec- 
caries crossing from left to right. There were apparently 
thirty or forty in the herd. The small peccaries go singly or 
in small parties, and when chased take refuge in holes or 
hollow logs, where they show valiant fight; but the big pec- 
caries 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 ac- 
tually to charge. Where 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, however, 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 cau- 
tion they will turn the tables on him. Cherrie, also in 
Costa Rica, came on the body of a jaguar which had evi- 
dently been killed by a herd of peccaries some twenty-four 
hours previously. The ground was trampled up by their 
hoofs, and the carcass was rent and slit into pieces. 



UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS 149 

Benedetto, as soon as we discovered the tracks, slipped 
off 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 pec- 
caries 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. Soon we 
heard the ominous groaning of the herd, in front of us, 
and almost on each 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 fired; I fired three more 
shots at other hogs; and the Indian also fired. The pec- 
caries 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 



150 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

across one of my wounded ones, standing at bay by a 
palm trunk; and I killed it forthwith. The dog would 
not even trail 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 addi- 
tion 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 killed 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. 

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 impossible 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 con- 
tained 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 peccaries. 

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 dis- 
tance off, but I was lucky enough to hit it. In spite of 
its small size it was a full-grown male, of a species we had 



UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS 151 

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 alluded 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 any- 
thing is promptly put out of the category of breeders 
the theory apparently being that the dog will then last 
longer. All the breeding is from worthless 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 Ron- 
don only five or six years ago. Already an occasional 
cattle-ranch is to be found along the banks. When rail- 
roads are built into these interior portions of Matto Grosso 
the whole region will grow and thrive amazingly and so 
will the railroads. The growth will not be merely ma- 
terial. An immense amount will be done in education; 
using the word education in its broadest and most accurate 



152 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 move- 
ment for the vital betterment of his people, the people of 
Matto Grosso. The poorer people of the back country 
everywhere 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 grown 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 
wisest 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 thor- 
oughly 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 educa- 
tional needs of both Brazil and the United States: the need 
of combining industrial with purely mental training, and 
the need of having the wide-spread popular education, 
which is and must be supported and paid for by the gov- 
ernment, made a purely governmental and absolutely non- 
sectarian function, administered by the state alone, with- 
out 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 
stanchest and wisest friends of the Indians. The Indians 
must be treated with intelligent and sympathetic under- 




Kermit Roosevelt 

From a photograph by Fiala 



UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS 153 

standing, no less than with justice and firmness; and until 
they become citizens, absorbed into the general body poli- 
tic, they must be the wards of the nation, and not of any 
private association, 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 3d, 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, hav- 
ing descended the 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 
exploration were the present Captain Amilcar and Lieu- 
tenant 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 



154 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 accomplished by Colonel 
Rondon and his associates during these years was as re- 
markable 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 recognized in Brazil. 
It received no recognition by the geographical societies of 
Europe or the United States. 

The work done by the original explorers of such a wil- 
derness 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 slight taste of what his predeces- 
sors endured. The wilderness explored by Colonel Ron- 
don is not yet wholly subdued, and still 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 ascending the Gy-Parana, to carry pro- 
visions 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 



UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS 155 

ordinary men, the camaradas, do not like to go into the 
wilderness. The men who go with the Telegraphic Com- 
mission 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 secur- 
ing some one who could cook. He asked the cook on the 
little 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 
1 3th 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 every- 
thing 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 cook- 
ing was done at a funny little open-air fireplace, 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 boat. 
Around it the dusky cook worked with philosophic solem- 
nity 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 



156 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 bu- 
rity 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 blos- 
soms. More often the lilac flowers of the begonia-vine 
made large patches of color. Innumerable epiphytes cov- 
ered the limbs, and even grew on the roughened trunks. 
We saw little 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, whitewashed 
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 pendu- 
lous 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 cour- 



UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS 157 

teous and hospitable. His dark-skinned women-folk kept 
in the furtive background. Like most of the ranches, it was 
owned by a company with headquarters 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, Portuguese, bad 
French, and broken German. Some of us wrote. Fiala 
made sketches of improved tents, hammocks, 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 geo- 
graphical astronomy. Father Zahm read a novel by Fo- 
gazzaro. Kermit read Camoens and a couple of Brazilian 
novels, "OGuarani" and "Innocencia." My own reading 
varied from "Quentin Durward" and Gibbon to the "Chan- 
son de Roland." Miller took out his little 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 mos- 
quitoes, the weather was not 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 



158 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 beautiful surroundings. The trees 
were wawasa palms, some with the fronds cresting very 
tall trunks, some with the fronds seemingly longer ris- 
ing 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 discover- 
ing his absence. We stopped at once, and with much dif- 
ficulty 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 



UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS 159 

orchids growing from the side of the trunk, half-way to 
the top. On another big tree, not a palm, which stood in 
a little opening, there hung well over a hundred troupials' 
nests. Besides 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 stock- 
ade 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 disk of wood, were tilted on 
their poles. 

We made our noonday 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 laboring 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 de- 
voured his socks and shoe-laces. 



160 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

At sunrise we again started. There were occasional 
stretches of swift, broken water, almost rapids, in the 
river; everywhere the current was swift, and our progress 
was slow. The prancha was towed at the end of a hawser, 
and her crew poled. Even thus we only just made the 
riffle in more than one case. Two or three times cormo- 
rants 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 bills and the leisurely expertness with which 
they crawled, climbed, and hopped among the branches. 
We went by several fazendas. 

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 
gayly bedecked with flags, not only those of Brazil and 
the United States, but of all the other American republics, 
in our honor. 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 Telegraphic Commission, on the 
other those of a big ranch, of which this is the headquarters. 
In addition, there were stables, sheds, outhouses, and cor- 
rals; and there were cultivated fields near by. Milch 
cows, beef-cattle, oxen, and mules wandered almost at 
will. There were two or three wagons and carts, and a 
traction automobile, used in the construction of the tele- 
graph-line, but not available in the rainy season, at the 
time of our trip. 

Here we were to begin our trip overland, on pack-mules 
and pack-oxen, scores of which had been gathered to meet 




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 

From a photograph by Harper 



UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS 161 

us. Several days were needed to apportion the 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 expedi- 
tion, with Sigg as an active and useful assistant. Harper, 
who like the others worked with whole-hearted zeal and 
cheerfulness, 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 remainder 
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 transportation permitted. I 
kept continually wishing that they had more time in which 
to study the absorbingly interesting 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 lasting benefit, and could do work of most 
permanent good, by sending out into the immense wilder- 
nesses, 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, 



162 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

the full life-histories of the creatures that dwell in the 
waste spaces of the world. 

At this point both Cherrie and Miller collected a num- 
ber 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 Mu- 
seum. While making the round of his small mammal 
traps one morning, Miller encountered an army of the for- 
midable 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 unwilling to get out of their path in time. 
They run fast, and everything runs away from their ad- 
vance. Insects form their chief prey; and the most dan- 
gerous and aggressive lower-life creatures make astonish- 
ingly little resistance to them. Miller's attention was first 
attracted to this army of ants by noticing a big centiped, 
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 raven- 
ous foes, or to defend themselves. The ants climb trees 
to a great height, much higher than most birds' nests, and 
at once kill and tear to pieces any fledglings 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 



UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS 163 

that the birds save themselves and their young in other 
ways. Some nests are inaccessible. From others it is 
probable that the parents remove the young. Miller once, 
in Guiana, had been watching for some days a nest of ant- 
wrens which contained young. Going thither one morn- 
ing, he found the tree, and the nest itself, swarming with 
foraging ants. He at first thought that the fledglings had 
been devoured, but he soon saw the parents, only about 
thirty yards off, with food in their beaks. They were en- 
gaged 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 them- 
selves. 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; Miller 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 dan- 
gerous 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 at- 



164 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

tack human beings precisely as they attack all animals, 
and precipitate flight is the only resort. 

Around our camp here butterflies of gorgeous coloring 
swarmed, and there were many fungi as delicately shaped 
and tinted as flowers. The scents in the woods were won- 
derful. There were many whippoorwills, or rather Brazil- 
ian birds related to them; they uttered at intervals through 
the night a succession of notes suggesting both those of 
our whippoorwill and those of our big chuck-will' s-widow 
of the Gulf States, but not identical with either. There 
were other birds which were nearly akin to familiar birds 
of the United States: a dull-colored catbird, a dull-colored 
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 tur- 
quoise, and brilliant scarlet feet. Two of the birds which 
Cherrie and Miller procured were of extraordinary nesting 
habits. One, a nunlet, in shape resembles a short-tailed 
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 dull 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, while the other bird perches in a bush 



UP THE RIVER OF TAPIRS 165 

near by. Sometimes these burrows are in the side of a 
sand-bank, 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, grayish in color, 
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 Fah- 
renheit and the air very heavy, being saturated with mois- 
ture; and there were many rain-storms. But there were 
no mosquitoes, and we were very comfortable. Thanks 
to the neighborhood 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-flavored 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 



166 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

direction of Fiala, for use when we got where we wished 
to take good and varied food in small compass. All the 
skins, skulls, and alcoholic specimens, and all the baggage 
not absolutely necessary, were sent back down the Para- 
guay and to New York, in charge of Harper. The sepa- 
rate baggage-trains, under the charge of Captain Amilcar, 
were organized to go in one detachment. The main body 
of the expedition, consisting of the American members, 
and of Colonel Rondon, Lieutenant Lyra, and Doctor Ca- 
jazeira, with their baggage and provisions, formed another 
detachment. 



CHAPTER VI . 

THROUGH THE HIGHLAND WILDERNESS OF WESTERN 

BRAZIL 

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, forward of the shoulder, made by a bat. 
But the bats do little damage in this neighborhood com- 
pared 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 small 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 
observations, themselves make the original wound; but 

167 



168 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 extraor- 
dinary ferocity or bloodthirstiness of certain small crea- 
tures of which the kinsfolk elsewhere are harmless. It is 
only here that fish no bigger than trout kill swimmers, and 
bats the size of the ordinary "flittermice" of the north- 
ern hemisphere drain the life-blood of big beasts and of 
man himself. 

There was not much large mammalian life in the neigh- 
borhood. Kermit hunted industriously and brought in an 
occasional armadillo, coati, or agouti for the naturalists. 
Miller trapped rats and a queer opossum new to the col- 
lection. Cherrie got many birds. Cherrie and Miller 
skinned their specimens in a little open hut or shed. Moses 
the small pet owl, sat on a cross-bar overhead, an inter- 
ested 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 unfriendliness. The little white-throated sparrows 
came familiarly about the palm cabins and whitewashed 
houses and trilled on the rooftrees. 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 north- 
land woods in June, fragrant with the breath of pine and 
balsam-fir, where sweetheart sparrows sing from wet spruce 



THE HIGHLAND WILDERNESS 169 

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 geolog- 
ically very ancient, the affluents of the Amazon to the north, 
and of the Plate to the south, flow, with immense and de- 
vious 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 diffi- 
culty, 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-colored, 
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 cross- 



170 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

ing the Sepotuba and camping 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 superficial likeness to the 
cross-timbers of Texas and Oklahoma. It is as well fitted 
for stock-raising as Oklahoma; and there is also much 
fine agricultural land, while the river will ultimately yield 
electric power. It is a fine country for settlement. The 
heat is great at noon; but the nights are not uncomfort- 
able. 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 Brazil, we had 
practically not been bothered by mosquitoes at all, in our 
home camps. Out in the woods they were at times a 
serious nuisance, and Cherrie and Miller had been sub- 
jected to real torment by them during some of their special 
expeditions; but there were practically none on the ranches 
and in our camps in the open fields by the river, even 
when marshes were close by. I was puzzled and de- 
lighted by their 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. Out- 
side of the clearings, and of the beaten tracks of travel, 
they teem. There are ticks, poisonous ants, wasps of 



THE HIGHLAND WILDERNESS 171 

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 stand- 
point 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, hard- 
ships, 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 ex- 
plorers 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 be- 
cause, 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 car- 
ried by others, without himself doing anything 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 all the forethought, take all the 



172 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 admira- 
ble 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 com- 
monwealth, or Lowell of European legislative assemblies, 
our admiration is for the insight and thought of the ob- 
server, 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-super- 
intendent, engineer, fireman, and brakeman. But as re- 
gards 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 collecting 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 nat- 
uralists 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, 



THE HIGHLAND WILDERNESS 173 

to visit out-of-the-way towns that date from colonial days, 
to traverse old, even if uncomfortable, routes of travel, 
or to ascend or descend highway rivers like 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 per- 
former, 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 criticise 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 wan- 
derer, 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, neverthe- 
less, 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 prominence. 

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 represented 



174 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 motionless on the lower branches and uttered a 
loud, thrice-repeated whistle. We heard the calling of the 
false bell-bird, which is gray instead of white like the true 
bell-birds; it keeps among the very topmost branches. 
Heavy rain fell shortly after we reached our camping-place. 
Next morning at sunrise we climbed a steep slope to 
the edge of the Parcels 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, shim- 
mering in the long morning lights. 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, shadeless, 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 rolling plain. The ground was sandy; it was 




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 

than a few feet high 
From a photograph by Kermit Roosevelt 



THE HIGHLAND WILDERNESS 175 

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 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, reason- 
ably 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 dis- 
regard their assertions, and to lead the way aright by sole 
reliance on our compasses. 

On this cool day we travelled well. The air was won- 
derful; the vast open spaces gave a sense of abounding 
vigor 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 



176 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 land- 
scape that seemed limitless; 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 will 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 civ- 
ilized man except the employees of the Telegraphic Com- 
mission. They were handled by Lieutenant Lauriado, 
who, with Lieutenant Mello, had taken special charge of 
our transport service; both were exceptionally good and 
competent men. 



THE HIGHLAND WILDERNESS 177 

The following day we again rode on across the Plan 
Alto. In the early afternoon, in the midst of a downpour 
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 fell 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 oxskins 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 sideways the reddish 
of their coats, contrasted with the greens and grays 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 odor 
can be made out at quite a distance, but it is not rank. 
They still carried their antlers. Their venison was deli- 
cious. 



178 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 tenantless, and in- 
deed for the most part were broken down. But at dusk 
they came out from their hiding-places, two or three hun- 
dred 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 sev- 
eral 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 effect 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 



THE HIGHLAND WILDERNESS 179 

tell 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 suffering of the first trips through the wilder- 
ness 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 Ama- 
zonian basin they did better because they often shot birds 
and plundered the hives of the wild honey-bees. In cut- 
ting 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 some one mentioned the 
theory that the lance is especially formidable because of 
the moral effect it produces on the enemy. Cherrie nodded 
emphatically; and a little cross-examination elicited the 
fact that he was speaking from lively personal recollection 



180 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

of his own feelings when charged by lancers. It was while 
he was righting with the Venezuelan insurgents in an un- 
successful 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 impres- 
sion on his mind. But he and his companions shot delib- 
erately and accurately; 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 mas- 
tered 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, at- 
tended 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 naturalists desired to get to a place 
where they could spend several days and collect steadily, 



THE HIGHLAND WILDERNESS 181 

thereby doing more effective work. The rest of us con- 
tinued 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 aluminum cups and plates being 
placed on ox-hides, round which we sat, on the ground or 
on camp-stools. We fared well, on rice, beans, and crack- 
ers, with canned corned beef, and salmon or any game 
that had been shot, and coffee, tea, and matte. 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 tick- 
ling; 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 dis- 
cussions 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 pur- 
poses of our trip to dispel. It might go into the Gy- 



182 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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, of 
which Colonel Rondon had come across the headwaters, 
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 de- 
scribed in the first chapter, my trip was undertaken pri- 
marily 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 Bra- 
zilian wilderness; and the labels of our baggage and scien- 
tific equipment, printed by the museum, were entitled 
"Colonel Roosevelt's South American Expedition 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 
Miiller, suggested that I should combine the expedition 
with one by Colonel Rondon, which they contemplated 
making, and thereby make both expeditions of broader 
scientific interest. I accepted the proposal with much 
pleasure; and we found, when we joined Colonel Rondon 



THE HIGHLAND WILDERNESS 183 

and his associates, that their baggage and equipment had 
been labelled by the Brazilian Government "Expedicao 
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 Oliveira. 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 tele- 
graph stations this astronomical work would be checked by 
wire communications with one of Colonel Rondon's assis- 
tants 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 Cajazeira. 

At night around the camp-fire my Brazilian compan- 
ions often spoke of the first explorers of this vast wilder- 
ness 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 devel- 
opment. Among the most notable of them was a Portu- 
guese, 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 Guapore, crossing to the headwaters of the 
Paraguay and partially exploring there also. He worked 



184 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 communica- 
tion between this remote interior province and civilization 
was by the long, difficult, and perilous 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 Guapore. 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 still stands in the ruined cathedral, where the 
forest has once more come to its own. But civilization is 
again advancing to reclaim 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 es- 
tablished a telegraph station in what was once the palace 
of the captain-general. 

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 tributary brooks 
that fed it. Fiala, Kermit, and I occupied one tent. In 
the daytime the "pium" flies, vicious little sand-flies, be- 
came bad enough to make us finally use gloves and head- 
nets. There were many heavy rains, which made the 



THE HIGHLAND WILDERNESS 185 

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 skull and bleached skeleton of a mule or ox. Day 
after day we rode forward across 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 horseman. 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 lat- 
ter grew more than a few feet high their tops were torn 
and dishevelled by the wind. There was very little bird 
or mammal life; there were few long vistas, for in most 
places it was not possible to see far among the gray, gnarled 
trunks of the wind-beaten little 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 wildness, 
and in plains standing empty to the sun, the wind, and 
the rain. The country bore some 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-colored 
hartebeests, or the ghostly shimmer of the sun glinting on 
the coats of roan and eland as they vanished silently in 
the gray sea of withered scrub. 

