Theodore Roosevelt (18581919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.
the finest ranch-house in Matto Grosso, on a huge ranch where there are some sixty thousand head of horned cattlethe son of our host, Dom João 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 Cuyab&á for the São Lourenço and steamed up the latter a few miles before anchoring; Dom João 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 Rondons 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 prominent eyes, were at the bank where we moored, and betrayed an astonishing and stupid tameness. Neither the size of the boat nor the commotion caused by the paddles in any way affected them. They lay inshore, not twenty feet from us, half out of water; they paid not the slightest heed to our presence, and only reluctantly left when repeatedly poked at, and after having been repeatedly hit with clods of mud and sticks; and even