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Remember the Alamo
By Amelia E. Barr

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"O blest be he! O blest be he!
Let him all blessings prove,
Who made the chains, the shining chains,
The holy chains of love!"
--Spanish Ballad.
"If you love a lady bright,
Seek, and you shall find a way
All that love would say, to say
If you watch the occasion right."
--Spanish Ballad.

In the morning Isabel took breakfast with her sister. This
was always a pleasant event to Antonia. She petted Isabel,
she waited upon her, sweetened her chocolate, spread her cakes
with honey, and listened to all her complaints of Tia Rachela.
Isabel came gliding in when Antonia was about half way through
the meal. Her scarlet petticoat was gorgeous, her bodice
white as snow, her hair glossy as a bird's wing, but her lips
drooped and trembled, and there was the shadow of tears in her
eyes. Antonia kissed their white fringed lids, held
the little form close in her arms, and fluttered about in that
motherly way which Isabel had learned to demand and enjoy.

"What has grieved you this morning, little dove?"

"It is Tia Rachela, as usual. The cross old woman! She is
going to tell mi madre something. Antonia, you must make her
keep her tongue between her teeth. I promised her to confess
to Fray Ignatius, and she said I must also tell mi madre. I
vowed to say twenty Hail Marias and ten Glorias, and she said
`I ought to go back to the convent.'"

"But what dreadful thing have you been doing, Iza?"

Iza blushed and looked into her chocolate cup, as she answered
slowly: "I gave--a--flower--away. Only a suchil flower,
Antonia, that--I--wore--at--my--breast--last--night."

"Whom did you give it to, Iza?"

Iza hesitated, moved her chair close to Antonia, and then hid
her face on her sister's breast.

"But this is serious, darling. Surely you did not give it to
Senor Houston?"

"Could you think I was so silly? When madre was talking to
him last night, and when I was singing my pretty serenade, he
heard nothing at all. He was thinking his own thoughts."

"Not to Senor Houston? Who then? Tell me, Iza."

"To--Don Luis."

"Don Luis! But he is not here. He went to the Colorado."

"How stupid are you, Antonia! In New York they did not teach
you to put this and that together. As soon as I saw Senor
Houston, I said to myself: `Don Luis was going to him; very
likely they have met each other on the road; very likely Don
Luis is back in San Antonio. He would not want to go away
without bidding me good-by,' and, of course, I was right."

"But when did you see him last night? You never left the room."

So many things are possible. My heart said to me when the
talk was going on, `Don Luis is waiting under the oleanders,'
and I walked on to the balcony and there he was, and he looked
so sad, and I dropped my suchil flower to him; and Rachela
saw me, for I think she has a million eyes,--and that is the
whole matter."

"But why did not Don Luis come in?"

"Mi madre forbade me to speak to him. That is the fault of
the Valdez's."

"Then you disobeyed mi madre, and you know what Fray Ignatius
and the Sisters have taught you about the fourth command."

"Oh, indeed, I did not think of the fourth command! A sin
without intention has not penance; and consider, Antonia, I am
now sixteen, and they would shut me up like a chicken in its
shell. Antonia, sweet Antonia, speak to Rachela, and make
your little Iza happy. Fear is so bad for me. See, I do not
even care for my cakes and honey this morning.

"I will give Rachela the blue silk kerchief I brought from New
York. She will forget a great deal for that, and then, Iza,
darling, you must tell Fray Ignatius of your sin, because it
is not good to have an unconfessed sin on the soul."

"Antonia, do not say such cruel things. I have confessed to
you. Fray Ignatius will give me a hard penance. Perhaps he
may say to mi madre: `That child had better go back to
the convent. I say so, because I have knowledge.' And now I
am tired of that life; I am almost a woman, Antonia, am I not?"

Antonia looked tenderly into her face. She saw some
inscrutable change there. All was the same, and all was
different. She did not understand that it was in the eyes,
those lookouts of the soul. They had lost the frank,
inquisitive stare of childhood; they were tender and misty;
they reflected a heart passionate and fearful, in which love
was making himself lord of all.