One feature in common with the African landscape 
was the abundance of ant-hills, some as high as a man. 



186 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

They were red in the clay country, gray 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, just 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 eve- 
ning 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 jolly-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. Car- 
tucho cocked his big ears forward, stretched his neck, and 
cautiously sniffed at the new arrival, not with any hostile 



THE HIGHLAND WILDERNESS 187 

design, but merely to find out whether it would prove to 
be a playmate. The mantis promptly assumed an atti- 
tude of prayer. This struck Cartucho as both novel and 
interesting, and he thrust his sniffing black nose still 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 Car- 
tucho' s face, whereupon Cartucho, with a smothered yelp 
of dismay, almost turned a back somersault; and the tri- 
umphant 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 everything. 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 
slippery 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-line, which runs from Cayuba; this 
was the first time we had seen it. Two Parcels 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 backwoods peasants, usu- 
ally with little white blood in them, are colloquially and 
half-derisively styled caboclo being originally a Guarany 
word meaning "naked savage." These two Indians 
were in the employ of the Telegraphic Commission, and 
had been patrolling the telegraph-line. The bullock car- 



188 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

ried their personal belongings and the tools with which 
they could repair a break. The commission pays the or- 
dinary Indian worker 66 cents a day; a very good worker 
gets $i, and the chief $1.66. No man gets anything unless 
he works. Colonel Rondon, by just, kindly, and under- 
standing 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 Parcels village. The men of the vil- 
lage work the ferry by which everything is taken across 
the deep and rapid river. The ferry-boat is made of plank- 
ing 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. Just 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 cliff extends for several hundred yards below 
the falls. Green vines have flung themselves down over 




(-] 

H 



THE HIGHLAND WILDERNESS 189 

its face, and they are met by other vines thrusting up- 
ward 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 churn- 
ing among the black bowlders. There is a perpetual rain- 
bow 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 con- 
ventional 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 prom- 
ise 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 com- 
munities. 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 neighborhood of the 
streams, and the teeming lowlands of the Amazon and 
the Paraguay could readily and with immense advan- 
tage 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 



190 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 busi- 
ness men of foresight, coolness, and sagacity who are will- 
ing to work with the settlers, the immigrants, the home- 
makers, for an advantage which shall be mutual. 

The Parcels Indians, whom we met here, were exceed- 
ingly interesting. They were to all appearance an unusu- 
ally cheerful, good-humored, 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 de- 
grees 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 laborers 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 frame- 
work of timbers, with a wall at the back; but some have 
the ordinary four walls, of erect palm-logs. The ham- 
mocks are slung in the houses, and the cooking is also done 
in them, with pots placed on small open fires, or occasion- 
ally 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 



THE HIGHLAND WILDERNESS 191 

clothing. A few wore print dresses, but obviously only for 
ornament. Most of them, especially the girls 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 little boys and the little girls, wore colored 
print garments, to the evident pride of themselves and 
their parents. In each house there were several families, 
and life went on with no privacy but with good humor, 
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 wall. 
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 the 



192 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

absorbing amusement of the men was an extraordinary 
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 Parcels 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 association foot- 
ball, and the ball is placed on the ground to be put in play 
as in football. Then a player runs forward, throws him- 
self flat on the ground, and butts the ball toward the op- 
posite 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 




One woman was making a hammock 

From a photograph by Kfrm.it 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 loin-clothl 

From photographs by Cherrie and Miller 



THE HIGHLAND WILDERNESS 193 

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-humored triumph arise from the vic- 
tors; 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 any- 
thing 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 off their noses I cannot imagine. Some 
of the players hardly ever failed to catch and return the 
ball if it came in their neighborhood, and with such a vig- 
orous 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 Ker- 
mit 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 ! It chewed them into 
rags. One of my socks escaped, and my undershirt, al- 
though chewed full of holes, was still 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 water- 
fall, whose roar, lulled to a thunderous murmur, had been 



194 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

in our ears before we slept and when we waked. There 
could have been no more picturesque place for the break- 
fast of such a party as ours. All travellers who really care 
to see what is 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 war- 
rants 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 auto- 
mobile ride, with a couple of days on horseback in between. 

The colonel held a very serious council with the Parcels 
Indians over an incident which caused him grave concern. 
One of the commission's employees, a negro, had killed a 
wild Nhambiquara Indian; but it appeared that he had 
really been urged on and aided by the Parcels, as the 
members of the tribe to which the dead Indian belonged 
were much given to carrying off the Parcels women and in 
other ways making themselves bad neighbors. 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 
statement. 

It appeared, however, that the Nhambiquaras had 
made a descent on the Parcels 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 Parcels were, of 




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

opposite side 

From * pkvtogrtpk b\ Kfrml 




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 by Parcels Indians at Utiarity Falls 



195 

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 discoverer, 
Colonel Rondon, after the sacred falcon of the Parcels. 
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 Parcels settlement and a tele- 
graph station kept by one of the employees of the com- 
mission. His pretty brown wife is acting as schoolmis- 
tress to a group of little Parcels girls. The Parcels chief 
has been made a major and wears a uniform accordingly. 
The commission 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 honor. 
When in the late afternoon the men began to play a regu- 
lar 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 su- 
perior in beauty and majesty. They are twice as high and 
twice as broad; and the lay of the land is such that the 
various landscapes in which the waterfall is a feature are 



196 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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. Beyond this wide 
expanse of flecked and hurrying water rise the mist col- 
umns of the cataract; and as these columns are swayed 
and broken by the wind the forest 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 foaming 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 slop- 
ing 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 forest. 
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 pic- 
turesque 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 fore- 
head. Each carried a belt slung diagonally across her 
body, over her right shoulder; in this the child was car- 




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 Cherrie 



THE HIGHLAND WILDERNESS 197 

ried, 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 breakfast was rather too striking; and 
incidentally it etched in bold lines the folly of those who 
idealize 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 like this, encounter 
dangers and run risks; and they make payment with their 
bodies. At more than one halting- place we had come 
across the forlorn grave of some soldier or laborer of the 
commission. The grave-mound lay within a rude stock- 
ade; and an uninscribed wooden cross, gray 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 civilization 
into the wild savagery of the wilderness. Farther west 
the conditions become less healthy. At this station Colo- 
nel 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 



198 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 splen- 
dor; 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 So- 
nora, and along the Guaso Nyiro north and west of Mount 
Kenia, when the barren mountains were changed into 
flaming "ramparts of 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 hadball with 
the utmost vigor; and we would listen to their shrill un- 
dulating 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, vigor, skill, and endurance. Looking at the 
strong, supple bodies of the players, and at the number of 
children roundabout, it seemed as if the tribe must be in 
vigorous health; yet the Parcels have decreased in num- 
bers, for measles and smallpox have been fatal to them. 

By the evening the rain was coming down more heav- 
ily than ever. It was not possible to keep the moisture 
out of our belongings; everything became mouldy except 




A lonely grave by the wayside 

At more than one halting-place we had rome across the forlorn grave of some soldier or laborer of the 

commission 

From a photograph by Cherrie 




The Parecis dance 

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



THE HIGHLAND WILDERNESS 199 

what became rusty. It rained all that night; and day- 
light 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' labor 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 observa- 
tions. 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, to- 
gether with Father Zahm and Sigg, we had found await- 
ing us, made good collections of birds and mammals. 
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 predominating in 
the plumage. Several of these woodpeckers 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 let up, although the sky re- 
mained overcast and there were occasional showers. I 
walked off with my rifle for a couple of leagues; at that 
distance, from a slight hillock, the mist columns of the falls 



200 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

were conspicuous in the landscape. The only mammal I 
saw on the walk was a rather hairy armadillo, with a flex- 
ible 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 collection. 

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 presents, 
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 sep- 
tum of his nose. They circled slowly round and round, 
chanting and stamping their feet, while the anklet rattles 



THE HIGHLAND WILDERNESS 201 

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 re- 
mained in the houses, and all the doors and windows were 
shut and blankets hung to prevent the possibility of seeing 
out. But during the second part all the women and girls 
came 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 un- 
concern 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 listened 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 



202 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

so far as concerns preserving and sending home the results 
of the labor; and a man's clothing is never really dry. 

From here Father Zahm returned to Tapirapoan, ac- 
companied by Sigg. 



CHAPTER VII 
WITH A MULE-TRAIN ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 

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 Lauriado stayed 
at Utiarity to take canoes and go down the Papagaio, which 
had not been descended by any scientific party, and per- 
haps 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 

203 



204 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 rat- 
tles; hammocks; a belt of the kind used by the women in 
carrying the babies, with the weaving-frame. All these 
were Parcels articles. He also secured from the Nham- 
biquaras wickerwork baskets of a different type and bows 
and arrows. The bows were seven feet long and the ar- 
rows 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 im- 
mense labor 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 Brazilians call the wilderness. We 
drove with us a herd of oxen for food. After going about 
fifteen miles we camped beside the swampy headwaters of 
a little brook. It was at the spot where nearly seven 
years previously Rondon and Lyra had camped on the 
trip when they discovered Utiarity Falls and penetrated 
to the Juruena. When they reached this place they had 

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



ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 205 

been thirty-six hours without food. 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 shaken 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 mosquitoes 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 JEsop'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 Parcels Indians, as employees of the 
Telegraphic Commission, under the colonel. Each had a 
thatched house, and each had two wives all these Indi- 
ans are pagans. All were dressed much like the poorer 
peasants of the Brazilian back country, and all were pleas- 
ant and well-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 



206 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 fa- 
miliar, but by no means friendly, with strangers. There 
are wild Nhambiquaras in the neighborhood, 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 carbines, of the kind so uni- 
versally used by the rubber-gatherers and other adventur- 
ous wanderers in the forest wilderness of Brazil. There 
were a number of rubber-trees in the neighborhood, by 
the way. 

We enjoyed a good bath in the Burity, although it was 
impossible to make headway by swimming against the rac- 
ing 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 tickling 
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 



ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 207 

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, 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 sin- 
ewy 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 Parcels 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 al- 
ternately 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 family shelter. They were 
mainly of negro blood. Struck by the woman's uncom- 
plaining 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 



208 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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; and the family resumed their 
walk. 

In this neighborhood 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 tele- 
graph-poles. It was still bright sunlight 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 in- 
dividuals. 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 morn- 




Tres Burity 

From a photograph by Kermit Roosevelt 







The kitchen under the ox-hide at Campos Novos 

From a photograph by Theodore Roosevelt 



ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 209 

ing 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 light 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 



210 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 ani- 
mals would not be brought in until so late that it was well 
on in the forenoon, perhaps midday, 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 little 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 civiliza- 
tion. A scientific party of some size, with the equipment 
necessary in order to do scientific work, can only go at all 
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 Brazilians as cha- 
padao pronounced almost as if it were a French word 
and spelled 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 



ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 211 

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 an- 
imals. Accordingly the loads were taken off and brought 
over on the heads of the men; it was fine to see the sin- 
ewy, naked figures bearing their burdens through the 
broken moonlit water to the hither 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 delicious 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 adja- 
cent regions, forming the high interior of western Brazil, 
will surely some day support a large industrial popula- 
tion; 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 re- 
gion will be a healthy home for a considerable agricul- 
tural and pastoral population. 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 rail- 



212 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

roads to one another and to the Atlantic coast and the 
valleys of the Paraguay, Madeira, and Amazon, and feed- 
ing 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 ex- 
ploration and settlement by nameless Brazilians, who were 
merely endeavoring 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 ad- 
venturers, partly of Portuguese and partly of Indian blood, 
the Paolistas, from one of whom Colonel Rondon is him- 
self 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 man- 
dioc 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 fall, 
was over. But some birds were still 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 every month of the 



ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 213 

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 abun- 
dant, it was an interesting, fauna which the two naturalists 
found in this upland country, where hitherto no collections 
of birds and mammals had been made. Miller trapped 
several species of opossums, mice, and rats which were new 
to him. Cherrie got many birds which he did not recog- 
nize. At this camp, among totally strange forms, he found 
an old and familiar acquaintance. Before breakfast he 
brought in several birds: a dark-colored 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-colored mate; and other birds which he be- 
lieved 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 homesick. 

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 landscape, the endless 
rolling stretches of low forest. Midway 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 



214 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 English- 
man an agreeable companion, and a good and resolute 
officer, as all must be who do their work in this wilder- 
ness. 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, all 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 roll myself in my blanket and 



ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 215 

put on a head-net. Afterward we used fine nets of a kind 
of cheese-cloth. They were hot, but they kept out all, 
or almost all, 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 himself 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 valua- 
ble additions to the collection including a boldly marked 
black, blue, and white jay and our photographs were de- 
veloped and our writing brought abreast of the date. 
Travelling through a tropical wilderness in the rainy sea- 
son, 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 voy- 
age of Lauriado 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 



216 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

the source and the mouth; to descend it did not repre- 
sent a plunge into the unknown, as in the case of the Du- 
vida 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 high- 
way 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 
offered 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 experience 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 ob- 
stacles 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 tem- 
per, 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 remarkably good terms with 
them, and they are very fond of him although this does 
not prevent them from now and then yielding to tempta- 






K: 

' ' 

. 



ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 217 

tion, 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 
friendliness showed how well they had been treated. Prob- 
ably 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 well- 
made and rather good-looking, with fairly good teeth, al- 
though 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 brutality 
like that which forms such a revolting feature in the life 
of the Australian black fellows and, although to a some- 
what 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 es- 
sential. The men wore a string around the waist. Most 
of them wore nothing else, but a few had loosely hanging 



218 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

from this string in front a scanty tuft of dried grass, or a 
small piece of cloth, which, however, was of purely sym- 
bolic use so far as either protection or modesty was con- 
cerned. 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 chil- 
dren, 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 another'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 contradiction in terms, but it is nevertheless 
a fact that the behavior of these completely naked women 
and men was entirely modest. There was never an in- 
decent 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 small 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, 




ri O 



-a o 

2 o 

~- c 




ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 219 

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, without a touch of embarrass- 
ment or impropriety. The two girls kept hold of each 
other's hands throughout, dancing among the men as mod- 
estly 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, rhythmi- 
cally 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 wail- 
ing 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 wilder- 
ness. 

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 



220 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

the temptation had proved irresistible to one of their num- 
ber, and the others had been afraid to interfere, and also 
afraid to stay in or return to our neighborhood. We had 
not time to go after them; but Rondon remarked that as 
soon as he again came to the neighborhood 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 Parcels. 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 cul- 
tural level, than the Parcels. 

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 deso- 
late 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 miles on, 
we reached the river where we were to camp. After the 




Maloca or beehive hut of the Nhambiquaras 

From a photograph by Kermit Roosmlt 




A Nhambiquara shelter hut and utensils 

Their huts were merely slight shelters against the rain 

From a photograph by Kermit Roosevelt 



ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 221 

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 drag- 
ging 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 ourselves camped. The 
ferryman was a soldier in the employ of the Telegraphic 
Commission. His good-looking, pleasant-mannered 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 fur- 
niture 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, while the rain beat on us, and 
enjoyed a few minutes' talk with the cool, competent of- 
ficer 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- 
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, 



222 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

the termites. The latter were not infrequently taller than 
a horseman's head. 

That evening round the camp-fire Colonel Rondon hap- 
pened to mention how the brother of one of the soldiers 
with us a Parcels 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 actu- 
ally 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 swal- 
lowed the skinned bodies of four mice he had prepared 
as specimens; which shows that rattlesnakes do not al- 
ways feed only on living prey. Another rattlesnake which 
he killed in Central America had just swallowed an opos- 
sum 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 
still busily, and with entire unconcern, engaged in mak- 
ing its burrow. At Miller's approach the anaconda left 
the dead iguana and rushed into the water, and the live 




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

From a photograph by Miller 



ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 223 

iguana promptly followed it. Miller also told of the stone 
gods and altars and temples he had seen in the great Co- 
lombian forests, monuments of strange civilizations which 
flourished and died out ages ago, and of which all mem- 
ory has vanished. He and Cherrie told of giant rivers 
and waterfalls, and of forests never penetrated, and moun- 
tains never ascended by civilized man; and of bloody rev- 
olutions that devastated the settled regions. Listening to 
them I felt that they could write "Tales of Two Natu- 
ralists" that would be worth reading. 

They were short of literature, by the way a party 
such as ours always needs books and as Kermit's read- 
ing-matter consisted chiefly of Camoens and other Portu- 
guese, 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 Arsene 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 



224 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 animals. 

At one camp three Nhambiquaras paid us a visit at 
breakfast-time. They left their weapons behind them be- 
fore they appeared, and shouted loudly while they were 
still hid by the forest, and it was only after repeated an- 
swering 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, all 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 hand- 
some 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 
purposeless 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 pre- 
viously they had been very hostile, and Colonel Rondon 
had to guard his camp and exercise every precaution to 
guarantee his safety, while at the same time successfully 
endeavoring to avoid the necessity of himself shedding 



ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 225 

blood. Now they are, for the most part, friendly. But 
there are groups or individuals that are not. Several sol- 
diers 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 killing was entirely wanton and unpro- 
voked. Sooner or later these criminals or outlaws will 
have to be brought to justice; it will not do to let their 
crimes go unpunished. Twice soldiers have deserted and 
fled to the Nhambiquaras. The runaways were well re- 
ceived, 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 jour- 
neyed 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 Nhambi- 
quara 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 gray 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 follow 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 mules. 



