Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Remember the Alamo by Amelia E. Barr

Part 1 out of 6

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Scanned with Calera WordScan Plus 2.0
donated by: Calera Recognition Systems
475 Potrero
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
mikel@calera.com Mike Lynch

Remember the Alamo by AMELIA E. BARR


"What, are you stepping westward?" "Yea."
* * * * *
Yet who would stop or fear to advance,
Though home or shelter there was none,
With such a sky to lead him on!"

"Ah! cool night wind, tremulous stars,
Ah! glimmering water,
Fitful earth murmur,
Dreaming woods!"

In A. D. sixteen hundred and ninety-two, a few Franciscan
monks began to build a city. The site chosen was a lovely
wilderness hundreds of miles away from civilization on every
side, and surrounded by savage and warlike tribes. But the
spot was as beautiful as the garden of God. It was shielded
by picturesque mountains, watered by two rivers, carpeted with
flowers innumerable, shaded by noble trees joyful with
the notes of a multitude of singing birds. To breathe the
balmy atmosphere was to be conscious of some rarer and finer
life, and the beauty of the sunny skies--marvellous at dawn
and eve with tints of saffron and amethyst and opal--was like
a dream of heaven.

One of the rivers was fed by a hundred springs situated in the
midst of charming bowers. The monks called it the San
Antonio; and on its banks they built three noble Missions.
The shining white stone of the neighborhood rose in graceful
domes and spires above the green trees. Sculptures, basso-
relievos, and lines of gorgeous coloring adorned the
exteriors. Within, were splendid altars and the appealing
charms of incense, fine vestures and fine music; while from
the belfreys, bells sweet and resonant called to the savages,
who paused spell-bound and half-afraid to listen.

Certainly these priests had to fight as well as to pray. The
Indians did not suffer them to take possession of their Eden
without passionate and practical protest. But what the monks
had taken, they kept; and the fort and the soldier followed
the priest and the Cross. Ere long, the beautiful Mission
became a beautiful city, about which a sort of fame full of
romance and mystery gathered. Throughout the south and west,
up the great highway of the Mississippi, on the busy streets
of New York, and among the silent hills of New England, men
spoke of San Antonio, as in the seventeenth century they spoke
of Peru; as in the eighteenth century they spoke of Delhi, and
Agra, and the Great Mogul.

Sanguine French traders carried thither rich ventures in fancy
wares from New Orleans; and Spanish dons from the wealthy
cities of Central Mexico, and from the splendid homes of
Chihuahua, came there to buy. And from the villages of
Connecticut, and the woods of Tennessee, and the lagoons of
Mississippi, adventurous Americans entered the Texan territory
at Nacogdoches. They went through the land, buying horses and
lending their ready rifles and stout hearts to every effort of
that constantly increasing body of Texans, who, even in their
swaddling bands, had begun to cry Freedom!

At length this cry became a clamor that shook even the old
viceroyal palace in Mexico; while in San Antonio it gave a
certain pitch to all conversation, and made men wear their
cloaks, and set their beavers, and display their arms, with
that demonstrative air of independence they called los
Americano. For, though the Americans were numerically few,
they were like the pinch of salt in a pottage--they gave the
snap and savor to the whole community.

Over this Franciscan-Moorish city the sun set with an
incomparable glory one evening in May, eighteen thirty-five.
The white, flat-roofed, terraced houses--each one in its
flowery court--and the domes and spires of the Missions, with
their gilded crosses, had a mirage-like beauty in the rare,
soft atmosphere, as if a dream of Old Spain had been
materialized in a wilderness of the New World.

But human life in all its essentials was in San Antonio, as it
was and has been in all other cities since the world began.
Women were in their homes, dressing and cooking, nursing their
children and dreaming of their lovers. Men were in the
market-places, buying and selling, talking of politics and
anticipating war. And yet in spite of these fixed
attributes, San Antonio was a city penetrated with romantic
elements, and constantly picturesque.

On this evening, as the hour of the Angelus approached, the
narrow streets and the great squares were crowded with a
humanity that assaulted and captured the senses at once; so
vivid and so various were its component parts. A tall sinewy
American with a rifle across his shoulder was paying some
money to a Mexican in blue velvet and red silk, whose breast
was covered with little silver images of his favorite saints.
A party of Mexican officers were strolling to the Alamo; some
in white linen and scarlet sashes, others glittering with
color and golden ornaments. Side by side with these were
monks of various orders: the Franciscan in his blue gown and
large white hat; the Capuchin in his brown serge; the Brother
of Mercy in his white flowing robes. Add to these
diversities, Indian peons in ancient sandals, women dressed as
in the days of Cortez and Pizarro, Mexican vendors of every
kind, Jewish traders, negro servants, rancheros curvetting on
their horses, Apache and Comanche braves on spying
expeditions: and, in this various crowd, yet by no means of
it, small groups of Americans; watchful, silent, armed to the
teeth: and the mind may catch a glimpse of what the streets of
San Antonio were in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and

It was just before sunset that the city was always at its
gayest point. Yet, at the first toll of the Angelus, a
silence like that of enchantment fell upon it. As a mother
cries hush to a noisy child, so the angel of the city seemed
in this evening bell to bespeak a minute for holy thought. It
was only a minute, for with the last note there was even an
access of tumult. The doors and windows of the better houses
were thrown open, ladies began to appear on the balconies,
there was a sound of laughter and merry greetings, and the
tiny cloud of the cigarette in every direction.

But amid this sunset glamour of splendid color, of velvet, and
silk, and gold embroidery, the man who would have certainly
first attracted a stranger's eye wore the plain and ugly
costume common at that day to all American gentlemen. Only
black cloth and white linen and a row palmetto hat with a
black ribbon around it; but he wore his simple garments with
the air of a man having authority, and he returned the
continual salutations of rich and poor, like one who had been
long familiar with public appreciation.

It was Dr. Robert Worth, a physician whose fame had penetrated
to the utmost boundaries of the territories of New Spain. He
had been twenty-seven years in San Antonio. He was a familiar
friend in every home. In sickness and in death he had come
close to the hearts in them. Protected at first by the
powerful Urrea family, he had found it easy to retain his
nationality, and yet live down envy and suspicion. The rich
had shown him their gratitude with gold; the poor he had never
sent unrelieved away, and they had given him their love.

When in the second year of his residence he married Dona Maria
Flores, he gave, even to doubtful officials, security for his
political intentions. And his future conduct had seemed to
warrant their fullest confidence. In those never ceasing
American invasions between eighteen hundred and three and
eighteen hundred and thirty-two, he had been the friend and
succourer of his countrymen, but never their confederate;
their adviser, but never their confidant.

He was a tall, muscular man of a distinguished appearance.
His hair was white. His face was handsome and good to see.
He was laconic in speech, but his eyes were closely observant
of all within their range, and they asked searching questions.
He had a reverent soul, wisely tolerant as to creeds, and he
loved his country with a passion which absence from it
constantly intensified. He was believed to be a thoroughly
practical man, fond of accumulating land and gold; but his
daughter Antonia knew that he had in reality a noble
imagination. When he spoke to her of the woods, she felt the
echoes of the forest ring through the room; when of the sea,
its walls melted away in an horizon of long rolling waves.

He was thinking of Antonia as he walked slowly to his home in
the suburbs of the city. Of all his children she was the
nearest to him. She had his mother's beauty. She had also
his mother's upright rectitude of nature. The Iberian
strain had passed her absolutely by. She was a northern rose
in a tropical garden. As he drew near to his own gates, he
involuntarily quickened his steps. He knew that Antonia would
be waiting. He could see among the thick flowering shrubs her
tall slim figure clothed in white. As she came swiftly down
the dim aisles to meet him, he felt a sentiment of worship for
her. She concentrated in herself his memory of home, mother,
and country. She embodied, in the perfectness of their mental
companionship, that rarest and sweetest of ties--a beloved
child, who is also a wise friend and a sympathetic comrade.
As he entered the garden she slipped her hand into his. He
clasped it tightly. His smile answered her smile. There was
no need for any words of salutation.

The full moon had risen. The white house stood clearly out in
its radiance. The lattices were wide open and the parlor
lighted. They walked slowly towards it, between hedges of
white camelias and scarlet japonicas. Vanilla, patchuli,
verbena, wild wandering honeysuckle--a hundred other scents--
perfumed the light, warm air. As they came near the house
there was a sound of music, soft and tinkling, with a
rhythmic accent as pulsating as a beating heart.

"It is Don Luis, father."

"Ah! He plays well--and he looks well."

They had advanced to where Don Luis was distinctly visible.
He was within the room, but leaning against the open door,
playing upon a mandolin. Robert Worth smiled as he offered
his hand to him. It was impossible not to smile at a youth so
handsome, and so charming--a youth who had all the romance of
the past in his name, his home, his picturesque costume; and
all the enchantments of hope and great enthusiasms in his

"Luis, I am glad to see you; and I felt your music as soon as
I heard it."

He was glancing inquiringly around the room as he spoke; and
Antonia answered the look:

"Mother and Isabel are supping with Dona Valdez. There is to
be a dance. I am waiting for you, father. You must put on
your velvet vest."

"And you, Luis?"

