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

Page 139

in substantially similar clothes, the difference being that those of the camaradas, the poorer men or laborers, were in tatters. In the canoes no man wore anything save a shirt, trousers, and hat, the feet being bare. On horseback they wore long leather leggings which were really simply high, rather flexible boots with the soles off; their spurs were on their tough bare feet. There was every gradation between and among the nearly pure whites, negroes, and Indians. On the whole, there was most white blood in the upper ranks, and most Indian and negro blood among the camaradas; but there were exceptions in both classes, and there was no discrimination on account of color. All alike were courteous and friendly.
  The hounds were at first carried in two of the dugouts, and then let loose on the banks. We went up-stream for a couple of hours against the swift current, the paddlers making good headway with their pointed paddles—the broad blade of each paddle was tipped with a long point, so that it could be thrust into the mud to keep the low dugout against the bank. The tropical forest came down almost like a wall, the tall trees laced together with vines, and the spaces between their trunks filled with a low, dense jungle. In most places it could only be penetrated by a man with a machete. With few exceptions the trees were unknown to me, and their native names told me nothing. On most of them the foliage was thick; among the exceptions were the cecropias, growing by preference on new-formed alluvial soil bare of other trees, whose rather scanty leaf bunches were, as I was informed, the favorite food of sloths.