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0105_001E The Texan Scouts Joseph A. Altsheler

Crockett And Bowie

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Ned and the Bee-Hunter laughed, and Crockett delved again into his past life and his experiences in the great city, relatively as great then to the whole country as it is now.

"I saw a heap of New York," he continued, "an' one of the things I liked best in it was the theaters. Lad, I saw the great Fanny Kemble play there, an' she shorely was one of the finest women that ever walked this troubled earth. I saw her first as Portia in that play of Shakespeare's called, called, called----"

"'The Merchant of Venice,'" suggested Ned.

"Yes, that's it, 'The Merchant of Venice,' where she was the woman lawyer. She was fine to see, an' the way she could change her voice an' looks was clean mirac'lous. If ever I need a lawyer I want her to act for me. She had me mad, an' then she had me laughin', an' then she had the water startin' in my eyes. Whatever she wanted me to see I saw, an' whatever she wanted me to think I thought. An' then, too, she was many kinds of a woman, different in turn. In fact, Ned, she was just like a handsome piece of changeable silk--first one color an' then another, but always clean."

He paused and the others did not interrupt him.

"I don't like cities," he resumed presently. "They crowd me up too much, but I do like the theater. It makes you see so many things an' so many kinds of people that you wouldn't have time to see if you had to travel for 'em. We don't have much chance to travel right now, do we, Bee-Hunter?"

"A few hundred yards only for our bodies," replied the young Tennesseean, "but our spirits soar far;

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"'Up with your banner, Freedom, Thy champions cling to thee, They'll follow where'er you lead them To death or victory. Up with your banner, Freedom.'"

He merely hummed the words, but Ned caught his spirit and he repeated to himself: "Up with your banner, Freedom."

"I guess you've heard enough tales from an old fellow like me," said Crockett. "At least you won't have time to hear any more 'cause the Mexicans must be moving out there. Do you hear anything, Ned?"

"Nothing but a little wind."

"Then my ears must be deceivin' me. I've used 'em such a long time that I guess they feel they've got a right to trick me once in a while."

But Ned was thinking just then of the great city which he wanted to see some day as Crockett had seen it. But it seemed to him at that moment as far away as the moon. Would his comrades and he ever escape from those walls?

His mind came back with a jerk. He did hear something on the plain. Crockett was right. He heard the tread of horses and the sound of wheels moving. He called the attention of Crockett to the noises.

"I think I know what causes them," said Crockett. "Santa Anna is planting his battery under the cover of the night an' I don't see, boys, how we're goin' to keep him from doin' it."

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The Texan Scouts
Joseph A. Altsheler

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