"I do not go. I asked the judge for the appointment. He
refused me. Very well! I care not to drink chocolate and
dance in his house. One hand washes the other, and one cousin
should help another."

"Why did he refuse you?"

"Who can tell?" but Luis shrugged his shoulders expressively,
and added, "He gave the office to Blas-Sangre."


"Yes, it is so--naturally;--Blas-Sangre is rich, and when the
devil of money condescends to appear, every little devil rises
up to do him homage."

"Let it pass, Luis. Suppose you sing me that last verse
again. It had a taking charm. The music was like a boat
rocking on the water."

"So it ought to be. I learned the words in New Orleans. The
music came from the heart of my mandolin. Listen, Senor!

"`Row young oarsman, row, young oarsman,
Into the crypt of the night we float:
Fair, faint moonbeams wash and wander,
Wash and wander about the boat.
Not a fetter is here to bind us,
Love and memory lose their spell;
Friends that we have left behind us,
Prisoners of content,--farewell!'"

"You are a wizard, Luis, and I have had a sail with you.
Now, come with us, and show those dandy soldiers from the
Alamo how to dance."

"Pardon! I have not yet ceased to cross myself at the affront
of this morning. And the Senora Valdez is in the same mind as
her husband. I should be received by her like a dog at mass.
I am going to-morrow to the American colony on the Colorado."

"Be careful, Luis. These Austin colonists are giving great
trouble--there have been whispers of very strong measures. I
speak as a friend."

"My heart to yours! But let me tell you this about the
Americans--their drum is in the hands of one who knows how to
beat it."

"As a matter of hearsay, are you aware that three detachments
of troops are on their way from Mexico?"

"For Texas?"

"For Texas."

"What are three detachments? Can a few thousand men put Texas
under lock and key? I assure you not, Senor; but now I must
say adieu!

He took the doctor's hand, and, as he held it, turned his
luminous face and splendid eyes upon Antonia. A sympathetic
smile brightened her own face like a flame. Then he went
silently away, and Antonia watched him disappear among the

"Come, Antonia! I am ready. We must not keep the Senora
waiting too long."

"I am ready also, father." Her voice was almost sad, and yet
it had a tone of annoyance in it--"Don Luis is so imprudent,"
she said. "He is always in trouble. He is full of
enthusiasms; he is as impossible as his favorite, Don

"And I thank God, Antonia, that I can yet feel with him. Woe
to the centuries without Quixotes! Nothing will remain to
them but--Sancho Panzas."



"He various changes of the world had known,
And some vicissitudes of human fate,
Still altering, never in a steady state
Good after ill, and after pain delight,
Alternate, like the scenes of day and night."

"Ladies whose bright eyes
Rain influence."

"But who the limits of that power shall trace,
Which a brave people into life can bring,
Or hide at will, for freedom combating
By just revenge inflamed?"

For many years there had never been any doubt in the mind of
Robert Worth as to the ultimate destiny of Texas, though he was
by no means an adventurer, and had come into the beautiful
land by a sequence of natural and business-like events. He
was born in New York. In that city he studied his profession,
and in eighteen hundred and three began its practice in an
office near Contoit's Hotel, opposite the City Park. One day
he was summoned there to attend a sick man. His
patient proved to be Don Jaime Urrea, and the rich Mexican
grandee conceived a warm friendship for the young physician.

At that very time, France had just ceded to the United States
the territory of Louisiana, and its western boundary was a
subject about which Americans were then angrily disputing.
They asserted that it was the Rio Grande; but Spain, who
naturally did not want Americans so near her own territory,
denied the claim, and made the Sabine River the dividing line.
And as Spain had been the original possessor of Louisiana, she
considered herself authority on the subject.

The question was on every tongue, and it was but natural that
it should be discussed by Urrea and his physician. In fact,
they talked continually of the disputed boundary, and of
Mexico. And Mexico was then a name to conjure by. She was as
yet a part of Spain, and a sharer in all her ancient glories.
She was a land of romance, and her very name tasted on the
lips, of gold, and of silver, and of precious stones. Urrea
easily persuaded the young man to return to Mexico with him.

The following year there was a suspicious number of American
visitors and traders in San Antonio, and one of the Urreas was
sent with a considerable number of troops to garrison the
city. For Spain was well aware that, however statesmen might
settle the question, the young and adventurous of the American
people considered Texas United States territory, and would be
well inclined to take possession of it by force of arms, if an
opportunity offered.

Robert Worth accompanied General Urrea to San Antonio, and the
visit was decisive as to his future life. The country
enchanted him. He was smitten with love for it, as men are
smitten with a beautiful face. And the white Moorish city had
one special charm for him--it was seldom quite free from
Americans, Among the mediaeval loungers in the narrow streets,
it filled his heart with joy to see at intervals two or three
big men in buckskin or homespun. And he did not much wonder
that the Morisco-Hispano-Mexican feared these Anglo-Americans,
and suspected them of an intention to add Texan to their

His inclination to remain in San Antonio was settled by
his marriage. Dona Maria Flores, though connected with the
great Mexican families of Yturbide and Landesa, owned much
property in San Antonio. She had been born within its limits,
and educated in its convent, and a visit to Mexico and New
Orleans had only strengthened her attachment to her own city.
She was a very pretty woman, with an affectionate nature, but
she was not intellectual. Even in the convent the sisters had
not considered her clever.

But men often live very happily with commonplace wives, and
Robert Worth had never regretted that his Maria did not play
on the piano, and paint on velvet, and work fine embroideries
for the altars. They had passed nearly twenty-six years
together in more than ordinary content and prosperity. Yet no
life is without cares and contentions, and Robert Worth had
had to face circumstances several times, which had brought the
real man to the front.

The education of his children had been such a crisis. He had
two sons and two daughters, and for them he anticipated a
wider and grander career than he had chosen for himself.
When his eldest child, Thomas, had reached the age of
fourteen, he determined to send him to New York. He spoke to
Dona Maria of this intention. He described Columbia to her
with all the affectionate pride of a student for his alma
mater. The boy's grandmother also still lived in the home
wherein, he himself had grown to manhood. His eyes filled
with tears when he remembered the red brick house in Canal
Street, with its white door and dormer windows, and its one
cherry tree in the strip of garden behind.

But Dona Maria's national and religious principles, or rather
prejudices, were very strong. She regarded the college of San
Juan de Lateran in Mexico as the fountainhead of knowledge.
Her confessor had told her so. All the Yturbides and Landesas
had graduated at San Juan.

But the resolute father would have none of San Juan. "I know
all about it, Maria," he said. "They will teach Thomas Latin
very thoroughly. They will make him proficient in theology
and metaphysics. They will let him dabble in algebra and
Spanish literature; and with great pomp, they will give him
his degree, and `the power of interpreting Aristotle all
over the world.' What kind of an education is that, for a man
who may have to fight the battles of life in this century?"

And since the father carried his point it is immaterial what
precise methods he used. Men are not fools even in a contest
with women. They usually get their own way, if they take the
trouble to go wisely and kindly about it. Two years
afterwards, Antonia followed her brother to New York, and this
time, the mother made less opposition. Perhaps she divined
that opposition would have been still more useless than in the
case of the boy. For Robert Worth had one invincible
determination; it was, that this beautiful child, who so much
resembled a mother whom he idolized, should be, during the
most susceptible years of her life, under that mother's

And he was well repaid for the self-denial her absence
entailed, when Antonia came back to him, alert, self-reliant,
industrious, an intelligent and responsive companion, a neat
and capable housekeeper, who insensibly gave to his home that
American air it lacked, and who set upon his table the well-
cooked meats and delicate dishes which he had often longed

John, the youngest boy, was still in New York finishing his
course of study; but regarding Isabel, there seemed to be a
tacit relinquishment of the purpose, so inflexibly carried out
with her brothers and sister. Isabel was entirely different
from them. Her father had watched her carefully, and come to
the conviction that it would be impossible to make her nature
take the American mintage. She was as distinctly Iberian as
Antonia was Anglo-American.

In her brothers the admixture of races had been only as alloy
to metal. Thomas Worth was but a darker copy of his father.
John had the romance and sensitive honor of old Spain, mingled
with the love of liberty, and the practical temper, of those
Worths who had defied both Charles the First and George the
Third. But Isabel had no soul-kinship with her father's
people. Robert Worth had seen in the Yturbide residencia in
Mexico the family portraits which they had brought with them
from Castile. Isabel was the Yturbide of her day. She had
all their physical traits, and from her large golden-black
eyes the same passionate soul looked forth. He felt that it
would be utter cruelty to send her among people who must
always be strangers to her.

So Isabel dreamed away her childhood at her mother's side, or
with the sisters in the convent, learning from them such
simple and useless matters as they considered necessary for a
damosel of family and fortune. On the night of the Senora
Valdez's reception, she had astonished every one by the
adorable grace of her dancing, and the captivating way in
which she used her fan. Her fingers touched the guitar as if
they had played it for a thousand years. She sang a Spanish
Romancero of El mio Cid with all the fire and tenderness of a
Castilian maid.

Her father watched her with troubled eyes. He almost felt as
if he had no part in her. And the thought gave him an unusual
anxiety, for he knew this night that the days were fast
approaching which would test to extremity the affection which
bound his family together. He contrived to draw Antonia aside
for a few moments.

