Theodore Roosevelt > Through the Brazilian Wilderness > Page 151
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  Through the Brazilian Wilderness.  1914.

Page 151
 
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 carcass of some big animal. The loathsome berni flies, which deposit eggs in living beings—cattle, dogs, monkeys, rodents, men—had been at it. There were seven huge, white grubs making big abscess-like swellings over its eyes. These flies deposit their grubs in men. In 1909, on Colonel Rondon’s hardest trip, every man of the party had from one to five grubs deposited in him, 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 accompaniments of atrocious suffering, passes belief. The very pathetic myth of “beneficent nature” could not deceive even the least wise being if he once saw for himself the iron cruelty of life in the tropics. Of course “nature” —in common parlance a wholly inaccurate term, by the way, especially when used as if to express a single entity—is entirely ruthless, no less so as regards types than as regards individuals, and entirely indifferent to good or

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