Antonia was not without experience. There was in New York a
gay, handsome youth, to whom her thoughts lovingly turned.
She had promised to trust him, and to wait for him, and
neither silence nor distance had weakened her faith or her
affection. Don Luis had also made her understand how hard it
was to leave Isabel, just when he had hoped to woo and win
her. He had asked her to watch over his beloved, and to say
a word in his favor when all others would be condemning him.

Her sympathy had been almost a promise, and, indeed, she
thought Isabel could hardly have a more suitable lover. He
was handsome, gallant, rich, and of good morals and noble
family. They had been much together in their lives; their
childish affection had been permitted; she felt quite sure
that the parents of both had contemplated a stronger affection
and a more lasting tie between them.

And evidently Don Luis had advanced further in his suit than
the Senora was aware of. He had not been able to resist the
charm of secretly wooing the fresh young girl he hoped to make
his wife. Their love must be authorized and sanctioned; true,
he wished that; but the charm of winning the prize before it
was given was irresistible. Antonia comprehended all without
many words; but she took her sister into the garden, where
they could be quite alone, and she sought the girl's confidence
because she was sure she could be to her a loving guide.

Isabel was ready enough to talk, and the morning was conducive
to confidence. They strolled slowly between the myrtle hedges
in the sweet gloom of overshadowing trees, hearing only like
a faint musical confusion the mingled murmur of the city.

"It was just here," said Isabel. "I was walking and
sitting and doing nothing at all but looking at the trees and
the birds and feeling happy, and Don Luis came to me. He
might have come down from the skies, I was so astonished. And
he looked so handsome, and he said such words! Oh, Antonia!
they went straight to my heart."

"When was this, dear?"

"It was in the morning. I had been to mass with Rachela. I
had said every prayer with my whole heart, and Rachela told me
I might stay in the garden until the sun grew hot. And as
soon as Rachela was gone, Don Luis came--came just as sudden
as an angel."

"He must have followed you from mass."


"He should not have done that."

"If a thing is delightful, nobody should do it. Luis said he
knew that it was decided that we should marry, but that he
wanted me to be his wife because I loved him. His face was
shining with joy, his eyes were like two stars, he called me
his life, his adorable mistress, his queen, and he knelt down
and took my hands and kissed them. I was too happy to speak."

"Oh, Iza!"

"Very well, Antonia! It is easy to say `Oh, Iza'; but what
would you have done? And reflect on this; no one, not even
Rachela, saw him. So then, our angels were quite agreeable
and willing. And I--I was in such joy, that I went straight
in and told Holy Maria of my happiness. But when a person has
not been in love, how can they know; and I see that you are
going to say as Sister Sacrementa said to Lores Valdez--`You
are a wicked girl, and such things are not to be spoken of!'"

"Oh, my darling one, I am not so cruel. I think you did
nothing very wrong, Iza. When love comes into your soul, it
is like a new life. If it is a pure, good love, it is a kind
of murder to kill it in any way."

"It has just struck me, Antonia, that you may be in love also."

"When I was in New York, our brother Jack had a friend, and he
loved me, and I loved him."

"But did grandmamma let him talk to you?"

"He came every night. We went walking and driving. In the
summer we sailed upon the river; in the winter we skated upon
the ice. He helped me with my lessons. He went with me
to church."

"And was grandmamma with you?"

"Very seldom. Often Jack was with us; more often we were
quite alone."

"Holy Virgin! Who ever heard tell of such good fortune?
Consuelo Ladrello had never been an hour alone with Don
Domingo before they were married."

"A good girl does not need a duenna to watch her; that is what
I think. And an American girl, pure and free, would not
suffer herself to be watched by any woman, old or young. Her
lover comes boldly into her home; she is too proud, to meet
him in secret."

"Ah! that would be a perfect joy. That is what I would like!
But fancy what Rachela would say; and mi madre would cover her
eyes and refuse to see me if I said such words. Believe this.
It was in the spring Luis told me that he loved me, and though
I have seen him often since, he has never found another moment
to speak to me alone, not for one five minutes. Oh, Antonia!
let me have one five minutes this afternoon! He is going away,
and there is to be war, and I may never, never see him again!"

"Do not weep, little dove. How can you see him this afternoon?"

"He will be here, in this very place, I know he will. When he
put the suchil flower to his lips last night he made me
understand it. This afternoon, during the hour of siesta,
will you come with me? Only for five minutes, Antonia!
You can manage Rachela, I am sure you can."