"Is she not wonderful?" he asked. "When did she learn
these things? I mean the way in which she does them?"

Isabel was dancing La Cachoucha, and Antonia looked at her
little sister with eyes full of loving speculation. Her
answer dropped slowly from her lips, as if a conviction was
reluctantly expressed:

"The way must be a gift from the past--her soul has been at
school before she was born here. Father, are you troubled?
What is it? Not Isabel, surely?"

"Not Isabel, primarily. Antonia, I have been expecting
something for twenty years. It is coming."

"And you are sorry?"

"I am anxious, that is all. Go back to the dancers. In the
morning we can talk."

In the morning the doctor was called very early by some one
needing his skill. Antonia heard the swift footsteps and
eager voices, and watched him mount the horse always kept
ready saddled for such emergencies, and ride away with the
messenger. The incident in itself was a usual one, but she
was conscious that her soul was moving uneasily and
questioningly in some new and uncertain atmosphere.

She had felt it on her first entrance into Senora Valdez's
gran sala--a something irrepressible in the faces of all the
men present. She remembered that even the servants had been
excited, and that they stood in small groups, talking with
suppressed passion and with much demonstrativeness. And the
officers from the Alamo! How conscious they had been of their
own importance! What airs of condescension and of an almost
insufferable protection they had assumed! Now, that she
recalled the faces of Judge Valdez, and other men of years and
position, she understood that there had been in them something
out of tone with the occasion. In the atmosphere of the festa
she had only felt it. In the solitude of her room she could
apprehend its nature.

For she had been born during those stormy days when Magee and
Bernardo, with twelve hundred Americans, first flung the
banner of Texan independence to the wind; when the fall of
Nacogdoches sent a thrill of sympathy through the United
States, and enabled Cos and Toledo, and the other
revolutionary generals in Mexico, to carry their arms against
Old Spain to the very doors of the vice-royal palace. She
had heard from her father many a time the whole brave,
brilliant story--the same story which has been made in all
ages from the beginning of time. Only the week before, they
had talked it over as they sat under the great fig-tree

"History but repeats itself," the doctor had said then; "for
when the Mexicans drove the Spaniards, with their court
ceremonies, their monopolies and taxes, back to Spain, they
were just doing what the American colonists did, when they
drove the English royalists back to England. It was natural,
too, that the Americans should help the Mexicans, for, at
first, they were but a little band of patriots; and the
American-Saxon has like the Anglo-Saxon an irresistible
impulse to help the weaker side. And oh, Antonia! The cry of
Freedom! Who that has a soul can resist it?"

She remembered this conversation as she stood in the pallid
dawning, and watched her father ride swiftly away. The story
of the long struggle in all its salient features flashed
through her mind; and she understood that it is not the sword
alone that gives liberty--that there must be patience before
courage; that great ideas must germinate for years in the
hearts of men before the sword can reap the harvest.

The fascinating memory of Burr passed like a shadow across her
dreaming. The handsome Lafayettes--the gallant Nolans--the
daring Hunters--the thousands of forgotten American traders
and explorers--bold and enterprising--they had sown the seed.
For great ideas are as catching as evil ones. A Mexican, with
the iron hand of Old Spain upon him and the shadow of the
Inquisition over him, could not look into the face of an
American, and not feel the thought of Freedom stirring in his

It stirred in her own heart. She stood still a moment to feel
consciously the glow and the enlargement. Then with an
impulse natural, but neither analyzed nor understood, she
lifted her prayer-book, and began to recite "the rising
prayer." She had not said to herself, "from the love of
Freedom to the love of God, it is but a step," but she
experienced the emotion and felt all the joy of an adoration,
simple and unquestioned, springing as naturally from the soul
as the wild flower from the prairie.

As she knelt, up rose the sun, and flooded her white figure
and her fair unbound hair with the radiance of the early
morning. The matin bells chimed from the convent and the
churches, and the singing birds began to flutter their bright
wings, and praise God also, "in their Latin."

She took her breakfast alone. The Senora never came
downstairs so early. Isabel had wavering inclinations, and
generally followed them. Sometimes, even her father had his
cup of strong coffee alone in his study; so the first meal of
the day was usually, as perhaps it ought to be, a selfishly-
silent one. "Too much enthusiasm and chattering at breakfast,
are like too much red at sunrise," the doctor always said; "a
dull, bad day follows it"--and Antonia's observation had
turned the little maxim into a superstition.

In the Senora's room, the precept was either denied, or
defied. Antonia heard the laughter and conversation through
the closed door, and easily divined the subject of it. It
was, but natural. The child had a triumph; one that appealed
strongly to her mother's pride and predilections. It was a
pleasant sight to see them in the shaded sunshine exulting
themselves happily in it.

The Senora, plump and still pretty, reclined upon a large
gilded bed. Its splendid silk coverlet and pillows cased in
embroidery and lace made an effective background for her. She
leaned with a luxurious indolence among them, sipping
chocolate and smoking a cigarrito. Isabel was on a couch of
the same description. She wore a satin petticoat, and a loose
linen waist richly trimmed with lace. It showed her beautiful
shoulders and arms to perfection. Her hands were folded above
her head. Her tiny feet, shod in satin, were quivering like
a bird's wings, as if they were keeping time with the
restlessness of her spirit.

She had large eyes, dark and bright; strong eyebrows, a pale
complexion with a flood of brilliant color in the checks,
dazzling even teeth, and a small, handsome mouth. Her black
hair was loose and flowing, and caressed her cheeks and
temples in numberless little curls and tendrils. Her face was
one flush of joy and youth. She had a look half-earnest and
half-childlike, and altogether charming. Antonia adored her,
and she was pleased to listen to the child, telling over
again the pretty things that had been said to her.

"Only Don Luis was not there at all, Antonia. There is always
something wanting," and her voice fell with those sad
inflections that are often only the very excess of delight.

The Senora looked sharply at her. "Don Luis was not
desirable. He was better away--much better!"

"But why?"

"Because, Antonia, he is suspected. There is an American
called Houston. Don Luis met him in Nacogdoches. He has
given his soul to him, I think. He would have fought Morello
about him, if the captain could have drawn his sword in such
a quarrel. I should not have known about the affair had not
Senora Valdez told me. Your father says nothing against the

"Perhaps, then, he knows nothing against them."

"You will excuse me, Antonia; not only the living but the dead
must have heard of their wickedness. They are a nation of
ingrates. Ingrates are cowards. It was these words Captain
Morello said, when Don Luis drew his sword, made a circle
with its point and stood it upright in the centre. It was a
challenge to the whole garrigon, and about this fellow
Houston, whom be calls his friend! Holy Virgin preserve us
from such Mexicans!"

"It is easier to talk than to fight. Morello's tongue is
sharper than his sword."

"Captain Morello was placing his sword beside that of Don
Luis, when the Commandant interfered. He would not permit his
officers to fight in such a quarrel. `Santo Dios!' he said,
`you shall all have your opportunity very soon, gentlemen.'
Just reflect upon the folly of a boy like Don Luis,
challenging a soldier like Morello!"

"He was in no danger, mother," said Antonia scornfully.
"Morello is a bully, who wears the pavement out with his
spurs and sabre. His weapons are for show. Americans, at
least, wear their arms for use, and not for ornament."

"Listen, Antonia! I will not have them spoken of. They are
Jews--or at least infidels, all of them!--the devil himself is
their father--the bishop, when he was here last confirmation,
told me so."


"At least they are unbaptized Christians, Antonia. If you are
not baptized, the devil sends you to do his work. As for Don
Luis, he is a very Judas! Ah, Maria Santissima! how I do pity
his good mother!"

"Poor Don Luis!" said Isabel plaintively.

He is so handsome, and he sings like a very angel. And he
loves my father; he wanted to be a doctor, so that he could
always be with him. I dare say this man called Houston is no
better than a Jew, and perhaps very ugly beside. Let us talk
no more about him and the Americans. I am weary of them; as
Tia Rachella says, `they have their spoon in every one's

And Antonia, whose heart was burning, only stooped down and
closed her sister's pretty mouth with a kiss. Her tongue was
impatient to speak for the father, and grandmother, and the
friends, so dear to her; but she possessed great discretion,
and also a large share of that rarest of all womanly graces,
the power under provocation, of "putting on Patience the



"Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation rousing
herself like a strong man after sleep and shaking her
invincible locks. Methinks I see her as an eagle mewing her
mighty youth and kindling her undazzled eye in the full mid-
day beam."--MILTON.

"And from these grounds, concluding as we doe,
Warres causes diuerse, so by consequence
Diuerse we must conclude their natures too:
For war proceeding from Omnipotence,
No doubt is holy, wise, and without error;
The sword, of justice and of sin, the terror."

It is the fashion now to live for the present but the men of
fifty years ago, the men who builded the nation, they
reverenced the past, and therefore they could work for the
future. As Robert Worth rode through the streets of San
Antonio that afternoon, he was thinking, not of his own life,
but of his children's and of the generations which should come
after them.

