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The Texan Scouts Joseph A. Altsheler

For Freedom's Sake

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"You're right, doubly right," said the Panther. "That was an Injun you saw, but whether a Comanche or a Lipan I couldn't tell. The boys are besieged not by Mexicans, but by Injuns. Hark to that!"

There was a flash from the cabin, a dusky figure in the woods leaped into the air, uttered a death cry, fell and lay still.

"An', as you see," continued the Panther, in his whisper, "the boys in the house are not asleep, dreamin' beautiful dreams. Looks to me as if they was watchin' mighty sharp for them fellers who have broke up their rest."

Crack! went a second shot from the house, but there was no answering cry, and they could not tell whether it hit anything. But they soon saw more dark figures flitting through the bushes, and their own position grew very precarious. If a band of the Indians stumbled upon them they might be annihilated before they gave their besieged comrades any help.

"I make the motion, Mr. Panther," said Crockett, "that you form a speedy plan of action for us, an' I trust that our young friend Ned here will second it."

"I second the motion," said Ned.

"It is carried unanimously. Now, Mr. Panther, we await your will."

"It's my will that we git back to the rest of the men as soon as we can. I reckon, Mr. Crockett, that them Tennesseans of yours wouldn't head in the other direction if a fight grew hot."

"I reckon that wild horses couldn't drag 'em away," said Crockett dryly.

"Then we'll go back an' j'in 'em."

"To hold a caucus, so to speak."

"I don't know what a cow-cuss is."

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"It's Congressional for a conference. Don't mind these parliamentary expressions of mine, Mr. Panther. They give me pleasure an' they hurt nobody."

They reached the Tennesseans without interruption, and the Panther quickly laid his plan before them. They would advance within a quarter of a mile of the cabin, tie their horses in the thickest of the brush, leave four men to guard them, then the rest would go forward to help the besieged.

Crockett's eyes twinkled when the Panther announced the campaign in a few words.

"Very good; very good," he said. "A steering committee could not have done better. That also is parliamentary, but I think you understand it."

They heard detached shots again and then a long yell.

"They're Comanches," said the Panther. "I know their cry, an' I guess there's a lot of them."

Ned hoped that the shout did not mean the achieving of some triumph. They reached presently a dense growth of brush, and there the horses were tied. Four reluctant Tennesseans remained with them and the rest crept forward. They did not hear any shot after they left the horses until they were within three hundred yards of the house. Then an apparition caused all to stop simultaneously.

A streak of flame shot above the trees, curved and fell. It was followed by another and another. Ned was puzzled, but the Panther laughed low.

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The Texan Scouts
Joseph A. Altsheler

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