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

Page 30

sunrise, he left his camp by the south shore of the lake, to make a topographical sketch of the lake. He was unarmed, but carried a prismatic compass in a leather case with a strap. It was cold, and he wrapped his poncho of guanaco-hide round his neck and head. He had walked a few hundred yards, when a puma, a female, sprang on him from behind and knocked him down. As she sprang on him she tried to seize his head with one paw, striking him on the shoulder with the other. She lacerated his mouth and also his back, but tumbled over with him, and in the scuffle they separated before she could bite him. He sprang to his feet, and, as he said, was forced to think quickly. She had recovered herself, and sat on her haunches like a cat, looking at him, and then crouched to spring again; whereupon he whipped off his poncho, and as she sprang at him he opened it, and at the same moment hit her head with the prismatic compass in its case which he held by the strap. She struck the poncho and was evidently puzzled by it, for, turning, she slunk off to one side, under a bush, and then proceeded to try to get round behind him. He faced her, keeping his eyes upon her, and backed off. She followed him for three or four hundred yards. At least twice she came up to attack him, but each time he opened his poncho and yelled, and at the last moment she shrank back. She continually, however, tried, by taking advantage of cover, to sneak up to one side, or behind, to attack him. Finally, when he got near camp, she abandoned the pursuit and went into a small patch of bushes. He raised the alarm; an Indian rode up and set fire to the bushes