Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/30

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
24
CASTOR-OIL WHALES.

a flower, not a blade of grass, no living thing of any kind—only rocks and sand and loneliness, eternal silence and utter desolation. All the settlements—and they are few at best—are on the inner or Gulf side of the peninsula, and completely hidden from the passing vessel. The sun poured down all day from an unclouded sky, and no breeze ruffled, the face of the ocean, which was smooth as a mirror, save where, at regular intervals, the long, heavy ground swells came rolling in from the south-westward, and pitched and tossed about the great steamer like an egg-shell.

The poet says:

"There is no crowd however slight
But one cockney is there."

We had ours. He stood looking over the rail, eye-glass in place, watching the tumbling of two great monster blackfish, which rose and disappeared like porpoises. "Aw! what kind of a whale might that be?" he demanded. The venerable looking McElroy, who represents the U. S. Custom-House Department on board, promptly replied, "That, my dear friend, is the Castor oil whale," a broad, genial smile of true benevolence spreading far and wide over his fine open countenance. "Haw, yes; that's what I thought. We have hoceans on 'em in the Hinglish Channel!" was the prompt return of the true son of old Albion.

As the day died out and the sun went down in a blaze of glory, all hands assembled on deck to witness a sunset in the tropics. We often hear the remark, "That sky is unnatural; it is far too gaudy!" as we stand in some art gallery in the cold North before a picture in which the artist has faithfully labored to