TWT logo

Together We Teach
Reading Room

Take time to read.
Reading is the
fountain of wisdom.

| Home | Reading Room Remember the Alamo


Remember the Alamo
By Amelia E. Barr

< BACK    NEXT >





"Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation rousing
herself like a strong man after sleep and shaking her
invincible locks. Methinks I see her as an eagle mewing her
mighty youth and kindling her undazzled eye in the full mid-
day beam."--MILTON.

"And from these grounds, concluding as we doe,
Warres causes diuerse, so by consequence
Diuerse we must conclude their natures too:
For war proceeding from Omnipotence,
No doubt is holy, wise, and without error;
The sword, of justice and of sin, the terror."

It is the fashion now to live for the present but the men of
fifty years ago, the men who builded the nation, they
reverenced the past, and therefore they could work for the
future. As Robert Worth rode through the streets of San
Antonio that afternoon, he was thinking, not of his own life,
but of his children's and of the generations which should come
after them.

The city was flooded with sunshine, and crowded with
a pack-train going to Sonora; the animals restlessly
protesting against the heat and flies; their Mexican drivers
in the pulqueria, spending their last peso with their
compadres, or with the escort of soldiers which was to
accompany them--a little squad of small, lithe men, with
round, yellow, beardless faces, bearing in a singular degree
the stamp of being native to the soil. Their lieutenant, a
gorgeously clad officer with a very distinguished air, was
coming slowly down the street to join them. He bowed, and
smiled pleasantly to the doctor as he passed him, and then in
a few moments the word of command and the shouting of men
and the clatter of hoofs invaded the enchanted atmosphere
like an insult.

But the tumult scarcely jarred with the thoughts of his mind.
They had been altogether of war and rumors of war. Every hour
that subtile consciousness of coming events, which makes whole
communities at times prescient, was becoming stronger. "If
the powers of the air have anything to do with the destinies
of men," he muttered, "there must be unseen battalions around
me. The air I am breathing is charged with the feeling of battle."

After leaving the city there were only a few Mexican huts on
the shady road leading to his own house. All within them were
asleep, even the fighting cocks tied outside were dozing on
their perches. He was unusually weary, he had been riding
since dawn, and his heart had not been in sympathy with his
body, it had said no good cheer to it, whispered no word of
courage or promise.

All at once his physical endurance seemed exhausted, and he
saw the white wall and arched gateway of his garden and the
turrets of his home with an inexpressible relief. But it was
the hour of siesta, and he was always careful not to let the
requirements of his profession disturb his household. So he
rode quietly to the rear, where he found a peon nodding within
the stable door. He opened his eyes unnaturally wide, and
rose to serve his master.

"See thou rub the mare well down, and give her corn and water."

"To be sure, Senior, that is to be done. A stranger has been
here to-day; an American."

"What did he say to thee?"

"That he would call again, Senor."

The incident was not an unusual one, and it did not trouble
the doctor's mind. There was on the side of the house a low
extension containing two rooms. These rooms belonged
exclusively to him. One was his study, his office, his
covert, the place to which he went when he wanted to be alone
with his own soul. There were a bed and bath and refreshments
in the other room. He went directly to it, and after eating
and washing, fell into a profound sleep.

At the hour before Angelus the house was as noisy and busy as
if it had been an inn. The servants were running hither and
thither, all of them expressing themselves in voluble Spanish.
The cooks were quarrelling in the kitchen. Antonia was
showing the table men, as she had to do afresh every day, how
to lay the cloth and serve the dishes in the American fashion.
When the duty was completed, she went into the garden to
listen for the Angelus. The young ladies of to-day would
doubtless consider her toilet frightfully unbecoming; but
Antonia looked lovely in it, though but a white muslin frock,
with a straight skirt and low waist and short, full sleeves.
It was confined by a blue belt with a gold buckle, and her
feet were in sandalled slippers of black satin.

