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

Page 104

of agriculture, and the latter’s charming wife, and the president of Matto Grosso, and several other ladies and gentlemen, had come down the river to greet us, from the city of Cuyab&á, several hundred miles farther up-stream. As usual, we were treated with whole-hearted and generous hospitality. Some miles below the ranch-house the party met us, on a stern-wheel steamboat and a launch, both decked with many flags. The handsome white ranch-house stood only a few rods back from the river’s brink, in a grassy opening dotted with those noble trees, the royal palms. Other trees, buildings of all kinds, flower-gardens, vegetable-gardens, fields, corrals, and enclosures with high white walls stood near the house. A detachment of soldiers or state police, with a band, were in front of the house, and two flagpoles, one with the Brazilian flag already hoisted. The American flag was run up on the other as I stepped ashore, while the band played the national anthems of the two countries. The house held much comfort; and the comfort was all the more appreciated because even indoors the thermometer stood at 97° F. In the late afternoon heavy rain fell, and cooled the air. We were riding at the time. Around the house the birds were tame: the parrots and parakeets crowded and chattered in the tree tops; jacanas played in the wet ground just back of the garden; ibises and screamers called loudly in the swamps a little distance off.
  Until we came actually in sight of this great ranch-house we had been passing through a hot, fertile, pleasant wilderness, where the few small palm-roofed houses, each in its little patch of sugar-cane, corn, and mandioc,