[Illustration: CHOLS RESTING, LA TRINIDAD]
The Mariscal itself was a little steamer, too small for the passengers and freight it had to carry. It had no beds nor cabin; it was dirty and crowded; it had not food enough to feed the first-class passengers, who paid twenty-five pesos each for their short journey. There was, indeed, no other class of passengers, only one grade of tickets being sold. When complaints were made of the accommodations, or lack of all accommodations, the agente, who was on the vessel with us, expressed surprise, and seemed profoundly hurt. The stream is full of curves and bends, is broad, and notably uniform in breadth; it has considerable current, and is bordered closely by the tropical forest, except where little clearings have been made for fincas. Formerly, caimans, or alligators, were common, but they have become rare, through the diligent hunting to which they have been subjected for supplying skins. Two days are usually taken in the journey to Frontera, though it is not a fifteen hours’ run. Mr. Ellsworth arranged for our going directly through, so that, except one stop at a midway station, we made a continuous journey, and drew up at Frontera at 9:50 in the morning.
It is a mean little town, but far cleaner than Coatzacoalcos. Real grass grows there, and the little plaza is almost a lawn. Last year, when yellow fever was so terrible at Coatzacoalcos, and when, even at El Salto, there were forty cases, there were none here. The town is hot, and during the two days we spent there, our chief effort was to keep cool. The steamer, Mexico, appeared upon the 6th, planning to leave the same day. A norther came, however, and rendered the bar impassable. In the morning, Easter Sunday, the wind had fallen somewhat. We saw the little celebration at the church, and, learning that the boat was likely to leave at noon, went aboard. At one we started. Sailing down the river, we soon found ourselves between the piers, and the moment of test had come. At the first thump of the keel upon the sand, we doubted whether we should pass the bar; still we kept along with steam full on and the bow headed seaward; nine times we struck the sandy