The city was flooded with sunshine, and crowded with
a pack-train going to Sonora; the animals restlessly
protesting against the heat and flies; their Mexican drivers
in the pulqueria, spending their last peso with their
compadres, or with the escort of soldiers which was to
accompany them--a little squad of small, lithe men, with
round, yellow, beardless faces, bearing in a singular degree
the stamp of being native to the soil. Their lieutenant, a
gorgeously clad officer with a very distinguished air, was
coming slowly down the street to join them. He bowed, and
smiled pleasantly to the doctor as he passed him, and then in
a few moments the word of command and the shouting of men and
the clatter of hoofs invaded the enchanted atmosphere like an

But the tumult scarcely jarred with the thoughts of his mind.
They had been altogether of war and rumors of war. Every hour
that subtile consciousness of coming events, which makes whole
communities at times prescient, was becoming stronger. "If
the powers of the air have anything to do with the destinies
of men," he muttered, "there must be unseen battalions around
me. The air I am breathing is charged with the feeling of

After leaving the city there were only a few Mexican huts on
the shady road leading to his own house. All within them were
asleep, even the fighting cocks tied outside were dozing on
their perches. He was unusually weary, he had been riding
since dawn, and his heart had not been in sympathy with his
body, it had said no good cheer to it, whispered no word of
courage or promise.

All at once his physical endurance seemed exhausted, and he
saw the white wall and arched gateway of his garden and the
turrets of his home with an inexpressible relief. But it was
the hour of siesta, and he was always careful not to let the
requirements of his profession disturb his household. So he
rode quietly to the rear, where he found a peon nodding within
the stable door. He opened his eyes unnaturally wide, and
rose to serve his master.

"See thou rub the mare well down, and give her corn and

"To be sure, Senior, that is to be done. A stranger has been
here to-day; an American."

"What did he say to thee?"

"That he would call again, Senor."

The incident was not an unusual one, and it did not trouble
the doctor's mind. There was on the side of the house a low
extension containing two rooms. These rooms belonged
exclusively to him. One was his study, his office, his
covert, the place to which he went when he wanted to be alone
with his own soul. There were a bed and bath and refreshments
in the other room. He went directly to it, and after eating
and washing, fell into a profound sleep.

At the hour before Angelus the house was as noisy and busy as
if it had been an inn. The servants were running hither and
thither, all of them expressing themselves in voluble Spanish.
The cooks were quarrelling in the kitchen. Antonia was
showing the table men, as she had to do afresh every day, how
to lay the cloth and serve the dishes in the American fashion.
When the duty was completed, she went into the garden to
listen for the Angelus. The young ladies of to-day would
doubtless consider her toilet frightfully unbecoming; but
Antonia looked lovely in it, though but a white muslin frock,
with a straight skirt and low waist and short, full sleeves.
It was confined by a blue belt with a gold buckle, and her
feet were in sandalled slippers of black satin.

The Angelus tolled, and the thousands of Hail Maries! which
blended with its swinging vibrations were uttered, and left to
their fate, as all spoken words must be. Antonia still
observed the form. It lent for a moment a solemn beauty to
her face. She was about to re-enter the house, when she saw
a stranger approaching it. He was dressed in a handsome
buckskin suit, and a wide Mexican hat, but she knew at once
that he was an American, and she waited to receive him.

As soon as he saw her, he removed his hat and approached with
it in his hand. Perhaps he was conscious that the act not
only did homage to womanhood, but revealed more perfectly a
face of remarkable beauty and nobility. For the rest, he was
very tall, powerfully built, elegantly proportioned, and his
address had the grace and polish of a cultured gentleman.

"I wish to see Dr. Worth, Dona."

With a gentle inclination of the head, she led him to the door
of her father's office. She was the only one in the Doctor's
family at all familiar with the room. The Senora said so
many books made her feel as if she were in a church or
monastery; she was afraid to say anything but paternosters in
it. Isabel cowered before the poor skeleton in the corner,
and the centipedes and snakes that filled the bottles on the
shelves. There was not a servant that would enter the room.

But Antonia did not regard books as a part of some vague
spiritual power. She knew the history of the skeleton. She
had seen the death of many of those "little devils" corked up
in alcohol. She knew that at this hour, if her father were at
home he was always disengaged, and she opened the door
fearlessly, saying, "Father, here is a gentleman who wishes to
see you."

The doctor had quite refreshed himself, and, in a house-suit
of clean, white linen, was lying on a couch reading. He arose
with alacrity, and with his pleasant smile seemed to welcome
the intruder, as he stepped behind him and closed the door.
Antonia had disappeared. They were quite alone.

"You are Doctor Robert Worth, sir?"

Their eyes met, their souls knew each other.

"And you are Sam Houston?"

The questions were answered in a hand grip, a sympathetic
smile on both faces--the freemasonry of kindred spirits.

"I have a letter from your son Thomas, doctor, and I think,
also, that you will have something to say to me, and I to

The most prudent of patriots could not have resisted this man.
He had that true imperial look which all born rulers of men
possess--that look that half coerces, and wholly persuades.
Robert Worth acknowledged its power by his instant and
decisive answer.

"I have, indeed, much to say to you. We shall have dinner
directly, then you will give the night to me?"

After a short conversation he led him into the sala and
introduced him to Antonia. He himself had to prepare the
Senora for her visitor, and he had a little quaking of the
heart as he entered her room. She was dressed for dinner, and
turned with a laughing face to meet him.

"I have been listening to the cooks quarrelling over the olla,
Roberto. But what can my poor Manuel say when your Irishwoman
attacks him. Listen to her! `Take your dirty stew aff
the fire then! Shure it isn't fit for a Christian to ate at

"I hope it is, Maria, for we have a visitor to-night."

"Who, then, my love?"

"Mr. Houston."

"Sam Houston? Holy Virgin of Guadalupe preserve us! I will
not see the man."

"I think you will, Maria. He has brought this letter for you
from our son Thomas; and he has been so kind as to take charge
of some fine horses, and sell them well for him in San
Antonio. When a man does us a kindness, we should say thank

"That is truth, if the man is not the Evil One. As for this
Sam Houston, you should have heard what was said of him at the

"I did hear. Everything was a lie."

"But he is a very common man."

"Maria, do you call a soldier, a lawyer, a member of the
United States Congress, a governor of a great State like
Tennessee, a common man? Houston has been all of these

"It is, however, true that he has lived with Indians, and with
those Americans, who are bad, who have no God, who are
infidels, and perhaps even cannibals. If he is a good
man, why does he live with bad men? Not even the saints could
do that. A good man should be in his home. Why does he not
stay at home."

"Alas! Maria, that is a woman's fault. He loved a beautiful
girl. He married her. My dear one, she did not bless his
life as you have blessed mine. No one knows what his sorrow
was, for he told no one. And he never blamed her, only he
left his high office and turned his back forever on his home."

"Ah! the cruel woman. Holy Virgin, what hard hearts thou hast
to pray for!"

"Come down and smile upon him, Maria. I should like him to
see a high-born Mexican lady. Are they not the kindest and
fairest among all God's women? I know, at least, Maria, that
you are kind and fair"; and he took her hands, and drew her
within his embrace.

What good wife can resist her husband's wooing? Maria did
not. She lifted her face, her eyes shone through happy tears,
she whispered softly: "My Robert, it is a joy to please you.
I will be kind; I will be grateful about Thomas. You
shall see that I will make a pleasant evening."

So the triumphant husband went down, proud and happy, with his
smiling wife upon his arm. Isabel was already in the room.
She also wore a white frock, but her hair was pinned back with
gold butterflies, and she had a beautiful golden necklace
around her throat. And the Senora kept her word. She paid
her guest great attention. She talked to him of his
adventures with the Indians. She requested her daughters to
sing to him. She told him stories of the old Castilian
families with which she was connected, and described her visit
to New Orleans with a great deal of pleasant humor. She felt
that she was doing herself justice; that she was charming;
and, consequently, she also was charmed with the guest and the
occasion which had been so favorable to her.

After the ladies had retired, the doctor led his visitor into
his study. He sat down silently and placed a chair for
Houston. Both men hesitated for a moment to open the
conversation. Worth, because he was treading on unknown
ground; Houston, because he did not wish to force, even by
a question, a resolution which he felt sure would come

The jar of tobacco stood between them, and they filled their
pipes silently. Then Worth laid a letter upon the table, and
said: "I unstand{sic} from this, that my son Thomas thinks
the time has come for decisive action."

"Thomas Worth is right. With such souls as his the foundation
of the state must be laid."

"I am glad Thomas has taken the position he has; but you must
remember, sir, that he is unmarried and unembarrassed by many
circumstances which render decisive movement on my part a much
more difficult thing. Yet no man now living has watched the
Americanizing of Texas with the interest that I have."

"You have been long on the watch, sir."

"I was here when my countrymen came first, in little companies
of five or ten men. I saw the party of twenty, who joined the
priest Hidalgo in eighteen hundred and ten, when Mexico made
her first attempt to throw off the Spanish yoke."

"An unsuccessful attempt."

"Yes. The next year I made a pretended professional journey
to Chihuahua, to try and save their lives. I failed.
They were shot with Hidalgo there."

"Yet the strife for liberty went on."

"It did. Two years afterwards, Magee and Bernardo, with
twelve hundred Americans, raised the standard of independence
on the Trinity River. I saw them them{sic} take this very
city, though it was ably defended by Salcedo. They fought
like heroes. I had many of the wounded in my house. I
succored them with my purse.

