Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

Remember the Alamo by Amelia E. Barr

Part 2 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.

"Liberty has always been bought with life, and the glory of
the greatest nations handseled with the blood of their
founders." This was the thought in his heart, as looking far
off to the horizon, he asked hopefully:

"What then, O God, shall this good land produce
That Thou art watering it so carefully?"


"So when fierce zeal a nation rends,
And stern injustice rules the throne,
Beneath the yoke meek virtue bends,
And modest truth is heard to groan.
But when fair Freedom's star appears,
Then hushed are sighs, and calmed are fears.
And who, when nations long opprest,
Decree to curb the oppressor's pride,
And patriot virtues fire the breast,
Who shall the generous ardor chide?
What shall withstand the great decree,
When a brave nation will be free?

It is flesh and blood that makes husbands and wives, fathers
and children, and for the next few days these ties were sorely
wounded in Robert Worth's house. The Senora was what Rachela
called "difficult." In reality, she was angry and sullen. At
such times she always went early to mass, said many prayers,
and still further irritated herself by unnecessary fasting.
But there are few homes which totally escape the visitations
of this`pious temper in some form or other. And no
creed modifies it; the strict Calvinist and strict Catholic
are equally disagreeable while under its influence.

Besides, the Senora, like the ill-tempered prophet, thought
she "did well to be angry." She imagined herself deserted and
betrayed in all her tenderest feelings, her husband a rebel,
her home made desolate, her sons and daughters supporting
their father's imprudent views. She could only see one
alternative before her; she must choose between her country
and her religion, or her husband and children.

True, she had not yet heard from her sons, but she would
listen to none of Rachela's hopes regarding them. Thomas had
always said yes to all his father's opinions. How could she
expect anything from John when he was being carefully trained
in the very principles which everywhere made the Americans so
irritating to the Mexican government.

Her husband and Antonia she would not see. Isabel she
received in her darkened room, with passionate weeping and
many reproaches. The unhappy husband had expected this
trouble at the outset. It was one of those domestic
thorns which fester and hamper, but to which the very best of
men have to submit. He could only send pleasant and
affectionate messages by Rachela, knowing that Rachela would
deliver them with her own modifications of tone and manner.

"The Senor sends his great love to the Senora. Grace of Mary!
If he would do a little as the most wise and tender of spouses
wishes him! That would be for the good fortune of every one.

"Ah, Rachela, my heart is broken! Bring me my mantilla. I
will go to early mass, when one's husband and children forsake
them, who, then, is possible but the Holy Mother?

"My Senora, you will take cold; the morning is chill; besides,
I have to say the streets will be full of those insolent

"I shall be glad to take cold, perhaps even to die. And the
Americans do not offend women. Even the devil has his good

"Holy Virgin! Offend women! They do not even think us worth
looking at. But then it is an intolerable offence to see them
standing in our streets, as if they had made the whole

But this morning, early as it was, the streets were empty of
Americans. There had been hundreds of them there at the
proclamation; there was not one to be seen twelve hours
afterwards. But at the principal rendezvous of the city, and
on the very walls of the Alamo, they had left this
characteristic notice:


If you want our arms-take them.


Robert Worth saw it with an irrepressible emotion of pride and
satisfaction. He had faithfully fulfilled his promise to his
conscience, and, with his rifle across his shoulder, and his
revolvers and knife in his belt, was taking the road to his
office with a somewhat marked deliberation. He was yet a
remarkably handsome man; and what man is there that a rifle
does not give a kind of nobility to? With an up-head carriage
and the light of his soul in his face, he trod the narrow,
uneven street like a soldier full of enthusiasm at his own

No one interfered with his solitary parade. He perceived,
indeed, a marked approval of it. The Zavalas, Navarros.
Garcias, and other prominent citizens, addressed him with but
a slightly repressed sympathy. They directed his attention
with meaning looks to the counter-proclamation of the
Americans. They made him understand by the pressure of their
hands that they also were on the side of liberty.

As he did not hurry, he met several officers, but they wisely
affected not to see what they did not wish to see. For Doctor
Worth was a person to whom very wide latitude might be given.
To both the military and the civilians his skill was a
necessity. The attitude he had taken was privately discussed,
but no one publicly acted or even commented upon it. Perhaps
he was a little disappointed at this. He had come to a point
when a frank avowal of his opinions would be a genuine
satisfaction; when, in fact, his long-repressed national
feeling was imperious.

On the third morning, as he crossed the Plaza, some one called
him. The voice made his heart leap; his whole nature
responded to it like the strings of a harp to the sweep of a
skilful hand. He turned quickly, and saw two young men galloping
towards him. The foremost figure was his son--his beloved
youngest son--whom he had just been thinking of as well out of
danger, safe and happy in the peaceful halls of Columbia. And
lo! here he was in the very home of the enemy; and he was glad
of it.

"Why, Jack!" he cried; "Why, Jack, my boy! I never thought of
you here." He had his hand on the lad's shoulder, and was
gazing into his bright face with tears and smiles and happy

Father, I had to come. And there are plenty more coming. And
here is my other self--the best fellow that ever lived:
Darius Grant. `Dare' we call him, father, for there is not
anything he won't venture if he thinks it worth the winning.
And how is mi madre and Antonia, and Iza? And isn't it
jolly to see you with a rifle?"

"Well, Dare; well, Jack; you are both welcome; never so
welcome to Texas as at this hour. Come home at once and,
refresh yourselves."

There was so much to tell that at first the conversation
was in fragments and exclamations, and the voices of the two
young men, pitched high and clear in their excitement, went
far before them as if impatient of their welcome. Antonia
heard them first. She was on the balcony, standing thoughtful
and attent. It seemed to her as if in those days she was
always listening. Jack's voice was the loudest, but she heard
Dare's first. It vibrated in midair and fell upon her
consciousness, clear and sweet as a far-away bell.

"That is Dare's voice-- HERE."

She leaned forward, her soul hearkened after the vibrations,
and again they called her. With swift steps she reached the
open door. Rachela sat in her chair within it.

"The Senorita had better remain within," she said, sullenly;
"the sun grows hot."

"Let me pass, Rachela, I am in a hurry."

"To be sure, the Senorita will have her way--good or bad."

Antonia heeded her not; she was hastening down the main avenue
toward the gateway. This avenue was hedged on each side with
oleanders, and they met in a light, waving arch above her
head. At this season they were one mass of pale pink
blossoms and dark glossy leaves. The vivid sunshine through
them made a rosy light which tinged her face and her white
gown with an indescribable glow. If a mortal woman can ever
look like an angel, the fair, swiftly moving Antonia had at
that moment the angelic expression of joy and love; the
angelic unconsciousness of rapid and graceful movement; the
angelic atmosphere that was in itself a dream of paradise;
rose-tinted, divinely sweet and warm.

Dare saw her coming, and suddenly ceased speaking{.??} He was
in the midst of a sentence, but he forgot what he was saying.
He forgot where he was. He knew nothing, felt nothing, saw
nothing, heard nothing but Antonia. And yet he did not fall
at her feet, and kiss her hands and whisper delightful
extravagances; all of which things an Iberian lover would have
done, and felt and looked in the doing perfectly graceful and

Dare Grant only clasped both the pretty hands held out to him;
only said "Antonia! Antonia!" only looked at her with eyes
full of a loving question, which found its instant answer in
her own. In that moment they revealed to each other the
length and breadth, the height and the depth of their
affection. They had not thought of disguising it; they made
no attempt to do so; and Robert Worth needed not the
confession which, a few hours later, Grant thought it right to
make to him.

When they entered the house together, a happy, noisy group,
Rachela had left her chair and was going hurriedly upstairs to
tell the Senora her surmise; but Jack passed her with a bound,
and was at his mother's side before the heavy old woman had
comprehended his passing salutation.

"Madre! Mother, I am here!

The Senora was on her couch in her darkened room. She had
been at the very earliest mass, had a headache, and had come
home in a state of rebellion against heaven and earth. But
Jack was her idol, the one child for whose presence she
continually pined, the one human creature to whose will and
happiness she delighted to sacrifice her own. When she heard
his voice she rose quickly, crying out:

"A miracle! A miracle! Grace of God and Mary, a miracle!
Only this morning, my precious, my boy! I asked the Holy
Mother to pity my sorrows, and send you to me. I vow to
Mary a new shrine. I vow to keep it, and dress it for one
whole year. I will give my opal ring to the poor. Oh, Juan!
Juan! Juan I am too blessed."

Her words were broken into pieces by his kisses. He knelt at
her knees, and stroked her face, and patted her hands, and did
all with such natural fervor and grace, that anything else, or
anything less, must have seemed cold and unfilial.

"Come, my beautiful mother, and see my friend. I have told
him so much about you; and poor Dare has no mother. I have
promised him that you will be his mother also. Dare is so
good--the finest fellow in all the world; come down and see
Dare, and let us have a real Mexican dinner, madre. I have
not tasted an olla since I left you."

She could not resist him. She made Rachela lay out her
prettiest dress, and when Jack said "how beautiful your hair
is, mother; no one has hair like you!" she drew out the great
shell pins, and let it fall like a cloud around her, and with
a glad pride gave Rachela the order to get out her jewelled
comb and gilded fan and finest mantilla. And oh! how
happy is that mother who has such pure and fervent admiration
from her son; and how happy is that son to whom his mother is
ever beautiful!

