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The Texan Scouts Joseph A. Altsheler

The Cry For Vengeance

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As soon as the schooner was out of range Ned and his comrades stood up on the deck, and looked back at the long low coastline, which had offered to them so much danger. At first they saw Mexican horsemen on the beach, but as they went further and further out to sea they disappeared.

A strong wind hummed through the sails and the schooner, heeling over a little, went swiftly northward, leaving a long white wake. Ned and his comrades sat on the benches that ran around the sides of the deck. Some of the rich brown color faded from the Panther's face, and his eyes looked a little bit uneasy.

"I'm glad to be here," he said, "glad to be out of reach of the Mexicans, but I wish I was on somethin' a lot steadier than this."

Obed White, familiar with the waters of the Maine coast, laughed.

"This is just a spanking good breeze," he said. "Look how the waves dance!"

"Let 'em dance," said the Panther, "an' they can do my share of dancin', too. I never felt less like roarin' an' t'arin' an' rippin' in my life."

"Any way, we're getting a fine rest," said Will Allen. "It's pleasant to be out here, where nobody can drop suddenly on you from ambush."

The schooner made another curve to the eastward, the water became smoother and the Panther's qualms disappeared. Food and water were brought to them on deck, and they ate and drank with good appetites. Then John Roylston, who had gone below, as soon as they were out of range, reappeared. He went directly to Ned, shook hands with him with great energy, and said in a tone of deep gratitude:

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"I had given you up for lost. But you reappeared with your friends, just in time to save the most valuable of all cargoes for the Texans. I should like to hear now how you rose from the dead, because I had direct information that you were in the Alamo, and I know that everybody there perished."

"I come, nevertheless, as the bearer of bad news," said Ned, with Goliad fresh in his mind.

"How is that?"

Then Ned told for the second time the dreadful deed done by order of Santa Anna, and it seemed to him as he told it that all the details were as vivid and terrible as ever. His desire for revenge upon the dictator and the Mexicans had not diminished a particle. Roylston's face, usually a mask, showed horror.

"It was an awful thing to do," he said, "but it means now that Santa Anna will never conquer Texas. No man can do such a deed and yet triumph. Now, tell me how it is that you are not among the slain in the Alamo." Ned related the story anew, and he dwelt upon the fact that Santa Anna had spared him at the mention of Roylston's name. But when the story was finished, the merchant was silent for quite a while. Ned knew by the contraction of the lines upon the great brow that he was thinking. At last, he broke the silence.

"No doubt you have wondered that my name had so much influence with Santa Anna," he said. "I have hinted at it before, but I will explain more fully now. I am, as you know, a merchant. I trade throughout the whole southwest, and I have ships in the Gulf and the Caribbean. One of them, the 'Star of the South,' on which we now are, can show her heels to anything in these seas.

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The Texan Scouts
Joseph A. Altsheler

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