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0105_001E The Texan Scouts Joseph A. Altsheler

The Cry For Vengeance

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"Earlier in my life I came in contact with Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Like many others I fell for a while under his spell. I believed that he was a great and liberal man, that he would even be able to pull Mexico out of her slough of misrule and ignorance. I helped him in some of his young efforts. The splendid hacienda that he has near Vera Cruz was bought partly with money that I furnished.

"But our friendship could not last. Vain, ruthless, cruel, but with genius, Santa Anna can have no friends except those whom he may use. Unless you submit, unless you do everything that he wishes, you are, in his opinion, a traitor to him, a malefactor and an enemy, to be crushed by trickery or force, by fair means or foul. How could I have continued dealings with such a man?

"I soon saw that instead of being Mexico's best friend he was her worst enemy. I drew away in time, but barely. I was in Mexico when the break came, and he would have seized and imprisoned me or had me shot, but I escaped in disguise.

"I retained, too, a hold upon Santa Anna that he has sought in vain to break. Such a man as he always needs money, not a few thousands, but great sums. He has been thrifty. The treasury of Mexico has been practically at his mercy, but he does not trust the banks of his own land. He has money not only in the foreign banks of Mexico, but also large amounts of it in two of the great banks of London. The English deposits stand as security for the heavy sums that he owes me. His arm is long, but it does not reach to London.

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"He cannot pay at present without putting himself in great difficulties, and, for the time being, I wish the debt to stand. It gives me a certain power over him, although we are on opposite sides in a fierce war. When you gave him my name in San Antonio, he did not put you to death because he feared that I would seize his English money when I heard of it.

"The younger Urrea has heard something of these debts. He is devoted to Santa Anna, and he knew that he would have rendered his chief an immense service if he could have secured his release from them. That was what he tried to force from me when I was in his hands, but you and your friends saved me. You little thought, Edward Fulton, that you were then saving your own life also. Otherwise, Santa Anna would have had you slain instantly when you were brought before him at San Antonio. Ah, how thoroughly I know that man! That he can be a terrible and cruel enemy he has already proved to Texas!"

The others listened with deep interest to every word spoken by Roylston. When he was through, the Panther rose, stretched his arms, and expanded his mighty chest. All the natural brown had returned to his cheeks, and his eyes sparkled with the fire of confidence.

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The Texan Scouts
Joseph A. Altsheler

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