Jack's presence drove all the evil spirits out of the house.
The windows were thrown open; the sunshine came in. He was
running after Isabel, he was playing the mandolin; his voice,
his laugh, his quick footstep, were everywhere.

In spite of the trouble in the city, there was a real festival
in the house. The Senora came down in her sweetest temper and
her finest garments. She arranged Jack's dinner herself,
selected the dishes and gave strict orders about their
serving. She took Jack's friend at once into her favor, and
Dare thought her wonderfully lovely and gracious. He sat with
her on the balcony, and talked of Jack, telling her how clever
he was, and how all his comrades loved him for his sunny
temper and affectionate heart.

It was a happy dinner, lengthened out with merry conversation.
Every one thought that a few hours might be given to family
love and family joy. It would be good to have the memory of
them in the days that were fast coming. So they sat long
over the sweetmeats, and fresh figs, and the pale wines of
Xeres and Alicante. And they rose up with laughter, looking
into each others' faces with eyes that seemed to bespeak love
and remembrance. And then they went from the table, and saw
not Destiny standing cold and pitiless behind them, marking
two places for evermore vacant.

There was not much siesta that day. The Senora, Isabel and
Jack sat together; the Senora dozed a little, but not enough
to lose consciousness of Jack's presence and Jack's voice.
The father, happy, and yet acutely anxious, went to and fro
between his children and his study. Antonia and Dare were in
the myrtle walk or under the fig-tree. This hour was the
blossoming time of their lives. And it was not the less sweet
and tender because of the dark shadows on the edge of the
sunshine. Nor were they afraid to face the shadows, to
inquire of them, and thus to taste the deeper rapture of love
when love is gemmed with tears.

It was understood that the young men were going away in the
morning very early; so early that their adieus must be said
with their good-nights. It was at this hour that the
Senora found courage to ask:

"My Juan, where do you go?

"To Gonzales, mi madre."

"But why? Oh, Juan, do not desert your madre, and your

"Desert you, madre! I am your boy to my last breath! My
country I love with my whole soul. That is why I have come
back to you and to her! She is in trouble and her sons must
stand by her."

"Do not talk with two meanings. Oh, Juan! why do you go to

"We have heard that Colonel Ugartchea is to be there soon, and
to take away the arms of the Americans. That is not to be
endured. If you yourself were a man, you would have been away
ere this to help them, I am sure."

"ME!! The Blessed Virgin knows I would cut off my hands and
feet first. Juan, listen to me dear one! You are a Mexican."

"My heart is Mexican, for it is yours. But I must stand with
my father and with my brother, and with my American
compatriots. Are we slaves, that we must give up our arms?
No, but if we gave them up we should deserve to be

"God and the saints!" she answered, passionately. "What a
trouble about a few guns! One would think the Mexicans wanted
the wives and children, the homes and lands of the Americans.
They cry out from one end of Texas to the other."

"They cry out in old England and in New England, in New York,
in New Orleans, and all down the Mississippi. And men are
crying back to them: `Stand to your rifles and we will come
and help you!' The idea of disarming ten thousand Americans!"
Jack laughed with scornful amusement at the notion. "What a
game it will be! Mother, you can't tell how a man gets to
love his rifle. He that takes our purse takes trash; but our
rifles! By George Washington, that's a different story!"

Juan, my darling, you are my last hope. Your brother was born
with an American heart. He has even become a heretic. Fray
Ignatius says he went into the Colorado and was what they call
immersed; he that was baptized with holy water by the thrice
holy bishop of Durango. My beloved one, go and see Fray
Ignatius; late as it is, he will rise and counsel you.

"My heart, my conscience, my country, my father, my brother,
Santa Anna's despotism, have already counselled me."

"Speak no more. I see that you also are a rebel and a
heretic. Mother of sorrows, give me thy compassion!" Then,
turning to Juan, she cried out: "May God pardon me for having
brought into this world such ingrates! Go from me! You have
broken my heart!

He fell at her feet, and, in spite of her reluctance, took her

"Sweetest mother, wait but a little while. You will see that
we are right. Do not be cross with Juan. I am going away.
Kiss me, mother. Kiss me, and give me your blessing."

"No, I will not bless you. I will not kiss you. You want
what is impossible, what is wicked."

"I want freedom."

"And to get freedom you tread upon your mother's heart.
Let loose my hands. I am weary to death of this everlasting
talk of freedom. I think indeed that the Americans know
but two words: freedom and dollars. Ring for Rachela. She,
at least, is faithful to me."

"Not till you kiss me, mother. Do not send me away unblessed
and unloved. That is to doom me to misfortune. Mi madre,
I beg this favor from you." He had risen, but he still held
her hands, and he was weeping as innocent young men are not
ashamed to weep.

If she had looked at him! Oh, if she had but once looked at
his face, she could not have resisted its beauty, its sorrow,
its imploration! But she would not look. She drew her hands
angrily away from him. She turned her back upon her suppliant
son and imperiously summoned Rachela.

"Good-by, mi madre."

"Good-by, mi madre!"

She would not turn to him, or answer him a word.

"Mi madre, here comes Rachela! Say `God bless you, Juan.' It
is my last word, sweet mother!"

She neither moved nor spoke. The next moment Rachela
entered, and the wretched woman abandoned herself to her care
with vehement sobs and complainings.

Jack was inexpressibly sorrowful. He went into the garden,
hoping in its silence and solitude to find some relief. He
loved his mother with his strongest affection. Every one of
her sobs wrung his heart. Was it right to wound and disobey
her for the sake of--freedom? Mother was a certain good;
freedom only a glorious promise. Mother was a living fact;
freedom an intangible idea.

Ah, but men have always fought more passionately for ideas
than for facts! Tyrants are safe while they touch only silver
and gold; but when they try to bind a man's ideals--the
freedom of his citizenship--the purity of his faith--he will
die to preserve them in their integrity.

Besides, freedom for every generation has but her hour. If
that hour is not seized, no other may come for the men who
have suffered it to pass. But mother would grow more loving
as the days went by. And this was ever the end of Jack's
reasoning; for no man knows how deep the roots of his nature
strike into his native land, until he sees her in the
grasp of a tyrant, and hears her crying to him for

The struggle left the impress on his face. He passed a
boundary in it. Certain boyish feelings and graces would
never again be possible to him. He went into the house,
weary, and longing for companionship that would comfort or
strengthen him. Only Isabel was in the parlor. She appeared
to be asleep among the sofa cushions, but she opened her eyes
wide as he took a chair beside her.

"I have been waiting to kiss you again, Juan; do you think
this trouble will last very long?"

"It will be over directly, Iza. Do not fret yourself about
it, angel mio. The Americans are great fighters, and their
quarrel is just. Well, then, it will be settled by the good
God quickly."

"Rachela says that Santa Anna has sent off a million of men to
fight the Americans. Some they will cut in pieces, and some
are to be sent to the mines to work in chains."

"God is not dead of old age, Iza. Santa Anna is a miraculous
tyrant. He has committed every crime under heaven, but
I think he will not cut the Americans in pieces."

"And if the Americans should even make him go back to Mexico!"

"I think that is very possible."

"What then, Juan?"

"He would pay for some of his crimes here the rest he would
settle for in purgatory. And you, too, Iza, are you with the

"Luis Alveda says they are right."

"Oh-h! I see! So Luis is to be my brother too. Is that so,
little dear?"

"Have you room in your heart for him? Or has this Dare Grant
filled it?"

"If I had twenty sisters, I should have room for twenty
brothers, if they were like Dare and Luis. But, indeed, Luis
had his place there before I knew Dare."

"And perhaps you may see him soon; he is with Senor Sam
Houston. Senor Houston was here not a week ago. Will you
think of that? And the mother and uncle of Luis are angry at
him; he will be disinherited, and we shall be very poor, I
think. But there is always my father, who loves Luis."

"Luis will win his own inheritance. I think you will be very

"And, Juan, if you see Luis, say to him, `Iza thinks of you

At this moment Rachela angrily called her charge--

"Are you totally and forever wicked, disobedient one? Two
hours I have been kept waiting. Very well! The, Sisters are
the only duenna for you; and back to the convent you shall go
to-morrow. The Senora is of my mind, also."

"My father will not permit it. I will go to my father. And
think of this, Rachela: I am no longer to be treated like a
baby." But she kissed Juan `farewell,' and went away without
further dispute.

The handsome room looked strangely lonely and desolate when
the door had closed behind her. Jack rose, and roughly shook
himself, as if by that means he hoped to throw off the
oppression and melancholy that was invading even his light
heart. Hundreds of moths were dashing themselves to death
against the high glass shade that covered the blowing candles
from them. He stood and looked at their hopeless efforts
to reach the flame. He had an unpleasant thought; one of
those thoughts which have the force of a presentiment. He put
it away with annoyance, muttering, "It is time enough to meet
misfortune when it comes."