226 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 eight 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 hiked back on 
the trail, and it was a long and arduous work to gather 
them next morning. 

I have touched above on the insect pests. Men un- 
used to the South American wilderness speak with awe 
of the danger therein from jaguars, crocodiles, and poison- 
ous 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 in- 
sect 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 com- 
panions were somewhat like our northern black flies. They 



ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 227 

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-biers. When settlers of the right type come into 
a new land they speedily learn to take the measures neces- 
sary 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 car- 
nivorous foraging ants made its appearance before night- 
fall, 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 dam- 
age 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 trop- 
ical 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 num- 
ber of buildings were ranged in a quadrangle, for the pas- 
turage at this spot is so good that it is permanently occu- 
pied. There were milch cows, and we got delicious fresh 



228 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 enclo- 
sure 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 rem- 
edy will be developed. The geology of this neighborhood 
was interesting Oliveira found fossil tree-trunks which he 
believed to be of cretaceous age. 

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 responsible work. Next morn- 
ing 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 neighborhood the two naturalists found many 
birds which we had not hitherto met. The most conspic- 
uous was a huge oriole, the size of a small crow, with a 
naked face, a black-and-red bill, and gaudily variegated 
plumage of green, yellow, and chestnut. Very interesting 



ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 229 

was the false bell-bird, a gray bird with loud, metallic 
notes. There was also a tiny soft-tailed woodpecker, no 
larger than a kinglet; a queer humming-bird with a slightly 
flexible bill; and many species of ant-thrush, tanager, man- 
akin, and tody. Among these unfamiliar forms was a 
vireo looking much like our solitary vireo. At one camp 
Cherrie collected a dozen perching birds; Miller a beauti- 
ful 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 deli- 
cious 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 naturalists had previously 
worked this region so that the afternoon's work repre- 
sented nine species new to the collection, six new genera, 
and a most excellent soup. 

Two days after leaving Campos Novos we reached Vi- 
Ihena, 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 thor- 
oughly, although there were occasional driving rain-storms, 
when the rain came in almost level sheets and drenched 
every one and everything. 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, 



230 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

but not suited for extensive agriculture as are the lowland 
flats. For these forty-eight hours the trail climbed into 
and out 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 conspic- 
uous 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 still- 
ness of the columned groves. The hillsides were grassy 
pastures or else covered with low, open forest. 

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 disks 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 distinguishing them 
by the pattern of the colors, but this particular specimen, 
although it corresponded exactly in color 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 for- 
tune 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 grass- 



ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 231 

hoppers 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 
lawns, 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 Colombia 
Miller 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 bub- 
bles or hollows 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 rolling 
country east of this contained eruptive rocks a porphy- 
ritic 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 sand- 
stone and pieces of petrified wood; this, according to Oli- 
veira, is of mesozoic age, possibly cretaceous and similar 
to the South African formation. There are geologists who 
consider it as of permian age. 



232 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

At Vilhena 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 far- 
ther along and northward we again came to streams run- 
ning ultimately into the Tapajos; and between them, and 
close to them, were streamlets which drained into the 
Duvida and Ananas, whose courses and outlets were un- 
known. 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 Guapore, 
which may, perhaps, be called the upper main stream of 
the Madeira. These westernmost streams from the south- 
ern edge of the plateau, therefore, begin by flowing south; 
then for a long stretch they flow southwest; then north, 
and finally northeast 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 emp- 
tied 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 some- 
what 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, 



ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 233 

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 Parcels 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 containing the headsprings of 
the Ananas, we left this type of country and began to 
march through thick forest, not very high. There was 
little 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 hun- 
dreds 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 mos- 
quitoes 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 under the circumstances, of a 
decidedly tough quality. One of the biggest of the bul- 
locks was attacked one night by a vampire bat, and next 
morning his withers were literally bathed in blood. 

With the chapadao we said good-by to the curious, 
gregarious, and crepuscular or nocturnal spiders which we 
found so abundant along the line of the telegraph-wire. 
They have offered 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. 



234 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 beau- 
tiful open country, where grassy slopes, dotted with occa- 
sional 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 Miller 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 
wilderness, advanced ostentatiously in the open, calling out 
to give warning of his coming. Like surroundings may 
cause like manners. The early Saxons in England deemed 
it legal to kill any man who came through the woods with- 
out shouting or blowing a horn; and in Nhambiquara land 
at the present time it is against etiquette, and may be 
very unhealthy, to come through the woods toward stran- 
gers without loudly announcing one's presence. The Nham- 
biquaras received Kermit with the utmost cordiality, and 
gave him pineapple-wine to drink. They were stark naked 
as usual; they had no hammocks or blankets, and their 







ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 235 

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 chant- 
ing. After supper they danced beside the camp-fire; and 
finally, to their delight, most of the members of our own 
party, Americans and Brazilians, enthusiastically joined 
the dance, while the colonel and I furnished an apprecia- 
tive 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 little 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 liked 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 



236 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 hilly 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 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 roundabout is lovely, and certainly the 
land will prove healthy when settlements have been defi- 
nitely 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- 
Marmore Railroad a work which stands honorably dis- 
tinguished among the many great and useful works done 
in the development of the tropics of recent years. 

Amilcar'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 




A Nhambiquara family 

From a photograph by Kermit Roosevelt 




Nhambiquara women and children "Adam and Eve 

From photographs by Cherrie 



ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 237 

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 caboclo 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 life. 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 Cuyaba 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 mili- 
tary school. After five years as pupil he served three years 
as professor of mathematics in this school; and then, as a 
lieutenant 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 
Bonofacio, 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. 



238 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

A rather comely young woman, carrying 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 chil- 
dren. 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, instead 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 mustache and im- 
perial; and one old man looked somewhat like a hairy 
Ainu, or perhaps even more like an Australian black fel- 
low. My companion told me that this probably repre- 
sented 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 labor. 
They also thought it possible that this infiltration of Afri- 
can negroes 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 



ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 239 

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 little, 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 photo- 
graphs taken. 

Bonofacio 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 burrows by the roots. These bur- 
rows bore a close likeness to those of our pocket gophers. 
Miller 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 sev- 
eral 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. 



240 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

The central shaft ran straight down for about eight feet, 
and then laterally for about fifteen feet, to a kind of cham- 
ber. The animal dug hard to escape, but when taken and 
put on the surface of the ground it moved slowly and awk- 
wardly. 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 Nhambiquaras 
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 ac- 
companied them, half-starved and mangy, but each deco- 
rated 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 well-fed looking, 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 



iff ' 




6 g 




ACROSS NHAMBIQUARA LAND 241 

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 ca- 
noes, were to descend the Duvida, and find out whether it 
led into the Gy-Parana, into the Madeira, or into the Ta- 
pajos. 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 Bonofacio. 
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 any one 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, all 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 military attache at Buenos 
Aires. 

If our canoe voyage was prosperous we would gradually 
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 



242 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

themselves. We were all armed. We took no cartridges 
for sport. Cherrie had some to be used sparingly for col- 
lecting specimens. The others were to be used unless in 
the unlikely event of having to repel an attack only to 
procure food. The food and the arms we carried repre- 
sented all reasonable precautions against suffering 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. 



CHAPTER VIII 
THE RIVER OF DOUBT 

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 our- 
selves 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 Duvida. 

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-by and good luck. It was the height of the rainy 
season, and the swollen torrent was swift and brown. Our 
camp was at about 12 i' latitude south and 60 15' longi- 
tude 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 and Lyra 
with three other paddlers in the next largest; and the doc- 
tor, Cherrie, and I in the largest with three paddlers. The 

243 



244 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 wilder- 
ness work. They were lithe 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 like 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- 
colored, 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 Indian. 

The actual surveying of the river was done by Colonel 
Rondon and Lyra, with Kermit as their assistant. Kermit 
went first in his little canoe with the sighting-rod, on which 
two disks, one red and one white, were placed a metre 
apart. He selected a place which commanded as long 
vistas as possible up-stream and down, and which there- 
fore might be at the angle of a bend; landed; cut away 
the branches which obstructed the view; and set up the 




1 did my writing in headnet and gauntlets 
From a photograph by Kermit Roosevelt 




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



THE RIVER OF DOUBT 245 

sighting-pole incidentally encountering maribundi wasps 
and swarms of biting and stinging ants. Lyra, from his 
station up-stream, with his telemetre established the dis- 
tance, 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 kilo- 
metres. 

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 rip- 
ples 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 coun- 
try 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 like great ropes. Masses of epiphytes 



246 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 soundless. 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 slightly aromatic odor, 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 hurt- 
ing them. But they became a great nuisance after a while. 
It had been raining at intervals, and the weather was over- 
cast; but after the sun went down the sky cleared. The 
stars were brilliant 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 



THE RIVER OF DOUBT 247 

collect, for in the early hours we could hear a number of 
birds in the woods near by. The most interesting birds he 
shot were a cotinga, brilliant turquoise-blue with a ma- 
genta-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 and paca 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 undoubtedly 
the Bandeira, which we had crossed well toward its head, 
some ten days before, on our road to Bonofacio. The 
Nhambiquaras had then told Colonel Rondon that it 
flowed into the Duvida. After its junction, with the added 



248 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 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 
sunrise, 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 I, 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 built at low water. 



THE RIVER OF DOUBT 249 

Three stout poles had been driven into the stream-bed in a 
line at right angles to the current. The bridge had con- 
sisted 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 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-gray 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 poison- 
ous 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 mo- 
tionless, 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 colora- 
tion was distinctly revealing; infinitely more so than the 
duller mottling of the jararaca and other dangerous snakes 
of the genus lachecis. 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 



250 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 re- 
sembled the stem or continuation of the midrib of the 
dead leaf. The flattened body was curled up at the sides, 
and veined and colored precisely like the leaf. The head, 
colored like the leaf, projected in front. 

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 ut- 
tered strange cries and calls. In volume and frequency 
these seemed to increase until midnight. Then they died 
away and before dawn everything 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 




The Rapids of Navaite 

There were many curls, and one or two regular falls 
From a photograph by Ckerrie 



THE RIVER OF DOUBT 251 

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 colored 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 ex- 
amine 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, per- 
haps six feet high. It would have been impossible to rim 
them, 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 projection 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 quite a 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 



252 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 tilled 
the soil with the rude and destructive cultivation of sav- 
ages. There were several abandoned old fields, where the 
dense growth of rank fern hid the tangle of burnt and fallen 
logs. Nor had the Nhambiquaras been long absent. In 
one trail we found what gypsies would have called a "pa- 
teran," a couple of branches arranged crosswise, eight 
leaves to a branch; it had some special significance, be- 
longing 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 sub- 
tribe 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 longitude 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 
little bees were in such swarms as to be a nuisance. Many 
small stinging bees were with them, which stung badly. 




a, , 
2 2 



3 J 

3 c " 

'C c ^ 



e 



THE RIVER OF DOUBT 253 

We were bitten by huge horse-flies, the size of bumblebees. 
More serious annoyance was caused by the pium and boro- 
shuda 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 on the 
label put up, with the rest of our medicine, by Doctor 
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 or sand-fly country without it. The ef- 
fect 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 dis- 
covered them. 

Packing the loads across was simple. Dragging the 
heavy dugouts was labor. 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 



254 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 themselves two by two on the 
drag-rope, while one of their number pried behind with a 
lever, and the canoe, bumping 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-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 readily developed in, the men of the tropics. 
Another subject of perpetual wonder is the attitude of cer- 
tain 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 
adventurers in, the great wilderness. The impostors and 
romancers among explorers or would-be explorers and wil- 
derness wanderers have been unusually prominent in con- 
nection with 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; 



THE RIVER OF DOUBT 255 

and in the untrodden, or even in the unfrequented, wilder- 
ness risk to the canoe is a serious matter. This particular 
portage at Navai'te Rapids was far from being unusually 
difficult; yet it not only cost two and a half days of severe 
and incessant labor, 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 sup- 
per, 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-Parana high up or low down, 
or go north to the Madeira, or bend eastward and enter 
the Tapajos, or fall into the Canuma 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 hun- 
dred 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 
possibilities. 

We started down-stream again early in the afternoon 
of March 5. Our hands and faces were swollen from the 



256 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 bowlders 
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 thither, 
sometimes in sigmoid curves; but the general direction was 
east of north. As usual, it was very beautiful; and we 
never could tell 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 shep- 
herded the two pairs of lashed cargo canoes. I kept them 
always between me and the surveying canoes ahead of 
me until I passed the surveying canoes, then behind me 
until, after an hour or so, I had chosen a place to camp. 
There was so much overflowed ground that it took us some 
little 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 



THE RIVER OF DOUBT 257 

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 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 built 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 color 
and texture indistinguishable from the bark of the tree. 
The honey was delicious, sweet and yet with a tart fla- 
vor. 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 colora- 
tion. 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 color with the light 
and dark patches on the log; the color was as concealing, 
here in its natural surroundings, as is the color of our com- 
mon wood-frog among the dead leaves of our woods. When 



258 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

I stirred it up it jumped to a small twig, catching hold 
with the disks 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 cur- 
rent 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 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 
tall and slender accashy palms; the bole of this palm is as 
straight as an arrow and is crowned with delicate, grace- 
fully 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 porphyritic. 

The yth, 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 RIVER OF DOUBT 259 

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 rapids, 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 collec- 
tion, and some probably new to science. We saw the 
fresh sign of paca, agouti, and the small peccary, and Ker- 
mit 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 in- 
evitable. Our canoes would not have lived half a minute 
in the wild water. 

On the second day the canoes and loads were brought 
down to the foot of the first rapids. Lyra cleared the 



260 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 dugouts 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 
the canoes and loads, with hard labor, 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. I 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 little 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 lilac orchids the 
sobralia, 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 



THE RIVER OF DOUBT 261 

Oxford Book of French Verse. Eustache Deschamp, Jo- 
achim du Bellay, Ronsard, the delightful La Fontaine, the 
delightful but appalling Villon, 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 loth we again embarked and made a kilometre 
and a half, spending most of the time in getting past two 
more rapids. Near the first of these we saw a small cay- 
man, a jacare-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. Ker- 
mit, dressed substantially like the camaradas themselves, 
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 constantly more numerous. 
The termites ate holes in my helmet and also in the cover 
of my cot. Every one else had a hammock. At this camp 
we had come down the river about 102 kilometres, accord- 
ing to the surveying records, and in height had descended 
nearly 100 metres, as shown by the aneroid although the 



262 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

figure in this case is only an approximation, as an aneroid 
cannot be depended on for absolute accuracy of results. 

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 bowlders on the rocky 
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 alternative. 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 imme- 
diately attacked this one under the superintendence of 
Colonel Rondon. Lyra and Kermit started in opposite di- 




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



THE RIVER OF DOUBT 263 

rections to hunt. Lyra killed a jacu for us, and Kermit 
killed two monkeys for the men. Toward nightfall it 
cleared. The moon was nearly full, and the foaming river 
gleamed like silver. 

Our men were "regional volunteers," that is, they had 
enlisted in the service of the Telegraphic Commission es- 
pecially 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' exploration 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 ac- 
companied him. This was the year when, marching on 
foot through an absolutely unknown wilderness, the colo- 
nel 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 abun- 
dance 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 descended to map the 
course of the river. With him went Ribeiro, the doctor 
Tanageira, who could no longer walk on account of the 



264 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

ulceration of one foot, three men whom the fever had ren- 
dered unable longer to walk, and six men who were as yet 
well enough to handle the canoe. By the time the re- 
mainder 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 dying 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. Lieutenant Pyrineus had lost every particle of 
his clothing except a hat and a pair of drawers. The half- 
naked lieutenant drew up his eleven fever patients in line; 
the bugle sounded; every one 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 literally and entirely naked. Meanwhile Amilcar had 
ascended the Jacyparana a month or two previously with 
provisions to meet them; for at that time the maps incor- 
rectly 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 himself suf- 
ering much hardship and danger. The different parties 



THE RIVER OF DOUBT 265 

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 1 2th 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 endeavoring in all ways to econo- 
mize 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 
lianas 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 abun- 
dant, and even when travelling slowly it was impossible 
always to avoid them not to speak of our constant com- 
panions the bees, mosquitoes, and especially the boroshudas 
or bloodsucking flies. Now while bursting through a tan- 
gle I disturbed a nest of wasps, whose resentment was 
active; now I heedlessly stepped among the outliers of a 



266 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

small party of the carnivorous foraging ants; now, grasp- 
ing 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 cama- 
radas generally went barefoot or only wore sandals; and 
their ankles and feet were swollen and inflamed from the 
bites of the boroshudas and ants, some being actually in- 
capacitated from work. All of us suffered more or less, 
our faces and hands swelling 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. Be- 
cause of the rain and the heat our clothes were usually wet 
when we took them off at night, and just as wet when we 
put them on again in the morning. 

All day on the I3th the men worked at the canoe, mak- 
ing good progress. In rolling and shifting the huge, heavy 
tree-trunk every one had to assist now and 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-hollowed 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 I4th the work was resumed in 
a torrential tropic downpour. The canoe was finished, 
dragged down to the water, and launched soon after mid- 
day, and another hour or so saw us under way. The 




Manner of dragging the canoes across a hilly portage 
From a photograph 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 Kfrmit Roosevelt 



THE RIVER OF DOUBT 267 

descent was marked, and the swollen river raced along. 
Several times we passed great whirlpools, sometimes shift- 
ing, 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 heavily 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 conse- 
quence to go as rapidly as possible lest all the provisions 
be exhausted and the final stages of the expedition be ac- 
complished 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. 



