Through the Brazilian Wilderness
by Theodore Roosevelt
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Let me make it clear that I am not depreciating the excellent work of so many of the men who have not gone off the beaten trails. I merely wish to make it plain that this excellent work must not be put in the class with that of the wilderness explorer. It is excellent work, nevertheless, and has its place, just as the work of the true explorer has its place. Both stand in sharpest contrast with the actions of those alleged explorers, among whom Mr. Savage Landor stands in unpleasant prominence.

From the Sepotuba rapids our course at the outset lay westward. The first day's march away from the river lay through dense tropical forest. Away from the broad, beaten route every step of a man's progress represented slashing a trail with the machete through the tangle of bushes, low trees, thorny scrub, and interlaced creepers. There were palms of new kinds, very tall, slender, straight, and graceful, with rather short and few fronds. The wild plantains, or pacovas, thronged the spaces among the trunks of the tall trees; their boles were short, and their broad, erect leaves gigantic; they bore brilliant red-and-orange flowers. There were trees whose trunks bellied into huge swellings. There were towering trees with buttressed trunks, whose leaves made a fretwork against the sky far overhead. Gorgeous red-and-green trogons, with long tails, perched motionless on the lower branches and uttered a loud, thrice-repeated whistle. We heard the calling of the false bellbird, which is gray instead of white like the true bellbirds; it keeps among the very topmost branches. Heavy rain fell shortly after we reached our camping-place.

Next morning at sunrise we climbed a steep slope to the edge of the Parecis plateau, at a level of about two thousand feet above the sea. We were on the Plan Alto, the high central plain of Brazil, the healthy land of dry air, of cool nights, of clear, running brooks. The sun was directly behind us when we topped the rise. Reining in, we looked back over the vast Paraguayan marshes, shimmering in the long morning lights. Then, turning again, we rode forward, casting shadows far before us. It was twenty miles to the next water, and in hot weather the journey across this waterless, shadeless, sandy stretch of country is hard on the mules and oxen. But on this day the sky speedily grew overcast and a cool wind blew in our faces as we travelled at a quick, running walk over the immense rolling plain. The ground was sandy; it was covered with grass and with a sparse growth of stunted, twisted trees, never more than a few feet high. There were rheas—ostriches—and small pampas-deer on this plain; the coloration of the rheas made it difficult to see them at a distance, whereas the bright red coats of the little deer, and their uplifted flags as they ran, advertised them afar off. We also saw the footprints of cougars and of the small-toothed, big, red wolf. Cougars are the most inveterate enemies of these small South American deer, both those of the open grassy plain and those of the forest.

It is not nearly as easy to get lost on these open plains as in the dense forest; and where there is a long, reasonably straight road or river to come back to, a man even without a compass is safe. But in these thick South American forests, especially on cloudy days, a compass is an absolute necessity. We were struck by the fact that the native hunters and ranchmen on such days continually lost themselves and, if permitted, travelled for miles through the forest either in circles or in exactly the wrong direction. They had no such sense of direction as the forest-dwelling 'Ndorobo hunters in Africa had, or as the true forest-dwelling Indians of South America are said to have. On certainly half a dozen occasions our guides went completely astray, and we had to take command, to disregard their assertions, and to lead the way aright by sole reliance on our compasses.

On this cool day we travelled well. The air was wonderful; the vast open spaces gave a sense of abounding vigor and freedom. Early in the afternoon we reached a station made by Colonel Rondon in the course of his first explorations. There were several houses with whitewashed walls, stone floors, and tiled or thatched roofs. They stood in a wide, gently sloping valley. Through it ran a rapid brook of cool water, in which we enjoyed delightful baths. The heavy, intensely humid atmosphere of the low, marshy plains had gone; the air was clear and fresh; the sky was brilliant; far and wide we looked over a landscape that seemed limitless; the breeze that blew in our faces might have come from our own northern plains. The midday sun was very hot; but it was hard to realize that we were in the torrid zone. There were no mosquitoes, so that we never put up our nets when we went to bed; but wrapped ourselves in our blankets and slept soundly through the cool, pleasant nights. Surely in the future this region will be the home of a healthy highly civilized population. It is good for cattle-raising, and the valleys are fitted for agriculture. From June to September the nights are often really cold. Any sound northern race could live here; and in such a land, with such a climate, there would be much joy of living.

On these plains the Telegraphic Commission uses motor-trucks; and these now to relieve the mules and oxen; for some of them, especially among the oxen, already showed the effects of the strain. Travelling in a wild country with a pack-train is not easy on the pack-animals. It was strange to see these big motor-vans out in the wilderness where there was not a settler, not a civilized man except the employees of the Telegraphic Commission. They were handled by Lieutenant Lauriado, who, with Lieutenant Mello, had taken special charge of our transport service; both were exceptionally good and competent men.

The following day we again rode on across the Plan Alto. In the early afternoon, in the midst of a downpour of rain, we crossed the divide between the basins of the Paraguay and the Amazon. That evening we camped on a brook whose waters ultimately ran into the Tapajos. The rain fell throughout the afternoon, now lightly, now heavily, and the mule-train did not get up until dark. But enough tents and flies were pitched to shelter all of us. Fires were lit, and—after a fourteen hours' fast we feasted royally on beans and rice and pork and beef, seated around ox-skins spread upon the ground. The sky cleared; the stars blazed down through the cool night; and wrapped in our blankets we slept soundly, warm and comfortable.

Next morning the trail had turned, and our course led northward and at times east of north. We traversed the same high, rolling plains of coarse grass and stunted trees. Kermit, riding a big, iron-mouthed, bull-headed white mule, rode off to one side on a hunt, and rejoined the line of march carrying two bucks of the little pampas-deer, or field deer, behind his saddle. These deer are very pretty and graceful, with a tail like that of the Colombian blacktail. Standing motionless facing one, in the sparse scrub, they are hard to make out; if seen sideways the reddish of their coats, contrasted with the greens and grays of the landscape, betrays them; and when they bound off the upraised white tail is very conspicuous. They carefully avoid the woods in which their cousins the little bush deer are found, and go singly or in couples. Their odor can be made out at quite a distance, but it is not rank. They still carried their antlers. Their venison was delicious.

We came across many queer insects. One red grasshopper when it flew seemed as big as a small sparrow; and we passed in some places such multitudes of active little green grasshoppers that they frightened the mules. At our camping-place we saw an extraordinary colony of spiders. It was among some dwarf trees, standing a few yards apart from one another by the water. When we reached the camping-place, early in the afternoon—the pack-train did not get in until nearly sunset, just ahead of the rain—no spiders were out. They were under the leaves of the trees. Their webs were tenantless, and indeed for the most part were broken down. But at dusk they came out from their hiding-places, two or three hundred of them in all, and at once began to repair the old and spin new webs. Each spun its own circular web, and sat in the middle; and each web was connected on several sides with other webs, while those nearest the trees were hung to them by spun ropes, so to speak. The result was a kind of sheet of web consisting of scores of wheels, in each of which the owner and proprietor sat; and there were half a dozen such sheets, each extending between two trees. The webs could hardly be seen; and the effect was of scores of big, formidable-looking spiders poised in midair, equidistant from one another, between each pair of trees. When darkness and rain fell they were still out, fixing their webs, and pouncing on the occasional insects that blundered into the webs. I have no question that they are nocturnal; they certainly hide in the daytime, and it seems impossible that they can come out only for a few minutes at dusk.

In the evenings, after supper or dinner—it is hard to tell by what title the exceedingly movable evening meal should be called—the members of the party sometimes told stories of incidents in their past lives. Most of them were men of varied experiences. Rondon and Lyra told of the hardship and suffering of the first trips through the wilderness across which we were going with such comfort. On this very plateau they had once lived for weeks on the fruits of the various fruit-bearing trees. Naturally they became emaciated and feeble. In the forests of the Amazonian basin they did better because they often shot birds and plundered the hives of the wild honey-bees. In cutting the trail for the telegraph-line through the Juruena basin they lost every single one of the hundred and sixty mules with which they had started. Those men pay dear who build the first foundations of empire! Fiala told of the long polar nights and of white bears that came round the snow huts of the explorers, greedy to eat them, and themselves destined to be eaten by them. Of all the party Cherrie's experiences had covered the widest range. This was partly owing to the fact that the latter-day naturalist of the most vigorous type who goes into the untrodden wastes of the world must see and do many strange things; and still more owing to the character of the man himself. The things he had seen and done and undergone often enabled him to cast the light of his own past experience on unexpected subjects. Once we were talking about the proper weapons for cavalry, and some one mentioned the theory that the lance is especially formidable because of the moral effect it produces on the enemy. Cherrie nodded emphatically; and a little cross-examination elicited the fact that he was speaking from lively personal recollection of his own feelings when charged by lancers. It was while he was fighting with the Venezuelan insurgents in an unsuccessful uprising against the tyranny of Castro. He was on foot, with five Venezuelans, all cool men and good shots. In an open plain they were charged by twenty of Castro's lancers, who galloped out from behind cover two or three hundred yards off. It was a war in which neither side gave quarter and in which the wounded and the prisoners were butchered—just as President Madero was butchered in Mexico. Cherrie knew that it meant death for him and his companions if the charge came home; and the sight of the horsemen running in at full speed, with their long lances in rest and the blades glittering, left an indelible impression on his mind. But he and his companions shot deliberately and accurately; ten of the lancers were killed, the nearest falling within fifty yards; and the others rode off in headlong haste. A cool man with a rifle, if he has mastered his weapon, need fear no foe.

