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

Page 235

a delicious canja, the thick Brazilian soup of fowl and rice than which there is nothing better of its kind. All these birds were new to the collection—no naturalists had previously worked this region—so that the afternoon’s work represented nine species new to the collection, six new genera, and a most excellent soup.
  Two days after leaving Campos Novos we reached Vilhena, where there is a telegraph station. We camped once at a small river named by Colonel Rondon the “Twelfth of October,” because he reached it on the day Columbus discovered America—I had never before known what day it was!—and once at the foot of a hill which he had named after Lyra, his companion in the exploration. The two days’ march—really one full day and part of two others—was through beautiful country, and we enjoyed it thoroughly, although there were occasional driving rain-storms, when the rain came in almost level sheets and drenched every one and everything. The country was like that around Campos Novos, and offered a striking contrast to the level, barren, sandy wastes of the chapadão, which is a healthy region, where great industrial centres can arise, but not suited for extensive agriculture as are the lowland flats. For these fortyeight hours the trail climbed into and out of steep valleys and broad basins and up and down hills. In the deep valleys were magnificent woods, in which giant rubber-trees towered, while the huge leaves of the low-growing pacova, or wild banana, were conspicuous in the undergrowth. Great azure butterflies flitted through the open, sunny glades, and the bell-birds, sitting motionless, uttered their ringing calls from the dark stillness of the columned