Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/15

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THE GULF.

the same who, if report said true, commanded the Calypso slave ship, with three hundred slaves on board, which was captured by an English cruiser off Mantanzas. Within sight of his port, his evil star prevailed; he was observed and chased—was obliged to run his ship aground, and only escaped certain hanging by leaping overboard, and swimming for his life to the shore. Though a slave dealer and excessively choleric, he was not without his good points. When not irritated, he might be termed good natured, and evinced generous and charitable feelings. He was doubtless an excellent seaman. His general manner, however, gave you the impression of his being soured by adversity, and by a constant struggle with misfortune. Among the crew under his command, you might enumerate probably as many nations as individuals; and nothing could be more amusing than to hear the orders, whenever he was in a bustle, given and responded to in English, Spanish, and French.


Among those who were entitled, by right of payment, to the same accommodation as ourselves—with exception of the special enjoyment of the berths and cockroaches, which we had timely secured—there were characters such as would make the fortune of any of the present herd of tale-weavers for the annuals and magazines. I cannot linger, however, with either Don Pablo, a fat old Spaniard, full of conceits and odd scraps of songs, going to Mexico to seek his fortune, with a good chance of being hung as a Guachupin; or Don Garcia, an exiled Mexican officer, of Iturbide's party, repairing secretly thither with reasonable expectation of being discovered and shot; or Cortina, the captain who had lost his ship; or Celestina, the farceur of the company. Neither can I give you the history of the conjuror on board; nor describe the boisterous singing and gaming, the impure orgies and impious airs of the mauvais sujets, French, Spanish, German, nor give the history of the fair Creole emigrating from New Orleans, with her squalling child, under the protection of a fat and portly school-