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

Page 144

hour or two. They were right, except as to the time. For over a couple of hours we paddled, or anchored ourselves by clutching branches close to the spot, or else drifted down a mile and paddled up again near the shore, to see if the body had caught anywhere. Then we crossed the river and had lunch at the lovely natural picnic-ground where the buck was hung up. We had very nearly given up the tapir when it suddenly floated only a few rods from where it had sunk. With no little difficulty the big, round black body was hoisted into the canoe, and we all turned our prows down-stream. The skies had been lowering for some time, and now—too late to interfere with the hunt or cause us any annoyance—a heavy downpour of rain came on and beat upon us. Little we cared, as the canoe raced forward, with the tapir and the buck lying in the bottom, and a dry, comfortable camp ahead of us.
  When we reached camp, and Father Zahm saw the tapir, he reminded me of something I had completely forgotten. When, some six years previously, he had spoken to me in the White House about taking this South American trip, I had answered that I could not, as I intended to go to Africa, but added that I hoped some day to go to South America and that if I did so I should try to shoot both a jaguar and a tapir, as they were the characteristic big-game animals of the country. “Well,” said Father Zahm, “now you’ve shot them both!” The storm continued heavy until after sunset. Then the rain stopped and the full moon broke through the cloud-rack. Father Zahm and I walked up and down in the moonlight, talking of many things, from Dante, and our own plans for