At this camp the auto-vans again joined us. They were to go direct to the first telegraph station, at the great falls of the Utiarity, on the Rio Papagaio. Of course they travelled faster than the mule-train. Father Zahm, attended by Sigg, started for the falls in them. Cherrie and Miller also went in them, because they had found that it was very difficult to collect birds, and especially mammals, when we were moving every day, packing up early each morning and the mule-train arriving late in the afternoon or not until nightfall. Moreover, there was much rain, which made it difficult to work except under the tents. Accordingly, the two naturalists desired to get to a place where they could spend several days and collect steadily, thereby doing more effective work. The rest of us continued with the mule-train, as was necessary.

It was always a picturesque sight when camp was broken, and again at nightfall when the laden mules came stringing in and their burdens were thrown down, while the tents were pitched and the fires lit. We breakfasted before leaving camp, the aluminum cups and plates being placed on ox-hides, round which we sat, on the ground or on camp- stools. We fared well, on rice, beans, and crackers, with canned corned beef, and salmon or any game that had been shot, and coffee, tea, and matte. I then usually sat down somewhere to write, and when the mules were nearly ready I popped my writing-materials into my duffel-bag/war-sack, as we would have called it in the old days on the plains. I found that the mules usually arrived so late in the afternoon or evening that I could not depend upon being able to write at that time. Of course, if we made a very early start I could not write at all. At night there were no mosquitoes. In the daytime gnats and sand-flies and horse-flies sometimes bothered us a little, but not much. Small stingless bees lit on us in numbers and crawled over the skin, making a slight tickling; but we did not mind them until they became very numerous. There was a good deal of rain, but not enough to cause any serious annoyance.

Colonel Rondon and Lieutenant Lyra held many discussions as to whither the Rio da Duvida flowed, and where its mouth might be. Its provisional name—"River of Doubt"—was given it precisely because of this ignorance concerning it; an ignorance which it was one of the purposes of our trip to dispel. It might go into the Gy-Parana, in which case its course must be very short; it might flow into the Madeira low down, in which case its course would be very long; or, which was unlikely, it might flow into the Tapajos. There was another river, of which Colonel Rondon had come across the head-waters, whose course was equally doubtful, although in its case there was rather more probability of its flowing into the Juruena, by which name the Tapajos is known for its upper half. To this unknown river Colonel Rondon had given the name Ananas, because when he came across it he found a deserted Indian field with pineapples, which the hungry explorers ate greedily. Among the things the colonel and I hoped to accomplish on the trip was to do a little work in clearing up one or the other of these two doubtful geographical points, and thereby to push a little forward the knowledge of this region. Originally, as described in the first chapter, my trip was undertaken primarily in the interest of the American Museum of Natural History of New York, to add to our knowledge of the birds and mammals of the far interior of the western Brazilian wilderness; and the labels of our baggage and scientific equipment, printed by the museum, were entitled "Colonel Roosevelt's South American Expedition for the American Museum of Natural History." But, as I have already mentioned, at Rio the Brazilian Government, through the secretary of foreign affairs, Doctor Lauro Muller, suggested that I should combine the expedition with one by Colonel Rondon, which they contemplated making, and thereby make both expeditions of broader scientific interest. I accepted the proposal with much pleasure; and we found, when we joined Colonel Rondon and his associates, that their baggage and equipment had been labelled by the Brazilian Government "Expedicao Scientifica Roosevelt- Rondon." This thenceforth became the proper and official title of the expedition. Cherrie and Miller did the chief zoological work. The geological work was done by a Brazilian member of the expedition, Euzebio Oliveira. The astronomical work necessary for obtaining the exact geographical location of the rivers and points of note was to be done by Lieutenant Lyra, under the supervision of Colonel Rondon; and at the telegraph stations this astronomical work would be checked by wire communications with one of Colonel Rondon's assistants at Cuyaba, Lieutenant Caetano, thereby securing a minutely accurate comparison of time. The sketch-maps and surveying and cartographical work generally were to be made under the supervision of Colonel Rondon by Lyra, with assistance from Fiala and Kermit. Captain Amilcar handled the worst problem—transportation; the medical member was Doctor Cajazeira.

At night around the camp-fire my Brazilian companions often spoke of the first explorers of this vast wilderness of western Brazil—men whose very names are now hardly known, but who did each his part in opening the country which will some day see such growth and development. Among the most notable of them was a Portuguese, Ricardo Franco, who spent forty years at the work, during the last quarter of the eighteenth and the opening years of the nineteenth centuries. He ascended for long distances the Xingu and the Tapajos, and went up the Madeira and Guapore, crossing to the head-waters of the Paraguay and partially exploring there also. He worked among and with the Indians, much as Mungo Park worked with the natives of West Africa, having none of the aids, instruments, and comforts with which even the hardiest of modern explorers are provided. He was one of the men who established the beginnings of the province of Matto Grosso. For many years the sole method of communication between this remote interior province and civilization was by the long, difficult, and perilous route which led up the Amazon and Madeira; and its then capital, the town of Matto Grosso, the seat of the captain-general, with its palace, cathedral, and fortress, was accordingly placed far to the west, near the Guapore. When less circuitous lines of communication were established farther eastward the old capital was abandoned, and the tropic wilderness surged over the lonely little town. The tomb of the old colonial explorer still stands in the ruined cathedral, where the forest has once more come to its own. But civilization is again advancing to reclaim the lost town and to revive the memory of the wilderness wanderer who helped to found it. Colonel Rondon has named a river after Franco; a range of mountains has also been named after him; and the colonel, acting for the Brazilian Government, has established a telegraph station in what was once the palace of the captain-general.

Our northward trail led along the high ground a league or two to the east of the northward-flowing Rio Sacre. Each night we camped on one of the small tributary brooks that fed it. Fiala, Kermit, and I occupied one tent. In the daytime the "pium" flies, vicious little sand-flies, became bad enough to make us finally use gloves and head- nets. There were many heavy rains, which made the travelling hard for the mules. The soil was more often clay than sand, and it was slippery when wet. The weather was overcast, and there was usually no oppressive heat even at noon. At intervals along the trail we came on the staring skull and bleached skeleton of a mule or ox. Day after day we rode forward across endless flats of grass and of low open scrubby forest, the trees standing far apart and in most places being but little higher than the head of a horseman. Some of them carried blossoms, white, orange, yellow, pink; and there were many flowers, the most beautiful being the morning-glories. Among the trees were bastard rubber-trees, and dwarf palmetto; if the latter grew more than a few feet high their tops were torn and dishevelled by the wind. There was very little bird or mammal life; there were few long vistas, for in most places it was not possible to see far among the gray, gnarled trunks of the wind-beaten little trees. Yet the desolate landscape had a certain charm of its own, although not a charm that would be felt by any man who does not take pleasure in mere space, and freedom and wildness, and in plains standing empty to the sun, the wind, and the rain. The country bore some resemblance to the country west of Redjaf on the White Nile, the home of the giant eland; only here there was no big game, no chance of seeing the towering form of the giraffe, the black bulk of elephant or buffalo, the herds of straw-colored hartebeests, or the ghostly shimmer of the sun glinting on the coats of roan and eland as they vanished silently in the gray sea of withered scrub.

One feature in common with the African landscape was the abundance of ant-hills, some as high as a man. They were red in the clay country, gray where it was sandy; and the dirt houses were also in trees, while their raised tunnels traversed trees and ground alike. At some of the camping-places we had to be on our watch against the swarms of leaf- carrying ants. These are so called in the books—the Brazilians call them "carregadores," or porters—because they are always carrying bits of leaves and blades of grass to their underground homes. They are inveterate burden-bearers, and they industriously cut into pieces and carry off any garment they can get at; and we had to guard our shoes and clothes from them, just as we had often had to guard all our belongings against the termites. These ants did not bite us; but we encountered huge black ants, an inch and a quarter long, which were very vicious, and their bite was not only painful but quite poisonous. Praying-mantes were common, and one evening at supper one had a comical encounter with a young dog, a jovial near-puppy, of Colonel Rondon's, named Cartucho. He had been christened the jolly-cum-pup, from a character in one of Frank Stockton's stories, which I suppose are now remembered only by elderly people, and by them only if they are natives of the United States. Cartucho was lying with his head on the ox-hide that served as table, waiting with poorly dissembled impatience for his share of the banquet. The mantis flew down on the ox-hide and proceeded to crawl over it, taking little flights from one corner to another; and whenever it thought itself menaced it assumed an attitude of seeming devotion and real defiance. Soon it lit in front of Cartucho's nose. Cartucho cocked his big ears forward, stretched his neck, and cautiously sniffed at the new arrival, not with any hostile design, but merely to find out whether it would prove to be a playmate. The mantis promptly assumed an attitude of prayer. This struck Cartucho as both novel and interesting, and he thrust his sniffing black nose still nearer. The mantis dexterously thrust forward first one and then the other armed fore leg, touching the intrusive nose, which was instantly jerked back and again slowly and inquiringly brought forward. Then the mantis suddenly flew in Cartucho's face, whereupon Cartucho, with a smothered yelp of dismay, almost turned a back somersault; and the triumphant mantis flew back to the middle of the ox-hide, among the plates, where it reared erect and defied the laughing and applauding company.