The Angelus tolled, and the thousands of Hail Maries! which
blended with its swinging vibrations were uttered, and left to
their fate, as all spoken words must be. Antonia still
observed the form. It lent for a moment a solemn beauty to
her face. She was about to re-enter the house, when she saw
a stranger approaching it. He was dressed in a handsome
buckskin suit, and a wide Mexican hat, but she knew at once
that he was an American, and she waited to receive him.

As soon as he saw her, he removed his hat and approached with
it in his hand. Perhaps he was conscious that the act not
only did homage to womanhood, but revealed more perfectly a
face of remarkable beauty and nobility. For the rest, he was
very tall, powerfully built, elegantly proportioned, and his
address had the grace and polish of a cultured gentleman.

"I wish to see Dr. Worth, Dona."

With a gentle inclination of the head, she led him to the door
of her father's office. She was the only one in the Doctor's
family at all familiar with the room. The Senora said so
many books made her feel as if she were in a church or
monastery; she was afraid to say anything but paternosters in
it. Isabel cowered before the poor skeleton in the corner,
and the centipedes and snakes that filled the bottles on the
shelves. There was not a servant that would enter the room.

But Antonia did not regard books as a part of some vague
spiritual power. She knew the history of the skeleton. She
had seen the death of many of those "little devils" corked up
in alcohol. She knew that at this hour, if her father were at
home he was always disengaged, and she opened the door
fearlessly, saying, "Father, here is a gentleman who wishes to
see you."

The doctor had quite refreshed himself, and, in a house-suit
of clean, white linen, was lying on a couch reading. He arose
with alacrity, and with his pleasant smile seemed to welcome
the intruder, as he stepped behind him and closed the door.
Antonia had disappeared. They were quite alone.

"You are Doctor Robert Worth, sir?"

Their eyes met, their souls knew each other.

"And you are Sam Houston?"

The questions were answered in a hand grip, a sympathetic
smile on both faces--the freemasonry of kindred spirits.

"I have a letter from your son Thomas, doctor, and I think,
also, that you will have something to say to me, and I to you."

The most prudent of patriots could not have resisted this man.
He had that true imperial look which all born rulers of men
possess--that look that half coerces, and wholly persuades.
Robert Worth acknowledged its power by his instant and
decisive answer.

"I have, indeed, much to say to you. We shall have dinner
directly, then you will give the night to me?"

After a short conversation he led him into the sala and
introduced him to Antonia. He himself had to prepare the
Senora for her visitor, and he had a little quaking of the
heart as he entered her room. She was dressed for dinner, and
turned with a laughing face to meet him.

"I have been listening to the cooks quarrelling over the olla,
Roberto. But what can my poor Manuel say when your Irishwoman
attacks him. Listen to her! `Take your dirty stew aff the fire then!
Shure it isn't fit for a Christian to ate at all!'"

"I hope it is, Maria, for we have a visitor to-night."

"Who, then, my love?"

"Mr. Houston."

"Sam Houston? Holy Virgin of Guadalupe preserve us! I will
not see the man."

"I think you will, Maria. He has brought this letter for you
from our son Thomas; and he has been so kind as to take charge
of some fine horses, and sell them well for him in San Antonio.
When a man does us a kindness, we should say thank you."

"That is truth, if the man is not the Evil One. As for this
Sam Houston, you should have heard what was said of him at the

"I did hear. Everything was a lie."

"But he is a very common man."

"Maria, do you call a soldier, a lawyer, a member of the
United States Congress, a governor of a great State like Tennessee,
a common man? Houston has been all of these things."

"It is, however, true that he has lived with Indians, and with
those Americans, who are bad, who have no God, who are
infidels, and perhaps even cannibals. If he is a good man,
why does he live with bad men? Not even the saints could
do that. A good man should be in his home. Why does he not
stay at home."

"Alas! Maria, that is a woman's fault. He loved a beautiful
girl. He married her. My dear one, she did not bless his
life as you have blessed mine. No one knows what his sorrow
was, for he told no one. And he never blamed her, only he
left his high office and turned his back forever on his home."

