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The Texan Scouts Joseph A. Altsheler

In The Alamo

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"Now what in thunder can they want?" growled Davy Crockett. "There can be no talk or truce between us an' Santa Anna. If all that I've heard of him is true I'd never believe a word he says."

Travis called two of his officers, Major Morris and Captain Martin, and directed them to go out and see what the Mexicans wanted. Then, meeting Ned's eye, he recalled something.

"Ah, you speak Spanish and Mexican Spanish perfectly," he said. "Will you go along, too?"

"Gladly," said Ned.

"An', Ned," said Davy Crockett, in his whimsical tone, "if you don't tell me every word they said when you come back I'll keep you on bread an' water for a week. There are to be no secrets here from me."

"I promise, Mr. Crockett," said Ned.

The heavy oaken doors were thrown open and the three went out on foot to meet the Mexican officers who were riding slowly forward. The afternoon air was now soft and pleasant, and a light, soothing wind was blowing from the south. The sky was a vast dome of brilliant blue and gold. It was a picture that remained indelibly on Ned's mind like many others that were to come. They were etched in so deeply that neither the colors nor the order of their occurrence ever changed. An odor, a touch, or anything suggestive would make them return to his mind, unfaded and in proper sequence like the passing of moving pictures.

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The Mexicans halted in the middle of the plain and the three Texans met them. The Mexicans did not dismount. Urrea was slightly in advance of the other two, who were older men in brilliant uniforms, generals at least. Ned saw at once that they meant to be haughty and arrogant to the last degree. They showed it in the first instance by not dismounting. It was evident that Urrea would be the chief spokesman, and his manner indicated that it was a part he liked. He, too, was in a fine uniform, irreproachably neat, and his handsome olive face was flushed.

"And so," he said, in an undertone and in Spanish to Ned, "we are here face to face again. You have chosen your own trap, the Alamo, and it is not in human power for you to escape it now."

His taunt stung, but Ned merely replied:

"We shall see."

Then Urrea said aloud, speaking in English, and addressing himself to the two officers:

"We have come by order of General Santa Anna, President of Mexico and Commander-in-Chief of her officers, to make a demand of you."

"A conference must proceed on the assumption that the two parties to it are on equal terms," said Major Morris, in civil tones.

"Under ordinary circumstances, yes," said Urrea, without abating his haughty manner one whit, "but this is a demand by a paramount authority upon rebels and traitors."

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The Texan Scouts
Joseph A. Altsheler

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