On the morning of the 29th we were rather late in starting, because the rain had continued through the night into the morning, drenching everything. After nightfall there had been some mosquitoes, and the piums were a pest during daylight; where one bites it leaves a tiny black spot on the skin which lasts for several weeks. In the slippery mud one of the pack-mules fell and injured itself so that it had to be abandoned. Soon after starting we came on the telegraph-line, which runs from Cuyaba. This was the first time we had seen it. Two Parecis Indians joined us, leading a pack-bullock. They were dressed in hat, shirt, trousers, and sandals, precisely like the ordinary Brazilian caboclos, as the poor backwoods peasants, usually with little white blood in them, are colloquially and half-derisively styled—caboclo being originally a Guarany word meaning "naked savage." These two Indians were in the employ of the Telegraphic Commission, and had been patrolling the telegraph-line. The bullock carried their personal belongings and the tools with which they could repair a break. The commission pays the ordinary Indian worker 66 cents a day; a very good worker gets $1, and the chief $1.66. No man gets anything unless he works. Colonel Rondon, by just, kindly, and understanding treatment of these Indians, who previously had often been exploited and maltreated by rubber-gatherers, has made them the loyal friends of the government. He has gathered them at the telegraph stations, where they cultivate fields of mandioc, beans, potatoes, maize, and other vegetables, and where he is introducing them to stock-raising; and the entire work of guarding and patrolling the line is theirs.

After six hours' march we came to the crossing of the Rio Sacre at the beautiful waterfall appropriately called the Salto Bello. This is the end of the automobile road. Here there is a small Parecis village. The men of the village work the ferry by which everything is taken across the deep and rapid river. The ferry-boat is made of planking placed on three dugout canoes, and runs on a trolley. Before crossing we enjoyed a good swim in the swift, clear, cool water. The Indian village, where we camped, is placed on a jutting tongue of land round which the river sweeps just before it leaps from the over-hanging precipice. The falls themselves are very lovely. Just above them is a wooded island, but the river joins again before it races forward for the final plunge. There is a sheer drop of forty or fifty yards, with a breadth two or three times as great; and the volume of water is large. On the left or hither bank a cliff extends for several hundred yards below the falls. Green vines have flung themselves down over its face, and they are met by other vines thrusting upward from the mass of vegetation at its foot, glistening in the perpetual mist from the cataract, and clothing even the rock surfaces in vivid green. The river, after throwing itself over the rock wall, rushes off in long curves at the bottom of a thickly wooded ravine, the white water churning among the black boulders. There is a perpetual rainbow at the foot of the falls. The masses of green water that are hurling themselves over the brink dissolve into shifting, foaming columns of snowy lace.

On the edge of the cliff below the falls Colonel Rondon had placed benches, giving a curious touch of rather conventional tourist- civilization to this cataract far out in the lonely wilderness. It is well worth visiting for its beauty. It is also of extreme interest because of the promise it holds for the future. Lieutenant Lyra informed me that they had calculated that this fall would furnish thirty-six thousand horse-power. Eight miles off we were to see another fall of much greater height and power. There are many rivers in this region which would furnish almost unlimited motive force to populous manufacturing communities. The country round about is healthy. It is an upland region of good climate; we were visiting it in the rainy season, the season when the nights are far less cool than in the dry season, and yet we found it delightful. There is much fertile soil in the neighborhood of the streams, and the teeming lowlands of the Amazon and the Paraguay could readily—and with immense advantage to both sides—be made tributary to an industrial civilization seated on these highlands. A telegraph-line has been built to and across them. A rail-road should follow. Such a line could be easily built, for there are no serious natural obstacles. In advance of its construction a trolley-line could be run from Cuyaba to the falls, using the power furnished by the latter. Once this is done the land will offer extraordinary opportunities to settlers of the right kind: to home-makers and to enterprising business men of foresight, coolness, and sagacity who are willing to work with the settlers, the immigrants, the home-makers, for an advantage which shall be mutual.

The Parecis Indians, whom we met here, were exceedingly interesting. They were to all appearance an unusually cheerful, good-humored, pleasant-natured people. Their teeth were bad; otherwise they appeared strong and vigorous, and there were plenty of children. The colonel was received as a valued friend and as a leader who was to be followed and obeyed. He is raising them by degrees—the only way by which to make the rise permanent. In this village he has got them to substitute for the flimsy Indian cabins houses of the type usual among the poorer field laborers and back-country dwellers in Brazil. These houses have roofs of palm thatch, steeply pitched. They are usually open at the sides, consisting merely of a framework of timbers, with a wall at the back; but some have the ordinary four walls, of erect palm-logs. The hammocks are slung in the houses, and the cooking is also done in them, with pots placed on small open fires, or occasionally in a kind of clay oven. The big gourds for water, and the wicker baskets, are placed on the ground, or hung on the poles.

The men had adopted, and were wearing, shirts and trousers, but the women had made little change in their clothing. A few wore print dresses, but obviously only for ornament. Most of them, especially the girls and young married women, wore nothing but a loin-cloth in addition to bead necklaces and bracelets. The nursing mothers—and almost all the mothers were nursing—sometimes carried the child slung against their side of hip, seated in a cloth belt, or sling, which went over the opposite shoulder of the mother. The women seemed to be well treated, although polygamy is practised. The children were loved by every one; they were petted by both men and women, and they behaved well to one another, the boys not seeming to bully the girls or the smaller boys. Most of the children were naked, but the girls early wore the loin-cloth; and some, both of the little boys and the little girls, wore colored print garments, to the evident pride of themselves and their parents. In each house there were several families, and life went on with no privacy but with good humor, consideration, and fundamentally good manners. The man or woman who had nothing to do lay in a hammock or squatted on the ground leaning against a post or wall. The children played together, or lay in little hammocks, or tagged round after their mothers; and when called they came trustfully up to us to be petted or given some small trinket; they were friendly little souls, and accustomed to good treatment. One woman was weaving a cloth, another was making a hammock; others made ready melons and other vegetables and cooked them over tiny fires. The men, who had come in from work at the ferry or along the telegraph-lines, did some work themselves, or played with the children; one cut a small boy's hair, and then had his own hair cut by a friend. But the absorbing amusement of the men was an extraordinary game of ball.

In our family we have always relished Oliver Herford's nonsense rhymes, including the account of Willie's displeasure with his goat:

"I do not like my billy goat, I wish that he was dead; Because he kicked me, so he did, He kicked me with his head."

Well, these Parecis Indians enthusiastically play football with their heads. The game is not only native to them, but I have never heard or read of its being played by any other tribe or people. They use a light hollow rubber ball, of their own manufacture. It is circular and about eight inches in diameter. The players are divided into two sides, and stationed much as in association football, and the ball is placed on the ground to be put in play as in football. Then a player runs forward, throws himself flat on the ground, and butts the ball toward the opposite side. This first butt, when the ball is on the ground, never lifts it much and it rolls and bounds toward the opponents. One or two of the latter run toward it; one throws himself flat on his face and butts the ball back. Usually this butt lifts it, and it flies back in a curve well up in the air; and an opposite player, rushing toward it, catches it on his head with such a swing of his brawny neck, and such precision and address that the ball bounds back through the air as a football soars after a drop-kick. If the ball flies off to one side or the other it is brought back, and again put in play. Often it will be sent to and fro a dozen times, from head to head, until finally it rises with such a sweep that it passes far over the heads of the opposite players and descends behind them. Then shrill, rolling cries of good-humored triumph arise from the victors; and the game instantly begins again with fresh zest. There are, of course, no such rules as in a specialized ball-game of civilization; and I saw no disputes. There may be eight or ten, or many more, players on each side. The ball is never touched with the hands or feet, or with anything except the top of the head. It is hard to decide whether to wonder most at the dexterity and strength with which it is hit or butted with the head, as it comes down through the air, or at the reckless speed and skill with which the players throw themselves headlong on the ground to return the ball if it comes low down. Why they do not grind off their noses I cannot imagine. Some of the players hardly ever failed to catch and return the ball if it came in their neighborhood, and with such a vigorous toss of the head that it often flew in a great curve for a really astonishing distance.

That night a pack-ox got into the tent in which Kermit and I were sleeping, entering first at one end and then at the other. It is extraordinary that he did not waken us; but we slept undisturbed while the ox deliberately ate our shirts, socks, and underclothes! It chewed them into rags. One of my socks escaped, and my undershirt, although chewed full of holes, was still good for some weeks' wear; but the other things were in fragments.

