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The Texan Scouts Joseph A. Altsheler

For Freedom's Sake

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Campbell and Hudson were buried. Ned had been welcomed warmly by Allen, and the two boys compared notes. Will's face glowed when he heard of Ned's adventures within the Mexican lines.

"I could never have done it," he said. "I couldn't have kept steady enough when one crisis after another came along. I suppose this means, of course, that we must try to meet Santa Anna in some way. What do you think we can do, Ned?"

"I don't know, but just at present I'm going to sleep. The Panther, Davy Crockett and Obed will debate the plans."

Ned, who was becoming inured to war and danger, was soon asleep, but Will could not close his eyes. He had borne a gallant part in the defense, and the sounds of rifle shots and Indian yells still resounded in his excited ear. He remained awake long after he heard the heavy breathing of the men about him, but exhausted nerves gave way at last and he, too, slept.

The next morning their news was debated gravely by all. There was not one among them who did not understand its significance, but it was hard to agree upon a policy. Davy Crockett, who had just come, and who was practically a stranger to Texas, gave his opinions with hesitation.

"It's better for you, Mr. Panther, an' you, Mr. White, to make the motions," he said, "an' I an' my Tennesseans will endorse them. But it seems, boys, that if we came for a fight it is offered to us the moment we get here."

"Yes," said the twelve Tennesseans all together.

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"I shall be compelled to leave you," said Roylston. "Pray, don't think it's because I'm afraid to fight the Mexicans. But, as I told you before, I can do far greater good for the Texan cause elsewhere. As I am now as well as ever, and I am able to take care of myself, I think I shall leave at once."

"I've known you only a few hours, Mr. Roylston," said Crockett, "but I've knocked around a hard world long enough to know a man when I see him. If you say you ought, you ought to go."

"That's so," said the Panther. "We've seen Mr. Roylston tried more than once, and nobody doubts his courage."

A good horse, saddled and bridled, and arms and ammunition, were given to Roylston. Then he bade them farewell. When he was about twenty yards away he beckoned to Ned. When the boy stood at his saddle bow he said very earnestly:

"If you fall again into the hands of Santa Anna, and are in danger of your life, use my name with him. It is perhaps a more potent weapon than you think. Do not forget."

"I will not," said Ned, "and I thank you very much, Mr. Roylston. But I hope that no such occasion will arise."

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The Texan Scouts
Joseph A. Altsheler

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