Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/20

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14
THE GULF.

mist covered us once more, and veiled the land from our view. Hour went after hour, and the evil omens thickened around us; the sky became blurred with shapeless masses of reddish clouds, and as the sun rose, a broken and discoloured rainbow was seen in the west. Ill-omened arch! how different from the bow after summer rain, spanning the eastern sky at eventide, which we have learned to hail as full of promise!

About ten o'clock a.m. the sea breeze dispersed the mists on the smooth but heaving surface of the water, but had no power on the sky, which imperceptibly grew of a deeper dun, especially from the zenith to the southeast.

Our eyes were anxiously turned to the west, where we could again descry the range of coast, the foam-covered line of breakers on the bar, and the tall masts of a number of vessels within it. Six or eight of various burden "were seen riding at anchor in the open roadstead; either watching, like ourselves, for communication with the shore, or outward bound, for the reception of their cargo. Our glasses were constantly directed to the bar for some indication that the signals for a pilot were observed; but hours came and went, without the slightest sign of recognition. As the day passed the meridian, however, a black spot was seen among the breakers, and then another, and we soon distinguished two custom-house boats pulling north and south, to communicate with other ships. When it became evident that neither seemed to consider us as within their beat, the captain resolved to send the shallop with two men to communicate with them. Two more hours of uncertainty followed, when the boatmen came back, stating that the answer returned by the officers was, that we must come and anchor nearer the shore, before they would board us. Old De Vignes have a terrific growl on hearing this; glanced at the thickening sky, and at the eastern horizon; and, after a moment's hesitation, gave the necessary orders to obey, and to run the goelette in. The anchor was weighed; and a momentary exultation was felt by all, as we found ourselves at length riding at anchor again within hail.

What then occurred is now like a dream to me; that