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

Page 185

the latter-day naturalist of the most vigorous type who goes into the untrodden wastes of the world must see and do many strange things; and still more owing to the character of the man himself. The things he had seen and done and undergone often enabled him to cast the light of his own past experience on unexpected subjects. Once we were talking about the proper weapons for cavalry, and some one mentioned the theory that the lance is especially formidable because of the moral effect it produces on the enemy. Cherrie nodded emphatically; and a little cross-examination elicited the fact that he was speaking from lively personal recollection of his own feelings when charged by lancers. It was while he was fighting with the Venezuelan insurgents in an unsuccessful uprising against the tyranny of Castro. He was on foot, with five Venezuelans, all cool men and good shots. In an open plain they were charged by twenty of Castro’s lancers, who galloped out from behind cover two or three hundred yards off. It was a war in which neither side gave quarter and in which the wounded and the prisoners were butchered—just as President Madero was butchered in Mexico. Cherrie knew that it meant death for him and his companions if the charge came home; and the sight of the horsemen running in at full speed, with their long lances in rest and the blades glittering, left an indelible impression on his mind. But he and his companions shot deliberately and accurately; ten of the lancers were killed, the nearest falling within fifty yards; and the others rode off in headlong haste. A cool man with a rifle, if he has mastered his weapon, need fear no foe.