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The Texan Scouts Joseph A. Altsheler

The Race For The Boat

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"You keep the letter, 'Deaf'," said the Panther, "an' now that we've got a horse for Ned I guess we can go a little faster. How you feelin' now, Ned?"

"Fine," replied Ned. "Don't you bother about me any more. I started on the upgrade the moment you fellows found me."

"A good horse and a good rifle ought to be enough to bring back the strength to any Texan," said Obed White.

They resumed their journey at a faster pace, but before nightfall they met another Texan who informed them that large forces of Mexicans were now between them and Harrisburg. Hence they concluded that it was wiser to turn toward the coast, and make a great circuit around the forces of Santa Anna.

But they told the Texan scout of what had been done at Goliad, and bade him wave the torch of fire wherever he went. He rode away with a face aghast at the news, and they knew that he would soon spread it through the north. As for themselves they rode rapidly toward the east.

They spent the night in a cluster of timber, and the Panther was fortunate enough to shoot a wild turkey. They made Ned eat the tenderest parts, and then seek sleep between blankets. His fever was now gone, but he was relaxed and weak. It was a pleasant weakness, however, and, secure in the comradeship of his friends, he soon fell into a deep slumber which lasted all the night. The others had planned an early start, but, as Ned was sleeping with such calm and peace, they decided not to disturb him, knowing how much he needed the rest. It was three hours after sunrise when he awoke, and he made many apologies, but the rest only laughed.

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"What's the use of our hurryin'?" said "Deaf" Smith. "It'll take some time for Sam Houston to get any army together, an' we might keep in good shape until he gets it. Here's more beef soup for you, Ned. You'll find it mighty fine for buildin' up."

Two or three hours after they started that day they came to a large trail, and, when they followed it a little while, they found that it was made by Mexicans marching south, but whether they belonged to the main force under Santa Anna or that under Urrea they could not tell.

It was evident that the northern road was full of dangers and they rode for the coast. Several small Texan vessels were flitting around the gulf, now and then entering obscure bays and landing arms, ammunition and recruits for he cause. Both Smith and Karnes were of the opinion that they might find a schooner or sloop, and they resolved to try for it.

They reached, the next day, country that had not been ravaged by the troops of Santa Anna, and passed one or two tiny settlements, where they told the news of Goliad. The Panther, Smith and Karnes were well known to all the Texans, and they learned in the last of these villages that a schooner was expected in a cove about forty miles up the coast. It would undoubtedly put in at night, and it would certainly arrive in two or three days. They thought it was coming from New Orleans.

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The Texan Scouts
Joseph A. Altsheler

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