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Remember the Alamo
By Amelia E. Barr

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"Where'er we roam,
Our first, best country ever is at home."

"What constitutes a state?
Men who their duties know;
But know their rights, and knowing, dare maintain.

"And sovereign law, that states collected will
O'er thrones and globes elate,
Sits empress; crowning good, repressing ill.

"This hand to tyrants ever sworn a foe,
For freedom only deals the deadly blow;
Then sheathes in calm repose the vengeful blade,
For gentle peace, in freedom's hallowed shade."

The vicinity of a great battle-field is a dreadful place after
the lapse of a day or two. The bayou and the morass had
provided sepulture for hundreds of slain Mexicans, but
hundreds still lay upon the open prairie. Over it, birds of
prey hung in dark clouds, heavy-winged, sad, sombre, and
silent. Nothing disturbed them. They took no heed
of the living. Armed with invincible talons and beaks tipped
with iron, they carried on ceaselessly that automatic
gluttony, which made them beneficent crucibles of living fire,
for all which would otherwise have corrupted the higher life.
And yet, though innocent as the elements, they were odious in
the sight of all.

Before daylight in the morning the Senora and her daughters
were ready to begin their homeward journey. The doctor could
not accompany them, General Houston and the wounded Americans
being dependent largely upon his care and skill. But Luis
Alveda and Lopez Navarro received an unlimited furlough; and
about a dozen Mexican prisoners of war belonging to San
Antonio were released on Navarro's assurance, and permitted to
travel with the party as camp servants. It was likely, also,
that they would be joined by a great many of the families who
had accompanied the great flight; for, on the preceding
evening, Houston had addressed the army, and told the
householders and farmers to go home and plant their corn.

Full of happiness, the ladies prepared for their journey.
A good army wagon, drawn by eight mules, and another wagon,
containing two tents and everything necessary for a
comfortable journey, was waiting for them. The doctor bid
them good-by with smiles and cheerful promises. They were
going home. The war was over. Independence was won. They
had the hope of permanent peace. The weather also was as the
weather may be among the fields of Eden. The heavens were
cloudless, the air sweet and fresh, and the wild honeysuckles,
with their spread hands full of scent, perfumed the prairies
mile after mile. The mules went knee-deep through warm grasses;
the grasses were like waving rainbows, with the myriads of brightly
tinted flowers.

Even Lopez was radiantly happy. Most unusual smiles lighted
up his handsome face, and he jingled the silver ornaments on
his bridle pleasantly to his thoughts as he cantered sometimes
a little in advance of the wagon, sometimes in the rear,
occasionally by its side; then, bending forward to lift his hat
to the ladies and inquire after their comfort.

Luis kept close to Isabel; and her lovely face and merry
chatter beguiled him from all other observations. A
little before noon they halted in a beautiful wood; a tent was
spread for the ladies, the animals were loosened from their
harness, and a luxurious meal laid upon the grass. Then the
siesta was taken, and at three o'clock travel was resumed
until near sunset, when the camp was made for the night. The
same order was followed every day, and the journey was in
every sense an easy and delightful one. The rides, cheered by
pleasant companionship, were not fatiguing; the impromptu
meals were keenly relished. And there were many sweet
opportunities for little strolls in the dim green woods, and
for delightful conversations, as they sat under the stars,
while the camp-fire blazed among the picturesque groups of
Mexicans playing monte around it.

On the third afternoon, the Senora and Isabel were taking a
siesta, but Antonia could not sleep. After one or two efforts
she was thoroughly aroused by the sound of voices which had
been very familiar to her in the black days of the flight--
those of a woman and her weary family of seven children. She
had helped her in many ways, and she still felt an
interest in her welfare. It appeared now to be assured.
Antonia found her camping in a little grove of mulberry trees.
She had recovered her health; her children were noisy and
happy, and her husband, a tall, athletic man, with a
determined eye and very courteous manners, was unharnessing
the mules from a fine Mexican wagon; part of the lawful spoils
of war. They, too, were going home: "back to the Brazos,"
said the woman affectionately; and we're in a considerable
hurry," she added, because it's about time to get the corn in.
Jake lays out to plant fifty acres this year. He says he can
go to planting now with an easy conscience; he 'lows he has
killed enough Mexicans to keep him quiet a spell."

