which later in the day supplied us an excellent meal. From this lagoon of mangroves, we finally entered the great lagoon of La Riviera, which pretty town we passed a little before three o’clock. From here we knew that, by hiring horses, we could reach Tampico in two hours; had we really known what lay before us, we would have done so. Having passed La Riviera, we entered a narrow canal, bordered for the most part with tall, flat rushes and a great grass much like our wild rice. Here again we saw large herons and great kingfishers; the boys had repeatedly tried to shoot one of the latter birds, but with no success; finally, one was seen standing on the branch of a tree hanging over the stream; this one was shot, and when we picked it up, we found it to be curiously distorted, the breast being strangely swollen. When skinned, this swelling proved to be due to a fish which the bird had eaten, and which was almost as large as itself. Weighted with this heavy burden, it is no wonder that the bird had been shot so easily. At dusk we found ourselves at a landing-place, where we left the boxes, which turned out to be eight in number, each of which weighed one hundred and twenty-five pounds. They contained chapapote. Our men had talked much of the canal, to which, for some time, we had been looking forward. At this landing, arrangements were made for helping us through the canal, a little canoe being despatched after us, to help unload us. When we reached the canal, narrow, shallow and straight, cut for the most part through the solid rock, the moon was shining brightly. Our great canoe was soon aground, and whole party, seven in number, climbed out into the water to push and pull. We dislodged it soon, but shortly came to a complete standstill. Here for the first time, we realized the cargo which we carried, which before had been carefully covered so that we really were in ignorance of it. Eighty half-dozen cakes of sugar were unloaded into the little canoe, which paddled away. We waited, noting with regret that the falling water, probably due to tide, was fixing our canoe more and more firmly in the mud. Finally, the little canoe came back, taking another eighty half-dozen cakes of sugar on board. Our canoe having been thus lightened, we made another effort to move it, and, after many struggles and groans, finally found ourselves in deeper water, embarked, and poled off. Having reached the place upon the bank where the canoe loads had been left, we stopped to freight again. To our surprise, we found here once more the eight boxes of chapapote, which, apparently, had been carted across. We were now able to calculate the load which our “empty” canoe, hired at thirty pesos, in order to take us quickly through to Tampico, was carrying:
120 dozen cakes of panela, of 2 lbs 2,880 lbs. 8 boxes chapapote, of 125 lbs 1,000 lbs. 6 sacks of beans, of 100 lbs 600 lbs.
Total 4,480 lbs.