"It was a great deed for a handful of men."

"The fame of it brought young Americans by hundreds here. To
a man they joined the Mexican party struggling to free
themselves from the tyranny of old Spain. I do not think any
one of them received money. The love of freedom and the love
of adventure were alike their motive and their reward."

"Mexico owed these men a debt she has forgotten."

"She forgot it very quickly. In the following year, though
they had again defended San Antonio against the Spaniards, the
Mexicans drove all the Americans out of the city their rifles
had saved."

"You were here; tell me the true reason."

"It was not altogether ingratitude. It was the instinct of
self-preservation. The very bravery of the Americans made the
men whom they had defended hate and fear them; and there was
a continual influx of young men from the States. The Mexicans
said to each other: `There is no end to these Americans.
Very soon they will make a quarrel and turn their arms against
us. They do not conform to our customs, and they will not
take an order from any officer but their own.'"

Houston smiled. "It is away the Saxon race has," he said.
"The old Britons made the same complaint of them. They went
first to England to help the Britons fight the Romans, and
they liked the country so well, they determined to stay there.
If I remember rightly the old Britons had to let them do so."

"It is an old political situation. You can go back to Genesis
and find Pharaoh arguing about the Jews in the same manner."

"What happened after this forcible expulsion of the American
element from Texas?"

"Mexican independence was for a time abandoned, and the
Spanish viceroys were more tyrannical than ever. But
Americans still came, though they pursued different tactics.
They bought land and settled on the great rivers. In eighteen
twenty-one, Austin, with the permission of the Spanish viceroy
in Mexico, introduced three hundred families."

"That was a step in the right direction; but I am astonished
the viceroy sanctioned it."

"Apodoca, who was then viceroy, was a Spaniard of the proudest
type. He had very much the same contempt for the Mexicans
that an old English viceroy in New York had for the colonists
he was sent to govern. I dare say any of them would have
permitted three hundred German families to settle in some part
of British America, as far from New York as Texas is from
Mexico. I do not need to tell you that Austin's colonists are
a band of choice spirits, hardy working men, trained in the
district schools of New England and New York--nearly every one
of them a farmer or mechanic."

"They were the very material liberty needed. They have made

"That is the truth. The fighters who preceded them owned
nothing but their horses and their rifles. But these men
brought with them their wives and their children, their
civilization, their inborn love of freedom and national faith.
They accepted the guarantee of the Spanish government, and
they expected the Spanish government to keep its promises."

"It did not."

"It had no opportunity. The colonists were hardly settled
when the standard of revolt against Spain was again raised.
Santa Anna took the field for a republican form of government,
and once more a body of Americans, under the Tennesseean,
Long, joined the Mexican army."

"I remember that, well."

"In eighteen twenty-four, Santa Anna, Victoria and Bravo drove
the Spaniards forever from Mexico, and then they promulgated
the famous constitution of eighteen twenty-four. It was a
noble constitution, purely democratic and federal, and the
Texan colonists to a man gladly swore to obey it. The form
was altogether elective, and what particularly pleased the
American element was the fact that the local government of
every State was left to itself."

Houston laughed heartily. "Do you know, Worth," he said,
"State Rights is our political religion. The average American
citizen would expect the Almighty to conform to a written
constitution, and recognize the rights of mankind."

"I don't think he expects more than he gets, Houston. Where
is there a grander constitution than is guaranteed to us in
His Word; or one that more completely recognizes the rights of
all humanity?"

"Thank you, Worth. I see that I have spoken better than I
knew. I was sitting in the United States Congress, when this
constitution passed, and very much occupied with the politics
of Tennessee."

"I will not detain you with Mexican politics. It may be
briefly said that for the last ten years there has been a
constant fight between Pedraza, Guerrero, Bustamante and Santa
Anna for the Presidency of Mexico. After so much war and
misery the country is now ready to resign all the blessings
the constitution of eighteen twenty-four promised her. For
peace she is willing to have a dictator in Santa Anna."

"If Mexicans want a dictator let them bow down to Santa Anna!
But do you think the twenty thousand free-born Americans in
Texas are going to have a dictator? They will have the
constitution of eighteen twenty-four--or they will have
independence, and make their own constitution! Yes, sir!"

"You know the men for whom you speak?"

"I have been up and down among them for two years. Just after
I came to Texas I was elected to the convention which sent
Stephen Austin to Mexico with a statement of our wrongs. Did
we get any redress? No, sir! And as for poor Austin, is he
not in the dungeons of the Inquisition? We have waited two
years for an answer. Great heavens Doctor, surely that is
long enough!"

"Was this convention a body of any influence?"

"Influence! There were men there whose names will never be
forgotten. They met in a log house; they wore buckskin and
homespun; but I tell you, sir, they were debating the fate of
unborn millions."

"Two years since Austin went to Mexico?"

"A two years' chapter of tyranny. In them Santa Anna has
quite overthrown the republic of which we were a part. He has
made himself dictator. and, because our authorities have
protested against the change, they have been driven from
office by a military force. I tell you, sir, the petty
outrages everywhere perpetrated by petty officials have filled
the cup of endurance. It is boiling over. Now, doctor, what
are you going to do? Are you with us, or against us?"

"I have told you that I have been with my countrymen always--
heart and soul with them."

The doctor spoke with some irritation, and Houston laid his
closed hand hard upon the table to emphasize his reply:

"Heart and soul! Very good! But we want your body now. You
must tuck your bowie-knife and your revolvers in your belt,
and take your rifle in your hand, and be ready to help us
drive the Mexican force out of this very city."

"When it comes to that I shall be no laggard."

But he was deathly pale, for he was suffering as men suffer
who feel the sweet bonds of wife and children and home,
and dread the rending of them apart. In a moment, however,
the soul behind his white face made it visibly luminous.
"Houston," he said, "whenever the cause of freedom needs me,
I am ready. I shall want no second call. But is it not
possible, that even yet--"

"It is impossible to avert what is already here. Within a few
days, perhaps to-morrow, you will hear the publication of an
edict from Santa Anna, ordering every American to give up his

"What! Give up our arms! No, no, by Heaven! I will die
fighting for mine, rather."

"Exactly. That is how every white man in Texas feels about
it. And if such a wonder as a coward existed among them, he
understands that he may as well die fighting Mexicans, as die
of hunger or be scalped by Indians. A large proportion of the
colonists depend on their rifles for their daily food. All of
them know that they must defend their own homes from the
Comanche, or see them perish. Now, do you imagine that
Americans will obey any such order? By all the great men
of seventeen seventy-five, if they did, I would go over to the
Mexicans and help them to wipe the degenerate cowards out of

He rose as he spoke; he looked like a flame, and his words cut
like a sword. Worth caught fire at his vehemence and passion.
He clasped his hands in sympathy as he walked with him to the
door. They stood silently together for a moment on the
threshold, gazing into the night. Over the glorious land the
full moon hung, enamoured. Into the sweet, warm air
mockingbirds were pouring low, broken songs of ineffable
melody. The white city in the mystical light looked like an
enchanted city. It was so still that the very houses looked

"It is a beautiful land," said the doctor.

"It is worthy of freedom," answered Houston. Then he went
with long, swinging steps down the garden, and into the
shadows beyond, and Worth turned in and closed the door.

He had been watching for this very hour for twenty years; and
yet he found himself wholly unprepared for it. Like one led
by confused and uncertain thoughts, he went about the room
mechanically locking up his papers, and the surgical
instruments he valued so highly. As he did so he perceived
the book he had been reading when Houston entered. It was
lying open where he had laid it down. A singular smile
flitted over his face. He lifted it and carried it closer to
the light. It was his college Cicero.

"I was nineteen years old when I marked that passage," he
said; "and I do not think I have ever read it since, until to-
night. I was reading it when Houston came into the room. Is
it a message, I wonder?--

"`But when thou considerest everything carefully and
thoughtfully; of all societies none is of more importance,
none more dear, than that which unites us with the
commonwealth. Our parents, children, relations and neighbors
are dear, but our fatherland embraces the whole round of these
endearments. In its defence, who would not dare to die, if
only he could assist it?"



"O blest be he! O blest be he!
Let him all blessings prove,
Who made the chains, the shining chains,
The holy chains of love!"
--Spanish Ballad.
"If you love a lady bright,
Seek, and you shall find a way
All that love would say, to say
If you watch the occasion right."
--Spanish Ballad.

In the morning Isabel took breakfast with her sister. This
was always a pleasant event to Antonia. She petted Isabel,
she waited upon her, sweetened her chocolate, spread her cakes
with honey, and listened to all her complaints of Tia Rachela.
Isabel came gliding in when Antonia was about half way through
the meal. Her scarlet petticoat was gorgeous, her bodice
white as snow, her hair glossy as a bird's wing, but her lips
drooped and trembled, and there was the shadow of tears in her
eyes. Antonia kissed their white fringed lids, held
the little form close in her arms, and fluttered about in that
motherly way which Isabel had learned to demand and enjoy.

"What has grieved you this morning, little dove?"

"It is Tia Rachela, as usual. The cross old woman! She is
going to tell mi madre something. Antonia, you must make her
keep her tongue between her teeth. I promised her to confess
to Fray Ignatius, and she said I must also tell mi madre. I
vowed to say twenty Hail Marias and ten Glorias, and she said
`I ought to go back to the convent.'"

