Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/17

This page has been validated.
11
THE GULF.

machine; or that the same lips could pour forth that uncontrolled torrent of impure language, in hot vehemence of rage, when the possessor was under the influence of passion. Never did I see before me an example like that here afforded of the wakefulness of conscience, while the body slept. He never gave himself up to rest like other men. It seemed that his nerves were never unbraced, and his muscles never in complete repose—that the bow was never unstrung. The first impulse of his muscular arm on being disturbed, was to place itself in a position to guard the body; the first expression of his lineaments was that of suspicion. He never seemed to dream of his innocent childhood, but always of the scenes of his misspent and stormy manhood, and they truly were not calculated to lull his slumbers.

Thus crowded together and surrounded, it was a blessing to be favoured by wind and weather, and to have a reasonable hope of a speedy termination to our voyage. The meals, which occurred twice a day, were hasty and rude repasts, of which, hunger compelling of, we all partook, standing round the raised roof of the after cabin; below decks, it would have been impossible to assist at them.

Sunday was, of course, in nowise distinguished from ordinary days, by greater propriety of demeanour or calmer temper of mind. We were quite beyond the Sabbath: and the only thing which marked that such a day was entered on the log, was a quarrel, knife in hand, between the supervisor of provisions and the cook, arising from a claim to the honour of mixing the Sunday pudding, upon which each insisted. I forget who gained the victory ultimately, but I remember that the pudding was very badly mixed, and as tough as parchment.


The morning of the fifth day after quitting the Balize, as I have related, it fell calm. A golden mist hovered over the surface of the sea. and the green colour of its waters betokened our having come upon soundings. The weather, as the day advanced, maintained the same character. Portuguese men-of-war floated by hundreds