In the morning Colonel Rondon arranged for us to have breakfast over on the benches under the trees by the waterfall, whose roar, lulled to a thunderous murmur, had been in our ears before we slept and when we waked. There could have been no more picturesque place for the breakfast of such a party as ours. All travellers who really care to see what is most beautiful and most characteristic of the far interior of South America should in their journey visit this region, and see the two great waterfalls. They are even now easy of access; and as soon as the traffic warrants it they will be made still more so; then, from Sao Luis Caceres, they will be speedily reached by light steamboat up the Sepotuba and by a day or two's automobile ride, with a couple of days on horse-back in between.

The colonel held a very serious council with the Parecis Indians over an incident which caused him grave concern. One of the commission's employees, a negro, had killed a wild Nhambiquara Indian; but it appeared that he had really been urged on and aided by the Parecis, as the members of the tribe to which the dead Indian belonged were much given to carrying off the Parecis women and in other ways making themselves bad neighbors. The colonel tried hard to get at the truth of the matter; he went to the biggest Indian house, where he sat in a hammock—an Indian child cuddling solemnly up to him, by the way— while the Indians sat in other hammocks, and stood round about; but it was impossible to get an absolutely frank statement.

It appeared, however, that the Nhambiquaras had made a descent on the Parecis village in the momentary absence of the men of the village; but the latter, notified by the screaming of the women, had returned in time to rescue them. The negro was with them and, having a good rifle, he killed one of the aggressors. The Parecis were, of course, in the right, but the colonel could not afford to have his men take sides in a tribal quarrel.

It was only a two hours' march across to the Papagaio at the Falls of Utiarity, so named by their discoverer, Colonel Rondon, after the sacred falcon of the Parecis. On the way we passed our Indian friends, themselves bound thither; both the men and the women bore burdens—the burdens of some of the women, poor things, were heavy—and even the small naked children carried the live hens. At Utiarity there is a big Parecis settlement and a telegraph station kept by one of the employees of the commission. His pretty brown wife is acting as schoolmistress to a group of little Parecis girls. The Parecis chief has been made a major and wears a uniform accordingly. The commission has erected good buildings for its own employees and has superintended the erection of good houses for the Indians. Most of the latter still prefer the simplicity of the loin-cloth, in their ordinary lives, but they proudly wore their civilized clothes in our honor. When in the late afternoon the men began to play a regular match game of head- ball, with a scorer or umpire to keep count, they soon discarded most of their clothes, coming down to nothing but trousers or a loin-cloth. Two or three of them had their faces stained with red ochre. Among the women and children looking on were a couple of little girls who paraded about on stilts.

The great waterfall was half a mile below us. Lovely though we had found Salto Bello, these falls were far superior in beauty and majesty. They are twice as high and twice as broad; and the lay of the land is such that the various landscapes in which the waterfall is a feature are more striking. A few hundred yards above the falls the river turns at an angle and widens. The broad, rapid shallows are crested with whitecaps. Beyond this wide expanse of flecked and hurrying water rise the mist columns of the cataract; and as these columns are swayed and broken by the wind the forest appears through and between them. From below the view is one of singular grandeur. The fall is over a shelving ledge of rock which goes in a nearly straight line across the river's course. But at the left there is a salient in the cliff-line, and here accordingly a great cataract of foaming water comes down almost as a separate body, in advance of the line of the main fall. I doubt whether, excepting, of course, Niagara, there is a waterfall in North America which outranks this if both volume and beauty are considered. Above the fall the river flows through a wide valley with gently sloping sides. Below, it slips along, a torrent of white-green water, at the bottom of a deep gorge; and the sides of the gorge are clothed with a towering growth of tropical forest.

Next morning the cacique of these Indians, in his major's uniform, came to breakfast, and bore himself with entire propriety. It was raining heavily—it rained most of the time—and a few minutes previously I had noticed the cacique's two wives, with three or four other young women, going out to the mandioc fields. It was a picturesque group. The women were all mothers, and each carried a nursing child. They wore loin-cloths or short skirts. Each carried on her back a wickerwork basket supported by a head-strap which went around her forehead. Each carried a belt slung diagonally across her body, over her right shoulder; in this the child was carried, against and perhaps astride of her left hip. They were comely women, who did not look jaded or cowed; and they laughed cheerfully and nodded to us as they passed through the rain, on their way to the fields. But the contrast between them and the chief in his soldier's uniform seated at breakfast was rather too striking; and 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 stockade; 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 Arizona and Sonora, and along the Guaso Nyiro north and west of Mount Kenia, when the barren mountains were changed into flaming "ramparts of slaughter and peril" standing above "the wine-dark flats below."

It rained during most of the day after our arrival at Utiarity. Whenever there was any let-up the men promptly came forth from their houses and played head-ball with the utmost vigor; and we would listen to their shrill undulating cries of applause and triumph until we also grew interested and strolled over to look on. They are more infatuated with the game than an American boy is with baseball or football. It is an extraordinary thing that this strange and exciting game should be played by, and only by, one little tribe of Indians in what is almost the very centre of South America. If any traveller or ethnologist knows of a tribe elsewhere that plays a similar game, I wish he would let me know. To play it demands great activity, vigor, skill, and endurance. Looking at the strong, supple bodies of the players, and at the number of children roundabout, it seemed as if the tribe must be in vigorous health; yet the Parecis have decreased in numbers, for measles and smallpox have been fatal to them.

By the evening the rain was coming down more heavily than ever. It was not possible to keep the moisture out of our belongings; everything became mouldy except what became rusty. It rained all that night; and day-light saw the downpour continuing with no prospect of cessation. The pack-mules could not have gone on with the march; they were already rather done up by their previous ten days' labor through rain and mud, and it seemed advisable to wait until the weather became better before attempting to go forward. Moreover, there had been no chance to take the desired astronomical observations. There was very little grass for the mules; but there was abundance of a small-leaved plant eight or ten inches high—unfortunately, not very nourishing—on which they fed greedily. In such weather and over such muddy trails oxen travel better than mules.

In spite of the weather Cherrie and Miller, whom, together with Father Zahm and Sigg, we had found awaiting us, made good collections of birds and mammals. Among the latter were opossums and mice that were new to them. The birds included various forms so unlike our home birds that the enumeration of their names would mean nothing. One of the most interesting was a large black-and-white woodpecker, the white predominating in the plumage. Several of these woodpeckers were usually found together. They were showy, noisy, and restless, and perched on twigs, in ordinary bird fashion, at least as often as they clung to the trunks in orthodox woodpecker style. The prettiest bird was a tiny manakin, coal-black, with a red-and-orange head.

On February 2 the rain let up, although the sky remained overcast and there were occasional showers. I walked off with my rifle for a couple of leagues; at that distance, from a slight hillock, the mist columns of the falls were conspicuous in the landscape. The only mammal I saw on the walk was a rather hairy armadillo, with a flexible tail, which I picked up and brought back to Miller—it showed none of the speed of the nine-banded armadillos we met on our jaguar-hunt. Judging by its 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 the middle of the earth floor; I was told that they were then reciting the deeds of mighty hunters and describing how they brought in the game. They drank freely from gourds and pannikins of a fermented drink made from mandioc which were brought out to them. During the first part of the dance the women remained in the houses, and all the doors and windows were shut and blankets hung to prevent the possibility of seeing out. But during the second part all the women and girls came out and looked on. They were themselves to have danced when the men had finished, but were overcome with shyness at the thought of dancing with so many strangers looking on. The children played about with unconcern throughout the ceremony, one of them throwing high in the air, and again catching in his hands, a loaded feather, a kind of shuttlecock.

In the evening the growing moon shone through the cloud-rack. Anything approaching fair weather always put our men in good spirits; and the muleteers squatted in a circle, by a fire near a pile of packs, and listened to a long monotonously and rather mournfully chanted song about a dance and a love-affair. We ourselves worked busily with our photographs and our writing. There was so much humidity in the air that everything grew damp and stayed damp, and mould gathered quickly. At this season it is a country in which writing, taking photographs, and preparing specimens are all works of difficulty, at least so far as concerns preserving and sending home the results of the labor; and a man's clothing is never really dry. From here Father Zahm returned to Tapirapoan, accompanied by Sigg.


From this point we were to enter a still wilder region, the land of the naked Nhambiquaras. On February 3 the weather cleared and we started with the mule-train and two ox-carts. Fiala and Lieutenant Lauriado stayed at Utiarity to take canoes and go down the Papagaio, which had not been descended by any scientific party, and perhaps by no one. They were then to descend the Juruena and Tapajos, thereby performing a necessary part of the work of the expedition. Our remaining party consisted of Colonel Rondon, Lieutenant Lyra, the doctor, Oliveira, Cherrie, Miller, Kermit, and myself. On the Juruena we expected to meet the pack ox-train with Captain Amilcar and Lieutenant Mello; the other Brazilian members of the party had returned. We had now begun the difficult part of the expedition. The pium flies were becoming a pest. There was much fever and beriberi in the country we were entering. The feed for the animals was poor; the rains had made the trails slippery and difficult; and many, both of the mules and the oxen, were already weak, and some had to be abandoned. We left the canoe, the motor, and the gasolene; we had hoped to try them on the Amazonian rivers, but we were obliged to cut down everything that was not absolutely indispensable.