They talked a short time together, and then Antonia walked
slowly into the deeper shadows of the wood. She found a wide
rock, under trees softly dimpling, pendulous, and tenderly
green; and she sat down in the sweet gloom, to think of the
beloved dead. She had often longed for some quiet spot,
where, alone with God and nature, she could, just for once,
give to her sorrow and her love a free expression.

Now the opportunity seemed to be hers. She began to recall
her whole acquaintance with Dare--their hours of pleasant
study--their sails upon the river--their intercourse by the
fireside--the most happy Sundays, when they walked in the
house of God together. In those days, what a blessed future
was before them! She recalled also the time of hope and
anxiety after the storming of the Alamo, and then the last
heroic act of his stainless life. She had felt sure that in
such a session with her own soul she would find the relief of
unrestrained and unchecked weeping. But we cannot kindle when
we will either the fire or the sensibility of the soul. She
could not weep; tears were far from her. Nay, more, she began
to feel as if tears were not needed for one who had found out
so beautiful, so unselfish, so divine a road to the grave.
Ought she not rather to rejoice that he had been so early called
and blest? To be glad for herself, too, that all her life long
she could keep the exquisite memory of a love so noble?

In the drift of such thoughts, her white, handsome face
grew almost angelic. She sat motionless and let them come to
her; as if she were listening to the comforting angels.
For God has many ways of saying to the troubled soul: "Be at
peace"; and, certainly, Antonia had not anticipated the calmness
and resignation which forbid her the tears she had bespoken.

At length, in that sweet melancholy which such a mental
condition induces, she rose to return to the camp. A few
yards nearer to it she saw Lopez sitting in a reverie as
profound as her own had been. He stood up to meet her. The
patience, the pathos, the exaltation in her face touched his
heart as no words could have done. He said, only: "Senorita,
if I knew how to comfort you!"

"I went away to think of the dead, Senor."

"I comprehend--but then, I wonder if the dead remember the living!"

"In whatever dwelling-place of eternity the dear ones who died
at Goliad are, I am sure that they remember. Will the emancipated soul
be less faithful than the souls still earthbound? Good souls could not
even wish to forget--and they were good."

"It will never be permitted me to know two souls more pure,
more faithful, more brave, Juan was as a brother to me,
[6] I count it among God's blessings
to have known a man like Senor Grant. A white soul he had indeed;
full of great nobilities!"

[6] Sign of the Cross.

Antonia looked at him gratefully. Tears uncalled-for sprang
into the eyes of both; they clasped hands and walked mutely
back to the camp together. For the sentiment which attends
the realization that all is over, is gathered silently into the heart;
it is too deep for words.

They found the camp already in that flurry of excitement
always attendant upon its rest and rising, and the Senora was
impatiently inquiring for her eldest daughter.

"GRACIOUS MARIA! Is that you, Antonia? At this hour we
are all your servants, I think. I, at least, have been
waiting upon your pleasure"; then perceiving the traces of
sorrow and emotion on her face, she added, with an
unreasonable querulousness: "I bless God when I see how He
has provided for women; giving them tears, when they have no
other employment for their time."

"Dearest mother, I am sorry to have kept you waiting. I hope
that you have forgotten nothing. Where is your mantilla? And
have you replenished your cigarito case? Is there water in the wagon?"

"Nothing has been provided. Things most necessary are forgotten,
no doubt. When you neglect such matters, what less could happen?"

But such little breezes of temper were soon over. The
influences surrounding, the prospects in advance, were too
exhilarating to permit of anything but passing shadows, and
after an easy, delightful journey, they reached at length the
charming vicinity of the romantic city of the sword. They had
but another five miles ride, and it was the Senora's pleasure
to take it at the hour of midnight. She did not wish her
return to be observed and talked about; she was in reality
very much mortified by the condition of her own and her
daughters' wardrobe.

