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

Page 78

men of mixed blood. They were barefooted and scantily clad, and each carried a long, clumsy spear and a keen machete, in the use of which he was an expert. Now and then, in thick jungle, we had to cut out a path, and it was interesting to see one of them, although cumbered by his unwieldy spear, handling his half-broken little horse with complete ease while he hacked at limbs and branches. Of the two ordinarily with us one was much the younger; and whenever we came to an unusually doubtful-looking ford or piece of boggy ground the elder man always sent the younger one on and sat on the bank until he saw what befell the experimenter. In that rather preposterous book of our youth, the “Swiss Family Robinson,” mention is made of a tame monkey called Nips, which was used to test all edible-looking things as to the healthfulness of which the adventurers felt doubtful; and because of the obvious resemblance of function we christened this younger hunter Nips. Our guides were not only hunters but cattle-herders. The coarse dead grass is burned to make room for the green young grass on which the cattle thrive. Every now and then one of the men, as he rode ahead of us, without leaving the saddle, would drop a lighted match into a tussock of tall dead blades; and even as we who were behind rode by tongues of hot flame would be shooting up and a local prairie fire would have started.
  Kermit took Nips off with him for a solitary hunt one day. He shot two of the big marsh-deer, a buck and a doe, and preserved them as museum specimens. They were in the papyrus growth, but their stomachs contained only the fine marsh-grass which grows in the