Before leaving we prepared for shipment back to the museum some of the bigger skins, and also some of the weapons and utensils of the Indians, which Kermit had collected. These included woven fillets, and fillets made of macaw feathers, for use in the dances; woven belts; a gourd in which the sacred drink is offered to the god Enoerey; wickerwork baskets; flutes or pipes; anklet rattles; hammocks; a belt of the kind used by the women in carrying the babies, with the weaving-frame. All these were Parecis articles. He also secured from the Nhambiquaras wickerwork baskets of a different type and bows and arrows. The bows were seven feet long and the arrows five feet. There were blunt-headed arrows for birds, arrows with long, sharp wooden blades for tapir, deer, and other mammals; and the poisoned war- arrows, with sharp barbs, poison-coated and bound on by fine thongs, and with a long, hollow wooden guard to slip over the entire point and protect it until the time came to use it. When people talk glibly of "idle" savages they ignore the immense labor entailed by many of their industries, and the really extraordinary amount of work they accomplish by the skilful use of their primitive and ineffective tools.

It was not until early in the afternoon that we started into the "sertao,"[*] as Brazilians call the wilderness. We drove with us a herd of oxen for food. After going about fifteen miles we camped beside the swampy headwaters of a little brook. It was at the spot where nearly seven years previously Rondon and Lyra had camped on the trip when they discovered Utiarity Falls and penetrated to the Juruena. When they reached this place they had been thirty-six hours without food. They killed a bush deer—a small deer—and ate literally every particle. The dogs devoured the entire skin. For much of the time on this trip they lived on wild fruit, and the two dogs that remained alive would wait eagerly under the trees and eat the fruit that was shaken down.

[*] Pronounced "sairtown," as nearly as, with our preposterous methods of spelling and pronunciation, I can render it.

In the late afternoon the piums were rather bad at this camp, but we had gloves and head-nets, and were not bothered; and although there were some mosquitoes we slept well under our mosquito-nets. The frogs in the swamp uttered a peculiar, loud shout. Miller told of a little tree-frog in Colombia which swelled itself out with air until it looked like the frog in Aesop's fables, and then brayed like a mule; and Cherrie told of a huge frog in Guiana that uttered a short, loud roar.

Next day the weather was still fair. Our march lay through country like that which we had been traversing for ten days. Skeletons of mules and oxen were more frequent; and once or twice by the wayside we passed the graves of officers or men who had died on the road. Barbed wire encircled the desolate little mounds. We camped on the west bank of the Burity River. Here there is a balsa, or ferry, run by two Parecis Indians, as employees of the Telegraphic Commission, under the colonel. Each had a thatched house, and each had two wives—all these Indians are pagans. All were dressed much like the poorer peasants of the Brazilian back country, and all were pleasant and well-behaved. The women ran the ferry about as well as the men. They had no cultivated fields, and for weeks they had been living only on game and honey; and they hailed with joy our advent and the quantities of beans and rice which, together with some beef, the colonel left with them. They feasted most of the night. Their houses contained their hammocks, baskets, and other belongings, and they owned some poultry. In one house was a tiny parakeet, very much at home, and familiar, but by no means friendly, with strangers. There are wild Nhambiquaras in the neighborhood, and recently several of these had menaced the two ferrymen with an attack, even shooting arrows at them. The ferrymen had driven them off by firing their rifles in the air; and they expected and received the colonel's praise for their self-restraint; for the colonel is doing all he can to persuade the Indians to stop their blood feuds. The rifles were short and light Winchester carbines, of the kind so universally used by the rubber-gatherers and other adventurous wanderers in the forest wilderness of Brazil. There were a number of rubber-trees in the neighborhood, by the way.

We enjoyed a good bath in the Burity, although it was impossible to make headway by swimming against the racing current. There were few mosquitoes. On the other hand, various kinds of piums were a little too abundant; they vary from things like small gnats to things like black flies. The small stingless bees have no fear and can hardly be frightened away when they light on the hands or face; but they never bite, and merely cause a slight tickling as they crawl over the skin. There were some big bees, however, which, although they crawled about harmlessly after lighting if they were undisturbed, yet stung fiercely if they were molested. The insects were not ordinarily a serious bother, but there were occasional hours when they were too numerous for comfort, and now and then I had to do my writing in a head-net and gauntlets.

The night we reached the Burity it rained heavily, and next day the rain continued. In the morning the mules were ferried over, while the oxen were swum across. Half a dozen of our men—whites, Indians, and negroes, all stark naked and uttering wild cries, drove the oxen into the river and then, with powerful overhand strokes, swam behind and alongside them as they crossed, half breasting the swift current. It was a fine sight to see the big, long-horned, staring beasts swimming strongly, while the sinewy naked men urged them forward, utterly at ease in the rushing water. We made only a short day's journey, for, owing to the lack of grass, the mules had to be driven off nearly three miles from our line of march, in order to get them feed. We camped at the headwaters of a little brook called Huatsui, which is Parecis for "monkey."

Accompanying us on this march was a soldier bound for one of the remoter posts. With him trudged his wife. They made the whole journey on foot. There were two children. One was so young that it had to be carried alternately by the father and mother. The other, a small boy of eight, and much the best of the party, was already a competent wilderness worker. He bore his share of the belongings on the march, and when camp was reached sometimes himself put up the family shelter. They were mainly of negro blood. Struck by the woman's uncomplaining endurance of fatigue, we offered to take her and the baby in the automobile, while it accompanied us. But, alas! this proved to be one of those melancholy cases where the effort to relieve hardship well endured results only in showing that those who endure the adversity cannot stand even a slight prosperity. The woman proved a querulous traveller in the auto, complaining that she was not made as comfortable as apparently she had expected; and after one day the husband declared he was not willing to have her go unless he went too; and the family resumed their walk.

In this neighborhood there were multitudes of the big, gregarious, crepuscular or nocturnal spiders which I have before mentioned. On arriving in camp, at about four in the afternoon, I ran into a number of remains of their webs, and saw a very few of the spiders themselves sitting in the webs midway between trees. I then strolled a couple of miles up the road ahead of us under the line of telegraph-poles. It was still bright sunlight and no spiders were out; in fact, I did not suspect their presence along the line of telegraph-poles, although I ought to have done so, for I continually ran into long strings of tough fine web, which got across my face or hands or rifle barrel. I returned just at sunset and the spiders were out in force. I saw dozens of colonies, each of scores or hundreds of individuals. Many were among the small trees alongside the broad, cleared trail. But most were dependent from the wire itself. Their webs had all been made or repaired since I had passed. Each was sitting in the middle of his own wheel, and all the wheels were joined to one another; and the whole pendent fabric hung by fine ropes from the wire above, and was in some cases steadied by guy-ropes, thrown thirty feet off to little trees alongside. I watched them until nightfall, and evidently, to them, after their day's rest, their day's work had just begun. Next morning—owing to a desire to find out what the facts were as regards the ox-carts, which were in difficulties—Cherrie, Miller, Kermit, and I walked back to the Burity River, where Colonel Rondon had spent the night. It was a misty, overcast morning, and the spiders in the webs that hung from the telegraph-wire were just going to their day homes. These were in and under the big white china insulators on the telegraph-poles. Hundreds of spiders were already climbing up into these. When, two or three hours later, we returned, the sun was out, and not a spider was to be seen.

Here we had to cut down our baggage and rearrange the loads for the mule-train. Cherrie and Miller had a most workmanlike equipment, including a very light tent and two light flies. One fly they gave for the kitchen use, one fly was allotted to Kermit and me, and they kept only the tent for themselves. Colonel Rondon and Lyra went in one tent, the doctor and Oliveira in another. Each of us got rid of everything above the sheer necessities. This was necessary because of the condition of the baggage-animals. The oxen were so weak that the effort to bring on the carts had to be abandoned. Nine of the pack- mules had already been left on the road during the three days' march from Utiarity. In the first expeditions into this country all the baggage animals had died; and even in our case the loss was becoming very heavy. This state of affairs is due to the scarcity of forage and the type of country. Good grass is scanty, and the endless leagues of sparse, scrubby forest render it exceedingly difficult to find the animals when they wander. They must be turned absolutely loose to roam about and pick up their scanty subsistence, and must be given as long a time as possible to feed and rest; even under these conditions most of them grow weak when, as in our case, it is impossible to carry corn. They cannot be found again until after daylight, and then hours must be spent in gathering them; and this means that the march must be made chiefly during the heat of the day, the most trying time. Often some of the animals would not be brought in until so late that it was well on in the forenoon, perhaps midday, before the bulk of the pack- train started; and they reached the camping-place as often after night fall as before it. Under such conditions many of the mules and oxen grew constantly weaker and ultimately gave out; and it was imperative to load them as lightly as possible, and discard all luxuries, especially heavy or bulky luxuries. Travelling through a wild country where there is little food for man or beast is beset with difficulties almost inconceivable to the man who does not himself know this kind of wilderness, and especially to the man who only knows the ease of civilization. A scientific party of some size, with the equipment necessary in order to do scientific work, can only go at all if the men who actually handle the problems of food and transportation do their work thoroughly.