The sound of a footstep made him stand erect and face the

It was only a sleepy peon with a request that he would go to
his father's study. A different mental atmosphere met him
there. The doctor was walking up and down the room, and Dare
and Antonia sat together at the open window.

"Your father wants to hear about our journey, Jack. Take my
chair and tell him what happened. Antonia and I will walk
within hearing; a roof makes me restless such a night as
this"; for the waning moon had risen, and the cool wind from
the Gulf was shaking a thousand scents from the trees and the
flowering shrubs.

The change was made with the words, and the doctor sat down
beside his son. "I was asking, Jack, how you knew so much
about Texan affairs, and how you came so suddenly to take part
in them?"

"Indeed, father, we could not escape knowing. The Texan fever
was more or less in every young man's blood. One night Dare
had a supper at his rooms, and there were thirty of us
present. A man called Faulkner--a fine fellow from
Nacogdoches--spoke to us. How do you think he spoke, when his
only brother, a lad of twenty, is working in a Mexican mine
loaded with chains?"

"For what?"

"He said one day that `the natural boundaries of the United
States are the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.' He was sent to
the mines for the words. Faulkner's only hope for him is in
the independence of Texas. He had us on fire in five
minutes--all but Sandy McDonald, who loves to argue, and
therefore took the Mexican side."

"What could he say for it?"

"He said it was a very unjustlike thing to make Mexico give
her American settlers in Texas two hundred and twenty-four
millions of acres because she thought a change of government
best for her own interests."

"The Americans settled in Texas under the solemn guarantee of
the constitution of eighteen twenty-four. How many of
them would have built homes under a tyrannical despotism like
that Santa Anna is now forcing upon them?" asked the doctor,

"McDonald said, `There is a deal of talk about freedom among
you Americans, and it just means nothing at all.' You should
have seen Faulkner! He turned on him like a tornado. `How
should you know anything about freedom, McDonald?' he cried.
`You are in feudal darkness in the Highlands of Scotland. You
have only just emigrated into freedom. But we Americans are
born free! If you can not feel the difference between a
federal constitution and a military and religious despotism,
there is simply no use talking to you. How would you like to
find yourself in a country where suddenly trial by jury and
the exercise of your religion was denied you? Of course you
could abandon the home you had built, and the acres you had
bought and put under cultivation, and thus make some Mexican
heir to your ten years' labor. Perhaps a Scot, for
conscience' sake, would do this.'"

"And what answer made he?" He said, `A Scot kens how to grip
tight to ten years' labor as well as yoursel', Faulkner;
and neither man nor de'il can come between him and his
religion; but--' `BUT,' shouted Faulkner; `there is no
BUT! It is God and our right! God and our right, against
priestcraft and despotism!'"

"Then every one of us leaped to our feet, and we swore to
follow Faulkner to Texas at an hour's notice; and Sandy said
we were `a parcel of fools'; and then, would you believe it,
father, when our boat was leaving the pier, amid the cheers
and hurrahs of thousands, Sandy leaped on the boat and joined

"What did he say then?"

"He said, `I am a born fool to go with you, but I think there
is a kind o' witchcraft in that word TEXAS. It has been
stirring me up morning and night like the voice o' the
charmer, and I be to follow it though I ken well enough it
isna leading me in the paths o' peace and pleasantness!'"

"Did you find the same enthusiasm outside of New York?"

"All along the Ohio and Mississippi we gathered recruits; and
at Randolph, sixty miles above Memphis, we were joined by
David Crockett."


"True, father! And then at every landing we took on men. For
at every landing Crockett spoke to the people; and, as we
stopped very often, we were cheered all the way down the
river. The Mediterranean, though the biggest boat on it,
was soon crowded; but at Helena, Crockett and a great number
of the leading men of the expedition got off. And as Dare and
Crockett had become friends, I followed them."

"Where did you go to?"

"We went ostensibly to a big barbecue at John Bowie's
plantation, which is a few miles below Helena. Invitations to
this barbecue had been sent hundreds of miles throughout the
surrounding country. We met parties from the depths of the
Arkansas wilderness and the furthest boundaries of the Choctaw
nation coming to it. There were raftsmen from the
Mississippi, from the White, and the St. Francis rivers.
There were planters from Lousiana and Tennessee. There were
woodsmen from Kentucky. There were envoys from New Orleans,
Washington, and all the great Eastern cities."

"I had an invitation myself, Jack."

"I wish you had accepted it. It was worth the journey. There
never was and there never will be such a barbecue again.
Thousands were present. The woods were full of sheds and
temporary buildings, and platforms for the speakers."

"Who were the speakers?"

"Crockett, Hawkins, General Montgomery, Colonel Beauford, the
three brothers Cheatham, Doc. Bennet, and many others. When
the woods were illuminated at night with pine knots, you may
imagine the scene and the wild enthusiasm that followed their

"Doc. Bennet is a good partisan, and he is enormously rich."

"And he has a personal reason for his hatred of Mexico. An
insatiable revenge possesses him. His wife and two children
were barbarously murdered by Mexicans. He appealed to those
who could not go to the fight to give money to aid it, and on
the spot laid down ten thousand dollars."


"Nine other men, either present or there by proxy, instantly
gave a like sum, and thirty thousand in smaller sums was
added to it. Every donation was hailed with the wildest
transports, and while the woods were ringing with electrifying
shouts, Hawkins rallied three hundred men round him and went
off at a swinging galop for the Brazos."

"Oh, Jack! Jack!"

In another hour, the rest of the leaders had gathered their
detachments, and every man had turned his face to the Texan
prairies. Crockett was already far advanced on the way. Sam
Houston was known to be kindling the fire on the spot; and I
suppose you know, father," said Jack, sinking his voice to a
whisper, "that we have still more powerful backers."

"General Gaines?"

"Well, he has a large body of United States troops at
Nacogdoches. He says they are to protect the people of
Navasola from the Indians."

"But Navasola is twenty-nine miles west of Nacogdoches."

"Navasola is in Texas. Very well! If the United States feel
it to be their duty to protect the people of Navasola, it
seems they already consider Texas within their boundary."

"You think the Indians a mere pretext?"

"Of course. Crockett has with him an autograph letter from
President Jackson, introducing him as `a God-chosen patriot.'
President Jackson already sees Texas in the Union, and Gaines
understands that if the American-Texans should be repulsed by
Santa Anna, and fall back upon him, that he may then gather
them under his standard and lead them forward to victory--and
the conquest of Texas. Father, you will see the Stars and
Stripes on the palaces of Mexico."

"Do not talk too fast, Jack. And now, go lie down on my bed.
In four hours you must leave, if you want to reach Gonzales

Then Dare was called, and the lovers knew that their hour of
parting was come. They said nothing of the fears in their
hearts; and on Antonia's lifted face there was only the light
of love and of hope.

"The fight will soon be over, darling, and then!"

"And then? We shall be so happy."



"Strange sons of Mexico, and strange her fate;
They fight for freedom who were never free;
A kingless people for a nerveless state."

* * * * * *

"Not all the threats or favors of a crown,
A Prince's whisper, or a tyrant's frown,
Can awe the spirit or allure the mind
Of him, who to strict Honor is inclined.
Though all the pomp and pleasure that does wait
On public places, and affairs of state;
Though all the storms and tempests should arise,
That Church magicians in their cells devise,
And from their settled basis nations tear:
He would, unmoved, the mighty ruin bear.
Secure in innocence, contemn them all,
And, decently arrayed, in honor fall."

* * * * * *

"Say, what is honor? 'Tis the finest sense
Of justice which the human mind can frame."

The keenest sufferings entailed by war are not on the battle-
field, nor in the hospital. They are in the household. There
are the maimed affections, the slain hopes, the broken ties of
love. And before a shot had been fired in the war of
Texan independence, the battle had begun in Robert Worth's

The young men lay down to rest, but he sat watching the night
away. There was a melancholy sleepiness in it; the
mockingbirds had ceased singing; the chirping insects had
become weary. Only the clock, with its regular "tick, tick,"
kept the watch with him.

When it was near dawn, he lifted a candle and went into the
room where Jack and Dare were sleeping. Dare did not move;
Jack opened his eyes wide, and smiled brightly at the

"Well, father?"

"It is time to get up, Jack. Tell Dare."

In a few minutes both came to him. A bottle of wine, some
preserved bears' paws, and biscuits were on the table. They
ate standing, speaking very little and almost in whispers; and
then the doctor went with them to the stable. He helped Jack
to saddle his horse. He found a sad pleasure in coming so
close to him. Once their cheeks touched, and the touch
brought the tears to his eyes and sent he blood to his heart.

With his hand on the saddle, Jack paused and said,
softly, "Father, dear, tell mi madre my last look at the
house, my last thought in leaving it, was for her. She would
not kiss me or bless me last night. Ask her to kiss you for
me," and then the lad broke fairly down. The moment had come
in which love could find no utterance, and must act. He flung
his arm around his father's neck and kissed him. And the
father wept also, and yet spoke brave words to both as he
walked with them to the gate and watched them ride into the
thick mist lying upon the prairie like a cloud. They were
only darker spots in it. It swallowed them up. They were
lost to sight.

