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

Page 101

white blossoms on a much larger tree. In a lagoon bordered by the taquar&á bamboo a school of big otters were playing; when they came to the surface, they opened their mouths like seals, and made a loud hissing noise. The crested screamers, dark gray and as large as turkeys, perched on the very topmost branches of the tallest trees. Hyacinth macaws screamed harshly as they flew across the river. Among the trees was the guan, another peculiar bird as big as a big grouse, and with certain habits of the wood-grouse, but not akin to any northern game-bird. The windpipe of the male is very long, extending down to the end of the breast-bone, and the bird utters queer guttural screams. A dead cayman floated down-stream, with a black vulture devouring it. Capybaras stood or squatted on the banks; sometimes they stared stupidly at us; sometimes they plunged into the river at our approach. At long intervals we passed little clearings. In each stood a house of palm-logs, with steeply pitched roof of palm thatch; and near by were patches of corn and mandioc. The dusky owner, and perhaps his family, came out on the bank to watch us as we passed. It was a hot day—the thermometer on the deck in the shade stood at nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Biting flies came aboard even when we were in midstream.
  Next day we were ascending the Cuyab&á River. It had begun raining in the night, and the heavy downpour continued throughout the forenoon. In the morning we halted at a big cattle-ranch to get fresh milk and beef. There were various houses, sheds, and corrals near the river’s edge, and fifty or sixty milch cows were gathered