Consequently, though they made their noon camp so near to
their journey's end, they rested there until San Antonio was
asleep and dreaming. It was the happiest rest of all the
delightful ones they had known. The knowledge that it
was the last stage of a journey so remarkable, made every one
attach a certain tender value to the hours never to come back
to the experiences never to be repeated.

The Senora was gay as a child; Isabel shared and accentuated
her enthusiasms; Luis was expressing his happiness in a
variety of songs; now glorifying his love in some pretty
romance or serenade, again musically assuring liberty, or
Texas, that he would be delighted at any moment to lay down
his life for their sakes. Antonia was quite as much excited
in her own way, which was naturally a much quieter way; and
Lopez sat under a great pecan-tree, smoking his cigarito with
placid smiles and admiring glances at every one.

As the sun set, the full moon rose as it rises nowhere but
over Texan or Asian plains; golden, glorious, seeming to fill
the whole heaven and the whole earth with an unspeakable
radiance; softly glowing, exquisitely, magically beautifying.
The commonest thing under it was transfigured into something
lovely, fantastic, fairylike. And the dullest souls swelled
and rose like the tides under its influence.

Antonia took from their stores the best they had, and a
luxurious supper was spread upon the grass. The meal might
have been one of ten courses, it occupied so long; it provoked
so much mirth, such a rippling stream of reminiscence;
finally, such a sweetly solemn retrospect of the sorrows and
mercies and triumphs of the campaign they had shared together.
This latter feeling soon dominated all others.

The delicious light, the sensuous atmosphere, the white
turrets and towers of the city, shining on the horizon like
some mystical, heavenly city in dreams--the murmur of its far-
off life, more audible to the spiritual than the natural
ears--the dark figures of the camp servants, lying in groups
or quietly shuffling their cards, were all elements conducive
to a grave yet happy seriousness.

No one intended to sleep. They were to rest in the moonlight
until the hour of eleven, and then make their last stage.
This night they instinctively kept close together. The Senora
had mentally reached that point where it was not unpleasant to
talk over troubles, and to amplify especially her own share of them.

"But, Holy Maria!" she said; "how unnecessary are such
sorrows! I am never, in the least, any better for them. When
the Divine Majesty condescends to give me the sunshine of
prosperity, I am always exceedingly religious. On the
contrary when I am in sorrow, I do not feel inclined to pray.
That is precisely natural. Can the blessed Mother expect
thanks, when she gives her children only suffering and tears?"

"God gives us whatever is best for us, dear mother."

"Speak, when you have learned wisdom, Antonia. I shall always
believe that trouble comes from the devil; indeed, Fray
Ignatius once told me of a holy man that had one grief upon
the heels of the other, and it was the devil who was sent with
all of them. I have myself no doubt that he opened the gates of hell
for Santa Anna to return to earth and do a little work for him."

"This thought makes me tremble," said Lopez; "souls that have
become angelic, can become evil. The degraded seraphim, whom
we call the devil, was once the companion of archangels, and stood
with Michael, and Raphael, and Gabriel, in the presence of the Holy One. 
Is there sin in heaven? Can we be tempted even there?"

The inquiry went in different ways to each heart, but no one
answered it. There were even a few moments of constrained,
conscious silence, which Luis happily ended, by chanting
softly a verse from the hymn of the Three Angels:

"'WHO LIKE THE LORD?' thunders Michael the Chief.
Raphael, `THE CURE OF GOD,' bringeth relief,
And, as at Nazareth, prophet of peace,
Gabriel, `THE LIGHT OF GOD,' bringeth release."

The noble syllables floated outward and upward, and Antonia
and Lopez softly intoned the last line together, letting them
fall slowly and softly into the sensitive atmosphere.

