A Passenger

Sen.r Torres alias Saldahna

At Buenos Ayres we took on board as passengers for Rio a young gentleman – & two servants a black boy and a black man. In his passport he was designated as Senor Manuel Torres – but from what he said during the voyage we have reason to believe that this was merely a nom de plaiser and that he had more reasons than one for making a mystery of his real name. He was a tall, thin, pale faced young man, with an eye that appeared particularly intellectual when he was animated in speaking. He had on a surtout liberally covered with silk trimmings & barrel shaped buttons – and carried a handsome clouded cane with a glass head. His fingers were crowded with jewelled rings – his shirt was secured by diamond buttons, & a magnificent breast pin with a single large brilliant shone on his breast. In short I imagine he aimed to be considered a dandy of the first water. From such a gorgeous display which he exhibited when I first saw him – and particularly from this entertaining me with a sight of his deceased wife’s jewels which were really very splendid, I imagined that he must be some rich nabob in his own country. But he soon undeceived me – by telling me that these were his sole property & had been extremely useful to him from their value and portability.

Senor Torres knew little more than a word or two of English – and but little more latin which latter language – notwithstanding we held some converse together, with which I believe we were mutually pleased. On subjects relating to literature, the arts and sciences he was lamentably ignorant – but once start a political question, and on he would gallop, until he stopped speaking thro’ want of breath, not of argument. No topics engendered so much bitterness as those connected with politics – so knowing that this was explosive and dangerous ground I carefully avoided it, seeking for something more agreeable to be invariably found in conversing with a foreigner well informed in the history, manners and customs of his own country.

When we arrived at Monte Video Sen.Torres black [boy] took himself off, being tired probably of slavery, finding a favourable opportunity of escaping – or what is much more likely, because he knew that it would soon be discovered that he had stolen 10 dollars, the Captains property. Sen.Torres met with another misfortune here in the loss of one of his most valuable diamonds, while dancing at a public ball held at the Theatre.

The black man again one dark night, going forward to the galley was thrown by a lurch of the vessel down the cockpit pit & fractured two of his ribs. When we entered Rio, the inflammation had subsided and it would only require two or three weeks rest to complete the cure, without any other aid than the binder.

On our arrival at Rio the health boat did not visit us & consequently our passengers passports were not overhauled, at which Sen.Torres, or as he might more properly be called Senor Saldahna expressed much pleasure. We now found that he had taken a very active part in some recent political movements in Brazil, which had rendered a journey to Buenos Ayres necessary for his personal safety – & that he was now returning when he found that the party in power were not bloody-minded – but on the contrary disposed to forget & forgive.

He landed late at night in disguise near to Porto Fogo, where his brother was residing & where he proposed lying perdue for a time.

Read on …