"Ah! the cruel woman. Holy Virgin, what hard hearts thou hast
to pray for!"

"Come down and smile upon him, Maria. I should like him to
see a high-born Mexican lady. Are they not the kindest and
fairest among all God's women? I know, at least, Maria, that
you are kind and fair"; and he took her hands, and drew her
within his embrace.

What good wife can resist her husband's wooing? Maria did
not. She lifted her face, her eyes shone through happy tears,
she whispered softly: "My Robert, it is a joy to please you.
I will be kind; I will be grateful about Thomas. You
shall see that I will make a pleasant evening."

So the triumphant husband went down, proud and happy, with his
smiling wife upon his arm. Isabel was already in the room.
She also wore a white frock, but her hair was pinned back with
gold butterflies, and she had a beautiful golden necklace
around her throat. And the Senora kept her word. She paid
her guest great attention. She talked to him of his
adventures with the Indians. She requested her daughters to
sing to him. She told him stories of the old Castilian
families with which she was connected, and described her visit
to New Orleans with a great deal of pleasant humor. She felt
that she was doing herself justice; that she was charming;
and, consequently, she also was charmed with the guest and the
occasion which had been so favorable to her.

After the ladies had retired, the doctor led his visitor into
his study. He sat down silently and placed a chair for
Houston. Both men hesitated for a moment to open the
conversation. Worth, because he was treading on unknown
ground; Houston, because he did not wish to force, even by
a question, a resolution which he felt sure would come

The jar of tobacco stood between them, and they filled their
pipes silently. Then Worth laid a letter upon the table, and
said: "I unstand
{sic} from this, that my son Thomas thinks
the time has come for decisive action."

"Thomas Worth is right. With such souls as his the foundation
of the state must be laid."

"I am glad Thomas has taken the position he has; but you must
remember, sir, that he is unmarried and unembarrassed by many
circumstances which render decisive movement on my part a much
more difficult thing. Yet no man now living has watched the
Americanizing of Texas with the interest that I have."

"You have been long on the watch, sir."

"I was here when my countrymen came first, in little companies
of five or ten men. I saw the party of twenty, who joined the
priest Hidalgo in eighteen hundred and ten, when Mexico made
her first attempt to throw off the Spanish yoke."

"An unsuccessful attempt."

"Yes. The next year I made a pretended professional journey
to Chihuahua, to try and save their lives. I failed.
They were shot with Hidalgo there."

"Yet the strife for liberty went on."

"It did. Two years afterwards, Magee and Bernardo, with
twelve hundred Americans, raised the standard of independence
on the Trinity River. I saw them them
{sic} take this very
city, though it was ably defended by Salcedo. They fought
like heroes. I had many of the wounded in my house. I
succored them with my purse.

"It was a great deed for a handful of men."

"The fame of it brought young Americans by hundreds here. To
a man they joined the Mexican party struggling to free
themselves from the tyranny of old Spain. I do not think any
one of them received money. The love of freedom and the love
of adventure were alike their motive and their reward."

"Mexico owed these men a debt she has forgotten."

"She forgot it very quickly. In the following year, though
they had again defended San Antonio against the Spaniards, the
Mexicans drove all the Americans out of the city their rifles
had saved."

"You were here; tell me the true reason."

"It was not altogether ingratitude. It was the instinct of
self-preservation. The very bravery of the Americans made the
men whom they had defended hate and fear them; and there was
a continual influx of young men from the States. The Mexicans
said to each other: `There is no end to these Americans.
Very soon they will make a quarrel and turn their arms against
us. They do not conform to our customs, and they will not
take an order from any officer but their own.'"

Houston smiled. "It is away the Saxon race has," he said.
"The old Britons made the same complaint of them. They went
first to England to help the Britons fight the Romans, and
they liked the country so well, they determined to stay there.
If I remember rightly the old Britons had to let them do so."