He thought no one had seen the boys leave but himself. But
through the lattices two sorrowful women also watched their
departure. The Senora, as wakeful as her husband, had heard
the slight movements, the unusual noises of that early hour,
and had divined the cause of them. She looked at Rachela.
The woman had fallen into the dead sleep of exhaustion, and
she would not have to parry her objections and warnings.
Unshod, and in her night-dress, she slipped through the
corridor to the back of the house, and tightly clasping her
rosary in her hands, she stood behind the lattice and watched
her boy away.

He turned in his saddle just before he passed the gate, and
she saw his young face lifted with an unconscious, anxious
love, to the very lattice at which she stood: In the dim
light it had a strange pallor. The misty air blurred and made
all indistinct. It was like seeing her Jack in some woful
dream. If he had been dead, such a vision of him might have
come to her from the shadow land.

Usually her grief was noisy and imperative of sympathy. But
this morning she could not cry nor lament. She went softly
back to her room and sat down, with her crucifix before her
aching eyes. Yet she could not say her usual prayers. She
could not remember anything but Jack's entreaty--"Kiss me, mi
madre! Bless me, mi madre!" She could not see anything but
that last rapid turn in the saddle, and that piteous young
face, showing so weird and dreamlike through the gray mist of
the early dawn.

Antonia had watched with her. Dare, also, had turned, but
there had been something about Dare's attitude far more cheery
and hopeful. On the previous night Antonia had put some
sprays of rosemary in his hat band "to bring good, and keep
away evil on a journey"; and as he turned and lifted his hat
he put his lips to them. He had the belief that from some
point his Antonia was watching him. He conveyed to her, by
the strength of his love and his will, the assurance of all
their hopes.

That day Doctor Worth did not go out. The little bravado of
carrying arms was impossible to him. It was not that his
courage had failed, or that he had lost a tittle of his
convictions, but he was depressed by the uncertainty of his
position and duty, and he was, besides, the thrall of that
intangible anxiety which we call PRESENTIMENT.

Yet, however dreary life is, it must go on. The brave-hearted
cannot drop daily duty. On the second day the doctor went to
his office again, and Antonia arranged the meals and received
company, and did her best to bring the household into peaceful
accord with the new elements encroaching on it from all sides.

But the Senora was more "difficult" than even Rachela had ever
seen her before. She did not go to church, but Fray Ignatius
spent a great deal of time with her; and his influence was not
any more conciliating than that of early masses and much fasting.

He said to her, indeed: "My daughter, you have behaved with
the fortitude of a saint. It would have been more than a
venial sin, if you had kissed and blessed a rebel in the very
act of his rebellion. The Holy Mary will reward and comfort

But the Senora was not sensible of the reward and comfort; and
she did feel most acutely the cruel wound she had given her
mother love. Neither prayers nor penance availed her. She
wanted to see Jack. She wanted to kiss him a hundred times,
and bless him with every kiss. And it did not help her to be
told that these longings were the suggestions of the Evil One,
and not to be listened to.

The black-robed monk, gliding about his house with downcast
eyes and folded hands, had never seemed to Robert Worth so
objectionable. He knew that he kept the breach open between
himself and his wife--that he thought it a point of religious
duty to do so. He knew that he was gradually isolating the
wretched woman from her husband and children, and that
the continual repetition of prayers and penances did not give
her any adequate comfort for the wrong she was doing her

The city was also in a condition of the greatest excitement.
The soldiers in the Alamo were under arms. Their officers had
evidently received important advices from Mexico. General
Cos, the brother-in-law of Santa Anna, was now in command, and
it was said immense reinforcements were hourly looked for.
The drifting American population had entirely vanished, but
its palpable absence inspired the most thoughtful of the
people with fear instead of security.

Nor were the military by any means sure of the loyalty of the
city. It was well known that a large proportion of the best
citizens hated the despotism of Santa Anna; and that if the
Americans attacked San Antonio, they would receive active
sympathy. Party feeling was no longer controllable. Men
suspected each other. Duels were of constant occurrence, and
families were torn to pieces; for the monks supported Santa
Anna with all their influence, and there were few women
who dared to disobey them.

Into the midst of this turbulent, touchy community, there fell
one morning a word or two which set it on fire. Doctor Worth
was talking on the Plaza with Senor Lopez Navarro. A Mexican
soldier, with his yellow cloak streaming out behind him,
galloped madly towards the Alamo and left the news there. It
spread like wildfire. "There had been a fight at Gonzales,
and the Americans had kept their arms. They had also put the
Mexicans to flight."

"And more," added a young Mexican coming up to the group of
which Robert Worth was one, "Stephen Austin has escaped, and
he arrived at Gonzales at the very moment of victory. And
more yet: Americans are pouring into Gonzales from every

An officer tapped Doctor Worth on the shoulder. "Senor
Doctor, your arms. General Cos hopes, in the present
extremity, you will set an example of obedience."

"I will not give up my arms. In the present extremity my arms
are the greatest need I have."

"Then Senor,--it is a great affliction to me--I must arrest

He was led away, amid the audible murmurs of the men who
filled the streets. There needed but some one to have said
the word, and they would have taken him forcibly from the
military. A great crowd followed him to the gates of the
Alamo. For there was scarcely a family in San Antonio of which
this good doctor was not an adopted member. The arrest of their
favorite confessor would hardly have enraged them more.

Fray Ignatius brought the news to the Senora. Even he was
affected by it. Never before had Antonia seen him walk except
with thoughtful and deliberate steps. She wondered at his
appearance; at its suppressed hurry; at a something in it
which struck her as suppressed satisfaction.

And the priest was in his heart satisfied; though he was
consciously telling himself that "he was sorry for the Senora,
and that he would have been glad if the sins of her husband
could have been set against the works of supererogation which
the saints of his own convent had amassed."

"But he is an infidel; he believes not in the saints," he
muttered; "then how could they avail him!"

Antonia met him at the door. He said an Ave Maria as he
crossed the threshold, and gave her his hand to kiss. She
looked wonderingly in his face, for unless it was a special
visit, he never called so near the Angelus. Still, it is
difficult to throw off a habit of obedience formed in early
youth; and she did not feel as if she could break through the
chill atmosphere of the man and ask: "For what reason have
you come, father?"

A long, shrill shriek from the Senora was the first answer to
the fearful question in her heart. In a few moments she was
at her mother's door. Rachela knelt outside it, telling her
rosary. She stolidly kept her place, and a certain instinct
for a moment prevented Antonia interrupting her. But the
passionate words of her mother, blending with the low,
measured tones of the priest, were something far more

"Let me pass you, Rachela. What is the matter with my

The woman was absorbed in her supplications, and Antonia
opened the door. Isabel followed her. They found themselves
in the the{sic} presence of an angry sorrow that appalled
them. The Senora had torn her lace mantilla into shreds, and
they were scattered over the room as she had flung them from
her hands in her frantic walk about it. The large shell comb
that confined her hair was trodden to pieces, and its long
coils had fallen about her face and shoulders. Her bracelets,
her chain of gold, her brooch and rings were scattered on the
floor, and she was standing in the centre of it, like an
enraged creature; tearing her handkerchief into strips, as an
emphasis to her passionate denunciations.

"It serves him right! JESUS! MARIA! JOSEPH! It serves
him right! He must carry arms! HE, TOO! when it was
forbidden! I am glad he is arrested! Oh, Roberto! Roberto!"

"Patience, my daughter! This is the hand of God. What can
you do but submit?"

"What is it, mi madre?" and Isabel put her arms around her
mother with the words mi madre. "Tell Isabel your sorrow."

"Your father is arrested--taken to the Alamo--he will be sent
to the mines. I told him so! I told him so! He would
not listen to me! How wicked he has been!"

"What has my father done, Fray Ignatius? Why have they
arrested him?"

The priest turned to Antonia with a cold face. He did not
like her. He felt that she did not believe in him.

"Senorita, he has committed a treason. A good citizen obeys
the law; Senor Worth has defied it."

"Pardon, father, I cannot believe it."

"A great forbearance has been shown him, but the end of mercy
comes. As he persisted in wearing arms, he has been taken to
the Alamo and disarmed."

"It is a great shame! An infamous shame and wrong!" cried
Antonia. "What right has any one to take my father's arms?
No more than they have to take his purse or his coat."

"General Santa Anna--"

"General Santa Anna is a tyrant and a thief. I care not who
says different."

"Antonia! Shameless one!"

"Mother, do not strike me." Then she took her mother's hands
in her own, and led her to a couch, caressing her as she

"Don't believe any one--ANY ONE, mother, who says wrong of
my father. You know that he is the best of men. Rachela!
Come here instantly. The rosary is not the thing, now. You
ought to be attending to the Senora. Get her some valerian
and some coffee, and come and remove her clothing. Fray
Ignatius, we will beg you to leave us to-night to ourselves."

"Your mother's sin, in marrying a heretic, has now found her
out. It is my duty to make her see her fault."

"My mother had a dispensation from one greater than you."

"Oh, father, pray for me! I accuse myself! I accuse myself!
Oh, wretched woman! Oh, cruel husband!"

