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|The Texan Scouts||Joseph A. Altsheler|
In Another Trap
|Page 6 of 12||
Ned was silent. His thoughts turned back to the Alamo. And so Fannin and his men had started but had never come! Truly "things were going wrong!" But perhaps it was just as well. The victims would have only been more numerous, and Fannin's men were saved to fight elsewhere for Texas.
He heard a rattle of musketry, and through one of the loopholes he saw that the Mexican cavalry in the wood had opened a distant fire. Only a few of the bullets reached the church, and they fell spent against the stones. Ned saw that very little harm was likely to come from such a fire, but he believed it would be wise to show the Mexicans that the defenders were fully awake.
"Have you any specially good riflemen?" he asked King.
"Suppose you put them at the loopholes and see if they can't pick off some of those Mexican horsemen. It would have a most healthy effect."
Six young men came forward, took aim with their long barreled rifles, and at King's command fired. Three of the saddles were emptied, and there was a rapid movement of the Mexicans, who withdrew further into the wood. The defenders reloaded and waited.
Ned knew better than Captain King or any of his men the extremely dangerous nature of their position. Since the vanguard was already here the Mexican army must be coming on rapidly, and this was no Alamo. Nor were these raw recruits defenders of an Alamo.
He saw presently a man, holding a white handkerchief on the end of a lance, ride out from the wood. Ned recognized him at once. It was young Urrea. As Ned had suspected, he was the leader of the cavalry for his uncle, the general.
"What do you think he wants?" asked King.
"He will demand our surrender, but even if we were to yield it is likely that we should be put to death afterward."
"I have no idea of surrendering under any circumstances. Do you speak Spanish?"
"Oh, yes," said Ned, seizing the opportunity.
"Then, as I can't, you do the talking for us, and tell it to him straight and hard that we're going to fight."
Ned climbed upon the roof, and sat with only his head showing above the parapet, while Urrea rode slowly forward, carrying the lance and the white flag jauntily. Ned could not keep from admiring his courage, as the white flag, even, in such a war as this might prove no protection. He stopped at a distance of about thirty yards and called loudly in Spanish:
"Within the church there! I wish to speak to you!"
Ned stood up, his entire figure now being revealed, and replied:
"I have been appointed spokesman for our company. What do you want?"
Urrea started slightly in his saddle, and then regarded Ned with a look of mingled irony and hatred.
"And so," he said, "our paths cross again. You escaped us at the Alamo. Why General Santa Anna spared you then I do not know, but he is not here to give new orders concerning you!"
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|The Texan Scouts
Joseph A. Altsheler
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