"But what dreadful thing have you been doing, Iza?"

Iza blushed and looked into her chocolate cup, as she answered
slowly: "I gave--a--flower--away. Only a suchil flower,
Antonia, that--I--wore--at--my--breast--last--night."

"Whom did you give it to, Iza?"

Iza hesitated, moved her chair close to Antonia, and then hid
her face on her sister's breast.

"But this is serious, darling. Surely you did not give it to
Senor Houston?"

"Could you think I was so silly? When madre was talking to
him last night, and when I was singing my pretty serenade, he
heard nothing at all. He was thinking his own thoughts."

"Not to Senor Houston? Who then? Tell me, Iza."

"To--Don Luis."

"Don Luis! But he is not here. He went to the Colorado."

"How stupid are you, Antonia! In New York they did not teach
you to put this and that together. As soon as I saw Senor
Houston, I said to myself: `Don Luis was going to him; very
likely they have met each other on the road; very likely Don
Luis is back in San Antonio. He would not want to go away
without bidding me good-by,' and, of course, I was right."

"But when did you see him last night? You never left the

So many things are possible. My heart said to me when the
talk was going on, `Don Luis is waiting under the oleanders,'
and I walked on to the balcony and there he was, and he looked
so sad, and I dropped my suchil flower to him; and Rachela
saw me, for I think she has a million eyes,--and that is the
whole matter."

"But why did not Don Luis come in?"

"Mi madre forbade me to speak to him. That is the fault of
the Valdez's."

"Then you disobeyed mi madre, and you know what Fray Ignatius
and the Sisters have taught you about the fourth command."

"Oh, indeed, I did not think of the fourth command! A sin
without intention has not penance; and consider, Antonia, I am
now sixteen, and they would shut me up like a chicken in its
shell. Antonia, sweet Antonia, speak to Rachela, and make
your little Iza happy. Fear is so bad for me. See, I do not
even care for my cakes and honey this morning.

"I will give Rachela the blue silk kerchief I brought from New
York. She will forget a great deal for that, and then, Iza,
darling, you must tell Fray Ignatius of your sin, because it
is not good to have an unconfessed sin on the soul."

"Antonia, do not say such cruel things. I have confessed to
you. Fray Ignatius will give me a hard penance. Perhaps he
may say to mi madre: `That child had better go back to
the convent. I say so, because I have knowledge.' And now I
am tired of that life; I am almost a woman, Antonia, am I

Antonia looked tenderly into her face. She saw some
inscrutable change there. All was the same, and all was
different. She did not understand that it was in the eyes,
those lookouts of the soul. They had lost the frank,
inquisitive stare of childhood; they were tender and misty;
they reflected a heart passionate and fearful, in which love
was making himself lord of all.

Antonia was not without experience. There was in New York a
gay, handsome youth, to whom her thoughts lovingly turned.
She had promised to trust him, and to wait for him, and
neither silence nor distance had weakened her faith or her
affection. Don Luis had also made her understand how hard it
was to leave Isabel, just when he had hoped to woo and win
her. He had asked her to watch over his beloved, and to say
a word in his favor when all others would be condemning him.

Her sympathy had been almost a promise, and, indeed, she
thought Isabel could hardly have a more suitable lover. He
was handsome, gallant, rich, and of good morals and noble
family. They had been much together in their lives; their
childish affection had been permitted; she felt quite sure
that the parents of both had contemplated a stronger affection
and a more lasting tie between them.

And evidently Don Luis had advanced further in his suit than
the Senora was aware of. He had not been able to resist the
charm of secretly wooing the fresh young girl he hoped to make
his wife. Their love must be authorized and sanctioned; true,
he wished that; but the charm of winning the prize before it
was given was irresistible. Antonia comprehended all without
many words; but she took her sister into the garden, where
they could be quite alone, and she sought the girl's
confidence because she was sure she could be to her a loving

Isabel was ready enough to talk, and the morning was conducive
to confidence. They strolled slowly between the myrtle hedges
in the sweet gloom of overshadowing trees, hearing only like
a faint musical confusion the mingled murmur of the city.

"It was just here," said Isabel. "I was walking and
sitting and doing nothing at all but looking at the trees and
the birds and feeling happy, and Don Luis came to me. He
might have come down from the skies, I was so astonished. And
he looked so handsome, and he said such words! Oh, Antonia!
they went straight to my heart."

"When was this, dear?"

"It was in the morning. I had been to mass with Rachela. I
had said every prayer with my whole heart, and Rachela told me
I might stay in the garden until the sun grew hot. And as
soon as Rachela was gone, Don Luis came--came just as sudden
as an angel."

"He must have followed you from mass."


"He should not have done that."

"If a thing is delightful, nobody should do it. Luis said he
knew that it was decided that we should marry, but that he
wanted me to be his wife because I loved him. His face was
shining with joy, his eyes were like two stars, he called me
his life, his adorable mistress, his queen, and he knelt down
and took my hands and kissed them. I was too happy to speak."

"Oh, Iza!"

"Very well, Antonia! It is easy to say `Oh, Iza'; but what
would you have done? And reflect on this; no one, not even
Rachela, saw him. So then, our angels were quite agreeable
and willing. And I--I was in such joy, that I went straight
in and told Holy Maria of my happiness. But when a person has
not been in love, how can they know; and I see that you are
going to say as Sister Sacrementa said to Lores Valdez--`You
are a wicked girl, and such things are not to be spoken of!'"

"Oh, my darling one, I am not so cruel. I think you did
nothing very wrong, Iza. When love comes into your soul, it
is like a new life. If it is a pure, good love, it is a kind
of murder to kill it in any way."

"It has just struck me, Antonia, that you may be in love

"When I was in New York, our brother Jack had a friend, and he
loved me, and I loved him."

"But did grandmamma let him talk to you?"

"He came every night. We went walking and driving. In the
summer we sailed upon the river; in the winter we skated upon
the ice. He helped me with my lessons. He went with me
to church."

"And was grandmamma with you?"

"Very seldom. Often Jack was with us; more often we were
quite alone."

"Holy Virgin! Who ever heard tell of such good fortune?
Consuelo Ladrello had never been an hour alone with Don
Domingo before they were married."

"A good girl does not need a duenna to watch her; that is what
I think. And an American girl, pure and free, would not
suffer herself to be watched by any woman, old or young. Her
lover comes boldly into her home; she is too proud, to meet
him in secret."

"Ah! that would be a perfect joy. That is what I would like!
But fancy what Rachela would say; and mi madre would cover her
eyes and refuse to see me if I said such words. Believe this.
It was in the spring Luis told me that he loved me, and though
I have seen him often since, he has never found another moment
to speak to me alone, not for one five minutes. Oh, Antonia!
let me have one five minutes this afternoon! He is going
away, and there is to be war, and I may never, never see
him again!"

"Do not weep, little dove. How can you see him this

"He will be here, in this very place, I know he will. When he
put the suchil flower to his lips last night he made me
understand it. This afternoon, during the hour of siesta,
will you come with me? Only for five minutes, Antonia! You
can manage Rachela, I am sure you can."

"I can manage Rachela, and you shall have one whole hour, Iza.
One whole hour! Come, now, we must make a visit to our
mother. She will be wondering at our delay."

The Senora had not yet risen. She had taken her chocolate and
smoked her cigarito, but was still drowsing. "I have had a
bad night, children," she said full of dreadful dreams. It
must have been that American. Yet, Holy Mother, how handsome
he is! And I assure you that he has the good manners of a
courtier. Still, it was an imprudence, and Senora Valdez will
make some great thing of it."

"You were in your own house, mother. What has Senora Valdez
to do with the guest in it? We might as well make some
great thing about Captain Morello being present at her party."

"I have to say to you, Antonia, that Morello is a Castilian;
his family is without a cross. He has the parchments of his
noble ancestry to show."

And Senor Houston is an American--Scotch-American, he said,
last night. Pardon, my mother, but do you know what the men
of Scotland are?"

"Si!, They are monsters! Fray Ignatius has told me. They
are heretics of the worst kind. It is their special delight
to put to death good Catholic priests. I saw that in a book;
it must be true."

"Oh, no, mother! It is not true! It is mere nonsense.
Scotchmen do not molest priests, women, and children. They
are the greatest fighters in the world."

"Quien sabe? Who has taught you so much about these savages?"

"Indeed, mother, they are not savages. They are a very
learned race of men, and very pious also. Jack has many
Scotch-American friends. I know one of them very well"; and
with the last words her face flushed, and her voice fell
insensibly into slow and soft inflections.

"Jack knows many of them! That is likely. Your father would
send him to New York. All kinds of men are in New York. Fray
Ignatius says they have to keep an army of police there. No
wonder! And my son is so full of nobilities, so generous, so
honorable, he will not keep himself exclusive. He is the true
resemblance of my brother Don Juan Flores. Juan was always
pitying the poor and making friends with those beneath him.
At last he went into the convent of the Bernardines and died
like a very saint."

"I think our Jack will be more likely to die like a very hero.
If there is any thing Jack hates, it is oppression. He would
right a beggar, if he saw him wronged."

