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

Page 96

roped a big bull he would brace himself, bending back until he was almost sitting down and digging his heels into the ground, and the galloping beast would be stopped short and whirled completely round when the rope tautened. The maddened bulls, and an occasional steer or cow, charged again and again with furious wrath; but two or three ropes would settle on the doomed beast, and down it would go; and when it was released and rose and charged once more, with greater fury than ever, the men, shouting with laughter, would leap up the sides of the heavy stockade.
  We stayed at the ranch until a couple of days before Christmas. Hitherto the weather had been lovely. The night before we left there was a torrential tropic downpour. It was not unexpected, for we had been told that the rainy season was overdue. The following forenoon the baggage started, in a couple of two-wheeled ox-carts, for the landing where the steamboat awaited us. Each cart was drawn by eight oxen. The huge wheels were over seven feet high. Early in the afternoon we followed on horseback, and overtook the carts as darkness fell, just before we reached the landing on the river’s bank. The last few miles, after the final reaches of higher, tree-clad ground had been passed, were across a level plain of low ground on which the water stood, sometimes only up to the ankles of a man on foot, sometimes as high as his waist. Directly in front of us, many leagues distant, rose the bold mountains that lie west of Corumb&á. Behind them the sun was setting and kindled the overcast heavens with lurid splendor. Then the last rose tints faded from the sky; the horses