Page:The Fall of Maximilan's Empire.djvu/35

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

had supreme authority in the city, and the commander of the military forces was General Antonio Taboada. The strictest vigilance was exercised, and imprisonment and exile swiftly followed any imprudent speech. The means for inflicting the latter punishment, however, were scanty and inefficient; on one occasion, during the month of March, eight offenders were embarked in a schooner, but on reaching the open sea they captured the vessel, bound the captain, and put in to Alvarado.

The aspect of affairs was dreary in the extreme to the people on board the foreign vessels anchored at Sacrificios (Sacrafish, in forecastle parlance), nor was the prospect very good of a change. Neither fresh meat, bread, nor water was to be had. The lack of the first was a positive hardship, salt horse not being over palatable; and ship's bread (hard tack), while wholesome, and pleasant to the taste of fair visitors who occasionally make a picnic visit to a man-of-war, possesses a less relish for those who eat it without change for months at a time. The most serious matter was really the lack of water, for the distillation of it on board occasioned an increased consumption of coal and a consequent shortening of the "Tacony's" possible stay on the scene. Not so bad, that, thought Jacky possibly; but to responsible officers it was a grave matter.

All were interested to a greater or less extent in the progress of affairs on shore, and as it appeared