Theodore Roosevelt (18581919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.
I could fire without risk of hitting a dog. We carried our prize back to the bank and hoisted it aboard the steamer. The sun was just about to set, behind dim mountains, many miles distant across the marsh.
Soon afterward we reached one of the outstations of the huge ranch we were about to visit, and hauled up alongside the bank for the night. There was a landingplace, and sheds and corrals. Several of the peons or gauchos had come to meet us. After dark they kindled fires, and sat beside them singing songs in a strange minor key and strumming guitars. The red firelight flickered over their wild figures as they squatted away from the blaze, where the light and the shadow met. It was still and hot. There were mosquitoes, of course, and other insects of all kinds swarmed round every light; but the steamboat was comfortable, and we passed a pleasant night.
At sunrise we were off for the fazenda, the ranch of M. de Barros. The baggage went in an ox-cartwhich had to make two trips, so that all of my belongings reached the ranch a day later than I did. We rode small, tough ranch horses. The distance was some twenty miles. The whole country was marsh, varied by stretches of higher ground; and, although these stretches rose only three or four feet above the marsh, they were covered with thick jungle, largely palmetto scrub, or else with open palm forest. For three or four miles we splashed through the marsh, now and then crossing boggy pools where the little horses labored hard not to mire down. Our dusky guide was clad in a shirt, trousers, and fringed leather apron, and wore spurs on his bare feet;