268 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

The following morning, the I5th of March, we started 
in good season. For six kilometres we drifted and pad- 
dled down the swift river without incident. At times we 
saw lofty Brazil-nut trees rising above the rest of the for- 
est 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 bowlder- 
strewn, forest-clad hills and the roar of broken water an- 
nounced that once more our course was checked by dan- 
gerous 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 escaped. 

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 helmsman, or pilot, 
as he is called in Brazil, and Simplicio, the bowsman. 
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 



THE RIVER OF DOUBT 269 

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 whirlpool or whirling eddy tore them away 
and hurried them back to midstream, 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 Simplicio must have been pulled 
under at once, and his life beaten out on the bowlders be- 
neath the racing torrent. He never rose again, nor did we 
ever recover his body. Kermit clutched his rifle, his fa- 
vorite 405 Winchester with which he had done most of his 
hunting both in Africa and America, and climbed on the 
bottom of the upset boat. In a minute he was swept into 
the second series of rapids, and whirled away from the 
rolling 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 real- 



270 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

ized 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 accident be- 
falling 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 be- 
trothed 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 inscription, 
in Portuguese: 

"IN THESE RAPIDS DIED POOR SIMPLICIO." 

On an expedition such as ours death is one of the acci- 
dents that may at any time occur, and narrow escapes from 
death are too common to be felt as they would be felt else- 
where. One mourns sincerely, but mourning cannot inter- 
fere with labor. We immediately 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. Ker- 



THE RIVER OF DOUBT 271 

mit, accompanied by Joao, went three or four miles 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 midstream 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. How- 
ever, Cherrie got four species new to the collection. One 
was a tiny hummer, one of the species known as wood- 
stars, with dainty but not brilliant 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 little tanager, 
as brilliant as a cluster of jewels; its throat was lilac, 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 colored. 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 i6th was dark and gloomy. 
Through sheets of blinding rain we left our camp of mis- 



272 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

fortune 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 Cor- 
rea, 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 
kilometre 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 yell with pain, and then, still yelping, come 
toward him, while the creature that was howling also ap- 
proached, 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, to warn off the Indian or Indians, who in all probability 
had never seen a civilized man, and certainly could not im- 
agine that one was in the neighborhood. He then returned 
to the foot of the rapids, where the portage was still going 
on, and, in company with Lyra, Kermit, and Antonio Parc- 
el's, the Indian, walked back to where Lobo's body lay. 
Sure enough he found him, slain by two arrows. One ar- 



THE RIVER OF DOUBT 273 

row-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, Luiz being nearly drowned. 

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 hills or rocky hillocks, such as had been so fre- 
quent 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 remain- 
ing 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 swollen and swift and there are obstruc- 



274 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

tions. We had only one aneroid to determine our al- 
titude, and therefore could make merely a loose approxima- 
tion 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 ex- 
cept 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 behooved 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 distance 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. Cher- 
rie, 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 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 dis- 
comfort and at times of what could fairly be called torment. 



THE RIVER OF DOUBT 275 

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 in- 
valids with swollen feet. We halted continually, as we 
went about three times as fast as the walkers; and we 
traced the course of the river. After forty minutes' ac- 
tual going in the boats we came to some rapids; the un- 
loaded 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 bowlders against which 
we were swept by a cross current at the turn. All of us 
paddling hard scraping and bumping we got through by 



276 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

the skin of our teeth, and managed to make the bank and 
moor our dugouts. It was a narrow escape from grave dis- 
aster. 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 Duvida 
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 water- 
fall 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 dug- 
outs overland. Passing the rapids we had hitherto en- 
countered had meant severe labor 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 north, 
and sometimes east of north, yet where there were rapids 
the river had generally, although not always, turned west- 
ward. 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 



THE RIVER OF DOUBT 277 

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 west- 
ward from its general down-hill trend to the north. There 
was no longer any question that the Duvida was a big 
river, a river of real importance. It was not a minor afflu- 
ent 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 likely, 
although again far from certain, that its mouth would 
prove to be the Aripuanan. The Aripuanan does not ap- 
pear on the maps as a river of any size; on a good stand- 
ard 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 rep- 
resents 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 larg- 
est 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 



278 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 hostility of the Indians; and where the junction- 
point was no one could say. On the chance Colonel Ron- 
don 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 Amil- 
car 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 all 
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 Muller 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 Du- 



THE RIVER OF DOUBT 279 

vida. 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 Ker- 
mit; 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 meet- 
ing broke up in high good humor. 

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 until 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 little 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 protec- 
tion 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 sign on both sides of the river. 

After about two hours and a half we came on a little 
river entering from the east. It was broad but shallow, 
and at the point of entrance rushed down, green and white, 



280 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 splendor of sunrise and sunset, are never seen as they 
are seen on the vast open plains. 

The following day, the I9th, the men began work on 
the canoes. The ill-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 more- 
over 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-leafed pacovas, or wild bananas. We 
bathed and swam in the river, although in it we caught 
piranhas. Carregadores ants swarmed all around our 



THE RIVER OF DOUBT 281 

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 ill 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 somewhere in the 
neighborhood 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 des- 
tined to failure. 



CHAPTER IX 

DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER INTO THE EQUATORIAL 

FOREST 

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 afflu- 
ents extends many degrees north and south of the equator. 
This gigantic equatorial river basin is filled with an im- 
mense 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 to- 
ward 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 still forest was almost 
empty of life. We found old Indian signs. There were 
very few birds, and these in the tops of the tall trees. 
We saw a recent tapir-track; and under a cajazeira-tree by 

282 



DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER 283 

the bank there were the tracks of capybaras which had 
been eating the fallen fruit. This fruit is delicious and 
would make a valuable addition 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 south- 
ern 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 indepen- 
dence 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. Doctor Vital Brazil, the stu- 
dent of poisonous serpents, was given his name by his father, 
whose own family name was entirely different; 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 light- 
ning. 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 building the canoes now and then. Ker- 
mit, accompanied by Antonio the Parcels and Joao, crossed 
the river and walked back to the little river that had en- 
tered from the east, so as to bring back a report of it to 
Colonel Rondon. Lyra took observations, 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 progress had been very slow; and 
until we got out of the region of incessant rapids, with their 



284 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

attendant labor and hazard, it was not likely that we should 
go much faster. 

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 overhanging 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 be- 
low 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 al- 
most 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 










,V >*' 

. . ., <* < (i 

/* 'V jr :^ 

' ' _ ,x ,- 



The Upper Duvida 




Cherrie in his canoe 
/"rom photographs by Kermit Roosevelt 



DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER 285 

wood. Others, including both palms and ordinary trees, 
showed an even stranger 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-like 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 like 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 vapor. 
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 splendor 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 



286 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

greenery, where thick-leaved vines covered all things else. 
Wherever there was a hidden bowlder the surface of the 
current was broken by waves. In one place, in midstream, 
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 jus- 
tice 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, cab- 
bages, 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 feath- 
ers on the back being long and fluffy. When he shot the 



DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER 287 

bird, a male, it was showing off before a dull-colored 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 
like the "chrysanthemum" on a prongbuck whose curios- 
ity 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 atten- 
tion. 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 oc- 
casions 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 like ours, through a 
difficult and utterly unknown country, especially if densely 



288 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

forested, there is little time to halt, and game cannot be 
counted on. It is only in lands like our own West thirty 
years ago, like South Africa in the middle of the last cen- 
tury, 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 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 encoun- 
tered 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 honor 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 I 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- 



DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER 289 

way down the rapids Lyra and Kermit, who were oversee- 
ing 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 labor. 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 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 un- 
known 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 headwaters 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 



290 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

been known to rubber-gatherers, and recently a commis- 
sion from the government of Amazonas had part-way as- 
cended 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 shirk with the heart of a ferocious 
cur in the body of a bullock. 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 colored green, blue, and red. Big toucans 
called overhead, lustrous green-black in color, with white 
throats, red gorgets, red-and-yellow tail coverts, and huge 
black-and-yellow bills. Here the soil was fertile; it will 
be a fine site for a coffee-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 danger- 
ous would drive electric trolleys up and down its whole 
length and far out on either side, and run mills and fac- 




Toco Toucan 



DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER 291 

tories, and lighten the labor 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 dugouts 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 kilo- 
metre, 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. 

All 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 cocoa- 
nuts; they chopped down an ample number of palms, for 
the palm-cabbage; and, most important of all, they gath- 



292 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

ered a quantity of big Brazil-nuts, which when roasted 
tasted like the best of chestnuts and are nutritious; and 
they caught a number of big piranhas, which were good 
eating. So we all 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 obliterated. 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 (fa)- 
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 con- 
tinent, in the history of the higher forms of animal life dur- 
ing the age of mammals. Colonel Rondon stated that such 



DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER 293 

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 un- 
known river, never before visited by white men, which we 
were descending. 

Next morning we went about three kilometres before 
coming to some steep hills, 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 bowlders and 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 fas- 
tenings 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 little falls just above the canoes, 
and let down a rope which we tied to the outermost canoe. 
The rest of us, up to our armpits and barely able to keep 
our footing as we slipped and stumbled among the bowlders 
in the swift current, lifted and shoved while Kermit and his 
men pulled the rope and fastened the slack to a half-sub- 
merged 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; 



294 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 falling. 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 chris- 
tened Cherrie River. Across this we went on a bridge con- 
sisting 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 ab- 
sent until mid-afternoon. 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 the 2d of March, 
belonged. Through the first range of these mountains the 
river ran in a gorge, some three kilometres long, immedi- 
ately 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 



DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER 295 

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 pajamas, 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 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 ex- 
treme, 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 



296 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 growth 
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 be- 
tween mountain ridges, which we supposed 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 ex- 
hausting labor, and especially further delay; and delay 
was a serious matter to men whose food supply was begin- 
ning 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 efforts 
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 noth- 



DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER 297 

ing 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 well-nigh impene- 
trable forest is the one in which it is most difficult to get 
even what little game exists therein. A couple of curas- 
sows 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 mouth- 
fuls tasted ! 

Cherrie, in addition to being out after birds in every 
spare moment, helped in all emergencies. He was a vet- 
eran in the work of the tropic wilderness. We talked to- 
gether 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 all 
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 favored 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 



298 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 Lyra and Kermit, with their daring and 
hard-working watermen, after wearing labor, 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 labor 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 nec- 
essarily 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 no kilometres, 



DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER 299 

and had descended nearly 150 metres the figures are ap- 
proximate 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 line 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 
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 lux- 
uriant 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 

* 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. 



300 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

run down empty, and the loads carried painfully along the 
face of the cliffs; so bad was the trail that I found it rather 
hard to follow, although carrying nothing but my rifle and 
cartridge-bag. The explorers returned with the informa- 
tion 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 com- 
paratively level country. The severe toil, on a rather lim- 
ited 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 labor 
as any of them. 

Next day, the 3d of April, 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 expe- 
dition as that in which we were engaged of necessity in- 
volves hard and dangerous labor, and perils of many kinds. 
To follow down-stream an unknown river, broken by innu- 
merable cataracts and rapids, rushing through mountains 
of which the existence has never been even guessed, bears 
no resemblance whatever to following even a fairly danger- 
ous river which has been thoroughly explored and has be- 
come 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 



DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER 301 

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 labor and difficulty. Moreover, no one 
can tell how many times the task will 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 with the pos- 
sibility of the gravest disaster, and yet it is imperatively 
necessary to attempt it; and all this is done in an unin- 
habited wilderness, or else a wilderness tenanted only by 
unfriendly 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 every- 
thing 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. 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 vigor, hardihood, and 
daring, and takes from the conquerors a heavy toll of life 
and health. 

Lyra, Kermit, and Cherrie, with four of the men, 



302 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

worked the canoes half-way down the canyon. Again and 
again it was touch and go whether they could get by a 
given point. At one spot the channel of the furious tor- 
rent was only fifteen yards across. One canoe was lost, 
so that of the seven with which we had started only two 
were left. Cherrie labored with the other men at times, 
and also stood as guard over them, for, while actually work- 
ing, of course no one could carry a rifle. Kermit's experi- 
ence 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 festering 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 bit- 
ten by a venomous serpent, a scorpion, or a centiped, 
although we had killed all of the three within camp 
limits. 

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 fellow 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 standing, 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, cowardice, and ferocity. He 



DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER 303 

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 favors. 
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 
labor, 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. Fi- 
nally, 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 vigor. 

One of our best men was a huge negro named Paixao 
Paishon a corporal and acting sergeant in the engineer 
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 light- 
ened loads. He was a stern disciplinarian. One evening 
he detected Julio stealing food and smashed 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 gotten off uncommonly lightly. The men 



304 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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, Pedrinho 
discovered Julio stealing some of the men's dried meat. 
Shortly afterward Paishon rebuked him for, as usual, lag- 
ging 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 occasionally 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 tell 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 camaradas. 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. I feared 
that Julio had run amuck, and intended merely to take 
more lives before he died, and that he would begin with 






DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER 305 

Pedrinho, who was alone and unarmed in the camp we had 
left. Accordingly I pushed on, followed by my compan- 
ions, 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 ha- 
tred had at once given way to his innate cowardice; and, 
perhaps hearing some one 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 deso- 
lation of the wilderness. Franca, the cook, quoted out of the 
melancholy proverbial philosophy of the people the proverb : 
"No man knows the heart of any one"; and then expressed 
with deep conviction a weird ghostly belief I had never en- 
countered before: "Paishon is following Julio now, and will 
follow him until he dies; Paishon fell forward on his hands 
and knees, and when a murdered man falls like that his 
ghost will follow the slayer as long as the slayer lives." 



306 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 lives and the health of the 
men of the expedition who had honestly been performing, 
and had still to perform, so much perilous labor. 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 murder- 
ing some other good man. He could not be shackled while 
climbing along the cliff 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 weary, honest men already exhausted 
by overwork. The expedition was in peril, and it was wise 
to take every chance possible that would help secure suc- 
cess. Whether the murderer lived or died in the wilderness 
was of no moment compared with the duty of doing every- 
thing 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 some one 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 



DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER 307 

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 sur- 
render and be taken aboard; for the murderer was an ar- 
rant 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 intention of taking the mur- 
derer 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 
expedition. 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 expe- 
dition, 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, to find the murderer and 
bring him in. They failed to find him.* 

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



308 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

I have anticipated my narrative because I do not wish 
to recur to the horror more than is necessary. I now re- 
turn to my story. After we found that Julio 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 life. 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 forever, under the great trees be- 
side 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, bowlder-covered slope where it 
was possible to sling hammocks and cook; and a slanting 
spot was found for my cot, which had sagged until by this 
time it looked like 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 leak- 
ing badly from the battering on the rocks. We then went 
down-stream a few hundred yards, and camped on the op- 
posite side; it was not a good camping-place, but it was 
better than the one we left. 

The men were growing constantly weaker under the 
endless strain of exhausting labor. Kermit was having an 
attack of fever, and Lyra and Cherrie had touches of dys- 




Rapids at the chasm 

From a photograph by Cherne 




We bathed and swam in the river although in it we caught piranhas 

From a photograph by Kermit Roosevelt 



DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER 309 

entery, 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 bowlder; and the re- 
sulting inflammation was somewhat bothersome. 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 frightful mortality among the mem- 
bers; 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 pre- 
cautions. 

The next day we made another long portage round some 
rapids, and camped at night still 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 
labor 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 unin- 
terrupted work of the hardest kind in getting through the 
long series of rapids we had just passed; and a long fur- 
ther delay, accompanied by wearing labor, would have 
almost certainly meant that the weakest among our party 
would have begun to die. There were already two of the 



310 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

camaradas who were too weak to help the others, their 
condition being such as to cause us serious concern. 

However, the hills 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 port- 
age 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 kilo- 
metres 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 realize 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, determining our exact position by the 
sun, and afterward by the stars, and sending on two men to 



DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER 311 

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 midstream 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 all 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. Prob- 
ably 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 Bra- 
zilian 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 grayish-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 Itacoatiara, on the Amazon, at the mouth 
of the Madeira, the doctor had seen one of these monsters 



312 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

which had 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 Madeira the people had built stockaded enclo- 
sures in the water in which they bathed, not venturing to 
swim 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 diffi- 
culty, 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 with- 
out 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. 



DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER 313 

On the loth 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 hills; 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 rea- 
sonably 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 



314 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 to another set of 
rapids, carried the baggage down past them, and made 
camp long after dark in the rain a good exercise in pa- 
tience 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 main- 
stay 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 perpetual 
working compromise between rashness and overcaution. 
This night we had a very good fish to eat, a big silvery 
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 familiar. 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 




u 



DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER 315 

all 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 kilo- 
metres, 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 kin 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 un- 
able 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 



316 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 dogs were on watch, and the belong- 
ings showed that a man, a woman, and a child lived there, 
and had only just left. Another hour brought us to a simi- 
lar 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 geog- 
raphers. We were, according to our informants, about fif- 
teen 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 abso- 



DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER 317 

lutely unknown ground; we had seen no human being, al- 
though we had twice heard Indians. Six weeks had been 
spent in steadily slogging our way down through the in- 
terminable 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 
grade had ever been on it. Here, however, was a river 
with people dwelling along the banks, some of whom had 
lived in the neighborhood 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 Aripu- 
anan is included as part of it of which no geographer, in 
any map published 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 employee, 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 afflu- 
ent, the Castanho, had been commercial highways for 



318 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 su- 
perior, to the upper Aripuanan; it now seemed even 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 understanding of its real posi- 
tion and real relationship, and the clearing up of the complex 
problem of the sources of all these lower right-hand afflu- 
ents of the Madeira, was rendered possible by the seven 
weeks of hard and dangerous labor we had spent in going 
down an absolutely unknown river, through an absolutely 
unknown wilderness. At this stage of the growth of world 
geography I esteemed it a great piece of good fortune to be 
able to take part in such a feat a feat which represented 
the capping of the pyramid which during the previous seven 
years had been built by the labor of the Brazilian Tele- 
graphic Commission. 

