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The Texan Scouts Joseph A. Altsheler

The Race For The Boat

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"However, it's happened we're glad to get him back," said the Panther. "And now we must go to work. You can tell by lookin' at him that he's been through all kinds of trouble, an' a powerful lot of it."

These skilled borderers knew that Ned was suffering from exhaustion. They forced open his mouth, poured a drink down his throat from a flask that Karnes carried, and rubbed his hands vigorously. Ned, after a while, opened his eyes and looked at them dimly. He knew in a vague way that these were familiar faces, but he remembered nothing, and he felt no surprise.

"Ned! Ned! Don't; you know us?" said Will Allen. "We're your friends, and we found you lying here in the bush!"

The clouds slowly cleared away from Ned's mind and it all came back, the terrible and treacherous slaughter of his unarmed comrades, his own flight through the timber his swimming of the river, and then the blank. But these were his best friends. It was no fantasy. How and when they had come he did not know, but here they were in the flesh, the Panther, Obed White, Will Allen, "Deaf" Smith and Henry Karnes.

"Boys," he asked weakly, "how did you find me?"

"Now don't you try to talk yet a while, Ned," said Obed White, veiling his feeling under a whimsical tone. "When people come back from the dead they don't always stay, and we want to keep you, as you're an enrolled member of this party. The news of your trip into the beyond and back again will keep, until we fix up something for you that will make you feel a lot stronger."

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These frontiersmen never rode without an outfit, and Smith produced a small skillet from his kit. The Panther lighted a fire, Karnes chipped off some dried beef, and in a few minutes they had a fine soup, which Ned ate with relish. He sat with his back against a tree and his strength returned rapidly.

"I guess you can talk now, Ned," said Obed White. "You can tell us how you got away from the Alamo, and where you've been all the time."

Young Fulton's face clouded and Obed White saw his hands tremble.

"It isn't the Alamo," he said. "They died fighting there. It was Goliad."

"Goliad?" exclaimed "Deaf" Smith. "What do you mean?"

"I mean the slaughter, the massacre. All our men were led out. They were told that they were to go on parole. Then the whole Mexican army opened fire upon us at a range of only a few yards and the cavalry trod us down. We had no arms. We could not fight back. It was awful. I did not dream that such things could be. None of you will ever see what I've seen, and none of you will ever go through what I've gone through."

"Ned, you've had fever. It's a dream," said Obed White, incredulous.

"It is no dream. I broke through somehow, and got to the timber. Maybe a few others escaped in the same way, but all the rest were murdered in cold blood. I know that Santa Anna ordered it."

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The Texan Scouts
Joseph A. Altsheler

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