"And as for trouble coming from the devil," said Lopez, "I
think, Senora, that Fray Ignatius is wrong. Trouble is not
the worst thing that can come to a man or woman. On the
contrary, our Lady of Prosperity is said to do, them far
greater harm. Let me repeat to you what the ever wise Don
Francisco de Quevedo Villegas says about her:

"'Where is the virtue prosperity has not staggered? Where the
folly she has not augmented? She takes no counsel, she
fears no punishment. She furnishes matter for scandal,
experience, and for story. How many souls, innocent while
poor, have fallen into sin and impiety as soon as they drank
of the enchanted cup of prosperity? Men that can bear
prosperity, are for heaven; even wise devils leave them alone.
As for the one who persecuted and beggared job, how foolish
and impertinent he was! If he had understood humanity, he
would have multiplied his riches, and possessed him of health,
and honors, and pleasures: THAT is the trial it cannot bear.'"

"Oh, to be sure! Quevedo was a wise man. But even wise men
don't know everything. However, WE ARE GOING HOME!
I thank the saints for this immeasurable favor. It is a prosperity
that is good for women. I will stake my Santiguida on that!
And will you observe that it is Sunday again? Just before sunset
I heard the vesper bells clearly. Remember that we left San Antonio
on Sunday also! I have always heard that Sunday was a good day
to begin a journey on."

"If it had been on a Friday--"

"Friday! Indeed, Luis, I would not have gone one hundred yards
upon a Friday. How can you suppose what is so inconceivably foolish?"

"I think much of the right hour to undertake anything," said Lopez.
"The first movements are not in the hands of men; and
we are subject to more influences than we comprehend. There
is a ripe time for events, as well as for fruits: but the hour
depends upon forces which we cannot control by giving to them
the name of the day; and our sage Quevedo has made a pleasant
mockery thereon. It is at my lips, if your ears care to hear it."

"Quevedo, again! No, it is not proper, Senor. Every day has
its duties and its favors, Senor. That man actually said that
fasting on Friday was not a special means of grace! Quevedo
was almost a heretic. I have heard Fray Ignatius say so. He
did not approve of him."

"Mi madre, let us hear what is to be said. Rachela told me,
I must fast on a Friday, and cut my nails on a Wednesday, and
never cut them on a Sunday, and take medicine on a Monday, and
look after money on Tuesday, and pay calls and give gifts on
Saturday; very well, I do not think much of Rachela; just suppose,
for the passing of the time, that we listen to what Quevedo says."

"Here are four against me; well, then, proceed, Senor."

"`On Monday,' says the wise and witty one, buy all that you
can meet with, and take all that is to be had for nothing. On
Tuesday, receive all that is given you; for it is Mar's day,
and he will look on you with an ill aspect if you refuse the
first proffer and have not a second. On Wednesday, ask of all
you meet; perhaps Mercury may give some one vanity enough to
grant you something. Thursday is a good day to believe
nothing that flatterers say. Friday it is well to shun
creditors. On Saturday it is well to lie long abed, to walk
at your ease, to eat a good dinner, and to wear comfortable
shoes; because Saturn is old, and loves his ease.'"

"And Sunday, Senor?"

"Pardon, Senorita Isabel, Sunday comes not into a pasquinade.
Senora, let me tell you that it draws near to eleven. If we
leave now we shall reach San Antonio in time to say the prayer
of gratitude before the blessed day of the seven is past."

"Holy Mary! that is what I should desire. Come, my children;
I thank you, Senor, for such a blessed memory. My heart is
indeed full of joy and thankfulness."

A slight disappointment, however, awaited the Senora. Without
asking any questions, without taking anything into
consideration, perhaps, indeed, because she feared to ask or
consider, she had assumed that she would immediately re-enter
her own home. With the unreason of a child, she had insisted
upon expecting that somehow, or by some not explained efforts,
she would find her house precisely as she left it. Little had
been said of its occupancy by Fray Ignatius and his brothers;
perhaps she did not quite believe in the statement; perhaps
she expected Fray Ignatius to respect the arrangements which
he knew had been so dear to her.

It was therefore a trial--indeed, something of a shock--when
she found they were to be the guests of Navarro, and when it
was made clear to her that her own home had been dismantled
and rearranged and was still in the possession of the Church.
But, with a child's unreason, she had also a sweet ductility
of nature; she was easily persuaded, easily pleased, and
quite ready to console herself with the assurance that it only
needed Doctor Worth's presence and personal influence to drive
away all intruders upon her rights.

