In other words, we had been crowded and delayed by more than two tons of cargo. Perhaps, had we been actually alone in the boat, it might have made its journey in the twenty-four hours promised, instead of the sixty of accomplishment. It was nine o’clock when we were again aboard, and we made the boatman travel all night long. At the stroke of half-past-three we heard the bells of Tampico, and drew up along the waterside-landing of that city. For two full hours we lay there, listening to the buyers bartering with the boatmen for their load of maize, frijol and panela until daylight, when we gave orders to unload.
IN MAYA LAND
We had planned to go from Tampico to Chiapas, and from there to Yucatan, where we were to finish our work for the season. We found, however, that there was no certainty in regard to a boat for Coatzacoalcos, while the Benito Juarez was about to sail for Progreso the next day. Not to lose time, we decided to do our Yucatan work first, and to let Chiapas wait until later. We were busy that day making arrangements for departure, and in the afternoon hired a canoe to take our stuff from the wharf to the boat, which was standing out in the river, beyond Dona Cecilia. There was a brisk wind against us, and we almost arrived too late to have our luggage taken aboard. The next morning, we took the first train to Dona Cecilia, and were on board the boat at nine o’clock. We had been told that the sailing would take place at ten, but, on arrival, found that they were waiting for cattle which were being brought across country. One hundred and twenty head were to make our chief cargo, and they were expected at six a.m. Nothing, however, was to be seen of them in any direction. We had taken breakfast, and it was almost twelve o’clock before the first signs of the animals were to be seen. Meantime, at eleven, a norther appeared, and we were informed that it would be impossible to leave short of twenty-four hours. Besides our company, there were three first-class passengers—a sort of German-Austrian baron and his lady, and a contractor, who was taking a force of hands to Yucatan for farm labor. Eighty-three of these hands were our third-class passengers; they had been picked up all along the line of the Tampico Branch of the Central Railway, and few of them realized the hardships and trials which lay before them. We were assured that more than half of them would surely die before the end of their first year in Yucatan. As we could not leave until the norther passed, it was decided not to take the cattle on board until next day. Thus we spent a day as prisoners on the boat, standing in the river. In the morning the water was still rough and the wind heavy, but at 9:30 the loading of the animals began. They were brought out on a barge, about one-half of the whole number to a load; tackle was rigged and