Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/18

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12
THE GULF.

about the goelette; and whenever the white vapours, in which the horizon was swathed, broke in our vicinity, and the sunlight burst upon us, the air was delicious. The state of inaction, however, was disagreeable, and the constant jar of what our captain, in his piebald language, called the pumtackle, as the bark rolled on the swell, not the less so. We were drifting slowly on the current to the northward. As the sun sank, however, the sea breeze filled our sails; and the mist dispersing, we proceeded to the westward; and, coming in full view of the low, sandy hills on the beach, anchored after sunset in about nine fathoms, in the roads of Tampico, directly opposite the bar at the entrance of the river Panuco, distant about three miles.


This was not so much amiss. But our pleasant dreams of a speedy termination to the present state of durance vile were, as yet, far from being realized.

The night was clear and starlight—how bright and brilliant the constellations stood in the heavens, I cannot describe to you. Even after our short voyage, the breath of the land was delicious, and the heavy dull sound of the breakers on the bar that engirdled the land of wonders before us, was music to our ears, as we lay under our blankets stretched upon the roof of the cabin. We hailed our escape from the arms of winter; from the marshes, quags, mud, and snow of New Orleans, its thick and polluted air, where the worshippers of Mammon can alone find delight, to the mountains, the vegetation, the eternal summer of New Spain.

Still, if I may depict my own feelings, I may confess that there was a weight on my spirits, which, though it could not entirely crush these pleasant hopes and reflections, seemed to prevent their soaring and running riot. I would not shut my eyes to some signs of probable difficulty which all might have noticed; and I could not prevent certain portents of coming troubles from depressing my mind.

Among the former I may mention the knowledge, that as there was only six or seven feet water on the bar,