Our march continued through the same type of high, nearly level upland, covered with scanty, scrubby forest. It is the kind of country known to the Brazilians as chapadao—pronounced almost as if it were a French word and spelled shapadon. Our camp on the fourth night was in a beautiful spot, an open grassy space, beside a clear, cool, rushing little river. We ourselves reached this, and waded our beasts across the deep, narrow stream in the late afternoon; and we then enjoyed a bath and swim. The loose bullocks arrived at sunset, and with shrill cries the mounted herdsmen urged them into and across the swift water. The mule-train arrived long after night fall, and it was not deemed wise to try to cross the laden animals. Accordingly the loads were taken off and brought over on the heads of the men; it was fine to see the sinewy, naked figures bearing their burdens through the broken moonlit water to the hither bank. The night was cool and pleasant. We kindled a fire and sat beside the blaze. Then, healthily hungry, we gathered around the ox-hides to a delicious dinner of soup, beef, beans, rice, and coffee.

Next day we made a short march, crossed a brook, and camped by another clear, deep, rapid little river, swollen by the rains. All these rivers that we were crossing run actually into the Juruena, and therefore form part of the headwaters of the Tapajos; for the Tapajos is a mighty river, and the basin which holds its headwaters covers an immense extent of country. This country and the adjacent regions, forming the high interior of western Brazil, will surely some day support a large industrial population; of which the advent would be hastened, although not necessarily in permanently better fashion, if Colonel Rondon's anticipations about the development of mining, especially gold mining, are realized. In any event the region will be a healthy home for a considerable agricultural and pastoral population. Above all, the many swift streams with their numerous waterfalls, some of great height and volume, offer the chance for the upgrowth of a number of big manufacturing communities, knit by rail- roads to one another and to the Atlantic coast and the valleys of the Paraguay, Madeira, and Amazon, and feeding and being fed by the dwellers in the rich, hot, alluvial lowlands that surround this elevated territory. The work of Colonel Rondon and his associates of the Telegraphic Commission has been to open this great and virgin land to the knowledge of the world and to the service of their nation. In doing so they have incidentally founded the Brazilian school of exploration. Before their day almost all the scientific and regular exploration of Brazil was done by foreigners. But, of course, there was much exploration and settlement by nameless Brazilians, who were merely endeavoring to make new homes or advance their private fortunes: in recent years by rubber-gatherers, for instance, and a century ago by those bold and restless adventurers, partly of Portuguese and partly of Indian blood, the Paolistas, from one of whom Colonel Rondon is himself descended on his father's side.

The camp by this river was in some old and grown-up fields, once the seat of a rather extensive maize and mandioc cultivation by the Nhambiquaras. On this day Cherrie got a number of birds new to the collection, and two or three of them probably new to science. We had found the birds for the most part in worn plumage, for the breeding season, the southern spring and northern fall, was over. But some birds were still breeding. In the tropics the breeding season is more irregular than in the north. Some birds breed at very different times from that chosen by the majority of their fellows; some can hardly be said to have any regular season; Cherrie had found one species of honey-creeper breeding in every month of the year. Just before sunset and just after sunrise big, noisy, blue-and-yellow macaws flew over this camp. They were plentiful enough to form a loose flock, but each pair kept to itself, the two individuals always close together and always separated from the rest. Although not an abundant, it was an interesting, fauna which the two naturalists found in this upland country, where hitherto no collections of birds and mammals had been made. Miller trapped several species of opossums, mice and rats which were new to him. Cherrie got many birds which he did not recognize. At this camp, among totally strange forms, he found an old and familiar acquaintance. Before breakfast he brought in several birds; a dark colored flycatcher, with white forehead and rump and two very long tail-feathers; a black and slate-blue tanager; a black ant-thrush with a concealed white spot on its back, at the base of the neck, and its dull-colored mate; and other birds which he believed to be new to science, but whose relationships with any of our birds are so remote that it is hard to describe them save in technical language. Finally, among these unfamiliar forms was a veery, and the sight of the rufous- olive back and faintly spotted throat of this singer of our northern Junes made us almost homesick.

Next day was brilliantly clear. The mules could not be brought in until quite late in the morning, and we had to march twenty miles under the burning tropical sun, right in the hottest part of the day. From a rise of ground we looked back over the vast, sunlit landscape, the endless rolling stretches of low forest. Midway on our journey we crossed a brook. The dogs minded the heat much. They continually ran off to one side, lay down in a shady place, waited until we were several hundred yards ahead, and then raced after us, overtook us, and repeated the performance. The pack-train came in about sunset; but we ourselves reached the Juruena in the middle of the afternoon.

The Juruena is the name by which the Tapajos goes along its upper course. Where we crossed, it was a deep, rapid stream, flowing in a heavily wooded valley with rather steep sides. We were ferried across on the usual balsa, a platform on three dugouts, running by the force of the current on a wire trolley. There was a clearing on each side with a few palms, and on the farther bank were the buildings of the telegraph station. This is a wild country, and the station was guarded by a few soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Marino, a native of Rio Grande do Sul, a blond man who looked like an Englishman—an agreeable companion, and a good and resolute officer, as all must be who do their work in this wilderness. The Juruena was first followed at the end of the eighteenth century by the Portuguese explorer Franco, and not again until over a hundred years had elapsed, when the Telegraphic Commission not only descended, but for the first time accurately placed and mapped its course.

There were several houses on the rise of the farther bank, all with thatched roofs, some of them with walls of upright tree-trunks, some of them daub and wattle. Into one of the latter, with two rooms, we took our belongings. The sand-flies were bothersome at night, coming through the interstices in the ordinary mosquito-nets. The first night they did this I got no sleep until morning, when it was cool enough for me to roll myself in my blanket and put on a head-net. Afterward we used fine nets of a kind of cheese-cloth. They were hot, but they kept out all, or almost all, of the sand-flies and other small tormentors.

Here we overtook the rearmost division of Captain Amilcar's bullock- train. Our own route had diverged, in order to pass the great falls. Captain Amilcar had come direct, overtaking the pack-oxen, which had left Tapirapoan before we did, laden with material for the Duvida trip. He had brought the oxen through in fine shape, losing only three beasts with their loads, and had himself left the Juruena the morning of the day we reached there. His weakest animals left that evening, to make the march by moonlight; and as it was desirable to give them thirty-six hours' start, we halted for a day on the banks of the river. It was not a wasted day. In addition to bathing and washing our clothes, the naturalists made some valuable additions to the collection—including a boldly marked black, blue, and white jay—and our photographs were developed and our writing brought abreast of the date. Travelling through a tropical wilderness in the rainy season, when the amount of baggage that can be taken is strictly limited, entails not only a good deal of work, but also the exercise of considerable ingenuity if the writing and photographing, and especially the preservation, of the specimens are to be done in satisfactory shape.

At the telegraph office we received news that the voyage of Lauriado and Fiala down the Papagaio had opened with a misadventure. In some bad rapids, not many miles below the falls, two of the canoes had been upset, half of their provisions and all of Fiala's baggage lost, and Fiala himself nearly drowned. The Papagaio is known both at the source and the mouth; to descend it did not represent a plunge into the unknown, as in the case of the Duvida or the Ananas; but the actual water work, over the part that was unexplored, offered the same possibilities of mischance and disaster. It is a hazardous thing to descend a swift, unknown river rushing through an uninhabited wilderness. To descend or ascend the ordinary great highway rivers of South America, such as the Amazon, Paraguay, Tapajos, and, in its lower course, the Orinoco, is now so safe and easy, whether by steam- boat or big, native cargo-boat, that people are apt to forget the very serious difficulties offered by the streams, often themselves great rivers, which run into or form the upper courses of these same water highways. Few things are easier than the former feat, and few more difficult than the latter; and experience in ordinary travelling on the lower courses of the rivers is of no benefit whatever in enabling a man to form a judgement as to what can be done, and how to do it, on the upper courses. Failure to remember this fact is one of the obstacles in the way of securing a proper appreciation of the needs and the results, of South American exploration.

At the Juruena we met a party of Nhambiquaras, very friendly and sociable, and very glad to see Colonel Rondon. They were originally exceedingly hostile and suspicious, but the colonel's unwearied thoughtfulness and good temper, joined with his indomitable resolution, enabled him to avoid war and to secure their friendship and even their aid. He never killed one. Many of them are known to him personally. He is on remarkably good terms with them, and they are very fond of him—although this does not prevent them from now and then yielding to temptation, even at his expense, and stealing a dog or something else which strikes them as offering an irresistible attraction. They cannot be employed at steady work; but they do occasional odd jobs, and are excellent at hunting up strayed mules or oxen; and a few of the men have begun to wear clothes, purely for ornament. Their confidence and bold friendliness showed how well they had been treated. Probably half of our visitors were men; several were small boys; one was a woman with a baby; the others were young married women and girls.

