Sunday, October 7, 2007


Remember the Alamo

Remember the Alamo
"What, are you stepping westward?" "Yea."
* * * * *
Yet who would stop or fear to advance,
Though home or shelter there was none,
With such a sky to lead him on!"
"Ah! cool night wind, tremulous stars,
Ah! glimmering water,
Fitful earth murmur,
Dreaming woods!"
In A. D. sixteen hundred and ninety-two, a few Franciscan
monks began to build a city. The site chosen was a lovely
wilderness hundreds of miles away from civilization on every
side, and surrounded by savage and warlike tribes. But the
spot was as beautiful as the garden of God. It was shielded
by picturesque mountains, watered by two rivers, carpeted with
flowers innumerable, shaded by noble trees joyful with
the notes of a multitude of singing birds. To breathe the
balmy atmosphere was to be conscious of some rarer and finer
life, and the beauty of the sunny skies--marvellous at dawn
and eve with tints of saffron and amethyst and opal--was like
a dream of heaven.
One of the rivers was fed by a hundred springs situated in the
midst of charming bowers. The monks called it the San
Antonio; and on its banks they built three noble Missions.
The shining white stone of the neighborhood rose in graceful
domes and spires above the green trees. Sculptures, bassorelievos,
and lines of gorgeous coloring adorned the
exteriors. Within, were splendid altars and the appealing
charms of incense, fine vestures and fine music; while from
the belfreys, bells sweet and resonant called to the savages,
who paused spell-bound and half-afraid to listen.
Certainly these priests had to fight as well as to pray. The
Indians did not suffer them to take possession of their Eden
without passionate and practical protest. But what the monks
had taken, they kept; and the fort and the soldier followed
the priest and the Cross. Ere long, the beautiful Mission
became a beautiful city, about which a sort of fame full of
romance and mystery gathered. Throughout the south and west,
up the great highway of the Mississippi, on the busy streets
of New York, and among the silent hills of New England, men
spoke of San Antonio, as in the seventeenth century they spoke
of Peru; as in the eighteenth century they spoke of Delhi, and
Agra, and the Great Mogul.
Sanguine French traders carried thither rich ventures in fancy
wares from New Orleans; and Spanish dons from the wealthy
cities of Central Mexico, and from the splendid homes of
Chihuahua, came there to buy. And from the villages of
Connecticut, and the woods of Tennessee, and the lagoons of
Mississippi, adventurous Americans entered the Texan territory
at Nacogdoches. They went through the land, buying horses and
lending their ready rifles and stout hearts to every effort of
that constantly increasing body of Texans, who, even in their
swaddling bands, had begun to cry Freedom!
At length this cry became a clamor that shook even the old
viceroyal palace in Mexico; while in San Antonio it gave a
certain pitch to all conversation, and made men wear their
cloaks, and set their beavers, and display their arms, with
that demonstrative air of independence they called los
Americano. For, though the Americans were numerically few,
they were like the pinch of salt in a pottage--they gave the
snap and savor to the whole community.
Over this Franciscan-Moorish city the sun set with an
incomparable glory one evening in May, eighteen thirty-five.
The white, flat-roofed, terraced houses--each one in its
flowery court--and the domes and spires of the Missions, with
their gilded crosses, had a mirage-like beauty in the rare,
soft atmosphere, as if a dream of Old Spain had been
materialized in a wilderness of the New World.
But human life in all its essentials was in San Antonio, as it
was and has been in all other cities since the world began.
Women were in their homes, dressing and cooking, nursing their
children and dreaming of their lovers. Men were in the
market-places, buying and selling, talking of politics and
anticipating war. And yet in spite of these fixed
attributes, San Antonio was a city penetrated with romantic
elements, and constantly picturesque.
On this evening, as the hour of the Angelus approached, the
narrow streets and the great squares were crowded with a
humanity that assaulted and captured the senses at once; so
vivid and so various were its component parts. A tall sinewy
American with a rifle across his shoulder was paying some
money to a Mexican in blue velvet and red silk, whose breast
was covered with little silver images of his favorite saints.
A party of Mexican officers were strolling to the Alamo; some
in white linen and scarlet sashes, others glittering with
color and golden ornaments. Side by side with these were
monks of various orders: the Franciscan in his blue gown and
large white hat; the Capuchin in his brown serge; the Brother
of Mercy in his white flowing robes. Add to these
diversities, Indian peons in ancient sandals, women dressed as
in the days of Cortez and Pizarro, Mexican vendors of every
kind, Jewish traders, negro servants, rancheros curvetting on
their horses, Apache and Comanche braves on spying
expeditions: and, in this various crowd, yet by no means of
it, small groups of Americans; watchful, silent, armed to the
teeth: and the mind may catch a glimpse of what the streets of
San Antonio were in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and
It was just before sunset that the city was always at its
gayest point. Yet, at the first toll of the Angelus, a
silence like that of enchantment fell upon it. As a mother
cries hush to a noisy child, so the angel of the city seemed
in this evening bell to bespeak a minute for holy thought. It
was only a minute, for with the last note there was even an
access of tumult. The doors and windows of the better houses
were thrown open, ladies began to appear on the balconies,
there was a sound of laughter and merry greetings, and the
tiny cloud of the cigarette in every direction.
But amid this sunset glamour of splendid color, of velvet, and
silk, and gold embroidery, the man who would have certainly
first attracted a stranger's eye wore the plain and ugly
costume common at that day to all American gentlemen. Only
black cloth and white linen and a row palmetto hat with a
black ribbon around it; but he wore his simple garments with
the air of a man having authority, and he returned the
continual salutations of rich and poor, like one who had been
long familiar with public appreciation.
It was Dr. Robert Worth, a physician whose fame had penetrated
to the utmost boundaries of the territories of New Spain. He
had been twenty-seven years in San Antonio. He was a familiar
friend in every home. In sickness and in death he had come
close to the hearts in them. Protected at first by the
powerful Urrea family, he had found it easy to retain his
nationality, and yet live down envy and suspicion. The rich
had shown him their gratitude with gold; the poor he had never
sent unrelieved away, and they had given him their love.
When in the second year of his residence he married Dona Maria
Flores, he gave, even to doubtful officials, security for his
political intentions. And his future conduct had seemed to
warrant their fullest confidence. In those never ceasing
American invasions between eighteen hundred and three and
eighteen hundred and thirty-two, he had been the friend and
succourer of his countrymen, but never their confederate;
their adviser, but never their confidant.
He was a tall, muscular man of a distinguished appearance.
His hair was white. His face was handsome and good to see.
He was laconic in speech, but his eyes were closely observant
of all within their range, and they asked searching questions.
He had a reverent soul, wisely tolerant as to creeds, and he
loved his country with a passion which absence from it
constantly intensified. He was believed to be a thoroughly
practical man, fond of accumulating land and gold; but his
daughter Antonia knew that he had in reality a noble
imagination. When he spoke to her of the woods, she felt the
echoes of the forest ring through the room; when of the sea,
its walls melted away in an horizon of long rolling waves.
He was thinking of Antonia as he walked slowly to his home in
the suburbs of the city. Of all his children she was the
nearest to him. She had his mother's beauty. She had also
his mother's upright rectitude of nature. The Iberian
strain had passed her absolutely by. She was a northern rose
in a tropical garden. As he drew near to his own gates, he
involuntarily quickened his steps. He knew that Antonia would
be waiting. He could see among the thick flowering shrubs her
tall slim figure clothed in white. As she came swiftly down
the dim aisles to meet him, he felt a sentiment of worship for
her. She concentrated in herself his memory of home, mother,
and country. She embodied, in the perfectness of their mental
companionship, that rarest and sweetest of ties--a beloved
child, who is also a wise friend and a sympathetic comrade.
As he entered the garden she slipped her hand into his. He
clasped it tightly. His smile answered her smile. There was
no need for any words of salutation.
The full moon had risen. The white house stood clearly out in
its radiance. The lattices were wide open and the parlor
lighted. They walked slowly towards it, between hedges of
white camelias and scarlet japonicas. Vanilla, patchuli,
verbena, wild wandering honeysuckle--a hundred other scents--
perfumed the light, warm air. As they came near the house
there was a sound of music, soft and tinkling, with a
rhythmic accent as pulsating as a beating heart.
"It is Don Luis, father."
"Ah! He plays well--and he looks well."
They had advanced to where Don Luis was distinctly visible.
He was within the room, but leaning against the open door,
playing upon a mandolin. Robert Worth smiled as he offered
his hand to him. It was impossible not to smile at a youth so
handsome, and so charming--a youth who had all the romance of
the past in his name, his home, his picturesque costume; and
all the enchantments of hope and great enthusiasms in his
"Luis, I am glad to see you; and I felt your music as soon as
I heard it."
He was glancing inquiringly around the room as he spoke; and
Antonia answered the look:
"Mother and Isabel are supping with Dona Valdez. There is to
be a dance. I am waiting for you, father. You must put on
your velvet vest."
"And you, Luis?"
"I do not go. I asked the judge for the appointment. He
refused me. Very well! I care not to drink chocolate and
dance in his house. One hand washes the other, and one cousin
should help another."
"Why did he refuse you?"
"Who can tell?" but Luis shrugged his shoulders expressively,
and added, "He gave the office to Blas-Sangre."
"Yes, it is so--naturally;--Blas-Sangre is rich, and when the
devil of money condescends to appear, every little devil rises
up to do him homage."
"Let it pass, Luis. Suppose you sing me that last verse
again. It had a taking charm. The music was like a boat
rocking on the water."
"So it ought to be. I learned the words in New Orleans. The
music came from the heart of my mandolin. Listen, Senor!
"`Row young oarsman, row, young oarsman,
Into the crypt of the night we float:
Fair, faint moonbeams wash and wander,
Wash and wander about the boat.
Not a fetter is here to bind us,
Love and memory lose their spell;
Friends that we have left behind us,
Prisoners of content,--farewell!'"
"You are a wizard, Luis, and I have had a sail with you.
Now, come with us, and show those dandy soldiers from the
Alamo how to dance."
"Pardon! I have not yet ceased to cross myself at the affront
of this morning. And the Senora Valdez is in the same mind as
her husband. I should be received by her like a dog at mass.
I am going to-morrow to the American colony on the Colorado."
"Be careful, Luis. These Austin colonists are giving great
trouble--there have been whispers of very strong measures. I
speak as a friend."
"My heart to yours! But let me tell you this about the
Americans--their drum is in the hands of one who knows how to
beat it."
"As a matter of hearsay, are you aware that three detachments
of troops are on their way from Mexico?"
"For Texas?"
"For Texas."
"What are three detachments? Can a few thousand men put Texas
under lock and key? I assure you not, Senor; but now I must
say adieu!
He took the doctor's hand, and, as he held it, turned his
luminous face and splendid eyes upon Antonia. A sympathetic
smile brightened her own face like a flame. Then he went
silently away, and Antonia watched him disappear among the
"Come, Antonia! I am ready. We must not keep the Senora
waiting too long."
"I am ready also, father." Her voice was almost sad, and yet
it had a tone of annoyance in it--"Don Luis is so imprudent,"
she said. "He is always in trouble. He is full of
enthusiasms; he is as impossible as his favorite, Don
"And I thank God, Antonia, that I can yet feel with him. Woe
to the centuries without Quixotes! Nothing will remain to
them but--Sancho Panzas."
"He various changes of the world had known,
And some vicissitudes of human fate,
Still altering, never in a steady state
Good after ill, and after pain delight,
Alternate, like the scenes of day and night."
"Ladies whose bright eyes
Rain influence."
"But who the limits of that power shall trace,
Which a brave people into life can bring,
Or hide at will, for freedom combating
By just revenge inflamed?"
For many years there had never been any doubt in the mind of
Robert Worth as to the ultimate destiny of Texas, though he was
by no means an adventurer, and had come into the beautiful
land by a sequence of natural and business-like events. He
was born in New York. In that city he studied his profession,
and in eighteen hundred and three began its practice in an
office near Contoit's Hotel, opposite the City Park. One day
he was summoned there to attend a sick man. His
patient proved to be Don Jaime Urrea, and the rich Mexican
grandee conceived a warm friendship for the young physician.
At that very time, France had just ceded to the United States
the territory of Louisiana, and its western boundary was a
subject about which Americans were then angrily disputing.
They asserted that it was the Rio Grande; but Spain, who
naturally did not want Americans so near her own territory,
denied the claim, and made the Sabine River the dividing line.
And as Spain had been the original possessor of Louisiana, she
considered herself authority on the subject.
The question was on every tongue, and it was but natural that
it should be discussed by Urrea and his physician. In fact,
they talked continually of the disputed boundary, and of
Mexico. And Mexico was then a name to conjure by. She was as
yet a part of Spain, and a sharer in all her ancient glories.
She was a land of romance, and her very name tasted on the
lips, of gold, and of silver, and of precious stones. Urrea
easily persuaded the young man to return to Mexico with him.
The following year there was a suspicious number of American
visitors and traders in San Antonio, and one of the Urreas was
sent with a considerable number of troops to garrison the
city. For Spain was well aware that, however statesmen might
settle the question, the young and adventurous of the American
people considered Texas United States territory, and would be
well inclined to take possession of it by force of arms, if an
opportunity offered.
Robert Worth accompanied General Urrea to San Antonio, and the
visit was decisive as to his future life. The country
enchanted him. He was smitten with love for it, as men are
smitten with a beautiful face. And the white Moorish city had
one special charm for him--it was seldom quite free from
Americans, Among the mediaeval loungers in the narrow streets,
it filled his heart with joy to see at intervals two or three
big men in buckskin or homespun. And he did not much wonder
that the Morisco-Hispano-Mexican feared these Anglo-Americans,
and suspected them of an intention to add Texan to their
His inclination to remain in San Antonio was settled by
his marriage. Dona Maria Flores, though connected with the
great Mexican families of Yturbide and Landesa, owned much
property in San Antonio. She had been born within its limits,
and educated in its convent, and a visit to Mexico and New
Orleans had only strengthened her attachment to her own city.
She was a very pretty woman, with an affectionate nature, but
she was not intellectual. Even in the convent the sisters had
not considered her clever.
But men often live very happily with commonplace wives, and
Robert Worth had never regretted that his Maria did not play
on the piano, and paint on velvet, and work fine embroideries
for the altars. They had passed nearly twenty-six years
together in more than ordinary content and prosperity. Yet no
life is without cares and contentions, and Robert Worth had
had to face circumstances several times, which had brought the
real man to the front.
The education of his children had been such a crisis. He had
two sons and two daughters, and for them he anticipated a
wider and grander career than he had chosen for himself.
When his eldest child, Thomas, had reached the age of
fourteen, he determined to send him to New York. He spoke to
Dona Maria of this intention. He described Columbia to her
with all the affectionate pride of a student for his alma
mater. The boy's grandmother also still lived in the home
wherein, he himself had grown to manhood. His eyes filled
with tears when he remembered the red brick house in Canal
Street, with its white door and dormer windows, and its one
cherry tree in the strip of garden behind.
But Dona Maria's national and religious principles, or rather
prejudices, were very strong. She regarded the college of San
Juan de Lateran in Mexico as the fountainhead of knowledge.
Her confessor had told her so. All the Yturbides and Landesas
had graduated at San Juan.
But the resolute father would have none of San Juan. "I know
all about it, Maria," he said. "They will teach Thomas Latin
very thoroughly. They will make him proficient in theology
and metaphysics. They will let him dabble in algebra and
Spanish literature; and with great pomp, they will give him
his degree, and `the power of interpreting Aristotle all
over the world.' What kind of an education is that, for a man
who may have to fight the battles of life in this century?"
And since the father carried his point it is immaterial what
precise methods he used. Men are not fools even in a contest
with women. They usually get their own way, if they take the
trouble to go wisely and kindly about it. Two years
afterwards, Antonia followed her brother to New York, and this
time, the mother made less opposition. Perhaps she divined
that opposition would have been still more useless than in the
case of the boy. For Robert Worth had one invincible
determination; it was, that this beautiful child, who so much
resembled a mother whom he idolized, should be, during the
most susceptible years of her life, under that mother's
And he was well repaid for the self-denial her absence
entailed, when Antonia came back to him, alert, self-reliant,
industrious, an intelligent and responsive companion, a neat
and capable housekeeper, who insensibly gave to his home that
American air it lacked, and who set upon his table the wellcooked
meats and delicate dishes which he had often longed
John, the youngest boy, was still in New York finishing his
course of study; but regarding Isabel, there seemed to be a
tacit relinquishment of the purpose, so inflexibly carried out
with her brothers and sister. Isabel was entirely different
from them. Her father had watched her carefully, and come to
the conviction that it would be impossible to make her nature
take the American mintage. She was as distinctly Iberian as
Antonia was Anglo-American.
In her brothers the admixture of races had been only as alloy
to metal. Thomas Worth was but a darker copy of his father.
John had the romance and sensitive honor of old Spain, mingled
with the love of liberty, and the practical temper, of those
Worths who had defied both Charles the First and George the
Third. But Isabel had no soul-kinship with her father's
people. Robert Worth had seen in the Yturbide residencia in
Mexico the family portraits which they had brought with them
from Castile. Isabel was the Yturbide of her day. She had
all their physical traits, and from her large golden-black
eyes the same passionate soul looked forth. He felt that it
would be utter cruelty to send her among people who must
always be strangers to her.
So Isabel dreamed away her childhood at her mother's side, or
with the sisters in the convent, learning from them such
simple and useless matters as they considered necessary for a
damosel of family and fortune. On the night of the Senora
Valdez's reception, she had astonished every one by the
adorable grace of her dancing, and the captivating way in
which she used her fan. Her fingers touched the guitar as if
they had played it for a thousand years. She sang a Spanish
Romancero of El mio Cid with all the fire and tenderness of a
Castilian maid.
Her father watched her with troubled eyes. He almost felt as
if he had no part in her. And the thought gave him an unusual
anxiety, for he knew this night that the days were fast
approaching which would test to extremity the affection which
bound his family together. He contrived to draw Antonia aside
for a few moments.
"Is she not wonderful?" he asked. "When did she learn
these things? I mean the way in which she does them?"
Isabel was dancing La Cachoucha, and Antonia looked at her
little sister with eyes full of loving speculation. Her
answer dropped slowly from her lips, as if a conviction was
reluctantly expressed:
"The way must be a gift from the past--her soul has been at
school before she was born here. Father, are you troubled?
What is it? Not Isabel, surely?"
"Not Isabel, primarily. Antonia, I have been expecting
something for twenty years. It is coming."
"And you are sorry?"
"I am anxious, that is all. Go back to the dancers. In the
morning we can talk."
In the morning the doctor was called very early by some one
needing his skill. Antonia heard the swift footsteps and
eager voices, and watched him mount the horse always kept
ready saddled for such emergencies, and ride away with the
messenger. The incident in itself was a usual one, but she
was conscious that her soul was moving uneasily and
questioningly in some new and uncertain atmosphere.
She had felt it on her first entrance into Senora Valdez's
gran sala--a something irrepressible in the faces of all the
men present. She remembered that even the servants had been
excited, and that they stood in small groups, talking with
suppressed passion and with much demonstrativeness. And the
officers from the Alamo! How conscious they had been of their
own importance! What airs of condescension and of an almost
insufferable protection they had assumed! Now, that she
recalled the faces of Judge Valdez, and other men of years and
position, she understood that there had been in them something
out of tone with the occasion. In the atmosphere of the festa
she had only felt it. In the solitude of her room she could
apprehend its nature.
For she had been born during those stormy days when Magee and
Bernardo, with twelve hundred Americans, first flung the
banner of Texan independence to the wind; when the fall of
Nacogdoches sent a thrill of sympathy through the United
States, and enabled Cos and Toledo, and the other
revolutionary generals in Mexico, to carry their arms against
Old Spain to the very doors of the vice-royal palace. She
had heard from her father many a time the whole brave,
brilliant story--the same story which has been made in all
ages from the beginning of time. Only the week before, they
had talked it over as they sat under the great fig-tree
"History but repeats itself," the doctor had said then; "for
when the Mexicans drove the Spaniards, with their court
ceremonies, their monopolies and taxes, back to Spain, they
were just doing what the American colonists did, when they
drove the English royalists back to England. It was natural,
too, that the Americans should help the Mexicans, for, at
first, they were but a little band of patriots; and the
American-Saxon has like the Anglo-Saxon an irresistible
impulse to help the weaker side. And oh, Antonia! The cry of
Freedom! Who that has a soul can resist it?"
She remembered this conversation as she stood in the pallid
dawning, and watched her father ride swiftly away. The story
of the long struggle in all its salient features flashed
through her mind; and she understood that it is not the sword
alone that gives liberty--that there must be patience before
courage; that great ideas must germinate for years in the
hearts of men before the sword can reap the harvest.
The fascinating memory of Burr passed like a shadow across her
dreaming. The handsome Lafayettes--the gallant Nolans--the
daring Hunters--the thousands of forgotten American traders
and explorers--bold and enterprising--they had sown the seed.
For great ideas are as catching as evil ones. A Mexican, with
the iron hand of Old Spain upon him and the shadow of the
Inquisition over him, could not look into the face of an
American, and not feel the thought of Freedom stirring in his
It stirred in her own heart. She stood still a moment to feel
consciously the glow and the enlargement. Then with an
impulse natural, but neither analyzed nor understood, she
lifted her prayer-book, and began to recite "the rising
prayer." She had not said to herself, "from the love of
Freedom to the love of God, it is but a step," but she
experienced the emotion and felt all the joy of an adoration,
simple and unquestioned, springing as naturally from the soul
as the wild flower from the prairie.
As she knelt, up rose the sun, and flooded her white figure
and her fair unbound hair with the radiance of the early
morning. The matin bells chimed from the convent and the
churches, and the singing birds began to flutter their bright
wings, and praise God also, "in their Latin."
She took her breakfast alone. The Senora never came
downstairs so early. Isabel had wavering inclinations, and
generally followed them. Sometimes, even her father had his
cup of strong coffee alone in his study; so the first meal of
the day was usually, as perhaps it ought to be, a selfishlysilent
one. "Too much enthusiasm and chattering at breakfast,
are like too much red at sunrise," the doctor always said; "a
dull, bad day follows it"--and Antonia's observation had
turned the little maxim into a superstition.
In the Senora's room, the precept was either denied, or
defied. Antonia heard the laughter and conversation through
the closed door, and easily divined the subject of it. It
was, but natural. The child had a triumph; one that appealed
strongly to her mother's pride and predilections. It was a
pleasant sight to see them in the shaded sunshine exulting
themselves happily in it.
The Senora, plump and still pretty, reclined upon a large
gilded bed. Its splendid silk coverlet and pillows cased in
embroidery and lace made an effective background for her. She
leaned with a luxurious indolence among them, sipping
chocolate and smoking a cigarrito. Isabel was on a couch of
the same description. She wore a satin petticoat, and a loose
linen waist richly trimmed with lace. It showed her beautiful
shoulders and arms to perfection. Her hands were folded above
her head. Her tiny feet, shod in satin, were quivering like
a bird's wings, as if they were keeping time with the
restlessness of her spirit.
She had large eyes, dark and bright; strong eyebrows, a pale
complexion with a flood of brilliant color in the checks,
dazzling even teeth, and a small, handsome mouth. Her black
hair was loose and flowing, and caressed her cheeks and
temples in numberless little curls and tendrils. Her face was
one flush of joy and youth. She had a look half-earnest and
half-childlike, and altogether charming. Antonia adored her,
and she was pleased to listen to the child, telling over
again the pretty things that had been said to her.
"Only Don Luis was not there at all, Antonia. There is always
something wanting," and her voice fell with those sad
inflections that are often only the very excess of delight.
The Senora looked sharply at her. "Don Luis was not
desirable. He was better away--much better!"
"But why?"
"Because, Antonia, he is suspected. There is an American
called Houston. Don Luis met him in Nacogdoches. He has
given his soul to him, I think. He would have fought Morello
about him, if the captain could have drawn his sword in such
a quarrel. I should not have known about the affair had not
Senora Valdez told me. Your father says nothing against the
"Perhaps, then, he knows nothing against them."
"You will excuse me, Antonia; not only the living but the dead
must have heard of their wickedness. They are a nation of
ingrates. Ingrates are cowards. It was these words Captain
Morello said, when Don Luis drew his sword, made a circle
with its point and stood it upright in the centre. It was a
challenge to the whole garrigon, and about this fellow
Houston, whom be calls his friend! Holy Virgin preserve us
from such Mexicans!"
"It is easier to talk than to fight. Morello's tongue is
sharper than his sword."
"Captain Morello was placing his sword beside that of Don
Luis, when the Commandant interfered. He would not permit his
officers to fight in such a quarrel. `Santo Dios!' he said,
`you shall all have your opportunity very soon, gentlemen.'
Just reflect upon the folly of a boy like Don Luis,
challenging a soldier like Morello!"
"He was in no danger, mother," said Antonia scornfully.
"Morello is a bully, who wears the pavement out with his
spurs and sabre. His weapons are for show. Americans, at
least, wear their arms for use, and not for ornament."
"Listen, Antonia! I will not have them spoken of. They are
Jews--or at least infidels, all of them!--the devil himself is
their father--the bishop, when he was here last confirmation,
told me so."
"At least they are unbaptized Christians, Antonia. If you are
not baptized, the devil sends you to do his work. As for Don
Luis, he is a very Judas! Ah, Maria Santissima! how I do pity
his good mother!"
"Poor Don Luis!" said Isabel plaintively.
He is so handsome, and he sings like a very angel. And he
loves my father; he wanted to be a doctor, so that he could
always be with him. I dare say this man called Houston is no
better than a Jew, and perhaps very ugly beside. Let us talk
no more about him and the Americans. I am weary of them; as
Tia Rachella says, `they have their spoon in every one's
And Antonia, whose heart was burning, only stooped down and
closed her sister's pretty mouth with a kiss. Her tongue was
impatient to speak for the father, and grandmother, and the
friends, so dear to her; but she possessed great discretion,
and also a large share of that rarest of all womanly graces,
the power under provocation, of "putting on Patience the
"Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation rousing
herself like a strong man after sleep and shaking her
invincible locks. Methinks I see her as an eagle mewing her
mighty youth and kindling her undazzled eye in the full midday
"And from these grounds, concluding as we doe,
Warres causes diuerse, so by consequence
Diuerse we must conclude their natures too:
For war proceeding from Omnipotence,
No doubt is holy, wise, and without error;
The sword, of justice and of sin, the terror."
It is the fashion now to live for the present but the men of
fifty years ago, the men who builded the nation, they
reverenced the past, and therefore they could work for the
future. As Robert Worth rode through the streets of San
Antonio that afternoon, he was thinking, not of his own life,
but of his children's and of the generations which should come
after them.
The city was flooded with sunshine, and crowded with
a pack-train going to Sonora; the animals restlessly
protesting against the heat and flies; their Mexican drivers
in the pulqueria, spending their last peso with their
compadres, or with the escort of soldiers which was to
accompany them--a little squad of small, lithe men, with
round, yellow, beardless faces, bearing in a singular degree
the stamp of being native to the soil. Their lieutenant, a
gorgeously clad officer with a very distinguished air, was
coming slowly down the street to join them. He bowed, and
smiled pleasantly to the doctor as he passed him, and then in
a few moments the word of command and the shouting of men and
the clatter of hoofs invaded the enchanted atmosphere like an
But the tumult scarcely jarred with the thoughts of his mind.
They had been altogether of war and rumors of war. Every hour
that subtile consciousness of coming events, which makes whole
communities at times prescient, was becoming stronger. "If
the powers of the air have anything to do with the destinies
of men," he muttered, "there must be unseen battalions around
me. The air I am breathing is charged with the feeling of
After leaving the city there were only a few Mexican huts on
the shady road leading to his own house. All within them were
asleep, even the fighting cocks tied outside were dozing on
their perches. He was unusually weary, he had been riding
since dawn, and his heart had not been in sympathy with his
body, it had said no good cheer to it, whispered no word of
courage or promise.
All at once his physical endurance seemed exhausted, and he
saw the white wall and arched gateway of his garden and the
turrets of his home with an inexpressible relief. But it was
the hour of siesta, and he was always careful not to let the
requirements of his profession disturb his household. So he
rode quietly to the rear, where he found a peon nodding within
the stable door. He opened his eyes unnaturally wide, and
rose to serve his master.
"See thou rub the mare well down, and give her corn and
"To be sure, Senior, that is to be done. A stranger has been
here to-day; an American."
"What did he say to thee?"
"That he would call again, Senor."
The incident was not an unusual one, and it did not trouble
the doctor's mind. There was on the side of the house a low
extension containing two rooms. These rooms belonged
exclusively to him. One was his study, his office, his
covert, the place to which he went when he wanted to be alone
with his own soul. There were a bed and bath and refreshments
in the other room. He went directly to it, and after eating
and washing, fell into a profound sleep.