We had passed the period when there was a chance of 



*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 some one 
descends and finds out where, as a matter of fact, it really does go. 



DOWN AN UNKNOWN RIVER 319 

peril, of disaster, to the whole expedition. There might be 
risk ahead to individuals, and some difficulties and annoy- 
ances for all of us; but there was no longer the least likeli- 
hood 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 labor with no 
end in sight, and bitter uncertainty 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 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. I 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 unwearied 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 dress- 
ings, by the enthusiasm with which the piums and boroshu- 
das took part therein. I could hardly hobble, and was 
pretty well laid up. But "there aren't no 'stop, conductor/ 
while a battery's changing ground." No man has any 
business to go on such a trip as ours unless he will 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. For- 
tunately, I was put to no such test. I remained in good 
shape until we had passed the last of the rapids of the 



320 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 
well-nigh intolerable heat of the torrid sun of the mid- 
tropics, varied by blinding, drenching 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 Hill to me; 
and to Kermit the call was stronger still. After nightfall 
we could now see the Dipper well above the horizon up- 
side down, with the two pointers pointing 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 blood- 
root 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 listen. 
Each man to his home, and to his true love ! Each was 
longing 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. 



CHAPTER X 

TO THE AMAZON AND HOME; ZOOLOGICAL AND 
GEOGRAPHICAL RESULTS OF THE EXPEDITION 

OUR adventures and our troubles were alike over. We 
now experienced the incalculable contrast between descend- 
ing a known and travelled river, and one that is utterly 
unknown. After four days we hired a rubber-man to go 
with 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 labor of making camp; 
and we bought ample food for them, so there was no fur- 
ther 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 midstream. 

For four days there were no rapids we could not run 
without unloading. Then, on the iQth, we got a canoe 
from Senhor Barboso. He was a most kind and hospi- 

321 



322 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

table 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 
wife 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 after- 
ward 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 fabu- 
lously, 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 



TO THE AMAZON AND HOME 323 

a few chickens and ducks. They planted patches of man- 
dioc, maize, sugar-cane, rice, beans, squashes, pineapples, 
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 usu- 
ally 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 actu- 
ally 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 

wilderness-winners. No continent is ever really conquered, 


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, 



324 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

but for some few miles, at some time or other, he breaks 
new ground; and his 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, prob- 
ably no knowledge, 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 civilization, and es- 
pecially of great cities, is no real pioneer at all. These 
settlers whom we met were contented to live in the wilder- 
ness. 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 civilization and savagery in Brazil, 
are now playing the part played by our backwoodsmen 
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 Northwest. 
Every now and then some one 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 co- 
lonial government at that time was almost as bad as Span- 
ish. For the last half-century and over there has been a 
steady increase in the rapidity of the rate of development; 




At the rubber-man's house 




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



TO THE AMAZON AND HOME 325 

and this increase bids fair to be constantly more rapid in 
the future. 

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 chil- 
dren. Settlement began; the conquest of the wilderness 
entered on its first stage. 

On the 2Oth 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 strongly and continuously. The store- 
keeper'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 Inferno. 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 par- 
ties of rubber-explorers are then equipped and provisioned; 



326 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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 wanderers. 

On the 2Oth we made the longest run we had made, 
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 2 ist we made another good run, getting down 
to the Inferno 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 Ma- 
deirainha, entered from the left. The rapids had a fall 
of over ten metres, and the water was very wild and rough. 
Met with for the first time, it would doubtless have taken 
several days to explore a passage and, with danger and 
labor, get the boats down. But we were no longer explor- 
ing, pioneering, over unknown country. It is easy to go 
where other men have prepared 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 following morning. At the foot of the rap- 



TO THE AMAZON AND HOME 327 

ids 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 lives of labor and peril; they con- 
tinually face death themselves, and they think little of it 
in connection with others. It is small wonder that they 
sometimes 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 after- 
noon's journey. We had to take the baggage by one 
rapids. 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 con- 
trast to the Paraguay, there were few water-birds. We 
ran some rather stiff rapids, the Infernino, without unload- 
ing, 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. 



328 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

The following day, the 24th, we ran down some fifty 
kilometres to the Carupanan rapids, which by observation 
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 far- 
ther 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. 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 offer- 
ing 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 toll of human 
life had been heavy. Had we been still on an unknown 
river, pioneering our own way, it would doubtless have 
taken us at least a fortnight of labor and peril to pass. 
But it actually took only a day and a half. All the chan- 
nels 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 alongside the graves of three men who at 
this point had perished in the swift water. 



TO THE AMAZON AND HOME 329 

Senhor Caripe told us many strange adventures of rub- 
ber-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 Canuma 
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 discovery; 
and by his orders took their caoutchouc overland to the 
Aripuanan, built a canoe, and ran down with their caout- 
chouc 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 



330 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

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. 
We had been two months in the canoes; from the 
27th of February to the 26th of April. We had gone over 
750 kilometres. The river from its source, near the thir- 
teenth 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 kilometres 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 mea- 
sured the volume of the two, and found that the Castanho, 
although the narrower, was the deeper and swifter, and 



TO THE AMAZON AND HOME 331 

that in volume it surpassed the other by 84 cubic metres 
a second. Since then the Castanho had fallen; our mea- 
surements showed it to be slightly 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 
Pyrineus we learned that Lauriado 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 be- 
longings 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 en- 
campment. It rained heavily. Next morning we all gath- 
ered 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 



332 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

by actual exploration and investigation discovered that the 
river whose upper portion had been called the Duvida 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 
1 3th degree and its mouth a little south of the 5th degree, 
hitherto utterly unknown to cartographers and in large 
part utterly unknown to any save the local tribes of In- 
dians, had been named the Rio Roosevelt. 

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 eight hundred 
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 



333 

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 calcula- 
tions, the course of the stream down which we had thus 
come was about 1,500 kilometres in length about 900 
miles, perhaps nearly 1,000 miles from its source near the 
1 3th 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 rain-storms, 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 
little 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 coloring and odd 



334 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

architecture give the place a very foreign and attractive 
flavor in northern eyes. Its rapid growth to prosperity 
was due to the rubber-trade. This is now far less remu- 
nerative than formerly. It will undoubtedly in some de- 
gree recover; and in any event the development of the 
immensely rich and fertile Amazonian valley is sure to go 
on, and it will be immensely quickened when closer con- 
nections 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 neighborhood 
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 is a most curious bird 
of very archaic type. Its 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 feath- 
ers grow. They swim no less easily, at the same early age. 
Miller 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 killed one of the bullocks 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 line of steamers, was par- 
ticularly kind. He secured for us passages on one of the 



TO THE AMAZON AND HOME 335 

cargo-boats of the line to Para, and thence on one of the 
regular cargo-and-passenger steamers to Barbadoes and 
New York. The Booth people were most courteous to us. 

I said good-by 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 sov- 
ereign as a medal of honor 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 Belen, I said good-by to Colonel Rondon, 
Doctor Cajazeira, and Lieutenant Lyra. Together with 
my admiration for their hardihood, courage, and resolu- 
tion, I had grown to feel a strong and affectionate friend- 
ship for them. I had become very fond of them; and I 
was glad to feel that I had been their companion in the 
performance of a feat which possessed a certain lasting 
importance. 

On May i we left Manaos for Belen 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 colors above the vast water. It all seemed the 
embodiment of loneliness and wild majesty. Yet every- 
where man was conquering the loneliness and wresting the 
majesty to his own uses. We passed many thriving, grow- 



336 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

ing towns; at one we stopped to take on cargo. Every- 
where 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 color 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 vege- 
tation. Miller said that much of this came from the la- 
goons such as those where he had been hunting, beside the 
Solimoens lagoons filled with the huge and splendid Vic- 
toria 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 bad-tempered that 
he had to be kept solitary; but three monkeys, big, mid- 
dle-sized, and little, and a young peccary 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. 

Belen, the capital of the state of Para, was an admi- 
rable illustration of the genuine and almost startling prog- 



TO THE AMAZON AND HOME 337 

ress 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 temper- 
ate zone. The public buildings are handsome, the private 
dwellings attractive; there are a fine opera-house, an ex- 
cellent tramway system, and a good museum and botan- 
ical 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 kind. 

Cherrie and Miller spent the day at the really 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 con- 
fined the Belen zoo to the animals of the lower Amazon 
valley, and in consequence I know of no better local zoo- 
logical gardens. She has an invaluable collection of birds 
and mammals of the region; and it was a privilege to meet 
her and talk with her. 

We also met Professor Farrabee, 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, 



338 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

and down to the seacoast of British Guiana. He is an ad- 
mirable representative of the men who are now opening 
South America to scientific knowledge. 

On May 7 we bade good-by to our kind Brazilian friends 
and sailed northward for Barbadoes 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 Government, 
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 Tele- 
graphic Commission during the six previous years. It 
was their scientific exploration of the chapadao, their map- 
ping the basin of the Juruena, and their descent of the 
Gy-Parana that rendered it possible for us to solve the 
mystery of the River of Doubt. On the map facing page 
vii I have given the outline route of my entire South 
American trip. The course of the new river is given sep- 
arately. 

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 







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Sketch map of the unknown river christened Rio Roosevelt, and subsequently 
Rio Teodoro, by direction of the Brazilian Government 

This map was prepared by Colonel Roosevelt from his journal and the diaries of Cherrie and of Kermit 

Roosevelt, the war having prevented the arrival of the map prepared by Lieutenant Lyra 

The Ananas may be the headwaters of the Cardozo or of the Aripuanan, or it may flow into the Canuma 
or Tapajos ; it will not be put on the map until it is actually descended 










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TO THE AMAZON AND HOME 339 

Brazil has to its credit. Brazil has been blessed beyond the 
average of her Spanish- American sisters because she won her 
way to republicanism by evolution rather than revolution. 
They plunged into the extremely difficult experiment of 
democratic, of popular, self-government, after enduring the 
atrophy of every quality of self-control, self-reliance, and 
initiative throughout three withering centuries of existence 
under the worst and most foolish form of colonial govern- 
ment, both from the civil and the religious standpoint, 
that has ever existed. The marvel is not that some of 
them failed, but that some of them have eventually suc- 
ceeded in such striking fashion. Brazil, on the contrary, 
when she achieved independence, first exercised it under 
the form of an authoritative empire, then under the form 
of a liberal empire. When the republic came, the people 
were reasonably ripe for it. The great progress of Brazil 
and it has been an astonishing 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 
Commission. 

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 I2th and I3th 



340 THROUGH THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS 

parallels of latitude south and the 59th and 6oth degrees 
of longitude west from Greenwich. We embarked on it 
at about latitude 12 i' south, and about longitude 60 
15' west. After that its entire course lay between the 
6oth and 6ist degrees of longitude, approaching the latter 
most closely about latitude 8 15'. The first rapids we 
encountered were in latitude 11 44', and in uninterrupted 
succession they continued 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 n 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. 



APPENDICES 



APPENDIX A 

THE WORK OF THE FIELD ZOOLOGIST AND FIELD 
GEOGRAPHER IN SOUTH AMERICA 

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 condi- 
tions 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 ad- 
venturous kind of field geographer; and there are two or three points 
worth keeping in mind in dealing 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 al- 
though, of course, these categories are not divided by hard-and-fast 
lines. 

First, there are the travellers who skirt the continent in comfortable 
steamers, going from one great seaport to another, and occasionally tak- 
ing 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 ob- 
server offers the same chance for acquiring knowledge and, if he is him- 
self 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 

343 



344 APPENDIX A 

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 others 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 capi- 
tal 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 an- 
cient peasantry; and about rough old highways of travel which in com- 
fort do not differ much from those of mediaeval 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 archaeologists among the im- 
measurably ancient ruins of the lowland forests and the Andean pla- 
teaux 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 experi- 
ences in themselves do not qualify them to speak as wilderness explorers. 



APPENDIX A 345 

Exactly as a good archaeologist may not be competent to speak of cur- 
rent 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 himself 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 regu- 
lar 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 Ama- 
zon, Paraguay, 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 cate- 
gories, 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 explora- 
tion proper. He visited places which had been settled and inhabited 
for centuries and traversed places which had been travelled by civi- 
lized men for years before he followed in their footsteps. But these 
places were in Spanish colonies, and access to them had been forbidden 
by the mischievous and intolerant tyranny ecclesiastical, political, and 
economic which then rendered Spain the most backward of European 
nations; and Humboldt was the first scientific man of intellectual in- 
dependence who had permission to visit them. To this day many 
of his scientific observations are of real value. Bates came to the 
Amazon just before the era of Amazonian steamboats. He never went 
off the native routes of ordinary travel. But he was a devoted and 
able naturalist. He lived an exceedingly isolated, primitive, and labori- 
ous life for eleven years. Now, half a century after it was written, his 



346 APPENDIX A 

"Naturalist on the Amazon" is as interesting and valuable as it ever 
was, and no book since written has in any way supplanted it. 

Travel of the third category includes the work of the true wilderness 
explorers who add to our sum of geographical knowledge and of the 
scientific men who, following their several bents, also work in the un- 
trodden wilds. Colonel Rondon and his associates have done much 
in the geographical exploration of unknown country, and Cherrie and 
Miller have penetrated and lived for months and years in the wastes, 
on their own resources, as incidents to their mammalogical and ornitho- 
logical work. Professor Farrabee, the anthropologist, is a capital 
example of the man who does this hard and valuable type of work. 

An immense amount of this true wilderness work, geographical and 
zoological, remains to be done in South America. It can be accom- 
plished with reasonable thoroughness only by the efforts of very many 
different workers, each in his own special field. It is desirable that 
here and there a part of the work should be done in outline by such a 
geographic and zoological reconnoissance as ours; we would, for ex- 
ample, be very grateful for such work in portions of the interior of the 
Guianas, on the headwaters of the Xingu, and here and there along 
the eastern base of the Andes. 

But as a rule the work must be specialized; and in its final shape it 
must be specialized everywhere. The first geographical explorers of the 
untrodden wilderness, the first wanderers who penetrate the wastes where 
they are confronted with starvation, disease, and danger and death in 
every form, cannot take with them the elaborate equipment necessary 
in order to do the thorough scientific work demanded by modern scien- 
tific requirements. This is true even of exploration done along the 
courses of unknown rivers; it is more true of the exploration, which 
must in South America become increasingly necessary, done across 
country, away from the rivers. 

The scientific work proper of these early explorers must be of a some- 
what preliminary nature; in other words the most difficult and there- 
fore ordinarily the most important pieces of first-hand exploration are 
precisely those where the scientific work of the accompanying cartog- 
rapher, geologist, botanist, and zoologist must be furthest removed 
from finality. The zoologist who works to most advantage in the wil- 
derness must take his time, and therefore he must normally follow in 
the footsteps of, and not accompany, the first explorers. The man who 



APPENDIX A 347 

wishes to do the best scientific work in the wilderness must not try to 
combine incompatible types of work nor to cover too much ground in 
too short a time. 

There is no better example of the kind of zoologist who does first- 
class field-work in the wilderness than John D. Haseman, who spent from 
1907 to 1910 in painstaking and thorough scientific investigation over 
a large extent of South American territory hitherto only partially known 
or quite unexplored. Haseman's primary object was to study the char- 
acteristics and distribution of South American fishes, but as a matter 
of fact he studied at first hand many other more or less kindred sub- 
jects, as may be seen in his remarks on the Indians and in his excel- 
lent pamphlet on "Some Factors of Geographical Distribution in South 
America." 

Haseman made his long journey with a very slender equipment, his 
extraordinarily successful field-work being due to his bodily health and 
vigor and his resourcefulness, self-reliance, and resolution. His writings 
are rendered valuable by his accuracy and common sense. The need 
of the former of these two attributes will be appreciated by whoever 
has studied the really scandalous fictions which have been published as 
genuine by some modern "explorers" and adventurers in South Amer- 
ica; * and the need of the latter by whoever has studied some of the 
wild theories propounded in the name of science concerning the history 

* It would be well if a geographical society of standing would investigate the formal 
and official charges made by Colonel Rondon, an officer and gentleman of the highest 
repute, against Mr. Savage Landor. Colonel Rondon, in an official report to the Brazil- 
ian Government, has written a scathing review of Mr. Landor. He states that Mr. 
Savage Landor did not 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 de- 
grees 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. How- 
ever, Colonel Rondon sets forth that Mr. Landor did not keep his word or make any serious 
effort to fulfil his moral obligation to do as he had said he would do. In a letter to me under 
date of May I, 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 colo- 
nel'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 land 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 with the Madeira 



348 APPENDIX A 

of life on the South American continent. There is, however, one seri- 
ous 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. Modern scientists, like modern historians and, above 
all, scientific and historical educators, should ever keep in mind that 
clearness of speech and writing is essential to clearness of thought and 
that a simple, clear, and, if possible, vivid style is vital to the produc- 
tion 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 great- 
est 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 is a pity to make it a work of irritating labor 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 exploring and 
collecting, he will become able to express his thought clearly and force- 
fully. At least he can, if he chooses, go over his sentences until he 



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. 

Senhor Barreto, a gentleman of high standing, related this last incident to 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. Lander did in South 
America put together). Lieutenants Pyrineus and Mello, mentioned in the body of this 
work, informed me that they accompanied Mr. Landor on most of his overland trip be- 
fore 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 ex- 
plorers have borne a conspicuous part in the exploration of South America. As represen- 
tatives of the men and women who have done such capital work, who have fronted every 
hazard and hardship and labored 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. 