"Mother, you have been a very happy woman. You have had the
best husband in the world. Do not reproach my father for the
sins of others. Do not desert him when he is in the power of
a human tiger. My God, mother! let us think of something to
be done for his help! I will see the Navarros, the Garcias,
Judge Valdez; I will go to the Plaza and call on the thousands
he has cured and helped to set him free."

"You will make of yourself something not to be spoken of.
This is the judgment of God, my daughter."

"It is the judgment of a wicked man, Fray Ignatius. My mother
is not now able to listen to you. Isabel, come here and
comfort her." Isabel put her cheek to her mother's; she
murmured caressing words; she kissed her face, and coiled up
her straggling hair, and with childlike trust amid all,
solicited Holy Mary to console them.

Fray Ignatius watched her with a cold scrutiny. He was saying
to himself, "It is the fruit of sin. I warned the Senora,
when she married this heretic, that trouble would come of it.
Very well, it has come." Then like a flash a new thought
invaded his mind--If the Senor Doctor disappeared forever, why
not induce the Senora and her daughters to go into a religious
house? There was a great deal of money. The church could use
it well.

Antonia did not understand the thought, but she understood its
animus, and again she requested his withdrawal. This time she
went close to him, and bravely looked straight into his
eyes. Their scornful gleam sent a chill to her heart like
that of cold steel. At that moment she understood that she
had turned a passive enemy into an active one.

He went, however, without further parley, stopping only to
warn the Senora against the sin "of standing with the enemies
of God and the Holy Church," and to order Isabel to recite for
her mother's pardon and comfort a certain number of aves and
paternosters. Antonia went with him to the door, and ere he
left he blessed her, and said: "The Senorita will examine her
soul and see her sin. Then the ever merciful Church will hear
her confession, and give her the satisfying penance."

Antonia bowed in response. When people are in great domestic
sorrow, self-examination is a superfluous advice. She
listened a moment to his departing footsteps, shivering as she
stood in the darkness, for a norther had sprung up, and the
cold was severe. She only glanced into the pleasant parlor
where the table was laid for dinner, and a great fire of cedar
logs was throwing red, dancing lights over the white linen and
the shining silver and glass. The chairs were placed around
the table; her father's at the head. It had a forsaken
air that was unendurable.

The dinner hour was now long past. It would be folly to
attempt the meal. How could she and Isabel sit down alone and
eat, and her father in prison, and her mother frantic with a
loss which she was warned it was sinful to mourn over.
Antonia had a soul made for extremities and not afraid to face
them, but invisible hands controlled her. What could a woman
do, whom society had forbidden to do anything, but endure the
pangs of patience?

The Senora could offer no suggestions. She was not indeed in
a mood to think of her resources. A spiritual dread was upon
her. And with this mingled an intense sense of personal wrong
from her husband. "Had she not begged him to be passive? And
he had put an old rifle before her and her daughters! It was
all that Senor Houston's doing. She had an assurance of
that." She invoked a thousand maledictions on him. She
recalled, with passionate reproaches, Jack's infidelity to her
and his God and his country. Her anger passed from one
subject to another constantly, finding in all, even in
the lukewarmness of Antonia and Isabel, and in their affection
for lovers, who were also rebels, an accumulating reason for
a stupendous reproach against herself, her husband, her
children, and her unhappy fate. Her whole nature was in
revolt--in that complete mental and moral anarchy from which
springs tragedy and murder.

Isabel wept so violently that she angered still further the
tearless suffering of her mother. "God and the saints!" she
cried. "What are you weeping for? Will tears do any good?
Do I weep? God has forbidden me to weep for the wicked. Yet
how I suffer! Mary, mother of sorrows, pity me!"

She sent Isabel away. Her sobs were not to be borne. And
very soon she felt Antonia's white face and silent
companionship to be just as unendurable. She would be alone.
Not even Rachela would she have near her. She put out all the
lights but the taper above a large crucifix, and at its foot
she sat down in tearless abandon, alone with her reproaches
and her remorse.

Antonia watched with her mother, though shut out from her
presence. She feared for a state of mind so barren of
affection, so unsoftened by tears. Besides, it was the climax
of a condition which had continued ever since she had sent her
boy away without a word of love. In the dim corridor outside
she sat still, listening for any noise or movement which might
demand help or sympathy. It was not nine o'clock; but the
time lengthened itself out beyond endurance. Even yet she had
hope of some word from her father. Surely, they would let him
send some word to them!

She heard the murmur of voices downstairs, and she thought
angrily of Rachela, and Molly, and Manuel, "making a little
confidence together" over their trouble, and spicing their
evening gossip with the strange thing that had happened to the
Senor Doctor. She knew that Rachela and Manuel would call him
heretic and Americano, and, by authority of these two words,
accuse him of every crime.

Thinking with a swelling heart of these things, she heard the
door open, and a step slowly and heavily ascend the stairs.
Ere she had time to wonder at it, her father came in sight.
There was a shocking change in his air and appearance, but as
he was evidently going to her mother's room, she shrank
back and sat motionless so as not to attract his attention.

Then she went to the parlor, and had the fire renewed and food
put upon the table. She was sure that he would need it, and
she believed he would be glad to talk over with her the events
of the afternoon.

The Senora was still sitting at the foot of the crucifix when
her husband opened the door. She had not been able to pray;
ave and paternoster alike had failed her. Her rebellious
grief filled every corner of her heart. She understood that
some one had entered the room, and she thought of Rachela; but
she found a kind of comfort in the dull stupor of grief she
was indulging, and she would not break its spell by lifting
her head.


She rose up quickly and stood gazing at him.

She did not shriek or exclaim; her surprise controlled her.
And also her terror; for his face was white as death, and had
an expression of angry despair that terrified her.

"Roberto! Roberto! Mi Roberto! How you have tortured me! I
have nearly died! Fray Ignatius said you had been sent
to prison."

She spoke as calmly as a frightened child; sad and hesitating.
If he had taken her in his arms she would have sobbed her
grief away there.

But Robert Worth was at that hour possessed by two master
passions, tyrannical and insatiable--they would take notice of
nothing that did not minister to them.

"Maria, they have taken my arms from me. Cowards! Cowards!
Miserable cowards! I refused to give them up! They held my
hands and robbed me--robbed me of my manhood and honor! I
begged them to shoot me ere they did it, and they spoke
courteously and regretted this, and hoped that, till I felt
that it would be a joy to strangle them."

"Roberto! Mi Roberto! You have me!"

"I want my rifle and all it represents. I want myself back
again. Maria, Maria, until then, I am not worthy to be any
good woman's husband!"

"Roberto, dearest! It is not your fault."

"It is my fault. I have waited too long. My sons showed me
my duty--my soul urged me to do it. I deserve the shame,
but I will wipe it out with crimson blood."

The Senora stood speechless, wringing her hands. Her own
passion was puny beside the sternness, the reality, and the
intensity of the quiet rage before her. She was completely
mastered by it. She forgot all but the evident agony she
could neither mistake nor console.

"I have come to say `farewell,' Maria. We have been very
happy together--Maria--our children--dearest--"

"Oh, Roberto! My husband! My soul! My life! Leave me not."

"I am going for my arms. I will take them a hundredfold from
those who have robbed me. I swear I will!"

"You do not love me. What are these Americans to you? I am
your wife. Your Maria--"

"These Americans are my brothers--my sons. My mother is an
American woman."

"And I?"

"You are my wife--my dear wife! I love you--God Almighty
knows how well I love you; but we must part now, at least for
a short time. Maria, my dear one, I must go."

"Go? Where to?"

"I am going to join General Houston."

"I thought so. I knew it. The accursed one! Oh that I had
him here again! I would bury my stiletto in his heart! Over
the white hilt I would bury it! I would wash my hands in his
blood, and think them blessed ever afterwards! Stay till
daylight, Roberto. I have so much to say, dearest."

"I cannot. I have stayed too long. And now I must ride
without a gun or knife to protect me. Any Indian that I meet
can scalp me. Do you understand now what disarming means,
Maria? If I had gone with my boy, with my brave Jack, I could
at least have sold my life to its last drop."

"In the morning, Roberto, Lopez Navarro will get you a gun.
Oh, if you must go, do not go unarmed! There are ten thousand
Comanche between here and the Brazos."

"How could I look Lopez Navarro in the face? Or any other
man? No, no! I must win back my arms, before I can walk the
streets of San Antonio again."

He took her in his arms, he kissed her eyes, her cheeks, her
lips, murmuring tender little Spanish words that meant,
oh, so much, to the wretched woman!--words she had taught him
with kisses--words he never used but to her ears only.

She clung to his neck, to his hands, to his feet; she made his
farewell an unspeakable agony. At last he laid her upon her
couch, sobbing and shrieking like a child in an extremity of
physical anguish. But he did not blame her. Her
impetuosities, her unreasonable extravagances, were a part of
her nature, her race, and her character. He did not expect a
weak, excitable woman to become suddenly a creature of flame
and steel.

But it was a wonderful rest to his exhausted body and soul to
turn from her to Antonia. She led him quietly to his chair by
the parlor fire. She gave him food and wine. She listened
patiently, but with a living sympathy, to his wrong. She
endorsed, with a clasp of his hand and a smile, his purpose.
And she said, almost cheerfully:

"You have not given up all your arms, father. When I first
heard of the edict, I hid in my own room the rifle, the powder
and the shot, which were in your study. Paola has knives in
the stable; plenty of them. Get one from him."