At the hour before Angelus the house was as noisy and busy as
if it had been an inn. The servants were running hither and
thither, all of them expressing themselves in voluble Spanish.
The cooks were quarrelling in the kitchen. Antonia was
showing the table men, as she had to do afresh every day, how
to lay the cloth and serve the dishes in the American fashion.
When the duty was completed, she went into the garden to
listen for the Angelus. The young ladies of to-day would
doubtless consider her toilet frightfully unbecoming; but
Antonia looked lovely in it, though but a white muslin frock,
with a straight skirt and low waist and short, full sleeves.
It was confined by a blue belt with a gold buckle, and her
feet were in sandalled slippers of black satin.
The Angelus tolled, and the thousands of Hail Maries! which
blended with its swinging vibrations were uttered, and left to
their fate, as all spoken words must be. Antonia still
observed the form. It lent for a moment a solemn beauty to
her face. She was about to re-enter the house, when she saw
a stranger approaching it. He was dressed in a handsome
buckskin suit, and a wide Mexican hat, but she knew at once
that he was an American, and she waited to receive him.
As soon as he saw her, he removed his hat and approached with
it in his hand. Perhaps he was conscious that the act not
only did homage to womanhood, but revealed more perfectly a
face of remarkable beauty and nobility. For the rest, he was
very tall, powerfully built, elegantly proportioned, and his
address had the grace and polish of a cultured gentleman.
"I wish to see Dr. Worth, Dona."
With a gentle inclination of the head, she led him to the door
of her father's office. She was the only one in the Doctor's
family at all familiar with the room. The Senora said so
many books made her feel as if she were in a church or
monastery; she was afraid to say anything but paternosters in
it. Isabel cowered before the poor skeleton in the corner,
and the centipedes and snakes that filled the bottles on the
shelves. There was not a servant that would enter the room.
But Antonia did not regard books as a part of some vague
spiritual power. She knew the history of the skeleton. She
had seen the death of many of those "little devils" corked up
in alcohol. She knew that at this hour, if her father were at
home he was always disengaged, and she opened the door
fearlessly, saying, "Father, here is a gentleman who wishes to
see you."
The doctor had quite refreshed himself, and, in a house-suit
of clean, white linen, was lying on a couch reading. He arose
with alacrity, and with his pleasant smile seemed to welcome
the intruder, as he stepped behind him and closed the door.
Antonia had disappeared. They were quite alone.
"You are Doctor Robert Worth, sir?"
Their eyes met, their souls knew each other.
"And you are Sam Houston?"
The questions were answered in a hand grip, a sympathetic
smile on both faces--the freemasonry of kindred spirits.
"I have a letter from your son Thomas, doctor, and I think,
also, that you will have something to say to me, and I to
The most prudent of patriots could not have resisted this man.
He had that true imperial look which all born rulers of men
possess--that look that half coerces, and wholly persuades.
Robert Worth acknowledged its power by his instant and
decisive answer.
"I have, indeed, much to say to you. We shall have dinner
directly, then you will give the night to me?"
After a short conversation he led him into the sala and
introduced him to Antonia. He himself had to prepare the
Senora for her visitor, and he had a little quaking of the
heart as he entered her room. She was dressed for dinner, and
turned with a laughing face to meet him.
"I have been listening to the cooks quarrelling over the olla,
Roberto. But what can my poor Manuel say when your Irishwoman
attacks him. Listen to her! `Take your dirty stew aff
the fire then! Shure it isn't fit for a Christian to ate at
"I hope it is, Maria, for we have a visitor to-night."
"Who, then, my love?"
"Mr. Houston."
"Sam Houston? Holy Virgin of Guadalupe preserve us! I will
not see the man."
"I think you will, Maria. He has brought this letter for you
from our son Thomas; and he has been so kind as to take charge
of some fine horses, and sell them well for him in San
Antonio. When a man does us a kindness, we should say thank
"That is truth, if the man is not the Evil One. As for this
Sam Houston, you should have heard what was said of him at the
"I did hear. Everything was a lie."
"But he is a very common man."
"Maria, do you call a soldier, a lawyer, a member of the
United States Congress, a governor of a great State like
Tennessee, a common man? Houston has been all of these
"It is, however, true that he has lived with Indians, and with
those Americans, who are bad, who have no God, who are
infidels, and perhaps even cannibals. If he is a good
man, why does he live with bad men? Not even the saints could
do that. A good man should be in his home. Why does he not
stay at home."
"Alas! Maria, that is a woman's fault. He loved a beautiful
girl. He married her. My dear one, she did not bless his
life as you have blessed mine. No one knows what his sorrow
was, for he told no one. And he never blamed her, only he
left his high office and turned his back forever on his home."
"Ah! the cruel woman. Holy Virgin, what hard hearts thou hast
to pray for!"
"Come down and smile upon him, Maria. I should like him to
see a high-born Mexican lady. Are they not the kindest and
fairest among all God's women? I know, at least, Maria, that
you are kind and fair"; and he took her hands, and drew her
within his embrace.
What good wife can resist her husband's wooing? Maria did
not. She lifted her face, her eyes shone through happy tears,
she whispered softly: "My Robert, it is a joy to please you.
I will be kind; I will be grateful about Thomas. You
shall see that I will make a pleasant evening."
So the triumphant husband went down, proud and happy, with his
smiling wife upon his arm. Isabel was already in the room.
She also wore a white frock, but her hair was pinned back with
gold butterflies, and she had a beautiful golden necklace
around her throat. And the Senora kept her word. She paid
her guest great attention. She talked to him of his
adventures with the Indians. She requested her daughters to
sing to him. She told him stories of the old Castilian
families with which she was connected, and described her visit
to New Orleans with a great deal of pleasant humor. She felt
that she was doing herself justice; that she was charming;
and, consequently, she also was charmed with the guest and the
occasion which had been so favorable to her.
After the ladies had retired, the doctor led his visitor into
his study. He sat down silently and placed a chair for
Houston. Both men hesitated for a moment to open the
conversation. Worth, because he was treading on unknown
ground; Houston, because he did not wish to force, even by
a question, a resolution which he felt sure would come
The jar of tobacco stood between them, and they filled their
pipes silently. Then Worth laid a letter upon the table, and
said: "I unstand{sic} from this, that my son Thomas thinks
the time has come for decisive action."
"Thomas Worth is right. With such souls as his the foundation
of the state must be laid."
"I am glad Thomas has taken the position he has; but you must
remember, sir, that he is unmarried and unembarrassed by many
circumstances which render decisive movement on my part a much
more difficult thing. Yet no man now living has watched the
Americanizing of Texas with the interest that I have."
"You have been long on the watch, sir."
"I was here when my countrymen came first, in little companies
of five or ten men. I saw the party of twenty, who joined the
priest Hidalgo in eighteen hundred and ten, when Mexico made
her first attempt to throw off the Spanish yoke."
"An unsuccessful attempt."
"Yes. The next year I made a pretended professional journey
to Chihuahua, to try and save their lives. I failed.
They were shot with Hidalgo there."
"Yet the strife for liberty went on."
"It did. Two years afterwards, Magee and Bernardo, with
twelve hundred Americans, raised the standard of independence
on the Trinity River. I saw them them{sic} take this very
city, though it was ably defended by Salcedo. They fought
like heroes. I had many of the wounded in my house. I
succored them with my purse.
"It was a great deed for a handful of men."
"The fame of it brought young Americans by hundreds here. To
a man they joined the Mexican party struggling to free
themselves from the tyranny of old Spain. I do not think any
one of them received money. The love of freedom and the love
of adventure were alike their motive and their reward."
"Mexico owed these men a debt she has forgotten."
"She forgot it very quickly. In the following year, though
they had again defended San Antonio against the Spaniards, the
Mexicans drove all the Americans out of the city their rifles
had saved."
"You were here; tell me the true reason."
"It was not altogether ingratitude. It was the instinct of
self-preservation. The very bravery of the Americans made the
men whom they had defended hate and fear them; and there was
a continual influx of young men from the States. The Mexicans
said to each other: `There is no end to these Americans.
Very soon they will make a quarrel and turn their arms against
us. They do not conform to our customs, and they will not
take an order from any officer but their own.'"
Houston smiled. "It is away the Saxon race has," he said.
"The old Britons made the same complaint of them. They went
first to England to help the Britons fight the Romans, and
they liked the country so well, they determined to stay there.
If I remember rightly the old Britons had to let them do so."
"It is an old political situation. You can go back to Genesis
and find Pharaoh arguing about the Jews in the same manner."
"What happened after this forcible expulsion of the American
element from Texas?"
"Mexican independence was for a time abandoned, and the
Spanish viceroys were more tyrannical than ever. But
Americans still came, though they pursued different tactics.
They bought land and settled on the great rivers. In eighteen
twenty-one, Austin, with the permission of the Spanish viceroy
in Mexico, introduced three hundred families."
"That was a step in the right direction; but I am astonished
the viceroy sanctioned it."
"Apodoca, who was then viceroy, was a Spaniard of the proudest
type. He had very much the same contempt for the Mexicans
that an old English viceroy in New York had for the colonists
he was sent to govern. I dare say any of them would have
permitted three hundred German families to settle in some part
of British America, as far from New York as Texas is from
Mexico. I do not need to tell you that Austin's colonists are
a band of choice spirits, hardy working men, trained in the
district schools of New England and New York--nearly every one
of them a farmer or mechanic."
"They were the very material liberty needed. They have made
"That is the truth. The fighters who preceded them owned
nothing but their horses and their rifles. But these men
brought with them their wives and their children, their
civilization, their inborn love of freedom and national faith.
They accepted the guarantee of the Spanish government, and
they expected the Spanish government to keep its promises."
"It did not."
"It had no opportunity. The colonists were hardly settled
when the standard of revolt against Spain was again raised.
Santa Anna took the field for a republican form of government,
and once more a body of Americans, under the Tennesseean,
Long, joined the Mexican army."
"I remember that, well."
"In eighteen twenty-four, Santa Anna, Victoria and Bravo drove
the Spaniards forever from Mexico, and then they promulgated
the famous constitution of eighteen twenty-four. It was a
noble constitution, purely democratic and federal, and the
Texan colonists to a man gladly swore to obey it. The form
was altogether elective, and what particularly pleased the
American element was the fact that the local government of
every State was left to itself."
Houston laughed heartily. "Do you know, Worth," he said,
"State Rights is our political religion. The average American
citizen would expect the Almighty to conform to a written
constitution, and recognize the rights of mankind."
"I don't think he expects more than he gets, Houston. Where
is there a grander constitution than is guaranteed to us in
His Word; or one that more completely recognizes the rights of
all humanity?"
"Thank you, Worth. I see that I have spoken better than I
knew. I was sitting in the United States Congress, when this
constitution passed, and very much occupied with the politics
of Tennessee."
"I will not detain you with Mexican politics. It may be
briefly said that for the last ten years there has been a
constant fight between Pedraza, Guerrero, Bustamante and Santa
Anna for the Presidency of Mexico. After so much war and
misery the country is now ready to resign all the blessings
the constitution of eighteen twenty-four promised her. For
peace she is willing to have a dictator in Santa Anna."
"If Mexicans want a dictator let them bow down to Santa Anna!
But do you think the twenty thousand free-born Americans in
Texas are going to have a dictator? They will have the
constitution of eighteen twenty-four--or they will have
independence, and make their own constitution! Yes, sir!"
"You know the men for whom you speak?"
"I have been up and down among them for two years. Just after
I came to Texas I was elected to the convention which sent
Stephen Austin to Mexico with a statement of our wrongs. Did
we get any redress? No, sir! And as for poor Austin, is he
not in the dungeons of the Inquisition? We have waited two
years for an answer. Great heavens Doctor, surely that is
long enough!"
"Was this convention a body of any influence?"
"Influence! There were men there whose names will never be
forgotten. They met in a log house; they wore buckskin and
homespun; but I tell you, sir, they were debating the fate of
unborn millions."
"Two years since Austin went to Mexico?"
"A two years' chapter of tyranny. In them Santa Anna has
quite overthrown the republic of which we were a part. He has
made himself dictator. and, because our authorities have
protested against the change, they have been driven from
office by a military force. I tell you, sir, the petty
outrages everywhere perpetrated by petty officials have filled
the cup of endurance. It is boiling over. Now, doctor, what
are you going to do? Are you with us, or against us?"
"I have told you that I have been with my countrymen always--
heart and soul with them."
The doctor spoke with some irritation, and Houston laid his
closed hand hard upon the table to emphasize his reply:
"Heart and soul! Very good! But we want your body now. You
must tuck your bowie-knife and your revolvers in your belt,
and take your rifle in your hand, and be ready to help us
drive the Mexican force out of this very city."
"When it comes to that I shall be no laggard."
But he was deathly pale, for he was suffering as men suffer
who feel the sweet bonds of wife and children and home,
and dread the rending of them apart. In a moment, however,
the soul behind his white face made it visibly luminous.
"Houston," he said, "whenever the cause of freedom needs me,
I am ready. I shall want no second call. But is it not
possible, that even yet--"
"It is impossible to avert what is already here. Within a few
days, perhaps to-morrow, you will hear the publication of an
edict from Santa Anna, ordering every American to give up his
"What! Give up our arms! No, no, by Heaven! I will die
fighting for mine, rather."
"Exactly. That is how every white man in Texas feels about
it. And if such a wonder as a coward existed among them, he
understands that he may as well die fighting Mexicans, as die
of hunger or be scalped by Indians. A large proportion of the
colonists depend on their rifles for their daily food. All of
them know that they must defend their own homes from the
Comanche, or see them perish. Now, do you imagine that
Americans will obey any such order? By all the great men
of seventeen seventy-five, if they did, I would go over to the
Mexicans and help them to wipe the degenerate cowards out of
He rose as he spoke; he looked like a flame, and his words cut
like a sword. Worth caught fire at his vehemence and passion.
He clasped his hands in sympathy as he walked with him to the
door. They stood silently together for a moment on the
threshold, gazing into the night. Over the glorious land the
full moon hung, enamoured. Into the sweet, warm air
mockingbirds were pouring low, broken songs of ineffable
melody. The white city in the mystical light looked like an
enchanted city. It was so still that the very houses looked
"It is a beautiful land," said the doctor.
"It is worthy of freedom," answered Houston. Then he went
with long, swinging steps down the garden, and into the
shadows beyond, and Worth turned in and closed the door.
He had been watching for this very hour for twenty years; and
yet he found himself wholly unprepared for it. Like one led
by confused and uncertain thoughts, he went about the room
mechanically locking up his papers, and the surgical
instruments he valued so highly. As he did so he perceived
the book he had been reading when Houston entered. It was
lying open where he had laid it down. A singular smile
flitted over his face. He lifted it and carried it closer to
the light. It was his college Cicero.
"I was nineteen years old when I marked that passage," he
said; "and I do not think I have ever read it since, until tonight.
I was reading it when Houston came into the room. Is
it a message, I wonder?--
"`But when thou considerest everything carefully and
thoughtfully; of all societies none is of more importance,
none more dear, than that which unites us with the
commonwealth. Our parents, children, relations and neighbors
are dear, but our fatherland embraces the whole round of these
endearments. In its defence, who would not dare to die, if
only he could assist it?"
"O blest be he! O blest be he!
Let him all blessings prove,
Who made the chains, the shining chains,
The holy chains of love!"
--Spanish Ballad.
"If you love a lady bright,
Seek, and you shall find a way
All that love would say, to say
If you watch the occasion right."
--Spanish Ballad.
In the morning Isabel took breakfast with her sister. This
was always a pleasant event to Antonia. She petted Isabel,
she waited upon her, sweetened her chocolate, spread her cakes
with honey, and listened to all her complaints of Tia Rachela.
Isabel came gliding in when Antonia was about half way through
the meal. Her scarlet petticoat was gorgeous, her bodice
white as snow, her hair glossy as a bird's wing, but her lips
drooped and trembled, and there was the shadow of tears in her
eyes. Antonia kissed their white fringed lids, held
the little form close in her arms, and fluttered about in that
motherly way which Isabel had learned to demand and enjoy.
"What has grieved you this morning, little dove?"
"It is Tia Rachela, as usual. The cross old woman! She is
going to tell mi madre something. Antonia, you must make her
keep her tongue between her teeth. I promised her to confess
to Fray Ignatius, and she said I must also tell mi madre. I
vowed to say twenty Hail Marias and ten Glorias, and she said
`I ought to go back to the convent.'"
"But what dreadful thing have you been doing, Iza?"
Iza blushed and looked into her chocolate cup, as she answered
slowly: "I gave--a--flower--away. Only a suchil flower,
Antonia, that--I--wore--at--my--breast--last--night."
"Whom did you give it to, Iza?"
Iza hesitated, moved her chair close to Antonia, and then hid
her face on her sister's breast.
"But this is serious, darling. Surely you did not give it to
Senor Houston?"
"Could you think I was so silly? When madre was talking to
him last night, and when I was singing my pretty serenade, he
heard nothing at all. He was thinking his own thoughts."
"Not to Senor Houston? Who then? Tell me, Iza."
"To--Don Luis."
"Don Luis! But he is not here. He went to the Colorado."
"How stupid are you, Antonia! In New York they did not teach
you to put this and that together. As soon as I saw Senor
Houston, I said to myself: `Don Luis was going to him; very
likely they have met each other on the road; very likely Don
Luis is back in San Antonio. He would not want to go away
without bidding me good-by,' and, of course, I was right."
"But when did you see him last night? You never left the
So many things are possible. My heart said to me when the
talk was going on, `Don Luis is waiting under the oleanders,'
and I walked on to the balcony and there he was, and he looked
so sad, and I dropped my suchil flower to him; and Rachela
saw me, for I think she has a million eyes,--and that is the
whole matter."
"But why did not Don Luis come in?"
"Mi madre forbade me to speak to him. That is the fault of
the Valdez's."
"Then you disobeyed mi madre, and you know what Fray Ignatius
and the Sisters have taught you about the fourth command."
"Oh, indeed, I did not think of the fourth command! A sin
without intention has not penance; and consider, Antonia, I am
now sixteen, and they would shut me up like a chicken in its
shell. Antonia, sweet Antonia, speak to Rachela, and make
your little Iza happy. Fear is so bad for me. See, I do not
even care for my cakes and honey this morning.
"I will give Rachela the blue silk kerchief I brought from New
York. She will forget a great deal for that, and then, Iza,
darling, you must tell Fray Ignatius of your sin, because it
is not good to have an unconfessed sin on the soul."
"Antonia, do not say such cruel things. I have confessed to
you. Fray Ignatius will give me a hard penance. Perhaps he
may say to mi madre: `That child had better go back to
the convent. I say so, because I have knowledge.' And now I
am tired of that life; I am almost a woman, Antonia, am I
Antonia looked tenderly into her face. She saw some
inscrutable change there. All was the same, and all was
different. She did not understand that it was in the eyes,
those lookouts of the soul. They had lost the frank,
inquisitive stare of childhood; they were tender and misty;
they reflected a heart passionate and fearful, in which love
was making himself lord of all.
Antonia was not without experience. There was in New York a
gay, handsome youth, to whom her thoughts lovingly turned.
She had promised to trust him, and to wait for him, and
neither silence nor distance had weakened her faith or her
affection. Don Luis had also made her understand how hard it
was to leave Isabel, just when he had hoped to woo and win
her. He had asked her to watch over his beloved, and to say
a word in his favor when all others would be condemning him.
Her sympathy had been almost a promise, and, indeed, she
thought Isabel could hardly have a more suitable lover. He
was handsome, gallant, rich, and of good morals and noble
family. They had been much together in their lives; their
childish affection had been permitted; she felt quite sure
that the parents of both had contemplated a stronger affection
and a more lasting tie between them.
And evidently Don Luis had advanced further in his suit than
the Senora was aware of. He had not been able to resist the
charm of secretly wooing the fresh young girl he hoped to make
his wife. Their love must be authorized and sanctioned; true,
he wished that; but the charm of winning the prize before it
was given was irresistible. Antonia comprehended all without
many words; but she took her sister into the garden, where
they could be quite alone, and she sought the girl's
confidence because she was sure she could be to her a loving
Isabel was ready enough to talk, and the morning was conducive
to confidence. They strolled slowly between the myrtle hedges
in the sweet gloom of overshadowing trees, hearing only like
a faint musical confusion the mingled murmur of the city.
"It was just here," said Isabel. "I was walking and
sitting and doing nothing at all but looking at the trees and
the birds and feeling happy, and Don Luis came to me. He
might have come down from the skies, I was so astonished. And
he looked so handsome, and he said such words! Oh, Antonia!
they went straight to my heart."
"When was this, dear?"
"It was in the morning. I had been to mass with Rachela. I
had said every prayer with my whole heart, and Rachela told me
I might stay in the garden until the sun grew hot. And as
soon as Rachela was gone, Don Luis came--came just as sudden
as an angel."
"He must have followed you from mass."
"He should not have done that."
"If a thing is delightful, nobody should do it. Luis said he
knew that it was decided that we should marry, but that he
wanted me to be his wife because I loved him. His face was
shining with joy, his eyes were like two stars, he called me
his life, his adorable mistress, his queen, and he knelt down
and took my hands and kissed them. I was too happy to speak."
"Oh, Iza!"
"Very well, Antonia! It is easy to say `Oh, Iza'; but what
would you have done? And reflect on this; no one, not even
Rachela, saw him. So then, our angels were quite agreeable
and willing. And I--I was in such joy, that I went straight
in and told Holy Maria of my happiness. But when a person has
not been in love, how can they know; and I see that you are
going to say as Sister Sacrementa said to Lores Valdez--`You
are a wicked girl, and such things are not to be spoken of!'"
"Oh, my darling one, I am not so cruel. I think you did
nothing very wrong, Iza. When love comes into your soul, it
is like a new life. If it is a pure, good love, it is a kind
of murder to kill it in any way."
"It has just struck me, Antonia, that you may be in love
"When I was in New York, our brother Jack had a friend, and he
loved me, and I loved him."
"But did grandmamma let him talk to you?"
"He came every night. We went walking and driving. In the
summer we sailed upon the river; in the winter we skated upon
the ice. He helped me with my lessons. He went with me
to church."
"And was grandmamma with you?"
"Very seldom. Often Jack was with us; more often we were
quite alone."
"Holy Virgin! Who ever heard tell of such good fortune?
Consuelo Ladrello had never been an hour alone with Don
Domingo before they were married."
"A good girl does not need a duenna to watch her; that is what
I think. And an American girl, pure and free, would not
suffer herself to be watched by any woman, old or young. Her
lover comes boldly into her home; she is too proud, to meet
him in secret."
"Ah! that would be a perfect joy. That is what I would like!
But fancy what Rachela would say; and mi madre would cover her
eyes and refuse to see me if I said such words. Believe this.
It was in the spring Luis told me that he loved me, and though
I have seen him often since, he has never found another moment
to speak to me alone, not for one five minutes. Oh, Antonia!
let me have one five minutes this afternoon! He is going
away, and there is to be war, and I may never, never see
him again!"
"Do not weep, little dove. How can you see him this
"He will be here, in this very place, I know he will. When he
put the suchil flower to his lips last night he made me
understand it. This afternoon, during the hour of siesta,
will you come with me? Only for five minutes, Antonia! You
can manage Rachela, I am sure you can."
"I can manage Rachela, and you shall have one whole hour, Iza.
One whole hour! Come, now, we must make a visit to our
mother. She will be wondering at our delay."
The Senora had not yet risen. She had taken her chocolate and
smoked her cigarito, but was still drowsing. "I have had a
bad night, children," she said full of dreadful dreams. It
must have been that American. Yet, Holy Mother, how handsome
he is! And I assure you that he has the good manners of a
courtier. Still, it was an imprudence, and Senora Valdez will
make some great thing of it."
"You were in your own house, mother. What has Senora Valdez
to do with the guest in it? We might as well make some
great thing about Captain Morello being present at her party."
"I have to say to you, Antonia, that Morello is a Castilian;
his family is without a cross. He has the parchments of his
noble ancestry to show."
And Senor Houston is an American--Scotch-American, he said,
last night. Pardon, my mother, but do you know what the men
of Scotland are?"
"Si!, They are monsters! Fray Ignatius has told me. They
are heretics of the worst kind. It is their special delight
to put to death good Catholic priests. I saw that in a book;
it must be true."
"Oh, no, mother! It is not true! It is mere nonsense.
Scotchmen do not molest priests, women, and children. They
are the greatest fighters in the world."
"Quien sabe? Who has taught you so much about these savages?"
"Indeed, mother, they are not savages. They are a very
learned race of men, and very pious also. Jack has many
Scotch-American friends. I know one of them very well"; and
with the last words her face flushed, and her voice fell
insensibly into slow and soft inflections.
"Jack knows many of them! That is likely. Your father would
send him to New York. All kinds of men are in New York. Fray
Ignatius says they have to keep an army of police there. No
wonder! And my son is so full of nobilities, so generous, so
honorable, he will not keep himself exclusive. He is the true
resemblance of my brother Don Juan Flores. Juan was always
pitying the poor and making friends with those beneath him.
At last he went into the convent of the Bernardines and died
like a very saint."
"I think our Jack will be more likely to die like a very hero.
If there is any thing Jack hates, it is oppression. He would
right a beggar, if he saw him wronged."
"Poco a poco! I am tired of rights and wrongs. Let us talk
a little about our dresses, for there will be a gay winter.
Senora Valdez assured me of it; many soldiers are coming here,
and we shall have parties, and cock-fights, and, perhaps, even
a bull-feast."
"Oh!" cried Isabel clapping her hands enthusiastically; "a
bull-feast! That is what I long to see!"
At this moment the doctor entered the room, and Isabel ran to
meet him. No father could have resisted her pretty ways, her
kisses, her endearments, her coaxing diminutives of speech,
her childlike loveliness and simplicity.
"What is making you so happy, Queridita?"[1]
[1] Little dear.
"Mi madre says there is perhaps to be a bullfeast this winter.
Holy Virgin, think of it! That is the one thing I long to
With her clinging arms around him, and her eager face lifted
to his for sympathy, the father could not dash the hope which
he knew in his heart was very unlikely to be realized.
Neither did he think it necessary to express opposition or
disapproval for what had as yet no tangible existence. So he
answered her with smiles and caresses, and a little quotation
which committed him to nothing:
"As, Panem et Circenses was the cry
Among the Roman populace of old;
So, Pany Toros! is the cry of Spain."
The Senora smiled appreciatively and put out her hand.
"Pan y Toros!" she repeated. "And have you reflected,
children, that no other nation in the world cries it. Only
Spain and her children! That is because only men of the
Spanish race are brave enough to fight bulls, and only Spanish
bulls are brave enough to fight men."
She was quite pleased with herself for this speech, and
finding no one inclined to dispute the statement, she went on
to describe a festival of bulls she had been present at in the
city of Mexico. The subject delighted her, and she grew
eloquent over it; and, conscious only of Isabel's shining eyes
and enthusiastic interest, she did not notice the air of
thoughtfulness which had settled over her husband's face, nor
yet Antonia's ill-disguised weariness and anxiety.
On the night of the Valdez's party her father had said he
would talk with her. Antonia was watching for the confidence,
but not with any great desire. Her heart and her
intelligence told her it would mean trouble, and she had that
natural feeling of youth which gladly postpones the evil day.
And while her father was silent she believed there were still
possibilities of escape from it. So she was not sorry
that he again went to his office in the city without any
special word for her. It was another day stolen from the
uncertain future, for the calm usage of the present, and she
was determined to make happiness in it.
When all was still in the afternoon Isabel came to her. She
would not put the child to the necessity of again asking her
help. She rose at once, and said:
"Sit here, Iza, until I have opened the door for us. Then she
took a rich silk kerchief, blue as the sky, in her hand, and
went to the wide, matted hall. There she found Rachela,
asleep on a cane lounge. Antonia woke her.
"Rachela, I wish to go into the garden for an hour."
The Senorita does the thing she wants to, Rachela would not
presume to interfere. The Senorita became an Americano in New
"There are good things in New York, Rachela; for instance,
this kerchief."
"That is indeed magnificent!"
"If you permit my sister to walk in the garden with me, I
shall give it to you this moment."
"Dona Isabel is different. She is a Mexicaine. She must be
watched continually."
"For what reason? She is as innocent as an angel."
"Let her simply grow up, and you will see that she is not
innocent as the angels. Oh, indeed! I could say something
about last night! Dona Isabel has no vocation for a nun; but,
gracias a Dios! Rachela is not yet blind or deaf."
"Let the child go with me for an hour, Rachela. The kerchief
will be so becoming to you. There is not another in San
Antonio like it."
