"Fifty-one per cent for hightailin' it right now."
Bowie smiled. "That's a flat majority. Let's make tracks."
"Comin', Bill?" Crockett asked. "You're O.K., but you just don't know how
to be one of the boys. You got to learn that no dog is better'n any other."
"No," Travis croaked hoarsely. "I stay. Stay or go, we shall all die like
dogs, anyway. Boys, for the last time! Don't reveal our weakness to the
"What weakness? We're stronger than them. Americans could whip the Mexicans
any day, if we wanted to. But the thing to do is make 'em talk, not fight.
So long, Bill."
The two big men stepped outside. In the night there was a sudden clatter of
hoofs as the Texans mounted and rode. From across the river came a brief
spatter of musket fire, then silence. In the dark, there had been no
difficulty in breaking through the Mexican lines.
Inside the chapel, John Ord's mouth hung slackly. He muttered, "Am I
insane? It didn't happen this way--it couldn't! The books can't be _that_
In the candlelight, Travis hung his head. "We tried, John. Perhaps it was a
forlorn hope at best. Even if we had defeated Santa Anna, or delayed him, I
do not think the Indian Nations would have let Houston get help from the
Ord continued his dazed muttering, hardly hearing.
"We need a contiguous frontier with Texas," Travis continued slowly, just
above a whisper. "But we Americans have never broken a treaty with the
Indians, and pray God we never shall. _We_ aren't like the Mexicans, always
pushing, always grabbing off New Mexico, Arizona, California. _We_ aren't
colonial oppressors, thank God! No, it wouldn't have worked out, even if we
American immigrants had secured our rights in Texas--" He lifted a short,
heavy, percussion pistol in his hand and cocked it. "I hate to say it, but
perhaps if we hadn't taken Payne and Jefferson so seriously--if we could
only have paid lip service, and done what we really wanted to do, in our
hearts ... no matter. I won't live to see our final disgrace."
He put the pistol to his head and blew out his brains.
* * * * *
Ord was still gibbering when the Mexican cavalry stormed into the old
mission, pulling down the flag and seizing him, dragging him before the
resplendent little general in green and gold.
Since he was the only prisoner, Santa Anna questioned Ord carefully. When
the sharp point of a bayonet had been thrust half an inch into his stomach,
the Britainer seemed to come around. When he started speaking, and the
Mexicans realized he was English, it went better with him. Ord was
obviously mad, it seemed to Santa Anna, but since he spoke English and
seemed educated, he could be useful. Santa Anna didn't mind the raving; he
understood all about Napoleon's detention camps and what they had done to
Britainers over there. In fact, Santa Anna was thinking of setting up aDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>