(register's special Iowa news service.)
"Knoxville resident(sic) don't wonder, as does the rest of the world, at Miss Elizabeth Steen (known as Bessie to Knoxville).
Bessie Steen has made one trip into the Brazilian jungles. She was going to make another this winter, accompanied only by a native guide, but the Brazilian government refused her permission, because a notorious bandit was plying his trade in part of the country she wanted to explore.
"That probably made her right angry," people who knew Bessie Steen when she lived here commented. "She never was afraid of anything."
As a girl Miss Steen killed and skinned 100 mice. She carefully prepared the hides and made them into a little fur rug.
So Dr. Wright Says. The Thomas Steen home always was the gathering place for youngsters who liked to capture snakes, ground squirrels and other rodents and reptiles. And according to Dr. J. Robert Wright, Knoxville physician, Miss Steen was more venturesome than the most daring boy in the neighborhood.
"We all held her in awe," he said, "for she had more nerve than any of us."
One of Bessie's favorite stunts was to capture a large bull snake tame it and show the youngsters of the neighborhood what an excellent "snake charmer" she was. She never seemed to have the slightest fear of them," said another "boy friend" of Bessie's.
Perhaps her interest was aroused because George K. Cherrie, former Knoxville man and now a famous explorer, was then at the height of his career. Miss Steen and Mr. Cherrie are related.
A few years ago Miss Steen's brother, Thomas Steen, Jr., located in Sao Paulo in Brizal(sic) and it was through him that her first opportunity for exploration came. Upon the completion of her work at the University of California, Miss Steen constantly pestered her brother for the chance to penetrate the Brazilian jungles. Finally he gave her a faint hint that something might be accomplished and she boarded the first boat for South America. Inaugural ceremonies for the new Governor were being held her first night in Brazil. Of course she was invited.
It was here that Bessie proved what Knoxville folks have always contended--that she was a very sensible girl. She arrayed herself in her most charming evening dress and went to the grand ball. She contrived an introduction to the governor, danced with him and obtained an appointment for the next day. That next day Miss Steen proved herself the master salesman, for she
sold his excellency upon the idea that much good could be accomplished through the visit of a woman to the various savage tribes. He agreed to see her through.
Then this winter she accumulated enough money to make another trip into the interior. But the bandit popped up to spoil it. Now she's coming home. Knoxville people are looking forward to the return of the girl who never was scared of mice."
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