Rachela was past forty, but not yet past the age of coquetry.
"It will look gorgeous with my gold ear-rings, but--"
"I will give you also the blue satin bow like it, to wear at
your breast."
"Si, si! I will give the permission, Senorita--for your sake
alone. The kerchief and bow are a little thing to you. To
me, they will be a great adornment. You are not to leave the
garden, however, and for one hour's walk only, Senorita;
certainly there is time for no more."
"I will take care of Isabel; no harm shall come to her. You
may keep your eyes shut for one hour, Rachela, and you may
shut your ears also, and put your feet on the couch and let
them rest. I will watch Isabel carefully, be sure of that."
"The child is very clever, and she has a lover already, I
fear. Keep your eyes on the myrtle hedge that skirts the
road. I have to say this--it is not for nothing she wants to
walk with you this afternoon. She would be better fast
In a few moments the kerchief and the bow were safely folded
in the capacious pocket of Rachela's apron, and Isabel and
Antonia were softly treading the shady walk between the myrtle
hedges. Rachela's eyes were apparently fast closed when the
girls pased{sic} her, but she did not fail to notice how
charmingly Isabel had dressed herself. She wore, it is true,
her Spanish costume; but she had red roses at her breast, and
her white lace mantilla over her head.
"Ah! she is a clever little thing!" Rachela muttered. "She
knows that she is irresistible in her Castilian dress. Bah!
those French frocks are enough to drive a man a mile away.
I can almost forgive her now. Had she worn the French frock
I would not have forgiven her. I would never have yielded
again, no, not even if the Senorita Antonia should offer me
her scarlet Indian shawl worked in gold. I was always a
fool--Holy Mother forgive me! Well, then; I used to have my
own lovers--plenty of them--handsome young arrieros and
rancheros: there was Tadeo, a valento of the first class: and
Buffa--and--well, I will sleep; they do not remember me, I
dare say; and I have forgotten their names."
In the mean time the sisters sat down beneath a great figtree.
No sunshine, no shower, could penetrate its thick
foliage. The wide space beneath the spreading branches was a
little parlor, cool and sweet, and full of soft, green lights,
and the earthy smell of turf, and the wandering scents of the
Isabel's eyes shone with an incomparable light. She was pale,
but exquisitely beautiful, and even her hands and feet
expressed the idea of expectation. Antonia had a piece of
needlework in her hand. She affected the calmness she did
not feel, for her heart was trembling for the tender little
heart beating with so much love and anxiety beside her.
But Isabel's divination, however arrived at, was not at fault.
In a few moments Don Luis lightly leaped the hedge, and
without a moment's hesitation sought the shadow of the figtree.
As he approached, Antonia looked at him with a new
interest. It was not only that he loved Isabel, but that
Isabel loved him. She had given him sympathy before, now she
gave him a sister's affection.
"How handsome he is!" she thought. "How gallant he looks in
his velvet and silver and embroidered jacket! And how eager
are his steps! And how joyful his face! He is the kind of
Romeo that Shakespeare dreamed about! Isabel is really an
angel to him. He would really die for her. What has this
Spanish knight of the sixteenth century to do in Texas in the
nineteenth century?"
He answered her mental question in his own charming way. He
was so happy, so radiantly happy, so persuasive, so
compelling, that Antonia granted him, without a word, the
favor his eyes asked for. And the lovers hardly heard the
excuse she made; they understood nothing of it, only that she
would be reading in the myrtle walk for one hour, and, by so
doing, would protect them from intrusion.
One whole hour! Isabel had thought the promise a perfect
magnificence of opportunity{.??} But how swiftly it went.
Luis had not told her the half of his love and his hopes. He
had been forced to speak of politics and business, and every
such word was just so many stolen from far sweeter words--
words that fell like music from his lips, and were repeated
with infinite power from his eyes. Low words, that had the
pleading of a thousand voices in them; words full of melody,
thrilling with romance; poetical, and yet real as the sunshine
around them.
In lovers of a colder race, bound by conventional ties, and a
dress rigorously divested of every picturesque element, such
wooing might have appeared ridiculous; but in Don Luis, the
most natural thing about it was its extravagance. When he
knelt at the feet of his beloved and kissed her hands, the
action was the unavoidable outcome of his temperament. When
he said to her, "Angel mio! you are the light of my
darkness, the perfume of all flowers that bloom for me, the
love of my loves, my life, my youth, my lyre, my star, had I
a thousand souls with which to love, I would give them all to
you!" he believed every word he uttered, and he uttered every
word with the passion of a believer.
He stirred into life also in the heart of Isabel a love as
living as his own. In that hour she stepped outside all of
her childhood's immaturities. She became a woman. She
accepted with joyful tears a woman's lot of love and sorrow.
She said to Antonia:
"Luis was in my heart before; now, I have put him in my soul.
My soul will never die. So I shall never forget him--never
cease to love him."
Rachela faithfully kept her agreement. For one hour she was
asleep to all her charge did, and Isabel was in her own room
when the precious sixty minutes were over. Happy? So happy
that her soul seemed to have pushed her body aside, as a thing
not to be taken into account. She sang like a bird for very
gladsomeness. It was impossible for her to be still, and as
she went about her room with little dancing, balancing
movements of her hands and feet, Antonia knew that they were
keeping their happy rhythmic motion to the melody love sang in
her heart.
And she rejoiced with her little sister, though she was not
free from a certain regret for her concession, for it is the
after-reckoning with conscience that is so disagreeably strict
and uncomfortable. And yet, why make an element of anger and
suspicion between Isabel and her mother when there appeared to
be no cause to do so? Don Luis was going away. He was in
disgrace with his family--almost disinherited; the country was
on the point of war, and its fortunes might give him some
opportunities no one now foresaw. But if Isabel's mother had
once declared that she would "never sanction the marriage,"
Antonia knew that, however she might afterwards regret her
haste and prejudice, she would stand passionately by her
decision. Was it not better, then, to prevent words being
said which might cause sorrow and regret in the future?
But as regarded Isabel's father, no such reason existed. The
happiness of his children was to him a more sacred thing
than his own prejudices. He liked Don Luis, and his
friendship with his mother, the Senora Alveda, was a long and
tried one. The youth's political partialities, though
bringing him at present into disgrace, were such as he himself
had largely helped to form. Antonia was sure that her father
would sympathize with Isabel, and excuse in her the lapse of
duty which had given his little girl so much happiness. Yes,
it would be right to tell him every thing, and she did not
fear but Isabel would agree in her decision.
At this moment Rachela entered. The Senora wished her
daughters to call upon the American manteau-maker for her, and
the ride in the open carriage to the Plaza would enable them
to bow to their acquaintances, and exhibit their last new
dresses from New Orleans. Rachela was already prepared for
the excursion, and she was not long in attiring Isabel.
"To be sure, the siesta has made you look charming this
afternoon," she said, looking steadily into the girl's
beaming, blushing face, "and this rose silk is enchanting.
Santa Maria, how I pity the officers who will have the
great fortune to see you this afternoon, and break their
hearts for the sight! But you must not look at them, mark!
I shall tell the Senora if you do. It is enough if they look
at you. And the American way of the Senorita Antonia, which
is to bow and smile to every admirer, it will but make more
enchanting the becoming modesty of the high-born Mexicaine."
"Keep your tongue still, Rachela. Ah! if you strike me, I
will go to my father. He will not permit it. I am not a
child to be struck and scolded, and told when to open and shut
my eyes. I shall do as my sister does, and the Holy Mother
herself will be satisfied with me!"
"Chito! Chito!! You wicked one! Oh, Maria Santissima, cast
on this child a look of compassion! The American last night
has bewitched her! I said that he looked like a Jew."
"I am not wicked, Rachela; and gracias a Dios, there is no
Inquisition now to put the question!"
Isabel was in a great passion, or the awful word that had
made lips parch and blanch to utter it for generations would
never have been launched at the offending woman's head. But
its effect was magical. Rachela put up her hands palm
outwards, as if to shield herself from a blow, and then
without another word stooped down and tied the satin sandals
on Isabel's restless feet. She was muttering prayers during
the whole action, for Isabel had been quick to perceive her
advantage, and was following it up by a defiant little
monologue of rebellious speeches.
In the midst of this scene, Antonia entered. She was dressed
for the carriage, and the carriage stood at the door waiting;
but her face was full of fear, and she said, hurriedly:
"Rachela, can you not make some excuse to my mother which will
permit us to remain at home? Hark! There is something wrong
in the city."
In a moment the three women were on the balcony, intently,
anxiously listening. Then they were aware of a strange
confusion in the subtle, amber atmosphere. It was as if they
heard the noise of battle afar off; and Rachela, without a
word, glided away to the Senora. Isabel and Antonia stood
hand in hand, listening to the vague trouble and the echo of
harsh, grating voices, mingled with the blare of clarions, the
roll of drums, and the rattle of scattering rifle-shots. Yet
the noises were so blended together, so indistinct, so
strangely expressive of both laughter and defiance, that it
was impossible to identify or describe them.
Suddenly a horseman came at a rapid pace towards the house,
and Antonia, leaning over the balcony, saw him deliver a note
to Rachela, and then hurry away at the same reckless speed.
The note was from the doctor to his wife, and it did not tend
to allay their anxiety. "Keep within the house," it said;
"there are difficulties in the city. In an hour or two I will
be at home."
But it was near midnight when he arrived, and Antonia saw that
he was a different man. He looked younger. His blue eyes
shone with the light behind them. On his face there was the
impress of an invincible determination. His very walk had
lost its listless, gliding tread, and his steps were firm,
alert and rapid.
No one had been able to go to bed until he arrived, though
Isabel slept restlessly in her father's chair, and the Senora
lay upon the couch, drowsing a little between her frequent
attacks of weeping and angry anticipation. For she was sure
it was the Americans. "Anything was possible with such a man
as Sam Houston near the city."
"Perhaps it is Santa Anna," at length suggested Antonia. "He
has been making trouble ever since I can remember. He was
born with a sword in his hand, I think."
"Ca! And every American with a rifle in his hand! Santa Anna
is a monster, but at least he fights for his own country.
Texas is not the country of the Americans."
"But, indeed, they believe that Texas is their country"; and
to these words Doctor Worth entered.
"What is the matter? What is the matter, Roberto? I have
been made sick with these uncertainties. Why did you not come
home at the Angelus?"
"I have had a good reason for my delay, Maria. About three
o'clock I received a message from the Senora Alveda, and I
visited her. She is in great trouble, and she had not been
able to bear it with her usual fortitude. She bad
"Ah, the poor mother! She has a son who will break her
"She made no complaint of Luis. She is distracted about her
country, and as I came home I understood why. For she is a
very shrewd woman, and she perceives that Santa Anna is
preparing trouble enough for it."
"Well, then, what is it?"
"When I left her house, I noticed many Americans, as well as
many Mexicans, on the streets. They were standing together,
too; and there was something in their faces, and in the way
their arms were carried, which was very striking and
portentous. I fancied they looked coldly on me, and I was
troubled by the circumstance. In the Plaza I saw the military
band approaching, accompanied by half a dozen officers and a
few soldiers. The noise stopped suddenly, and Captain Morello
proclaimed as a bando (edict) of the highest authority, an
order for all Americans to surrender their arms of every
description to the officials and at the places notified."
"Very good!"
"Maria, nothing could be worse! Nothing could be more
shameful and disastrous. The Americans had evidently been
expecting this useless bombast, and ere the words were well
uttered, they answered them with a yell of defiance. I do not
think more than one proclamation was necessary, but Morello
went from point to point in the city and the Americans
followed him. I can tell you this, Maria: all the millions in
Mexico can not take their rifles from the ten thousand
Americans in Texas, able to carry them."
"We shall see! We shall see! But, Roberto, you at least will
not interfere in their quarrels. You have never done so
"No one has ever proposed to disarm me before, Maria. I tell
you frankly, I will not give up a single rifle, or revolver,
or weapon of any kind, that I possess. I would rather be
slain with them. I have never carried arms before, but I
shall carry them now. I apologize to my countrymen for not
having them with me this afternoon. My dearest wife! My good
Maria! do not cry in that despairing way.
You will be killed, Roberto! You will be a rebel! You
will be shot like a dog, and then what will become of me and
my daughters?"
"You have two sons, Maria. They will avenge their father, and
protect their mother and sisters."
"I shall die of shame! I shall die of shame and sorrow!"
"Not of shame, Maria. If I permitted these men to deprive me
of my arms, you might well die of shame."
"What is it? Only a gun, or a pistol, that you never use?"
"Great God, Maria! It is everything! It is honor! It is
liberty! It is respect to myself! It is loyalty to my
country! It is fidelity to my countrymen! It is true that
for many years the garrison has fully protected us, and I have
not needed to use the arms in my house. But thousands of
husbands and fathers need them hourly, to procure food for
their children and wives, and to protect them from the
savages. One tie binds us. Their cause is my cause. Their
country is my country, and their God is my God. Children, am
I right or wrong?"
They both stepped swiftly to his side. Isabel laid her
cheek against his, and answered him with a kiss. Antonia
clasped his hand, stood close to him, and said: "We are all
sure that you are right, dear father. My mother is weary and
sick with anxiety, but she thinks so too. Mother always
thinks as you do, father. Dear mother, here is Rachela with
a cup of chocolate, and you will sleep and grow strong before
But the Senora, though she suffered her daughter's caresses,
did not answer them, neither did she speak to her husband,
though he opened the door for her and stood waiting with a
face full of anxious love for a word or a smile from her. And
the miserable wife, still more miserable than her husband,
noticed that Isabel did not follow her. Never before had
Isabel seemed to prefer any society to her mother's, and the
unhappy Senora felt the defection, even amid her graver
But Isabel had seen something new in her father that night;
something that touched her awakening soul with admiration.
She lingered with him and Antonia, listening with vague
comprehension to their conversation, until Rachela called
her angrily; and as she was not brave enough for a second
rebellion that night, she obediently answered her summons.
An hour afterwards, Antonia stepped cautiously within her
room. She was sleeping, and smiling in her sleep. Where was
her loving, innocent soul wandering? Between the myrtle
hedges and under the fig-tree with her lover? Oh, who can
tell where the soul goes when sleep gives it some release?
Perhaps it is at night our angels need to watch us most
carefully. For the soul, in dreams, can visit evil and
sorrowful places, as well as happy and holy ones. But Isabel
slept and smiled, and Antonia whispered a prayer at her side
ere she went to her own rest.
And the waning moon cast a pathetic beauty over the Eden-like
land, till dawn brought that mystical silence in which every
new day is born. Then Robert Worth rose from the chair in
which he had been sitting so long, remembering the past and
forecasting the future. He walked to the window, opened it,
and looked towards the mountains. They had an ethereal hue,
a light without rays, a clearness almost polar in its
severity. But in some way their appearance infused into
his soul calmness and strength.
"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 battlefield,
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
"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 today,
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 selfconfidence
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 tonight
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 ironheeled
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!"
"A curious creed they weave,
And, for the Church commands it,
All men must needs believe,
Though no man understands it.
God loves his few pet lambs,
And saves his one pet nation;
The rest he largely damns,
With swinging reprobation."
"The Church may loose and bind;
But Mind, immortal Mind,
As free as wave or wind,
Came forth, O God, from Thee."
Dr. Worth had set his daughter a task of no light magnitude.
It was true, that Rachela and Fray Ignatius could no longer
disturb the household by their actual presence, but their
power to cause unhappiness was not destroyed. Among the
Mexican families loyal to Santa Anna the dismission of the
priest and the duenna had been a source of much indignant
gossip; for Rachela was one of those women who cry
out when they are hurt, and compel others to share their
trouble. The priest had not therefore found it necessary to
explain WHY the Senora had called upon a new confessor. He
could be silent, and possess his dignity in uncomplaining
patience, for Rachela paraded his wrongs as a kind of set-off
to her own.
Such piety! Such virtues! And the outrageous conduct of
the Senor Doctor! To be sure there was cause for anger at the
Senorita Antonia. Oh, yes! She could crow her mind abroad!
There were books--Oh, infamous books! Books not proper to be
read, and the Senorita had them! Well then, if the father
burned them, that was a good deed done. And he had almost
been reviled for it--sent out of the house--yes, it was quite
possible that he had been struck! Anything was possible from
those American heretics. As for her own treatment, after
twenty years service, it had been cruel, abominable, more than
that--iniquitous; but about these things she had spoken, and
the day of atonement would come. Justice was informing itself
on the whole matter.
Such conversations continually diversified, extended, repeated
on all hands, quickly aroused a prejudice against the doctor's
family. Besides which, the Senora Alveda resented bitterly
the visits of her son Luis to Isabel. None of the customs of
a Mexican betrothal had taken place, and Rachela did not spare
her imagination in describing the scandalous American
familiarity that had been permitted. That, this familiarity
had taken place under the eyes of the doctor and the Senora
only intensified the insult. She might have forgiven
clandestine meetings; but that the formalities due to the
Church and herself should have been neglected was indeed
It soon became evident to the Senora that she had lost the
good-will of her old friends, and the respect that had always
been given to her social position. It was difficult for her
to believe this, and she only accepted the humiliating fact
after a variety of those small insults which women reserve for
their own sex.
She was fond of visiting; she valued the good opinion of her
caste, and in the very chill of the gravest calamities she
worried her strength away over little grievances lying
outside the walls of her home and the real affections of her
life. And perhaps with perfect truth she asserted that SHE
had done nothing to deserve this social ostracism. Others had
made her miserable, but she could thank the saints none could
make her guilty.
The defeat of Cos had been taken by the loyal inhabitants as
a mere preliminary to the real fight. They were very little
disturbed by it. It was the overt act which was necessary to
convince Mexico that her clemency to Americans was a mistake,
and that the ungrateful and impious race must be wiped out of
existence. The newspapers not only reiterated this necessity,
but proclaimed its certainty. They heralded the coming of
Santa Anna, the victorious avenger, with passionate
gasconading. It was a mere question of a few days or weeks,
and in the meantime the people of San Antonio were "making a
little profit and pleasure to themselves out of the
extravagant reprobates." There was not a day in which they
did not anticipate their revenge in local military displays,
in dances and illuminations, in bull-fights, and in
splendid religious processions.
And Antonia found it impossible to combat this influence. It
was in the house as certain flavors were in certain foods, or
as heat was in fire. She saw it in the faces of her servants,
and felt it in their indifference to their duty. Every hour
she watched more anxiously for some messenger from her father.
And as day after day went by in a hopeless sameness of grief,
she grew more restless under the continual small trials that
encompassed her.
Towards the end of January, General Urrea, at the head of the
vanguard of the Mexican army, entered Texas. His destination
was La Bahia or Goliad, a strong fortress garrisoned by
Americans under Colonel Fanning. Santa Anna was to leave in
eight days after him. With an army of twenty thousand men he
was coming to the relief of San Antonio.
The news filled the city with the wildest rejoicing. The
little bells of the processions, the big bells of the
churches, the firing of cannon, the hurrahs of the tumultuous
people, made an uproar which reached the three lonely
women through the closed windows of their rooms.
"If only Lopez Navarro would come! If he would send us some
little message! Holy Mary, even he has forgotten us!" cried
the Senora in a paroxysm of upbraiding sorrow.
At that moment the door opened, and Fray Ignatius passed the
threshold with lifted hands and a muttered blessing. He
approached the Senora, and she fell on her knees and kissed
the hand with which he crossed her.
"Holy father!" she cried, "the angels sent you to a despairing
"My daughter, I have guided you since your first communion;
how then could I forget you? Your husband has deserted you--
you, the helpless, tender lamb, whom he swore to cherish; but
the blessed fold of your church stands open. Come, poor weary
one, to its shelter."
"My father--"
"Listen to me! The Mexican troops are soon to arrive.
Vengeance without mercy is to be dealt out. You are the wife
of an American rebel; I cannot promise you your life, or your
honor, if you remain here. When soldiers are drunk with
blood, and women fall in their way, God have mercy upon them!
I would shield even your rebellious daughter Antonia from such
a fate. I open the doors of the convent to you all. There
you will find safety and peace."
Isabel sat with white, parted lips and clasped hands,
listening. Antonia had not moved or spoken. But with the
last words the priest half-turned to her, and she came swiftly
to her mother's side, and kissing her, whispered:
"Remember your promise to my father! Oh, mi madre, do not
leave Isabel and me alone!"
"You, too, dear ones! We will all go together, till these
dreadful days are past."
"No, no, no! Isabel and I will not go. We will die rather."
"The Senorita talks like a foolish one. Listen again! When
Santa Anna comes for judgment, it will be swift and terrible.
This house and estate will be forfeited. The faithful Church
may hope righteously to obtain it. The sisters have long
needed a good home. The convent will then come to you. You
will have no shelter but the Church. Come to her arms
ere her entreaties are turned to commands."
"My husband told me--"
"Saints of God! you have no husband. He has forfeited every
right to advise you. Consider that, daughter; and if you
trust not my advice, there is yet living your honorable uncle,
the Marquis de Gonzaga."
Antonia caught eagerly at this suggestion. It at least
offered some delay, in which the Senora might be strengthened
to resist the coercion of Fray Ignatius.
"Mother, it is a good thought. My great-uncle will tell you
what to do; and my father will not blame you for following his
advice. Perhaps even he may offer his home. You are the
child of his sister."
Fray Ignatius walked towards the fire-place and stood rubbing
slowly his long, thin hands before the blaze, while the Senora
and her daughters discussed this proposal. The half-frantic
mother was little inclined to make any further effort to
resist the determined will of her old confessor; but the tears
of Isabel won from her a promise to see her uncle.
"Then, my daughter, lose no time. I cannot promise you
many days in which choice will be left you. Go this
afternoon, and to-morrow I will call for your decision."
It was not a visit that the Senora liked to make. She had
deeply offended her uncle by her marriage, and their
intercourse had since been of the most ceremonious and
infrequent kind. But surely, at this hour, when she was left
without any one to advise her steps, he would remember the tie
of blood between them.
He received her with more kindness than she had anticipated.
His eyes glittered in their deep sockets when she related her
extremity and the priest's proposal, and his small shrunken
body quivered with excitement as he answered:
"Saints and angels! Fray Ignatius is right about Santa Anna.
We shall see that he will make caps for his soldiers out of
the skins of these infidel ingrates. But as for going into
the convent, I know not. A miserable marriage you made for
yourself, Maria. Pardon, if I say so much! I let the word
slip always. I was never one to bite my tongue. I am all old
man--very well, come here, you and your daughters, till
the days of blood are over. There is room in the house, and
a few comforts in it also. I have some power with Santa Anna.
He is a great man--a great man! In all his wars, good fortune
flies before him."
He kissed her hands as he opened the door, and then went back
to the fire, and bent, muttering, over it: "Giver of good! a
true Yturbide; a gentle woman; she is like my sister
Mercedes--very like her. These poor women who trust me, as I
am a sinner before God, I am unhappy to deceive them."
Fray Ignatius might have divined his thoughts, for he entered
at the moment, and said as he approached him:
"You have done right. The soul must be saved, if all is lost.
This is not a time for the friends of the Church and of Mexico
to waver. The Church is insulted every day by these foreign
"But you are mistaken, father; the Church holds up her head,
whatever happens. Even the vice-regal crown is not lost--the
Church has cleft it into mitres."
Fray Ignatius smiled, but there was a curious and crafty look
of inquiry on his face. "The city is turbulent, Marquis,
and there is undoubtedly a great number of Mexicans opposed to
Santa Anna."
"Do you not know Mexicans yet? They would be opposed to God
Almighty, rather than confess they were well governed. Bah!
the genius of Mexico is mutiny. They scarcely want a leader
to move their madness. They rebel on any weak pretence. They
bluster when they are courted; they crouch when they are
oppressed. They are fools to all the world but themselves.
I beg the Almighty to consider in my favor, that some overhasty
angel misplaced my lot. I should have been born in--New
The priest knew that he was talking for irritation, but he was
too politic to favor the mood. He stood on the hearth with
his hands folded behind him, and with a delightful suavity
turned the conversation upon the country rather than the
people. It was a glorious day in the dawn of spring. The
tenderest greens, the softest blues, the freshest scents, the
clearest air, the most delightful sunshine were everywhere.
The white old town, with its picturesque crowds, its murmur of
voices and laughter, its echoes of fife and drum, its
loves and its hatreds, was at his feet; and, far off, the hazy
glory of the mountains, the greenness and freshness of
Paradise, the peace and freedom of the vast, unplanted places.
The old marquis was insensibly led to contemplate the whole;
and, in so doing, to put uppermost that pride of country which
was the base of every feeling susceptible to the priest's
"Such a pleasant city, Marquis! Spanish monks founded it.
Spanish and Mexican soldiers have defended it. Look at its
fine churches and missions; its lovely homes, and blooming
"It is also all our own, father. It was but yesterday I said
to one of those insolent Americans who was condescending to
admire it: `Very good, Senor; and, if you deign to believe
me, it was not brought from New York. Such as you see it, it
was made by ourselves here at San Antonio.' Saints in heaven!
the fellow laughed in my face. We were mutually convinced of
each other's stupidity."
"Ah, how they envy us the country! And you, Marquis, who have
traveled over the world, you can imagine the reason?"
"Father, I will tell you the reason; it is the craving in the
heart to find again the lost Eden. The Almighty made Texas
with full hands. When He sets his heart on a man, he is
permitted to live there."
"Grace of God! You speak the truth. Shall we then give up
the gift of His hand to heretics and infidels?"
"I cannot imagine it."
"Then every one must do the work he can do. Some are to slay
the unbelievers; others; are to preserve the children of the
Church. Your niece and her two daughters will be lost to the
faith, unless you interfere for their salvation. Of you will
their souls be required."
"By Saint Joseph, it is a duty not in agreement with my
desire! I, who have carefully abstained from the charge of a
wife and daughters of my own."
"It is but for a day or two, Marquis, until the matter is
arranged. The convent is the best of all refuges for women so
The marquis did not answer. He lifted a book and began to
read; and Fray Ignatius watched him furtively.
In the mean time the Senora had reached her home. She
was pleased with the result of her visit. A little kindness
easily imposed upon this childlike woman, and she trusted in
any one who was pleasant to her.
"You may believe me, Antonia," she said; "my uncle was in a
temper most unusual. He kissed my hands. He offered me his
protection. That is a great thing, I assure you. And your
father cannot object to our removal there."
Antonia knew not what answer to make. Her heart misgave her.
Why had Fray Ignatius made the proposal? She was sure it was
part of an arrangement, and not a spontaneous suggestion of
the moment. And she was equally sure that any preconcerted
plan, having Fray Ignatius for its author, must be inimical to
Her mother's entry had not awakened Isabel, who lay asleep
upon a sofa. The Senora was a little nettled at the
circumstance. "She is a very child! A visit of such
importance! And she is off to the land of dreams while I am
fatiguing myself! I wish indeed that she had more
consideration!" Then Antonia brought her chocolate, and, as
she drank it and smoked her cigarito, she chatted in an
almost eager way about the persons she had seen.
"Going towards the Plaza, I met judge Valdez. I stopped the
carriage, and sent my affections to the Senora. Would you
believe it? He answered me as if his mouth were full of snow.
His disagreeable behavior was exactly copied by the Senora
Silvestre and her daughter Esperanza. Dona Julia and Pilar de
Calval did not even perceive me. Santa Maria! there are none
so blind as those who won't see! Oh, indeed! I found the
journey like the way of salvation--full of humiliations. I
would have stopped at the store of the Jew Lavenburg, and
ordered many things, but he turned in when he saw me coming.
Once, indeed, he would have put his hat on the pavement for me
to tread upon. But he has heard that your father has made a
rebel of himself, and what can be expected? He knows when
Santa Anna has done with the rebels not one of them will have
anything left for God to rain upon. And there was a great
crowd and a great tumult. I think the whole city had a brain
At this moment Isabel began to moan in her sleep as if
her soul was in some intolerable terror or grief; and ere
Antonia could reach her she sprang into the middle of the room
with a shriek that rang through the house.
It was some minutes before the child could be soothed. She
lay in her mother's arms, sobbing in speechless distress; but
at length she was able to articulate her fright:
"Listen, mi madre, and may the Holy Lady make you believe me!
I have had a dream. God be blessed that it is not yet true!
I will tell you. It was about Fray Ignatius and our uncle the
Marquis de Gonzaga. My good angel gave it to me; for myself
and you all she gave it; and, as my blessed Lord lives! I
will not go to them! SI! I will cut my white throat
first!" and she drew her small hand with a passionate gesture
across it. She had stood up as she began to speak, and the
action, added to her unmistakable terror, her stricken face
and air of determination, was very impressive.
"You have had a dream, my darling?"
"Yes, an awful dream, Antonia! Mary! Mary! Tender Mary,
pity us!"