Good news is a very relative thing. This information made the
doctor feel as if all were now easy and possible. The words
he said to her, Antonia never forgot. They sang in her heart
like music, and led her on through many a difficult path. The
conversation then turned upon money matters, and Antonia
received the key of his study, and full directions as to the
gold and papers secreted there.

Then Isabel was awakened, and the rifle brought down; and
Paola saddled the fleetest horse in the stable, and after one
solemn five minutes with his daughter, Robert Worth rode away
into the midnight darkness, and into a chaos of public events
of which no man living could forecast the outcome.

Rode away from wife and children and home; leaving behind him
the love and labor of his lifetime--

"The thousand sweet, still joys of such
As hand in hand face earthly life."

For what? For justice, for freedom of thought and action, for
the rights of his manhood, for the brotherhood of race
and religion and country. Antonia and Isabel stood hand in
hand at the same lattice from which the Senora had watched her
son away, and in a dim, uncertain manner these thoughts
connected themselves in each mind with the same mournful
inquiry--Is it worth while?

As the beat of the horse's hoofs died away, they turned. The
night was cold but clear, and the sky appeared so high that
their eyes throbbed as they gazed upward at the grand arch,
sprinkled with suns and worlds. Suddenly into the tranquil
spaces there was flung a sound of joy and revelry; and the
girls stepped to a lattice at the end of the corridor and
looked out.

The residencia of Don Salvo Valasco was clearly visible from
this site. They saw that it was illuminated throughout.
Lovely women, shining with jewels, and soldiers in scarlet and
gold, were chatting through the graceful movements of the
danza, or executing the more brilliant Jota Aragonesa. The
misty beauty of white lace mantillas, the glitter and color of
fans and festival dresses, made a moving picture of great

And as they watched it there was a cessation of the dance,
followed by the rapid sweep of a powerful hand over the
strings of a guitar. Then a group of officers stepped
together, and a great wave of melodious song, solemn and
triumphant, thrilled the night. It was the national hymn.
Antonia and Isabel knew it. Every word beat upon their
hearts. The power of association, the charm of a stately,
fervent melody was upon them.

"It is Senor Higadillos who leads," whispered Isabel, as a
resonant voice, powerful and sweet, cried--

"O list to the summons! The blood of our sires,
Boils high in our veins, and to vengeance inspires!
Who bows to the yoke? who bends to the blow?"

and, without a moment's hesitation, the answer came in a
chorus of enthusiastic cadences--

"No hero will bend, no Mexican bow;
Our country in tears sends her sons to the fight,
To conquer, or die, for our land and our right."

"You see, the Mexicans think THEY are in the right--THEY
are patriots also, Antonia."

The sorrowful girl spoke like a puzzled child, fretfully and
uncertainly, and Antonia led her silently away. What
could she answer? And when she remembered the dear fugitive,
riding alone through the midnight--riding now for life and
liberty--she could not help the uprising again of that cold
benumbing question--"Is it worth while?"



"All faiths are to their own believers just,
For none believe because they will, but must;
The priest continues what the nurse began,
And thus the child imposes on the man."

"--if he be called upon to face
Some awful moment, to which heaven has joined
Great issues good or bad for humankind,
Is happy as a lover; and attired
With sudden brightness, like a man inspired;
And through the heat of conflict keeps the law
In calmness made; and sees what he foresaw,
Or, if an unexpected call succeed,
Come when it will, is equal to the need."

"Ah! love, let us be true
To one another, through the world which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams!"

The gathering at Don Valasco's was constantly repeated in
various degrees of splendor among the loyal Mexicans of the
city. They were as fully convinced of the justice of their
cause as the Americans were. "They had graciously
permitted Americans to make homes in their country; now they
wanted not only to build heretic churches and sell heretic
bibles, but also to govern Texas after their own fashion."
From a Mexican point of view the American settlers were a
godless, atheistical, quarrelsome set of ingrates. For eaten
bread is soon forgotten, and Mexicans disliked to remember
that their own independence had been won by the aid of the
very men they were now trying to force into subjection.

The two parties were already in array in every house in the
city. The Senora at variance with her daughters, their Irish
cook quarrelling with their Mexican servants, only represented
a state of things nearly universal. And after the failure of
the Mexicans at Gonzales to disarm the Americans, the
animosity constantly increased.

In every church, the priests--more bitter, fierce and
revengeful than either the civil or military power--urged on
the people an exterminating war. A black flag waved from the
Missions, and fired every heart with an unrelenting vengeance
and hatred. To slay a heretic was a free pass through the
dolorous pains of purgatory. For the priesthood foresaw
that the triumph of the American element meant the triumph of
freedom of conscience, and the abolition of their own
despotism. To them the struggle was one involving all the
privileges of their order; and they urged on the fight with
passionate denunciations of the foe, and with magnificent
promises of spiritual favors and blessings. In the fortress,
the plaza, the houses, the churches, the streets, their fiery
words kept society in a ferment.

But through all this turmoil the small duties of life went on.
Soldiers were parading the streets, and keeping watch on the
flat roofs of the houses; men were solemly{sic} swearing
allegiance to Santa Anna, or flying by night to the camp of
the Americans; life and death were held at a pin's fee; but
eating and dressing, dancing and flirting were pursued with an
eagerness typical of pleasure caught in the passing.

And every hour these elements gathered intensity. The always
restless populace of San Antonio was at a feverish point of
impatience. They wanted the war at their own doors. They
wanted the quarrel fought out on their own streets.
Business took a secondary place. Men fingered weapons and
dreamed of blood, until the temper of the town was as
boisterous and vehement as the temper of the amphitheatre when
impatiently waiting for the bulls and the matadores.

Nor was it possible for Antonia to lock the door upon this
pervading spirit. After Doctor Worth's flight, it became
necessary for her to assume control over the household. She
had promised him to do so, and she was resolved, in spite of
all opposition, to follow out his instructions. But it was by
no means an easy task.

Fray Ignatius had both the Senora and Rachela completely under
his subjection. Molly, the Irish cook, was already
dissatisfied. The doctor had saved her life and given her a
good home and generous wages, and while the doctor was happy
and prosperous Molly was accordingly grateful. But a few
words from the priest set affairs in a far pleasanter light to
her. She was a true Catholic; the saints sent the heretic
doctor to help. It was therefore the saints to whom gratitude
was due. Had she not earned her good wage? And would not
Don Angel Sandoval give her a still larger sum? Or even
the Brothers at the Mission of San Jose? Molly listened to
these words with a complacent pleasure. She reflected that it
would be much more agreeable to her to be where she could
entirely forget that she had ever been hungry and friendless,
and lying at death's door.

Antonia knew also that Rachela was at heart unfaithful, and
soon the conviction was forced on her that servants are never
faithful beyond the line of their own interest--that it is,
indeed, against certain primary laws of nature to expect it.
Certainly, it was impossible to doubt that there was in all
their dependents a kind of satisfaction in their misfortunes.

The doctor had done them favors--how unpleasant was their
memory! The Senora had offended them by the splendor of her
dress, and her complacent air of happiness. Antonia's
American ways and her habit of sitting for hours with a book
in her hand were a great irritation.

"She wishes to be thought wiser than other women--as wise as
even a holy priest--SHE! that never goes to mass, and is
nearly a heretic," said the house steward; and as for the
Senorita Isabel, a little trouble will be good for her! Holy
Mary! the way she has been pampered and petted! It is an
absurdity. `Little dear,' and `angel,' are the hardest words
she hears. Si! if God did not mercifully abate a little the
rich they would grow to be `almightys.'"

This was the tone of the conversation of the servants of the
household. It was not an unnatural tone, but it was a very
unhappy one. People cannot escape from the mood of mind they
habitually indulge, and from the animus of the words they
habitually use; and Antonia felt and understood the
antagonistic atmosphere. For the things which we know best of
all are precisely the things which no one has ever told us.

The Senora, in a plain black serge gown, and black rebozo over
her head, spent her time in prayers and penances. The care of
her household had always been delegated to her steward, and to
Rachela; while the duties that more especially belonged to
her, had been fulfilled by her husband and by Antonia. In
many respects she was but a grown-up baby. And so, in this
great extremity, the only duty which pressed upon her was
the idea of supplicating the saints to take charge of her
unhappy affairs.

And Fray Ignatius was daily more hard with her. Antonia even
suspected from his growing intolerance and bitterness, that
the Americans were gaining unexpected advantages. But she
knew nothing of what was happening. She could hear from afar
off the marching and movements of soldiers; the blare of
military music; the faint echoes of hurrahing multitudes; but
there was no one to give her any certain information. Still,
she guessed something from the anger of the priest and the
reticence of the Mexican servants. If good fortune had been
with Santa Anna, she was sure she would have heard of "The
glorious! The invincible! The magnificent Presidente de la
Republica Mexicana! The Napoleon of the West!"

It was not permitted her to go into the city. A proposal to
do so had been met with a storm of angry amazement. And steam
and electricity had not then annihilated distance and
abolished suspense. She could but wonder and hope, and try to
read the truth from a covert inspection of the face and
words of Fray Ignatius.

