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

Page 202

grandeur. The fall is over a shelving ledge of rock which goes in a nearly straight line across the river’s course. But at the left there is a salient in the cliff-line, and here accordingly a great cataract of foaming water comes down almost as a separate body, in advance of the line of the main fall. I doubt whether, excepting, of course, Niagara, there is a waterfall in North America which outranks this if both volume and beauty are considered. Above the fall the river flows through a wide valley with gently sloping sides. Below, it slips along, a torrent of whity-green water, at the bottom of a deep gorge; and the sides of the gorge are clothed with a towering growth of tropical forest.
  Next morning the cacique of these Indians, in his major’s uniform, came to breakfast, and bore himself with entire propriety. It was raining heavily—it rained most of the time—and a few minutes previously I had noticed the cacique’s two wives, with three or four other young women, going out to the mandioc fields. It was a picturesque group. The women were all mothers, and each carried a nursing child. They wore loin-cloths or short skirts. Each carried on her back a wickerwork basket supported by a head-strap which went around her forehead. Each carried a belt slung diagonally across her body, over her right shoulder; in this the child was carried, against and perhaps astride of her left hip. They were comely women, who did not look jaded or cowed; and they laughed cheerfully and nodded to us as they passed through the rain, on their way to the fields. But the contrast between them and the chief in his soldier’s uniform seated at breakfast was rather too striking; and