"It is an old political situation. You can go back to Genesis
and find Pharaoh arguing about the Jews in the same manner."

"What happened after this forcible expulsion of the American
element from Texas?"

"Mexican independence was for a time abandoned, and the
Spanish viceroys were more tyrannical than ever. But
Americans still came, though they pursued different tactics.
They bought land and settled on the great rivers. In eighteen
twenty-one, Austin, with the permission of the Spanish viceroy
in Mexico, introduced three hundred families."

"That was a step in the right direction; but I am astonished
the viceroy sanctioned it."

"Apodoca, who was then viceroy, was a Spaniard of the proudest
type. He had very much the same contempt for the Mexicans
that an old English viceroy in New York had for the colonists
he was sent to govern. I dare say any of them would have
permitted three hundred German families to settle in some part
of British America, as far from New York as Texas is from
Mexico. I do not need to tell you that Austin's colonists are
a band of choice spirits, hardy working men, trained in the
district schools of New England and New York--nearly every one
of them a farmer or mechanic."

"They were the very material liberty needed. They have made

"That is the truth. The fighters who preceded them owned
nothing but their horses and their rifles. But these men
brought with them their wives and their children, their
civilization, their inborn love of freedom and national faith.
They accepted the guarantee of the Spanish government, and
they expected the Spanish government to keep its promises."

"It did not."

"It had no opportunity. The colonists were hardly settled
when the standard of revolt against Spain was again raised.
Santa Anna took the field for a republican form of government,
and once more a body of Americans, under the Tennesseean,
Long, joined the Mexican army."

"I remember that, well."

"In eighteen twenty-four, Santa Anna, Victoria and Bravo drove
the Spaniards forever from Mexico, and then they promulgated
the famous constitution of eighteen twenty-four. It was a
noble constitution, purely democratic and federal, and the
Texan colonists to a man gladly swore to obey it. The form
was altogether elective, and what particularly pleased the
American element was the fact that the local government of
every State was left to itself."

Houston laughed heartily. "Do you know, Worth," he said,
"State Rights is our political religion. The average American
citizen would expect the Almighty to conform to a written
constitution, and recognize the rights of mankind."

"I don't think he expects more than he gets, Houston. Where
is there a grander constitution than is guaranteed to us in
His Word; or one that more completely recognizes the rights of
all humanity?"

"Thank you, Worth. I see that I have spoken better than I
knew. I was sitting in the United States Congress, when this
constitution passed, and very much occupied with the politics
of Tennessee."

"I will not detain you with Mexican politics. It may be
briefly said that for the last ten years there has been a
constant fight between Pedraza, Guerrero, Bustamante and Santa
Anna for the Presidency of Mexico. After so much war and
misery the country is now ready to resign all the blessings
the constitution of eighteen twenty-four promised her. For
peace she is willing to have a dictator in Santa Anna."

"If Mexicans want a dictator let them bow down to Santa Anna!
But do you think the twenty thousand free-born Americans in
Texas are going to have a dictator? They will have the
constitution of eighteen twenty-four--or they will have
independence, and make their own constitution! Yes, sir!"

"You know the men for whom you speak?"

"I have been up and down among them for two years. Just after
I came to Texas I was elected to the convention which sent
Stephen Austin to Mexico with a statement of our wrongs. Did
we get any redress? No, sir! And as for poor Austin, is he not
in the dungeons of the Inquisition? We have waited two years
for an answer. Great heavens Doctor, surely that is long enough!"

"Was this convention a body of any influence?"

"Influence! There were men there whose names will never be
forgotten. They met in a log house; they wore buckskin and
homespun; but I tell you, sir, they were debating the fate of
unborn millions."

"Two years since Austin went to Mexico?"