APPENDIX A 349 

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 imper- 
fectly expressed as to make us doubtful whether it is perfectly appre- 
hended by the writer. He can avoid the use of those pedantic terms 
which are really nothing but offensive and, fortunately, ephemeral sci- 
entific slang. There has been, for instance, a recent vogue for the ex- 
tensive misuse, usually tautological misuse, of the word "complexus" 
an excellent word if used rarely and for definite purposes. Mr. Hase- 
man drags it in continually when its use is either pointless and redun- 
dant or else serves purely to darken wisdom. He speaks of the " Antil- 
lean complex" when he means the Antilles, of the "organic complex" 
instead of the characteristic or bodily characteristics 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 follows use "complexus" in 
much the same spirit as that displayed by the famous old lady who 
derived religious instead of scientific consolation from the use of 
"the blessed word Mesopotamia." 

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 observations 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 industrious 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 



350 APPENDIX A 

intermittently distributed southward along these continental masses 
when there were no breaks in their southward connection, and inter- 
mittently 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 distribu- 
tion 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 northeast- 
ern 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, pres- 
ent and past, of the world since a period geologically 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 rea- 
soning, the land bridges could be made a hundred instead of merely 
ten in number. The facts of distribution are in many cases inexpli- 
cable with our present knowledge; yet if the existence of widely sep- 
arated but closely allied forms is habitually to be explained in accor- 
dance with the views of the extremists of this school we could, from the 
exclusive study of certain groups of animals, conclude that at different 



APPENDIX A 351 

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 Ame- 
ghino, who possessed and abused two gifts, both essential to the high- 
est 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 favorite 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 mod- 
ern 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 re- 
mote 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 regard- 
ing 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 differ- 
ent genus from the modern horse) conclusively shows that in its later 



352 APPENDIX A 

stages the South American fauna consisted largely of types that else- 
where had already disappeared and that these types persisted 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 favor of the theory he champions 
than has been established in favor 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 pos- 
sess 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. 



APPENDIX B 

THE OUTFIT FOR TRAVELLING IN THE SOUTH 
AMERICAN WILDERNESS 

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 un- 
known 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 in 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 incomparably 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 shotgun 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 preferable. No heavy rifle is neces- 

353 



354 APPENDIX B 

sary 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 serum. Fly-dope should be taken in quantities. 

For clothing Kermit and I used what was left over from our Afri- 
can 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 differ in socks; I like mine 
of thick wool. A khaki-colored 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, knicker- 
bockers 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 Bruns- 
wick 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 lim- 
itations 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 undoubtedly 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, 



APPENDIX B 355 

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 modern 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 labor 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 preference 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 pass- 
age 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 canvas-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 of 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 thou- 
sand 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 ar- 
rangement which would save considerable expense in freight bills. At 
least six paddles should be packed with each boat, in length four and 



356 APPENDIX B 

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 steer- 
ing 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, 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 tor- 
rential downpours. In concluding the subject of canoes I can state 
that the traveller in South America will find no difficulty 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 stern 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 hundred pounds. If a carbureter could be attached so that 
kerosene could be used it would add to its value many times, for kero- 
sene can be purchased almost anywhere in South America. 

TENTS. There is nothing better for material than the light water- 
proof 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 



APPENDIX B 357 

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 or- 
dinary trips. The tent should be eight by eight or eight by nine feet, 
large enough to swing a comfortable hammock. A waterproof canvas 
bag, 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 pro- 
vided 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 ham- 
mock 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 vigor of beasts many times their size. The can- 
vas 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 kilos. 

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 purpose 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 explora- 
tion. The fibre should be soaked in hot paraffine and then hot-calen- 
dered or hot-pressed. This case could then be covered with water- 
proof canvas with throat opening like a duffel-bag. 



358 APPENDIX B 

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 paraf- 
fined. 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 convenience. 

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 acci- 
dentally 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 becomes 
water-soaked in the rainy season. A United States military saddle, 
with Whitman or McClellan 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 canteen and cup. In a large pack-train much time and labor 
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 ma- 
nilla, 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 



APPENDIX B 359 

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 con- 
veniently 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 ham- 
mock, 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 coun- 
try 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 provided 
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 aluminum 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, 



360 



APPENDIX B 



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 flavor 



DAILY RATION FOR FIVE 
MEN 


SUN. 


MON. 


TUES. 


WED. 


THUR. 


FRI. 


SAT. 


Rice 


16 


13 

ICO 

21 
II 

8 


16 

ICO 

18 

ii 

5 

"6 


100 

21 
II 

5 
8 


13 

ICO 

18 

ii 

5 

25 
17 
44 


16 

ICO 

21 
II 

8 

17 

44 


13 

ICO 
21 

"6 

25 
17 

44 


Oatmeal 


Bread 


ICO 

18 


Tea-biscuits 


Gmgersnaps 


Dehydrated potatoes 
Dehydrated onions 


ii 

5 


Erbswurst 


Evaporated soups 


6 


Baked beans 


Condensed milk 


17 
44 


17 

44 
56# 


17 
44 


17 
44 


Bacon 


Roast beef 


Braised beef 




56 


70 


'78 


71 K 


56 


Corned beef 






Ox tongue 








Curry and chicken 










Boned chicken 


61 










Fruits: evaporated ber- 
ries 


5 


20 


5 


5 


... 


5 


Figs.. 


20 


Dates 






16 

32 
io# 

5M 
4 


32 

I0# 

SK 
4 


Sugar . . 


32 

ioK 
5# 
4 


32 
ioM 
S 1 A 
4 


32 

IOX 

SK 
4 


32 

10^ 

5K 
4 
16 


32 
io# 
SK 
4 


Coffee 


Tea 


Salt 


Sweet chocolate 










EACH BOX ALSO CONTAINED 


Muslin, one yard 


i 

2 
I 


i 

2 
I 


i 

2 
I 


i 

2 
I 


i 

2 
I 


i 

2 
I 


I 

2 
I 









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 protection 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 & 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. 



APPENDIX B 361 

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 Roose- 
velt expedition I arranged a ration for five men for one day packed in 
a tin box; the party which went down the Duvida made each ration do 
for six men for a day and a half, and in addition gave over half the 
bread or hardtack 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 i 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 lac- 
quered to protect from rust and enclosed in wooden cases for trans- 
portation. A number in large type was printed on 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 Duvida 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 Duvida and also by the party who journeyed 
down the Gy-Parana 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. Speak- 
ing critically, for a strenuous piece of work like the exploration of the 
Duvida, the food was somewhat bulky. A ration arrangement such 
as I used on my sledge trips North would have contained more nutri- 
tious elements in a smaller space. We could have done without many 
of the luxuries. But the exploration of the Duvida had not been con- 
templated 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 
shipped. 



362 



APPENDIX B 



"Matte," 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 effect. 

Doctor Peckolt, celebrated chemist of Rio de Janeiro, has compared 
the analysis of matte with those of green tea, black tea, and coffee and 
obtained the following result: 



IN 1,000 PARTS OF 


GREEN 
TEA 


BLACK 
TEA 


COFFEE 


MATTE 


Natural oil 


7.00 


0.06 


O.4I 


O.OI 


Chlorophyl 


22.20 


18.14 


n.66 


62.00 


Resin 


22.20 


34..4.O 


11.66 


20.60 


Tannin 


178.00 


128.80 


16.10 


12.28 


Alkaloids: 
Mateina \ 


4 CO 


A 7Q 


266 


"i en 


Coffeina / ' 
Extractive substances 


yf 

464.00 


't'J^' 
1OO.OO 


270.67 


*o u 
2l8.8l 


Cellulose and fibres 


I7C.8O 


283.20 


178.81 


iSo.OO 


Ashes 


8c.6o 


25.6l 


2C.6l 


l8. II 













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. 



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 aluminum (for lightness) cooking outfit, or the Dutch oven men- 
tioned, 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 in- 
cluded 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 eating equipments thus, 
one of the problems of hygiene and cleanliness is simplified. 



APPENDIX B 363 

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 nine or ten pound weapon when a rifle weighing only 
from six and three fourths to seven and one half 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 
shotgun 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 eight 
and one fourth pounds. It has two shotgun barrels, one 30 to 44 
calibre rifle and the rib separating the shotgun 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 exceed- 
ingly powerful. Unless in practice it proves too complicated, it would 
seem to be a good arm for all-round use sixteen to twenty gauge is 
large enough for the shotgun 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 six or seven 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. Co. in zinc 
cases of one hundred rounds each, a metallic strip with pull ring clos- 
ing the two halves of the box. Shot-cartridge, sixteen 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, 



364 APPENDIX B 

and a strong, light, linen or silk fish-line with several hooks, a knife, 
and an automatic at his belt, with several loaded magazines for the 
latter in his pocket. Thus provided, if accidentally lost for several 
days in the forest (which often happens to the rubber hunters in Brazil), 
he will be provided with the possibility 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 prac- 
tical for most of South America, except, of course, the high moun- 
tain regions, where a warm wrap is necessary. A white or natural linen 
suit is a very comfortable garment. A light blue unlined serge is desir- 
able 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 wears one of these 
stiff abominations around his throat. A light negligee shirt with in- 
terchangeable or attached soft collars is vastly preferable. In the fron- 
tier regions and along the rivers the pa jama seems to be the conven- 
tional garment for day as well as night wear. Several such suits of 
light material should be carried the more ornamented and beautifully 
colored the greater favor will they find along the way. A light era- 



APPENDIX B 365 

venetted mackintosh is necessary 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 slippers complete the outfit for steamer travel. For the 
field, two or three light woollen khaki-colored 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 pajamas, handkerchiefs, 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 foot- 
gear the traveller needs two pairs of stout, high hunting shoes, built on 
the moccasin form with soles. Hobnails should be taken along to in- 
sert 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 tropical South America 
should protect his head with a wide-brimmed soft felt hat with venti- 
lated 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 bet- 
ter. 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 six 
feet long terminating in a point, would be a decided help to the scien- 
tist 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 



366 APPENDIX B 

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. Reclin- 
ing 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 ker- 
osene 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 con- 
tents 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 addi- 
tion, 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, called foicf in Brazil, is a most valuable tool for clear- 
ing 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, de- 
pending upon the mechanical ability of the traveller and the scientific 
instruments he has with him that might need repairs. 

SURVEY INSTRUMENTS. 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 sketching board 
used in the United States Army for reconnoissance. 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 prismatic 



APPENDIX B 367 

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 
aluminum 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 mois- 
ture. The compass case should allow taking apart for cleaning 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 Wal- 
tham 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 compasses, 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 four or five 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 un- 
certain dependence because of the many cloudy nights. 



368 APPENDIX B 

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 station. 

THERMOMETERS. A swing thermometer, with wet and dry bulbs for 
determination of the amount of moisture 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 measure 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 in- 
struments, 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 ex- 
ploration 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^x4^ is a good size. Nothing larger than 
3/4 x 5^ is advised. We carried the 3 A 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 3^ x 4*4 : 

One lens 4 or 4^ focus 

One lens 6 or 7 focus 

One lens telephoto or telecentric 9 to 12 focus 

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 course, are the best, but their weight and frailty, with dif- 
ficulty 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 



APPENDIX B 369 

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 devel- 
opment a large-size tank can be used for holding the freezing mixture 
of hypo. This same tank would become the fixing tank after develop- 
ment. In the rainy season it is a difficult matter to dry films. De- 
velopment in the field, with washing water at 80 F., is a patience-try- 
ing 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 wash- 
ing could be had. 

While 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 Duvida, 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. 



APPENDIX C 
MY LETTER OF MAY i TO GENERAL LAURO MULLER 

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: 

MAY ist, 1914. 

To His EXCELLENCY THE MINISTER OF 
FOREIGN AFFAIRS, 

RlO-DE-jANEIRO. 

MY DEAR GENERAL LAURO MULLER: 

I wish first to express my profound acknowledgments to you per- 
sonally and to the other members of the Brazilian Government 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 col- 
leagues 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 labor 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 suc- 
cessful trip. No less than six weeks were spent in slowly and with peril 
and exhausting labor forcing our way down through what seemed a 
literally endless 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 comrades' 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 1500 kilometers in length running from 
just south of the I3th. degree to north of the 5th. degree and the big- 

370 



APPENDIX C 371 

gest affluent of the Madeira. Until now its upper course has been ut- 
terly unknown 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 I2th. and I3th. parallels of latitude south, and 
between longitude 59 degrees and longitude 60 degrees west from Green- 
wich. 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 6oth. and 6ist. degrees of longitude approaching the latter 
most closely about in latitude 8 degrees 15 minutes. The first rapids 
were at Navaite in u degrees 44 minutes and after that they were 
continuous and very difficult and dangerous until the rapids named 
after the murdered sergeant Paishon in n degrees 12 minutes. At n 
degrees 23 minutes the river received the Rio Kermit from the left. At 
1 1 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 10 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 en- 
tered 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 general 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, 

THEODORE ROOSEVELT. 



INDEX 



"African Game Trails," 22. 

Agassiz, 344. 

Agouti, 1 68, 336. 

Alencarliense, Lieutenant, 263. 

Alligator, 77. 

Alva, Duke of, Appendix B, 354. 

Amarante, Lieutenant, 263, 264. 

Amazon, 7, 282, 333. 

Amazonas, Boundary Commission of, 

317,34. 
Ameghino, Doctor, 27; Appendix A, 

351- 

American Museum of Natural His- 
tory, 2, 7, 65, 142, 182. 
Amilcar, Captain, 153, 154, 166, 183, 

203, 215, 221, 228, 240, 264; loss of 

his notes and instruments, 331; 

arrives at Manaos, 331. 
Ammunition, Appendix B, 363. 
Anaconda, 53, 222. , 
Ananas River, 182, 233, 241, 310; 

note, 318. 
Andes, 6. 
Andre, 301. 

Aneroid, 262, 274, 313. 
Animals, wild, curious local change in 

habits of, 28; ignorance of some 

hunters concerning, 84. 
Ant-eater, giant, tamandua bandeira, 

65, 66, 73. 

Ant-hills, giant, 88, 89, 185, 186, 221. 
Ants, 159, 245; poisonous, 53, 89; fire- 
ants, 105, no, 114, 116, 117, 146; 

foraging, 162, 163, 164, 227, 281; 

leaf-carrying, 186, 250, 280; giant, 

256, 266. 
Ants, socks and mosquito-netting 

eaten by, 159, 245, 298. 
Argentina, 2. 
Argentine, 9, 26. 
Aripuanan, the, 277, 278, 289, 316, 

317, 318, 329, 330, 331, 340. 
Armadillos, 87, 88, 168, 200. 

373 



Arms, 5, 65, 242; Fox, 65; Springfield 
rifle, 79, 90; Liiger, 90, 229; Win- 
chester, 81, 206, 322; Appendix B, 
353, 363- 

Arneberg, Mr., 30. 

Arrows, 272. 

Asuncion, 8; leave, 38; 43. 

Automobile, a querulous traveller in 
the, 207, 208. 

Ayolas, the Spanish explorer, 58. 

Baggage, rearrangement of, 209; cut- 
ting down of, 241; further reduction 
of, 274; final reduction of, 295; per- 
sonal, Appendix B, 357, 358. 

Balsa, or ferry, 205, 214. 

Bandeira, the, 247, 248. 

Barbados, sail for, 338. 

Barboso, Senhor, 321, 322. 

Barilloche, 35. 

Barometers, Appendix B, 368. 

Barros, Senhor de, 64. 

Bates, H. W., 116, 336; Appendix A, 
345, 346. 

Bats, 135; blood-sucking, 167, 168, 

233, 234- 

Bedding, Appendix B, 353. 

Bees, 206, 246, 250, 252, 257. 

Belen (formerly Para), 335, 336, 337; 
zoological gardens at, 337. 

Benedetto, 144-147, 149. 

Beriberi, 154, 197, 218, 310. 

Birds, songs of, 32, 33, 281; bientevido, 
34; tyrant flycatchers, 34, 35, 36; 
advertising coloration of, 36; habits 
of, 36; survival factors in species of, 
37; water-fowl, 38, 49, 58, 64, 68; 
difference in bird fauna, 68, 71; 
"Jesus Christ," 72; wealth of bird 
life, 72; nests of, 72, 334; need for 
work of careful observer of, 72, 78; 
ants attack nestling, 89; extraordi- 
nary collection of, 89, 91 ; oven-birds, 



374 



INDEX 



92, 96, 97; owl, 96, 157, 168; Puan, 
98, 101; sickle-billed humming, 104, 
105; egrets, 107; toucan, grotesque 
attitudes of, 108, 160; finfoots, 108; 
herons, 108; troupials, 117; oppor- 
tunity for study of, 120; parakeets, 
120; screamers, 121; curassows, 122, 
297; snake, 126; cormorants, 126; 
spurred lapwing, 126; contrasts in 
habits between closely allied species 
of, 126; manakin, 133; 145; whip- 
poorwill, 164; honey-creeper, 164; 
nunlets, 164; waxbill, 165; trogons, 
174; false bell-bird, 174; woodpecker 
197; some new, 212; breeding season 
of, 212; macaws, 213; old and new 
kinds of, 213; valuable addition to 
collection of, 215; unfamiliar, 228, 
229; sariema, 230, 231; cotinga, 247; 
sixty new, 259, 260; four new species 
of, 271; ant-thrush, 287; 290, 313; 
jacare-tinga, 315; trumpeter, 322; 
few water, 327; hoatzin, archaic 
type of, 334. 
Boats, house, 99; their use as stores, 

99- 

Bonofacio, Jose, station of, 130, 237, 
239; provisions left at, 241. 