Nowhere in Africa did we come across wilder or more absolutely primitive savages, although these Indians were pleasanter and better- featured than any of the African tribes at the same stage of culture. Both sexes were well-made and rather good-looking, with fairly good teeth, although some of them seemed to have skin diseases. They were a laughing, easy-tempered crew, and the women were as well-fed as the men, and were obviously well-treated, from the savage standpoint; there was no male brutality like that which forms such a revolting feature in the life of the Australian black fellows and, although to a somewhat less degree, in the life of so many negro and Indian tribes. They were practically absolutely naked. In many savage tribes the men go absolutely naked, but the women wear a breech-clout or loincloth. In certain tribes we saw near Lake Victoria Nyanza, and on the upper White Nile, both men and women were practically naked. Among these Nhambiquaras the women were more completely naked than the men, although the difference was not essential. The men wore a string around the waist. Most of them wore nothing else, but a few had loosely hanging from this string in front a scanty tuft of dried grass, or a small piece of cloth, which, however, was of purely symbolic use so far as either protection or modesty was concerned. The women did not wear a stitch of any kind anywhere on their bodies. They did not have on so much as a string, or a bead, or even an ornament in their hair. They were all, men and women, boys and well-grown young girls, as entirely at ease and unconscious as so many friendly animals. All of them—men, women, and children, laughing and talking— crowded around us, whether we were on horseback or on foot. They flocked into the house, and when I sat down to write surrounded me so closely that I had to push them gently away. The women and girls often stood holding one another's hands, or with their arms over one another's shoulders or around one another's waists, offering an attractive picture. The men had holes pierced through the septum of the nose and through the upper lip, and wore a straw through each hole. The women were not marked or mutilated. It seems like a contradiction in terms, but it is nevertheless a fact that the behavior of these completely naked women and men was entirely modest. There was never an indecent look or a consciously indecent gesture. They had no blankets or hammocks, and when night came simply lay down in the sand. Colonel Rondon stated that they never wore a covering by night or by day, and if it was cool slept one on each side of a small fire. Their huts were merely slight shelters against the rain.

The moon was nearly full, and after nightfall a few of the Indians suddenly held an improvised dance for us in front of our house. There were four men, a small boy, and two young women or grown girls. Two of the men had been doing some work for the commission, and were dressed, one completely and one partially, in ordinary clothes. Two of the men and the boy were practically naked, and the two young women were absolutely so. All of them danced in a circle, without a touch of embarrassment or impropriety. The two girls kept hold of each other's hands throughout, dancing among the men as modestly as possible, and with the occasional interchange of a laugh or jest, in as good taste and temper as in any dance in civilization. The dance consisted in slowly going round in a circle, first one way then the other, rhythmically beating time with the feet to the music of the song they were chanting. The chants—there were three of them, all told—were measured and rather slowly uttered melodies, varied with an occasional half-subdued shrill cry. The women continually uttered a kind of long- drawn wailing or droning; I am not enough of a musician to say whether it was an overtone or the sustaining of the burden of the ballad. The young boy sang better than any of the others. It was a strange and interesting sight to see these utterly wild, friendly savages circling in their slow dance, and chanting their immemorial melodies, in the brilliant tropical moonlight, with the river rushing by in the background, through the lonely heart of the wilderness.

The Indians stayed with us, feasting, dancing, and singing until the early hours of the morning. They then suddenly and silently disappeared in the darkness, and did not return. In the morning we discovered that they had gone off with one of Colonel Rondon's dogs. Probably the temptation had proved irresistible to one of their number, and the others had been afraid to interfere, and also afraid to stay in or return to our neighborhood. We had not time to go after them; but Rondon remarked that as soon as he again came to the neighborhood he would take some soldiers, hunt up the Indians, and reclaim the dog. It has been his mixture of firmness, good nature, and good judgment that has enabled him to control these bold, warlike savages, and even to reduce the warfare between them and the Parecis. In spite of their good nature and laughter, their fearlessness and familiarity showed how necessary it was not to let them get the upper hand. They are always required to leave all their arms a mile or two away before they come into the encampment. They are much wilder and more savage, and at a much lower cultural level, than the Parecis.

In the afternoon of the day following our arrival there was a heavy rain-storm which drove into the unglazed windows, and here and there came through the roof and walls of our daub-and-wattle house. The heat was intense and there was much moisture in this valley. During the downpour I looked out at the dreary little houses, showing through the driving rain, while the sheets of muddy water slid past their door- sills; and I felt a sincere respect for the lieutenant and his soldiers who were holding this desolate outpost of civilization. It is an unhealthy spot; there has been much malarial fever and beriberi—an obscure and deadly disease.

Next morning we resumed our march. It soon began to rain and we were drenched when, some fifteen miles on, we reached the river where we were to camp. After the great heat we felt quite cold in our wet clothes, and gladly crowded round a fire which was kindled under a thatched shed, beside the cabin of the ferryman. This ferry-boat was so small that it could only take one mule, or at most two, at a time. The mules and a span of six oxen dragging an ox-cart, which we had overtaken, were ferried slowly to the farther side that afternoon, as there was no feed on the hither bank, where we ourselves camped. The ferryman was a soldier in the employ of the Telegraphic Commission. His good-looking, pleasant-mannered wife, evidently of both Indian and negro blood, was with him, and was doing all she could do as a housekeeper, in the comfortless little cabin, with its primitive bareness of furniture and fittings.

Here we saw Captain Amilcar, who had come back to hurry up his rear- guard. We stood ankle-deep in mud and water, by the swollen river, while the rain beat on us, and enjoyed a few minutes' talk with the cool, competent officer who was doing a difficult job with such workman-like efficiency. He had no poncho, and was wet through, but was much too busy in getting his laden oxen forward to think of personal discomfort. He had had a good deal of trouble with his mules, but his oxen were still in fair shape.

After leaving the Juruena the ground became somewhat more hilly, and the scrubby forest was less open, but otherwise there was no change in the monotonous, and yet to me rather attractive, landscape. The ant- hills, and the ant-houses in the trees—arboreal ant-hills, so to speak were as conspicuous as ever. The architects of some were red ants, of others black ants; and others, which were on the whole the largest, had been built by the white ants, the termites. The latter were not infrequently taller than a horseman's head.

That evening round the camp-fire Colonel Rondon happened to mention how the brother of one of the soldiers with us—a Parecis Indian—had been killed by a jararaca snake. Cherrie told of a narrow escape he had from one while collecting in Guiana. At night he used to set traps in camp for small mammals. One night he heard one of these traps go off under his hammock. He reached down for it, and as he fumbled for the chain he felt a snake strike at him, just missing him in the darkness, but actually brushing his hand. He lit a light and saw that a big jararaca had been caught in the trap; and he preserved it as a specimen. Snakes frequently came into his camp after nightfall. He killed one rattlesnake which had swallowed the skinned bodies of four mice he had prepared as specimens; which shows that rattlesnakes do not always feed only on living prey. Another rattlesnake which he killed in Central America had just swallowed an opossum which proved to be of a species new to science. Miller told how once on the Orinoco he saw on the bank a small anaconda, some ten feet long, killing one of the iguanas, big, active, truculent, carnivorous lizards, equally at home on the land and in the water. Evidently the iguanas were digging out holes in the bank in which to lay their eggs; for there were several such holes, and iguanas working at them. The snake had crushed its prey to a pulp; and not more than a couple of feet away another iguana was still busily, and with entire unconcern, engaged in making its burrow. At Miller's approach the anaconda left the dead iguana and rushed into the water, and the live iguana promptly followed it. Miller also told of the stone gods and altars and temples he had seen in the great Colombian forests, monuments of strange civilizations which flourished and died out ages ago, and of which all memory has vanished. He and Cherrie told of giant rivers and waterfalls, and of forests never penetrated, and mountains never ascended by civilized man; and of bloody revolutions that devastated the settled regions. Listening to them I felt that they could write "Tales of Two Naturalists" that would be worth reading.

They were short of literature, by the way—a party such as ours always needs books—and as Kermit's reading-matter consisted chiefly of Camoens and other Portuguese, or else Brazilian, writers, I strove to supply the deficiency with spare volumes of Gibbon. At the end of our march we were usually far ahead of the mule-train, and the rain was also usually falling. Accordingly we would sit about under trees, or under a shed or lean-to, if there was one, each solemnly reading a volume of Gibbon—and no better reading can be found. In my own case, as I had been having rather a steady course of Gibbon, I varied him now and then with a volume of Arsene Lupin lent me by Kermit.

There were many swollen rivers to cross at this point of our journey. Some we waded at fords. Some we crossed by rude bridges. The larger ones, such as the Juina, we crossed by ferry, and when the approaches were swampy, and the river broad and swift, many hours might be consumed in getting the mule-train, the loose bullocks, and the ox- cart over. We had few accidents, although we once lost a ferry-load of provisions, which was quite a misfortune in a country where they could not be replaced. The pasturage was poor, and it was impossible to make long marches with our weakened animals.

At one camp three Nhambiquaras paid us a visit at breakfast time. They left their weapons behind them before they appeared, and shouted loudly while they were still hid by the forest, and it was only after repeated answering calls of welcome that they approached. Always in the wilderness friends proclaim their presence; a silent advance marks a foe. Our visitors were men, and stark naked, as usual. One seemed sick; he was thin, and his back was scarred with marks of the grub of the loathsome berni fly. Indeed, all of them showed scars, chiefly from insect wounds. But the other two were in good condition, and, although they ate greedily of the food offered them, they had with them a big mandioc cake, some honey, and a little fish. One of them wore a high helmet of puma-skin, with the tail hanging down his back— handsome head-gear, which he gladly bartered for several strings of bright coral-red beads. Around the upper arms of two of them were bands bound so tightly as to cut into and deform the muscles—a singular custom, seemingly not only purposeless but mischievous, which is common among this tribe and many others.

