It is difficult, if not impossible, to find a more hospitable and generous nation than the Brazilian. The recollection of my trip through the wilds of Amazonas lingers in all its details, and although my experiences were not always of a pleasant character, yet the good treatment and warm reception accorded me make me feel the deepest sense of gratitude to the Brazilians, whose generosity will always abide in my memory.
There is in the Brazilian language a word that better than any other describes the feeling with which one remembers a sojourn in Brazil. This word, saudades, is charged with an abundance of sentiment, and, though a literal translation of it is difficult to arrive at, its meaning approaches "sweet memories of bygone days."
Although a limitation of space forbids my expressing in full my obligation to all those who treated me kindly, I must not omit to state my special indebtedness to three persons, without whose invaluable assistance and co-operation I would not have been able to complete this book.
First of all, my thanks are due to the worthy Colonel Rosendo da Silva, owner of the rubber estate Floresta on the Itecoahy River. Through his generosity and his interest, I was enabled to study the work and the life conditions of the rubber workers, the employees on his estate.
The equally generous but slightly less civilised Benjamin, high potentate of the tribe of Mangeroma cannibals, is the second to whom I wish to express my extreme gratitude, although my obligations to him are of a slightly different character: in the first place, because he did not order me to be killed and served up, well or medium done, to suit his fancy (which he had a perfect right to do); and, in the second place, because he took a great deal of interest in my personal welfare and bestowed all the strange favours upon me that are recorded in this book. He opened my eyes to things which, at the time and under the circumstances, did not impress me much, but which, nevertheless, convinced me that, even at this late period of the world's history, our earth has not been reduced to a dead level of drab and commonplace existence, and that somewhere in the remote parts of the world are still to be found people who have never seen or heard of white men.
Last, but not least, I wish to express my deep obligation to my valued friend, Frederick S. Dellenbaugh, who, through his helpful suggestions, made prior to my departure, contributed essentially to the final success of this enterprise, and whose friendly assistance has been called into requisition and unstintingly given in the course of the preparation of this volume.
NEW YORK, January, 1912.