Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/44

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TAMPICO ALTA.
 

LETTER III.

The norte continued to blow strongly the following morning; and contented with having effected our escape, and an advance of two whole leagues into the country, we resolved, by common consent, to remain tranquilly at Tampico Alta till we saw what another day might bring forth.

We were luxuriously lodged in one of the mud cottages, in a windowless apartment, without a stick of furniture but what we brought into it. That, however, was more than sufficient to fill it, as our camp beds, with which we had been fortunately furnished from Europe for this tour, completely occupied three fourths of the floor.

So here we abode, leaving our retainers, whose number had now increased to five in all, to make the most of the halt with the horses and mules under their care. We breakfasted and supped upon tortillas or maize cakes, fowls, Chili pepper, rice, coffee, and frijoles or black beans; with the addition of an agreeable liquor, made of the fermented juice of the sugarcane. We looked to our accoutrements, cleaned guns and pistols, strolled in the forest, and at night enjoyed the most luxurious rest, in our clean and well-appointed beds; and blessed our stars, that we had turned our backs for ever upon the Halcyon, the Fonda de la Bolza—the heat, the impurities, and the nuisances of Tampico. Dull as it was without doors, I could not help strolling about, for a few hours, among the low woods, and did not fail, in spite of all my care, to gather a plentiful harvest of garapatoes, to rid myself from which gave me an hour's employment in the evening.

The following day, however, we were up betimes, and set seriously forward.