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The Texan Scouts Joseph A. Altsheler

The Race For The Boat

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They knew perfectly well that Ned was telling the full truth, and the faces of all of them darkened. The same thought was in the heart of every one, vengeance for the deed, but however intense was the thought it did not approach the feeling of Ned, who had seen it all, and who had been through it all.

"I guess that was the firing we heard," said Smith, "when we thought it was the boys making a last stand at Goliad. I tell you, comrades, this means the freedom of Texas. No matter how the quarrel came about no people can stand such things."

"It's so," said the others together.

They did not declaim. They were of a tribe that was not given much to words, but they felt sure that their own resolve to fight until no Mexicans were left in Texas would now be shared by every Texan.

After Ned rested a while longer and ate more of the good soup, he told the full story of the great and tragic scenes through which he had passed since he became separated from them. Seasoned as they were, these men hung with breathless interest on every detail. He told them everything that had passed in the Alamo during the long days of the siege. He told of Crockett and Bowie and Travis and of the final assault.

The Panther drew a deep breath, when he finished that part of the story.

"They were certainly great men in the Alamo, them fellers," he said, "and when my time comes to die I believe I'd rather die that way than any other."

Ned did not linger long over the tale of Goliad. He could not yet bear the detailed repetition.

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"I think we'd better make for the coast," said "Deaf" Smith, when he had finished. "Our forces in the field are about wiped out, an' we've got to raise a new army of some kind. We can look for our government, too. It's wanderin' aroun', tryin' to keep out of the hands of Santa Anna. We haven't any horse for you now, Ned, but you can ride behind Will Allen. Maybe we can get you a mount before long."

They remained in the timber the rest of the day, in order that Ned might recover sufficiently for the journey. About the middle of the afternoon they saw a dozen Mexican cavalrymen on the plain, and they hoped that they would invade the timber. They were keyed to such a pitch of anger and hate that they would have welcomed a fight, and they were more than confident of victory, but the Mexicans disappeared beyond the swells, and every one of the men was disappointed.

At night they began their march toward the north, and continued almost until morning. Ned, riding behind Will Allen, scarcely spoke. Obed White, then and afterward, observed a great change in him. He seemed to have matured suddenly far beyond his years, and Obed always felt that he had some unchanging purpose that had little to do with gentleness or mercy.

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The Texan Scouts
Joseph A. Altsheler

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