"And you think we should not go to the house of the marquis?"
"Oh, Antonia! I have seen the way. It is black and cold, and
full of fear and pain. No one shall make me take it. I have
the stiletto of my grandmother Flores. I will ask Holy Mary
to pardon me, and then--in a moment--I would be among the
people of the other world. That would be far better than Fray
Ignatius and the house of Gonzaga."
The Senora was quite angry at this fresh complication. It was
really incredible what she had to endure. And would Antonia
please to tell her where else they were to go? They had not
a friend left in San Antonio--they did not deserve to have
one--and was it to be supposed that a lady, born noble, could
follow the Americans in an ox-wagon? Antonia might think it
preferable to the comfortable house of her relation; but
blessed be the hand of God, which had opened the door of a
respectable shelter to her.
"I will go in the ox-wagon," said Isabel, with a sullen
determination; "but I will not go into my uncle's house. By
the saint of my birth I swear it."
"Mother, listen to Antonia. When one door shuts, God opens
another door. Our own home is yet undisturbed. Do you
believe what Fray Ignatius says of the coming of Santa Anna?
I do not. Until he arrives we are safe in our own home; and
when the hour for going away comes, even a little bird can
show us the way to take. And I am certain that my father is
planning for our safety. If Santa Anna was in this city, and
behaving with the brutality which is natural to him, I would
not go away until my father sent the order. Do you think he
forgets us? Be not afraid of such a thing. It cannot take
Towards dusk Senor Navarro called, and the Senora brought him
into her private parlor and confided to him the strait they
were in. He looked with sympathy into the troubled, tearstained
faces of these three helpless women, and listened with
many expressive gestures to the proposal of the priest and the
offer of the old marquis.
"Most excellent ladies," he answered; "it is a plot. I assure
you that it is a plot. Certainly it was not without reason I
was so unhappy about you this afternoon. Even while I
was at the bull-fight, I think our angels were in a
consultation about your affairs. Your name was in my ears
above all other sounds."
"You say it is a plot, Senor. Explain to us what you mean?"
"Yes, I will tell you. Do you know that Fray Ignatius is the
confessor of the marquis?"
"We had not thought of such a thing."
"It is the truth. For many years they have been close as the
skin and the flesh. Without Fray Ignatius the marquis says
neither yes or no. Also the will of the marquis has been
lately made. I have seen a copy of it. Everything he has is
left to the brotherhoods of the Church. Without doubt, Fray
Ignatius was the, lawyer who wrote it."
"Senor, I always believed that would happen. At my marriage
my uncle made the determination. Indeed, we have never
expected a piastre--no, not even a tlaco. And to-day he was
kind to me, and offered me his home. Oh, Holy Mother, how
wretched I am! Can I not trust in the good words of those who
are of my own family?"
"The tie of race will come before the tie of the family. The
tie of religion is strongest of all, Senora. Let me tell you
what will take place. When you and your children are in the
house of the marquis, he will go before the Alcalde. He will
declare that you have gone voluntarily to his care, and that
he is your nearest and most natural guardian. Very well. But
further, he will declare, on account of his great age, and the
troubled state of the time, he is unable to protect you, and
ask for the authority to place you in the religious care of
the holy sisterhood of Saint Maria. And he will obtain all he
"But, simply, what is to be gained by such treachery? He said
to-day that I was like his sister Mercedes, and he spoke very
gently to me."
"He would not think such a proceeding really unkind. He would
assure himself that it was good for your eternal salvation.
As to the reason, that is to be looked for in the purse, where
all reasons come from. This house, which the good doctor
built, is the best in the city. It has even two full stories.
It is very suitable for a religious house. It is not far
from the Plaza, yet secluded in its beautiful garden.
Fray Ignatius has long desired it. When he has removed you,
possession will be taken, and Santa Anna will confirm the
"God succor our poor souls! What shall we do then, Senor?
The Mexican army has entered Texas, it will soon be here."
"Quien sabe? Between the Rio Grande and the San Antonio are
many difficulties. Urrea has five thousand men with him,
horses and artillery. The horses must graze, the men must
rest and eat. We shall have heavy rains. I am sure that it
will be twenty days ere he reaches the settlements; and even
then his destination is not San Antonio, it is Goliad. Santa
Anna will be at least ten days after him. I suppose, then,
that for a whole month you are quite safe in your own home.
That is what I believe now. If I saw a reason to believe what
is different, I would inform you. The good doctor, to whom I
owe my life many times, has my promise. Lopez Navarro never
broke his word to any man. The infamy would be a thing
impossible, where the safety of three ladies is concerned."
"And in a month, mi madre, what great things may happen!
Thirty days of possibilities! Come, now, let us be a little
happy, and listen to what the Senor has to tell us. I am sure
this house has been as stupid as a convent"; and Isabel lifted
the cigarette case of the Senora, and with kisses persuaded
her to accept its tranquilizing consolation.
It was an elegant little golden trifle studded with gems. Her
husband had given it to her on the anniversary of their
twenty-fifth wedding day; and it recalled vividly to her the
few sweet moments. She was swayed as easily as a child by the
nearest or strongest influence, and, after all, it did seem
the best to take Isabel's advice, and be a little happy while
she could.
Lopez was delighted to humor this mood. He told them all the
news of their own social set; and in such vivid times
something happened every day. There had been betrothals and
marriages, quarrels and entertainments; and Lopez, as a
fashionable young man of wealth and nobility, had taken his
share in what had transpired.
Antonia felt unspeakably grateful to him. After the
fretful terror and anxiety of the day--after the cruel visit
of Fray Ignatius--it was indeed a comfort to hear the pleasant
voice of Navarro in all kinds of cheerful modulations. By and
by there was a slow rippling laugh from Isabel, and the
Senora's face lost its air of dismal distraction.
At length Navarro had brought his narrative of small events
down to the afternoon of that day. There had been a bullfight,
and Isabel was making him describe to her the chulos,
in their pale satin breeches and silk waist-scarfs; the
toreros in their scarlet mantles, and the picadores on their
"And I assure you," he said, "the company of ladies was very
great and splendid. They were in full dress, and the goldenpinned
mantillas and the sea of waving fans were a sight
indeed. Oh, the fans alone! So many colors; great crescents,
growing and waning with far more enchantments than the moons.
Their rustle and movement has a wonderful charm, Senorita
Isabel; no one can imagine it.
"Oh, I assure you, Senor, I can see and feel it. But to be
there! That, indeed, would make me perfectly happy."
"Had you been there to-day you would have admired, above all
things, the feat of the matadore Jarocho. It was upon the
great bull Sandoval--a very monster, I assure you. He came
bellowing at Jarocho, as if he meant his instant death. His
eyeballs were living fire; his nostrils steamed with fury;
well, then, at the precise moment, Jarocho put his slippered
feet between his horns, and vaulted, light as a bird flies,
over his back. Then Sandoval turned to him again. Well, he
calmly waited for his approach, and his long sword met him
between the horns. As lightly as a lady touches her cavalier,
he seemed to touch Sandoval; but the brute fell like a stone
at his feet. What a storm of vivas! What clapping of hands
and shouts of `valiente!' And the ladies flung their flowers,
and the men flung their hats into the arena, and Jarocho
stepped proudly enough on them, I can tell you, though he was
watching the door for the next bull."
"Ah, Senor, why will men fight each other, when it is so much
more grand and interesting to fight bulls?"
"Senorita Isabel, if you could only convince them of
that! But then, it is not always interesting to the matadore;
for instance, it is only by the mercy of God and the skill of
an Americano that Jarocho is at this moment out of purgatory."
The Senora raised herself from among the satin pillows of her
sofa, and asked, excitedly; "Was there then some accident,
Senor? Is Jarocho wounded? Poor Jarocho!"
"Not a hair of his head is hurt, Senora. I will tell you.
Saint Jago, who followed Sandoval, was a little devil. He was
light and quick, and had intelligence. You could see by the
gleam in his eyes that he took in the whole scene, and
considered not only the people in the ring, but the people in
the amphitheatre also, to be his tormentors. Perhaps in that
reflection he was not mistaken. He meant mischief from the
beginning; and he pressed Jarocho so close that he leaped the
barrier for safety. As he leaped, Saint Jago leaped also.
Imagine now the terror of the spectators! The screams! The
rush! The lowered horns within an inch of Jarocho, and Fray
Joseph Maria running with the consecrated wafer to the doomed
man! At that precise moment there was a rifle-shot, and
the bellowing brute rolled backward into the arena--dead."
"Oh, Maria Purissima! How grand! In such moments one really
lives, Senor. And but for this absurd rebellion I and my
daughters could have had the emotion. It is indeed cruel."
"You said the shot was fired by an American?"
"Senorita Antonia, it was, indeed. I saw him. He was in the
last row. He had stood up when Saint Jago came in, and he was
watching the man and the animal with his soul in his eyes. He
had a face, fine and thin as a woman's--a very gentle face,
also. But at one instant it became stern and fierce,
the lips hard set, the eyes half shut, then the rifle at the
shoulder like a flash of light, and the bull was dead between
the beginning and the end of the leap! The sight was
wonderful, and the ladies turned to him with smiles and cries
of thankfulness, and the better part of the men bowed to him;
for the Mexican gentleman is always just to a great deed. But
he went away as if he had done something that displeased
himself, and when I overtook him at the gates of the
Alamo, he did not look as if he wished to talk about it.
"However, I could not refrain myself, and I said: "Permit me,
Colonel Crockett, to honor you. The great feat of to-day's
fight was yours. San Antonio owes you for her favorite
"`I saved a life, young man,' he answered and I took a life;
and I'll be blamed if I know whether I did right or wrong.'
`Jarocho would have been killed but for your shot.' `That's
so; and I killed the bull; but you can take my hat if I don't
think I killed the tallest brute of the two. Adjourn the
subject, sir'; and with that he walked off into the fort, and
I did myself the pleasure of coming to see you, Senora."
He rose and bowed to the ladies, and, as the Senora was making
some polite answer, the door of the room opened quickly, and
a man entered and advanced towards her. Every eye was turned
on him, but ere a word could be uttered he was kneeling at the
Senora's side, and had taken her face in his hands, and was
kissing it. In the dim light she knew him at once, and she
cried out: "My Thomas! My Thomas! My dear son! For
three years I have not seen you."
He brought into the room with him an atmosphere of comfort and
strength. Suddenly all fear and anxiety was lifted, and in
Antonia's heart the reaction was so great that she sank into
a chair and began to cry like a child. Her brother held her
in his arms and soothed her with the promise of his presence
and help. Then he said, cheerfully:
"Let me have some supper, Antonia. I am as hungry as a lobos
wolf; and run away, Isabel, and help your sister, for I
declare to you girls I shall eat everything in the house."
The homely duty was precisely what was needed to bring every
one's feelings to their normal condition; and Thomas Worth sat
chatting with his mother and Lopez of his father, and Jack,
and Dare, and Luis, and the superficial events of the time,
with that pleasant, matter-of-course manner which is by far
the most effectual soother of troubled and unusual conditions.
In less than half an hour Antonia called her brother, and he
and Lopez entered the dining-room together. They came in
as brothers might come, face answering face with sympathetic
change and swiftness; but Antonia could not but notice the
difference in the two men. Lopez was dressed in a suit of
black velvet, trimmed with many small silver buttons. His
sash was of crimson silk. His linen was richly embroidered;
and his wide hat was almost covered with black velvet, and
adorned with silver tags. It was a dress that set off
admirably his dark intelligent face.
Thomas Worth wore the usual frontier costume; a dark flannel
shirt, a wide leather belt, buck-skin breeches, and leather
boots covering his knees. He was very like his father in
figure and face--darker, perhaps, and less handsome. But the
gentleness and strength of his personal appearance attracted
every one first, and invested all traits with their own
distinctive charm.
And, oh! What a change was there in the the{sic} Senora's
room. The poor lady cried a little for joy, and then went to
sleep like a wearied child. Isabel and Antonia were too happy
to sleep. They sat half through the night, talking softly of
the danger they had been in. Now that Thomas had come,
they could say HAD. For he was a very Great-heart to them,
and they could even contemplate the expected visit of Fray
Ignatius without fear; yes, indeed, with something very like
"What thing thou doest, bravely do;
When Heaven's clear call hath found thee,
Follow--with fervid wheels pursue,
Though thousands bray around thee."
"Mounted upon a hot and fiery steed,
Which his aspiring rider seemed to know;
With slow but stately pace kept on his course;
You would have thought the very windows spoke,
So many greedy looks of young and old,
Through casements darted their desiring eyes
Upon his visage."
Left to themselves, the two men threw off like a mask the
aspect of cheerfulness they had worn in the presence of the
Senora. Thomas Worth ate heartily, for he had been without
food since morning; but Navarro did not attempt to join his
meal. He sat patiently waiting his sombre eyes fixed upon the
mental visions which circled in the enchanted incense of his
Presently Thomas Worth turned toward the hearth, pushed the
cedar logs on it to a focus, and at their leaping
blaze lighted the pipe which he took from his pocket.
"Lopez," he said, "it strikes me that I am just in time to
prevent some infamous plan of Fray Ignatius and my uncle
"I should not have lost sight of the Senora and your sisters.
I have watched them faithfully, though for many good reasons
it has been best to appear indifferent. Will you now remain
in San Antonio?"
"I have come with orders to Travis to blow up the Alamo, and
fall back upon Houston, who is at Gonzales. But I do not
think the men will permit him to do so."
"You have too many leaders. Also, they undervalue the Mexican
soldiers. I assure you they do. They fought Spain for ten
years; they do not want, then, the persistence of true valor.
The Americans may die in the Alamo, but they cannot hold it
against the thousands Santa Anna will bring with him."
"They will die, then. They have no thought of retreat, nor of
any deed that argues fear. Every man relies on himself, as if
in his hand the moment of victory lay."
"Every man will perish."
"They will not perish in vain. Defeat is only a spur to the
American soldier. Every, one makes him a better fighter. If
Santa Anna massacres the men in the Alamo, he seals the
freedom of Texas."
"Houston should have come himself."
"Houston is biding his time. He is doing at present the
hardest duty a great man can do: setting an example of
obedience to a divided and incompetent government. Lopez, you
said rightly that we had too many leaders. When those
appointed for sacrifice have been offered up--when we are in
the extremity of danger and ruin, then Houston will hear the
word he is waiting for."
"And he will lead you on to victory. Indeed, I know it. I
have seen him. He has the line--the fortunate line on the
forehead. He is the loadstone in the breast of your cause;
the magnet who can draw good fortune to it. If fate be
against you, he will force fate to change her mind. If fate
weave you a common thread, he will change it into purple.
Victory, which she gives to others reluctantly, he will take
like a master from her hand HOUSTON! What essence! What
existence! What honor! What hope there is in those
seven letters. Consider this: He will find a way or make a
way for freedom."
Subsequent events proved the opinion of Thomas Worth correct
with regard to the garrison in the Alamo. David Crockett!
James Bowie! Barret Travis! The names were a host in
themselves; one and all refused to couple them with retreat.
"Military defeats may be moral victories, young man," said
Crockett to Thomas Worth; "and moral victories make national
greatness. The Roman that filled the gulf with his own body--
the men who died at Thermopylae--they live to-day, and they
have been talking with us."
"But if you join Houston you will save many lives."
"That isn't always the point, sir. Jim Bowie was saying there
was once a lover who used to swim two miles every night to see
a young woman called Hero. Now, he might have waited for a
boat and gone dry-shod to his sweetheart; but if he had, who
would have cared whether he lived or died? The Alamo is
our Hero. If we can't keep her, we can die for her."
The same spirit moved every soul at Goliad. Fanning was there
with nearly nine hundred men, and he had named the place Fort
Defiance, and asserted his determination to hold it. In the
mean time, Houston was using his great personal influence to
collect troops, to make treaties with the Indians, and to keep
together some semblance of a provisional government.
But it had become evident to all the leading spirits of the
revolution that no half-way measures would now do. They only
produced half-way enthusiasm. For this end, Houston spoke out
with his accustomed boldness:
"Gentlemen, we must declare the independence of Texas, and
like our fore-elders, sink or swim by that declaration.
Nothing else, nothing less, can save us. The planters of
Texas must feel that they are fighting for their own
constitution, and not for Mexican promises made to them twelve
years ago and never yet kept."
The simple proposition roused a new enthusiasm; for while
Urrea was hastening towards Goliad, and Santa Anna
towards San Antonio, and Filisola to Washington, the divided
people were becoming more and more embittered. The American
soldiers, who had hitherto gone in and out among the citizens
of San Antonio during the day, and only slept in the Alamo,
were conscious of an ominous change in the temper of the city.
They gathered their recruits together and shut themselves in
the fortress.
Again Thomas Worth urged them to fall back either upon the
line of Houston at Gonzales, or Fanning at Goliad; but in the
indecision and uncertainty of all official orders, Crockett
thought it best to make the first stand at the Mexican city.
"We can, at least," he said, "keep Santa Anna busy long enough
to give the women and children of our own settlements time to
escape, and the men time to draw together with a certain
"The cry of Santa Anna has been like the cry of wolf! wolf!"
said Bowie. "I hear that great numbers that were under arms
have gone home to plant their corn and cotton. Do you want
Santa Anna to murder them piecemeal--house by house,
family by family? Great George! Which of us would
accommodate him with a prolonged pleasure like that? No! he
shall have a square fight for every life lie gets"; and the
calm, gentlemanly Bowie was suddenly transformed into a
flashing, vehement, furious avenger. He laid his knife and
pistols on the table, his steel-blue eyes scintillated as if
they were lightning; his handsome mouth, his long, white
hands, his whole person radiated wrath and expressed the
utmost lengths of invincible courage and insatiable hatred.
"Gentlemen," answered Travis, "I go with Crockett and Bowie.
If we hold the Alamo, it is a deed well done. If we fall with
it, it is still a deed well done. We shall have given to
Houston and Fanning time to interpose themselves between Santa
Anna and the settlements."
"We have none of us lived very well," said Bowie, "but we can
die well. I say as an American, that Texas is ours by right
of natural locality, and by right of treaty; and, as I live,
I will do my best to make it American by right of conquest!
Comrades, I do not want a prettier quarrel to die in"--and
looking with a brave, unflinching gaze around the grim
fortress--"I do not want a better monument than the Alamo!"
The speech was not answered with any noisy hurrahing; but the
men around the bare, long table clasped hands across it, and
from that last interview with the doomed men Thomas Worth came
away with the knowledge that he had seen the battle begun. He
felt now that there was no time to delay longer his plans for
the safety of his mother and sisters. These were, indeed, of
the simplest and most uncertain character; for the condition
of the country and its few resources were such as to make
flight the only way that promised safety. And yet flight was
environed with dangers of every kind--hunger, thirst,
exhaustion, savage beasts, Indians, and the triple armies of
The day after his arrival he had begun to prepare, as far as
possible, for this last emergency, but the Senora's
unconquerable aversion to leave her native city had constantly
hampered him. Until Santa Anna really appeared she would not
believe in the necessity of such a movement. The proposal of
Fray Ignatius, even if it did end in a convent, did not
seem so terrible as to be a wanderer without a roof to cover
her. She felt aggrieved and injured by Antonia's and Isabel's
positive refusal to accept sanctuary from the priest, and with
the underhand cunning of a weak woman she had contrived to let
Fray Ignatius know that SHE was not to blame for the
All the same the priest hated her in conjunction with her
children. On the morning after her interview with her uncle,
he went to receive her submission; for the marquis had
informed him of all that had passed, and he felt the three
women and the valuable Worth property already under his hard
hand. He opened the gate with the air of a proprietor. He
looked down the lovely alleys of the garden, and up at the
latticed stories of the handsome house, with that solid
satisfaction which is the reward of what is acquired by
personal effort or wisdom.
When he entered the door and was confronted by Thomas Worth,
he was for the moment nonplussed. But he did not permit his
confusion and disappointment to appear. He had not seen
Thomas for a long time. He addressed him with suavity
and regrets, and yet, "was sure he would be glad to hear that,
in the present dangerous crisis, the Marquis de Gonzaga had
remembered the blood-tie and offered his protection to a
family so desolate."
Thomas Worth leaned upon the balusters, as if guarding the
approach to the Senora's apartments. He answered: "The
protection of the marquis is unnecessary. Three ladies are
too great a charge for one so aged. We will not impose it."
The face of the young man was calm and stern, but he spoke
without visible temper, until the priest prepared to pass him.
Then he stretched out his arm as a barrier.
"Fray Ignatius, you have already passed beyond the threshold;
permit me to remind you of Dr. Worth's words on that subject."
"I put my duty before any man's words."
"Sir, for my mother's sake, I would not be disrespectful; but
I assure you, also, that I will not permit any man, while I
live, to disregard my father's orders regarding his own
"I must see the Senora."
"That, I reply, is impossible."
"Presume not--dare not to interfere with a priest in the
duty of his office. It is a mortal sin. The curse of the
Church will rest upon you.
"The curse of the Church will not trouble me. But to treat my
father's known wishes with contempt--that is an act of
dishonor and disobedience which I will not be guilty of."
"Santa Maria! Suffer not my spirit to be moved by this wicked
one. Out of my path, Satanas!"
The last word was not one which Thomas Worth had expected. He
flushed crimson at its application, and with a few muttered
sentences, intelligible only to the priest, he took him firmly
by the shoulder, led him outside the door, and closed and
barred it.
The expulsion was not accomplished without noisy opposition on
the part of Fray Ignatius, and it pained Thomas deeply to
hear, in the midst of the priest's anathemas, the shrill cries
of his mother's distress and disapproval.
The next domestic movement of Thomas Worth was to rid the
house of Molly and Manuel, and the inferior servants. It was
not as easy a task as may be supposed. They had been ordered
by Fray Ignatius to remain, and the order had not been
countermanded. Even if the Senora and her daughters were
going east, and their services were not needed, they had no
objections to remain in the Worth house. They understood that
the Church would take possession, and the housekeeping of the
Church was notoriously easy and luxurious.
However, after exorbitant compensation had been made, and
Molly had given in return "a bit of her mind," she left for
the Irish colony of San Patricio, and Manuel immediately
sought his favorite monte table. When he had doubled his
money, he intended to obey Molly's emphatic orders, and go and
tell the priest all about it.
"I would rather, face a battery of cannon than Fray Ignatius
and the servants again, Antonia." Antonia looked at her
brother; he was worried and weary, and his first action, when
he had finally cleared the house, was to walk around it, and
bolt every door and window. Antonia followed him silently.
She perceived that the crisis had come, and she was doing as
good women in extremity do--trying to find in the darkness the
hand always stretched out to guide and strengthen. As
yet she had not been able to grasp it. She followed her
brother like one in a troubled dream, whispering faintly, with
white lips, "O God, where art Thou? Help and pity us!"
Thomas led her finally to his father's office. He went to a
closet filled with drugs, removed them, and then a certain
pressure of his hand caused the back of the closet to
disappear in a groove, and a receptacle full of coin and
papers was disclosed.
"We must take with us all the coin we can carry. What you are
not likely to require, is to go to the men in the field.
Then, hide in its place the old silver, and the laces, and the
jewels, which came with the Flores from Castile; and any other
papers and valuables, which you received from our father. I
think even Fray Ignatius will not discover them here."
"Is there any special need to hurry to-day?
"Santa Anna is within forty-eight hours of San Antonio. He
may force a march, and be here earlier. Travis told me last
night that their advance scouts had come in with this
intelligence. To-day they will gather every man they can, and
prepare to defend themselves in the Alamo. As soon as
Santa Anna arrives, we are in danger. I must leave here tonight.
I must either take you with me or remove you to a
place of more safety."
"Let us go with you."
"If my mother is willing."
"If she is not, what then?"
"Lopez has prepared for that emergency. He has an empty house
three miles west of San Antonio. He has had it completely
victualled. I will take you there after dark in the large
green chariot. Ortiz will drive the light Jersey wagon on the
Gonzales road. When inquiry is made, the Jersey wagon will
have attracted the attention of every Mexican, and Fray
Ignatius will receive positive assurances that you were in it
and are beyond his power. And certainly, without definite
intelligence, he would never suspect you of being anywhere on
the highway to Mexico."
"Shall we be quite alone?"
"For two or three days you will be quite alone. Ortiz will,
however, return with the wagon by a circuitous route; for,
sooner or later, you are sure to need it. Fear not to trust
him. Only in one respect will you need to supplement his
advice by your own intelligence: he is so eager to fight Santa
Anna, he may persuade himself and you that it is necessary to
fly eastward when it is not. In all other points you may be
guided by him, and his disguise as a peon is so perfect that
it will be easy for him to gather in the pulquerias all the
information requisite for your direction. I have been out to
the house, and I can assure you that Lopez has considered
everything for your comfort."
"However, I would rather go with you, Thomas."
"It must be as mother desires."
When the circumstances were explained to the Senora, she was
at first very determined to accept neither alternative. "She
would remain where she was. She was a Flores and a Gonzaga.
Santa Anna knew better than to molest her. She would rather
trust to him than to those dreadful Americans." Reminded of
Fray Ignatius, she shed a few tears over the poor padrecito,
and assured her children they had made a mistake regarding
him, which neither oil nor ointment, nor wit nor wisdom, could
get over.
It was almost impossible to induce her to come to a decision
of any kind; and only when she saw Antonia and Isabel were
dressed for a journey, and that Thomas had locked up all the
rooms and was extinguishing the fires, could she bring herself
to believe that the trial so long anticipated had really come.
"My dearest mother! My own life and the lives of many others
may now hang upon a few moments. I can remain here no longer.
Where shall I take you to?"
"I will not leave my home."
"Santa Anna is almost here. As soon as he arrives, Fray
Ignatius and twelve of the Bernardine monks are coming here.
I was told that yesterday."
"Then I will go to the convent. I and my daughters."
"No, mother; if you go to the convent, Antonia and Isabel must
go with me."
She prayed, and exclaimed, and appealed to saints and angels,
and to the holy Virgin, until Isabel was hysterically weeping,
Antonia at a mental tension almost unendurable, and Thomas on
the verge of one of those terrifying passions that mark
the extremity of habitually gentle, patient men.
"My God, mother!" he exclaimed with a stamp of his spurred
boot on the stone floor; "if you will go to the devil--to the
priests, I mean--you must go alone. Kiss your mother
farewell, girls. I have not another moment to wait."
Then, in a passion of angry sobs and reproaches, she decided
to go with her daughters, and no saint ever suffered with a
more firm conviction of their martyrdom to duty than did this
poor foolish, affectionate slave to her emotions and her
superstitions. But when Thomas had gone, and nothing was to
be gained by a display of her sufferings, she permitted
herself to be interested in their hiding-place, and after
Antonia had given her a cup of chocolate, and Isabel had
petted and soothed her, she began gradually to allow them to
explain their situation, and even to feel some interest in its
They sat in the charmful, dusky glimmer of starlight, for
candles and fire were forbidden luxuries. Fortunately, the
weather was warm and sunny, and for making chocolate and such
simple cookery, Lopez had provided a spirit lamp. The
Senora was as pleased as a child with this arrangement. She
had never seen anything like it before. She even imagined the
food cooked upon it had some rare and unusual flavor. She was
quite proud when she had learned its mysteries, and quite sure
that chocolate she made upon it was chocolate of a most
superior kind.
The house had been empty for two years, and the great point
was to preserve its air of desolation. No outside arrangement
was touched; the torn remnants of some balcony hangings were
left fluttering in the wind; the closed windows and the closed
doors, the absence of smoke from the chimneys and of lights
from the windows, preserved the air of emptiness and
loneliness that the passers-by had been accustomed to see.
And, as it was on the highway into the city, there were great
numbers of passers: mule-trains going to Mexico and Sonora;
cavaliers and pedestrians; splendidly-dressed nobles and
officials, dusty peons bringing in wood; ranchmen, peddlers,
and the whole long list of a great city's purveyors and
But though some of the blinds were half-closed, much could be
seen; and Isabel also often took cushions upon the flat roof,
and lying down, watched, from between the pilasters of the
balustrade surrounding it, the moving panorama.
On the morning of the third day of what the Senora, called
their imprisonment, they went to the roof to sit in the clear
sunshine and the fresh wind. They were weary and depressed
with the loneliness and uncertainty of their position, and
were almost longing for something to happen that would push
forward the lagging wheels of destiny.
A long fanfare of trumpets, a roll of drums, a stirring march
of warlike melody, startled them out of the lethargic tedium
of exhausted hopes and fears. "It is Santa Anna!" said
Antonia; and though they durst not stand up, they drew closer
to the balustrade and watched for the approaching army. Is
there any woman who can resist that nameless emotion which
both fires and rends the heart in the presence of great
military movements? Antonia was still and speechless, and
white as death. Isabel watched with gleaming eyes and
set lips. The Senora's excitement was unmistakably that of
exultant national pride.