Between this monk and herself the breach was hourly widening.
With angry pain she saw her mother tortured between the fact
that she loved her husband, and the horrible doubt that to
love him was a mortal sin. She understood the underlying
motive which prompted the priest to urge upon the Senora the
removal of herself and her daughters to the convent. His
offer to take charge of the Worth residencia and estate was in
her conviction a proposal to rob them of all rights in it.
She felt certain that whatever the Church once grasped in its
iron hand, it would ever retain. And both to Isabel and
herself the thought of a convent was now horrible. "They will
force me to be a nun," said Isabel; "and then, what will Luis
do? And they will never tell me anything about my father and
my brothers. I should never hear of them. I should never see
them any more; unless the good God was so kind as to let me
meet them in his heaven."

And Antonia had still darker and more fearful thoughts. She
had not forgotten the stories whispered to her childhood, of
dreadful fates reserved for contumacious and disobedient
women. Whenever Fray Ignatius looked at her she felt as if
she were within the shadow of the Inquisition.

Never had days passed so wearily and anxiously. Never had
nights been so terrible. The sisters did not dare to talk
much together; they doubted Rachela; they were sure their
words were listened to and repeated. They were not permitted
to be alone with the Senora. Fray Ignatius had particularly
warned Rachela to prevent this. He was gradually bringing the
unhappy woman into what he called "a heavenly mind"--the
influence of her daughters, he was sure, would be that of
worldly affections and sinful liberty. And Rachela obeyed the
confessor so faithfully, that the Senora was almost in a state
of solitary confinement. Every day her will was growing
weaker, her pathetic obedience more childlike and absolute.

But at midnight, when every one was asleep, Antonia stepped
softly into her sister's room and talked to her. They sat in
Isabel's bed clasping each other's hand in the dark, and
speaking in whispers. Then Antonia warned and
strengthened Isabel. She told her all her fears. She
persuaded her to control her wilfulness, to be obedient, and
to assume the childlike thoughtlessness which best satisfied
Fray Ignatius. "He told you to-day to be happy, that he would
think for you. My darling, let him believe that is the thing
you want," said Antonia. "I assure you we shall be the safer
for it."

"He said to me yesterday, when I asked him about the war, `Do
not inquire, child, into things you do not understand. That
is to be irreligious,' and then he made the cross on his
breast, as if I had put a bad thought into his heart. We are
afraid all day, and we sit whispering all night about our
fears; that is the state we are in. The Lord sends us nothing
but misfortunes, Antonia."

"My darling, tell the Lord your sorrow, then, but do not
repine to Rachela or Fray Ignatius. That is to complain to
the merciless of the All-Merciful."

"Do you think I am wicked, Antonia? What excuse could I offer
to His Divine Majesty, if I spoke evil to him of Rachela and
Fray Ignatius?"

"Neither of them are our friends; do you think so?"

"Fray Ignatius looks like a goblin; he gives me a shiver when
he looks at me; and as for Rachela--I already hate her!"

"Do not trust her. You need not hate her, Isabel."

"Antonia, I know that I shall eternally hate her; for I am
sure that our angels are at variance."

In conversations like these the anxious girls passed the long,
and often very cold, nights. The days were still worse, for
as November went slowly away the circumstances which
surrounded their lives appeared to constantly gather a more
decided and a bitterer tone. December, that had always been
such a month of happiness, bright with Christmas expectations
and Christmas joys, came in with a terribly severe, wet
norther. The great log fires only warmed the atmosphere
immediately surrounding them, and Isabel and Antonia sat
gloomily within it all day. It seemed to Antonia as if her
heart had come to the very end of hope; and that something
must happen.

The rain lashed the earth; the wind roared around the house,
and filled it with unusual noises. The cold was a torture
that few found themselves able to endure. But it brought a
compensation. Fray Ignatius did not leave the Mission
comforts; and Rachela could not bear to go prowling about the
corridors and passages. She established herself in the
Senora's room, and remained there. And very early in the
evening she said "she had an outrageous headache," and went to
her room.

Then Antonia and Isabel sat awhile by their mother's bed.
They talked in whispers of their father and brothers, and when
the Senora cried, they kissed her sobs into silence and wiped
her tears away. In that hour, if Fray Ignatius had known it,
they undid, in a great measure, the work to which he had given
more than a month of patient and deeply-reflective labor. For
with the girls, there was the wondrous charm of love and
nature; but with the priest, only a splendid ideal of a Church
universal that was to swallow up all the claims of love and
all the ties of nature.

It was nearly nine o'clock when Antonia and Isabel returned to
the parlor fire. Their hearts were full of sorrow for
their mother, and of fears for their own future. For this
confidence had shown them how firmly the refuge of the convent
had been planted in the anxious ideas of the Senora.
Fortunately, the cold had driven the servants either to the
kitchen fire or to their beds, and they could talk over the
subject without fear of interference.

"Are you sleepy, queridita?"--(little dear).

"I think I shall never go to sleep again, Antonia. If I shut
my eyes I shall find myself in the convent; and I do not want
to go there even in a dream. Do you know Mother Teresa? Well
then, I could tell you things. And she does not like me, I am
sure of that; quite sure."

"My darling, I am going to make us a cup of tea. It will do
us good."

"If indeed it were chocolate!"

"I cannot make chocolate now; but you shall have a great deal
of sugar in your cup, and something good to eat also. There,
my darling, put your chair close to the fire, and we will sit
here until we are quite sleepy."

With the words she went into the kitchen. Molly was nodding
over her beads, in the comfortable radius made by the
blazing logs; no one else was present but a young peon. He
brought a small kettle to the parlor fire, and lifted a table
to the hearth, and then replenished the pile of logs for
burning during the night. Isabel, cuddling in a large chair,
watched Antonia, as she went softly about putting on the table
such delicacies as she could find at that hour. Tamales and
cold duck, sweet cake and the guava jelly that was Isabel's
favorite dainty. There was a little comfort in the sight of
these things; and also, in the bright silver teapot standing
so cheerfully on the hearth, and diffusing through the room a
warm perfume, at once soothing and exhilarating.

"I really think I shall like that American tea to-night,
Antonia, but you must half fill my cup with those little
blocks of sugar--quite half fill it, Antonia; and have you
found cream, my dear one? Then a great deal of cream."

Antonia stood still a moment and looked at the drowsy little
beauty. Her eyes were closed, and her head nestled
comfortably in a corner of the padded chair. Then a hand upon
the door-handle arrested her attention, and Antonia turned her
eyes from Isabel and watched it. Ortiz, the peon, put
his head within the room, and then disappeared; but oh, wonder
and joy! Don Luis entered swiftly after him; and before any
one could say a word, he was kneeling by Isabel kissing her
hand and mingling his exclamations of rapture with hers.

Antonia looked with amazement and delight at this apparition.
How had he come? She put her hand upon his sleeve; it was
scarcely wet. His dress was splendid; if he had been going to
a tertullia of the highest class, he could not have been more
richly adorned. And the storm was yet raging! It was a

"Dear Luis, sit down! Here is a chair close to Iza! Tell her
your secrets a few minutes, and I will go for mi madre. O
yes! She will come! You shall see, Iza! And then, Luis, we
shall have some supper."

"You see that I am in heaven already, Antonia; though, indeed,
I am also hungry and thirsty, my sister."

Antonia was not a minute in reaching her mother's room. The
unhappy lady was half-lying among the large pillows of her
gilded bed, wide awake. Her black eyes were fixed upon
a crucifix at its foot, and she was slowly murmuring prayers
upon her rosary.

"Madre! Madre! Luis is here, Luis is here! Come quick, mi
madre. Here are your stockings and slippers, and your gown,
and your mantilla--no, no, no, do not call Rachela. Luis has
news of my father, and of Jack! Oh, madre, he has a letter
from Jack to you! Come dear, come, in a few minutes you will
be ready."

She was urging and kissing the trembling woman, and dressing
her in despite of her faint effort to delay--to call Rachela--
to bring Luis to her room. In ten minutes she was ready. She
went down softly, like a frightened child, Antonia cheering
and encouraging her in whispers.

When she entered the cheerful parlor the shadow of a smile
flitted over her wan face. Luis ran to meet her. He drew the
couch close to the hearth; he helped Antonia arrange her
comfortably upon it. He made her tea, and kissed her hands
when he put it into them. And then Isabel made Luis a cup,
and cut his tamales, and waited upon him with such pretty
service, that the happy lover thought he was eating a meal in

For a few minutes it had been only this ordinary gladness of
reunion; but it was impossible to ignore longer the anxiety in
the eyes that asked him so many questions. He took two
letters from his pockets and gave them to the Senora. They
were from her husband and Jack. Her hands trembled; she
kissed them fervently; and as she placed them in her breast
her tears dropped down upon them.

Antonia opened the real conversation with that never-failing
wedge, the weather. "You came through the storm, Luis? Yet
you are not wet, scarcely? Now then, explain this miracle."

"I went first to Lopez Navarro's. Do you not know this festa
dress? It is the one Lopez bought for the feast of St. James.
He lent it to me, for I assure you that my own clothing was
like that of a beggar man. It was impossible that I could see
my angel on earth in it."

"But in such weather? You can not have come far to-day?"

"Senorita, there are things which are impossible, quite
impossible! That is one of them. Early this morning the
north wind advanced upon us, sword in hand. It will last
fifty hours, and we shall know something more about it before
they are over. Very well, but it was also absolutely
necessary that some one should reach San Antonio to-night; and
I was so happy as to persuade General Burleson to send me.
The Holy Lady has given me my reward."

"Have you seen the Senor Doctor lately; Luis," asked the

"I left him at nightfall."

"At nightfall! But that is impossible!"

"It is true. The army of the Americans is but a few miles
from San Antonio."

"Grace of God! Luis!"

"As you say, Senora. It is the grace of God. Did you not

"We know nothing but what Fray Ignatius tells us--that the
Americans have been everywhere pulling down churches, and
granting martyrdom to the priests, and that everywhere
miraculous retributions have pursued them."

"Was Gonzales a retribution? The Senor Doctor came to us
while we were there. God be blessed; but he startled us like
the rattle of rifle-shots in the midnight! `Why were you not
at Goliad?' he cried. `There were three hundred stand of arms
there, and cannon, and plenty of provisions. Why were they
not yours?' You would have thought, Senora, he had been a
soldier all his life. The men caught fire when he came near
them, and we went to Goliad like eagles flying for their prey.
We took the town, and the garrison, and all the arms and
military stores. I will tell you something that came to pass
there. At midnight, as I and Jack stood with the Senor Doctor
by the camp-fire, a stranger rode up to us. It was Colonel
Milam. He was flying from a Mexican prison and had not heard
of the revolt of the Americans. He made the camp ring with
his shout of delight. He was impatient for the morning. He
was the first man that entered the garrison. Bravissimo!
What a soldier is he!"

"I remember! I remember!" cried the Senora. "Mi Roberto
brought him here once. So splendid a man I never saw before.
So tall, so handsome, so gallant, so like a hero. He is
an American from--well, then, I have forgotten the place."

"From Kentucky. He fought with the Mexicans when they were
fighting for their liberty; but when they wanted a king and a
dictator he resigned his commision{sic} and was thrown into
prison. He has a long bill against Santa Anna."

"We must not forget, Luis," said the Senora with a little
flash of her old temper, "that Santa Anna represents to good
Catholics the triumph of Holy Church."

Luis devoutly crossed himself. "I am her dutiful son, I
assure you, Senora--always."

A warning glance from Antonia changed the conversation. There
was plenty to tell which touched them mainly on the side of
the family, and the Senora listened, with pride which she
could not conceal, to the exploits of her husband and sons,
though she did not permit herself to confess the feeling. And
her heart softened to her children. Without acknowledging the
tie between Isabel and Luis, she permitted or was oblivious to
the favors it allowed.

Certainly many little formalities could be dispensed with, in
a meeting so unexpected and so eventful. When the pleasant
impromptu meal was over, even the Senora had eaten and drunk
with enjoyment. Then Luis set the table behind them, and they
drew closer to the fire, Luis holding Isabel's hand, and
Antonia her mother's. The Senora took a cigarette from Luis,
and Isabel sometimes put that of Luis between her rosy lips.
At the dark, cold midnight they found an hour or two of
sweetest consolation. It was indeed hard to weary these three
heart-starved women; they asked question after question, and
when any brought out the comical side of camp life they forget
their pleasure was almost a clandestine one, and laughed

In the very midst of such a laugh, Rachela entered the room.
She stood in speechless amazement, gazing with a dark,
malicious face upon the happy group. "Senorita Isabel!" she
screamed; "but this is abominable! At the midnight also! Who
could have believed in such wickedness? Grace of Mary, it is

She laid her hand roughly on Isabel's shoulder, and Luis
removed it with as little courtesy. "You were not called," he
said, with the haughty insolence of a Mexican noble to a

"My Senora! Listen! You yourself also--you will die. You
that are really weak--so broken-hearted--"

Then a miracle occurred. The Senora threw off the nightmare
of selfish sorrow and spiritual sentimentality which had held
her in bondage. She took the cigarito from her lips with a
scornful air, and repeated the words of Luis:

"You were not called. Depart."

"The Senorita Isabel?"

"Is in my care. Her mother's care! do you understand?"

"My Senora, Fray Ignatius--"

"Saints in heaven! But this is intolerable! Go."

Then Rachela closed the door with a clang which echoed through
the house. And say as we will, the malice of the wicked is
never quite futile. It was impossible after this interruption
to recall the happy spirit dismissed by it; and Rachela had
the consolation, as she muttered beside the fire in the
Senora's room. this conviction. So that when she heard the
party breaking up half an hour afterwards, she complimented
herself upon her influence.

"Will Jack come and see me soon, and the Senor Doctor?"
questioned the Senora, anxiously, as she held the hand of Luis
in parting.

"Jack is on a secret message to General Houston. His return
advices will find us, I trust, in San Antonio. But until we
have taken the city, no American can safely enter it. For
this reason, when it was necessary to give Lopez Navarro
certain instructions, I volunteered to bring them. By the
Virgin of Guadalupe! I have had my reward," he said, lifting
the Senora's hand and kissing it.

"But, then, even you are in danger."

"Si! If I am discovered; but, blessed be the hand of God!
Luis Alveda knows where he is going, and how to get there."

"I have heard," said the Senora in a hushed voice, "that there
are to be no prisoners. That is Santa Anna's order."

"I heard it twenty days ago, and am still suffocating over

"Ah, Luis, you do not know the man yet! I heard Fray Ignatius
say that."

"We know him well; and also what he is capable of"; and Luis
plucked his mustache fiercely, as he bowed a silent farewell
to the ladies.

"Holy Maria! How brave he is!" said Isabel, with a flash of
pride that conquered her desire to weep. "How brave he is!
Certainly, if he meets Santa Anna, he will kill him."

They went very quietly up-stairs. The Senora was anticipating
the interview she expected with Rachela, and, perhaps wisely,
she isolated herself in an atmosphere of sullen and haughty
silence. She would accept nothing from her, not even sympathy
or flattery; and, in a curt dismission, managed to make her
feel the immeasurable distance between a high-born lady of the
house of Flores, and a poor manola that she had taken from
the streets of Madrid. Rachela knew the Senora was thinking
of this circumstance; the thought was in her voice, and it
cowed and snubbed the woman, her nature being essentially as
low as her birth.

As for the Senora, the experience did her a world of good.
She waited upon herself as a princess might condescend to
minister to her own wants--loftily, with a smile at her
own complaisance. The very knowledge that her husband was
near at hand inspired her with courage. She went to sleep
assuring herself "that not even Fray Ignatius should again
speak evil of her beloved, who never thought of her except
with a loyal affection." For in married life, the wife can
sin against love as well as fidelity; and she thought with a
sob of the cowardice which had permitted Fray Ignatius to call
her dear one "rebel and heretic."

"Santa Dios!" she said in a passionate whisper; "it is not a
mortal sin to think differently from Santa Anna"--and then
more tenderly--"those who love each other are of the same

And if Fray Ignatius had seen at that moment the savage
whiteness of her small teeth behind the petulant pout of her
parted lips, he might have understood that this woman of small
intelligence had also the unreasoning partisanship and the
implacable sense of anger which generally accompanies small
intelligence, and which indicates a nature governed by
feeling, and utterly irresponsive to reasoning which feeling
does not endorse.



. . . . "witness,

When the dark-stoled priestly crew,
Came swift trooping where the trumpet
Of foul Santa Anna blew."
* * * * * *

"Rouse thee, Wrath, and be a giant;
People's Will, that hath been pliant,
Long, too long;

Up, and snap the rusty chaining,
Brittle bond for thy restraining,
Know the hour, the weak are reigning
Thou art strong.

* * * * * *

"Rise and right the wrongs of ages;
Balance Time's unequal pages
With the sword."

It was nearly two o'clock when Don Luis mounted his horse and
left the Worth residencia. The storm still raged, the night
was dark, the cold intense, but the home of Lopez Navarro was
scarce a quarter of a mile away; and he found him waiting his

"You have still an hour, Luis. Come in and sit with me."

"As you say; and I wish to show you that I am capable of a
great thing. You do not believe me? Well, then give me again
my own clothes. I will resign these."

"You are most welcome to them, Luis."

"But no; I am in earnest. The fight is at hand--they are too

"Yes, but I will tell you--I can say anything to you--there is
to be a grand day for freedom; well, then, for a festa one
puts on the best that is to be got. I will even lend you my
Cross of Saint James, if you wish. A young hero should be
dressed like a hero. Honor my poor clothes so far as to wear
them in the fight."

"Thank you, Lopez. I will not disgrace them"; and he bent
forward and looked into his friend's eyes. His glance
prolonged his words--went further than speech--went where
speech could not reach.

"Listen to me, Luis. As a matter of precision, where now are
the Americans?"

"At the mission of Espada."

"La Espada?--the sword--the name is ominous."

"Of success, Lopez."

"Is Houston, then, with you?"

"Until a few days ago. He and General Austin have gone to San

Book of the day: