Theodore Roosevelt > Through the Brazilian Wilderness > Page 203
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  Through the Brazilian Wilderness.  1914.

Page 203
 
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 Colonel Rondon received news of sickness and of some deaths among the employees of the commission in the country to the westward, which we were soon to enter. Beriberi and malignant malarial fever were the diseases which claimed the major number of the victims.
  Surely these are “the men who do the work for which they draw the wage.” Kermit had with him the same copy of Kipling’s poems which he had carried through Africa. At these falls there was one sunset of angry splendor; 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

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