Santa Anna and his staff-officers were in front. They passed
too rapidly for individual notice, but it was a grand moving
picture of handsome men in scarlet and gold--of graceful
mangas and waving plumes, and bright-colored velvet capes; of
high-mettled horses, and richly-adorned Mexican saddles,
aqueras of black fur, and silver stirrups; of thousands of
common soldiers, in a fine uniform of red and blue; with
antique brazen helmets gleaming in the sun, and long lances,
adorned with tri-colored streamers. They went past like a
vivid, wonderful dream--like the vision of an army of
mediaeval knights.
In a few minutes the tumult of the advancing army was
increased tenfold by the clamor of the city pouring out to
meet it. The clashing bells from the steeples, the shouting
of the populace, the blare of trumpets and roll of drums, the
lines of churchmen and officials in their grandest dresses, of
citizens of every age,--the indescribable human murmur--
altogether it was a scene whose sensuous splendor
obliterated for a time the capacity of impressionable
natures to judge rightly.
But Antonia saw beyond all this brave show the ridges of red
war, and a noble perversity of soul made her turn her senses
inward. Then her eyes grew dim, and her heart rose in pitying
prayer for that small band of heroes standing together for
life and liberty in the grim Alamo. No pomp of war was
theirs. They were isolated from all their fellows. They were
surrounded by their enemies. No word of sympathy could reach
them. Yet she knew they would stand like lions at bay; that
they would give life to its last drop for liberty; and rather
than be less than freemen, they would prefer not to be at all.
"The combat deepens. On, ye brave!
Who rush to glory or the grave."
"To all the sensual world proclaim:
One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name."
"Gashed with honorable scars,
Low in Glory's lap they lie;
Though they fell, they fell like stars,
Streaming splendor through the sky."
The passing-by of Santa Anna and the Mexican army, though it
had been hourly expected for nearly three days, was an event
which threw the Senora and her daughters into various
conditions of mental excitement. They descended from the roof
to the Senora's room, where they could move about and converse
with more freedom. For the poor lady was quite unable to
control her speech and actions, and was also much irritated by
Antonia's more composed manner. She thought it was want of
"How can you take things with such a blessed calmness," she
asked, angrily. "But it is the way of the Americans, no
doubt, who must have everything for prudence. Sensible!
Sensible! Sensible! that is the tune they are forever
playing, and you dance to it like a miracle."
"My dear mother, can we do any good by exclaiming and
"Holy Virgin! Perhaps not; but to have a little human nature
is more agreeable to those who are yet on the earth side of
"Mi madre," said Isabel, "Antonia is our good angel. She
thinks for us, and plans for us, and even now has everything
ready for us to move at a moment's notice. Our good angels
have to be sensible and prudent, madre."
"To move at a moment's notice! Virgin of Guadalupe! where
shall we go to? Could my blessed father and mother see me in
this prison, this very vault, I assure you they would be
unhappy even among the angels."
"Mother, there are hundreds of women today in Texas who would
think this house a palace of comfort and safety."
"Saints and angels! Is that my fault? Does it make my
condition more endurable? Ah, my children, I have seen great
armies come into San Antonio, and always before I have been
able to make a little pleasure to myself out of the event.
For the Mexicans are not blood-thirsty, though they are very
warlike. When Bravo was here, what balls, what bull-fights,
what visiting among the ladies! Indeed there was so much to
tell, the tertulia was as necessary as the dinner. To be
sure, the Mexicans are not barbarians; they made a war that
had some refinement. But the Americans! They are savages.
With them it is fight, fight, fight, and if we try to be
agreeable, as we were to that outrageous Sam Houston, they say
thank you, madam, and go on thinking their own cruel thoughts.
I wonder the gentle God permits that such men live."
"Dear mother, refinement in war is not possible. Nothing can
make it otherwise than brutal and bloody."
"Antonia, allow that I, who am your mother, should know what
I have simply seen with my eyes. Salcedo, Bravo, Martinez,
Urrea--are they not great soldiers? Very well, then, I
say they brought some pleasure with their armies; and you will
see that Santa Anna will do the same. If we were only in our
own home! It must have been the devil who made us leave it."
"How truly splendid the officers looked, mi madre. I dare say
Senora Valdez will entertain them."
"That is certain. And as for Dorette Valdez--the coquette--it
will certainly be a great happiness to her."
Isabel sighed, and the Senora felt a kind of satisfaction in
the sigh. It was unendurable to be alone in her regrets and
her longings.
"Yes," she continued, "every night Senora Trespalacios will
give a tertulia, and the officers will have military balls--
the brave young men; they will be so gay, so charming, so
devoted, and in a few hours, perhaps, they will go into the
other world by the road of the battlefield. Ah, how pitiful!
How interesting! Cannot you imagine it?"
Isabel sighed again, but the sigh was for the gay, the
charming Luis Alveda. And when she thought of him, she
forgot in a moment to envy Dorette Valdez, or the senoritas of
the noble house of Trespalacios. And some sudden, swift touch
of sympathy, strong as it was occult, made the Senora at the
same moment remember her husband and her sons. A real sorrow
and a real anxiety drove out all smaller annoyances. Then
both her daughters wept together, until their community of
grief had brought to each heart the solemn strength of a
divine hope and reliance.
"My children, I will go now and pray," said the sorrowful wife
and mother. "At the foot of the cross I will wait for the
hour of deliverance; and casting herself on her knees, with
her crucifix in her hand, she appeared in a moment to have
forgotten everything but her anguish and her sins, and the
Lamb of God upon whom, with childlike faith, she was
endeavoring to cast them. Her tears dropped upon the ivory
image of the Crucified, and sympathetic tears sprung into
Antonia's and Isabel's eyes, as they listened to her
That night, when all was dark and still, Ortiz returned with
the wagon. In the morning Antonia went to speak to him.
He looked worn-out and sorrowful, and she feared to ask him
for news. "There is food in the house, and I have made you
chocolate," she said, as she pitifully scanned the man's
exhausted condition.
"The Senorita is kind as the angels. I will eat and drink at
her order. I am, indeed, faint and hungry."
She brought him to the table, and when he refused to sit in
her presence, she said frankly, "Captain Ortiz, you are our
friend and not our servant. Rest and refresh yourself."
He bent upon one knee and kissed the hand she offered, and
without further remonstrance obeyed her desire. Isabel came
in shortly, and with the tact of true kindness she made no
remark, but simply took the chair beside Ortiz, and said, in
her usual voice and manner: "Good morning, Captain. We are
glad to see you. Did you meet my brother Thomas again?"
"Senorita, God be with you! I have not seen him. I was at
"Then you would see our brother Juan?"
"Si. The Senor Juan is in good health and great
happiness. He sent by my willing hands a letter."
"Perhaps also you saw his friend, Senor Grant?"
"From him, also, I received a letter. Into your gracious
care, Senorita, I deliver them."
"I thank you for your kindness, Captain. Tell us now of the
fortress. Are the troops in good spirits?"
"Allow me to fear that they are in too good assurance of
success. The most of the men are very young. They have not
yet met our Lady of Sorrows. They have promised to themselves
the independence of Texas. They will also conquer Mexico.
There are kingdoms in the moon for them. I envy such
exaltations--and regret them. GRACE OF GOD, Senorita! My
heart ached to see the crowds of bright young faces. With a
Napoleon--with a Washington to lead them--they would do
"What say you to Houston?"
"I know him not. At Goliad they are all Houstons. They
believe each man in himself. On the contrary, I wish that
each man looked to the same leader."
"Do you know that Santa Anna is in San Antonio?"
"I felt it, though I had no certain news. I came far around,
and hid myself from all passers-by, for the sake of the wagon
and the horses. I have the happiness to say they are safe.
The wagon is within the enclosure, the horses are on the
prairie. They have been well trained, and will come to my
call. As for me, I will now go into the city, for there will
be much to see and to hear that may be important to us.
Senoritas, for all your desires, I am at your service."
When Ortiz was gone, Isabel had a little fret of
disappointment. Luis might have found some messenger to bring
her a word of his love and life. What was love worth that did
not annihilate impossibilities! However, it consoled her a
little to carry Jack's letter to his mother. The Senora had
taken her morning chocolate and fallen asleep. When Isabel
awakened her, she opened her eyes with a sigh, and a look of
hopeless misery. These pallid depressions attacked her most
cruelly in the morning, when the room, shabby and unfamiliar,
gave both her memory, and anticipation a shock.
But the sight of the letter flushed her face with expectation.
She took it with smiles. She covered it with kisses. When
she opened it, a curl from Jack's head fell on to her lap.
She pressed it to her heart, and then rose and laid it at the
feet of her Madonna. "She must share my joy," she said with
a pathetic childishness; "she will understand it." Then, with
her arm around Isabel, and the girl's head on his shoulder,
they read together Jack's loving words:
"Mi madre, mi madre, you have Juan's heart in your heart.
Believe me, that in all this trouble I sorrow only for you.
When victory is won I shall fly to you. Other young men have
other loves; I have only you, sweet mother. There is always
the cry in my heart for the kiss I missed when I left you. If
I could hold your hand to-night, if I could hear your voice,
if I could lay my head on your breast, I would say that the
Holy One had given me the best blessings He had in heaven.
Send to me a letter, madre--a letter full of love and kisses.
Forgive Juan! Think of this only: HE IS MY BOY! If I
live, it is for you, who are the loveliest and dearest of
mothers. If I die, I shall die with your name on my
lips. I embrace you with my soul. I kiss your hands, and
remember how often they have clasped mine. I kiss your eyes,
your cheeks, your dear lips. Mi madre, remember me! In your
prayers, remember Juan!"
With what tears and sobs was this loving letter read by all
the women; and the Senora finally laid it where she had laid
the precious curl that had come with it. She wanted "the
Woman blessed among women" to share the mother joy and the
mother anguish in her heart. Besides, she was a little
nervous about Jack's memento of himself. Her superstitious
lore taught her that severed hair is a token of severed love.
She wished he had not sent it, and yet she could not bear to
have it out of her sight.
"Gracias a Dios!" she kept ejaculating. "I have one child
that loves me, and me only. I shall forgive Juan everything.
I shall not forgive Thomas many things. But Juan! oh! it is
impossible not to love him entirely. There is no one like him
in the world. If the good God will only give him back to me,
I will say a prayer of thanks every day of my life long.
Oh, Juan! Juan! my boy! my dear one!"
Thus she talked to herself and her daughters continually. She
wrote a letter full of motherly affection and loving
incoherencies; and if Jack had ever received it he would
doubtless have understood and kissed every word, and worn the
white messenger close to his heart. But between writing
letters and sending them, there were in those days intervals
full of impossibilities. Love then had to be taken on trust.
Rarely, indeed, could it send assurances of fidelity and
Jack's letter brightened the day, and formed a new topic of
conversation, until Ortiz returned in the evening. His
disguise had enabled him to linger about the Plaza and monte
table, and to hear and observe all that was going on.
"The city is enjoying itself, and making money," he said, in
reply to question from the Senora. "Certainly the San
Antonians approve of liberty, but what would you do? In Rome
one does not quarrel with the Pope; in San Antonio one must
approve of despotism, when Santa Anna parades himself there."
"Has he made any preparations for attacking the Alamo? Will
the Americans resist him?"
"Senorita Antonia, he is erecting a battery on the river bank,
three hundred yards from the Alamo. This morning, ere the
ground was touched, he reviewed his men in the Plaza. He
stood on an elevation at the church door, surrounded by his
officers and the priests, and unfurled the Mexican flag."
"That was about eleven o'clock, Captain?"
"Si, Senorita. You are precisely exact."
"I heard at that hour a dull roar of human voices--a roar like
nothing on earth but the distant roar of the ocean."
"To be sure; it was the shouting of the people. When all was
still, Fray Ignatius blessed the flag, and sprinkled over it
holy water. Then Santa Anna raised it to his lips and kissed
it. Holy Maria! another shout. Then he crossed his sword
upon the flag, and cried out--"Soldados! you are here to
defend this banner, which is the emblem of your holy faith and
of your native land, against heretics, infidels and ungrateful
traitors. Do you swear to do it? And the whole army answered
`Si! si! juramos!' (yes, we swear.) Again he kissed the
flag, and laid his sword across it, and, to be sure, then
another shout. It was a very clever thing, I assure you,
Senora, and it sent every soldier to the battery with a great
The Senora's easily touched feelings were all on fire at the
description. "I wish I could have seen the blessing of the
banner," she said; "it is a ceremony to fill the soul. I have
always wept at it. Mark, Antonia! This confirms what I
assured you of--the Mexicans make war with a religious feeling
and a true refinement. And pray, Captain Ortiz, how will the
Americans oppose these magnificent soldiers, full of piety and
"They have the Alamo, and one hundred and eighty-three men in
"And four thousand men against them?"
"Si. May the Virgin de los Remedios[4] be their help! An
urgent appeal for assistance was sent to Fanning at Goliad.
Senor Navarre, took it on a horse fleet as the wind. You will
see that on the third day he will be smoking in his balcony,
in the way which is usual to him."
[4] The Virgin appealed to in military straits.
"Will Fanning answer the appeal?"
"If the answer be permitted him. But Urrea may prevent. Also
other things."
Santa Anna entered San Antonio on Tuesday the twenty-third of
February, 1836, and by the twenty-seventh the siege had become
a very close one. Entrenched encampments encircled the doomed
men in the Alamo, and from dawn to sunset the bombardment went
on. The tumult of the fight--the hurrying in and out of the
city--the clashing of church bells between the booming of
cannon--these things the Senora and her daughters could hear
and see; but all else was for twelve days mere surmise. But
only one surmise was possible, when it was known that the
little band of defiant heroes were fighting twenty, times
their own number--that no help could come to them--that the
Mexicans were cutting off their water, and that their
provisions were getting very low. The face of Ortiz grew
constantly more gloomy, and yet there was something of triumph
in his tone as he told the miserably anxious women with what
desperate valor the Americans were fighting; and how fatally
every one of their shots told.
On Saturday night, the fifth of March, he called Antonia
aside, and said, "My Senorita, you have a great heart, and so
I speak to you. The end is close. To-day the Mexicans
succeeded in getting a large cannon within gunshot of the
Alamo, just where it is weakest. Senor Captain Crockett has
stood on the roof all day, and as the gunners have advanced to
fire it he has shot them down. A group of Americans were
around him; they loaded rifles and passed them to him quickly
as he could fire them. Santa Anna was in a fury past
believing. He swore then `by every saint in heaven or hell'
to enter the Alamo to-morrow. Senor Navarro says he is raging
like a tiger, and that none of his officers dare approach him.
The Senor bade me tell you that to-morrow night he will be
here to escort you to Gonzales; for no American will his fury
spare; he knows neither sex nor age in his passions. And when
the Alamo falls, the soldiers will spread themselves around
for plunder, or shelter, and this empty house is sure to
attract them. The Senorita sees with her own intelligence how
things must take place."
"I understand, Captain. Will you go with us?"
"I will have the Jersey wagon ready at midnight. I know the
horses. Before sun-up we shall have made many miles."
That night as Antonia and her sister sat in the dark together,
Antonia said: "Isabel, tomorrow the Alamo will fall. There
is no hope for the poor, brave souls there. Then Santa Anna
will kill every American."
"Oh, dear Antonia, what is to become of us? We shall have no
home, nothing to eat, nowhere to sleep. I think we shall die.
Also, there is mi madre. How I do pity her!"
"She is to be your care, Isabel. I shall rely on you to
comfort and manage her. I will attend to all else. We are
going to our father, and Thomas--and Luis."
Yes, and after all I am very tired of this dreadful life. It
is a kind of convent. One is buried alive here, and still not
safe. Do you really imagine that Luis is with my father and
"I feel sure of it."
"What a great enjoyment it will be for me to see him again!"
"And how delighted he will be! And as it is necessary that we
go, Isabel, we must make the best of the necessity. Try and
get mi madre to feel this."
"I can do that with a few words, and tears, and kisses. Mi
madre is like one's good angel--very easy to persuade."
"And now we must try and sleep, queridita."
"Are you sure there is no danger to-night, Antonia?"
"Not to-night. Say your prayer, and sleep in God's presence.
There is yet nothing to fear. Ortiz and Lopez Navarro are
watching every movement."
But at three o'clock in the morning, the quiet of their rest
was broken by sharp bugle calls. The stars were yet in the
sky, and all was so still that they thrilled the air like
something unearthly. Antonia started up, and ran to the roof.
Bugle was answering bugle; and their tones were imperative and
cruel, as if they were blown by evil spirits. It was
impossible to avoid the feeling that the call was a
PREDESTINED summons, full of the notes of calamity. She
was weighed down by this sorrowful presentiment, because, as
yet, neither experience nor years had taught her that
The unseen moving multitudes troubled the atmosphere between
them. In wild, savage gusts, she heard the military bands
playing the infamous Dequelo, whose notes of blood and fire
commingled, shrieked in every ear--"NO QUARTER! NO
QUARTER!" A prolonged shout, the booming of cannon, an awful
murmurous tumult, a sense of horror, of crash and conflict,
answered the merciless, frenzied notes, and drowned them in
the shrieks and curses they called for.
It was yet scarcely dawn. Her soul, moved by influences so
various and so awful, became almost rebellious. Why did God
permit such cruelties? Did He know? Would He allow a handful
of men to be overpowered by numbers? Being omnipotent, would
He not in some way, at least, make the fight equal? The
instinct of her anglo-American nature revolted at the
unfairness of the struggle. Even her ejaculations to heaven
were in this spirit. "It is so unjust," she murmured; "surely
the Lord of Hosts will prevent a fight which must be a
As she went about the simple preparations for their breakfast,
she wept continuously--tears of indignation and sorrow--tears
coming from the strength of feeling, rather than its weakness.
The Senora could eat nothing. Isabel was white with terror.
They wandered from window to window in the last extremity of
About seven o'clock they saw Ortiz pass the house. There were
so many people on the road he could not find an opportunity to
enter for some time. He had been in the city all night. He
had watched the movement of the troops in the starlight. As
he drank a cup of chocolate, he said:
"It was just three o'clock, Senorita, when the Matamoras
battalion was moved forward. General Cos supported it with
two thousand men.
"But General Cos was paroled by these same Americans who are
now in the Alamo; and his life was spared on condition that he
would not bear arms against them again."
"It is but one lie, one infamy more. When I left the city,
about four thousand men were attacking the Alamo. The
infantry, in columns, were driven up to the walls by the
cavalry which surrounded them."
"The Americans! Is there any hope for them?"
"The mercy of God remains, Senorita. That is all. The Alamo
is not as the everlasting hills. What men have made, men can
also destroy. Senor Navarro is in the church, praying for the
souls that are passing every moment."
"He ought to have been fighting. To help the living is better
than to pray for the dead."
Permit me to assure you, Senorita Antonia, that no man has
done more for the living. In time of war, there must be many
kinds of soldiers. Senor Navarro has given nearly all, that
he possesses for the hope of freedom. He has done secret
service of incalculable value."
"Secret service! I prefer those who have the courage of their
convictions, and who, stand by them publicly."
"This is to be considered, Senorita; the man who can be silent
can also speak when the day for speaking arrives." No one
opposed this statement. It did not seem worth while to
discuss opinions, while the terrible facts of the
position were appealing to every sense.
As the day went on, the conflict evidently became closer and
fiercer. Ortiz went back to the city, and the three lonely
women knelt upon the house-top, listening in terror to the
tumult of the battle. About noon the firing ceased, and an
awful silence--a silence that made the ears ache to be
relieved of it--followed.
"All is over!" moaned Antonia, and she covered her face with
her hands and sobbed bitterly. Isabel had already exhausted
tears. The Senora, with her crucifix in her hand, was praying
for the poor unfortunates dying without prayer.
During the afternoon, smoke and flame, and strange and
sickening odors were blown northward of the city, and for some
time it seemed probable that a great conflagration would
follow the battle. How they longed for some one to come! The
utmost of their calamity would be better than the intolerable
suspense. But hour after hour went past, and not even Ortiz
arrived. They began to fear that both he and Navarro had been
discovered in some disloyalty and slain, and Antonia was
heartsick when she considered the helplessness of their
Still, in accordance with Navarro's instructions, they dressed
for the contemplated journey, and sat in the dark, anxiously
listening for footsteps. About eleven o'clock Navarro and
Ortiz came together. Ortiz went for the horses, and Navarro
sat down beside, the Senora. She asked him, in a low voice,
what had taken place, and he answered:
"Everything dreadful, everything cruel, and monstrous, and
inhuman! Among the angels in heaven there is sorrow and anger
this night." His voice had in it all the pathos of tears, but
tears mingled with a burning indignation.
"The Alamo has fallen!"
"Senorita Antonia, I would give my soul to undo this day's
work. It is a disgrace to Mexico which centuries cannot wipe
"The Americans?"
"Are all with the Merciful One."
"Not one saved?"
"Not one."
"I will tell you. It is right to tell the whole world such an
infamy. If I had little children I would take them on my knee
and teach them the story. I heard it from the lips of one
wet-shod with their blood, dripping crimson from the battle--
my own cousin, Xavier. He was with General Castrillon's
division. They began their attack at four in the morning, and
after two hours' desperate fighting succeeded in reaching a
courtyard of the Alamo.
"They found the windows and doors barricaded with bags of
earth. Behind these the Americans fought hand to hand with
despairing valor. Ramires, Siesma and Batres led the columns,
and Santa Anna gave the signal of battle from a battery near
the bridge. When the second charge was driven back, he became
furious. He put himself in front of the men, and with shouts
and oaths led them to the third charge. Xavier said that he
inspired them with his own frenzy. They reached the foot of
the wall, and the ladders were placed in position. The
officers fell to the rear and forced the men to ascend them.
As they reached the top they were stabbed, and the ladders
overturned. Over and over, and over again these attempts
were made, until the garrison in the Alamo were exhausted with
the struggle."
Navarro paused a few minutes, overpowered by his emotions. No
one spoke. He could see Antonia's face, white as a spirit's,
in the dim light, and he knew that Isabel was weeping and that
the Senora had taken his hand.
"At last, at the hour of ten, the outer wall was gained.
Then, room by room was taken with slaughter incredible. There
were fourteen Americans in the hospital. They fired their
rifles and pistols from their pallets with such deadly aim
that Milagros turned a cannon shotted with grape and canister
upon them. They were blown to pieces, but at the entrance of
the door they left forty dead Mexicans."
"Ah Senor, Senor! tell me no more. My heart can not endure
"Mi madre," answered Isabel, "we must hear it all. Without
it, one cannot learn to hate Santa Anna sufficiently"; and her
small, white teeth snapped savagely, as she touched the hand
of Lopez with an imperative "Proceed."
"Colonel Bowie was helpless in bed. Two Mexican officers
fired at him, and one ran forward to stab him ere he died.
The dying man caught his murderer by the hair of his head, and
plunged his knife into his heart. They went to judgment at
the same moment."
"I am glad of it! Glad of it! The American would say to the
Almighty: `Thou gavest me life, and thou gavest me freedom;
freedom, that is the nobler gift of the two. This man robbed
me of both.' And God is just. The Judge of the whole earth
will do right."
"At noon, only six of the one hundred and eighty-three were
left alive. They were surrounded by Castrillon and his
soldiers. Xavier says his general was penetrated with
admiration for these heroes. He spoke sympathizingly to
Crockett, who stood in an angle of the fort, with his
shattered rifle in his right hand, and his massive knife,
dripping with blood, in his left. His face was gashed, his
white hair crimson with blood; but a score of Mexicans, dead
and dying, were around him. At his side was Travis, but so
exhausted that he was scarcely alive.
"Castrillon could not kill these heroes. He asked their lives
of Santa Anna, who stood with a scowling, savage face in
this last citadel of his foes. For answer, he turned to the
men around him, and said, with a malignant emphasis:
`Fire!' It was the last volley. Of the defenders of the
Alamo, not one is left."
A solemn silence followed. For a few minutes it was painful
in its intensity. Isabel broke it. She spoke in a whisper,
but her voice was full of intense feeling. "I wish indeed the
whole city had been burnt up. There was a fire this
afternoon; I would be glad if it were burning yet."
"May God pardon us all, Senorita! That was a fire which does
not go out. It will burn for ages. I will explain myself.
Santa Anna had the dead Americans put into ox-wagons and
carried to an open field outside the city. There they were
burnt to ashes. The glorious pile was still casting lurid
flashes and shadows as I passed it."
"I will hear no more! I will hear no more!" cried the Senora.
"And I will go away from here. Ah, Senor, why do you not make
haste? In a few hours we shall have daylight again. I am in
a terror. Where is Ortiz?"
"The horses are not caught in a five minutes, Senora.
But listen, there is the roll of the wagon on the flagged
court. All, then, is ready. Senora, show now that you are of
a noble house, and in this hour of adversity be brave, as the
Flores have always been."
She was pleased by the entreaty, and took his arm with a
composure which, though assumed, was a sort of strength. She
entered the wagon with her daughters, and uttered no word of
complaint. Then Navarro locked the gate, and took his seat
beside Ortiz. The prairie turf deadened the beat of their
horses' hoofs; they went at a flying pace, and when the first
pallid light of morning touched the east, they had left San
Antonio far behind and were nearing the beautiful banks of the
"How sleep the brave who sink to rest
By all their country's wishes bless'd?
* * * * *
By fairy hands their knell is rung;
By forms unseen their dirge is sung.
There Honor comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And Freedom shall awhile repair,
To dwell a weeping hermit there."
"How shall we rank thee upon glory's page?
Thou more than soldier, and just less than sage."
"Grief fills the room up of my absent child;
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me;
Remembers me of all his gracious parts."
Near midnight, on March the ninth, the weary fugitives arrived
at Gonzales. They had been detained by the deep mud in the
bottom lands, and by the extreme exhaustion of the ladies,
demanding some hours' rest each day. The village was dark
and quiet. Here and there the glimmer of a candle,
now and then the call of a sentry, or the wail of a child
broke the mysterious silence.
Ortiz appeared to know the ground perfectly. He drove without
hesitation to a log house in which a faint thread of light was
observable, and as he approached it he gave a long, peculiar
whistle. The door was instantly thrown open, and, as the
wagon stopped, two men stepped eagerly to it. In another
instant the Senora was weeping in her husband's arms, and
Isabel laughing and crying and murmuring her sweet surprises
into the ear of the delighted Luis. When their wraps had been
removed from the wagon, Ortiz drove away, leaving Navarro and
Antonia standing by the little pile of ladies' luggage.
"I will take charge of all, Senorita. Alas! How weary you
"It is nothing, Senor. Let me thank you for your great
"Senorita, to be of service to you is my good fortune. If it
were necessary, my life for your life, and I would die happy."
She had given him her hand with her little speech of thanks,
and he raised it to his lips. It was an act of homage
that he might have offered to a saint, but in it Lopez
unconsciously revealed to Antonia the secret love in his
heart. For he stood in the glow of light from the open door,
and his handsome face showed, as in a glass darkly, the
tenderness and hopelessness of his great affection. She was
touched by the discovery, and though she had a nature faithful
as sunrising she could not help a feeling of kindly interest
in a lover so reticent, so watchful, so forgetful of himself.
The log cabin in which they found shelter was at least a
resting-place. A fire of cedar logs burned upon the hearth,
and there was a bed in the room, and a few rude chairs covered
with raw hide. But the Senora had a happy smile on her weary
face. She ignored the poverty of her surroundings. She had
her Roberto, and, for this hour at least, had forgiven fate.
Presently the coffee-pot was boiling, and Doctor Worth and
Luis brought out their small store of corn-bread and their tin
camp-cups, and the weary women ate and drank, and comforted
themselves in the love and protection at their side.
Doctor Worth sat by his wife, and gave Antonia his hand.
Isabel leaned her pretty head against Luis, and listened with
happy smiles to his low words:
"Charming little one, your lips are two crimson curtains.
Between curtain and curtain my kiss is waiting. Give it to
"Eyes of my soul, to-night the world begins again for me."
"At this blessed hour of God, I am the happiest man he has
"As for me, here in this dear, white hand I put my heart."
Is there any woman who cannot imagine Isabel's shy glances,
and the low, sweet words in which she answered such delightful
protestations? And soon, to add a keener zest to his
happiness, Luis began to be a little jealous.
"With us is Dias de Bonilla. Do you remember, my beloved one.
that you danced with him once?"
"How can you say a thing so offensive?"
"Yes, dear, at the Senora Valdez's."
"It may be. I have forgotten."
"Too well he remembers. He has dared to sing a serenade
to your memory--well, truly, he did not finish it, and but for
the Senor Doctor, I should have taught him that Isabel is not
a name for his lips to utter. Here, he may presume to come
into your presence. Will you receive him with extreme
haughtiness? It would be a great satisfaction to me."
"The poor fellow! Why should I make him miserable? You
should not be jealous, Luis."
"If you smile on him--the least little smile--he will think
you are in love with him. He is such a fool, I assure you.
I am very distressed about this matter, my angel."
"I will tell you Luis--when the myrtle-tree grows figs, and
the fig-tree is pink with myrtle flowers, then I may fall in
love with Dias de Bonilla--if I can take the trouble."
No one heeded this pretty, extravagant talk. It was a thing
apart from the more serious interests discussed by Doctor
Worth and his wife and eldest daughter. And when Ortiz and
Navarro joined the circle, the story of the fall of the Alamo
was told again, and Luis forgot his own happiness, and wept
tears of anger and pity for the dead heroes.
"This brutal massacre was on the morning of the sixth, you
say, Navarro?"
"Last Sabbath morning, Senor. Mass was being offered in the
churches, and Te Deums sung while it went on."
"A mass to the devil it was," said Ortiz.
"Now, I will tell you something. On the morning of the
second, Thomas was in Washington. A convention sitting there
declared, on that day, the independence of Texas, and fiftyfive
out of fifty-six votes elected General Houston Commanderin-
"Houston! That is the name of victory! Gracias a Dios!"
cried Navarro.
"It is probable that the news of this movement influenced
Santa Anna to such barbarity."
"It is his nature to be brutal."
"True, Ortiz; yet I can imagine how this proclamation would
incense him. On the morning of the sixth, the convention
received the last express sent by poor Travis from the Alamo.
It was of the most thrilling character, breathing the very
spirit of patriotism and courage--and despair. In less than
an hour, Houston, with a few companions, was on his way
to the Alamo. At the same time he sent an express to Fannin,
urging him to meet him on the Cibolo. Houston will be here
"Then he will learn that all help is too late."
But Houston had learned it in his own way before he reached
Gonzales; for Travis had stated that as long as the Alamo
could be held, signal guns would be fired at sunrising; and it
is a well-authenticated fact that these guns were heard by
trained ears for more than one hundred miles across the
prairie. Houston, whose senses were keen as the Indians with
whom he had long lived knew when he was within reach of the
sound; and he rose very early, and with his ear close to the
ground waited in intense anxiety for the dull, rumbling murmur
which would tell him the Alamo still held out. His companions
stood at some distance, still as statues, intently watching
him. The sun rose. He had listened in vain; not the faintest
sound did his ear detect.
"The Alamo has fired its last gun," he said, on rejoining his
"And the men, General?"
"They have died like men. You may be sure of that."
At Gonzales he heard the particulars. And he saw that the
news had exerted a depressing influence upon the troops there.
He called them together. He spoke to them of the brutal
tragedy, and he invested its horrors with the grandeur of
eternal purpose and the glory of heroic sacrifice.
"They were soldiers," he cried; "and they died like soldiers.
Their names will be the morning stars of American history.
They will live for ever in the red monument of the Alamo." He
looked like a lion, with a gloomy stare; his port was fierce,
and his eyes commanded all he viewed. "Vengeance remains to
us! We have declared our independence, and it must be
He immediately sent off another express to Fannin; apprised
him of the fall of the Alamo; ordered him to blow up Goliad
and fall back upon Gonzales. Then he sent wagons into the
surrounding country, to transport the women and children to
the eastern settlements; for he knew well what atrocities
would mark every mile of Santa Anna's progress through the
These wagons, with their helpless loads, were to
rendezvous at Peach Creek, ten miles from Gonzales; where also
he expected Fannin and his eight hundred and sixty men to join
him. This addition would make the American force nearly
twelve hundred strong. Besides which, Fannin's little army
was of the finest material, being composed mostly of
enthusiastic volunteers from Georgia and Alabama; young men,
who, like Dare Grant and John Worth, were inspired with the
idea of freedom, or the spread of Americanism, or the
fanaticism of religious liberty of conscience--perhaps, even,
with hatred of priestly domination. Houston felt that he
would be sufficient for Santa Anna when the spirit of this
company was added to the moral force of men driven from their
homes and families to fight for the lands they had bought and
the rights which had been guaranteed them.
So he watched the horizon anxiously for Fannin's approach,
often laying his ear to the ground to listen for what he could
not see. And, impatient as he was for their arrival, the
Senora was more so. She declared that her sufferings would be
unendurable but for this hope. The one question on her lips,
the one question in her eyes, was, "Are they coming?"
And Antonia, though she did not speak of her private hopes,
was equally anxious. Brother and lover were both very dear to
her. And to have the whole family together would be in itself
a great help. Whatever their deprivations and fatigues, they
could comfort each other with their affection.
Every day wagon-loads of women and children joined the camp,
and the march eastward was very slow. But no circumstance
extols more loudly the bravery and tenderness of these
American soldiers than the patience with which this
encumbrance was endured. Men worn out with watching and
foraging were never too weary to help some mother still more
weary, or to carry some little child whose swollen feet would
no longer aid it.
One night they rested at a little place on the Colorado. In
one room of a deserted cabin Houston sat with Major Hockly,
dictating to him a military dispatch. They had no candles,
and Houston was feeding the fire with oak splinters, to
furnish light enough for their necessity. In the other room,
the Worth family were gathered. Antonia, in preparing
for their journey, had wisely laid a small mattress and
a couple of pillows in the wagon; and upon this mattress the
Senora and Isabel were resting. Doctor Worth and Thomas sat
by the fire talking of Fannin's delay; and Antonia was making
some corn-meal cakes for their supper.
When the Senora's portion was given to her she put it aside,
and lifted her eyes to Antonia's face. They asked the
question forever in her heart, "Is Jack coming?" and Antonia
pitifully shook her head.
Then the poor woman seemed to have reached the last pitch of
endurance. "Let me die!" she cried. "I can bear life no
longer." To Mary and the saints she appealed with a
passionate grief that was distressing to witness. All the
efforts of her husband and her children failed to sooth her;
and, as often happens in a complication of troubles, she
seized upon the most trifling as the text of her complaint.
"I cannot eat corn bread; I have always detested it. I am
hungry. I am perishing for my chocolate. And I have no
clothing. I am ashamed of myself. I thank the saints I
have no looking-glass. Oh, Roberto! Roberto! What have
you done to your Maria?"
"My dear wife! My dear, dear wife! Be patient a little
longer. Think, love, you are not alone. There are women here
far more weary, far more hungry; several who, in the
confusion, have lost their little children; others who are
holding dying babes in their arms."
"Giver of all good! give me patience. I have to say to you
that other women's sorrows do not make me grateful for my own.
And Santa Maria has been cruel to me. Another more cruel, who
can find? I have confessed to her my heartache about Juan;
entreated her to bring my boy to me. Has she done it?"
"My darling Maria."
"Grace of God, Roberto! It is now the twenty-third of March;
I have been seventeen days wandering with my daughters like
very beggars. If only I had had the discretion to remain in
my own house!"
"Maria, Lopez will tell you that Fray Ignatius and the brothers
are in possession of it. He saw them walking about the garden
reading their breviaries."
At this moment General Houston, in the opposite room was
dictating: "Before God, I have found the darkest hours of my
life. For forty-eight hours I have neither eaten an ounce of
anything, nor have I slept." The Senora's sobbing troubled
him. He rose to close the door, and saw two men entering.
One leaned upon the other, and appeared to be at the point of
"Where is there a doctor, General?"
"In that room, sir. Have you brought news of Fannin?"
"I have."
"Leave your comrade with the doctor, and report."
The entrance of the wounded man silenced the Senora. She
turned her face to the wall and refused to eat. Isabel sat by
her side and held her hand. The doctor glanced at it as he
turned away. It had been so plump and dimpled and white. It
was now very thin and white with exposure. It told him far
better than complaining, how much the poor woman had suffered.
He went with a sigh to his patient.
"Stabbed with a bayonet through the shoulder--hard riding from
Goliad--no food--no rest--that tells the whole story, doctor."
It was all he could say. A fainting fit followed. Antonia
procured some stimulant, and when consciousness returned,
assisted her father to dress the wound. Their own coffee was
gone, but she begged a cup from some one more fortunate; and
after the young man had drunk it, and had eaten a little
bread, he was inclined to make light of his wound and his
"Glad to be here at all," he said. "I think I am the only one
out of five hundred."
"You cannot mean that you are of Fannin's command?"
"I WAS of Fannin's command. Every man in it has been shot.
I escaped by a kind of miracle."
The doctor looked at the Senora. She seemed to be asleep.
"Speak low," he said, "but tell me all."
The man sat upon the floor with his back against the wall.
The doctor stooped over him. Antonia and Isabel stood beside
their father.
"We heard of Urrea's approach at San Patricio. The Irish
people of that settlement welcomed Urrea with great rejoicing.
He was a Catholic--a defender of the faith. But the
American settlers in the surrounding country fled, and Fannin
heard that five hundred women and children, followed by the
enemy, were trying to reach the fortress of Goliad. He
ordered Major Ward, with the Georgia battalions, to go and
meet the fugitives. Many of the officers entreated him not to
divide his men for a report which had come by way of the
faithless colony of San Patricio.
"But Fannin thought the risk ought to be taken. He took it,
and the five hundred women and children proved to be a
regiment of Mexican dragoons. They surrounded our infantry on
every side, and after two days' desperate fighting, the
Georgia battalions were no more. In the meantime, Fannin got
the express telling him of the fall of the Alamo, and ordering
him to unite with General Houston. That might have been a
possible thing with eight hundred and sixty men, but it was
not possible with three hundred and sixty. However, we made
the effort, and on the great prairie were attacked by the
enemy lying in ambush there. Entirely encircled by them, yet
still fighting and pressing onward, we defended ourselves
until our ammunition gave out. Then we accepted the
terms of capitulation offered by Urrea, and were marched back
to Goliad as prisoners of war. Santa Anna ordered us all to
be shot."
"But you were prisoners of war?"
"Urrea laughed at the articles, and said his only intention in
them was to prevent the loss of Mexican blood. Most of his
officers remonstrated with with{sic} him, but he flew into a
passion at Miralejes. `The Senor Presidente's orders are not
to be trifled with. By the Virgin of Guadelupe!' he cried,
`it would be as much as my own life was worth to disobey
"It gave the Mexican soldiers pleasure to tell us these
things, and though we scarcely believed such treachery
possible, we were very uneasy. On the eighth day after the
surrender, a lovely Sunday morning, we were marched out of the
fort on pretence of sending us to Louisiana; according to the
articles of surrender, and we were in high spirits at the
"But I noticed that we were surrounded by a double row of
soldiers, and that made me suspicious. In a few moments,
Fannin was marched into the centre, and told to sit down
on a low stool. He felt that his hour had come. He took
his watch and his purse, and gave them to some poor woman who
stood outside lamenting and praying for the poor Americans.
I shall never forget the calmness and brightness of his face.
The Mexican colonel raised his sword, the drums beat, and the
slaughter began. Fifty men at a time were shot; and those
whom the guns missed or crippled, were dispatched with the
bayonet or lance."
"You escaped. How?"
"When the lips of the officer moved to give the order: Fire!
I fell upon my face as if dead. As I lay, I was pierced by a
bayonet through the shoulder, but I made no sign of life.
After the execution, the camp followers came to rob the dead.
A kind-hearted Mexican woman helped me to reach the river. I
found a horse tied there, and I took it. I have been on the
point of giving up life several times, but I met a man coming
here with the news to Houston, and he helped me to hold out."
The doctor was trembling with grief and anger, and he felt
Antonia's hand on his shoulder.
"My friend," he whispered, "did you know JOHN WORTH?"
"Who did not know him in Fannin's camp? Any of us would have
been glad to save poor Jack; and he had a friend who refused
to live without him."
"Dare Grant?"
"That was the man, young lady. Grant was a doctor, and the
Mexicans wanted doctors. They offered him his life for his
services, but he would not have it unless his friend's life
also was spared. They were shot holding each other's hands,
and fell together. I was watching their faces at the moment.
There wasn't a bit of fear in them."
The Senora rose, and came as swiftly as a spirit to them. She
looked like a woman walking in her sleep. She touched the
stranger. "I heard you. You saw Dare Grant die. But my boy!
My boy! Where is my Juan?"
"Maria, darling."
"Don't speak, Roberto. Where is my Juan? Juan Worth?"
"Madam. I am sorry enough, God knows. Juan Worth--was shot."
Then the wretched mother threw up her hands, and with an
awful cry fell to the ground. It was hours ere she recovered
consciousness, and consciousness only restored her to misery.
The distress of the father, the brother and sisters of the
dead youth was submerged in the speechless despair of the
mother. She could not swallow food; she turned away from the
the{sic} sympathy of all who loved her. Even Isabel's
caresses were received with an apathy which was terrifying.
With the severed curl of her boy's hair in her fingers, she
sat in tearless, voiceless anguish.
Poor Antonia, weighed down with the double loss that had come
to her, felt, for the first time, as if their condition was
utterly hopeless. The mental picture of her brother and her
lover meeting their tragic death hand in hand, their youth and
beauty, their courage and fidelity, was constantly before her.
With all the purity and strength of her true heart, she loved
Dare; but she did not for a moment wish that he had taken a
different course. "It is just what I should have expected
from him," she said to Isabel. "If he had let poor Jack die
alone, I could never have loved him in the same way
again. But oh, Isabel, how miserable I am?"
"Sweet Antonia, I can only weep with you. Think of this; it
was on last Sunday morning. Do you remember how sad you
"I was in what seemed to be an unreasonable distress. I went
away to weep. My very thoughts were tired with their
sorrowful journeys up and down my mind, trying to find out
hope and only meeting despair. Oh, my brave Jack! Oh, my
dear Dare, what a cruel fate was your's!"
"And mi madre, Antonia? I fear, indeed, that she will lose
her senses. She will not speak to Thomas, nor even to me.
She has not said a prayer since Jack's death. She cannot
sleep. I am afraid of her, Antonia."
"To-night we are to move further east; perhaps the journey may
waken her out of this trance of grief. I can see that our
father is wretched about her; and Thomas wanders in and out of
the room as if his heart was broken."
"Thomas loved Jack. Luis told me that he sat with him and
Lopez, and that he sobbed like a woman. But, also, he means
a great revenge. None of the men slept last night. They
stood by the camp-fires talking. Sometimes I went to the door
and looked out. How awful they were in the blaze and
darkness! I think, indeed, they could have conquered Santa
Anna very easily."
Isabel had not misjudged the spirit of the camp. The news of
the massacre at Goliad was answered by a call for vengeance
that nothing but vengeance could satisfy. On the following
day Houston addressed his little army. He reminded them that
they were the children of the heroes who fought for liberty at
Yorktown, and Saratoga, and Bunker Hill. He made a soulstirring
review of the events that had passed; he explained to
them their situation, and the designs of the enemy, and how he
proposed to meet them.
His voice, loud as a trumpet with a silver sound, inspired all
who heard it with courage. His large, bright visage, serious
but hopeful, seemed to sun the camp. "They live too long," he
cried, "who outlive freedom. And I promise you that you shall
have a full cup of vengeance. For every man that fell
fighting at the Alamo, for every one treacherously
slaughtered at Goliad, you shall be satisfied. If I seem
to be flying before the enemy now, it is for his destruction.
Three Mexican armies united, we cannot fight. We can fight
them singly. And every mile we make them follow us weakens
them, separates them, confuses them. The low lands of the
Brazos, the unfordable streams, the morasses, the pathless
woods, are in league with us. And we must place our women and
children in safety. Even if we have to carry them to General
Gaines and the United States troops, we must protect them,
first of all. I believe that we shall win our freedom with
our own hands; but if the worst come, and we have to fall back
to the Sabine, we shall find friends and backers there. I
know President Jackson, my old general, the unconquered
Christian Mars! Do you think he will desert his countrymen?
Never! If we should need help, he has provided it. And the
freedom of Texas is sure and certain. It is at hand. Prepare
to achieve it. We shall take up our march eastward in three
Ringing shouts answered the summons. The camp was in a tumult
of preparation immediately; Houston was lending his great
physical strength to the mechanical difficulties to be
encountered. A crowd of men was around. Suddenly a woman
touched him on the arm, and he straightened himself and looked
at her.
"You will kill Santa Anna, General? You will kill this fiend
who has escaped from hell! By the mother of Christ, I ask
"My dear madam!"
He was so moved with pity that he could not for a moment or
two give her any stronger assurance. For this suppliant,
pallid and frenzied with sorrow, was the once beautiful Senora
Worth. He looked at her hollow eyes, and shrunk form, and
worn clothing, and remembered with a pang, the lovely,
gracious lady clad in satin and lace, with a jewelled comb in
her fine hair and a jewelled fan in her beautiful hands, and
a wave of pity and anger passed like a flame over his face.
"By the memory of my own dear mother, Senora, I will make
Santa Anna pay the full price of his cruelties."
"Thank you, Senor"; and she glided away with her tearless eyes
fixed upon the curl of black hair in her open palm.
"But to the hero, when his sword
Has won the battle for the free,
Thy voice sounds like a prophet's word,
And in its hollow tones are heard.
The thanks of millions yet to be,"
"Who battled for the true and just,
"And grasps the skirts of happy chance,
And breasts the blows of circumstance.
"And lives to clutch the golden keys,
To mould a mighty state's decrees."
The memorial of wrongs, which resulted in the Declaration of
Texan Independence, was drawn up with statesmanlike ability by
David G. Burnett, a native of New Jersey, a man of great
learning, dignity, and experience; who, as early as 1806,
sailed from New York to join Miranda in his effort to give
Spanish America liberty. The paper need not be quoted here.
It gave the greatest prominence to the refusal of
trial by jury, the failure too establish a system of public
education, the tyranny of military law, the demand that the
colonists should give up arms necessary for their protection
or their sustenance, the inciting of the Indians to massacre
the American settlers, and the refusal of the right to worship
the Almighty according to the dictates of their own
consciences. Burnett was elected Governor, and Houston felt
that he could now give his whole attention to military
The seat of Government was removed to Harrisburg, a small
place on the Buffalo Bayou; and Houston was sure that this
change would cause Santa Anna to diverge from his route to
Nacogdoches. He dispatched orders to the men scattered up and
down the Brazos from Washington to Fort Bend--a distance of
eighty miles--to join him on the march to Harrisburg, and he
struck his own camp at the time he had specified.
In less than twenty-four hours they reached San Felipe, a
distance of twenty-eight miles. The suffering of the women
and children on that march can never be told. Acts of heroism
on the part of the men and of fortitude on the part of
the women that are almost incredible, marked every step of the
way. The Senora sat in her wagon, speechless, and lost in a
maze of melancholy anguish. She did not seem to heed want, or
cold, or wet, or the utter misery of her surroundings. Her
soul had concentrated all its consciousness upon the strand of
hair she continually smoothed through her fingers. Dr. Worth,
in his capacity of physician, accompanied the flying families,
and he was thus able to pay some attention to his distraught
wife; but she answered nothing he said to her. If she looked
at him, her eyes either flamed with anger, or expressed
something of the terror to be seen in the eyes of a hunted
animal. It was evident that her childish intelligence had
seized upon him as the most obvious cause of all her loss and
The condition of a wife so beloved almost broke his heart.
The tragic death of his dear son was not so hard to endure as
this living woe at his side. And when they reached San Felipe
and found it in ashes, a bitter cry of hopeless suffering came
from every woman's lips. They had thought to find there a
little food, and a day's sheltered resting-place. Even
Antonia's brave soul fainted, at the want and suffering around
her. She had gold, but it could not buy bread for the little
ones, weeping with hunger and terrified by the fretfulness of
mothers suffering the pangs of want and in the last stage of
human weariness.
It was on this night Houston wrote: "I will do the best I
can; but be assured the fame of Jackson could never compensate
me for my anxiety and mental pain." And yet, when he was told
that a blind woman and her seven children had been passed by,
and did not know the enemy were approaching, he delayed the
march until men had been sent back to bring them into safety.
During these days of grief and privation Isabel's nature grew
to its finest proportions. Her patient efforts to arouse her
mother, and her cheerfulness under the loss of all comforts,
were delightful. Besides which, she had an inexhaustible fund
of sympathy for the babies. She was never without one in her
arms. Three mothers, who had died on the road, left their
children to her care. And it was wonderful and pitiful to see
the delicately nurtured girl, making all kinds of efforts
to secure little necessaries for the children she had elected
to care for.
"The Holy Mother helps me," she said to, Antonia. "She makes
the poor little ones good, and I am not very tired."
At San Felipe they were joined by nearly one hundred men, who
also brought word that a fine company were advancing to their
aid from Mississippi, under General Quitman; and that two
large cannon, sent by the people of Cincinnati, were within a
few miles. And thus hoping and fearing, hungry and weary to
the death, they reached, on the 16th of April, after a march
of eighteen miles, a place called McArley's. They had come
over a boggy prairie under a cold rain, and were depressed
beyond expression. But there was a little shelter here for
the women and children to sleep under. The men camped in the
open. They had not a tent in their possession.
About ten o'clock that night, Doctor Worth was sitting with
his wife and children and Antonia in one corner of a room in
a deserted cabin. He had the Senora's wasted hand in his own,
and was talking to her. She sat in apathetic silence.
It was impossible to tell whether she heard or understood him.
"I wonder where Isabel is," said Antonia; and with the words
the girl entered the room. She had in her arms a little lad
of four years old, suffering the tortures of croup.
"Mi madre," she cried, "you know how to save him! He is
dying! Save him! Listen to me! The Holy Mother says so";
and she laid the child on her knee.
A change like a flash of light passed over the Senora's face.
"The poor little one!" Her motherly instincts crushed down
everything else. In the child's agony she forgot her own
grief. With glad hearts the doctor and Antonia encouraged her
in her good work, and when at length the sufferer had been
relieved and was sleeping against her breast, the Senora had
wept. The stone from her heart had been rolled away by a
little child. Her own selfish sorrow had been buried in a
wave of holy, unselfish maternal affection. The key to her
nature had been found, and henceforward Isabel brought to her
every suffering baby.
On the next day they marched ten miles through a heavy rain,
and arrived at Burnett's settlement. The women had
shelter, the men slept on the wet ground--took the prairie
without cover--with their arms in their hands. They knew they
were in the vicinity of Santa Anna, and all were ready to
answer in an instant the three taps of the drum, which was the
only instrument of martial music in the camp, and which was
never touched but by Houston.
Another day of eighteen miles brought them to within a short
distance of Harrisburg. Santa Anna had just been there, and
the place was in ashes. It was evident to all, now, that the
day and the hour was at hand. Houston first thought of the
two hundred families he had in charge, and they were quickly
taken over the bayou. When he had seen the last one in this
comparative safety, he uttered so fervent a "Thank God!" that
the men around unconsciously repeated it. The bayou though
narrow was twenty feet deep, and the very home of alligators.
There was only one small bridge in the vicinity. He intended
its destruction, and thus to make his little band and the
deep, dangerous stream a double barrier between the Mexicans
and the women and children beyond them. It was after
this duty he wrote:
"This morning we are in preparation to meet Santa Anna. We
will only be about seven hundred to march, besides the camp
guard. But we go to conquest. The troops are in fine
spirits, and now is the time for action. I leave the result
in the hands of an all-wise God, and I rely confidently in his
[5] Copy from Department of War of the Republic of Texas.
The women and children, under a competent guide, continued
their march eastward. But they were worn out. Many were
unable to put their feet to the ground. The wagons were
crowded with these helpless ones. The Senora had so far
recovered as to understand that within a few hours Santa Anna
and the Americans must meet. And, mentally led by Isabel's
passionate hatred, she now showed a vindictiveness beyond that
of any other woman.
She spent hours upon her knees, imploring the saints, and the
stars, and the angel Michael, to fight against Santa
Anna. To Isabel she whispered, "I have even informed the evil
one where he may be found. The wretch who ordered such
infamies! He poisons the air of the whole world as he goes
through it. I shall never be happy till I know that he is in
purgatory. He will be hated even there--and in a worse place,
too. Yes, it is pleasant to think of that! There will be
many accusers of him there. I shall comfort myself with
imagining his punishment. Isabel, do you believe with your
heart that Senor Houston and the Americans will be strong
enough to kill him?"
"Mi madre, I know it."
"Then do be a little delighted. How can you bear things with
such a provoking indifference? But as Luis is safe--"
"Chito! Chito! Do not be cruel, mi madre. I would stab
Santa Anna with my own hands--very slowly, I would stab him.
It would be so sweet. The Sisters told me of a woman in the
Holy Book, who smiled upon the one she hated, and gave him
milk and butter, and when he slept, drove a great nail through
his temples. I know how she felt. What a feast it would be,
to strike, and strike, and strike! I could drive ten,
twenty, fifty nails, into Santa Anna, when I think of Juan."
No one had before dared to breathe her boy's name in her
hearing. She herself had never spoken it. It fell upon the
ears of both women like a strain of forgotten music. They
looked at each other with eyes that stirred memory and love to
their sweetest depths. Almost in whispers they began to talk
of the dead boy, to recall how lovable, how charming, how
affectionate, how obedient he had been. Then the Senora broke
open the seals of her sorrow, and, with bitter reproaches on
herself, confessed that the kiss she had denied her Juan was
a load of anguish upon her heart that she could not bear.
"If I had only blessed him," she moaned; "I had saved him from
his misfortune. A mother's blessing is such a holy thing!
And he knelt at my knees, and begged it. I can see his eyes
in the darkness, when my eyes are shut. I can hear his voice
when I am asleep. Isabel, I shall never be happy till I see
Juan again, and say to him, `Forgive me, dear one, forgive me,
for I have suffered.'"
Both were weeping, but Isabel said, bravely: "I am sure
that Juan does not blame you now, mi madre. In the other
world one understands better. And remember, also, the letter
which he wrote you. His last thought was yours. He fell with
your name on his lips. These things are certain. And was it
not good of Dare to die with him? A friend like that! Out of
the tale-books who ever hears of such a thing? Antonia has
wept much. In the nights, when she thinks I am asleep, I hear
her. Have you seen that she has grown white and thin? I
think that my father is very unhappy about her."
"In an hour of mercy may the merciful One remember Dare Grant!
I will pray for his peace as long as I live. If he had left
Juan--if he had come back alone--I think indeed I should have
hated him."
"That was also the opinion of Antonia--she would never have
loved him the same. I am sure she would not have married
"My good Antonia! Go bring her to me, Isabel. I want to
comfort her. She has been so patient with me. I have felt
it--felt it every minute; and I have been stupid and selfish,
and have forgotten that she too was suffering."
The next day it was found impossible to move. The majority of
the women had husbands with the army. They had left their
wives, to secure everlasting freedom for their children; but,
even if Houston was victorious, they might be wounded and need
their help. To be near them in any case was the one thing
about which they were positive.
"We will not move another inch," said a brave little
Massachusetts woman, who had been the natural leader of this
domestic Exodus; "we will rest ourselves a little here, and if
the Mexicans want some extraordinary fighting they can have
it; especially, if they come meddling with us or our children.
My husband told me just to get out of reach of shot and shell
and wait there till we heard of the victory, and I am for
doing THAT, and no other thing."
Nearly two hundred women, bent upon their own way, are not to
be taken any other way; and the few old men who had been sent
to guide the party, and shoot what game was necessary for
their support, surrendered at once to this feminine mutiny.
Besides, the condition of the boys and girls between seven and
fourteen was really a deplorable one. They were too old
to be cared for as infants, and they had been obliged, with
the strength of children, to accomplish the labor of men and
women. Many were crippled in their feet, others were
continually on the point of swooning.
It was now the 20th of April. The Senora and her daughters
had been six weeks with the American army, exposed to all the
privations which such a life entailed. But the most obvious
of these privations were, perhaps, those which were most
easily borne. Women endure great calamities better than the
little annoyances affecting those wants which are part and
parcel of their sex or their caste. It was not the
necessaries so much as the luxuries of life which the Senora
missed--the changes of raiment--the privacy--the quiet--the
regularity of events.
During the whole of the 20th, there was almost a Sabbath
stillness. It was a warm, balmy day. The wearied children
were under the wagons and under the trees, sleeping the dead
sleep of extreme exhaustion. The mothers, wherever it was
possible, slept also. The guides were a little apart,
listening and smoking. If they spoke, it was only in
monosyllables. Rest was so much more needed than food that
little or no attempt was made to cook until near sundown.
At dawn next morning--nay, a little before dawn--when all was
chill, and gray, and misty, and there was not a sound but the
wailing of a sick child, the Senora touched her daughters.
Her voice was strange to them; her face solemnly happy.
eyes were shut, but I have seen him. He was a beautiful
shadow, with a great, shadowy host around him. He bent on me
such eyes! Holy Mother! their love was unfathomable, and I
heard his voice. It was far off, yet near. `Madre!' he said,
are words in my heart, but I cannot explain them to you. I
know what they mean. I will weep no more. They put my Juan's
body in the grave, but they have not buried HIM."