"I can manage Rachela, and you shall have one whole hour, Iza.
One whole hour! Come, now, we must make a visit to our mother.
She will be wondering at our delay."

The Senora had not yet risen. She had taken her chocolate and
smoked her cigarito, but was still drowsing. "I have had a
bad night, children," she said full of dreadful dreams. It
must have been that American. Yet, Holy Mother, how handsome
he is! And I assure you that he has the good manners of a
courtier. Still, it was an imprudence, and Senora Valdez will
make some great thing of it."

"You were in your own house, mother. What has Senora Valdez
to do with the guest in it? We might as well make some
great thing about Captain Morello being present at her party."

"I have to say to you, Antonia, that Morello is a Castilian;
his family is without a cross. He has the parchments of his
noble ancestry to show."

And Senor Houston is an American--Scotch-American, he said,
last night. Pardon, my mother, but do you know what the men
of Scotland are?"

"Si!, They are monsters! Fray Ignatius has told me. They
are heretics of the worst kind. It is their special delight
to put to death good Catholic priests. I saw that in a book;
it must be true."

"Oh, no, mother! It is not true! It is mere nonsense.
Scotchmen do not molest priests, women, and children.
They are the greatest fighters in the world."

"Quien sabe? Who has taught you so much about these savages?"

"Indeed, mother, they are not savages. They are a very
learned race of men, and very pious also. Jack has many
Scotch-American friends. I know one of them very well"; and
with the last words her face flushed, and her voice fell
insensibly into slow and soft inflections.

"Jack knows many of them! That is likely. Your father would
send him to New York. All kinds of men are in New York. Fray
Ignatius says they have to keep an army of police there. No
wonder! And my son is so full of nobilities, so generous, so
honorable, he will not keep himself exclusive. He is the true
resemblance of my brother Don Juan Flores. Juan was always
pitying the poor and making friends with those beneath him.
At last he went into the convent of the Bernardines and died
like a very saint."

"I think our Jack will be more likely to die like a very hero.
If there is any thing Jack hates, it is oppression. He would
right a beggar, if he saw him wronged."

"Poco a poco! I am tired of rights and wrongs. Let us talk
a little about our dresses, for there will be a gay winter.
Senora Valdez assured me of it; many soldiers are coming here,
and we shall have parties, and cock-fights, and, perhaps, even
a bull-feast."

"Oh!" cried Isabel clapping her hands enthusiastically;
"a bull-feast! That is what I long to see!"

At this moment the doctor entered the room, and Isabel ran to
meet him. No father could have resisted her pretty ways, her
kisses, her endearments, her coaxing diminutives of speech,
her childlike loveliness and simplicity.

"What is making you so happy, Queridita?"

[1] Little dear.

"Mi madre says there is perhaps to be a bullfeast this winter.
Holy Virgin, think of it! That is the one thing I long to see!"

With her clinging arms around him, and her eager face lifted
to his for sympathy, the father could not dash the hope which
he knew in his heart was very unlikely to be realized.
Neither did he think it necessary to express opposition or
disapproval for what had as yet no tangible existence. So he
answered her with smiles and caresses, and a little quotation
which committed him to nothing:

"As, Panem et Circenses was the cry
Among the Roman populace of old;
So, Pany Toros! is the cry of Spain."

The Senora smiled appreciatively and put out her hand.
"Pan y Toros!" she repeated. "And have you reflected,
children, that no other nation in the world cries it. Only
Spain and her children! That is because only men of the
Spanish race are brave enough to fight bulls, and only Spanish
bulls are brave enough to fight men."

She was quite pleased with herself for this speech, and
finding no one inclined to dispute the statement, she went on
to describe a festival of bulls she had been present at in the
city of Mexico. The subject delighted her, and she grew
eloquent over it; and, conscious only of Isabel's shining eyes
and enthusiastic interest, she did not notice the air of
thoughtfulness which had settled over her husband's face, nor
yet Antonia's ill-disguised weariness and anxiety.