Books, 157, 223, 241, 261; of travel, 
Appendix A, 345, 346. 

Booth Line, 334, 335. 

Borah, Jake, 115. 

Brazil, invitation of Government of, 
2; arrival at boundary of, 48, 49; 
intellectual and spiritual liberty of, 
50; healthiness of inland region of, 
100; invaluable reports of explora- 
tions published by Government of, 
130; educational needs of, 152; sil- 
ver-mounted saddle and bridle pre- 
sented to Colonel Roosevelt by 
Government of, 165; suggestion to 
combine the two expeditions made 
by Government of, 182; first ex- 
plorers of, 183; houses of laborers in, 
190; healthy region for settlement 
offered by high interior of western, 
21 1 ; courtesy of peasants of, 316; 
"last frontier" still exists in, 324; 



development of, 324, 325; Govern- 
ment of, orders Duvida River to be 
named Rio Roosevelt, 332; achieve- 
ments of Government of, 338, 339; 
Colonel Rondon's report of Savage 
Landor to Government of, Appen- 
dix A, note, 347, 348. 

Brazil, Doctor Vital, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 
21, 22, 23, 24, 41, 283. 

Brazil Land and Cattle Company, 
headquarters of, 121, 122. 

Bridge, an Indian, 248, 249. 

Bronx Zoo, 336. 

Bryce, James, 172; Appendix A, 344. 

Buenos Aires, 9, 31. 

Bullets, umbrella-pointed, 137. 

Bullock-train, 215. 

Butterflies, 164, 230. 

Burity River, camp at, 205, 206, 207. 

Burton, 344. 

Caboclos, 187, 237. 
Caetano, Lieutenant, 183. 
Caete flags, 104. 

Cajazeira, Doctor, 166, 183, 203, 275, 
283, 304, 305, 312, 319; good-by to, 

335- 

Camaradas, 103, 104; skilful riding of, 
104; 113, 114, 134; wilderness work 
disliked by, 155; 244, 261, 275; dis- 
couragement of, 299; tragedy among 
the, 302, 308; fever among, 309; 
share food with, 314; lose strength, 
319; ill from overeating, 325; part- 
ing gift to, 335. 

Camp chairs and table, Appendix B, 

353- 

Campos Novos, 227, 228. 

Canama River, 255, 289, 329. 

Canja, 165, 229. 

Canoes, 134; Canadian, 165, 241, 243, 
244; portaging the, 253, 255, 260, 
261; loss of two, 262; building new, 
265, 266; 267; lose another, 273; 275; 
build two more, 280; 293, 295; rocks 
break, 298; 299, 302, 313, 314, 321; 
obtain boat to replace, 328; two 
months in, 330; last trip in, 332; 
Appendix B, 353, 354, 355, 356. 



INDEX 



375 



Capricorn, Tropic of, 39. 

Capybaras, or tapirs, 78, 80, 83, 85, 86, 

87, 107, 113. 
Cardozo, Captain, 154. 
Caripe, Senhor, 328; his stories of 

rubber-workers, 329, 331, 332, 

333- 

" Carregadores," 186, 250, 280, 281. 

Cartucho, the puppy, 186, 187. 

Carvings, rock, 292. 

"Cashada," the Brazilian name for 
peccary, 141, 144. 

Castanho, the, 316, 317, 318, 330. 

Cataracts, 311. 

Catfish, 311. 

Cattle, 70; jaguars attack, 83 ; brand- 
ing of, 92, 93 ; regions of extraordi- 
nary possibilities for raising, 119, 
122, 151. 

Caymans, 39, 52, 53, 57, 58; jacares, 
usual name for, 64, 65; interesting 
incident of truculence of, 85, 86; 
astonishing tameness of, no, 312. 

Centiped, 302. 

Chaco, the, 39, 40. 

Chapadao, 210, 229, 231, 233, 338. 

Chapman, Frank, 2, 3. 

Chasm, a, 299, 300. 

Cherrie, George K., 3, 5, 9, 39, 61, 96, 
99, loo, 148; good citizenship of, 
152; good work done by, 161; 162, 
168; widely varied experiences of, 
179, 180; 183, 199, 203, 205, 209, 212, 
213, 222; interesting tales told by, 
223; 229, 234, 241, 249, 256, 259, 
271, 273, 275; home life of, 286; 
helpfulness of, 297; 302, 304, 308, 
312, 319, 320, 329; piranha attacks, 
331; friendship inspired by, 333; 337, 
338, 346. 

Cherrie River, 294. 

Chile, 9. 

Cicadas, 63, 64. 

Climate, difficulties of working in a 
damp, 201, 202. 

Clothing, Appendix B, 354, 359, 364, 

365. 

Coati, 47, no, in. 
Coimbra, 58, 59. 



Coloration, advertising, of birds, 36, 
287; theories concerning concealing, 
97; concealing, not universal among 
big game, 118, 119, 123, 124, 125; 
coral-snake possesses revealing, 249; 
examples of protective, 250, 257. 

Compass, necessity for a, 158, 175; 
Appendix B, 367. 

Concepcion, 40, 41, 43, 45; visit to 
barracks at, 46; breakfast at City 
Hall at, 47. 

Cooking, 155; equipment for, Ap- 
pendix B, 359, 362. 

Correa, Antonio, 272, 273, 288, 291, 
294,316. 

Corumba, 9, 60, 61, 62, 63; arrival at, 
94; 119,327. 

Cougar, or puma, 26, 27, 28; man at- 
tacked by, 29, 30, 31, 53; 122, 123; 
deer preyed on by, 175. 

Craveiro, Pedrinho, 290, 304. 

Crops, 39, 326. 

Cruz, Doctor, 41. 

Cuyaba River, 98; party leaves the, 
109; 119. 

Da Cunha, Commander, 85. 

Dance, an Indian, 200, 201; Nham- 

biquara, 219, 235. 
Darwin, his "Voyage of the Beagle," 

345; 348, 352- 

Deer, bush, in, 136, 137, 138, 150. 

Deer, marsh, 76, 97; revealing color- 
ation of, 1 1 8. 

Deer, pampas, 175, 177. 

Deer, whitetail, ill, 1 1 2, 118. 

Dipper, the, 320. 

Diseases, 197, 198. 

Ditmars, R. L., 18. 

Dogs, 65, 74, 77, 80, 105, 106, 113, 114; 
jaguar hunt exhausts, 115; need for 
good, 115; worthlessness of the, 136; 
custom of gelding hunting, 151; 
heat tries, 213. 

Ducks, muscovy, 49; tree, 121. 

Duffel-bags, Appendix B, 358, 359. 

Easter Sunday, 314. 
Education, need of, 151, 152. 



376 



INDEX 



Egan, Maurice Francis, I. 

Electric flashlight, Appendix B, 365, 
366. 

Enoerey, the god, 204. 

Equipment, 5, 6, 209, 210; compass 
a necessary part of, 158, 175; for 
trip down unknown river, 241; 
blankets a necessary of, 298; Colo- 
nel Roosevelt's suggestion for, 
Appendix B, 353, 354; Fiala's sug- 
gestion for, 354-369. 

Evangalista, Miguel, 236, 237. 

Expedition, the, origin of, i; members 
f> 3> 4> 5; ground to be covered by, 
6, 7, 8; scientific character of, 26; 
arrival of Brazilian members of, 49, 
50, 51; division of the, 1 66; primary 
purpose of, 182; official title of, 182, 
183; individual work done by mem- 
bers of, 183; begin difficult part of, 
203 ; final division of belongings and 
members of, 240, 241; perilous state 
of, 306; a good doctor essential on, 
309; ill health of members of, 314; 
a red-letter day for, 315; no longer 
fear of disaster to, 319; complete 
zoological success of, 338; most im- 
portant work done by, 338. 

Explorers, dangers to pioneer, 53, 154, 
171-173; work of Brazilian, 212; 
disasters to parties of, 301; much 
work in South America for, Appen- 
dix A, 343, 346; need for accuracy 
and common sense in writings of, 
347, 348, 349; note, 348; useful ar- 
ticles which should always be car- 
ried by, 363, 364. 



Farrabee, Professor, 172, 337, 338, 

Appendix A, 346. 
Fauna, 7; pleistocene, 26, 27; bird, 68; 

mammalian, 68; South America 

rich in bird, 108; an interesting, 213; 

extinct South American, Appendix 

A, 35i 352- 
Fazendas, 157, 158. 
Fazendeiros, 134, 144. 
Ferry, the, 188. 



Fiala, Anthony, 4, 5, 9; outfit as- 
sembled by, 62; takes moving pic- 
ture, 107; efficiency of, 161; 166, 
179, 183, 203; loses baggage and 
provisions, 215; rations chosen by, 
287; goes home, 331; his suggestions 
for equipment and provisions, Ap- 
pendix B, 354-369. 

Fish, best hooks and rods for, Ap- 
pendix B, 364. 

Fishing stick, 273. 

Flies, horse, 126, 253; pium, 184, 253; 
polvora, 253; boroshuda, 253; berni, 
146, 147, 224. 

Floating islands, 336. 

"Fly-dope," 253, Appendix B, 354. 

Flying-fish, 285. 

Food, 181; oxen for, 204, 233; 242; 
monkeys as, 249; economizing, 265; 
palm-tops used for, 274; shortage 
of, 287; country furnishes scant 
supply of, 287, 288; toucan and par- 
rots as, 291; high prices for, 322; 
vegetables and fruits raised by set- 
tlers for, 323; Appendix B, 359; 
itemized list of, 360, 361. 

Football, extraordinary game of, 192, 

193- 

Forage, scarcity of, 209, 210, 222, 226, 
227. 

Forests, 7, 58, 68, 132, 133; multitudes 
of insects inhabit, 147; 173, 174; 
absolute necessity for a compass in, 
*5 8 175; 210, 245; difficulty of 
hunting in, 260; 265, 266, 297. 

Fort Bourbon, 55. 

Franca, the cook, ghostly belief of, 305. 

Franco, Ricardo, 183, 184, 214. 

Frogs, peculiar cries of, 205, 230. 

Fungi, 164. 

Game, big, inadequate knowledge of 

life histories of, 116. 
Gauchos, 92, 93. 
Geographer, work of field, in South 

America, Appendix A, 343, 346. 
Geological structure of land, 231, 232. 
Goff, Johnny, 115. 
Gopher rat, 239, 240. 



INDEX 



377 



Graves, forlorn, 197, 205, 225. 

Guapore, the, 183. 

Guarany, 43, 44. 

Guiana, 337. 

Gy-Parana, the, 129, 130; descent of 
the, 153; boat, men, and provisions 
lost ascending the, 154; 241, 263, 
264, 338. 

Hammocks, Appendix B, 353, 357. 

Harper, Frank, 4, 5, 161; specimens 
and unnecessary baggage returned 
to New York in care of, 166. 

Haseman, John D., 172, Appendix 
A, 347> 34 8 ; theories of, 349, 350, 
351- 

Headball, 192, 193, 198. 

Head-nets, 215, 227. 

Herford, Oliver, nonsense rhymes of, 
192. 

Hoehne, the botanist, 167. 

Honey, 257. 

Honey-creeper, 231. 

Horses, 67, 74; curious relations of 
tapirs and, 143. 

Houses, native, 214, 238, 239. 

Huatsui, camp at, 207. 

Hudson, Mr., author of "Naturalist 
on the Plata," 28, 33, 84; Appen- 
dix A, 344. 

Huguen, Marcelino, 30. 

Humboldt, 345. 

Hunters, native, 75; one christened 
"Nips," 76; curious ignorance re- 
garding habits of animals of native 
and other, 84; riding costume of, 
144; lack of sense of direction of, 175. 

Huxley, 348, 352. 

Ibis, turtles' nests plundered by, 99. 

Iguanas, 222. 

Indians, 47, 48; civilization of tribes 
of, 50; fishing village of, 101; gov- 
ernmental treatment of the, 152; 
wages paid the, 188; Colonel Ron- 
don's treatment of, 188; telegraph- 
line patrolled by, 188; dog killed by, 
272, 273; 279. 



Indian mounds, 101. 

Insects, 39, 40; man's worst animal 
foes, 40, 41; a menace to wilderness 
travel, 53, 67, 98; perpetuation of 
species of, 116, 117; atrocious suf- 
fering caused by, 147, 170, 171; 
many queer, 178; 187, 206, 207; 
torments from, 226; danger from 
wild animals less than from, 226, 
227; 253, 256, 261, 266, 274, 298; 
festering wounds caused by bites of, 
302; 321. See Mosquitoes, Flies, 
Wasps, Ants. 

"Institute serum-therapico," 13, 14. 

Irala, the Spanish explorer, 58. 

Itacoatiara, 311. 

Jabiru storks, 49, 64, 67, 90, 91; Fiala 
takes a moving picture of, 107; 151. 

Jacanas, 72. 

Jacare-tinga. See Caymans. 

Jacu, a, 256, 258. 

Jacyparana, the, 264. 

Jaguar, 26, 31, 32, 53; hunt for, 77-82; 
cattle preyed on by, 83; spears and 
rifles used in hunting, 102; unsuc- 
cessful hunt for, 113, 114; melanism 
common among, 123; trees refuge 
of, 137; kills bullock, 334. 

Jaguarundi, 122, 123. 

Jararaca, n, 12, 20, 21, 22; mussu- 
rama fights, 23, 24, 25; man bitten 
by> 53> r 33> stories of, 222. 

Jesuits, missions of the, 43. 

Joao, Kermit's helmsman, 268, 269, 
283. 

Johnston, Sir Harry, 40. 

Juina, the, 223. 

Julio, 244, 290; story of tragedy caused 
by, 302-308. 

Jungle, man strayed in, 158. 

Juruena, the, 129, 130, 182, 203, 211; 
arrival at, 214; 338. 

Kipling, poems of, 198. 

Lambert, Doctor Alexander, 253. 
Lamps, Appendix B, 36. 



378 



INDEX 



Landor, Savage, 173; Colonel Ron- 
don's scathing review of, note, 
Appendix A, 347, 348. 

Languages, Guarany, 43, 44; 54; 157. 

La Plata Museum, 31; Appendix A, 

351- 
"Las Palmeiras," visit to ranch of, 64, 

67; cattle at, 70; delightful stay at, 

87; leave, 109. 

"Last Frontier," in Brazil, 324. 
Lauriado, Lieutenant, 176, 203, 215, 

331. 

Lecture engagements, 2, 9. 

Lobo, 272. 

Long Island, spring on, 168, 320. 

Lowell, 172. 

Luiz, steersman, 244, 257, 272, 273. 

Lyra, Lieutenant, Joao, 50, 128, 153, 
154, 1 66, 179, 181, 183, 203, 204, 205, 
229, 241, 243, 244, 252, 253, 255, 260, 
261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 272, 275, 283, 
288, 289, 291, 295, 297, 298, 299, 300, 
302, 303, 308, 312, 319, 320, 326, 332, 
335- 

Macario, 294. 

MacGahan, Januarius Aloysius, I. 

Machetes, 114, 144, 174; falcons, Bra- 
zilian name for, 312. 

Mackenzie, Murdo, 121. 

Madeira, the, 128, 129, 183, 241, 265, 
3i8, 333, 340- 

Madeira-Marmore Railroad, 236. 

Madeirainha River, 326, 329. 

Magalhaes, Captain Amilcar de, 50. 

Mammals, 68; variety in fecundity of 
different families of, 74; 96, 108, 161; 
noteworthy collection of, 334. 

Manaos, 241, 329, 331, 332, 333, 334, 

337- 

Mandioc, 188. 
Mantes, Praying, 186, 187. 
Marino, Lieutenant, 214. 
Marques, Dom Joao, the younger, 102; 

his gift to Colonel Roosevelt, 109, 

no. 
Marques, Senhor Joao da Costa, 100; 

noteworthy family of, 102. 
Marsh, difficult swim across, 114. 



Marsh plants, 104, 114. 

Matte, 45, 181; Appendix B, 362. 

Matto Grosso, 8, 100; largest ranch- 
house in, 109; 128, 129; future pos- 
sibilities of interior of, 151, 152, 
IS3; beginnings of province of, 184; 
340. 

McLean, , 121. 

Meat, Appendix B, 359, 360. 

Medicines, Appendix B, 354. 

Mello Filho, Lieutenant Joaquin, 51, 
176, 203, 228, 240. 

Merriam, Hart, 81. 

Mess-kit, Appendix B, 362. 

Mice, new varieties of, 108. 

Miller, Leo E., 3, 5, 9, 39, 42, 61, 62, 
71, 96, 99; good work done by, 161; 
162, 168, 180, 183, 199, 203, 205, 209, 
213, 222; interesting tales told by, 
223; 229, 230, 234, 239, 240, 331; 
rejoins party, 334; 336, 337, 338; 
Appendix A, 346. 

Monkeys, black howler, 105; no, 112; 
nocturnal, 117; 121, 239, 247; flesh 
of, good eating, 249, 297; fish eats, 

3"; 336. 

Montes, Captain Vicente, 31. 

Montevideo, 13. 

Moreno, Doctor Francisco P., 26; ex- 
traordinary discoveries of, 26, 27, 28; 
puma attacks, 29, 30, 31; Appendix 

A, 35i352. 

Mosquito-biers, 227. 

Mosquitoes, 99, 100, no, 114, 119; 
few, 158; absence of, 181; 228, 321. 

Motors, Appendix B, 356. 