All day she was silent and full of thought, but her face was
smiling and hopeful, and she had the air of one waiting for
some assured happiness. About three o'clock in the
afternoon she stood up quickly and cried, "Hark! the battle
has begun!" Every one listened intently, and after a short
pause the oldest of the guides nodded. "I'd give the rest of
my life to be young again," he said, "just for three hours to
be young, and behind Houston!"
The words fell from the Senora's lips with a singular
significance. Her face and voice were the face and voice of
some glad diviner, triumphantly carrying her own augury.
Under a little grove of trees she walked until sunset, passing
the beads of her rosary through her fingers, and mechanically
whispering the prayers appointed. The act undoubtedly quieted
her, but Antonia knew that she lay awake all night, praying
for the living or the dead.
About ten o'clock of the morning of the 22d, a horseman was
seen coming toward the camp at full speed. Women and children
stood breathlessly waiting his approach. No one could speak.
If a child moved, the movement was angrily reproved. The
tension was too great to admit of a touch through any
sense. Some, unable to bear the extended strain, sank upon
the ground and covered their faces with their hands. But the
half-grown children, wan with privations and fever, ragged and
barefoot, watched steadily the horse and its rider, their
round, gleaming eyes full of wonder and fear.
"It is Thomas," said the Senora.
As he came near, and the beat of the horse's hoofs could be
heard, a cry almost inarticulate, not to be described, shrill
and agonizing in its intensity, broke simultaneously from the
anxious women. It was one cry from many hearts, all at the
last point of endurance. Thomas Worth understood it. He
flung his hat up, and answered with a joyful "Hurrah!"
When he reached the camp, every face was wet with tears, and
a crowd of faces was instantly round him. All the agonies of
war were on them. He raised himself in his stirrups and
shouted out:
"You may all go back to your homes! Santa Anna is completely
overthrown! The Mexican army is destroyed! There will be no
more fighting, no more fears. The independence of Texas
is won! No matter where you come from, YOU ARE ALL TEXANS
NOW! Victory! Freedom! Peace! My dear friends, go back to
your homes. Your husbands will join you at the San Jacinto."
Then he dismounted and sought his mother and sisters. With
joyful amazement he recognized the change in the Senora. "You
look like yourself, dear mother," he said. "Father sends you
this kiss. He would have brought it, but there are a few
wounded men to look after; and also I can ride quicker.
Antonia, cheer up my dear!--and Isabel, little darling, you
will not need to cry any more for your ribbons, and mantillas,
and pretty dresses."
"Thomas! You have not much feeling, I think. What I want to
know about, is Luis. You think of no one; and, as for my
dresses, and mantillas, I dare say Fray Ignatius has sold, or
burned them."
"Queridita! Was I cruel? Luis is well. He has not a
scratch. He was in the front of the battle, too."
"THAT, of course. Would you imagine that Luis would be at
the rear? He is General Houston's friend, and one lion
knows another lion."
"Pretty one, do not be angry with me. I will tell you some
good news. Luis is coming here, unless you go back at once
with me."
"We will go back with you, Thomas. I am full of impatience.
I remember my dear home. I will go to it, like a bird to its
In half an hour they had turned the heads of their horses
westward again. They went so rapidly, and were under so much
excitement, that sustained conversation was impossible. And
the Senora also fell into a sound sleep as soon as the first
homeward steps had been taken. Whatever had been made known
to her by Juan had received its fulfilment. She was assured
and happy. She slept till they reached the victorious camp,
and her husband awakened her with a kiss. She answered him
with her old childish impulsiveness. And among the first
words she said, were" "Roberto, my beloved, I have seen
He believed her. To his reverent soul there was nothing
incredible in the statement. The tie between a mother and her
child is not broken by death. Was it unlikely, then,
that Juan should have been conscious of, and touched by, the
mental agony which his untimely death had caused a mother so
And oh! how different was the return to the ground west of the
Buffalo Bayou. The very atmosphere was changed. A day or two
of spring had brought out the flowers and unfolded every green
thing. Doctor Worth took his family to a fine Mexican
marquee, and among other comforts the Senora found there the
chocolate she had so long craved, and some cigaritos of most
delicate flavor.
In a short time a luxurious meal was prepared by Antonia, and
just as they were sitting down to it, Luis and Lopez entered
the tent together. Isabel had expected the visit and prepared
for it as far as her limited wardrobe permitted. And her fine
hair, and bright eyes, her perfect face and form, and the
charming innocence of her manners, adorned her as the color
and perfume of the rose make the beauty of the flower. She
was so lovely that she could dare to banter Luis on the
splendor of his attire.
"It is evident, mi madre, that Luis has found at least
the baggage of a major-general. Such velvet and silver
embroidery! Such a silk sash! They are fit at the
very least for a sultan of the Turks."
He came to her crowned with victory. Like a hero he came, and
like a lover. They had a thousand pretty things to say to
each other; and a thousand blissful plans in prospect. Life
to them had never before been so well worth living.
Indeed, a wonderful exaltation possessed both Luis and Lopez.
The sombre, handsome face of the latter was transfigured by
it. He kissed the hand of the Senora, and then turned
to Antonia. Her pallor and emaciation shocked him. He could
only murmur, "Senorita!" But she saw the surprise, the
sorrow, the sympathy, yes, the adoring love in his heart, and
she was thankful to him for the reticence that relieved her
from special attention.
Doctor Worth made room for Lopez beside him. Luis sat by
Isabel, upon a pile of splendid military saddle-cloths. As
she sipped her chocolate, he smoked his cigarito in a lazy
fashion, and gave himself up with delight to that
foolishness of love-making which is often far wiser than the
very words of wisdom.
As yet the ladies had not spoken of the battle. It was won.
That great fact had been as much as they could bear at first.
The Senora wanted to sleep. Isabel wanted to see Luis. Only
Antonia was anxious for the details, and she had been busy in
preparing the respectable meal which her mother had so long
craved. The apparent indifference was natural enough. The
assurance of good fortune is always sufficient for the first
stage of reaction from anxiety. When the most urgent personal
feelings have been satisfied, then comes the demand for detail
and discussion. So now, as they sat together, the Senora
"No one has told me anything about the battle. Were you
present, Roberto?"
"I had that great honor, Maria. Lopez and Luis were with the
cavalry, and Ortiz also has had some satisfaction for all his
"Very good! But I am impatient for the story; so is Antonia;
and as for Isabel--bah! the little one is listening to another
story. One must excuse her. We expected the battle on the
twentieth, but no!"
"The enemy were expecting it also, and were in high spirits
and perfect preparation. Houston thought it prudent to dash
their enthusiasm by uncertainty and waiting. But at dawn, on
the twenty-first, we heard the three taps of the drum, and
seven hundred soldiers sprang to their feet as one man.
Houston had been watching all night. He spoke to us with a
tongue of fire and then, while we cooked and ate our
breakfast, he lay down and slept. The sun came up without a
cloud, and shone brightly on his face. He sprang to his feet
and said to Burleson, as he saluted him: `The sun of
Austerlitz has risen again.'
"Some one brought him a piece of cornbread and broiled beef.
He sat upon the grass and ate it--or rather upon the blue
hyacinths that covered the grass; they are red now. For many
weeks I had not seen his countenance so bright; all traces of
trouble and anxiety were gone. He called Deaf Smith--the
scout of scouts--and quickly ordered him to cut down the only
bridge across the bayou.
"At nine o'clock, General Cos joined Santa Anna with five
hundred and forty men, and for a moment I thought we had
made a mistake in not attacking the enemy before his
reinforcements came up. But the knowledge that Cos was
present, raised enthusiasm to the highest pitch. Our troops
remembered his parole at the Alamo, and the shameful manner in
which he had broken it; and there was not a man who did not
long to kill him for it.
"About three o'clock in the afternoon, Houston ordered the
attack. The seven hundred Americans were divided into three
bodies. I saw Houston in the very centre of the line, and I
have a confused memory of Milard and Lamar, Burleson and
Sherman and Wharton, in front of their divisions."
"Were the Mexicans expecting the attack, father?"
"They were in perfect order, Antonia; and when Sherman shouted
ALAMO!' it was taken up by the whole seven hundred, and such
a shout of vengeance mortal ears never heard before. The air
was full of it, and it appeared to be echoed and repeated by
innumerable voices.
"With this shout on our lips, we advanced to within sixty
paces of the Mexican lines, and then a storm of bullets went
flying over our heads. One ball, however, shattered Houston's
ankle, and another struck his horse in the breast. But both
man and horse were of the finest metal, and they pressed on
regardless of their wounds. We did not answer the volley
until we poured our lead into their very bosoms. No time for
reloading then. We clubbed our rifles till they broke, flung
them away and fired our pistols in the eyes of the enemy;
then, nothing else remaining, took our bowie-knives from our
belts and cut our way through the walls of living flesh."
Lopez rose at the words. It was impossible for him to express
himself sufficiently in an attitude of repose. His eyes
glowed like fire, his dark face was like a flame, he threw up
his hands as he cried:
"Nothing comparable to that charge with knives was ever made
on earth! If I had seen through the smoke and vapor the
mighty shade of Bowie leading it, I should not have been
"Perhaps indeed, he did lead it," said the Senora, in a solemn
voice. "I saw yes, by all the saints of God! I saw a
great host with my Juan. They stretched out vast, shadowy
arms--they made me FEEL what I can never tell. But I shall
honor Senor Houston. I shall say to him some day. `Senor,
the unseen battalions--the mighty dead as well as the mighty
living--won the battle.' Roberto, believe me, there are
things women understand better than wise men."
A little awe, a solemn silence, answered the earnest woman.
Luis and Isabel came close to her, and Isabel took her hand.
Lopez resumed the conversation. "I know Colonel Bowie," he
said. "In the last days at San Antonio I was often with him.
Brave as a lion, true to his friends, relentless to his foes,
was he. The knife he made was the expression of his character
in steel. It is a knife of extreme unction--the oil and
wafer are all that remains for the men who feels its edge.
For my part, I honor the Senora's thought. It is a great
satisfaction to me to hope that Bowie, and Crockett, and
Travis, and Fannin, and all their company were present at San
Jacinto. If the just God permitted it, 'twas a favor of
supreme justice."
"But then you are not alone in the thought, Lopez. I heard
General Sherman say, `Poor Fannin! He has been blamed for not
obeying Houston's orders. I THINK HE OBEYED THEM TO-DAY.'
At the moment I did not comprehend; but now it is plain to me.
He thought Fannin had been present, and perhaps it was this
belief made him so impetuous and invincible. He fought like
a spirit; one forgot that he was flesh and blood."
"Sherman is of a grand stock," said the doctor; descended from
the wise Roger Sherman; bred in Massachusetts and trained in
all the hardy virtues of her sons. It was from his lips the
battle-cry of `REMEMBER THE ALAMO!' sprang."
"But then, Roberto, nothing shall persuade me that my
countrymen are cowards."
"On the contrary, Maria, they kept their ground with great
courage. They were slain by hundreds just where they stood
when the battle began. Twenty-six officers and nearly seven
hundred men were left dead upon the field. But the flight was
still more terrible. Into the bayou horses and men rolled
down together. The deep black stream became red; it was
choked up with their dead bodies, while the mire and water of
the morass was literally bridged with the smothered mules and
horses and soldiers."
"The battle began at three o'clock; but we heard the firing
only for a very short time," said Antonia.
"After we reached their breastworks it lasted just eighteen
minutes. At four, the whole Mexican army was dead, or flying
in every direction, and the pursuit and slaughter continued
until twilight. Truly an unseen power made all our moves for
us. It was a military miracle, for our loss was only eight
killed and seventeen wounded."
"I am sorry Houston is among the wounded."
"His ankle-bone is shattered. He is suffering much. I was
with him when he left the field and I was delighted with his
patience and dignity. The men crowded around him. They
seized his bridle; they clasped his hands. `Have we done well
to-day, General? Are you satisfied with us?' they cried.
"`You have covered yourselves with glory,' he answered. `You
have written a grand page in American history this day,
boys. For it was not for fame nor for empire you fought; but
for your rights as freemen, for your homes and your faith.'
"The next moment he fell from his horse and we laid him down
at the foot of an oak tree. He had fainted from loss of blood
and the agony of his wound, combined with the superhuman
exertions and anxieties of the past week."
"But he is better now?"
"Yes; I dressed the wound as well as my appliances permitted;
but he will not be able to use his foot for some time. No one
slept that night. Weary as the men were, their excitement and
happiness were too great for the bonds of sleep. In the
morning the rich spoils of the enemy's camp were divided among
them. Houston refused any part in them. `My share of the
honor is sufficient,' he said. Yet the spoils were very
valuable ones to men who but a few hours before had nothing
but the clothing they wore and the arms they carried. Among
them were nearly one thousand stand of English muskets, three
hundred valuable mules, one hundred fine horses, provisions,
clothing, tents, and at least twelve thousand dollars in
"Were you on the field all the time, father?"
"I was near Houston from first to last. When he saw the
battle was won, he did his best to prevent needless slaughter.
But men on a battle-field like San Jacinto cannot be reasoned
with; after a certain point, they could not even be commanded.
The majority had some private revenge to satisfy after the
public welfare had been served. We met one old man in a
frenzy, covered with blood from his white beard to his boots,
his arms bare to his shoulders, his knife dripping from haft
to point."
"Houston looked at him, and said something about mercy and
valor. `General,' he said, `they killed two of my boys at
Goliad, and my brother at the Alamo. I'll not spare a Mexican
while I've the strength to kill one. I'm on the scent for
Santa Anna, and, by G--, if I find him, I will spare Texas and
you any more trouble with the brute.'"
At this moment Thomas Worth entered the marquee, and, in an
excited manner, said:
"Santa Anna is taken! Santa Anna is taken! "
"Taken!" cried the Senora in a passion.
"Taken! Is it possible the wretch is yet in this world? I
was assuring myself that he was in one not so comfortable.
Why is he not killed? It is an inconceivable insult to
humanity to let him live. Have you thought of your brother
Juan? Give me the knife in your belt, Thomas, if you cannot
use it."
"My dear mother--"
"Maria, my life! Thomas could not wisely kill so important a
prisoner. Texas wants him to secure her peace and
independence. The lives of all the Americans in Mexico may
depend upon his. Mere personal vengeance on him would be too
dear a satisfaction. On the battle-field he might have been
lawfully slain--and he was well looked for; but now, No."
"Holy Mary! might have been slain! He ought to have been
slain, a thousand times over."
"Luis, I wish that you had been a hero, and killed him. Then
all our life long, if you had said, `Isabel, I slew Santa
Anna,' I should have given you honor for it. I should be
obedient to your wishes for that deed."
"But my charming one, I prefer to be obedient to your wish.
Let us not think of the creature; he is but a dead dog."
The doctor turned to his son. "Thomas, tell us about the
"I was riding with a young lieutenant, called Sylvester, from
Cincinnati, and he saw a man hiding in the grass. He was in
coarsest clothing, but Sylvester noticed under it linen of
fine cambric. He said: `You are an officer, I perceive,
sir.' The man denied it, but when he could not escape, he
asked to be taken to General Houston. Sylvester tied him to
his bridle-rein, and we soon learned the truth; for as we
passed the Mexican prisoners they lifted their hats and said,
with a murmur of amazement, `El Presidente!'
"The news spread like wildfire. As we took him through the
camp he trembled at the looks and words that assailed him, and
prayed us continually, `for the love of God and the saints,'
not to let him be slain. We took him to Houston in safety.
Houston was resting on the ground, having had, as my father
knows, a night of great suffering. Santa Anna approached
him, and, laying his hand on his heart, said: `I am General
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, President of the Mexican
Republic, and I claim to be your prisoner of war.' Houston
pointed to a seat, and then sent for Santa Anna's secretary,
Almonte, who is also a prisoner, and who speaks English
"When Almonte came, he embraced Santa Anna, and addressing
Houston, said: `General, you are born to a great destiny.
You have conquered the Napoleon of the West. Generosity
becomes the brave and the fortunate.'
"Houston answered, sternly: `You should have remembered that
sentiment at the Alamo and at Goliad.'
"Then the following conversation occurred. Santa Anna said:
"`The Alamo was taken by storm. The usages of war permitted
the slaughter.'
"`We live in the nineteenth century, President. We profess to
be Christians.'
"`I have to remind you, General Houston, of the storming of
San Sebastian, Ciudad, Riego and Badajos, by the Duke of
"`That was in Spain. There may have been circumstances
demanding such cruelty.'
"`Permit me also to bring to your intelligence the battles at
Fort Meigs and at the river Raisin. American prisoners were
there given by English officers to their Indian allies for
torture and death. The English war cry at Sandusky was, "Give
the d-- Yankees no quarter."'
"`Sir, permit me to say, that you read history to a devilish
purpose, if you read it to search after brutal precedents. At
Goliad our men surrendered. They were promised safe-conduct
out of Texas. The massacre at Goliad was a ferocious crime.'
"`It was precisely the same thing as the wholesale murder of
Turkish prisoners at Jaffa by the great Napoleon. Also I had
the positive orders of my government to slay all Americans
found with arms.'
"`These men had given up their arms.'
"`All Americans--my government said so.'
"`Sir! YOU are the government of Mexico. You obeyed your
own orders.'
"`You will at least allow that, in the eyes of recognized
nations, your army was but a band of desperadoes, without
government, and fighting under no flag.'
"`Sir, you show a convenient ignorance. We have a government;
and as soon as we can lay down our rifles, we shall probably
be able to make a flag. I say to you, President Santa Anna,
that the butchery at Goliad was without an excuse and without
a parallel in civilized warfare. The men had capitulated to
General Urrea.'
"`Urrea had no right to receive their capitulation.' Then his
mild, handsome face became in a moment malicious and tigerish,
and he said with a cruel emphasis: `If I ever get Urrea into
my hands, I will execute him! I perceive, however, that I
have never understood the American character. For the few
thousands in the country, I thought my army an overwhelming
one. I underestimated their ability.'
"`I tell you, sir, an army of millions would be too small to
enslave ten thousand free-born anglo-Americans. Liberty is
our birthright. We have marched four days on an ear or two of
dry corn, and then fought a battle after it'; and Houston drew
from his pocket an ear, partially consumed, which had
been his ration. `We have had no tents, no music, no
uniforms, no flag, nothing to stimulate us but the
determination to submit to no wrong, and to have every one of
our rights.'
"Then he turned to Rusk and Sherman, and called a military
counsel about the prisoner, who was placed in an adjoining
tent under a sufficient guard. But the excitement is intense;
and the wretch is suffering, undoubtedly, all the mortal
terrors of being torn to pieces by an infuriated soldiery.
Houston will have to speak to them. They will be influenced
by no other man."
The discussion upon this event lasted until midnight. But the
ladies retired to their own tent much earlier. They knelt
together in grateful prayer, and then kissed each other upon
their knees. It was so sweet to lie down once more in safety;
to have the luxury of a tent, and a mattress, and pillow.
"Blessed be the hand of God! my children," said the Senora;
"and may the angels give us in our dreams grateful thoughts."
And then, in the dark, Isabel nestled her head in her sister's
breast, and whispered: "Forgive me for being happy,
sweet Antonia. Indeed, when I smiled on Luis, I was often
thinking of you. In my joy and triumph and love, I do not
forget that one great awful grave at Goliad. But a woman must
hide so many things; do you comprehend me, Antonia?"
"Querdita," she whispered, "I comprehend all. God has done
right. If His angel had said to me, `One must be taken and
the other left,' I should have prayed, `Spare then my little
sister all sorrow.' Good-night, my darling"; but as their
lips met, Isabel felt upon her cheeks the bitter rain which is
the price of accepted sacrifice; the rain, which afterwards
makes the heart soft, and fresh, and responsive to all the
airs of God.
At the same moment, the white curtains of the marquee, in
which the doctor sat talking with his son and Luis and Lopez,
were opened; and the face of Ortiz showed brown and glowing
between them.
"Senors," he said, as he advanced to them, "I am satisfied. I
have been appointed on the guard over Santa Anna. He has
recognized me. He has to obey my orders. Will you think of
that?" Then taking the doctor's hand he raised it to his lips.
"Senor, I owe this satisfaction to you. You have made me my
triumph. How shall I repay you?"
"By being merciful in the day of your power, Ortiz."
"I assure you that I am not so presumptuous, Senor. Mercy is
the right of the Divinity. It is beyond my capacity. Besides
which, it is not likely the Divinity will trouble himself
about Santa Anna. I have, therefore, to obey the orders of
the great, the illustrious Houston; which are, to prevent his
escape at all risks. May St. James give me the opportunity,
Senors! In this happy hour, a Dios!"
Then Lopez bent forward, and with a smile touched the doctor's
hand. "Will you now remember the words I said of Houston?
Did I not tell you, that success was with him? that on his
brow was the line of fortune? that he was the loadstone in the
breast of freedom?
"Where'er we roam,
Our first, best country ever is at home."
"What constitutes a state?
Men who their duties know;
But know their rights, and knowing, dare maintain.
"And sovereign law, that states collected will
O'er thrones and globes elate,
Sits empress; crowning good, repressing ill.
"This hand to tyrants ever sworn a foe,
For freedom only deals the deadly blow;
Then sheathes in calm repose the vengeful blade,
For gentle peace, in freedom's hallowed shade."
The vicinity of a great battle-field is a dreadful place after
the lapse of a day or two. The bayou and the morass had
provided sepulture for hundreds of slain Mexicans, but
hundreds still lay upon the open prairie. Over it, birds of
prey hung in dark clouds, heavy-winged, sad, sombre, and
silent. Nothing disturbed them. They took no heed
of the living. Armed with invincible talons and beaks tipped
with iron, they carried on ceaselessly that automatic
gluttony, which made them beneficent crucibles of living fire,
for all which would otherwise have corrupted the higher life.
And yet, though innocent as the elements, they were odious in
the sight of all.
Before daylight in the morning the Senora and her daughters
were ready to begin their homeward journey. The doctor could
not accompany them, General Houston and the wounded Americans
being dependent largely upon his care and skill. But Luis
Alveda and Lopez Navarro received an unlimited furlough; and
about a dozen Mexican prisoners of war belonging to San
Antonio were released on Navarro's assurance, and permitted to
travel with the party as camp servants. It was likely, also,
that they would be joined by a great many of the families who
had accompanied the great flight; for, on the preceding
evening, Houston had addressed the army, and told the
householders and farmers to go home and plant their corn.
Full of happiness, the ladies prepared for their journey.
A good army wagon, drawn by eight mules, and another wagon,
containing two tents and everything necessary for a
comfortable journey, was waiting for them. The doctor bid
them good-by with smiles and cheerful promises. They were
going home. The war was over. Independence was won. They
had the hope of permanent peace. The weather also was as the
weather may be among the fields of Eden. The heavens were
cloudless, the air sweet and fresh, and the wild honeysuckles,
with their spread hands full of scent, perfumed the prairies
mile after mile. The mules went knee-deep through warm
grasses; the grasses were like waving rainbows, with the
myriads of brightly tinted flowers.
Even Lopez was radiantly happy. Most unusual smiles lighted
up his handsome face, and he jingled the silver ornaments on
his bridle pleasantly to his thoughts as he cantered sometimes
a little in advance of the wagon, sometimes in the rear,
occasionally by its side; then, bending forward to lift his
hat to the ladies and inquire after their comfort.
Luis kept close to Isabel; and her lovely face and merry
chatter beguiled him from all other observations. A
little before noon they halted in a beautiful wood; a tent was
spread for the ladies, the animals were loosened from their
harness, and a luxurious meal laid upon the grass. Then the
siesta was taken, and at three o'clock travel was resumed
until near sunset, when the camp was made for the night. The
same order was followed every day, and the journey was in
every sense an easy and delightful one. The rides, cheered by
pleasant companionship, were not fatiguing; the impromptu
meals were keenly relished. And there were many sweet
opportunities for little strolls in the dim green woods, and
for delightful conversations, as they sat under the stars,
while the camp-fire blazed among the picturesque groups of
Mexicans playing monte around it.
On the third afternoon, the Senora and Isabel were taking a
siesta, but Antonia could not sleep. After one or two efforts
she was thoroughly aroused by the sound of voices which had
been very familiar to her in the black days of the flight--
those of a woman and her weary family of seven children. She
had helped her in many ways, and she still felt an
interest in her welfare. It appeared now to be assured.
Antonia found her camping in a little grove of mulberry trees.
She had recovered her health; her children were noisy and
happy, and her husband, a tall, athletic man, with a
determined eye and very courteous manners, was unharnessing
the mules from a fine Mexican wagon; part of the lawful spoils
of war. They, too, were going home: "back to the Brazos,"
said the woman affectionately; and we're in a considerable
hurry," she added, because it's about time to get the corn in.
Jake lays out to plant fifty acres this year. He says he can
go to planting now with an easy conscience; he 'lows he has
killed enough Mexicans to keep him quiet a spell."
They talked a short time together, and then Antonia walked
slowly into the deeper shadows of the wood. She found a wide
rock, under trees softly dimpling, pendulous, and tenderly
green; and she sat down in the sweet gloom, to think of the
beloved dead. She had often longed for some quiet spot,
where, alone with God and nature, she could, just for once,
give to her sorrow and her love a free expression.
Now the opportunity seemed to be hers. She began to recall
her whole acquaintance with Dare--their hours of pleasant
study--their sails upon the river--their intercourse by the
fireside--the most happy Sundays, when they walked in the
house of God together. In those days, what a blessed future
was before them! She recalled also the time of hope and
anxiety after the storming of the Alamo, and then the last
heroic act of his stainless life. She had felt sure that in
such a session with her own soul she would find the relief of
unrestrained and unchecked weeping. But we cannot kindle when
we will either the fire or the sensibility of the soul. She
could not weep; tears were far from her. Nay, more, she began
to feel as if tears were not needed for one who had found out
so beautiful, so unselfish, so divine a road to the grave.
Ought she not rather to rejoice that he had been so early
called and blest? To be glad for herself, too, that all her
life long she could keep the exquisite memory of a love so
In the drift of such thoughts, her white, handsome face
grew almost angelic. She sat motionless and let them come to
her; as if she were listening to the comforting angels.
For God has many ways of saying to the troubled soul: "Be at
peace"; and, certainly, Antonia had not anticipated the
calmness and resignation which forbid her the tears she had
At length, in that sweet melancholy which such a mental
condition induces, she rose to return to the camp. A few
yards nearer to it she saw Lopez sitting in a reverie as
profound as her own had been. He stood up to meet her. The
patience, the pathos, the exaltation in her face touched his
heart as no words could have done. He said, only: "Senorita,
if I knew how to comfort you!"
"I went away to think of the dead, Senor."
"I comprehend--but then, I wonder if the dead remember the
"In whatever dwelling-place of eternity the dear ones who died
at Goliad are, I am sure that they remember. Will the
emancipated soul be less faithful than the souls still
earthbound? Good souls could not even wish to forget--and
they were good."
"It will never be permitted me to know two souls more pure,
more faithful, more brave, Juan was as a brother to me,
and, BY MY SANTIGUADA![6] I count it among God's blessings
to have known a man like Senor Grant. A white soul he had
indeed; full of great nobilities!"
[6] Sign of the Cross.
Antonia looked at him gratefully. Tears uncalled-for sprang
into the eyes of both; they clasped hands and walked mutely
back to the camp together. For the sentiment which attends
the realization that all is over, is gathered silently into
the heart; it is too deep for words.
They found the camp already in that flurry of excitement
always attendant upon its rest and rising, and the Senora was
impatiently inquiring for her eldest daughter.
"GRACIOUS MARIA! Is that you, Antonia? At this hour we
are all your servants, I think. I, at least, have been
waiting upon your pleasure"; then perceiving the traces of
sorrow and emotion on her face, she added, with an
unreasonable querulousness: "I bless God when I see how He
has provided for women; giving them tears, when they have no
other employment for their time."
"Dearest mother, I am sorry to have kept you waiting. I hope
that you have forgotten nothing. Where is your mantilla? And
have you replenished your cigarito case? Is there water in
the wagon?"
"Nothing has been provided. Things most necessary are
forgotten, no doubt. When you neglect such matters, what less
could happen?"
But such little breezes of temper were soon over. The
influences surrounding, the prospects in advance, were too
exhilarating to permit of anything but passing shadows, and
after an easy, delightful journey, they reached at length the
charming vicinity of the romantic city of the sword. They had
but another five miles ride, and it was the Senora's pleasure
to take it at the hour of midnight. She did not wish her
return to be observed and talked about; she was in reality
very much mortified by the condition of her own and her
daughters' wardrobe.
