Page:The Fall of Maximilan's Empire.djvu/121

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No special preparation seemed to be made to carry out the threat. An armed schooner, flying the Imperial flag, changed her berth, and anchored off the "Tacony's" port quarter, but that was not very alarming. Every thing seemed placid, and as the evening came and wore on, the officers sat on deck with their pipes in the moonlight, enjoying the light airs coming in from the eastward, the last dying efforts of the sea breeze, which alone makes the summer heat of Vera Cruz tolerable. The watch were sleeping at their guns. Suddenly the quiet was broken by a low creaking sound coming from the castle, so faint that it might not have been heard had the breeze been stronger, but loud enough to be recognized by a seaman's ear as the straining of a heavy tackle. Night glasses were quickly brought into play, and the parapets swept, finally leading to the discovery of groups of men collected and apparently at work in the northwest angle which commanded the "Tacony." Not a voice was heard, not an order given, but the irregular, peculiar sounds of blocks creaking and ropes surging with heavy weights were unmistakable.

No. 2 port gun was immediately transported over to the starboard side, and that whole battery, thus reinforced, trained on those groups of men. The gig was called away, and Mr. McGowan was sent to the "Jason" to notify her commander of what was transpiring. In his laconic note. Captain Roe