"A two years' chapter of tyranny. In them Santa Anna has
quite overthrown the republic of which we were a part. He has
made himself dictator. and, because our authorities have
protested against the change, they have been driven from
office by a military force. I tell you, sir, the petty
outrages everywhere perpetrated by petty officials have filled
the cup of endurance. It is boiling over. Now, doctor, what
are you going to do? Are you with us, or against us?"

"I have told you that I have been with my countrymen always--
heart and soul with them."

The doctor spoke with some irritation, and Houston laid his
closed hand hard upon the table to emphasize his reply:

"Heart and soul! Very good! But we want your body now. You
must tuck your bowie-knife and your revolvers in your belt,
and take your rifle in your hand, and be ready to help us
drive the Mexican force out of this very city."

"When it comes to that I shall be no laggard."

But he was deathly pale, for he was suffering as men suffer
who feel the sweet bonds of wife and children and home,
and dread the rending of them apart. In a moment, however,
the soul behind his white face made it visibly luminous.
"Houston," he said, "whenever the cause of freedom needs me,
I am ready. I shall want no second call. But is it not
possible, that even yet--"

"It is impossible to avert what is already here. Within a few days,
perhaps to-morrow, you will hear the publication of an edict
from Santa Anna, ordering every American to give up his arms."

"What! Give up our arms! No, no, by Heaven! I will die
fighting for mine, rather."

"Exactly. That is how every white man in Texas feels about
it. And if such a wonder as a coward existed among them, he
understands that he may as well die fighting Mexicans, as die
of hunger or be scalped by Indians. A large proportion of the
colonists depend on their rifles for their daily food. All of
them know that they must defend their own homes from the
Comanche, or see them perish. Now, do you imagine that
Americans will obey any such order? By all the great men
of seventeen seventy-five, if they did, I would go over to the
Mexicans and help them to wipe the degenerate cowards out of

He rose as he spoke; he looked like a flame, and his words cut
like a sword. Worth caught fire at his vehemence and passion.
He clasped his hands in sympathy as he walked with him to the
door. They stood silently together for a moment on the
threshold, gazing into the night. Over the glorious land the
full moon hung, enamoured. Into the sweet, warm air
mockingbirds were pouring low, broken songs of ineffable
melody. The white city in the mystical light looked like an
enchanted city. It was so still that the very houses looked asleep.

"It is a beautiful land," said the doctor.

"It is worthy of freedom," answered Houston. Then he went
with long, swinging steps down the garden, and into the
shadows beyond, and Worth turned in and closed the door.

He had been watching for this very hour for twenty years; and
yet he found himself wholly unprepared for it. Like one led
by confused and uncertain thoughts, he went about the room
mechanically locking up his papers, and the surgical
instruments he valued so highly. As he did so he perceived
the book he had been reading when Houston entered. It was
lying open where he had laid it down. A singular smile
flitted over his face. He lifted it and carried it closer to
the light. It was his college Cicero.

"I was nineteen years old when I marked that passage," he said;
"and I do not think I have ever read it since, until tonight. I was
reading it when Houston came into the room. Is it a message,
I wonder?--

"`But when thou considerest everything carefully and
thoughtfully; of all societies none is of more importance,
none more dear, than that which unites us with the
commonwealth. Our parents, children, relations and neighbors
are dear, but our fatherland embraces the whole round of these
endearments. In its defence, who would not dare to die, if
only he could assist it?"



Top of Page

< BACK    NEXT > 

| Home | Reading Room Remember the Alamo




Why not spread the word about Together We Teach?
Simply copy & paste our home page link below into your emails... 

Want the Together We Teach link to place on your website?
Copy & paste either home page link on your webpage...
Together We Teach 




Use these free website tools below for a more powerful experience at Together We Teach!

****Google™ search****

For a more specific search, try using quotation marks around phrases (ex. "You are what you read")


*** Google Translate™ translation service ***

 Translate text:


  Translate a web page:

****What's the Definition?****
(Simply insert the word you want to lookup)

 Search:   for   

S D Glass Enterprises

Privacy Policy

Warner Robins, GA, USA