On the night of the Valdez's party her father had said he
would talk with her. Antonia was watching for the confidence,
but not with any great desire. Her heart and her
intelligence told her it would mean trouble, and she had that
natural feeling of youth which gladly postpones the evil day.
And while her father was silent she believed there were still
possibilities of escape from it. So she was not sorry
that he again went to his office in the city without any
special word for her. It was another day stolen from the
uncertain future, for the calm usage of the present, and she
was determined to make happiness in it.

When all was still in the afternoon Isabel came to her. She
would not put the child to the necessity of again asking her
help. She rose at once, and said:

"Sit here, Iza, until I have opened the door for us. Then she
took a rich silk kerchief, blue as the sky, in her hand, and
went to the wide, matted hall. There she found Rachela,
asleep on a cane lounge. Antonia woke her.

"Rachela, I wish to go into the garden for an hour."

The Senorita does the thing she wants to, Rachela would not
presume to interfere. The Senorita became an Americano in New

"There are good things in New York, Rachela; for instance,
this kerchief."

"That is indeed magnificent!"

"If you permit my sister to walk in the garden with me, I
shall give it to you this moment."

"Dona Isabel is different. She is a Mexicaine. She must be
watched continually."

"For what reason? She is as innocent as an angel."

"Let her simply grow up, and you will see that she is not
innocent as the angels. Oh, indeed! I could say something
about last night! Dona Isabel has no vocation for a nun; but,
gracias a Dios! Rachela is not yet blind or deaf."

"Let the child go with me for an hour, Rachela. The kerchief
will be so becoming to you. There is not another in San Antonio
like it."

Rachela was past forty, but not yet past the age of coquetry.
"It will look gorgeous with my gold ear-rings, but--"

"I will give you also the blue satin bow like it, to wear at
your breast."

"Si, si! I will give the permission, Senorita--for your sake
alone. The kerchief and bow are a little thing to you. To
me, they will be a great adornment. You are not to leave the
garden, however, and for one hour's walk only, Senorita;
certainly there is time for no more."

"I will take care of Isabel; no harm shall come to her. You
may keep your eyes shut for one hour, Rachela, and you may
shut your ears also, and put your feet on the couch and let
them rest. I will watch Isabel carefully, be sure of that."

"The child is very clever, and she has a lover already, I fear.
Keep your eyes on the myrtle hedge that skirts the road.
I have to say this--it is not for nothing she wants to walk
with you this afternoon. She would be better fast asleep."

In a few moments the kerchief and the bow were safely folded
in the capacious pocket of Rachela's apron, and Isabel and
Antonia were softly treading the shady walk between the myrtle
hedges. Rachela's eyes were apparently fast closed when the
girls pased{sic} her, but she did not fail to notice how
charmingly Isabel had dressed herself. She wore, it is true,
her Spanish costume; but she had red roses at her breast, and
her white lace mantilla over her head.

"Ah! she is a clever little thing!" Rachela muttered. "She
knows that she is irresistible in her Castilian dress. Bah!
those French frocks are enough to drive a man a mile away.
I can almost forgive her now. Had she worn the French frock
I would not have forgiven her. I would never have yielded
again, no, not even if the Senorita Antonia should offer me
her scarlet Indian shawl worked in gold. I was always a
fool--Holy Mother forgive me! Well, then; I used to have my
own lovers--plenty of them--handsome young arrieros and
rancheros: there was Tadeo, a valento of the first class: and
Buffa--and--well, I will sleep; they do not remember me, I
dare say; and I have forgotten their names."

In the mean time the sisters sat down beneath a great figtree.
No sunshine, no shower, could penetrate its thick foliage.
The wide space beneath the spreading branches was a little parlor,
cool and sweet, and full of soft, green lights, and the earthy smell
of turf, and the wandering scents of the garden.

Isabel's eyes shone with an incomparable light. She was pale,
but exquisitely beautiful, and even her hands and feet
expressed the idea of expectation. Antonia had a piece of
needlework in her hand. She affected the calmness she did
not feel, for her heart was trembling for the tender little
heart beating with so much love and anxiety beside her.

But Isabel's divination, however arrived at, was not at fault.
In a few moments Don Luis lightly leaped the hedge, and
without a moment's hesitation sought the shadow of the fig-
tree. As he approached, Antonia looked at him with a new
interest. It was not only that he loved Isabel, but that
Isabel loved him. She had given him sympathy before,
now she gave him a sister's affection.

