Remember the Alamo
Remember the Alamo
"Well, yes, Antonia-in a way. Delays in war are as dangerous as in love. We were surrounded by dragoons, who scoured the country in every direction to prevent our foraging. San Antonio HAD to be taken. Soon done was well done. On the third of December Colonel Milam stepped in front of the ranks, and asked if two hundred of the men would go with him and storm the city. The whole eleven hundred stepped forward, and gave him their hands and their word. From them two hundred of the finest marksmen were selected."
"I have to say that was a great scene, mi Roberto."
"The greater for its calmness, I think. There was no shouting, no hurrahing, no obvious enthusiasm. It was the simple assertion of serious men determined to carry out their object."
"And you stormed San Antonio with two hundred men, father?"
"But every man was a picked man. A Mexican could not show his head above the ramparts and live. We had no powder and ball to waste; and I doubt if a single ball missed its aim."
"A Mexican is like a Highland Scot in one respect," said Dare; "he fights best with steel. They are good cavalry soldiers."
"There are no finer cavalry in the world than the horsemen from Santa Fe, Dare. But with powder and ball Mexicans trust entirely to luck; and luck is nowhere against Kentucky sharpshooters. Their balls very seldom reached us, though we were close to the ramparts; and we gathered them up by thousands, and sent them back with our double-Dupont powder. THEN they did damage enough. In fact, we have taken the Alamo with Mexican balls."
"Under what flag did you fight, Roberto?"
"Under the Mexican republican flag of eighteen twenty-four; but indeed, Maria, I do not think we had one in the camp. We were destitute of all the trappings of war-we had no uniforms, no music, no flags, no positive military discipline. But we had one heart and mind, and one object in view; and this four days' fight has shown what men can do, who are moved by a single, grand idea."
The Senora lay upon a sofa; the doctor sat by her side. Gradually their conversation became more low and confidential. They talked of their sons, and their probable whereabouts; of all that the Senora and her daughters had suffered from the disaffection of the servants; and the attitude taken by Fray Ignatius. And the doctor noticed, without much surprise, that his wife's political sympathies were still in a state of transition and uncertainty. She could not avoid prophesying the speedy and frightful vengeance of Mexico. She treated the success at San Antonio as one of the accidents of war. She looked forward to an early renewal of hostilities.
"My countrymen are known to me, Roberto," she said, with a touch that was almost a hope of vengeance. "They have an insurmountable honor; they will revenge this insult to it in some terrible way. If the gracious Maria holds not the hands of Santa Anna, he will utterly destroy the Americans! He will be like a tiger that has become mad."
"I am not so much afraid of Santa Anna as of Fray Ignatius. Promise me, my dear Maria, that you will not suffer yourself or your children to be decoyed by him into a convent. I should never see you again."
The discussion on this subject was long and eager. Antonia, talking with Dare a little apart, could not help hearing it and feeling great interest in her father's entreaties, even though she was discussing with Dare the plans for their future. For Dare had much to tell his betrothed. During the siege, the doctor had discovered that his intended son-in-law was a fine surgeon. Dare had, with great delicacy, been quite reticent on this subject, until circumstances made his assistance a matter of life and death; and the doctor understood and appreciated the young man's silence.
"He thinks I might have a touch of professional jealousy-he thinks I might suspect him of wanting a partnership as well as a wife; he wishes to take