dollar upon the counter for more brandy, and before the note was finished the officer had to stop and take another drink. Watching his opportunity, the old man slipped out into the street and spoke to the head robber to "put off in haste, and cross the ferry as soon as possible," while he would stay and drink with the officer. The ferry was at the other end of the town, about four hundred yards distant, and we made as little delay in reaching it and getting into the boat as possible. We had barely started from the store before the officer came into the street to examine our papers, when the old man remarked that he expected we would wait for him at the ferry. The old man now feigned to be highly excited with drink, and mounting upon his fiery horse, swept by them as though he could not control the animal. He reached the ferry just as we were getting into the boat, and the shortest explanation showed the necessity of our hurry [see plate facing page 176].
The old man had no sooner spoke to our head robber than he threw his lasso over a limb of a tree which stood upon the bank, and ran back to meet the officer. He knew that one minute of time was of the last importance to us; and meeting the officer about one hundred yards from the ferry, he said, "They are waiting for us," and drawing his bottle of aguardiente from his goatskin bag, he passed it to the officer; then he took a drink with a long speech  of salutations, and begged the officer to let him pass it to his guards. This was granted; and it gained us those few minutes of time necessary to our liberty. When they arrived at the ferry we were half way across; the old man appeared in a towering passion, and bawled out to us "to stop upon the other bank until he came over;" he then turned to the officer and said, "Señor, you need not trouble yourself farther about those foreigners: I'll vouch for their passports; but if you would rather, go over with me and examine for yourself." In the mean time, while the boat was returning, the bottle was freely passed between them, the old man feigning both to drink and to be drunk. It was no sham with the officer, for by the time the boat returned for them, he was willing to take the old man's word for the passports.
As soon as we had crossed, we put off in the direction of Vera Cruz, and stopped upon the road-side to wait for our good old friend, and to keep a bright look out who was with him.
In a few minutes the boat recrossed, and we discovered that only one passenger was in it; and as the old man galloped up to where we awaited him, he proudly clapped his hands upon his breast and said, "It is useless for young boys to try their wits with me; I have been too long in the service."
The old fellow strutted to and fro, and recounted the adventure with the self-satisfaction of a Wellington after the battle of Waterloo. He concluded his speech by turning to us and saying, "Now, caballeros,  you have but one more danger before you, and trust this old head for that." So saying, we moved on.
We were now fifteen miles from Vera Cruz, and just ahead of us the road