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  The Texan Scouts Joseph A. Altsheler

Crockett And Bowie

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Unluckily for the Texans, the night was the darkest of the month. No bonfires burned in San Antonio, and there were no sounds of music. It seemed to Ned that the silence and darkness were sure indications of action on the part of the foe.

He felt more lonely and depressed than at any other time hitherto in the siege, and he was glad when Crockett and a young Tennesseean whom he called the Bee-Hunter joined him. Crockett had not lost any of his whimsical good humor, and when Ned suggested that Santa Anna was likely to profit by the dark he replied:

"If he is the general I take him to be he will, or at least try, but meanwhile we'll just wait, an' look, an' listen. That's the way to find out if things are goin' to happen. Don't turn little troubles into big ones. You don't need a cowskin for a calf. We'll jest rest easy. I'm mighty nigh old enough to be your grandfather, Ned, an' I've learned to take things as they come. I guess men of my age were talkin' this same way five thousand years ago."

"You've seen a lot in your life, Mr. Crockett," said Ned, to whom the Tennesseean was a great hero.

Crockett laughed low, but deep in his throat, and with much pleasure.

"So I have! So I have!" he replied, "an', by the blue blazes, I can say it without braggin'. I've seen a lot of water go by since I was runnin' 'roun' a bare-footed boy in Tennessee. I've ranged pretty far from east to west, an' all the way from Boston in the north to this old mission, an' that must be some thousands of miles. An' I've had some big times in New York, too."

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"You've been in New York," said Ned, with quick interest. "It must be a great town."

"It is. It's certainly a bulger of a place. There are thousands an' thousands of houses, an' you can't count the sails in the bay. I saw the City Hall an' it's a mighty fine buildin', too. It's all marble on the side looking south, an' plain stone on the side lookin' north. I asked why, an' they said all the poor people lived to the north of it. That's the way things often happen, Ned. An' I saw the great, big hotel John Jacob Astor was beginnin' to build on Broadway just below the City Hall. They said it would cost seven hundred thousand dollars, which is an all-fired lot of money, that it would cover mighty nigh a whole block, an' that there would be nothin' else in America comin' up to it."

"I'd like to see that town," said Ned.

"Maybe you will some day," said Crockett, "'cause you're young. You don't know how young you look to me. I heard a lot there, Ned, about that rich man, Mr. Astor. He got his start as a fur trader. I guess he was about the biggest fur trader that ever was. He was so active that all them animals that wore furs on their backs concluded they might as well give up. I heard one story there about an otter an' a beaver talkin'. Says the otter to the beaver, when he was tellin' the beaver good-by after a visit: 'Farewell, I never expect to see you again, my dear old friend.' 'Don't be too much distressed,' replies the beaver, 'you an' I, old comrade, will soon meet at the hat store.'"

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The Texan Scouts
Joseph A. Altsheler

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