Motor-trucks, 176, 180. 

Mountains, 294, 296. 

Mules, pack, 160, 169; weather ex- 
hausts, 199; loads for the, 209; 
weakness of, 209, 210; abandoned, 
225; pasturage for, 226; loads for, 
Appendix B, 357. 

Miiller, General Lauro, 8, 49, 278; 
Colonel Roosevelt's letter to, Appen- 
dix B, 370, 371. 

Mundurucu Indians, 329. 

Museums, trained observers should be 
sent into wilderness by, 161. 



INDEX 



379 



Music, 141, 200, 201, 219, 235. 
Mussurama, 14, 17, 18, 19, 22; jararaca 
fights, 23, 24, 25. 

Natives, 134. 

Naturalists, outdoor, possibilities for 
useful work of, 72, 73, 91; slight ex- 
perience of big game possessed by 
most, 115, 1 1 6; ideal place for work 
of field, 120; museums should send 
into the wilderness trained, 161. 

Navai'te Rapids, 252-255. 

Nests, communal, 120; troupials', 159. 

Nhambiquara Indians, 194; land of 
the, 203, 206; Colonel Rondon's just 
treatment of the, 216, 217; no wilder 
savages than the, 217; life and 
habits of, 217, 218; improvised dance 
of the, 219; dog stolen by, 220; a 
visit from three, 224; former hostility 
of, 224, 225; an encampment of, 234, 
235; their lack of clothing, 235; or- 
naments of, 238; probable strain of 
negro blood in, 238; archery of, 240; 
the Navai'te, a sub-tribe of the, 252. 

"Nips," a native hunter, 76. 

North, the call of the, 320. 

Nunlet, 164. 

Nuts, Brazil, 292; crop of, fails, 326. 

Nuts, unwholesome, 315. 

Nyoac, the, the river boat, 95. 

Ocelot, 122, 123. 

Oliveira, Doctor Euzebio de, the geolo- 
gist, 51, 183, 203, 228, 231. 

Onelli, Doctor, 31. 

Opossum, 96, 1 68. 

Orchids, 132, 151, 158, 159; sobralia, 
260. 

Orioles, wasps surround nests of, 99. 

Ornithology, Sclater and Hudson's, 35. 

Osborn, Henry Fairfield, 2. 

Otter, 247. 

Outfit for South American wilderness, 
Appendix B, 353-369- 

Outlook, The, 27. 

Overland, trip begun, 160. 

Owl, Moses, the tame, 96, 157, 168. 

Ox-carts, 93, 94. 



Oxen, pack, 160; difficulty in loading, 
169; clothes eaten by, 193; 199, 215; 
secure some fresh, 233; loads for, 
Appendix B, 357. 

Paca, 247. 

Pacu, 276. 

Paddlers, 241, 244. 

Paixao (Paishon), 303, 304; Julio kills, 

304; burial of, 308, 371. 
Paleontological knowledge, our pres- 
ent, 350. 
Palms, nacury, 81; Dr. Rodriguez's 

book on, 109; fig-trees kill, 145; 

wawasa, 145, 158; burity, 146, 174; 

bacaba, 236; boritana, 245, 247; 

accashy, 258. 

"Pantanals," or swamps, 71. 
Paolistas, the, 212, 325. 
Papyrus swamps, 134, 136. 
Para, 335, 336, 337. 
Paraguay, 39; language and people of, 

43, 44; development ahead of, 45; 

military service introduced in, 46, 

47- 

Paraguay, the, 6, 7, 8, 38, 39 et seq.; 
early knowledge of the, 55; Amer- 
ican flag first seen on the upper, 58; 
95; renewed ascent of the, 117; 
junction of Sao Lourenco and, 119; 
183,^329. 

Parana, 33. 

Parecis, Antonio, 144, 147, 149, 150, 
244, 259, 272, 276. 

Parecis Indians, 187, 190, 191; extraor- 
dinary game of football played by, 
192, 193; Colonel Rondon holds a 
council with the, 194, 195; settle- 
ment of, 195, 196, 197; presents for 
the, 200; dance of the, 200, 201; 
ferry run by, 205, 206. 

Parecis plateau, 174. 

Park, Mungo, 184. 

Patagonia, 26. 

"Pateran," a, 252. 

Peccary, white-lipped, 76, 89, 105, 106, 
113, 141, 143, 148, I49 W 336. 

Peckolt, Doctor, Appendix B, 362. 

Peonage, 152. 



380 



INDEX 



Peons, 48, 65, 71. 

Peres, Colonel Telles, 301. 

Pescada, a, 314. 

Photographic supplies, Appendix B, 
368, 369. 

Pineapples, wild, 291. 

Pioneers, 323, 324. 

Pipes, natives dance to, 200. 

Piraiba, 311, 312. 

Piranha, or cannibal fish, 41, 42, 43; 
stories of attacks by, 51, 52; Miller's 
study of the, 62, 63; 86; dogs' tails 
bitten off by, 133; 280; flesh of, good 
eating, 292; 310, 313, 314; attack 
Cherrie, 331. 

Plan Alto, the, 119, 169; healthy re- 
gion of, 174-176; 177; singular 
topographical feature of, 232. 

Plantains, or pacovas, 174, 260. 

Portages, 251, 254, 293, 296, 309, 314. 

Porto Campo, 132, 140, 141. 

Porto Martinho, 54. 

Positivists, the, 49. 

Pranchas, native trading-boats, 132, 
160. 

Provisions, 6, 41, 155; tin cases of, 165, 
166; loss of ferry-load of, 233; 241, 
242; half supply of, consumed, 289; 
Fiala's suggestions for, Appendix 
B, 359. 362. 

Puma. Set Cougar. 

Puma-skin helmet, a, 224. 

Pyrineus, Lieutenant, 52, 263, 264, 
278,289,330,331,332. 

"Queixada," the, 141. 
Quinine, 275. 

Rain, severe storm of, 107; beginning 
of rainy season, 109, no; forty-eight 
hour fall of, 113; 174, 184, 196, 199; 
difficulties of travelling in rainy sea- 
son, 215; 220, 221, 229, 230, 248, 
283; end of rainy season, 297, 321. 

Rainey, Paul, hounds used by, 115. 

Ramsey, 121. 

Ranches, 156, 157, 159, 160. 

Rapids, 160; a mishap in the, 215; 
form serious obstacle, 251; 252, 255, 



256, 258, 259, 261; Broken Canoe, 
262; 267, 268, 269, 270, 273, 275, 284, 
285, 289, 291, 293, 294, 295; time 
spent in going through, 298; note on, 
299; 300, 309, 312, 313, 314; Panela, 
322; Inferno, 325, 326; Infernino, 
327; Carupanan, 328; last of the, 

329; 

"Regional Volunteers," 263. 

Regions, healthy, 189, 190, 197; enter 
wilder, 203; rich and fertile, 290, 
291; beautiful, 313. 

Reinisch, Colonel Rondon's taxider- 
mist, 109, 228. 

Religions, 5, 56, 57; need for churches 
of all, 56, 57; liberty for all, 57. 

Rheas, ostriches, 175. 

Ribeiro, Miranda, 263. 

Rickard, Tex, 40, 45. 

Rifles, 5, 206, 229, 269; Appendix B, 

353, 363- 

Rio Branco, 322. 

Rio Cardozo, 310, 318, 326. 

Rio de Janeiro, 8, 339. 

Rio Grande do Sul, 214. 

Rio Kermit, 276, 278, 340. 

Rio Marciano Avila, 340. 

Rio Negro, 333. 

Rio Papagaio, 180, 195, 203; Fiala's 
loss on, 215; 216, 331. 

RioSacre, 184, 188. 

River of Doubt (Rio da Duvida), 8, 
130, 181, 182; preparations for de- 
scent of the, 241, 242; start down, 
243; probable direction of, 255; im- 
portance of the, 277; possible course 
of, 277; formally christened Rio 
Roosevelt, 278; conjectures as to, 
289; losses in rapids of, 299; junc- 
tion of Rio Cardozo and, 310; is put 
upon the map, 317, 318; length of 
the, 330, 333, 339; source of, 339, 

340. 
Rivers, 6,7,211; hazards of descending 

unknown, 216; 300, 301; methods 

of crossing, 223; 229; courses and 

outlets of, 232. 
Robiliard, Mr., 334. 
Rodeo, or round-up, 102. 



INDEX 



381 



Rodriguez, Doctor Barboso, 109. 

Rogaciano, Lieutenant, 113-115. 

Rondon, Colonel Candido Mariano da 
Silva, 8, 9, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53; out- 
fit inspected by, 62; characteristics 
of, 75 ; 77 9S> "0> "3* "5; explora- 
tions of, 128, 129, 130; 147, 150, 151; 
people of Matto Grosso befriended 
by, 152; Indian service of Brazil 
headed by, 152; Sepotuba River ex- 
plored and northwestern wilderness 
of Matto Grosso opened by, 153; 
most important exploring trip of, 
153, 154; 166, 175; his stories of past 
experiences, 179, 181, 182, 183, 184; 
holds a council with the Indians, 
194; Utiarity Falls discovered by, 
195; gives presents to the Indians, 
200, 203-206; work of, 212; friend- 
ship of Nhambiquaras for, 216, 217, 
220; 222, 224; early life and educa- 
tion of, 237; 241, 243, 244, 255, 262; 
his eight months' exploration, 263, 
264; 272, 275, 276,277, 278; formally 
christens Rio Roosevelt, 278, 279; 
288, 291, 293, 294; trail cut by, 296; 
297, 299, 300, 303; his decision as to 
murderer, 307, 308; 312, 320; reads 
record of party's accomplishments, 
33i; 332; good-by to, 335, 338; Ap- 
pendix A, 346; charges made against 
Mr. Savage Landor by, 347, 348. 

Roosevelt, Kermit, 4, 5, 65, 66, 71, 73, 
76, 77, 78, 80, 81, 90, no, 113; speed 
and endurance of, 113, 114, 115; 152, 
157, 168, 177, 183, 198, 203, 229, 234, 
241, 243, 244, 253, 259, 260, 262, 265, 
268; accident befalls, 269, 270; 272, 
275; river called after, 276; 279, 283, 
288, 289, 291, 293; his experience of 
rope work, 294, 295; 297, 298, 299, 
300, 302; his bridge-building ex- 
perience, 302; 303, 304; fever at- 
tacks, 308, 309, 315; 319, 3 20 > 328, 
329; Appendix B, 354. 
Roosevelt, Theodore, is invited to at- 
tempt descent of unknown river, 8; 
reception to, 45, 47; Dom Joao's 
gift to, 109; receives silver-mounted 



saddle and bridle, 165; unknown 
river formally christened for, 278; 
injures his leg, 309; has an attack of 
fever, 309; his illness increases, 319, 
320; quotation from Colonel Ron- 
don's letter to, Appendix A, note, 
347, 348; his suggestions for outfits 
in South American wilderness, 351, 
352, 369; his report to General Lauro 
Miiller, 370, 371. 

Rope, Appendix B, 358, 359. 

Rubber-gatherers, 212, 316, 318; act 
as guide, 321; homes of, 322, 323, 
324; work of, in opening wilderness, 
325; hard lives of, 327; adventures 
of, 329. 

Saddles, Appendix B, 358. 

Salto Bello waterfall, 188, 189; future 

value of, 189; splendid opportunities 

for settlement in region of, 189, 190; 

breakfast at the, 193, 194. 
Sao Joao fazenda, arrival at, 100, 101; 

near hamlet of, 331, 332. 
Sao Louren?o, 109-117; junction of 

Paraguay and, 119. 
Sao Luis de Caceres, 8, 119; arrival at, 

127; fine government school at, 127; 

194. 

Sao Paulo, 13, 14, 127. 
Scents, 164. 
Scorpion, a, 302. 
Sepotuba, the, or River of Tapirs, 132; 

fine cattle country along the, 151; 

exploration and first maps of, 153; 

camp beside, 170; 194. 
Sequoia, 44. 
Serpents, 302. 

"Sertao," or wilderness, note, 204. 
Serums, anti- venom, 10, 12, 13, 15, 

Appendix B, 354. 
"Shenzi," one of the dogs, 65. 
Shipton, Major, 241. 
Sigg, Jacob, 4, 5, 9; motor-boat impro- 
vised by, 127; 161, 180, 199; return 

to Tapirapoan, 202. 
Simplicio, 268; death of, 269. 
Skobeloff, I. 
Sloth, a, 334. 



3S2 



INDEX 



Smith, Mr. Lord, 28. 

Snakes, 9, 10, 11; poison of, 12, 13-20; 
some mammals immune to bites of, 
21, 22; 133; stories of, 222; 230, 249, 
250. 

Snethlage, Miss, 172, 337. 

Solimoens, 336. 

South America, topography of, 6, 7; 
ceremony of public functions in, 46; 
Christianity in, 50; education in, 57; 
mammalian and avifauna of, 68, 
69, 70; need for work of collector in, 
72; rich bird fauna of, 108; field for 
work of big-game hunter and faunal 
naturalist in, 116; ferocity of certain 
small animals in, 168; much explor- 
ing work to be done in, 172; two great 
waterfalls of, 194; impostors among 
explorers of, 254; early semiciviliza- 
tions in, 292; social and industrial 
development of, Appendix A, 343; 
travellers in, 343, 345, 346; wilder- 
ness work to be done in, 346. 

Southern Cross, the, 48, 77. 

Sparrows, 168. 

Spear, jaguar, 103. 

Spiders, a colony of, 178, 208, 209, 233. 

Squirrels, 133. 

Stilts, 195. 

Stirrups, ornamental, 103. 

Stockton, Frank, stories by, 186. 

Store, the first, 325, 326. 

Sunsets, contrasted, 198. 

Surveying, method of, 244, 245; in- 
struments for, Appendix B, 366, 367. 

"Swiss Family Robinson," 75. 

Tamandua bandeira. See Ant-eater. 

Tanageira, Doctor, 264. 

Tapajos, the, 128, 129, 182, 183, 211, 

241* 337- 
Tapirapoan, 153; start up-stream for, 

155; arrival at, 160; party divides at, 

165; 167. 
Tapirs, 134, 136, 138, 139, 140, 142; 

curious relation of horse and, 143. 
Tapirs, River of. See Sepotuba. 
Taquary, the, 62, 64. 
Taunay River, 288, 340. 



Telegraph, establishment of, 153; high 
wages paid for work on wilderness 
lines of, 154, 187; spiders swarm on, 

233- 

Telegraphic Commission, 160, 176, 
206; work of, 212; Juruena first 
mapped by, 214; labor of, 318; solu- 
tion of River of Doubt mystery made 
possible by previous work of, 338, 

339- 

Tents, 209, 241; Appendix B, 353. 
Thermometers, Appendix B, 368. 
Tools, Appendix B, 366. 
Tragedy, a terrible, 302-308, note, 307. 
Transportation, 183. 
Travellers, status of the ordinary, 171, 

172, 173; ignorance of certain, 254; 

three categories of, Appendix A, 343, 

344. 345 346. 

Trees, 48, 49, 71; taruman, 78, 97; 
flowers on, 97, 135; fig, 145, 156, 
158, 159; fruit and flowers on, 159, 
174, 185; fossil trunk of, 228; 230, 
246; barriers formed by, 247; bee, 
257; rubber, 268, 284; araputanga, 
280; fruit of cajazeira, 283; pecu- 
liarity of, 285; 291. See Palm. 

Tree-toad, 257, 258. 

Tres Burity, government ranch at, 
236, 237. 

"Trigueiro," one of the dogs, 65, 268, 
270, 314. 

Tropics, entered the, 47; iron cruelty 
of life in the, 147. 

Turtle, a land, 155, 156, 313. 

"Twelfth of October," 229. 

University of Pennsylvania, a Para- 
guayan graduate of the, 47. 

Uruguay, 9. 

Utensils, Indians, 204, 239. 

Utiarity Falls, 180; arrival at, 195; 
telegraph station at, 195; beauty of 
the, 196, 200. 

Vaqueiros, 103, 121, 140. 
Viedma, Lake, 28. 
Vilhena, 229, 231, 232. 
Vines, no, in. 



INDEX 



383 



Wallace, 336. 

Wasp, orioles' nests surrounded by, 99; 
dangerous sting of red, 114; spiders 
preyed on by, 117; maribundi, 133, 
146, 245; ants plunder nests of, 163. 

Weapons, Indian, 204, 239. 

Weasel, tayra, 96. 

Weather, 58, 62, 93, 109, 155, 164. 

Wilderness, party enters the, 204; 
difficulties of travel in, 210; eti- 
quette of the, 234; first stage of con- 
quest of the, 325; geographical and 
zoological work still to be done in 
the, Appendix A, 346. 



Wolf, red, 122. 
Woods, 230. 
Wrens, ant, 162. 

Xingu, 183, 337. 

Zahm, Father, I, 2, 5; children bap- 
tized by, 55; 128; Colonel Roosevelt 
reminded of his wish to shoot tapir 
and jaguar by, 140; 157, 180, 199; 
returns to Tapirapoan, 202. 

Zoologist, work of field, in South 
America, Appendix A, 343, 346. 




Ma 
Showing the rout 



forwarded by Lieutenant Lyra, and received just after the completion of this 

of the expedition, and the positions of the new river and of the Gy-Parana and of the upper tribut 



__ 

t- 



sew eo^a oa 



(Dosfrando o ih'nerario da 
EXPEDICAO ROOSEVELT- ROn DOn 



ESCALA I:I5.OOO.OOO 




20 



ived just after the completion of this book 

r and of the Gy-Parana and of the upper tributaries of the Juruena