"How handsome he is!" she thought. "How gallant he looks in
his velvet and silver and embroidered jacket! And how eager
are his steps! And how joyful his face! He is the kind of
Romeo that Shakespeare dreamed about! Isabel is really an
angel to him. He would really die for her. What has this
Spanish knight of the sixteenth century to do in Texas in the
nineteenth century?"

He answered her mental question in his own charming way.
He was so happy, so radiantly happy, so persuasive, so
compelling, that Antonia granted him, without a word, the
favor his eyes asked for. And the lovers hardly heard the
excuse she made; they understood nothing of it, only that she
would be reading in the myrtle walk for one hour, and, by so
doing, would protect them from intrusion.

One whole hour! Isabel had thought the promise a perfect
magnificence of opportunity{.??} But how swiftly it went.
Luis had not told her the half of his love and his hopes. He
had been forced to speak of politics and business, and every
such word was just so many stolen from far sweeter words--
words that fell like music from his lips, and were repeated
with infinite power from his eyes. Low words, that had the
pleading of a thousand voices in them; words full of melody,
thrilling with romance; poetical, and yet real as the sunshine
around them.

In lovers of a colder race, bound by conventional ties, and a
dress rigorously divested of every picturesque element, such
wooing might have appeared ridiculous; but in Don Luis, the
most natural thing about it was its extravagance. When he
knelt at the feet of his beloved and kissed her hands, the
action was the unavoidable outcome of his temperament.
When he said to her, "Angel mio! you are the light of my
darkness, the perfume of all flowers that bloom for me, the
love of my loves, my life, my youth, my lyre, my star, had I
a thousand souls with which to love, I would give them all to
you!" he believed every word he uttered, and he uttered every
word with the passion of a believer.

He stirred into life also in the heart of Isabel a love as
living as his own. In that hour she stepped outside all of
her childhood's immaturities. She became a woman. She
accepted with joyful tears a woman's lot of love and sorrow.
She said to Antonia:

"Luis was in my heart before; now, I have put him in my soul.
My soul will never die. So I shall never forget him--never
cease to love him."

Rachela faithfully kept her agreement. For one hour she was
asleep to all her charge did, and Isabel was in her own room
when the precious sixty minutes were over. Happy? So happy
that her soul seemed to have pushed her body aside, as a thing
not to be taken into account. She sang like a bird for very
gladsomeness. It was impossible for her to be still, and as
she went about her room with little dancing, balancing
movements of her hands and feet, Antonia knew that they were
keeping their happy rhythmic motion to the melody love sang in
her heart.

And she rejoiced with her little sister, though she was not
free from a certain regret for her concession, for it is the
after-reckoning with conscience that is so disagreeably strict
and uncomfortable. And yet, why make an element of anger and
suspicion between Isabel and her mother when there appeared to
be no cause to do so? Don Luis was going away. He was in
disgrace with his family--almost disinherited; the country was
on the point of war, and its fortunes might give him some
opportunities no one now foresaw. But if Isabel's mother had
once declared that she would "never sanction the marriage,"
Antonia knew that, however she might afterwards regret her
haste and prejudice, she would stand passionately by her
decision. Was it not better, then, to prevent words being
said which might cause sorrow and regret in the future?

But as regarded Isabel's father, no such reason existed. The
happiness of his children was to him a more sacred thing
than his own prejudices. He liked Don Luis, and his
friendship with his mother, the Senora Alveda, was a long and
tried one. The youth's political partialities, though
bringing him at present into disgrace, were such as he himself
had largely helped to form. Antonia was sure that her father
would sympathize with Isabel, and excuse in her the lapse of
duty which had given his little girl so much happiness. Yes,
it would be right to tell him every thing, and she did not
fear but Isabel would agree in her decision.

At this moment Rachela entered. The Senora wished her
daughters to call upon the American manteau-maker for her, and
the ride in the open carriage to the Plaza would enable them
to bow to their acquaintances, and exhibit their last new
dresses from New Orleans. Rachela was already prepared for
the excursion, and she was not long in attiring Isabel.