The Nhambiquaras are a numerous tribe, covering a large region. But they have no general organization. Each group of families acts for itself. Half a dozen years previously they had been very hostile, and Colonel Rondon had to guard his camp and exercise every precaution to guarantee his safety, while at the same time successfully endeavoring to avoid the necessity of himself shedding blood. Now they are, for the most part, friendly. But there are groups or individuals that are not. Several soldiers have been killed at these little lonely stations; and while in some cases the attack may have been due to the soldiers having meddled with Nhambiquara women, in other cases the killing was entirely wanton and unprovoked. Sooner or later these criminals or outlaws will have to be brought to justice; it will not do to let their crimes go unpunished. Twice soldiers have deserted and fled to the Nhambiquaras. The runaways were well received, were given wives, and adopted into the tribe.

The country when opened will be a healthy abode for white settlers. But pioneering in the wilderness is grim work for both man and beast. Continually, as we journeyed onward, under the pitiless glare of the sun or through blinding torrents of rain, we passed desolate little graves by the roadside. They marked the last resting places of men who had died by fever, or dysentery, or Nhambiquara arrows. We raised our hats as our mules plodded slowly by through the sand. On each grave was a frail wooden cross, and this and the paling round about were already stained by the weather as gray as the tree trunks of the stunted forest that stretched endlessly on every side.

The skeletons of mules and oxen were frequent along the road. Now and then we came across a mule or ox which had been abandoned by Captain Amilcar's party, ahead of us. The animal had been left with the hope that when night came it would follow along the trail to water. Sometimes it did so. Sometimes we found it dead, or standing motionless waiting for death. From time to time we had to leave behind one of our own mules.

It was not always easy to recognize what pasturage the mules would accept as good. One afternoon we pitched camp by a tiny rivulet, in the midst of the scrubby upland forest; a camp, by the way, where the piums, the small, biting flies, were a torment during the hours of daylight, while after dark their places were more than taken by the diminutive gnats which the Brazilians expressively term "polvora," or powder, and which get through the smallest meshes of a mosquito-net. The feed was so scanty, and the cover so dense, at this spot that I thought we would have great difficulty in gathering the mules next morning. But we did not. A few hours later, in the afternoon, we camped by a beautiful open meadow; on one side ran a rapid brook, with a waterfall eight feet high, under which we bathed and swam. Here the feed looked so good that we all expressed pleasure. But the mules did not like it, and after nightfall they hiked back on the trail, and it was a long and arduous work to gather them next morning.

I have touched above on the insect pests. Men unused to the South American wilderness speak with awe of the danger therein from jaguars, crocodiles, and poisonous snakes. In reality, the danger from these sources is trivial, much less than the danger of being run down by an automobile at home. But at times the torment of insect plagues can hardly be exaggerated. There are many different species of mosquitoes, some of them bearers of disease. There are many different kinds of small, biting flies and gnats, loosely grouped together under various titles. The ones more especially called piums by my companions were somewhat like our northern black flies. They gorged themselves with blood. At the moment their bites did not hurt, but they left an itching scar. Head-nets and gloves are a protection, but are not very comfortable in stifling hot weather. It is impossible to sleep without mosquito-biers. When settlers of the right type come into a new land they speedily learn to take the measures necessary to minimize the annoyance caused by all these pests. Those that are winged have plenty of kinsfolk in so much of the northern continent as has not yet been subdued by man. But the most noxious of the South American ants have, thank heaven, no representatives in North America. At the camp of the piums a column of the carnivorous foraging ants made its appearance before nightfall, and for a time we feared it might put us out of our tents, for it went straight through camp, between the kitchen-tent and our own sleeping tents. However, the column turned neither to the right nor the left, streaming uninterruptedly past for several hours, and doing no damage except to the legs of any incautious man who walked near it.

On the afternoon of February 15 we reached Campos Novos. This place was utterly unlike the country we had been traversing. It was a large basin, several miles across, traversed by several brooks. The brooks ran in deep swampy valleys, occupied by a matted growth of tall tropical forest. Between them the ground rose in bold hills, bare of forest and covered with grass, on which our jaded animals fed eagerly. On one of these rounded hills a number of buildings were ranged in a quadrangle, for the pasturage at this spot is so good that it is permanently occupied. There were milch cows, and we got delicious fresh milk; and there were goats, pigs, turkeys, and chickens. Most of the buildings were made of upright poles with roofs of palm thatch. One or two were of native brick, plastered with mud, and before these there was an enclosure with a few ragged palms, and some pineapple plants. Here we halted. Our attendants made two kitchens: one was out in the open air, one was under a shelter of ox-hide. The view over the surrounding grassy hills, riven by deep wooded valleys, was lovely. The air was cool and fresh. We were not bothered by insects, although mosquitoes swarmed in every belt of timber. Yet there has been much fever at this beautiful and seemingly healthy place. Doubtless when settlement is sufficiently advanced a remedy will be developed. The geology of this neighborhood was interesting—Oliveira found fossil tree-trunks which he believed to be of cretaceous age.

Here we found Amilcar and Mello, who had waited for us with the rear- guard of their pack-train, and we enjoyed our meeting with the two fine fellows, than whom no military service of any nation could produce more efficient men for this kind of difficult and responsible work. Next morning they mustered their soldiers, muleteers, and pack- ox men and marched off. Reinisch the taxidermist was with them. We followed in the late afternoon, camping after a few miles. We left the oxcart at Campos Novos; from thence on the trail was only for pack- animals.

In this neighborhood the two naturalists found many birds which we had not hitherto met. The most conspicuous was a huge oriole, the size of a small crow, with a naked face, a black-and-red bill, and gaudily variegated plumage of green, yellow, and chestnut. Very interesting was the false bellbird, a gray bird with loud, metallic notes. There was also a tiny soft-tailed woodpecker, no larger than a kinglet; a queer humming-bird with a slightly flexible bill; and many species of ant-thrush, tanager, manakin, and tody. Among these unfamiliar forms was a vireo looking much like our solitary vireo. At one camp Cherrie collected a dozen perching birds; Miller a beautiful little rail; and Kermit, with the small Luger belt-rifle, a handsome curassow, nearly as big as a turkey—out of which, after it had been skinned, the cook made a delicious canja, the thick Brazilian soup of fowl and rice than which there is nothing better of its kind. All these birds were new to the collection—no naturalists had previously worked this region—so that the afternoon's work represented nine species new to the collection, six new genera, and a most excellent soup.

Two days after leaving Campos Novos we reached Vilhena, where there is a telegraph station. We camped once at a small river named by Colonel Rondon the "Twelfth of October," because he reached it on the day Columbus discovered America—I had never before known what day it was!—and once at the foot of a hill which he had named after Lyra, his companion in the exploration. The two days' march—really one full day and part of two others—was through beautiful country, and we enjoyed it thoroughly, although there were occasional driving rain- storms, when the rain came in almost level sheets and drenched every one and everything. The country was like that around Campos Novos, and offered a striking contrast to the level, barren, sandy wastes of the chapadao, which is a healthy region, where great industrial centres can arise, but not suited for extensive agriculture as are the lowland flats. For these forty-eight hours the trail climbed into and out of steep valleys and broad basins and up and down hills. In the deep valleys were magnificent woods, in which giant rubber-trees towered, while the huge leaves of the low-growing pacova, or wild banana, were conspicuous in the undergrowth. Great azure butterflies flitted through the open, sunny glades, and the bellbirds, sitting motionless, uttered their ringing calls from the dark stillness of the columned groves. The hillsides were grassy pastures or else covered with low, open forest.

A huge frog, brown above, with a light streak down each side, was found hiding under some sticks in a damp place in one of the improvised kitchens; and another frog, with disks on his toes, was caught on one of the tents. A coral-snake puzzled us. Some coral- snakes are harmless; others are poisonous, although not aggressive. The best authorities give an infallible recipe for distinguishing them by the pattern of the colors, but this particular specimen, although it corresponded exactly in color pattern with the description of the poisonous snakes, nevertheless had no poison-fangs that even after the most minute examination we could discover. Miller and one of the dogs caught a sariema, a big, long-legged, bustard-like bird, in rather a curious way. We were on the march, plodding along through as heavy a tropic downpour as it was our ill fortune to encounter. The sariema, evidently as drenched and uncomfortable as we were, was hiding under a bush to avoid the pelting rain. The dog discovered it, and after the bird valiantly repelled him, Miller was able to seize it. Its stomach contained about half a pint of grass-hoppers and beetles and young leaves. At Vilhena there was a tame sariema, much more familiar and at home than any of the poultry. It was without the least fear of man or dog. The sariema (like the screamer and the curassow) ought to be introduced into our barnyards and on our lawns, at any rate in the Southern States; it is a good-looking, friendly, and attractive bird. Another bird we met is in some places far more intimate, and domesticates itself. This is the pretty little honey-creeper. In Colombia Miller found the honey-creepers habitually coming inside the houses and hotels at meal-times, hopping about the table, and climbing into the sugar-bowl.

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