Theodore Roosevelt > Through the Brazilian Wilderness > Page 55
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  Through the Brazilian Wilderness.  1914.

Page 55
 
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 occasionally 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 trivial 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 occasionally 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 explorers have to fear. The conversation was to me most interesting. The colonel spoke French about to the extent I did; but of course he and the others preferred Portuguese; 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 buildings 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 matté, of which much is grown in the region roundabout. Most of the houses were low, with overhanging, sloping caves; and there were gardens with

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