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

Page 175

In addition to the pack-animals we all had riding-mules. The first day we journeyed about twelve miles, then crossing the Sepotuba and camping beside it, below a series of falls, or rather rapids. The country was level. It was a great natural pasture, covered with a very open forest of low, twisted trees, bearing a superficial likeness to the cross-timbers of Texas and Oklahoma. It is as well fitted for stock-raising as Oklahoma; and there is also much fine agricultural land, while the river will ultimately yield electric power. It is a fine country for settlement. The heat is great at noon; but the nights are not uncomfortable. We were supposed to be in the middle of the rainy season, but hitherto most of the days had been fine, varied with showers. The astonishing thing was the absence of mosquitoes. Insect pests that work by day can be stood, and especially by settlers, because they are far less serious foes in the clearings than in the woods. The mosquitoes and other night foes offer the really serious and unpleasant problem, because they break one’s rest. Hitherto, during our travels up the Paraguay and its tributaries, in this level, marshy tropical region of western Brazil, we had practically not been bothered by mosquitoes at all, in our home camps. Out in the woods they were at times a serious nuisance, and Cherrie and Miller had been subjected to real torment by them during some of their special expeditions; but there were practically none on the ranches and in our camps in the open fields by the river, even when marshes were close by. I was puzzled—and delighted—by their absence. Settlers need not be deterred from coming to this region by the fear of insect foes.