"Poco a poco! I am tired of rights and wrongs. Let us talk
a little about our dresses, for there will be a gay winter.
Senora Valdez assured me of it; many soldiers are coming here,
and we shall have parties, and cock-fights, and, perhaps, even
a bull-feast."

"Oh!" cried Isabel clapping her hands enthusiastically; "a
bull-feast! That is what I long to see!"

At this moment the doctor entered the room, and Isabel ran to
meet him. No father could have resisted her pretty ways, her
kisses, her endearments, her coaxing diminutives of speech,
her childlike loveliness and simplicity.

"What is making you so happy, Queridita?"[1]

[1] Little dear.

"Mi madre says there is perhaps to be a bullfeast this winter.
Holy Virgin, think of it! That is the one thing I long to

With her clinging arms around him, and her eager face lifted
to his for sympathy, the father could not dash the hope which
he knew in his heart was very unlikely to be realized.
Neither did he think it necessary to express opposition or
disapproval for what had as yet no tangible existence. So he
answered her with smiles and caresses, and a little quotation
which committed him to nothing:

"As, Panem et Circenses was the cry
Among the Roman populace of old;
So, Pany Toros! is the cry of Spain."

The Senora smiled appreciatively and put out her hand.
"Pan y Toros!" she repeated. "And have you reflected,
children, that no other nation in the world cries it. Only
Spain and her children! That is because only men of the
Spanish race are brave enough to fight bulls, and only Spanish
bulls are brave enough to fight men."

She was quite pleased with herself for this speech, and
finding no one inclined to dispute the statement, she went on
to describe a festival of bulls she had been present at in the
city of Mexico. The subject delighted her, and she grew
eloquent over it; and, conscious only of Isabel's shining eyes
and enthusiastic interest, she did not notice the air of
thoughtfulness which had settled over her husband's face, nor
yet Antonia's ill-disguised weariness and anxiety.

On the night of the Valdez's party her father had said he
would talk with her. Antonia was watching for the confidence,
but not with any great desire. Her heart and her
intelligence told her it would mean trouble, and she had that
natural feeling of youth which gladly postpones the evil day.
And while her father was silent she believed there were still
possibilities of escape from it. So she was not sorry
that he again went to his office in the city without any
special word for her. It was another day stolen from the
uncertain future, for the calm usage of the present, and she
was determined to make happiness in it.

When all was still in the afternoon Isabel came to her. She
would not put the child to the necessity of again asking her
help. She rose at once, and said:

"Sit here, Iza, until I have opened the door for us. Then she
took a rich silk kerchief, blue as the sky, in her hand, and
went to the wide, matted hall. There she found Rachela,
asleep on a cane lounge. Antonia woke her.

"Rachela, I wish to go into the garden for an hour."

The Senorita does the thing she wants to, Rachela would not
presume to interfere. The Senorita became an Americano in New

"There are good things in New York, Rachela; for instance,
this kerchief."

"That is indeed magnificent!"

"If you permit my sister to walk in the garden with me, I
shall give it to you this moment."

"Dona Isabel is different. She is a Mexicaine. She must be
watched continually."

"For what reason? She is as innocent as an angel."

"Let her simply grow up, and you will see that she is not
innocent as the angels. Oh, indeed! I could say something
about last night! Dona Isabel has no vocation for a nun; but,
gracias a Dios! Rachela is not yet blind or deaf."

"Let the child go with me for an hour, Rachela. The kerchief
will be so becoming to you. There is not another in San
Antonio like it."

Rachela was past forty, but not yet past the age of coquetry.
"It will look gorgeous with my gold ear-rings, but--"

"I will give you also the blue satin bow like it, to wear at
your breast."

"Si, si! I will give the permission, Senorita--for your sake
alone. The kerchief and bow are a little thing to you. To
me, they will be a great adornment. You are not to leave the
garden, however, and for one hour's walk only, Senorita;
certainly there is time for no more."

"I will take care of Isabel; no harm shall come to her. You
may keep your eyes shut for one hour, Rachela, and you may
shut your ears also, and put your feet on the couch and let
them rest. I will watch Isabel carefully, be sure of that."

"The child is very clever, and she has a lover already, I
fear. Keep your eyes on the myrtle hedge that skirts the
road. I have to say this--it is not for nothing she wants to
walk with you this afternoon. She would be better fast

In a few moments the kerchief and the bow were safely folded
in the capacious pocket of Rachela's apron, and Isabel and
Antonia were softly treading the shady walk between the myrtle
hedges. Rachela's eyes were apparently fast closed when the
girls pased{sic} her, but she did not fail to notice how
charmingly Isabel had dressed herself. She wore, it is true,
her Spanish costume; but she had red roses at her breast, and
her white lace mantilla over her head.

"Ah! she is a clever little thing!" Rachela muttered. "She
knows that she is irresistible in her Castilian dress. Bah!
those French frocks are enough to drive a man a mile away.
I can almost forgive her now. Had she worn the French frock
I would not have forgiven her. I would never have yielded
again, no, not even if the Senorita Antonia should offer me
her scarlet Indian shawl worked in gold. I was always a
fool--Holy Mother forgive me! Well, then; I used to have my
own lovers--plenty of them--handsome young arrieros and
rancheros: there was Tadeo, a valento of the first class: and
Buffa--and--well, I will sleep; they do not remember me, I
dare say; and I have forgotten their names."

In the mean time the sisters sat down beneath a great fig-
tree. No sunshine, no shower, could penetrate its thick
foliage. The wide space beneath the spreading branches was a
little parlor, cool and sweet, and full of soft, green lights,
and the earthy smell of turf, and the wandering scents of the

Isabel's eyes shone with an incomparable light. She was pale,
but exquisitely beautiful, and even her hands and feet
expressed the idea of expectation. Antonia had a piece of
needlework in her hand. She affected the calmness she did
not feel, for her heart was trembling for the tender little
heart beating with so much love and anxiety beside her.

But Isabel's divination, however arrived at, was not at fault.
In a few moments Don Luis lightly leaped the hedge, and
without a moment's hesitation sought the shadow of the fig-
tree. As he approached, Antonia looked at him with a new
interest. It was not only that he loved Isabel, but that
Isabel loved him. She had given him sympathy before, now she
gave him a sister's affection.

"How handsome he is!" she thought. "How gallant he looks in
his velvet and silver and embroidered jacket! And how eager
are his steps! And how joyful his face! He is the kind of
Romeo that Shakespeare dreamed about! Isabel is really an
angel to him. He would really die for her. What has this
Spanish knight of the sixteenth century to do in Texas in the
nineteenth century?"

He answered her mental question in his own charming way. He
was so happy, so radiantly happy, so persuasive, so
compelling, that Antonia granted him, without a word, the
favor his eyes asked for. And the lovers hardly heard the
excuse she made; they understood nothing of it, only that she
would be reading in the myrtle walk for one hour, and, by so
doing, would protect them from intrusion.

One whole hour! Isabel had thought the promise a perfect
magnificence of opportunity{.??} But how swiftly it went.
Luis had not told her the half of his love and his hopes. He
had been forced to speak of politics and business, and every
such word was just so many stolen from far sweeter words--
words that fell like music from his lips, and were repeated
with infinite power from his eyes. Low words, that had the
pleading of a thousand voices in them; words full of melody,
thrilling with romance; poetical, and yet real as the sunshine
around them.

In lovers of a colder race, bound by conventional ties, and a
dress rigorously divested of every picturesque element, such
wooing might have appeared ridiculous; but in Don Luis, the
most natural thing about it was its extravagance. When he
knelt at the feet of his beloved and kissed her hands, the
action was the unavoidable outcome of his temperament. When
he said to her, "Angel mio! you are the light of my
darkness, the perfume of all flowers that bloom for me, the
love of my loves, my life, my youth, my lyre, my star, had I
a thousand souls with which to love, I would give them all to
you!" he believed every word he uttered, and he uttered every
word with the passion of a believer.

He stirred into life also in the heart of Isabel a love as
living as his own. In that hour she stepped outside all of
her childhood's immaturities. She became a woman. She
accepted with joyful tears a woman's lot of love and sorrow.
She said to Antonia:

"Luis was in my heart before; now, I have put him in my soul.
My soul will never die. So I shall never forget him--never
cease to love him."

Rachela faithfully kept her agreement. For one hour she was
asleep to all her charge did, and Isabel was in her own room
when the precious sixty minutes were over. Happy? So happy
that her soul seemed to have pushed her body aside, as a thing
not to be taken into account. She sang like a bird for very
gladsomeness. It was impossible for her to be still, and as
she went about her room with little dancing, balancing
movements of her hands and feet, Antonia knew that they were
keeping their happy rhythmic motion to the melody love sang in
her heart.

And she rejoiced with her little sister, though she was not
free from a certain regret for her concession, for it is the
after-reckoning with conscience that is so disagreeably strict
and uncomfortable. And yet, why make an element of anger and
suspicion between Isabel and her mother when there appeared to
be no cause to do so? Don Luis was going away. He was in
disgrace with his family--almost disinherited; the country was
on the point of war, and its fortunes might give him some
opportunities no one now foresaw. But if Isabel's mother had
once declared that she would "never sanction the marriage,"
Antonia knew that, however she might afterwards regret her
haste and prejudice, she would stand passionately by her
decision. Was it not better, then, to prevent words being
said which might cause sorrow and regret in the future?

