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

Page 97

plodded wearily through the water; on every side stretched the marsh, vast, lonely, desolate in the gray of the half-light. We overtook the ox-carts. The cattle strained in the yokes; the drivers wading alongside cracked their whips and uttered strange cries; the carts rocked and swayed as the huge wheels churned through the mud and water. As the last light faded we reached the small patches of dry land at the landing, where the flat-bottomed side-wheel steamboat was moored to the bank. The tired horses and oxen were turned loose to graze. Water stood in the corrals, but the open shed was on dry ground. Under it the half-clad, wild-looking ox-drivers and horse-herders slung their hammocks; and close by they lit a fire and roasted, or scorched, slabs and legs of mutton, spitted on sticks and propped above the smouldering flame.
  Next morning, with real regret, we waved good-by to our dusky attendants, as they stood on the bank, grouped around a little fire, beside the big, empty ox-carts. A dozen miles down-stream a rowboat fitted for a spritsail put off from the bank. The owner, a countryman from a small ranch, asked for a tow to Corumb&á, which we gave. He had with him in the boat his comely brown wife—who was smoking a very large cigar—their two children, a young man, and a couple of trunks and various other belongings. On Christmas eve we reached Corumb&á, and rejoined the other members of the expedition.