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The Texan Scouts Joseph A. Altsheler

In The Alamo

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He ran out of the house and the first man he met was Davy Crockett.

"Now what has disturbed you?" asked Crockett, in his drawling tone. "Haven't you seen Mexicans enough for one day? This ain't the time to see double."

"I wish I could see double in this case, Mr. Crockett," replied Ned, "because then the twenty barrels of corn that I've found would be forty."

He took Crockett triumphantly into the building and showed him the treasure, which was soon transferred to one of the arched rooms beside the entrance of the church. It was in truth one of the luckiest finds ever made. The cattle in the plaza would furnish meat for a long time, but they would need bread also. Again Ned felt that pleasant glow of triumph. It seemed that fortune was aiding them.

He went outside and stood by the ditch which led a shallow stream of water along the eastern side of the church. It was greenish in tint, but it was water, water which would keep the life in their bodies while they fought off the hosts of Santa Anna.

The sun was now past the zenith, and since the Norther had ceased to blow there was a spring warmth in the air. Ned, conscious now that he was stained with the dirt and dust of flight and haste, bathed his face and hands in the water of the ditch and combed his thick brown hair as well as he could with his fingers.

"Good work, my lad," said a hearty voice beside him. "It shows that you have a cool brain and an orderly mind."

Davy Crockett, who was always neat, also bathed his own face and hands in the ditch.

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"Now I feel a lot better," he said, "and I want to tell you, Ned, that it's lucky the Spanish built so massively. Look at this church. It's got walls of hewn stone, five feet through, an' back in Tennessee we build 'em of planks a quarter of an inch thick. Why, these walls would turn the biggest cannon balls."

"It surely is mighty lucky," said Ned. "What are you going to do next, Mr. Crockett?"

"I don't know. I guess we'll wait on the Mexicans to open the battle. Thar, do you hear that trumpet blowin' ag'in? I reckon it means that they're up to somethin'."

"I think so, too," said Ned. "Let's go back upon the church walls, Mr. Crockett, and see for ourselves just what it means."

The two climbed upon the great stone wall, which was in reality a parapet. Travis and Bowie, who was second in command, were there already. Ned looked toward San Antonio, and he saw Mexicans everywhere. Mexican flags hoisted by the people were floating from the flat roofs of the houses, signs of their exultation at the coming of Santa Anna and the expulsion of the Texans.

The trumpet sounded again and they saw three officers detach themselves from the Mexican lines and ride forward under a white flag. Ned knew that one of them was the young Urrea.

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The Texan Scouts
Joseph A. Altsheler

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