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

Page 325

a newly built house in a little planted clearing; and we cheered heartily. No one was at home, but the house, of palm thatch, was clean and cool. A couple of dogs were on watch, and the belongings showed that a man, a woman, and a child lived there, and had only just left. Another hour brought us to a similar house where dwelt an old black man, who showed the innate courtesy of the Brazilian peasant. We came on these rubbermen and their houses in about latitude 10° 24´.
  In mid-afternoon we stopped at another clean, cool, picturesque house of palm thatch. The inhabitants all fled at our approach, fearing an Indian raid; for they were absolutely unprepared to have any one come from the unknown regions up-stream. They returned and were most hospitable and communicative; and we spent the night there. Said Antonio Correa to Kermit: “It seems like a dream to be in a house again, and hear the voices of men and women, instead of being among those mountains and rapids.” The river was known to them as the Castanho, and was the main affluent or rather the left or western branch, of the Aripuanan; the Castanho is a name used by the rubbergatherers only; it is unknown to the geographers. We were, according to our informants, about fifteen days’ journey from the confluence of the two rivers; but there were many rubbermen along the banks, some of whom had become permanent settlers. We had come over three hundred kilometres, in forty-eight days, over absolutely unknown ground; we had seen no human being, although we had twice heard Indians. Six weeks had been spent in steadily slogging our way down through the interminable series of rapids.