Theodore Roosevelt > Through the Brazilian Wilderness > Page 206
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  Through the Brazilian Wilderness.  1914.

Page 206
 
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 septum of his nose. They circled slowly round and round, chanting and stamping their feet, while the anklet rattles clattered and the pipes droned. They advanced to the wall of one of the houses, again and again chanting and bowing before it; I was told this was a demand for drink. They entered one house and danced in a ring around the cooking-fire in

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