Consequently, though they made their noon camp so near to
their journey's end, they rested there until San Antonio was
asleep and dreaming. It was the happiest rest of all the
delightful ones they had known. The knowledge that it
was the last stage of a journey so remarkable, made every one
attach a certain tender value to the hours never to come back
to the experiences never to be repeated.
The Senora was gay as a child; Isabel shared and accentuated
her enthusiasms; Luis was expressing his happiness in a
variety of songs; now glorifying his love in some pretty
romance or serenade, again musically assuring liberty, or
Texas, that he would be delighted at any moment to lay down
his life for their sakes. Antonia was quite as much excited
in her own way, which was naturally a much quieter way; and
Lopez sat under a great pecan-tree, smoking his cigarito with
placid smiles and admiring glances at every one.
As the sun set, the full moon rose as it rises nowhere but
over Texan or Asian plains; golden, glorious, seeming to fill
the whole heaven and the whole earth with an unspeakable
radiance; softly glowing, exquisitely, magically beautifying.
The commonest thing under it was transfigured into something
lovely, fantastic, fairylike. And the dullest souls swelled
and rose like the tides under its influence.
Antonia took from their stores the best they had, and a
luxurious supper was spread upon the grass. The meal might
have been one of ten courses, it occupied so long; it provoked
so much mirth, such a rippling stream of reminiscence;
finally, such a sweetly solemn retrospect of the sorrows and
mercies and triumphs of the campaign they had shared together.
This latter feeling soon dominated all others.
The delicious light, the sensuous atmosphere, the white
turrets and towers of the city, shining on the horizon like
some mystical, heavenly city in dreams--the murmur of its faroff
life, more audible to the spiritual than the natural
ears--the dark figures of the camp servants, lying in groups
or quietly shuffling their cards, were all elements conducive
to a grave yet happy seriousness.
No one intended to sleep. They were to rest in the moonlight
until the hour of eleven, and then make their last stage.
This night they instinctively kept close together. The Senora
had mentally reached that point where it was not unpleasant to
talk over troubles, and to amplify especially her own share of
"But, Holy Maria!" she said; "how unnecessary are such
sorrows! I am never, in the least, any better for them. When
the Divine Majesty condescends to give me the sunshine of
prosperity, I am always exceedingly religious. On the
contrary when I am in sorrow, I do not feel inclined to pray.
That is precisely natural. Can the blessed Mother expect
thanks, when she gives her children only suffering and tears?"
"God gives us whatever is best for us, dear mother."
"Speak, when you have learned wisdom, Antonia. I shall always
believe that trouble comes from the devil; indeed, Fray
Ignatius once told me of a holy man that had one grief upon
the heels of the other, and it was the devil who was sent with
all of them. I have myself no doubt that he opened the gates
of hell for Santa Anna to return to earth and do a little work
for him."
"This thought makes me tremble," said Lopez; "souls that have
become angelic, can become evil. The degraded seraphim, whom
we call the devil, was once the companion of archangels, and
stood with Michael, and Raphael, and Gabriel, in the presence
of the Holy One. Is there sin in heaven? Can we be
tempted even there?"
The inquiry went in different ways to each heart, but no one
answered it. There were even a few moments of constrained,
conscious silence, which Luis happily ended, by chanting
softly a verse from the hymn of the Three Angels:
"'WHO LIKE THE LORD?' thunders Michael the Chief.
Raphael, `THE CURE OF GOD,' bringeth relief,
And, as at Nazareth, prophet of peace,
Gabriel, `THE LIGHT OF GOD,' bringeth release."
The noble syllables floated outward and upward, and Antonia
and Lopez softly intoned the last line together, letting them
fall slowly and softly into the sensitive atmosphere.
"And as for trouble coming from the devil," said Lopez, "I
think, Senora, that Fray Ignatius is wrong. Trouble is not
the worst thing that can come to a man or woman. On the
contrary, our Lady of Prosperity is said to do, them far
greater harm. Let me repeat to you what the ever wise Don
Francisco de Quevedo Villegas says about her:
"'Where is the virtue prosperity has not staggered? Where the
folly she has not augmented? She takes no counsel, she
fears no punishment. She furnishes matter for scandal,
experience, and for story. How many souls, innocent while
poor, have fallen into sin and impiety as soon as they drank
of the enchanted cup of prosperity? Men that can bear
prosperity, are for heaven; even wise devils leave them alone.
As for the one who persecuted and beggared job, how foolish
and impertinent he was! If he had understood humanity, he
would have multiplied his riches, and possessed him of health,
and honors, and pleasures: THAT is the trial it cannot
"Oh, to be sure! Quevedo was a wise man. But even wise men
don't know everything. However, WE ARE GOING HOME! I
thank the saints for this immeasurable favor. It is a
prosperity that is good for women. I will stake my Santiguida
on that! And will you observe that it is Sunday again? Just
before sunset I heard the vesper bells clearly. Remember that
we left San Antonio on Sunday also! I have always heard that
Sunday was a good day to begin a journey on."
"If it had been on a Friday--"
"Friday! Indeed, Luis, I would not have gone one hundred
yards upon a Friday. How can you suppose what is so
inconceivably foolish?"
"I think much of the right hour to undertake anything," said
Lopez. "The first movements are not in the hands of men; and
we are subject to more influences than we comprehend. There
is a ripe time for events, as well as for fruits: but the hour
depends upon forces which we cannot control by giving to them
the name of the day; and our sage Quevedo has made a pleasant
mockery thereon. It is at my lips, if your ears care to hear
"Quevedo, again! No, it is not proper, Senor. Every day has
its duties and its favors, Senor. That man actually said that
fasting on Friday was not a special means of grace! Quevedo
was almost a heretic. I have heard Fray Ignatius say so. He
did not approve of him."
"Mi madre, let us hear what is to be said. Rachela told me,
I must fast on a Friday, and cut my nails on a Wednesday, and
never cut them on a Sunday, and take medicine on a Monday, and
look after money on Tuesday, and pay calls and give gifts on
Saturday; very well, I do not think much of Rachela; just
suppose, for the passing of the time, that we listen to what
Quevedo says."
"Here are four against me; well, then, proceed, Senor."
"`On Monday,' says the wise and witty one, buy all that you
can meet with, and take all that is to be had for nothing. On
Tuesday, receive all that is given you; for it is Mar's day,
and he will look on you with an ill aspect if you refuse the
first proffer and have not a second. On Wednesday, ask of all
you meet; perhaps Mercury may give some one vanity enough to
grant you something. Thursday is a good day to believe
nothing that flatterers say. Friday it is well to shun
creditors. On Saturday it is well to lie long abed, to walk
at your ease, to eat a good dinner, and to wear comfortable
shoes; because Saturn is old, and loves his ease.'"
"And Sunday, Senor?"
"Pardon, Senorita Isabel, Sunday comes not into a pasquinade.
Senora, let me tell you that it draws near to eleven. If we
leave now we shall reach San Antonio in time to say the prayer
of gratitude before the blessed day of the seven is past."
"Holy Mary! that is what I should desire. Come, my children;
I thank you, Senor, for such a blessed memory. My heart is
indeed full of joy and thankfulness."
A slight disappointment, however, awaited the Senora. Without
asking any questions, without taking anything into
consideration, perhaps, indeed, because she feared to ask or
consider, she had assumed that she would immediately re-enter
her own home. With the unreason of a child, she had insisted
upon expecting that somehow, or by some not explained efforts,
she would find her house precisely as she left it. Little had
been said of its occupancy by Fray Ignatius and his brothers;
perhaps she did not quite believe in the statement; perhaps
she expected Fray Ignatius to respect the arrangements which
he knew had been so dear to her.
It was therefore a trial--indeed, something of a shock--when
she found they were to be the guests of Navarro, and when it
was made clear to her that her own home had been dismantled
and rearranged and was still in the possession of the Church.
But, with a child's unreason, she had also a sweet ductility
of nature; she was easily persuaded, easily pleased, and
quite ready to console herself with the assurance that it only
needed Doctor Worth's presence and personal influence to drive
away all intruders upon her rights.
In the mean time she was contented. The finest goods in San
Antonio were sent early on the following morning to her room;
and the selection of three entire wardrobes gave her abundance
of delightful employment. She almost wept with joy as she
passed the fine lawns and rich silks through her worn fingers.
And when she could cast off forever her garment of heaviness
and of weariful wanderings, and array herself in the splendid
robes which she wore with such grace and pleasure, she was an
honestly grateful woman.
Then she permitted Lopez to let her old acquaintances know of
her presence in her native city; and she was comforted when
she began to receive calls from the Senora Alveda, and judge
and Senora Valdez, and many other of her friends and
associates. They encouraged her to talk of her sufferings and
her great loss. Even the judge thought it worth his while,
now, to conciliate the simple little woman. He had
wisdom enough to perceive that Mexican domination was over,
and that the American influence of Doctor Worth was likely to
be of service to him.
The Senora found herself a heroine; more than that, she became
aware that for some reason those who had once patronized her
were now disposed to pay her a kind of court. But this did
not lessen her satisfaction; she suspected no motive but real
kindness, for she had that innate rectitude which has always
confidence in the honesty of others.
There was now full reconciliation between Luis and his mother
and uncles; and his betrothal to Isabel was acknowledged with
all the customary rejoicings and complimentary calls and
receptions. Life quickly began to fall back into its welldefined
grooves; if there was anything unusual, every one made
an effort to pass it by without notice. The city was
conspicuously in this mind. American rule was accepted in the
quiescent temper with which men and women accept weather which
may or may not be agreeable, but which is known to be
unavoidable. Americans were coming by hundreds and by
thousands: and those Mexicans who could not make up their
minds to become Texans, and to assimilate with the new
elements sure to predominate, were quietly breaking up their
homes and transferring their interests across the Rio Grande.
They were not missed, even for a day. Some American was ready
to step into their place, and the pushing, progressive spirit
of the race was soon evident in the hearty way with which they
set to work, not only to repair what war had destroyed, but to
inaugurate those movements which are always among their first
necessities. Ministers, physicians, teachers, mechanics of
all kinds, were soon at work; churches were built, Bibles were
publicly sold, or given away; schools were advertised; the
city was changing its tone as easily as a woman changes the
fashion of her dress. Santa Anna had said truly enough to
Houston, that the Texans had no flag to fight under; but the
young Republic very soon flung her ensign out among those of
the gray nations of the world. It floated above the twice
glorious Alamo: a bright blue standard, with one white star in
the centre. It was run up at sunrise one morning. The
city was watching for it; and when it suddenly flew out in
their sight, it was greeted with the most triumphant
enthusiasm. The lonely star in its field of blue touched
every heart's chivalry. It said to them, I stand alone! I
have no sister states to encourage and help me! I rely only
on the brave hearts and strong arms that I set me here!" And
they answered the silent appeal with a cheer that promised
everything; with a love that even then began to wonder if
there were not a place for such a glorious star in the grand
constellation under which most of them had been born.
A short time after their return, the Senora had a letter from
her husband, saying that he was going to New Orleans with
General Houston, whose wound was in a dangerous condition.
Thomas Worth had been appointed to an important post in the
civil government; and his labors, like those of all the public
men of Texas at that date, were continuous and Herculean. It
was impossible for him to leave them; but the doctor assured
his wife that he would return as soon as he had placed Houston
in the hands of skilful surgeons; and he asked her, until
then, to be as happy as her circumstances permitted.
She was quite willing to obey the request. Not naturally
inclined to worry, she found many sources of content and
pleasure, until the early days of June brought back to her the
husband she so truly loved, and with him the promise of a
return to her own home. Indeed the difficulties in the way of
this return had vanished ere they were to meet. Fray Ignatius
had convinced himself that his short lease had fully expired;
and when Dr. Worth went armed with the legal process necessary
to resume his rights, he found his enemy had already
surrendered them. The house was empty. Nothing of its old
splendor remained. Every one of its properties had been
scattered. The poor Senora walked through the desolate rooms
with a heartache.
"It was precisely in this spot that the sideboard stood,
Roberto!--the sideboard that my cousin Johar presented to me.
It came from the City of Mexico, and there was not another
like it. I shall regret it all my life."
"Maria, my dearest, it might have been worse. The silver
which adorned it is safe. Those r--monks did not find
out its hiding-place, and I bought you a far more beautiful
sideboard in New Orleans; the very newest style, Maria."
"Roberto! Roberto! How happy you make me! To be sure my
cousin Johar's sideboard was already shabby--and to have a
sideboard from New Orleans, that, indeed, is something to talk
"Besides, which, dearest one, I bought new furniture for the
parlors, and for your own apartments; also for Antonia's and
Isabel's rooms. Indeed, Maria, I thought it best to provide
afresh for the whole house."
"How wonderful! No wife in San Antonio has a husband so good.
I will never condescend to speak of you when other women talk
of their husbands. New furniture for my whole house! The
thing is inconceivably charming. But when, Roberto, will
these things arrive? Is there danger on the road they are
coming? Might not some one take them away? I shall not be
able to sleep until I am sure they are safe."
"I chartered a schooner in New Orleans, and came with them to
the Bay of Espiritu Santo. There I saw them placed upon
wagons, and only left them after the customs had been paid in
the interior--sixty miles away. You may hire servants at once
to prepare the rooms: the furniture will be here in about
three days."
"I am the happiest woman in the world, Roberto! "And she
really felt herself to be so. Thoughtful love could have
devised nothing more likely to bridge pleasantly and surely
over the transition between the past and the coming life.
Every fresh piece of furniture unpacked was a new wonder and
a new delight. With her satin skirts tucked daintily clear of
soil, and her mantilla wrapped around her head and shoulders,
she went from room to room, interesting herself in every strip
of carpet, and every yard of drapery. Her delight was
infectious. The doctor smiled to find himself comparing
shades, and gravely considering the arrangement of chairs and
But how was it possible for so loving a husband and father to
avoid sharing the pleasure he had provided? And Isabel was
even more excited than her mother. All this grandeur had a
double meaning to her; it would reflect honor upon the
betrothal receptions which would be given for Luis and
herself--"amber satin and white lace is exactly what I should
have desired, Antonia," she said delightedly. "How
exceedingly suitable it will be to me! And those delicious
chintzes and dimities for our bedrooms! Did you ever conceive
of things so beautiful?"
Antonia was quite ready to echo her delight. Housekeeping and
homemaking, in all its ways, was her lovable talent. It was
really Antonia who saw all the plans and the desires of the
Senora thoroughly carried out. It was her clever fingers and
natural taste which gave to every room that air of comfort and
refinement which all felt and admired, but which seemed to
elude their power to imitate.
On the fourth of July the doctor and his family ate together
their first dinner in their renovated home. The day was one
that he never forgot, and he was glad to link it with a
domestic occurence so happy and so fortunate.
Sometimes silently, sometimes with a few words to his boys, he
had always, on this festival, drank his glass of fine Xeres to
the honor and glory of the land he loved. This day he
spoke her name proudly. He recalled the wonders of her past
progress; he anticipated the blessings which she would bring
to Texas; he said, as he lifted the glass in his hand, and let
the happy tears flow down his browned and thinned face:
"My wife and daughters, I believe I shall live to see the lone
star set in the glorious assemblage of her sister stars! I
shall live to say, I dwell in San Antonio, which is the
loveliest city in the loveliest State of the American Union.
For, dear ones, I was born an American citizen, and I ask this
favor of God, that I may also die an American citizen."
"MI ROBERTO, when you die I shall not long survive you.
And now that the house is made so beautiful! With so much new
furniture! How can you speak of dying?"
"And, my dear father, remember how you have toiled and suffered
"Because, Antonia, I would have Texas go free into a union of
free States. This was the hope of Houston. `We can have
help,' he often said to his little army; "a word will call
help from Nacogdoches,--but we will emancipate ourselves.
If we go into the American States, we will go as equals; we
will go as men who have won the right to say: LET US DWELL UNDER
"And through thee I believe
In the noble and great, who are gone."
"Yes! I believe that there lived
Others like thee in the past.
Not like the men of the crowd.
Who all around me to-day,
Bluster, or cringe, and make life
Hideous, and arid, and vile,
But souls temper'd with fire,
Fervent, heroic, and good;
Helpers, and friends of mankind."
"Our armor now may rust, our idle scimitars
Hang by our sides for ornament, not use.
Children shall beat our atabals and drums;
And all the noisy trades of war no more
Shall wake the peaceful morn."
As the years go on they bring many changes--changes that come
as naturally as the seasons--that tend as naturally to
anticipated growth and decay--that scarcely startle the
subjects of them, till a lengthened-out period of
time discloses their vitality and extent. Between the ages of
twenty and thirty, ten years do not seem very destructive to
life. The woman at eighteen, and twenty-eight, if changed, is
usually ripened and improved; the man at thirty, finer and
more mature than he was at twenty. But when this same period
is placed to women and men who are either approaching fifty,
or have passed it, the change is distinctly felt.
It was even confessed by the Senora one exquisite morning in
the beginning of March, though the sun was shining warmly, and
the flowers blooming, and the birds singing, and all nature
rejoicing, as though it was the first season of creation.
"I am far from being as gay and strong as I wish to be,
Roberto," she, said; "and today, consider what a company there
is coming! And if General Houston is to be added to it, I
shall be as weary as I shall be happy."
"He is the simplest of men; a cup of coffee, a bit of steak--"
"SAN BLAS! That is how you talk! But is, it possible to
receive him like a common mortal? He is a hero, and, besides
that, among hidalgos de casa Solar" (gentlemen of known
"Well, then, you have servants, Maria, my dear one."
"Servants! Bah! Of what use are they, Roberto, since they
also have got hold of American ideas?"
"Isabel and Antonia will be here."
"Let me only enumerate to you, Roberto. Thomas and his wife
and four children arrived last night. You may at this moment
hear the little Maria crying. I dare say Pepita is washing
the child, and using soap which is very disagreeable. I have
always admired the wife of Thomas, but I think she is too fond
of her own way with the children. I give her advices which
she does not take."
"They are her own children, dearest."
"Holy Maria! They are also my own grandchildren."
"Well, well, we must remember that Abbie is a little Puritan.
She believes in bringing up children strictly, and it is good;
for Thomas would spoil them. As for Isabel's boys--"
"God be blessed! Isabel's boys are entirely charming. They
have been corrected at my own knee. There are not more
beautifully behaved boys in the christened world."
"And Antonia's little Christina?"
"She is already an angel. Ah, Roberto! If I had only died
when I was as innocent as that dear one!"
"I am thankful you did not die, Maria. How dark my life would
have been without you!"
"Beloved, then I am glad I am not in the kingdom of heaven;
though, if one dies like Christina, one escapes purgatory.
Roberto, when I rise I am very stiff: I think, indeed, I have
some rheumatism."
"That is not unlikely; and also Maria, you have now some
"Let that be confessed; but the good God knows that I lost all
my youth in that awful flight of 'thirty-six."
"Maria, we all left or lost something on that dark journey.
To-day, we shall recover its full value."
"To be sure--that is what is said--we shall see. Will you now
send Dolores to me? I must arrange my toilet with some haste;
and tell me, Roberto, what dress is your preference; it
is your eyes, beloved, I wish to please."
Robert Worth was not too old to feel charmed and touched by
the compliment. And he was not a thoughtless or churlish
husband; he knew how to repay such a wifely compliment, and it
was a pleasant sight to see the aged companions standing hand
in hand before the handsome suits which Dolores had spread out
for her mistress to examine.
He looked at the purple and the black and the white robes, and
then he looked at the face beside him. It was faded, and had
lost its oval shape; but its coloring was yet beautiful, and
the large, dark eyes tender and bright below the snow-white
hair. After a few minutes' consideration, he touched, gently,
a robe of white satin. "Put this on, Maria," he said, "and
your white mantilla, and your best jewels. The occasion will
excuse the utmost splendor."
The choice delighted her. She had really wished to wear it,
and some one's judgment to endorse her own inclinations was
all that was necessary to confirm her wish. Dolores found her
in the most delightful temper. She sat before the glass,
smiling and talking, while her maid piled high the snowy
plaits and curls and crowned them with the jewelled comb, only
worn on very great festivals. Her form was still good, and
the white satin fell gracefully from her throat to her small
feet. Besides, whatever of loss or gain had marred her once
fine proportions, was entirely concealed by the beautifying,
graceful, veiling folds of her mantilla. There was the flash
of diamonds, and the moonlight glimmer of pearls beneath this
flimsy covering; and at her belt a few white lilies. She was
exceedingly pleased with her own appearance, and her
satisfaction gave an ease and a sense of authority to her air
and movements which was charming.
"By Maria's grace, I am a very pretty old lady," she said to
herself; "and I think I shall I astonish my daughter-in-law a
little. One is afraid of these calm, cool, northern women,
but I feel to-day that even Abbie must be proud of me."
Indeed, her entrance into the large parlor made quite a
sensation. She could see the quiet pleasure in her husband's
face; and her son Thomas, after one glance, put down the
child on his knee, and went to meet her. "Mi madre," he
whispered with a kiss. He had not used the pretty Spanish
word for years, but in the sudden rush of admiring tenderness,
his boyish heart came back to him, and quite unconsciously he
used his boyhood's speech. After this, she was not the least
in awe of her wise daughter-in-law. She touched her cheek
kindly, and asked her about the children, and was immeasurably
delighted when Abbie said: "How beautiful you are to-day! I
wish I had your likeness to send to Boston. Robert, come here
and look at your grandmother! I want you to remember, as long
as you live, how grandmother looks to-day." And Robert--a
fine lad eight years old, accustomed to implicit obedience--
put down the book he was reading, planted himself squarely
before the Senora, and looked at her attentively, as if she
was a lesson to be learned.
"Well then, Roberto?"
"I am glad I have such a pretty grandmother. Will you let me
stand on tiptoes and kiss you?" and the cool, calm northern
woman's eyes filled with tears, as she brought her younger
children, one by one, for the Senora's caress. The
doctor and his son watched this pretty domestic drama with
hearts full of pride and happiness; and before it had lost one
particle of its beauty and feeling, the door was flung open
with a vigor which made every one turn to it with expectation.
A splendid little lad sprang in, and without any consideration
for satin and lace, clung to the Senora. He was her image: a
true Yturbide, young as he was; beautiful and haughty as his
Castilian ancestors.
Isabel and Luis followed; Isabel more lovely than ever, richly
dressed in American fashion, full of pretty enthusiasms,
vivacious, charming, and quite at her ease. She had been
married eight years. She was a fashionable woman, and an
authority upon all social subjects.
Luis also was wonderfully improved. The light-hearted gaiety,
which ten years ago had bubbled over in continual song, was
still there; but it was under control, evident only because it
made perpetual sunshine on his face. He had taken the
doctor's advice--completed his study of English and Mexican
law--and become a famous referee in cases of disputed Mexican
claims and title deeds. His elegant form and handsome,
olive face looked less picturesque in the dull, uncompromising
stiffness of broadcloth, cut into those peculiarly unbecoming
fashions of ugliness which the anglo-Saxon and anglo-American
affect. But it gained by the change a certain air of
reliability and importance; an air not to be dispensed with in
a young lawyer already aspiring to the seat among the
lawmakers of his State.
"We called upon Antonia," said Isabel, "as we came here. Of
course she was engaged with Lopez. They were reading a book
together; and even on such a day as this were taking, with the
most blessed indifference, a minute at a time. They will join
us on the Plaza. I represented to them that they might miss
a good position. `That has been already secured,' said Lopez,
with that exasperating repose which only the saints could
endure with patience. For that reason, I consider Antonia a
saint to permit it. As for me, I should say: `The house is
on fire, Lopez! Will it please you for once to feel a little
excited?' Luis says they read, continually, books which make
people think of great solemnities and responsibilities.
How foolish, when they are so rich, and might enjoy
themselves perpetually!"
"Here are the carriages," cried Thomas Worth, "and the
ceremony of to-day has its own hour. It will never come
"Your mother and I will go first, Thomas; and we will take
Abbie and your eldest son. I shall see you in your place.
Luis, bring your boy with you; he has intelligence and will
remember the man he will see to-day, and may never see again."
On the Plaza, close to the gates of the Alamo, a rostrum had
been erected; and around it were a few stands, set apart for
the carriages of the most illustrious of the families of San
Antonio. The Senora, from the shaded depths of her own,
watched their arrival. Nothing could be more characteristic
than the approach of her daughters. Antonia and Lopez,
stately and handsome, came slowly; their high-stepping horses
chafing at the irrestraint. Luis and Isabel drove to their
appointed place with a speed and clatter, accentuated by the
jingling of the silver rings of the harness and the silver
hanging buttons on the gay dress of the Mexican driver. But
the occupants of both carriages appeared to be great
favorites with the populace who thronged the Plaza, the
windows, the flat roofs of the houses, and every available
place for hearing and seeing.
The blue flag of Texas fluttered gayly over the lovely city;
and there was a salvo of cannon; then, into the sunshine and
into the sight of all stepped the man of his generation.
Nature has her royal line, and she makes no mistakes in the
kings she crowns. The physical charm of Houston was at this
time very great. His tall, ample, dignified form attracted
attention at once. His eyes penetrated the souls of all
upon whom they fell. His lips were touched with fire, and his
words thrilled and swayed men, as the wind sways the heavy
heads in a field of ripe barley.
He stretched out his arms to the people, and they stretched
out their arms to him. The magnetic chain of sympathy was
complete. The hearts of his listeners were an instrument, on
which he played the noblest, most inspiring, the sweetest of
melodies. He kindled them as flame kindles dry grass.
He showed them their future with a prophet's eye, and touched
them also with the glad diviner's rapture. They aspired,
they rejoiced at his bidding; and at the moment of their
highest enthusiasm, he cried out:
"Whatever State gave us birth, we have one native land and we
have one flag!" Instantly from the grim, blood-stained walls
of the fortress, the blessed Stars and Stripes flew out; and
in a moment a thousand smaller flags, from every high place,
gave it salutation. Then the thunder of cannon was answered
by the thunder of voices. Cannon may thunder and make no
impression; but the shout of humanity! It stirs and troubles
the deepest heart-stream. It is a cry that cannot be
resisted. It sets the gates of feeling wide open. And it was
while men were in this mood that Houston said his last words:
"I look in this glorious sunshine upon the bloody walls of the
Alamo. I remember Goliad. I carry my memory back over the
long struggle of thirty years. Do you think the young, brave
souls, fired with the love of liberty, who fell in this long
conflict have forgotten it? No! No! No! Wherever in God's
Eternity they are this day, I believe they are permitted to
know that Texas has become part of their country, and
rests forever under the flag they loved. The shouting
thousands, the booming cannon, that greeted this flag were not
all the sounds I heard! Far off, far off, yet louder than any
noise of earth, I heard from the dead years, and the dead
heroes of these years; the hurrahing of ghostly voices and the
clapping of unseen hands!"
"It was like Houston to call the dead to the triumph," said
the doctor, as he stood with the Senora in her room. He was
unbuttoning her gloves, and her tears dropped down upon his
"He is a man by himself, and none like him. I thought that I
should never forgive him for sparing the life of that
monster--Santa Anna; but to-day I forgive him even that. I am
so happy that I shall ask Holy Maria to excuse me the feeling;
for it is not good to permit one's self to be too happy; it
brings trouble. But indeed, when I looked at Thomas, I
thought how wisely he has married. It is seldom a mother can
approve of her daughter-in-law; but Abbie has many
excellencies--good manners, and a good heart, and a fortune
which is quite respectable."
"And strong principles also, Maria. She will bring up her
children to know right and wrong, and to do right."
"THAT of course. Every good mother does that. I am sure
it is a sight for the angels to see Isabel teaching her
children their prayers. Did you observe also how great a
favorite Luis is? He lifted his hat to this one and that one,
and it is certain that the next election will be in his hand."
"Perhaps--I wish Lopez would take more interest in politics.
He is a dreamer."
"But, then, a very happy dreamer." Perhaps to dream well and
pleasantly is to live a better life. Antonia is devoted to
him. She has a blessed lot. Once I did not think she would
be so fortunate."
"Lopez was prudent and patient."
"Prudent! Patient! It is a miracle to me! I assure you,
they even talk together of young Senor Grant! It is
satisfactory, but extremely strange."
"You had better sleep a little, Maria. General Houston is
coming to dinner."
"That is understood. When I spoke last to him, I was a woman
broken-hearted. To-night I will thank him for all that
he has done. Ah, Roberto! His words to-day went to my,
soul--I thought of my Juan--I thought of the vision he showed
me--I wondered if he knew--if he saw--and heard--" she leaned
her head upon her husband's breast, and he kissed away the
sorrowful rain.
"He was so sweet! so beautiful! Oh, Roberto!"
"He was God's greatest gift to us. Maria! dear. Maria! I
love you for, all the children you have given me; BUT MOST

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?