In the mean time she was contented. The finest goods in San
Antonio were sent early on the following morning to her room;
and the selection of three entire wardrobes gave her abundance
of delightful employment. She almost wept with joy as she
passed the fine lawns and rich silks through her worn fingers.
And when she could cast off forever her garment of heaviness
and of weariful wanderings, and array herself in the splendid
robes which she wore with such grace and pleasure, she was an
honestly grateful woman.

Then she permitted Lopez to let her old acquaintances know of
her presence in her native city; and she was comforted when
she began to receive calls from the Senora Alveda, and judge
and Senora Valdez, and many other of her friends and
associates. They encouraged her to talk of her sufferings and
her great loss. Even the judge thought it worth his while,
now, to conciliate the simple little woman. He had
wisdom enough to perceive that Mexican domination was over,
and that the American influence of Doctor Worth was likely to
be of service to him.

The Senora found herself a heroine; more than that, she became
aware that for some reason those who had once patronized her
were now disposed to pay her a kind of court. But this did
not lessen her satisfaction; she suspected no motive but real
kindness, for she had that innate rectitude which has always
confidence in the honesty of others.

There was now full reconciliation between Luis and his mother
and uncles; and his betrothal to Isabel was acknowledged with
all the customary rejoicings and complimentary calls and
receptions. Life quickly began to fall back into its well-
defined grooves; if there was anything unusual, every one made
an effort to pass it by without notice. The city was
conspicuously in this mind. American rule was accepted in the
quiescent temper with which men and women accept weather which
may or may not be agreeable, but which is known to be
unavoidable. Americans were coming by hundreds and by
thousands: and those Mexicans who could not make up their
minds to become Texans, and to assimilate with the new
elements sure to predominate, were quietly breaking up their
homes and transferring their interests across the Rio Grande.

They were not missed, even for a day. Some American was ready
to step into their place, and the pushing, progressive spirit
of the race was soon evident in the hearty way with which they
set to work, not only to repair what war had destroyed, but to
inaugurate those movements which are always among their first
necessities. Ministers, physicians, teachers, mechanics of
all kinds, were soon at work; churches were built, Bibles were
publicly sold, or given away; schools were advertised; the
city was changing its tone as easily as a woman changes the
fashion of her dress. Santa Anna had said truly enough to
Houston, that the Texans had no flag to fight under; but the
young Republic very soon flung her ensign out among those of
the gray nations of the world. It floated above the twice
glorious Alamo: a bright blue standard, with one white star in
the centre. It was run up at sunrise one morning. The
city was watching for it; and when it suddenly flew out in
their sight, it was greeted with the most triumphant
enthusiasm. The lonely star in its field of blue touched
every heart's chivalry. It said to them, I stand alone! I
have no sister states to encourage and help me! I rely only
on the brave hearts and strong arms that I set me here!" And
they answered the silent appeal with a cheer that promised
everything; with a love that even then began to wonder if
there were not a place for such a glorious star in the grand
constellation under which most of them had been born.

A short time after their return, the Senora had a letter from
her husband, saying that he was going to New Orleans with
General Houston, whose wound was in a dangerous condition.
Thomas Worth had been appointed to an important post in the
civil government; and his labors, like those of all the public
men of Texas at that date, were continuous and Herculean. It
was impossible for him to leave them; but the doctor assured
his wife that he would return as soon as he had placed Houston
in the hands of skilful surgeons; and he asked her, until
then, to be as happy as her circumstances permitted.

She was quite willing to obey the request. Not naturally
inclined to worry, she found many sources of content and
pleasure, until the early days of June brought back to her the
husband she so truly loved, and with him the promise of a
return to her own home. Indeed the difficulties in the way of
this return had vanished ere they were to meet. Fray Ignatius
had convinced himself that his short lease had fully expired;
and when Dr. Worth went armed with the legal process necessary
to resume his rights, he found his enemy had already
surrendered them. The house was empty. Nothing of its old
splendor remained. Every one of its properties had been
scattered. The poor Senora walked through the desolate rooms
with a heartache.

"It was precisely in this spot that the sideboard stood,
Roberto!--the sideboard that my cousin Johar presented to me.
It came from the City of Mexico, and there was not another
like it. I shall regret it all my life."

"Maria, my dearest, it might have been worse. The silver
which adorned it is safe. Those r--monks did not find
out its hiding-place, and I bought you a far more beautiful
sideboard in New Orleans; the very newest style, Maria."

"Roberto! Roberto! How happy you make me! To be sure my
cousin Johar's sideboard was already shabby--and to have a
sideboard from New Orleans, that, indeed, is something to talk

"Besides, which, dearest one, I bought new furniture for the
parlors, and for your own apartments; also for Antonia's and
Isabel's rooms. Indeed, Maria, I thought it best to provide
afresh for the whole house."

"How wonderful! No wife in San Antonio has a husband so good.
I will never condescend to speak of you when other women talk
of their husbands. New furniture for my whole house! The
thing is inconceivably charming. But when, Roberto, will
these things arrive? Is there danger on the road they are
coming? Might not some one take them away? I shall not be
able to sleep until I am sure they are safe."

"I chartered a schooner in New Orleans, and came with them to
the Bay of Espiritu Santo. There I saw them placed upon
wagons, and only left them after the customs had been paid in
the interior--sixty miles away. You may hire servants at once
to prepare the rooms: the furniture will be here in about three days."

"I am the happiest woman in the world, Roberto! "And she
really felt herself to be so. Thoughtful love could have
devised nothing more likely to bridge pleasantly and surely
over the transition between the past and the coming life.
Every fresh piece of furniture unpacked was a new wonder and
a new delight. With her satin skirts tucked daintily clear of
soil, and her mantilla wrapped around her head and shoulders,
she went from room to room, interesting herself in every strip
of carpet, and every yard of drapery. Her delight was infectious.
The doctor smiled to find himself comparing shades, and gravely
considering the arrangement of chairs and tables.

But how was it possible for so loving a husband and father to
avoid sharing the pleasure he had provided? And Isabel was
even more excited than her mother. All this grandeur had a
double meaning to her; it would reflect honor upon the
betrothal receptions which would be given for Luis and
herself--"amber satin and white lace is exactly what I should
have desired, Antonia," she said delightedly. "How
exceedingly suitable it will be to me! And those delicious
chintzes and dimities for our bedrooms! Did you ever conceive
of things so beautiful?"

Antonia was quite ready to echo her delight. Housekeeping and
homemaking, in all its ways, was her lovable talent. It was
really Antonia who saw all the plans and the desires of the
Senora thoroughly carried out. It was her clever fingers and
natural taste which gave to every room that air of comfort and
refinement which all felt and admired, but which seemed to
elude their power to imitate.

On the fourth of July the doctor and his family ate together
their first dinner in their renovated home. The day was one
that he never forgot, and he was glad to link it with a
domestic occurence so happy and so fortunate.

Sometimes silently, sometimes with a few words to his boys, he
had always, on this festival, drank his glass of fine Xeres to
the honor and glory of the land he loved. This day he
spoke her name proudly. He recalled the wonders of her past
progress; he anticipated the blessings which she would bring
to Texas; he said, as he lifted the glass in his hand, and let
the happy tears flow down his browned and thinned face:

"My wife and daughters, I believe I shall live to see the lone
star set in the glorious assemblage of her sister stars! I
shall live to say, I dwell in San Antonio, which is the
loveliest city in the loveliest State of the American Union.
For, dear ones, I was born an American citizen, and I ask this
favor of God, that I may also die an American citizen."

"MI ROBERTO, when you die I shall not long survive you.
And now that the house is made so beautiful! With so much new
furniture! How can you speak of dying?"

"And, my dear father, remember how you have toiled and suffered

"Because, Antonia, I would have Texas go free into a union of
free States. This was the hope of Houston. `We can have help,'
he often said to his little army; "a word will call
help from Nacogdoches,--but we will emancipate ourselves.
If we go into the American States, we will go as equals; we
will go as men who have won the right to say: LET US DWELL



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