But as regarded Isabel's father, no such reason existed. The
happiness of his children was to him a more sacred thing
than his own prejudices. He liked Don Luis, and his
friendship with his mother, the Senora Alveda, was a long and
tried one. The youth's political partialities, though
bringing him at present into disgrace, were such as he himself
had largely helped to form. Antonia was sure that her father
would sympathize with Isabel, and excuse in her the lapse of
duty which had given his little girl so much happiness. Yes,
it would be right to tell him every thing, and she did not
fear but Isabel would agree in her decision.

At this moment Rachela entered. The Senora wished her
daughters to call upon the American manteau-maker for her, and
the ride in the open carriage to the Plaza would enable them
to bow to their acquaintances, and exhibit their last new
dresses from New Orleans. Rachela was already prepared for
the excursion, and she was not long in attiring Isabel.

"To be sure, the siesta has made you look charming this
afternoon," she said, looking steadily into the girl's
beaming, blushing face, "and this rose silk is enchanting.
Santa Maria, how I pity the officers who will have the
great fortune to see you this afternoon, and break their
hearts for the sight! But you must not look at them, mark!
I shall tell the Senora if you do. It is enough if they look
at you. And the American way of the Senorita Antonia, which
is to bow and smile to every admirer, it will but make more
enchanting the becoming modesty of the high-born Mexicaine."

"Keep your tongue still, Rachela. Ah! if you strike me, I
will go to my father. He will not permit it. I am not a
child to be struck and scolded, and told when to open and shut
my eyes. I shall do as my sister does, and the Holy Mother
herself will be satisfied with me!"

"Chito! Chito!! You wicked one! Oh, Maria Santissima, cast
on this child a look of compassion! The American last night
has bewitched her! I said that he looked like a Jew."

"I am not wicked, Rachela; and gracias a Dios, there is no
Inquisition now to put the question!"

Isabel was in a great passion, or the awful word that had
made lips parch and blanch to utter it for generations would
never have been launched at the offending woman's head. But
its effect was magical. Rachela put up her hands palm
outwards, as if to shield herself from a blow, and then
without another word stooped down and tied the satin sandals
on Isabel's restless feet. She was muttering prayers during
the whole action, for Isabel had been quick to perceive her
advantage, and was following it up by a defiant little
monologue of rebellious speeches.

In the midst of this scene, Antonia entered. She was dressed
for the carriage, and the carriage stood at the door waiting;
but her face was full of fear, and she said, hurriedly:

"Rachela, can you not make some excuse to my mother which will
permit us to remain at home? Hark! There is something wrong
in the city."

In a moment the three women were on the balcony, intently,
anxiously listening. Then they were aware of a strange
confusion in the subtle, amber atmosphere. It was as if they
heard the noise of battle afar off; and Rachela, without a
word, glided away to the Senora. Isabel and Antonia stood
hand in hand, listening to the vague trouble and the echo of
harsh, grating voices, mingled with the blare of clarions, the
roll of drums, and the rattle of scattering rifle-shots. Yet
the noises were so blended together, so indistinct, so
strangely expressive of both laughter and defiance, that it
was impossible to identify or describe them.

Suddenly a horseman came at a rapid pace towards the house,
and Antonia, leaning over the balcony, saw him deliver a note
to Rachela, and then hurry away at the same reckless speed.
The note was from the doctor to his wife, and it did not tend
to allay their anxiety. "Keep within the house," it said;
"there are difficulties in the city. In an hour or two I will
be at home."

But it was near midnight when he arrived, and Antonia saw that
he was a different man. He looked younger. His blue eyes
shone with the light behind them. On his face there was the
impress of an invincible determination. His very walk had
lost its listless, gliding tread, and his steps were firm,
alert and rapid.

No one had been able to go to bed until he arrived, though
Isabel slept restlessly in her father's chair, and the Senora
lay upon the couch, drowsing a little between her frequent
attacks of weeping and angry anticipation. For she was sure
it was the Americans. "Anything was possible with such a man
as Sam Houston near the city."

"Perhaps it is Santa Anna," at length suggested Antonia. "He
has been making trouble ever since I can remember. He was
born with a sword in his hand, I think."

"Ca! And every American with a rifle in his hand! Santa Anna
is a monster, but at least he fights for his own country.
Texas is not the country of the Americans."

"But, indeed, they believe that Texas is their country"; and
to these words Doctor Worth entered.

"What is the matter? What is the matter, Roberto? I have
been made sick with these uncertainties. Why did you not come
home at the Angelus?"

"I have had a good reason for my delay, Maria. About three
o'clock I received a message from the Senora Alveda, and I
visited her. She is in great trouble, and she had not been
able to bear it with her usual fortitude. She bad

"Ah, the poor mother! She has a son who will break her

"She made no complaint of Luis. She is distracted about her
country, and as I came home I understood why. For she is a
very shrewd woman, and she perceives that Santa Anna is
preparing trouble enough for it."

"Well, then, what is it?"

"When I left her house, I noticed many Americans, as well as
many Mexicans, on the streets. They were standing together,
too; and there was something in their faces, and in the way
their arms were carried, which was very striking and
portentous. I fancied they looked coldly on me, and I was
troubled by the circumstance. In the Plaza I saw the military
band approaching, accompanied by half a dozen officers and a
few soldiers. The noise stopped suddenly, and Captain Morello
proclaimed as a bando (edict) of the highest authority, an
order for all Americans to surrender their arms of every
description to the officials and at the places notified."

"Very good!"

"Maria, nothing could be worse! Nothing could be more
shameful and disastrous. The Americans had evidently been
expecting this useless bombast, and ere the words were well
uttered, they answered them with a yell of defiance. I do not
think more than one proclamation was necessary, but Morello
went from point to point in the city and the Americans
followed him. I can tell you this, Maria: all the millions in
Mexico can not take their rifles from the ten thousand
Americans in Texas, able to carry them."

"We shall see! We shall see! But, Roberto, you at least will
not interfere in their quarrels. You have never done so

"No one has ever proposed to disarm me before, Maria. I tell
you frankly, I will not give up a single rifle, or revolver,
or weapon of any kind, that I possess. I would rather be
slain with them. I have never carried arms before, but I
shall carry them now. I apologize to my countrymen for not
having them with me this afternoon. My dearest wife! My good
Maria! do not cry in that despairing way.

You will be killed, Roberto! You will be a rebel! You
will be shot like a dog, and then what will become of me and
my daughters?"

"You have two sons, Maria. They will avenge their father, and
protect their mother and sisters."

"I shall die of shame! I shall die of shame and sorrow!"

"Not of shame, Maria. If I permitted these men to deprive me
of my arms, you might well die of shame."

"What is it? Only a gun, or a pistol, that you never use?"

"Great God, Maria! It is everything! It is honor! It is
liberty! It is respect to myself! It is loyalty to my
country! It is fidelity to my countrymen! It is true that
for many years the garrison has fully protected us, and I have
not needed to use the arms in my house. But thousands of
husbands and fathers need them hourly, to procure food for
their children and wives, and to protect them from the
savages. One tie binds us. Their cause is my cause. Their
country is my country, and their God is my God. Children, am
I right or wrong?"

They both stepped swiftly to his side. Isabel laid her
cheek against his, and answered him with a kiss. Antonia
clasped his hand, stood close to him, and said: "We are all
sure that you are right, dear father. My mother is weary and
sick with anxiety, but she thinks so too. Mother always
thinks as you do, father. Dear mother, here is Rachela with
a cup of chocolate, and you will sleep and grow strong before

But the Senora, though she suffered her daughter's caresses,
did not answer them, neither did she speak to her husband,
though he opened the door for her and stood waiting with a
face full of anxious love for a word or a smile from her. And
the miserable wife, still more miserable than her husband,
noticed that Isabel did not follow her. Never before had
Isabel seemed to prefer any society to her mother's, and the
unhappy Senora felt the defection, even amid her graver

But Isabel had seen something new in her father that night;
something that touched her awakening soul with admiration.
She lingered with him and Antonia, listening with vague
comprehension to their conversation, until Rachela called
her angrily; and as she was not brave enough for a second
rebellion that night, she obediently answered her summons.

An hour afterwards, Antonia stepped cautiously within her
room. She was sleeping, and smiling in her sleep. Where was
her loving, innocent soul wandering? Between the myrtle
hedges and under the fig-tree with her lover? Oh, who can
tell where the soul goes when sleep gives it some release?
Perhaps it is at night our angels need to watch us most
carefully. For the soul, in dreams, can visit evil and
sorrowful places, as well as happy and holy ones. But Isabel
slept and smiled, and Antonia whispered a prayer at her side
ere she went to her own rest.

And the waning moon cast a pathetic beauty over the Eden-like
land, till dawn brought that mystical silence in which every
new day is born. Then Robert Worth rose from the chair in
which he had been sitting so long, remembering the past and
forecasting the future. He walked to the window, opened it,
and looked towards the mountains. They had an ethereal hue,
a light without rays, a clearness almost polar in its
severity. But in some way their appearance infused into
his soul calmness and strength.

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest