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

Remember the Alamo by Amelia E. Barr

Part 3 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.

"For what? Is not San Antonio the most important point?"

"It was decided by the vote of the army to send them there to
frame a provisional government. There are plenty of fighters
with us, but not one statesman but Houston. And now it is
necessary that we should have legal authority to obtain loans,
maintain the army in the field, and many other such things
vital to our cause. Austin is to go to the United States. He
will bring back men and money. Houston must draw up our
declaration and manifestoes; direct the civil government;
forward troops; and, in fact, set a new government in motion."

"He is the loadstone in the bosom![2] I wonder that the
Americans permitted that he should leave them."

[2] The loadstone in the bosom is a charm against evil; the
bringer of good fortune.

"He, and he only, was the man to go. Ere he left, he said
some strange words. I shall not, as a Mexican, forget them.
In the midst of the men he stood like a god, with his
great stature, and his bright, strong face. One cannot think
of him as of a common mortal. Indeed, I will confess that I
could only compare him with the Efreet in the Arabian tale,
`whose nostrils were like trumpets, his eyes like lamps, and
who had dishevelled, dust colored hair'"

"But, to proceed; what were the strange words?"

"Thus he spoke, and his voice rang out like a clarion:

"`You will fight as men fight for their homes, and their
wives, and their children, but also--remember this--the idea
of Texas is in the American heart! Two generations they have
carried it there! It is your destiny to make the idea a fact!
As far back as eighteen nineteen, Adams wanted Texas. When
Adams became president, he told Poinsett to offer Mexico a
million of dollars for Texas. Clay would have voted three
millions. Van Buren, in eighteen twenty-nine, told Poinsett
to offer five millions for Texas. I went to Washington that
year, and proposed to revolutionize Texas. I declare to you
that the highest men in the land were of my mind. Only
last July President Jackson offered an additional half million
dollars for the Rio Grande boundary; and Mr. Secretary Forsyth
said, justly or unjustly, by hook, or by crook, Texas must
become part of our country. We have been longing for it for
fifty years! Now, then, brothers-in-arms!' he cried, `You are
here for your homes and your freedom; but, more than that, you
are here for your country!' Remember the thousands of
Americans who have slipped out of history and out of memory,
who have bought this land with their blood! We have held a
grip on Texas for fifty years. By the soul of every American
who has perished here, I charge you, No Surrender!'

"You should have heard the shout that answered the charge.
Jesu, Maria! It made my heart leap to my bosom. And ever
since, the two words have filled the air. You could see men
catching them on their lips. They are in their eyes, and
their walk. Their hands say them. The up-toss of their heads
says them. When they go into battle they will see Houston in
front of them, and hear him call back `No surrender!' Mexico
cannot hold Texas against such a determined purpose,
carried out by such determined men."

Lopez did not answer. He was a melancholy, well-read man, who
had travelled, and to whom the idea of liberty was a passion.
But the feeling of race was also strong in him, and he could
not help regretting that liberty must come to Texas through an
alien people--"heretics, too"--he muttered, carrying the
thought out aloud. It brought others equally living to him,
and he asked, "Where, then, is Doctor Worth?"

"At Espada. The army wished him to go to San Felipe with
Houston, but he declined. And we want him most of all, both
as a fighter and a physician. His son Thomas went in his

"I know not Thomas."

"Indeed, very few know him. He is one that seldom speaks.
But his rifle has its word always ready."

"And Jack?"

"Jack also went to San Felipe. He is to bring back the first
despatches. Jack is the darling of the camp. Ah, what a
happy soul he has! One would think that it had just come from
heaven, or was just going there."

"Did you see Senorita Antonia to-night?"

"Si! She is a blessing to the eyesight. So brave a young
girl, so sweet, so wise; she is a miracle! If I loved not
Isabel with my whole soul, I would kneel at Antonia's feet."

"That is where I also would kneel."

"Hark! how the wind roars, and how the rain thrashes the
house! But our men have the shelter of one of the Panchos.
You should have heard the padre threaten them with the anger
of heaven and hell and General Cos. Good-bye, Lopez. I have
stayed my last moment now."

"Your horse has been well fed. Listen, he is neighing for
you; to Doctor Worth give my honorable regards. Is Senor
Parades with you? and Perez Mexia? Say to them I keep the vow
I made in their behalf. Farewell, Luis!" and Luis, who had
been mounting as his friend talked, stooped from his saddle
and kissed him.

It was just dawn when he reached camp, and he found Doctor
Worth waiting his arrival. Fortunately there was nothing but
good news for the doctor. Luis had seen everything through
the medium of his own happiness, and he described the
midnight meal and the Senora's amiability with the utmost
freedom from anything unpleasant. Rachela's interference he
treated with scornful indifference; and yet it affected
Worth's mind unpleasantly. For it went straight to the source
of offence. "She must have had Fray Ignatius behind her. And
my poor Maria, she will be as dough for them to knead as they
desire to!"

And, in fact, as he was thus thinking, the Senora was lying
awake in her bed, anticipating her confessor's next visit.
She was almost glad the norther was still blowing. It would
give her another day's respite; and "so many things happen as
the clock goes round," she reflected. Perhaps even her
Roberto might arrive; it would not be more wonderful than the
visit of Luis Alveda.

But very early in the day she saw the father hurrying up the
oleander avenue. The wind tossed his gown, and blew his hat
backward and sideways, and compelled him to make undignified
haste. And such little things affect the mental poise and
mood! The Senora smiled at the funny figure he made; and with
the smile came a feeling of resistance to his tyranny,
and a stubborn determination to defend her own conduct.

He came into her room with a doleful countenance, saying, as
he crossed himself, "God be here!"

"And with you, father," answered the Senora, cheerfully--a
mood she had assumed at the last moment, by a kind of

"There is evil news on every hand my daughter. The heretics
are swarming like wolves around the Missions. Several of our
holy brothers have endured the last extremity. These wolves
will even enter the city, and you will be in danger. I have
come to take you to the convent. There, Holy Mary will be
your safety."

"But these wolves might attack the convent, father!"

"Our Blessed Lady is stronger than they. She has always kept
her own."

"Blessed be the hand of God and Mary! will trust in them. Ah,
Antonia! Listen to Fray Ignatius! He says we must go to the
convent--the heretics are coming. They have even slain some
priests at the Mission."

"Fray Ignatius has been misinformed, dear mother. When
a man wears a gown and has no arms Americans do not molest
him. That is certain. As for the convent it is impossible.
My father forbade it. If the Americans enter the city, he is
with them. He will protect us, if we should need it, which is
not likely."

"Disobedient one!"

"Pardon. I wish only to obey the commands of my father."

"I absolve you from them."

"They are between God and my soul. There is no absolution
from duty."

"Grace of God! Hear you, Senora! Hear you the rebellious and
disobedient one! She has defied me to my face! She is near
to being anathema! She is not your daughter! She is
bewitched. Some evil spirit has possession of her. Let no
one touch her or speak to her; it shall be a mortal sin."

Antonia fell at her mother's knee. "Mi madre! I am your
daughter, your Antonia, that you carried in your breast, and
that loves you better than life. Permit me not to be accused
of sin--to be called a devil. Mother, speak for me."

At this moment Isabel entered. Seeing the distress of
her mother and sister she hastened to them; but Fray Ignatius
stepped between, and extending his arms forbade her nearer

"I forbid you to speak to your sister. I forbid you to touch
her, to give her food, or water, or sympathy, until she has
humbled herself, and obtained the forgiveness of her sin."

Then mother love stood up triumphant over superstition. "I
and my daughter are the same," said the Senora, and she gave
her hand to Antonia. "If she has sinned, we will bear the
penance together; she and I together."

"I command you to stand apart. For the good of Antonia's
sinful soul, I command you to withdraw yourself from her."

"She is my daughter, father. I will bear the sin and the
punishment with her. The Holy Mother will understand me. To
her I will go."

The door of her room was at hand; she stepped swiftly to it,
and putting her daughters before her, passed in and turned the

The movement took the priest by surprise, and yet he was
secretly satisfied with it. He had permitted himself to act
with an imprudence most unusual. He had allowed the
Senora to find out her own moral strength, and made a
situation for her in which she had acted not only without his
support, but against his authority.

"And yet," he muttered, "so much depends upon my persuading
her into the convent; however, nothing now is to be done to-
day, except to see Rachela. Saint Joseph! if these American
heretics were only in my power! What a long joy I would make
of them! I would cut a throat--just one throat--every day of
my life."

The hatred which could contemplate a vengeance so long drawn
out was on his dark face; yet, it is but justice to say, that
he sincerely believed it to be a holy hatred. The foes of the
church, he regarded as the foes of God; and his anger as a
just zeal for the honor of the Lord of Hosts. Beside which,
it included a far more tangible cause.

The accumulated treasures of the Missions; their gold and
gems, their costly vestments and holy vessels, had been
removed to the convent for safety. "These infidels of
Americans give to women the honor they should give to God and
Holy Church," he said to his brethren. "They will not
suffer the Sisters to be molested; and our wealth will be safe
wherever they are."

But this wealth was really so immense, that he believed it
might be well to secure it still further, and knowing the
position Dr. Worth held among his countrymen, he resolved to
induce his wife and daughters to seek refuge within the
convent. They were, in fact, to be held as hostages, for the
protection of the property of the Church.

That he should fail in his plan was intolerable to him. He
had been so confident of success. He imagined the smile on
the face of Fray Sarapiam, and the warning against self-
confidence he would receive from his superior; and he vowed by
Saint Joseph that he would not suffer himself to be so
mortified by three women.

Had he seen the Senora after the first excitement of her
rebellion was over, he would have been satisfied of the
validity of his authority, at least as regarded her. She
flung herself at the foot of her altar, weeping and beating
her breast in a passion of self-accusation and contrition.
Certainly, she had stood by her daughter in the presence
of the priest; but in her room she withdrew herself from the
poor girl as if she were a spiritual leper.

Antonia at a distance watched the self-abasement of her
mother. She could not weep, but she was white as clay, and
her heart was swollen with a sense of wrong and injustice,
until breathing was almost suffocation. She looked with a
piteous entreaty at Isabel. Her little sister had taken a
seat at the extremity of the room away from her. She watched
Antonia with eyes full of terror. But there was no sympathy
in her face, only an uncertainty which seemed to speak to
her--to touch her-- and her mother was broken-hearted with
shame and grief.

The anxiety was also a dumb one. Until the Senora rose from
her knees, there was not a movement made, not a word uttered.
The girls waited shivering with cold, sick with fear, until
she spoke. Even then her words were cold as the wind outside:

"Go to your room, Antonia. You have not only sinned; you have
made me sin also. Alas! Alas! Miserable mother! Holy
Maria! pray for me."

"Mi madre, I am innocent of wrong. I have committed no sin.
Is it a sin to obey my father? Isabel, darling, speak for

"But, then, what have you done, Antonia?"

"Fray Ignatius wants us to go to the convent. I refused. My
father made me promise to do so. Is not our first duty to our
father? Mother, is it not?

"No, no; to God--and to Fray Ignatius, as the priest of God.
He says we ought to go to the convent. He knows best. We
have been disobedient and wicked."

"Isabel, speak, my dear one. Tell mi madre if you think we
should go."

There was a moment's wavering, and then Isabel went to her
mother and caressed her as only Isabel could caress her, and
with the kisses, she said boldly: "Mi madre, we will not go
to the convent. Not any of us. It is a dreadful place, even
for a happy child. Oh, how cold and still are the Sisters!
They are like stone figures that move about."

"Hush, child! I cannot listen to you! Go away! I must be
alone. I must think. I must pray. Only the Mother of
Sorrows can help me."

It was a miserable sequence to the happy night, and Antonia
was really terrified at the position in which she found
herself. If the Americans should fall, nothing but flight, or
uncompromising submission to Fray Ignatius, remained for her.
She knew only too well how miserable her life could be made;
what moral torture could be inflicted; what spiritual
servitude exacted. In a moment of time she had comprehended
her danger, and her heart sank and sickened with a genuine
physical terror.

The cold was still severe, and no one answered her call for
wood. Isabel crouched, white and shivering, over the dying
embers, and it was she who first uttered the fear Antonia had
refused to admit to herself--"Suppose the servants are
forbidden to wait upon us!"

"I will bring wood myself, dearest." She was greatly
comforted by the word "us." She could almost have wept for
joy of the sympathy it included. For thought is rapid in such
crucial moments, and she had decided that even flight with her
would be a kinder fate for Isabel, than the cruel tender
mercies of the Sisters and the convent.

They could not talk much. The thought of their mother's
anguish, and of the separation put between them and their
household, shocked and terrified them. Vainly they called for
fuel. At dinner time no table was laid, and no preparations
made for the meal. Then Antonia went into the kitchen. She
took with her food, and cooked it. She brought wood into the
parlor, and made up the fire. Fortunately, her northern
education had given her plenty of resources for such
emergencies. Two or three savory dishes were soon ready, and
the small table set upon a warm, bright hearth.

The Senora had evidently not been included in the ban, for
Rachela attended with ostentatious care to her comfort; but
Isabel had rolled herself up in a wadded silk coverlet and
gone to sleep. Antonia awakened her with a kiss. "Come,
queridita, and get your dinner."

"But is it possible? I thought Fray Ignatius had forbidden

"He cannot forbid me to wait upon you, my darling one. And he
cannot turn the flour into dust, and the meat into stone.
There is a good dinner ready; and you are hungry, no doubt."

"For three hours I have been faint. Ah! you have made me a
custard also! You are a very comforter."

But the girl was still and sad, and Antonia was hard pressed
to find any real comfort for her. For she knew that their
only hope lay in the immediate attack of the American force,
and its success; and she did not think it wise to hide from
her sister the alternatives that lay before them if the
Americans failed.

"I am afraid," said Isabel; "and so unhappy. A very sad
business is life. I cannot think how any one can care to

"Remember Luis, and our father, and Jack, and Thomas, and our
dear mother, who this morning stood between us and Fray
Ignatius. Will you let this priest turn the sky black above

"And also, men will fight. What for? Who can tell? The
Americans want so much of everything. Naturally they do not
get all they want. What do they do? Fight, and get killed.
Then they go into the next world, and complain of people. As
for Luis, I do not expect to see him again."

Fortunately, the norther moderated at sunset. Life then
seemed so much more possible. Adverse elements intensify
adverse fortune, and the physical suffering from the cold had
also benumbed Antonia's spirits, and made her less hopeful and
less clear-visioned. But when she awoke at the gray dawn of
the next day, she awoke with a different spirit. She had
regained herself. She rose quietly, and looked out towards
the city. The black flag from the Alamo and the Missions hung
above it. She looked at the ominous standards, and then the
tears sprang to her eyes; she lifted her face and her hands to
heaven, and a few words, swifter than light, sprang from her
soul into the ear of the Eternal Father of Spirits.

The answer came with the petition--came with the crack of
rifle shots; precise, regular, unceasing.

"Oh God! I thank Thee! Lord of Hosts, Thou art a great
multitude! Isabel! Isabel! The Americans are attacking the
city! Our father will fight his way back to his home! Fray
Ignatius can not come to-day. Oh, I am so happy! So happy!
Listen! How the Mexicans are shouting! They are cheering on
the men! What a turmoil!"

"Jesu, Maria, have mercy!" cried Isabel, clasping her crucifix
and falling upon her knees.

"Oh, Isabel, pray for our father, that his angel may
overshadow him with strong wings."

"And Luis?"

"And Luis, and Thomas, and Jack, and Dare. There are prayers
for them all, and love enough to make them. Hark! there are
the drums, and the trumpets, and the gallop of the cavalry.
Come, dearest, let us go to our mother. To day, no one will
remember Fray Ignatius."



"Now, hearts,
Be ribbed with iron for this one attempt:
Set ope' your sluices, send the vigorous blood
Through every active limb for our relief."

"Now they begin the tragic play,
And with their smoky cannon banish day."

"Endure and conquer. God will soon dispose
To future good our past and present woes:
Resume your courage, and dismiss your care;
An hour will come with pleasure to relate
Your sorrows past, as benefits of Fate."

The Senora was already dressed. She turned with a face full
of fear and anger to her daughters as they entered her room--

"These American diablos! They are attacking the city. They
will take it--that is to be expected--who can fight diablos?
And what is to become of us? Oh, Antonia! Why did you
prevent Fray Ignatius? We might now have been safe in the
convent", and Rachela nodded her head in assent,
with an insufferable air of reproof and toleration.

Antonia saw that the time had not yet come for pleading her
own cause. She left Isabel with her mother. The Senora's
breakfast was waiting, and she offered to share it with her
youngest daughter. Antonia went downstairs to prepare for
herself some coffee. She was surprised and pleased to find it
made. For a certain thought had come to Molly in the night
and she had acted upon it--

"The praist is a strange praist, and almost as black as a
nagur; and I'd be a poor body, I think, to let him be meddling
wid my work. Shure, I never heard of the like of such
interfering in Ireland, nor in the States at all!" Then
turning to the Mexican cook, Manuel--"You may lave the fire
alone till I bees done wid it."

"Fray Ignatius will not give you absolution if you disobey

"He can be kaping the same then. There is an Irish praist at
San Patricio, and I'll be going there for my absolution; and
I'll be getting none any nearer that an Irish soul will be a
pin the better for. I'll say that, standing in the
church, to the saints themselves; and so be aff wid you and
let the fire alone till I bees done wid it."

But it was not Molly's place to serve the food she cooked, and
she did not trouble herself about the serving. When she had
asserted her right to control her own work, and do it or
neglect it as it seemed good to herself alone, she was
satisfied. Over Antonia--who was at least half a Mexican--she
acknowledged a Mexican priest to have authority; and she had
no intention of interfering between Fray Ignatius and his
lawful flock. She was smoking her pipe by the fire when
Antonia entered the kitchen, and she neither lifted her eyes
nor spoke to her.

Against such unreasonable isolation Antonia could not help a
feeling of anger; and she heard with satisfaction the regular
crack of the rifles. Her thought was--"They will make these
people find their tongues also, very soon." She was
exceedingly anxious for information; and, as she ate her roll
and drank her coffees she was considering how they could gain
it. For even if Fray Ignatius were able to visit them, his
report would be colored by his prejudices and his
desires, and could not be relied on.

Her heart fluttered and sank; she was hot and cold, sanguine
and fearful. She could not endure the idea of a suspense
unrelieved by any reliable word. For the siege might be a
long one. San Antonio was strongly walled and defended. The
Alamo fortress stood in its centre. It had forty-eight
cannon, and a garrison of a thousand men. Before it could be
reached, the city had to be taken; and the inhabitants would
in the main fight desperately for their homes.

As soon as she was alone with her mother, she pointed out
these facts to her. "Let me write to Lopez Navarro, mi madre.
He is a friend."

"Of the Americans! Si."

"Of freedom. He will send us word."

"Are you forgetful of what is moral and respectable, Antonia?
That a young lady should write to Lopez Navarro--a man that is
unmarried--is such a thing as never before happened! He would
think the world had come to an end, or worse."

"Dear mother! In a time of trouble like this, who would
think wrong of us? Surely you might write."

"As you say, Antonia. Tell me, then, who will take the

"The peon Ortiz will take it. This morning he brought in wood
and kindled the fire, and I saw in his face the kindness of
his heart."

After some further persuasion, the Senora agreed to write; and
Ortiz undertook the commission, with a nod of understanding.
Then there remained nothing to be done but to listen and to
watch. Fortunately, however, Rachela found the centre of
interest among the servants in the kitchen; and the Senora and
her daughter could converse without espionage.

Just after sunset a letter arrived from Navarro. Rachela
lingered in the room to learn its contents. But the Senora,
having read them, passed the letter to Antonia and Isabel; and
Rachela saw with anger that Antonia, having carefully
considered it, threw it into the fire. And yet the news it
brought was not unfavorable:


"I send this on December the fifth, in the year of our
Blessed Lord and Lady 1835. It is my honor and pleasure to
tell you that the Americans, having performed miracles of
valor, reached the Plaza this afternoon. Here the main body
of the Mexican troops received them, and there has been severe
fighting. At sunset, the Mexicans retreated within the Alamo.
The Texans have taken possession of the Veramendi House, and
the portion of the city surrounding it. There has been a
great slaughter of our poor countrymen. I charge myself
whenever I pass the Plaza, to say a paternoster for the souls
who fell there. Senora Maria Flores Worth, I kiss your hands.
I kiss also the hands of the Senorita Antonia, and the hands
of the Senorita Isabel, and I make haste to sign myself,
"Your servant,

This little confidence between mother and daughters restored
the tone of feeling between them. They had something to talk
of, personal and exclusive. In the fear and uncertainty, they
forgot priestly interdiction and clung to each other with that
affection which is the strength of danger and the comforter of

On the following day the depression deepened. The sounds
of battle were closer at hand. The Mexican servants had an
air of insolence and triumph. Antonia feared for the
evening's report--if indeed Navarro should be able to send
one. She feared more when she saw the messenger early in the
afternoon. "Too early is often worse than too late." The
proverb shivered upon her trembling lips as she took the
letter from him. The three women read it together, with
sinking hearts:


"This on the sixth of December, in the year of our Blessed
Lord and Lady 1835. The brave, the illustrious Colonel Milam
is dead. I watched him three hours in to-day's fight. A man
so calm was inconceivable. He was smiling when the ball
struck him--when he fell. The Texans, after his loss, retired
to their quarters. This was at the hour of eleven. At the
hour of one, the Mexicans made another sortie from the Alamo.
The Texans rushed to meet them with an incredible vengeance.
Their leader was General Burleson. He showed himself to
General Cos in a sheet of flame. Such men are not to be
fought. General Cos was compelled to retire to the Alamo.
The battle is over for to-day. On this earth the soul has but
a mortal sword. The water in the river is red with
blood. The Plaza is covered with the dead and the dying. I
have the honor to tell you that these `miserables' are being
attended to by the noble, the charitable Senor Doctor Worth.
As I write, he is kneeling among them. My soul adores his
humanity. I humbly kiss your hands, Senora, and the hands of
your exalted daughters.

Until midnight this letter furnished the anxious, loving women
with an unceasing topic of interest. The allusion to her
husband made the Senora weep. She retired to her oratory and
poured out her love and her fears in holy salutations, in
thanksgivings and entreaties.

The next morning there was an ominous lull in the atmosphere.
As men run backward to take a longer leap forward, so both
armies were taking breath for a fiercer struggle. In the
Worth residencia the suspense was becoming hourly harder to
endure. The Senora and her daughters were hardly conscious of
the home life around them. In that wonderful folk-speech
which so often touches foundation truths, they were not all
there. Their nobler part had projected itself beyond its
limitations. It was really in the struggle. It mattered
little to them now whether food was cooked or not. They
were neither hungry nor sleepy. Existence was prayer and

Just before sunset Antonia saw Don Lopez coming through the
garden. The Senora, accompanied by her daughters, went to
meet him. His face was perplexed and troubled:

"General Cos has been joined by Ugartechea with three hundred
men," he said. "You will see now that the fight will be still
more determined."

And before daylight broke on the morning of the 5th, the
Americans attacked the Alamo. The black flag waved above
them; the city itself had the stillness of death; but for
hours the dull roar and the clamorous tumult went on without
cessation. The Senora lay upon her bed motionless, with hands
tightly locked. She had exhausted feeling, and was passive.
Antonia and Isabel wandered from window to window, hoping to
see some token which would indicate the course of events.

Nothing was visible but the ferocious flag flying out above
the desperate men fighting below it. So black! So cruel and
defiant it looked! It seemed to darken and fill the
whole atmosphere around it. And though the poor women
had not dared to whisper to each other what it said to them,
they knew in their own hearts that it meant, if the Americans
failed, the instant and brutal massacre of every prisoner.

The husband and father were under its inhuman shadow. So most
probably were Darius Grant and Luis Alveda. It was even
likely that Jack might have returned ere the fight, and was
with the besiegers. Every time they went to the window, it
filled their hearts with horror.

In the middle of the afternoon it suddenly disappeared.
Antonia watched it breathlessly. Several times before, it had
been dropped by some American rifle; but this time it was not
as speedily replaced. In a few minutes she uttered a shrill
cry. It was in a voice so strained, so piercing, so unlike
her own, that the Senora leaped from her bed. Antonia turned
to meet her mother with white, parted lips. She was
speechless with excess of feeling, but she pointed to the
Alamo. The black flag was no longer there! A white one was
flying in its place.

"IT IS A SURRENDER!" gasped Antonia. "IT IS A SURRENDER!" and,
as if in response to her words, a mighty shout and a simultaneous
salute of rifles hailed the emblem of victory.

An hour afterwards a little Mexican boy came running with all
his speed. He brought a few lines from Don Lopez. They had
evidently been written in a great hurry, and on a piece of
paper torn from his pocket-book, but oh! how welcome they
were. The very lack of formality gave to them a certain hurry
of good fortune:

"May you and yours be God's care for many years to come,
Senora! The Mexicans have surrendered the Alamo, and asked
for quarter. These noble-minded Americans have given it. The
Senor Doctor will bring you good news. I rejoice with you.

Death and captivity had been turned away from their home, and
the first impulse of these pious, simple-hearted women was a
prayer of thanksgiving. Then Antonia remembered the
uncomfortable state of the household, and the probable
necessities of the men coming back from mortal strife and
the shadow of death.

She found that the news had already changed the domestic
atmosphere. Every servant was attending to his duty. Every
one professed a great joy in the expected arrival of the
Senor. And what a happy impetus the hope gave to her own
hands! How delightful it was to be once more arranging the
evening meal, and brightening the rooms with fire and light!

Soon after dark they heard the swing of the garden gate, the
tramp of rapid footsteps, and the high-pitched voices of
excited men. The door was flung wide. The Senora forgot that
it was cold. She went with outstretched arms to meet her
husband. Dare and Luis were with him. They were black with
the smoke of battle. Their clothing was torn and
bloodstained; the awful light of the fierce struggle was still
upon their faces. But they walked like heroes, and the glory
of the deeds they had done crowned with its humanity, made
them appear to the women that loved them but a little lower
than the angels.

Doctor Worth held his wife close to his heart and kissed
her tears of joy away, and murmured upon her lips the
tenderest words a woman ever hears--the words a man never
perfectly learns till he has loved his wife through a quarter
of a century of change, and sorrow, and anxiety. And what
could Antonia give Dare but the embrace, the kiss, the sweet
whispers of love and pride, which were the spontaneous outcome
of both hearts?

There was a moment's hesitation on the part of Luis and
Isabel. The traditions of caste and country, the social bonds
of centuries, held them. But Isabel snapped them asunder.
She looked at Luis. His eyes were alight with love for her,
his handsome face was transfigured with the nobility of the
emotions that possessed him. In spite of his disordered
dress, he was incomparably handsome. When he said, "Angel
mio!" and bent to kiss her hand, she lifted her lovely face to
his, she put her arms around his neck, she cried softly on his
breast, whispering sweet little diminutives of affection and
pride. Such hours as followed are very rare in this life; and
they are nearly always bought with a great price--paid for in
advance with sorrow and anxiety, or earned by such
faithful watching and patient waiting as touches the very
citadel of life.

The men were hungry; they had eaten nothing all day. How
delicious was their meal! How happy and merry it made the
Senora, and Antonia, and Isabel, to see them empty dish after
dish; to see their unaffected enjoyment of the warm room, and
bright fire, of their after-dinner coffee and tobacco. There
was only one drawback to the joy of the reunion--the absence
of Jack.

"His disappointment will be greater than ours," said Jack's
father. "To be present at the freeing of his native city, and
to bring his first laurels to his mother, was the brightest
dream Jack had. But Jack is a fine rider, and is not a very
fine marksman; so it was decided to send him with Houston to
the Convention. We expected him back before the attack on the
city began. Indeed, we were waiting for orders from the
Convention to undertake it."

"Then you fought without orders, father?"

"Well, yes, Antonia--in a way. Delays in war are as dangerous
as in love. We were surrounded by dragoons, who scoured the
country in every direction to prevent our foraging. San
Antonio HAD to be taken. Soon done was well done. On the
third of December Colonel Milam stepped in front of the ranks,
and asked if two hundred of the men would go with him and
storm the city. The whole eleven hundred stepped forward, and
gave him their hands and their word. From them two hundred of
the finest marksmen were selected."

"I have to say that was a great scene, mi Roberto."

"The greater for its calmness, I think. There was no
shouting, no hurrahing, no obvious enthusiasm. It was the
simple assertion of serious men determined to carry out their

"And you stormed San Antonio with two hundred men, father?"

"But every man was a picked man. A Mexican could not show his
head above the ramparts and live. We had no powder and ball
to waste; and I doubt if a single ball missed its aim."

"A Mexican is like a Highland Scot in one respect," said
Dare;" he fights best with steel. They are good cavalry

"There are no finer cavalry in the world than the
horsemen from Santa Fe, Dare. But with powder and ball
Mexicans trust entirely to luck; and luck is nowhere against
Kentucky sharpshooters. Their balls very seldom reached us,
though we were close to the ramparts; and we gathered them up
by thousands, and sent them back with our double-Dupont
powder. THEN they did damage enough. In fact, we have
taken the Alamo with Mexican balls."

"Under what flag did you fight, Roberto?"

"Under the Mexican republican flag of eighteen twenty-four;
but indeed, Maria, I do not think we had one in the camp. We
were destitute of all the trappings of war--we had no
uniforms, no music, no flags, no positive military discipline.
But we had one heart and mind, and one object in view; and
this four days' fight has shown what men can do, who are moved
by a single, grand idea."

The Senora lay upon a sofa; the doctor sat by her side.
Gradually their conversation became more low and confidential.
They talked of their sons, and their probable whereabouts; of
all that the Senora and her daughters had suffered from the
disaffection of the servants; and the attitude taken by
Fray Ignatius. And the doctor noticed, without much surprise,
that his wife's political sympathies were still in a state of
transition and uncertainty. She could not avoid prophesying
the speedy and frightful vengeance of Mexico. She treated the
success at San Antonio as one of the accidents of war. She
looked forward to an early renewal of hostilities.

"My countrymen are known to me, Roberto," she said, with a
touch that was almost a hope of vengeance. "They have an
insurmountable honor; they will revenge this insult to it in
some terrible way. If the gracious Maria holds not the hands
of Santa Anna, he will utterly destroy the Americans! He will
be like a tiger that has become mad."

"I am not so much afraid of Santa Anna as of Fray Ignatius.
Promise me, my dear Maria, that you will not suffer yourself
or your children to be decoyed by him into a convent. I
should never see you again."

The discussion on this subject was long and eager. Antonia,
talking with Dare a little apart, could not help hearing it
and feeling great interest in her father's entreaties, even
though she was discussing with Dare the plans for their
future. For Dare had much to tell his betrothed. During the
siege, the doctor had discovered that his intended son-in-law
was a fine surgeon. Dare had, with great delicacy, been quite
reticent on this subject, until circumstances made his
assistance a matter of life and death; and the doctor
understood and appreciated the young man's silence.

"He thinks I might have a touch of professional jealousy--he
thinks I might suspect him of wanting a partnership as well as
a wife; he wishes to take his full share of the dangers of
war, without getting behind the shield of his profession";
these feelings the doctor understood, and he passed from Fray
Ignatius to this pleasanter topic, gladly.

He told the Senora what a noble son they were going to have;
he said, "when the war is over, Maria, my dear, he shall marry

"And what do you say, Roberto, if I should give them the fine
house on the Plaza that my brother Perfecto left me?"

"If you do that you will be the best mother in the world,
Maria. I then will take Dare into partnership. He is good
and clever; and I am a little weary of work. I shall enjoy
coming home earlier to you. We will go riding and walking,
and our courting days will begin again."

"Maria Santissima! How delightful that will be, Roberto! And
as for our Isabel, shall we not make her happy also? Luis
should have done as his own family have done; a young man to
go against his mother and his uncles, that is very wicked!
but, if we forgive that fault, well, then, Luis is as good as
good bread."

"I think so. He began the study of the law. He must finish
it. He must learn the American laws also. I am not a poor
man, Maria. I will give Isabel the fortune worthy of a
Yturbide or a Flores--a fortune that will make her very
welcome to the Alvedas."

The Senora clasped her husband's hand with a smile. They were
sweetening their own happiness with making the happiness of
their children. They looked first at Antonia. She sat with
Dare, earnestly talking to him in a low voice. Dare clasped
in his own the dear little hand that had been promised to
him. Antonia bent toward her lover; her fair head rested
against his shoulder. Isabel sat in a large chair, and Luis
leaned on the back of it, stooping his bright face to the
lovely one which was sometimes dropped to hide her blushes,
and sometimes lifted with flashing eyes to answer his tender

"My happiness is so great, Roberto, I am even tired of being
happy. Call Rachela. I must go to sleep. To-night I cannot
even say an ave."

"God hears the unspoken prayer in your heart, Maria; and to-
night let me help you upstairs. My arm is stronger than

She rose with a little affectation of greater weakness and
lassitude than she really felt. But she wished to be weak, so
that her Roberto might be strong--to be quite dependent on his
care and tenderness. And she let her daughters embrace
her so prettily, and then offered her hand to Dare and Luis
with so much grace and true kindness that both young men were

"It is to be seen that they are gentlemen," she said, as she
went slowly upstairs on her husband's arm--"and hark!
that is the singing of Luis. What is it he says?" They stood
still to listen. Clear and sweet were the chords of the
mandolin, and melodiously to them Luis was protesting--

"Freedom shall have our shining blades!
Our hearts are yours, fair Texan maids!"



"I tell thee, priest, if the world were wise
They would not wag one finger in your quarrels:
Your heaven you promise, but our earth you covet;
The Phaetons of mankind, who fire the world
Which you were sent by preaching but to warm."

Your Saviour came not with a gaudy show,
Nor was His kingdom of the world below:
The crown He wore was of the pointed thorn
In purple He was crucified, not born.
They who contend for place and high degree
Are not His sons, but those of Zebedee."

The exalted state of mind which the victorious men had brought
home with them did not vanish with sleep. The same heroic
atmosphere was in the house in the morning. Antonia's face
had a brightness upon it that never yet was the result of mere
flesh and blood. When she came into the usual sitting-room,
Dare was already there; indeed, he had risen purposely for
this hour. Their smiles and glances met each other with
an instantaneous understanding. It was the old Greek
greeting "REJOICE!" without the audible expression.

Never again, perhaps, in all their lives would moments so full
of sweetness and splendor come to them. They were all the
sweeter because blended with the homely duties that fell to
Antonia's hands. As she went about ordering the breakfast,
and giving to the table a festal air, Dare thought of the old
Homeric heroes, and the daughters of the kings who ministered
to their wants. The bravest of them had done no greater deeds
of personal valor than had been done by the little band of
American pioneers and hunters with whom he had fought the last
four days. The princes among them had been welcomed by no
sweeter and fairer women than had welcomed his companions and

And, though his clothing was black with the smoke of the
battle and torn with the fray, never had Dare himself looked
so handsome. There was an unspeakable radiance in his fair
face. The close, brown curls of his hair; his tall figure,
supple and strong; his air of youth, and valor, and victory;
the love-light in his eyes; the hopes in his heart, made
him for the time really more than a mere mortal man. He
walked like the demi-gods he was thinking of. The most
glorious ideal of life, the brightest dream of love that he
had ever had, found in this hour their complete realization.

The Senora did not come down; but Isabel and Luis and the
doctor joined the breakfast party. Luis had evidently been to
see Lopez Navarro before he did so; for he wore a new suit of
dark blue velvet and silver, a sash of crimson silk, the
neatest of patent leather shoes, and the most beautifully
embroidered linen. Dare gave him a little smile and nod of
approbation. He had not thought of fine clothing for himself;
but then for the handsome, elegant, Mexican youth it seemed
precisely the right thing. And Isabel, in her scarlet satin
petticoat, and white embroideries and satin slippers, looked
his proper mate. Dare and Antonia, and even the doctor,
watched their almost childlike devotion to each other with
sympathetic delight.

Oh, if such moments could only last! No, no; as a rule they
last long enough. Joy wearies as well as sorrow. An
abiding rapture would make itself a sorrow out of our very
weakness to bear it. We should become exhausted and exacting,
and be irritated by the limitations of our nature, and our
inability to create and to endure an increasing rapture. It
is because joy is fugitive that it leaves us a delightsome
memory. It is far better, then, not to hold the rose until it
withers in our fevered hand.

The three women watched their heroes go back to the city. The
doctor looked very little older than his companions. He sat
his horse superbly, and he lifted his hat to the proud Senora
with a loving grace which neither of the young men could
excel. In that far back year, when he had wooed her with the
sweet words she taught him, he had not looked more manly and
attractive. There is a perverse disposition in women to love
personal prowess, and to adore the heroes of the battle-field;
and never had the Senora loved her husband as she did at that

In his capacity of physician he had done unnoticed deeds of
far greater bravery--gone into a Comanche camp that was being
devastated by smallpox--or galloped fifty miles; alone in
the night, through woods haunted by savage men and beasts, to
succor some little child struggling with croup, or some
frontiersman pierced with an arrow. The Senora had always
fretted and scolded a little when he thus exposed his life.
But the storming of the Alamo! That was a bravery she could
understand. Her Roberto was indeed a hero! Though she could
not bring herself to approve the cause for which he fought,
she was as sensitive as men and women always are to victorious
valor and a successful cause.

Rachela was in a state of rebellion. Nothing but the express
orders of Fray Ignatius, to remain where she was, prevented
her leaving the Worths; for the freedom so suddenly given to
Isabel had filled her with indignation. She was longing to be
in some house where she could give adequate expression to the
diabolical temper she felt it right to indulge.

In the afternoon it was some relief to see the confessor
coming up the garden. He had resumed his usual deliberate
pace. His hands were folded upon his breast. He looked as
the mournful Jeremiah may have looked, when he had the
burden of a heavy prophecy to deliver.

The Senora sat down with a doggedly sullen air, which Antonia
understood very well. It meant, "I am not to be forced to
take any way but my own, to-day"; and the wise priest
understood her mood as soon as he entered the room. He put
behind him the reproof he had been meditating. He stimulated
her curiosity; he asked her sympathy. No man knew better than
Fray Ignatius, when to assume sacerdotal authority and when to
lay it aside.

And the Senora was never proof against the compliment of his
personal friendship. The fight, as it affected himself and
his brotherhood and the convent, was full of interest to her.
She smiled at Brother Servando's childish alarm; she was angry
at an insult offered to the venerable abbot; she condoled with
the Sisters, wept at the danger that the famous statue of the
Virgin de Los Reinedias had been exposed to; and was
altogether as sympathetic as he could desire, until her own
affairs were mentioned.

"And you also, my daughter? The sword has pierced your
heart too, I am sure! To know that your husband and sons were
fighting against your God and your country! Holy Mother! How
great must have been your grief. But, for your comfort, I
tell you that the saints who have suffered a fiery martyrdom
stand at the feet of those who, like you, endure the continual
crucifixion of their affections."

The Senora was silent, but not displeased and the priest then
ventured a little further:

"But there is an end to all trials, daughter and I now absolve
you from the further struggle. Decide this day for your God
and your country. Make an offering to Almighty God and the
Holy Mother of your earthly love. Give yourself and your
daughters and all that you have to the benign and merciful
Church. Show these rebels and heretics--these ungrateful
recipients of Mexican bounty--what a true Catholic is capable
of. His Divine Majesty and the Holy Mary demand this supreme
sacrifice from you."

"Father, I have my husband, and my sons; to them, also, I owe
some duties."

"The Church will absolve you from them."

"It would break my heart."

"Listen then: If it is your right hand, or your right eye--
that is, if it is your husband, or your child--you are
commanded to give them up; or--it is God's word--there is only
hell fire."

"Mother of Sorrows, pity me! What shall I do?"

She looked with the terror of a child into the dark, cruel
face of the priest. It was as immovably stern as if carved
out of stone. Then her eyes sought those of Antonia, who sat
at a distant window with her embroidery in her hand. She let
it fall when her mother's pitiful, uncertain glance asked from
her strength and counsel. She rose and went to her. Never
had the tall, fair girl looked so noble. A sorrowful majesty,
that had something in it of pity and something of anger, gave
to her countenance, her movements, and even her speech, a kind
of authority.

"Dear mother, do as the beloved and kindhearted Ruth did.
Like you, she married one not of her race and not of her
religion. Even when God had taken him from her, she chose
to remain with his people--to leave her own people and
abide with his mother. For this act God blessed her,
and all nations in all ages have honored her."

"Ruth! Ruth! Ruth! What has Ruth to do with the question?
Presumptuous one! Ruth was a heathen woman--a Moabite--a race
ten times accursed."

"Pardon, father. Ruth was the ancestress of our blessed
Saviour, and of the Virgin Mary."

"Believe not the wicked one, Senora? She is blinded with
false knowledge. She is a heretic. I have long suspected it.
She has not been to confession for nine months."

"You wrong me, father. Every day, twice a day, I confess my
sins humbly."

"Chito! You are in outrageous sin. But, then, what else? I
hear, indeed, that you read wicked books--even upon your knees
you read them."

"I read my Bible, father."

"Bring it to me. How could a child like you read the Bible?
It is a book for bishops and archbishops, and the Immaculate
Father himself. What an arrogance? What an insolence of
self-conceit must possess so young a heart? Saints of God!
It confounds me."

The girl stood with burning cheeks gazing at the proud,
passionate man, but she did not obey his order.

"Senora, my daughter! See you with your own eyes the fruit of
your sin. Will you dare to become a partner in such

"Antonia! Antonia! Go at once and bring here this wicked
book. Oh, how can you make so miserable a mother who loves
you so much?"

In a few moments Antonia returned with the objectionable book.
"My dear grandmother gave it to me," she said. "Look, mi
madre, here is my name in her writing. Is it conceivable that
she would give to your Antonia a book that she ought not to

The Senora took it in her hands and turned the leaves very
much as a child might turn those of a book in an unknown
tongue, in which there were no illustrations nor anything that
looked the least interesting. It was a pretty volume of
moderate size, bound in purple morocco, and fastened with
gilt clasps.

"I see the word GOD in it very often, Fray Ignatius.
Perhaps, indeed, it is not bad."

"It is a heretic Bible, I am sure. Could anything be more
sinful, more disrespectful to God, more dangerous for a young
girl?" and as he said the words he took it from the Senora's
listless hands, glanced at the obnoxious title-page, and then,
stepping hastily to the hearth, flung the book upon the
burning logs.

With a cry of horror, pain, amazement, all blended, Antonia
sprang towards the fire, but Fray Ignatius stood with
outstretched arms, before it.

"Stand back!" he cried. "To save your soul from eternal
fires, I burn the book that has misled you!"

"Oh, my Bible! Oh, my Bible! Oh, mother! mother!" and
sobbing and crying out in her fear and anger, she fled down
stairs and called the peon Ortiz.

"Do you know where to find the Senor Doctor? If you do,
Ortiz, take the swiftest horse and bring him here."

The man looked with anger into the girl's troubled face. For
a moment he was something unlike himself. "I can find him; I
will bring him in fifteen minutes. Corpus Christi it is here
he should be."

The saddled horse in the stable was mounted as he muttered one
adjuration and oath after another, and Antonia sat down at the
window to watch for the result of her message. Fortunately,
Rachela had been so interested in the proceedings, and so
determined to know all about them, that she seized the
opportunity of the outcry to fly to "her poor Senora," and
thus was ignorant of the most unusual step taken by Antonia.

Indeed, no one was aware of it but herself and Ortiz; and the
servants in the kitchen looked with a curious interest at the
doctor riding into the stable yard as if his life depended
upon his speed. Perhaps it did. All of them stopped their
work to speculate upon the circumstance.

They saw him fling himself from the saddle they saw Antonia
run to meet him; they heard her voice full of distress--they
knew it was the voice of complaint. They were aware it was
answered by a stamp on the flagged hall of the doctor's iron-
heeled boot--which rang through the whole house, and which was
but the accompaniment of the fierce exclamation that went with

They heard them mount the stairs together, and then they were
left to their imaginations. As for Antonia, she was almost
terrified at the storm she had raised. Never had she seen
anger so terrible. Yet, though he had not said a word
directly to her, she was aware of his full sympathy. He
grasped her hand, and entered the Senora's room with her. His
first order was to Rachela--

"Leave the house in five minutes; no, in three minutes. I
will tell Ortiz to send your clothes after you. Go!"

"My Senora! Fray I--"

"Go!" he thundered. "Out of my house! Fly! I will not
endure you another moment."

The impetus of his words was like a great wind. They drove
the woman before him, and he shut the door behind her with a
terrifying and amazing rage. Then he turned to the priest--

"Fray Ignatius, you have abused my hospitality, and my
patience. You shall do so no longer. For twenty-six years I
have suffered your interference-"

"The Senor is a prudent man. The wise bear what they
cannot resist"; and with a gentle smile and lifted eyebrows
Fray Ignatius crossed himself.

"I have respected your faith, though it was the faith of a
bigot; and your opinions, though they were false and cruel,
because you believed honestly in them. But you shall not
again interfere with my wife, or my children, or my servants,
or my house."

"The Senor Doctor is not prince, or pope. `Shall,' and
`SHALL NOT,' no one but my own ecclesiastical superiors can
say to me."

"I say, you shall not again terrify my wife and insult my
daughter, and disorganize my whole household! And, as the God
of my mother hears me, you shall not again burn up His Holy
Word under my roof. Never, while I dwell beneath it, enter my
gates, or cross my threshold, or address yourself to any that
bear my name, or eat my bread." With the words, he walked to
the door and held it open. It was impossible to mistake the
unspoken order, and there was something in the concentrated
yet controlled passion of Robert Worth which even the haughty
priest did not care to irritate beyond its bounds.

He gathered his robe together, and with lifted eyes muttered
an ejaculatory prayer. Then he said in slow, cold, precise

"For the present, I go. Very good. I shall come back again.
The saints will take care of that. Senora, I give you my
blessing. Senor, you may yet find the curse of a poor priest
an inconvenience."

He crossed himself at the door, and cast a last look at the
Senora, who had thown herself upon her knees, and was crying
out to Mary and the saints in a passion of excuses and
reproaches. She was deaf to all her husband said. She would
not suffer Antonia to approach her. She felt that now was the
hour of her supreme trial. She had tolerated the rebellion of
her husband, and her sons, and her daughter, and now she was
justly punished. They had driven away from her the confessor,
and the maid who had been her counsellor and her reliance from
her girlhood.

Her grief and terror were genuine, and therefore pitiful; and,
in spite of his annoyance, the doctor recognized the fact. In
a moment, as soon as they were alone, he put aside his anger.
He knelt beside her, he soothed her with tender words, he
pleaded the justice of his indignation. And ere long she
began to listen to his excuses, and to complain to him:

He had been born a heretic, and therefore might be excused a
little, even by Almighty God. But Antonia! Her sin was
beyond endurance. She herself, and the good Sisters, and Fray
Ignatius, had all taught her in her infancy the true religion.
And her Roberto must see that this was a holy war--a war for
the Holy Catholic Church. No wonder Fray Ignatius was angry.

"My dear Maria, every church thinks itself right; and all
other churches wrong. God looks at the heart. If it is
right, it makes all worship true. But when the Americans have
won Texas, they will give to every one freedom to worship God
as they wish."

"Saints in heaven, Roberto! That day comes not. One victory!
Bah! That is an accident. The Mexicans are a very brave
people,--the bravest in the world. Did they not drive the
Spaniards out of their country; and it is not to be
contradicted that the Spaniards have conquered all other
nations. That I saw in a book. The insult the Americans
have given to Mexico will be revenged. Her honor has
been compromised before the world. Very well, it will be made
bright again; yes, Fray Ignatius says with blood and fire it
will be made bright."

"And in the mean time, Maria, we have taken from them the city
they love best of all. An hour ago I saw, General Cos, with
eleven hundred Mexican soldiers, pass before a little band of
less than two hundred Americans and lay down their arms.
These defenders of the Alamo had all been blessed by the
priests. Their banners had been anointed with holy oil and
holy water. They had all received absolution everyday before
the fight began; they had been promised a free passage through
purgatory and a triumphant entry into heaven."

"Well, I will tell you something; Fray Ignatius showed it to
me--it was a paper printed. The rebels and their wives and
children are to be sent from this earth--you may know where
they will all go, Roberto--Congress says so. The States will
give their treasures. The archbishops will give the episcopal
treasures. The convents will give their gems and gold
ornaments. Ten thousand men had left for San Antonio,
and ten thousand more are to follow; the whole under our great
President Santa Anna. Oh, yes! The rebels in Washington are
to be punished also. It is well known that they sent soldiers
to Nacogdoches. Mexicans are not blind moles, and they have
their intelligence, you know. All the States who have helped
these outrageous ingrates are to be devastated, and you will
see that your famous Washington will be turned into a heap of
stories. I have seen these words in print, Roberto. I assure
you, that it is not just a little breath--what one or another
says--it is the printed orders of the Mexican government.
That is something these Americans will have to pay attention

The doctor sighed, and answered the sorrowful, credulous woman
with a kiss. What was the use of reasoning with simplicity so
ignorant and so confident? He turned the conversation to a
subject that always roused her best and kindest feelings--her
son Jack.

"I have just seen young Dewees, Maria. He and Jack left San
Felipe together. Dewees brought instructions to General
Burleson; and Jack carried others to Fannin, at Goliad."

She took her husband's hands and kissed them. "That indeed!
Oh, Roberto! If I could only see my Jack once more! I have
had a constant accusation to bear about him. Till I kiss my
boy again, the world will be all dark before my face. If Our
Lady will grant me this miraculous favor, I will always
afterwards be exceedingly religious. I will give all my
desires to the other world."

"Dearest Maria, God did not put us in this world to be always
desiring another. There is no need, mi queridita, to give up
this life as a bad affair. We shall be very happy again,

"As you say. If I could only see Jack! For that, I would
promise God Almighty and you Roberto to be happy. I would
forgive the rebels and the heretics--for they are well
acquainted with hell road, and will guide each other there
without my wish."

"I am sure if Jack has one day he will come to you. And when
he hears of the surrender of General Cos--"

"Well now, it was God's will that General Cos should
surrender. What more can be said? It is sufficient."

"Let me call Antonia. She is miserable at your displeasure;
and it is not Antonia's fault."

"Pardon me, Roberto. I have seen Antonia. She is not
agreeable and obedient to Fray Ignatius."

"She has been very wickedly used by him; and I fear he intends
to do her evil."

"It is not convenient to discuss the subject now. I will see
Isabel; she is a good child--my only comfort. Paciencia!
there is Luis Alveda singing; Isabel will now be deaf to all
else"; and she rose with a sigh and walked towards the
casement looking into the garden.

Luis was coming up the oleander walk. The pretty trees were
thinner now, and had only a pink blossom here and there. But
the bright winter sun shone through them, and fell upon Luis
and Isabel. For she had also seen him coming, and had gone to
meet him, with a little rainbow-tinted shawl over her head.
She looked so piquant and so happy. She seemed such a proper
mate for the handsome youth at her side that a word of dissent
was not possible. The doctor said only, "She is so like you,
Maria. I remember when you were still more lovely, and
when from your balcony you made me with a smile the happiest
man in the world."

Such words were never lost ones; for the Senora had a true and
great love for her husband. She gave him again a smile, she
put her hand in his, and then there were no further
conciliations required. They stood in the sunshine of their
own hearts, and listened a moment to the gay youth, singing,
how at--

The strong old Alamo
Two hundred men, with rifles true,
Shot down a thousand of the foe,
And broke the triple ramparts through;
And dropped the flag as black as night,
For Freedom's green and red and white.[3]

[3] The flag of the Mexican Republic of 1824 was green, red
and white in color.



"Well, honor is the subject of my story;
I cannot tell what you and other men
Think of this life; but for my single self,
I had as lief not be, as live to be
In awe of such a thing as I myself."

"Two truths are told
As happy prologues to the swelling act,
Of the imperial theme."

"This is the eve of Christmas,
No sleep from night to morn;
The Virgin is in travail,
At twelve will the Child be born."

Cities have not only a certain physiognomy; they have also a
decided mental and moral character, and a definite political
tendency. There are good and bad cities, artistic and
commercial cities, scholarly and manufacturing cities,
aristocratic and radical cities. San Antonio, in its
political and social character, was a thoroughly radical city.
Its population, composed in a large measure of
adventurous units from various nationalities, had
that fluid rather than fixed character, which is susceptible
to new ideas. For they were generally men who had found the
restraints of the centuries behind them to be intolerable--men
to whom freedom was the grand ideal of life.

It maybe easily undertood{sic} that this element in the
population of San Antonio was a powerful one, and that a
little of such leaven would stir into activity a people who,
beneath the crust of their formal piety, had still something
left of that pride and adventurous spirit which distinguished
the Spain of Ferdinand and Isabel.

In fact, no city on the American continent has such a bloody
record as San Antonio. From its settlement by the warlike
monks of 1692, to its final capture by the Americans in 1836,
it was well named "the city of the sword." The Comanche and
the white man fought around its walls their forty years'
battle for supremacy. From 1810 to 1821 its streets were
constantly bloody with the fight between the royalists and
republicans, and the city and the citadel passed from, one
party to the other continually. And when it came to the
question of freedom and American domination, San Antonio
was, as it had ever been, the great Texan battle-field.

Its citizens then were well used to the fortunes and changes
of war. Men were living who had seen the horrors of the auto
da fe and the splendors of viceregal authority. Insurgent
nobles, fighting priests, revolutionizing Americans, all sorts
and conditions of men, all chances and changes of religious
and military power, had ruled it with a temporary absolutism
during their generation.

In the main there was a favorable feeling regarding its
occupation by the Americans. The most lawless of them were
law-abiding in comparison with any kind of victorious
Mexicans. Americans protected private property, they honored
women, they observed the sanctity of every man's home; "and,
as for being heretics, that was an affair for the saints and
the priests; the comfortable benefits of the Holy Catholic
Church, had not been vouchsafed to all nations."

Political changes are favorable to religious tolerance, and
the priests themselves had been sensible of a great decrease
in their influence during the pending struggle. Prominent
Mexicans had given aid and comfort to the Americans in
spite of their spiritual orders, and there were many men who,
like Lopez Navarro, did not dare to go to confession, because
they would have been compelled to acknowledge themselves

When the doctor and Dare and Luis reached the Plaza, the
morning after the surrender, they found the city already
astir. Thousands of women were in the churches saying masses
for the dead; the men stood at their store doors or sat
smoking on their balconies, chatting with the passers-by or
watching the movements of the victorious army and the
evacuation of the conquered one.

Nearly all of the brave two hundred occupied the Plaza. They
were still greatly excited by the miraculous ecstacy of
victory. But when soldiers in the death-pang rejoice under
its influence, what wonder that the living feel its
intoxicating rapture? They talked and walked as if they
already walked the streets of Mexico. All things seemed
possible to them. The royalty of their carriage, the
authority in their faces, gave dignity even to their deerskin
clothing. Its primitive character was its distinction,
and the wearers looked like the demi-gods of the heroic stage
of history.

Lopez Navarro touched the doctor and directed his attention to
them. "Does the world, Senor, contain the stuff to make their

"They are Americans, Navarro. And though there are a variety
of Americans, they have only one opinion about submitting to
tyrants--THEY WON'T DO IT!"

This was the conversation interrupted by Ortiz and the message
he brought, and the doctor was thoroughly sobered by the
events following. He was not inclined to believe, as the
majority of the troops did, that Mexico was conquered. He
expected that the Senora's prediction would be verified. And
the personal enmity which the priesthood felt to him induced
a depressing sense of personal disaster.

Nothing in the house or the city seemed inclined to settle.
It took a few days to draw up the articles of capitulation and
clear the town of General Cos and the Mexican troops. And he
had no faith in their agreement to "retire from Texas, and
never again carry arms against the Americans." He knew that
they did not consider it any sin to make "a mental
reservation" against a heretic. He was quite sure that if Cos
met reinforcements, he would have to be fought over again

And amid these public cares and considerations, he had serious
private ones. The Senora was still under the control of Fray
Ignatius. It required all the influence of his own personal
presence and affection to break the spiritual captivity in
which he held her. He knew that the priest had long been his

He saw that Antonia was hated by him. He was in the shadow of
a terror worse than death--that of a long, hopeless captivity.
A dungeon and a convent might become to them a living grave,
in which cruelty and despair would slowly gnaw life away.

And yet, for a day or two he resolved not to speak of his
terror. The Senora was so happy in his presence, and she had
such kind confidences to give him about her plans for her
children's future, that he could not bear to alarm her. And
the children also were so full of youth's enthusiasms and
love's sweet dreams. Till the last moment why should he
awaken them? And as the strongest mental element in a
home gives the tone to it, so Dare and Antonia, with the
doctor behind them, gave to the Mexican household almost an
American freedom of intercourse and community of

The Senora came to the parlor far more frequently, and in her
own apartments her children visited her with but slight
ceremony. They discussed all together their future plans.
They talked over a wonderful journey which they were to take
in company to New Orleans, and Washington, and New York, and
perhaps even to London and Paris--"who could tell, if the
Senora would be so good as to enjoy herself?" They ate more
together. They got into the habit of congregating about the
same hearthstone. It was the Senora's first real experience
of domestic life.

In about six days the Mexican forces left the city. The terms
of surrender granted General Cos struck the Mexicans with a
kind of wonder. They had fought with the express declaration
that they would take no American prisoner. Yet the Americans
not only permitted Cos and his troops to leave under parole of
honor, but gave them their arms and sufficient ammunition
to protect themselves from the Indians on their journey home.
They allowed them also all their private property. They
furnished them with the provisions necessary to reach the Rio
Grande. They took charge of their sick and wounded. They set
all the Mexican prisoners at liberty--in short, so great was
their generosity and courtesy that the Mexicans were unable to
comprehend their motives.

Even Lopez was troubled at it. "I assure you," he said to Dr.
Worth, "they will despise such civility; they will not believe
in its sincerity. At this very blessed hour of God, they are
accusing the Americans of being afraid to press their
advantage. Simply, you will have the fight to make over
again. I say this, because I know Santa Anna."

"Santa Anna is but a man, Lopez."

"Me perdonas! He is however a man who knows a trick more than
the devil. One must be careful of a bull in front, of a mule
behind, and of a monk and Santa Anna on all sides. At the
word monk, Lopez glanced significantly at a passing priest,
and Doctor Worth saw that it was Fray Ignatius.

"He sprinkled the Mexican troops with holy water, and blessed
them as they left the city this morning. He has the ear of
General Cos. He is not a man to offend, I assure you,

The doctor walked thoughtfully away. San Antonio was full of
his friends, yet never had he felt himself and his family to
be in so much danger. And the words of Lopez had struck a
responding chord in his own consciousness. The careless
bravery, the splendid generosity of his countrymen was at
least premature. He went through the city with observing
eyes, and saw much to trouble him.

The gates of Alamo were open. Crockett lounged upon his rifle
in the Plaza. A little crowd was around him, and the big
Tennesseean hunter was talking to them. Shouts of laughter,
bravas of enthusiasm, answered the homely wit and stirring
periods that had over and over "made room for Colonel
Crockett," both in the Tennessee Legislature and the United
States Congress. His rifle seemed a part of him--a kind of
third arm. His confident manner, his manliness and bravery,
turned his wit into wisdom. The young fellows around
found in him their typical leader.

The elegant James Bowie was sitting on the verandah of the
Veramendi House, calmly smoking. His fair, handsome face,
clear blue eyes and mild manners, gave no indication of the
gigantic physical strength and tremendous coolness and courage
of the man who never tolerated an enemy in his presence.
Burleson and Travis were talking under the shade of a China
tree, and there were little groups of American soldiers on
every street; this was what he saw, and yet a terrible sense
of insecurity oppressed him.

The city, moreover, was not settling to its usual business,
though there were many preparations for public and private
entertainments. After passing Colonel Bowie, he met David
Burnett. The shrewd statesman from New Jersey had a shadow
upon his face. He stopped Doctor Worth and spoke frankly to
him. "We are in greater danger now than when we were under
fire," he said. "Santa Anna will come on us like a lion from
the swellings of Jordan. I wish Houston knew our position as
it really is. We must either have more men to defend
this city or we must blow up the Alamo and be ready to
leave it at a moment's notice."

"Why were such favorable terms given to General Cos and his
troops? I cannot understand it."

"I will tell you an amazing fact. When Cos ran up that white
flag on the Alamo, we had not a single round of ammunition
left; complaisance was necessary until Cos made over to us the
Mexican arms, ammunition, property and money."

Worth turned and looked at the fort. A great red flag on
which was the word T-E-X-A-S floated from its battlements, and
there were two men standing on its roof, with their faces

"They are the lookouts," said Burnett, "and we have scouts
through the surrounding country; but Santa Anna will come,
when he comes, with tens of thousands."

"And there is a line where even the coolest courage and the
most brilliant bravery succumbs to mere numbers--Eh!"

"That is what I mean, Doctor."

"Where is Houston?"

"On the Brazos, at the small town of Washington. The
council have established headquarters there."

Their conversation was interrupted by the ringing of a little
bell, and the doleful supplications of a priest followed by a
crowd of idle men and women. He was begging, "for the sake of
the Holy Virgin," alms to say masses for the soul of an
unfortunate, who had not left a peso for his burial. He
droned on, and no one noticed him until James Bowie stretched
his tall figure, sauntered up to the monk and dropped a gold
piece into his cap. He did not stay to hear the exclamations
and the gracias, but with steps that rang like metal upon
metal took his way to the Alamo.

However, dangers postponed make the most timorous indifferent
to them; and when General Cos did not return, and nothing was
heard of Santa Anna, every one began to take up their ordinary
life again. The temper of the Americans also encouraged this
disposition. They were discovered neither to be bloodthirsty
nor cannibals. It was even seen that they enjoyed the
fandango and the monte tables, and that a proposition for a
bullfight at Christmas was not opposed by them.

And in spite of all anxieties, there were many sweet and
unusual pleasures in the Worth home. The discipline of the
troops was so lenient that Dare and Luis--one or both--were
generally there in the evenings. Their turns as scouts or
watchman at the Alamo only made more delightful the hours when
they were exempted from these duties. As for the doctor, he
had been released from all obligations but those pertaining to
his profession, and Antonia, noticed that he spent every hour
he could spare with the Senora. For some reason, he appeared
determined to strengthen his influence over her.

On Christmas Eve the old city was very gay. The churches were
decorated, and splendidly dressed men and women passed in and
out with smiles and congratulations. The fandangoes and the
gambling houses were all open. From the huertas around, great
numbers of families had come to receive absolution and keep
the Nativity. Their rich clothing and air of idleness gave a
holiday feeling to the streets noisy with the buzzing of the
guitar, the metallic throb of the cithara, the murmurs of
voices, and the cries of the hawkers. Priests, Mexicans,
Indians and Americans touched each other on the narrow
thoroughfares, but that indescribable feeling of good will
which comes with Christmas pervaded the atmosphere, and gave,
even in the midst of war and danger, a sense of anticipated

At the Worth residence there was a household feast. The
Senora and her daughters were in full dress. They were
waiting for the dear ones who had promised to join them at the
Angelus. One by one the houses around were illuminated.
Parties of simple musicians began to pass each other
continually--they were going to serenade the blessed Mary all
night long. As Antonia closed the balcony window, half a
dozen of these young boys passed the garden hedge singing to
the clacking of their castanets--

"This is the eve of Christmas,
No sleep from night to morn,
The Virgin is in travail,
At twelve will the Child be born."