"To be sure, the siesta has made you look charming this
afternoon," she said, looking steadily into the girl's
beaming, blushing face, "and this rose silk is enchanting.
Santa Maria, how I pity the officers who will have the
great fortune to see you this afternoon, and break their
hearts for the sight! But you must not look at them, mark!
I shall tell the Senora if you do. It is enough if they look
at you. And the American way of the Senorita Antonia, which
is to bow and smile to every admirer, it will but make more
enchanting the becoming modesty of the high-born Mexicaine."

"Keep your tongue still, Rachela. Ah! if you strike me, I
will go to my father. He will not permit it. I am not a
child to be struck and scolded, and told when to open and shut
my eyes. I shall do as my sister does, and the Holy Mother
herself will be satisfied with me!"

"Chito! Chito!! You wicked one! Oh, Maria Santissima, cast
on this child a look of compassion! The American last night
has bewitched her! I said that he looked like a Jew."

"I am not wicked, Rachela; and gracias a Dios, there is no
Inquisition now to put the question!"

Isabel was in a great passion, or the awful word that had
made lips parch and blanch to utter it for generations would
never have been launched at the offending woman's head. But
its effect was magical. Rachela put up her hands palm
outwards, as if to shield herself from a blow, and then
without another word stooped down and tied the satin sandals
on Isabel's restless feet. She was muttering prayers during
the whole action, for Isabel had been quick to perceive her
advantage, and was following it up by a defiant little
monologue of rebellious speeches.

In the midst of this scene, Antonia entered. She was dressed
for the carriage, and the carriage stood at the door waiting;
but her face was full of fear, and she said, hurriedly:

"Rachela, can you not make some excuse to my mother which will
permit us to remain at home? Hark! There is something wrong
in the city."

In a moment the three women were on the balcony, intently,
anxiously listening. Then they were aware of a strange
confusion in the subtle, amber atmosphere. It was as if they
heard the noise of battle afar off; and Rachela, without a
word, glided away to the Senora. Isabel and Antonia stood
hand in hand, listening to the vague trouble and the echo of
harsh, grating voices, mingled with the blare of clarions, the
roll of drums, and the rattle of scattering rifle-shots. Yet
the noises were so blended together, so indistinct, so
strangely expressive of both laughter and defiance, that it
was impossible to identify or describe them.

Suddenly a horseman came at a rapid pace towards the house,
and Antonia, leaning over the balcony, saw him deliver a note
to Rachela, and then hurry away at the same reckless speed.
The note was from the doctor to his wife, and it did not tend
to allay their anxiety. "Keep within the house," it said;
"there are difficulties in the city. In an hour or two I will
be at home."

But it was near midnight when he arrived, and Antonia saw that
he was a different man. He looked younger. His blue eyes
shone with the light behind them. On his face there was the
impress of an invincible determination. His very walk had
lost its listless, gliding tread, and his steps were firm,
alert and rapid.

No one had been able to go to bed until he arrived, though
Isabel slept restlessly in her father's chair, and the Senora
lay upon the couch, drowsing a little between her frequent
attacks of weeping and angry anticipation. For she was sure
it was the Americans. "Anything was possible with such a man
as Sam Houston near the city."

"Perhaps it is Santa Anna," at length suggested Antonia. "He
has been making trouble ever since I can remember. He was
born with a sword in his hand, I think."

"Ca! And every American with a rifle in his hand! Santa Anna
is a monster, but at least he fights for his own country.
Texas is not the country of the Americans."

"But, indeed, they believe that Texas is their country"; and
to these words Doctor Worth entered.

"What is the matter? What is the matter, Roberto? I have
been made sick with these uncertainties. Why did you not come
home at the Angelus?"

"I have had a good reason for my delay, Maria. About three
o'clock I received a message from the Senora Alveda, and I
visited her. She is in great trouble, and she had not been
able to bear it with her usual fortitude. She had fainted."

"Ah, the poor mother! She has a son who will break her heart."

"She made no complaint of Luis. She is distracted about her
country, and as I came home I understood why. For she is a
very shrewd woman, and she perceives that Santa Anna is
preparing trouble enough for it."

"Well, then, what is it?"

"When I left her house, I noticed many Americans, as well as
many Mexicans, on the streets. They were standing together,
too; and there was something in their faces, and in the way
their arms were carried, which was very striking and
portentous. I fancied they looked coldly on me, and I was
troubled by the circumstance. In the Plaza I saw the military
band approaching, accompanied by half a dozen officers and a
few soldiers. The noise stopped suddenly, and Captain Morello
proclaimed as a bando (edict) of the highest authority, an
order for all Americans to surrender their arms of every
description to the officials and at the places notified."

