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

Page 73

quadrangle, surrounded by a fence or low stockade. One end of the quadrangle was formed by the ranch-house itself, one story high, with whitewashed walls and red-tiled roof. Inside, the rooms were bare, with clean, whitewashed walls and palm-trunk rafters. There were solid wooden shutters on the unglazed windows. We slept in hammocks or on cots, and we feasted royally on delicious native Brazilian dishes. On another side of the quadrangle stood another long, low white building with a red-tiled roof; this held the kitchen and the living-rooms of the upper-grade peons, the headmen, the cook, and jaguar-hunters, with their families: dark-skinned men, their wives showing varied strains of white, Indian, and negro blood. The children tumbled merrily in the dust, and were fondly tended by their mothers. Opposite the kitchen stood a row of buildings, some whitewashed daub and wattle, with tin roofs, others of erect palm-logs with palm-leaf thatch. These were the saddle-room, storehouse, chicken-house, and stable. The chicken-house was allotted to Kermit and Miller for the preparation of the specimens; and there they worked industriously. With a big skin, like that of the giant ant-eater, they had to squat on the ground; while the ducklings and wee chickens scuffled not only round the skin but all over it, grabbing the shreds and scraps of meat and catching flies. The fourth end of the quadrangle was formed by a corral and a big wooden scaffolding on which hung hides and strips of drying meat. Extraordinary to relate, there were no mosquitoes at the ranch; why I cannot say, as they ought to swarm in these vast “pantanals,” or swamps. Therefore, in spite of the heat,