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

Page 225

shrill cry. The women continually uttered a kind of long-drawn wailing or droning; I am not enough of a musician to say whether it was an overtone or the sustaining of the burden of the ballad. The young boy sang better than any of the others. It was a strange and interesting sight to see these utterly wild, friendly savages circling in their slow dance, and chanting their immemorial melodies, in the brilliant tropical moonlight, with the river rushing by in the background, through the lonely heart of the wilderness
  The Indians stayed with us, feasting, dancing, and singing until the early hours of the morning. They then suddenly and silently disappeared in the darkness, and did not return. In the morning we discovered that they had gone off with one of Colonel Rondon’s dogs. Probably the temptation had proved irresistible to one of their number, and the others had been afraid to interfere, and also afraid to stay in or return to our neighborhood. We had not time to go after them; but Rondon remarked that as soon as he again came to the neighborhood he would take some soldiers, hunt up the Indians, and reclaim the dog. It has been his mixture of firmness, good nature, and good judgment that has enabled him to control these bold, warlike savages, and even to reduce the warfare between them and the Parecís. In spite of their good nature and laughter, their fearlessness and familiarity showed how necessary it was not to let them get the upper hand. They are always required to leave all their arms a mile or two away before they come into the encampment. They are much wilder and more savage, and at a much lower cultural level, than the Parecís