"Very good!"

"Maria, nothing could be worse! Nothing could be more
shameful and disastrous. The Americans had evidently been
expecting this useless bombast, and ere the words were well
uttered, they answered them with a yell of defiance. I do not
think more than one proclamation was necessary, but Morello
went from point to point in the city and the Americans
followed him. I can tell you this, Maria: all the millions in
Mexico can not take their rifles from the ten thousand
Americans in Texas, able to carry them."

"We shall see! We shall see! But, Roberto, you at least will not
interfere in their quarrels. You have never done so hitherto."

"No one has ever proposed to disarm me before, Maria. I tell
you frankly, I will not give up a single rifle, or revolver,
or weapon of any kind, that I possess. I would rather be
slain with them. I have never carried arms before, but I
shall carry them now. I apologize to my countrymen for not
having them with me this afternoon. My dearest wife! My good
Maria! do not cry in that despairing way.

You will be killed, Roberto! You will be a rebel! You will be shot
like a dog, and then what will become of me and my daughters?"

"You have two sons, Maria. They will avenge their father, and
protect their mother and sisters."

"I shall die of shame! I shall die of shame and sorrow!"

"Not of shame, Maria. If I permitted these men to deprive me
of my arms, you might well die of shame."

"What is it? Only a gun, or a pistol, that you never use?"

"Great God, Maria! It is everything! It is honor! It is
liberty! It is respect to myself! It is loyalty to my
country! It is fidelity to my countrymen! It is true that
for many years the garrison has fully protected us, and I have
not needed to use the arms in my house. But thousands of
husbands and fathers need them hourly, to procure food for
their children and wives, and to protect them from the
savages. One tie binds us. Their cause is my cause. Their
country is my country, and their God is my God. Children, am
I right or wrong?"

They both stepped swiftly to his side. Isabel laid her
cheek against his, and answered him with a kiss. Antonia
clasped his hand, stood close to him, and said: "We are all
sure that you are right, dear father. My mother is weary and
sick with anxiety, but she thinks so too. Mother always
thinks as you do, father. Dear mother, here is Rachela with
a cup of chocolate, and you will sleep and grow strong before

But the Senora, though she suffered her daughter's caresses,
did not answer them, neither did she speak to her husband,
though he opened the door for her and stood waiting with a
face full of anxious love for a word or a smile from her. And
the miserable wife, still more miserable than her husband,
noticed that Isabel did not follow her. Never before had Isabel
seemed to prefer any society to her mother's, and the unhappy
Senora felt the defection, even amid her graver trouble.

But Isabel had seen something new in her father that night;
something that touched her awakening soul with admiration.
She lingered with him and Antonia, listening with vague
comprehension to their conversation, until Rachela called
her angrily; and as she was not brave enough for a second
rebellion that night, she obediently answered her summons.

An hour afterwards, Antonia stepped cautiously within her
room. She was sleeping, and smiling in her sleep. Where was
her loving, innocent soul wandering? Between the myrtle
hedges and under the fig-tree with her lover? Oh, who can
tell where the soul goes when sleep gives it some release?
Perhaps it is at night our angels need to watch us most
carefully. For the soul, in dreams, can visit evil and
sorrowful places, as well as happy and holy ones. But Isabel
slept and smiled, and Antonia whispered a prayer at her side
ere she went to her own rest.

And the waning moon cast a pathetic beauty over the Eden-like
land, till dawn brought that mystical silence in which every
new day is born. Then Robert Worth rose from the chair in
which he had been sitting so long, remembering the past and
forecasting the future. He walked to the window, opened it,
and looked towards the mountains. They had an ethereal hue,
a light without rays, a clearness almost polar in its severity.
But in some way their appearance infused into his soul calmness
and strength.

"Liberty has always been bought with life, and the glory of
the greatest nations handseled with the blood of their
founders." This was the thought in his heart, as looking far
off to the horizon, he asked hopefully:

"What then, O God, shall this good land produce
That Thou art watering it so carefully?"



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