Luis appeared at the same moment. He caught up the wild
melody and came up the garden path singing it. Dare and the
doctor followed him. It struck Antonia that they were
talking of a change, or of something important. But there was
no time for observation. Isabel, radiant in crimson satin,
with her white mantilla over her head, darted forward to meet
Luis, and turned his song to the Virgin into a little
adulation for herself. Dare and the doctor took Antonia's
hands, and there was something in the silent clasp of each
which made her heart tremble.

But she was not one of those foolish women who enquire after
misfortune. She could wait and let the evil news find her,
and by so doing she won many a bright hour from the advancing
shadows. The Senora was in unusual spirits. She had obtained
a new confessor. "A man of the most seraphic mind, and,
moreover, so fortunate as to be connected with the house of
Flores." He had been gentle to her in the matter of penances,
and not set her religious obligations above her capacities.
Consequently, the Senora had laid aside her penitential
garments. She was in full Castilian costume, and looked very
handsome. But Antonia, who had been in New York during those
years when she would otherwise have been learning how to
wear a mantilla and use a fan, did not attempt such
difficulties of the toilet. She knew that she would look
unnatural in them, and she adhered to the American fashions of
her day. But in a plain frock of dark satin trimmed with
minever bands, she looked exceedingly noble and lovely.

The meal was a very merry one, and after it Lopez Navarro
joined the party and they had music and dancing, and finally
gathered around the fire to hear the singing of Luis. He knew
a great many of the serenades, and as he sang of the Virgin
and the Babe, a sweeter peace, a more solemn joy, came to each
heart. It was like bringing something of the bliss of heaven
into the bliss of earth. The Senora's eyes were full of
tears; she slipped her hand into her husband's and looked at
him with a face which asked, "Do you not also feel the
eternity of a true love?"

"How sweet and wild are these serenades, Luis! said Antonia.
"I wonder who wrote them?"

"But, then, they were never written, my sister. Out of the
hearts of lonely shepherds they came; or of women spinning in
their quiet houses; yes, even of soldiers in the strong
places keeping their watch."

"That is the truth, Luis," answered Isabel. "And every
Christmas, when I was in the convent the Sisters made a
serenade to the Virgin, or a seguidilla to our blessed Lord.
Very still are the Sisters, but when it comes to singing, I
can assure you the angels might listen!"

"There is a seguidilla I hear everywhere," said the doctor;
"and I never hear it without feeling the better for listening.
It begins--`So noble a Lord.'"

"That, indeed!" cried Luis. "Who knows it not? It is the
seguidilla to our blessed Lord, written by the daughter of
Lope de Vega--the holy Marcela Carpio. You know it, Senora?"

"As I know my Credo, Luis."

"And you, Isabel?"

"Since I was a little one, as high as my father's knee.
Rachela taught it to me."

"And you, Lopez."

"That is sure, Luis."

"And I, too!" said Antonia, smiling. "Here is your mandolin.
Strike the chords, and we will all sing with you. My
father will remember also." And the doctor smiled an assent,
as the young man resigned Isabel's hand with a kiss, and swept
the strings in that sweetness and power which flows invisibly,
but none the less surely, from the heart to the instrument.

"It is to my blessed Lord and Redeemer, I sing," he said,
bowing his head. Then he stood up and looked at his
companions, and struck the key-note, when every one joined
their voices with his in the wonderful little hymn:

So noble a Lord
None serves in vain;
For the pay of my love
Is my love's sweet pain.

In the place of caresses
Thou givest me woes;
I kiss Thy hands,
When I feel their blows.

For in Thy chastening,
Is joy and peace;
O Master and Lord!
Let thy blows not cease.

I die with longing
Thy face to see
And sweet is the anguish
Of death to me.

For, because Thou lovest me,
Lover of mine!
Death can but make me
Utterly Thine!

The doctor was the first to speak after the sweet triumph of
the notes had died away. "Many a soul I have seen pass
whispering those verses," he said; "men and women, and little

"The good Marcela in heaven has that for her joy," answered

Lopez rose while the holy influence still lingered. He kissed
the hands of every one, and held the doctor's in his own until
they reached the threshold. A more than usual farewell took
place there, though there were only a few whispered words.

"Farewell, Lopez! I can trust you?"

"Unto death."

"If we never meet again?"

"Still it will be FAREWELL. Thou art in God's care."

Very slowly the doctor sauntered back to the parlor, like a
man who has a heavy duty to, do and hardly knows how to begin
it. "But I will tell Maria first," he whispered; and then
he opened the door, and saw the Senora bidding her
children good-night.

"What a happy time we have had!" she was saying. "I shall
never forget it. Indeed, my dears, you see how satisfactory
it is to be religious. When we talk of the saints and angels,
they come round us to listen to what we say; accordingly, we
are full of peace and pleasure. I know that because I heard
Fray--I heard a very good man say so."

She smiled happily at her husband, as she took his arm, and
twice, as they went slowly upstairs together, she lifted her
face for his kiss. Her gentleness and affection made it hard
for him to speak; but there were words to be said that could
be no longer delayed; and when he had closed the room door, he
took her hands in his, and looked into her face with eyes that
told her all.

"You are going away, Roberto," she whispered.

"My love! Yes! To-night--this very hour I must go! Luis and
Dare also. Do not weep. I entreat you! My heart is heavy,
and your tears I cannot bear."

Then she answered, with a noble Composure: "I will give
you smiles and kisses. My good Roberto, so true and kind! I
will try to be worthy of you. Nay, but you must not weep--

It was true. Quite unconsciously the troubled husband and
father was weeping. "I fear to leave you, dear Maria. All is
so uncertain. I can only ask you two favors; if you will
grant them, you will do all that can be done to send me away
with hope. Will you promise me to have nothing to do whatever
with Fray Ignatius; and to resist every attempt he may make to
induce you to go into a religious house of any kind?"

"I promise you, Roberto. By my mother's cross, I promise

"Again, dear Maria, if you should be in any danger, promise me
that you will do as Antonia and Lopez Navarro think it wisest
and best."

"Go with God, my, husband. Go with God, in a good hour. All
you wish, I will do."

He held her to his heart and kissed her, and she whispered
amid her tender farewells to himself, messages to her soils--
but especially to Juan. "Will you see Juan? If you do, tell
him I repent. I send him a thousand blessings! Ah, the
dear one! Kiss him for me, Roberto! Tell him how much I love
him, Roberto! How I sorrow because I was cross to him! My
precious one! My good son, who always loved me so dearly!"

At length Isabel came in to weep in her mother's arms. "Luis
is going away," she cried. The father felt a momentary keen
pang of jealousy. "I am going also, queridita," he said
mournfully. Then she threw her arms around his neck and
bewailed her bad fortune. "If I were the Almighty God, I
would not give love and then take it away," she murmured. "I
would give orders that the good people should always be happy.
I would not let men like Santa Anna live. He is a measureless
monster, and ought to go to the d--to purgatory, at the very

While the Senora soothed her complaining, the doctor left.
One troubled glance of a great love he cast backward from the
door ere he closed it behind him; and then his countenance
suddenly changed. Stern and strong it grew, with a glow of
anger in the steel-blue eyes that gave an entirely new
character to it.

He called Antonia into his study, and talked with her of
the crisis which was approaching, and of the conduct of their
affairs in it. He showed her the places in which his gold
coin was hidden. He told her on whom to rely in any

"We have sure information that General Urrea, with the
vanguard of a large Mexican army, will be here next month.
Santa Anna will follow him quickly. You see that the city
must either be defended or our men must retreat. I am going
to Houston with this dilemma. Luis and Dare will join Fannin
at Goliad. Now, my dear child, you have my place to fill. If
Santa Anna takes possession of San Antonio, what will you do?"

"If we are not disturbed in any way, I will keep very quiet
within my own home."

"If Fray Ignatius attempts to interfere with you--what then?"

"I will fly from him, and take Isabel and mi madre with me."

"That is your only safety. I shall hear if the Americans
desert the city; then I will send your brother Thomas, if by
any possibility it can be done, to guard you to the eastern
settlements. But I may not be able to do this--there may
be no time--it cannot be depended upon--Lopez Navarro will
help you all he can, and Ortiz. You may always rely on

"My father, I cannot trust Ortiz. Every man is a master to a
peon. He would mean to do kindly, but his cowardice might
make him false."

"Ortiz is no peon. He is a Mexican officer of high rank, whom
Santa Anna ordered to be shot. I saved his life. He wears
the clothes of a peon--that is necessary; but he has the honor
and gratitude of a gentleman beneath them. If necessary,
trust Ortiz fully. One thing above all others remember--
FLIGHT before a convent."

"Flight! Yes, death before it! I promise you, father. When
we meet again, you shall say, well done, Antonia."

It was now about midnight. They went back to the parlor.
Luis and Dare sat by the dying fire. They were bent forward,
close together over it, talking in a low voice. They rose
when the doctor spoke, and silently kissed Antonia.

"It will be a hard ride, now," said the doctor," and Dare
answered, mechanically, "but we shall manage it." He
held Antonia's hand, and she went with them to the rear of the
house. Their horses were standing ready saddled. Silently
the men mounted. In a moment they had passed the gate, and
the beat of their horses' hoofs gradually died away.

But all through the clear spaces of the sky the Christmas
bells were ringing, and the serenaders were musically telling
each other,

"At twelve will the Child be born!"

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest