Inez: a Tale of the Alamo [Digital Version]

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Evans, Augusta J. (Augusta Jane), 1835-1909, Inez: a Tale of the Alamo (New York: John Bradburn, 1864)

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Title: Inez: a Tale of the Alamo [Digital Version]
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Author: Evans, Augusta J. (Augusta Jane), 1835-1909
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Publication date: 2010-06-07
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Source(s): Evans, Augusta J. (Augusta Jane), 1835-1909, Inez: a Tale of the Alamo (New York: John Bradburn, 1864)
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  • Alamo--Siege, 1836--Fiction
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NOVELS
BY
Augusta J. Evans.

I. BEULAH PRICE $1.75.
II. MACARIA $1.75.
III. ST. ELMO $3.00
IV. VASHTI: or, UNTIL DEATH US DO PART $2.00
V. INEZ; A TALE OF THE ALAMO $1.75.

These volumes are all elegantly printed and bound in cloth
are sold everywhere, and will be sent by mail, free
of postage, on receipt of price.

BY
Carleton, Publisher,
New York.


INEZ:
A TALE OF THE ALAMO.

[Figure]

NEW YORK:
G. W. Carleton & Co., Publishers.
MDCCCLXXIV.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by
GEORGE W. CARLETON & CO.,
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

TO
THE TEXAN PATRIOTS,

WHO TRIUMPHANTLY UNFURLED AND WAVED ALOFT THE
"BANNER OF THE LONE STAR!" WHO WRENCHED A SUNDER
THE IRON BANDS OF DESPOTIC MEXICO! AND
WREATHED THE BROW OF THE "QUEEN STATE"
WITH THE GLORIOUS CHAPLET OF "CIVIL
AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY!"

This Work is respectfully Dedicated

BY THE AUTHOR



INEZ: A TALE OF THE ALAMO.
CHAPTER I.

"But O, th' important budget!
Who can say what are its tidings?"
COWPER.

"THERE is the bell for prayers, Florry; are you ready?"
said Mary Irving, hastily entering her cousin's room at the
large boarding-school of Madame——.

"Yes; I rose earlier than usual this morning, have
solved two problems, and translated nearly half a page of
Telemaque."

"I congratulate you on your increased industry and
application, though you were always more studious than
myself. I wish, dear Florry, you could imbue me with
some of your fondness for metaphysics and mathematics,"
Mary replied, with a low sigh.

A momentary flush passed over the face of her companion,
and they descended the stairs in silence. The room
in which the pupils were accustomed to assemble for
devotion was not so spacious as the class-room, yet sufficiently
so to look gloomy enough in the gray light of a
drizzling morn. The floor was covered with a faded carpet,


10

in which the indistinct vine seemed struggling to
reach the wall, but failed by several feet on either side.
As if to conceal this deficiency, a wide seat was affixed
the entire length of the room, so high

"That the feet hung dangling down,
Anxious in vain to find the distant floor."

There were no curtains to the windows, and the rain
pattered drearily down the panes.

The teacher who officiated as chaplain was seated
before a large desk, on which lay an open Bible. He
seemed about twenty-four, his countenance noble rather
than handsome, if I may make so delicate a distinction.
Intelligence of the first order was stamped upon it, yet
the characteristic expression was pride which sat enthroned
on his prominent brow; still, hours of care had left
their impress, and the face was very grave, though by no
means stern. His eye was fixed on the door as the pupils
came in, one by one, for prayers, and when Florence and
Mary entered, it sunk upon his book. In a few moments
he rose, and, standing with one arm folded across his bosom,
read in a deep, distinct tone, that beautiful Psalm, "The
Lord is my shepherd." He had only reached the fourth verse,
when he was interrupted by two girls of twelve or fourteen,
who had been conversing from the moment of their
entrance. The tones grew louder and louder, and now the
words were very audible:

"My father did not send me here to come to prayers,
and Madame has no right to make us get up before day to
hear him read his Bible!"

Many who coincided with them tittered, others stared


11

in silence, while Florence's lip curled, and Mary looked
sorrowingly, pityingly upon them—hers was the expression
with which the angel multitudes of Heaven regard their
erring brethren here. The chaplain turned toward them,
and said, in a grave yet gentle voice, "My little friends, I am
afraid you did not kneel beside your bed this morning, and
ask God to keep your hearts from sinful thoughts, and enable
you to perform all your duties in an humble gentle spirit.
In your present temper, were I to read the entire book instead
of one Psalm, I fear you would receive no benefit."

The girls were awed more by the tone than words, and
sat silent and abashed. The reading was concluded, and
then he offered up a prayer earnest and heart-felt. Instead
of leaving the room immediately, the pupils waited
as for something, and taking a bundle of letters from the
desk, their tutor distributed them as the direction indicated.
"My budget is not so large as usual, and I regret it for
your sakes, as I fear some are disappointed. Miss Hamilton,
here are two for you;" and he handed them to her
without looking up.

"Two for Florry, and none for me?" asked Mary, while
her voice slightly trembled. He was leaving the room,
but turned toward her.

"I am very sorry, Miss Mary, but hope you will find a
comforting message in your cousin's."

Gently he spoke, yet his eyes rested on Florence the
while, and, with a suppressed sigh, he passed on. "Come
to my room, Mary; it is strange the letters are post-marked
the same day." And while she solves the mystery, let us
glance at her former history.


CHAPTER II.

"Calm on the bosom of thy God,
Fair spirit! rest thee now!
Ev'n while with us thy footsteps trod,
His seal was on thy brow."
HEMANS.

FLORENCE HAMILTON had but attained her fourth year
when she was left the only solace of her widowed father.
Even after the lapse of long years, faint, yet sweet recollections
of her lost parent stole, in saddened hours, over her
spirit, and often, in dreams, a face of angelic beauty hovered
around, and smiled upon her.

Unfortunately, Florence proved totally unlike her sainted
mother, both in personal appearance and cast of character.
Mr. Hamilton was a cold, proud man of the world;
one who, having lived from his birth in affluence, regarded
with a haughty eye all who, without the advantages of
rank or wealth, strove to attain a position equal to his
own. Intelligence, nobility of soul, unsullied character,
weighed not an atom against the counterpoise of birth and
family. He enjoyed in youth advantages rare for the unsettled
times in which he lived; he tasted all that France
and Italy could offer; and returned blasé at twenty-seven
to his home in one of the Southern States. Attracted by


13

the brilliant fortune of an orphan heiress, he won and
married her; but love, such as her pure, gentle spirit sought,
dwelt not in his stern, selfish heart. All of affection he
had to bestow was lavished on his only sister, who had
married during his absence.

His angel wife drooped in the sterile soil to which she
was transplanted, and, when Florence was about four years
old, sunk into a quiet grave.

Perhaps when he stood with his infant daughter beside
the newly-raised mound, and missed the gentle being who
had endeavored so strenuously to make his home happy,
and to win for herself a place in his heart, one tear might
have moistened the cold, searching eyes that for years
had known no such softening tendency. "Perhaps," I
say; but to conjecture of thee, oh Man! is fruitless indeed.

As well as such a nature could, he loved his child, and
considered himself extremely magnanimous in casting aside
all thought of a second marriage, and devoting his leisure
moments to the formation of her character, and direction
of her education.

Florence inherited her father's haughty temperament
without his sordid selfishness, and what may seem imcompatible
with the former, a glowing imagination in connection
with fine mental powers. To all but Mr. Hamilton
she appeared as cold and impenetrable as himself; but the
flashing eye and curling lip with which she listened to a
tale of injustice, or viewed a dishonorable act, indicated a
nature truly noble. Two master passions ruled her heart—
love for her parent, and fondness for books. Idolized by


14

the household, it was not strange that she soon learned to
consider herself the most important member of it. Mr.
Hamilton found that it was essential for the proper regulation
of his establishment that some lady should preside over
its various departments, and accordingly invited the maiden
sister of his late wife to make his house her home, and take
charge of his numerous domestics.

Of his daughter he said nothing. Aunt Lizzy, as she
was called, was an amiable, good woman, but not sufficiently
intellectual to superintend Florry's education. That
little individual looked at first with distrustful eyes on one
who, she supposed, might abridge her numerous privileges;
but the affectionate manner of the kind-hearted aunt removed
all fear, and she soon spoke and moved with the
freedom which had characterized her solitude.

One day, when Florence was about nine years old, her
father entered the library, where she sat intently reading,
and said,

"Florence, come here, I have something to tell you."

"Something to tell me! I hope it is pleasant;" and
she laid her hand on his knee, and looked inquiringly in
his face.

"You remember the cousin Mary, whose father died not
long ago? "Well, she has lost her mother too, and is coming
to live with us." As he spoke, his voice faltered, and his
proud curling lip quivered, yet he gave no other evidence
of the deepest grief he had known for many years.

"She will be here this evening, and I hope you will try
to make her contented." With these words he was leaving
the room, but Florence said,


15

"Father, is she to stay with us always, and will she
sleep in my room, with me?"

"She will live with us as long as she likes, and, if you
prefer it, can occupy the same room."

The day wore on, and evening found her on the steps,
looking earnestly down the avenue for the approach of the
little stranger.

At length a heavy carriage drove to the door, and Florry
leaned forward to catch a glimpse of the inmate's face.
A slight form, clad in deep mourning, was placed on the
piazza by the coachman.

Mr. Hamilton shook her hand kindly, and, after a few
words of welcome, said,

"Here is your cousin Florence, Mary. I hope you will
love each other, and be happy, good little girls." Mary
looked almost fearfully at her proud young cousin, but
the sight of her own pale, tearful face touched Florry's
heart, and she threw her arms round her neck and kissed
her. The embrace was unexpected, and Mary wept
bitterly.

"Florence, why don't you take Mary to her room?"

"Would you like to go up-stairs, cousin?"

"Oh yes! if you please, I had much rather." And taking
her basket from her hand, Florry led the way.

Mary took off her bonnet, and turned to look again at
her cousin. Their eyes met; but, as if overcome by some
sudden recollection, she buried her face in her hands and
burst again into tears.

Florence stood for some time in silence, at length she
said, gently,


16

"It is almost tea-time, and father will be angry if he
sees you have been crying."

"Oh! I can't help it, indeed I can't," sobbed the little
mourner, "he is so much like my dear, darling mother;"
and she stifled a cry of agony.

"Is my father like your mother, cousin Mary?"

"Oh yes! When he spoke to me just now, I almost
thought it was mother."

A tear rolled over Florry's cheek, and she slowly replied,
"I wish I knew somebody that looked like my mother."
In that hour was forged the chain which bound them
through life, and made them one in interests.

Years rolled on, and found Mary happy in her adopted
home. If her uncle failed to caress her as her loving heart
desired, she did not complain, for she was treated like her
cousin, and found in the strong love of Florence an antidote
for every care. Mary was about sixteen, and Florence
a few months younger, at the time our story opens, and
had been placed in New Orleans to acquire French and
music, as good masters could not be obtained nearer home.
We have seen them there, and, hoping the reader will pardon
this digression, return to Florry's letter.


CHAPTER III.

"Philosophy can hold an easy triumph over past and future misfortunes;
but those which are present, triumph over her."
ROCHEFOUCAULT.

A STRIKING difference in personal appearance was presented
by the cousins, as they stood together. Florence,
though somewhat younger, was taller by several inches,
and her noble and erect carriage, in connection with the
haughty manner in which her head was thrown back, added
in effect to her height. Her hair and eyes were brilliant
black, the latter particularly thoughtful in their expression.
The forehead was not remarkable for height,
but was unusually prominent and white, and almost overhung
the eyes. The mouth was perfect, the lips delicately
chiseled, and curving beautifully toward the full dimpled
chin. The face, though intellectual, and artistically beautiful,
was not prepossessing. The expression was cold and
haughty; and for this reason she had received the appellations
of "Minerva" and "Juno," such being considered
by her fellow-pupils as singularly appropriate.

Mary, on the contrary, was slight and drooping, and
her sweet, earnest countenance, elicited the love of the
beholder, even before an intimate acquaintance had


18

brought to view the beautiful traits of her truly amiable
character.

And yet these girls, diametrically opposed in disposition,
clung to each other with a strength of affection only to be
explained by that strongest of all ties, early association.

Florence broke the seal of her letter, and Mary walked
to the window. It looked out on a narrow street, through
which drays rattled noisily, and occasional passengers picked
their way along its muddy crossings.

Mary stood watching the manœuvres of a little girl, who
was endeavoring to pass dry-shod, when a low groan startled
her; and turning quickly, she perceived Florence standing
in the centre of the room, the letter crumpled in one
hand: her face had grown very pale, and the large eyes
gleamed strangely.

"Oh! Florry, what is the matter? Is your father ill
—dead—tell me quick!" and imploringly she clasped her
hands.

Florence made a powerful effort, and spoke, in her usual
tone:

"I was foolish to give way to my feelings, even for
a moment—my father is well." She paused, and then
added, as if painfully, "But, oh! he is almost penniless!"

"Penniless!" echoed Mary, as though she could not
comprehend her cousin's meaning.

"Yes, Mary, he has been very unfortunate in his speculations,
obliged to sell our plantation and negroes, and now,
he says, 'a few paltry thousands only remain;' but, oh!
that is not the worst; I wish it were: he has sold out every


19

thing, broken every tie, and will be here this evening on
his way to Texas. He writes that I must be ready to accompany
him to-morrow night."

She paused, as if unwilling to add something which
must be told, and looked sadly at her cousin.

Mary understood the glance.

"Florry, there is something in the letter relating to myself,
which you withhold for fear of giving me pain: the
sooner I learn it the better."

"Mary, here is a letter inclosed for you; but first hear
what my father says," and hurriedly she read as follows:
...... "With regard to Mary, it can not be expected
that she should wish to accompany us on our rugged path,
and bitterly, bitterly do I regret our separation. Her paternal
uncle, now in affluence, has often expressed a desire
to have her with him, and, since my misfortunes, has written,
me, offering her a home in his family. Every luxury
and advantage afforded by wealth can still be hers. Did
I not feel that she would be benefited by this separation,
nothing could induce me to part with her, but, under existing
circumstances, I can consent to give her up."

Florence flung the letter from her as she concluded,
and approaching her cousin, clasped her arms fondly about
her. Mary had covered her face with her hands, and the
tears glistened on her slender fingers.

"Oh, Florry! you don't know how pained and hurt I
am, that uncle should think I could be so ungrateful as to
forget, in the moment of adversity, his unvaried kindness
for six long years. Oh! it is cruel in him to judge me so
harshly," and she sobbed aloud.


20

"I will not be left, I will go with him, that is if—if—
Florry, tell me candidly, do you think he has any other
reason for not taking me, except my fancied dislike to leaving
this place—tell me?"

"No, dear Mary; if he thought you preferred going with
us, no power on earth could induce him to leave you."

Mary placed her hand in her cousin's, and murmured,

"Florry, I will go with you; your home shall be my
home, and your sorrows my sorrows."

A flash of joy irradiated Florence's pale face as she returned
her cousin's warm embrace.

"With you, Mary, to comfort and assist me, I fear nothing;
but you have not yet read your uncle's letter, perhaps
its contents may influence your decision."

Mary perused it in silence, and then put it in her cousin's
hand, while the tears rolled over her cheeks.

"Mary, think well ere you reject this kind offer. Remember
how earnestly he entreats that you will come and share
his love, his home, and his fortune. Many privations will
be ours, in the land to which we go, and numberless trials
assail the poverty-stricken. All these you can avoid, by
accepting this very affectionate invitation. Think well,
Mary, lest in after-years you repent your hasty decision."

There came a long pause, and hurriedly Florence paced
to and fro. Mary lifted her bowed head, and pushing back
her clustering hair, calmly replied, "My heart swells with
gratitude toward my noble, generous uncle. Oh, how fervently
I can thank him for his proffered home! yet, separated
from you, dear Florry, I could not be happy; my
heart would ache for you, and your warm, trusting love. I


21

fear neither poverty nor hardships. Oh, let me go with
you, and cheer and assist my dear uncle!"

"You shall go with us, my pure-hearted cousin. When
I thought a moment since, of parting with you, my future
seemed gloomy indeed, but now I know that you will be
near, I am content."

A short silence ensued, broken by a mournful exclamation
from Florence.

"Ah! Mary, it is not for myself that I regret this change
of fortune, but for my proud, haughty father, who will
suffer so keenly. Oh, my heart aches when I think of
him!"

"Florry, we must cheer him by those thousand little
attentions, which will lead him to forget his pecuniary
troubles."

Florence shook her head.

"You do not know my father as I do. He will have no
comforters, broods over difficulties in secret, and shrinks
from sympathy as from a 'scorching brand.'"

"Still, I think we can do much to lighten his cares, and
I pray God I may not be mistaken," replied Mary.

Florence lifted her head from her palm and gazed
vacantly at her cousin, then started from her seat.

"Mary, we must not sit here idly, when there is so
much to do. Madame —— should know we leave tomorrow,
and it will take us all day to prepare for our
journey."

"Do let me go and speak to Madame ——; it will be
less unpleasant to me?"

"No, no; I will go myself: they shall not think I feel it


22

so sensibly, and their condolence to-morrow would irritate
me beyond measure. I scorn such petty trials as loss of
fortune, and they shall know it."

"Who shall know it, Florry?"

Her cheek flushed, but without a reply she left the room,
and descended the steps which led to Madame ——'s parlor.
Reaching the door, she drew herself proudly up, then
knocked.

"Come in," was the response.

She did so. In the centre of the apartment, with an
open book on the table before him, sat the teacher who
officiated at prayers. He rose and bowed coldly in answer
to her salutation.

"Pardon my intrusion, Mr. Stewart. I expected to find
Madame here."

"She has gone to spend the morning with an invalid
sister, and requested me to take charge of her classes, in
addition to my own. If I can render you any assistance,
Miss Hamilton, I am at your service."

"Thank you, I am in need of no assistance, and merely
wished to say to Madame, that I should leave New Orleans
to-morrow, having heard from my father that he will be
here in the evening boat."

"I will inform her of your intended departure as early
as possible."

"You will oblige me by doing so," replied Florence, turning
to go.

"Miss Hamilton, may I ask you if your cousin accompanies
you?"

"She does," was the laconic answer, and slowly she retraced


23

her steps, and stood at her own door. The cheeks
had become colorless, and the delicate lips writhed with
pain. She paused a moment, then entered.

"Did you see her, Florry?"

"No, she is absent, but I left word for her."

Her tone was hard, dry, as though she had been striving
long for some goal, which, when nearly attained, her failing
strength was scarce able to grasp. It was the echo
of a fearful struggle that had raged in her proud bosom.
The knell it seemed of expiring exertion, of sinking resistance.
Mary gazed sadly on her cousin, who stood mechanically
smoothing her glossy black hair. The haughty
features seemed chiseled in marble, so cold, stony was the
expression.

"Dear Florry! you look harassed aud weary already.
Why, why will you overtask your strength, merely to be
called a disciple of Zeno? Surely you can not seriously
desire so insignificant an honor, if it merits that title?"

"Can you, then, see no glory in crushing long-cherished
hopes—nay, when your heart is yearning toward some
'bright particular' path, to turn without one symptom of
regret, and calmly tread one just the opposite! Tell me,
can you perceive nothing elevating in this Stoical command?"

The cold, vacant look had passed away; her dark eyes
gleamed, glittered as with anticipated triumph.

"Florry, I do not understand you exactly; but I do know
that command of the heart is impossible, from the source
whence you draw. It may seem perfect control now, but
it will fail you in the dark hour of your need, if many


24

trials should assail. Oh! my cousin, do not be angry if I
say 'you have forsaken the fountain of living water, and
hewn out for yourself broken cisterns, which hold no water.'
Oh! Florry, before you take another step, return to Him
'who has a balm for every wound.'"

Florence's face softened; an expression of relief began to
steal over her countenance; but as Mary ceased speaking,
she turned her face, beautiful in its angelic purity, full
upon her. A bitter smile curled Florence's lip, and muttering
hoarsely, "A few more hours and the struggle will
be over," she turned to her bureau, and arranged her
clothes for packing.

The day passed in preparation, and twilight found the
cousins watching intently at the casement. The great
clock in the hall chimed out seven, the last stroke died
away, and then the sharp clang of the door bell again
broke silence. They started to their feet, heard the street
door open and close—then steps along the stairs, nearer
and nearer—then came a knock at the door. Mary opened
it; the servant handed in a card and withdrew. "Mr. J.
A. Hamilton." Florence passed out, Mary remained behind.

"Come, why do you linger?"

"I thought, Florry, you might wish to see him alone;
perhaps he would prefer it."

"Mary, you have identified yourself with us. To my
father we must be as one." She extended her hand, and
the next moment they stood in the reception room."

The father and uncle was standing with folded arms,
looking down into the muddy street below. He advanced


25

to meet them, holding out a hand to each. Florence
pressed her lips to the one she held, and exclaimed,

"My dear father, how glad I am to see you!"

"Glad to see me! You did not receive my letters then?

"Yes I did, but are their contents and pleasure at meeting
you incompatible?"

He made no reply, and then Mary said, in a low, tremulous
tone,

"Uncle, you have done me a great injury, and you must
make me all the reparation in your power. "You said, in
your letter to Florry, that you did not think I would wish
to go with you. Oh, uncle! you do not, can not believe
me so ungrateful, so devoid of love as to wish, under any
circumstances, to be separated from you. Now ease my
heart, and say I may share your new home. I should be
very miserable away from you."

An expression of pleasure passed over his face, but again
the brow darkened.

"Mary! Florence is my child—my destiny hers, my misfortunes
hers; but I have no right to drag you with me in
my fall; to deprive you of the many advantages that will
be afforded, by your uncle's wealth, of the social position
you may one day attain."

"Uncle! uncle! am I not your child by adoption? Have
you not loved and cared for me during long years? Oh!
what do I care for wealth—for what you call a high position
in the world? You and Florry are my world." She
threw her arms about his neck, and sobbed," Take me
oh, take me with you!"

"If you so earnestly desire it, you shall indeed go with


26

us, my Mary." And, for the first time in her life, he imprinted
a kiss on her brow.

When he departed, it was with a promise to call for
them the next morning, that they might make, with their
aunt, some necessary purchases, and remove to a hotel
near the river.

Every thing was packed the ensuing day, when Mary
suddenly remembered that her books were still in the recitation
room, and would have gone for them, but Florence
said,

"I will bring up the books, Mary; you are tired and
pale with bending so long over that trunk." And accordingly
she went.

Mary threw herself on the couch to rest a moment, and
fell into a reverie of some length, unheeding the flying
minutes, when she recollected that Florence had been absent
a long time, and rising, was about to seek her; just
then her cousin entered. A change had come over her
countenance—peace, quiet, happiness reigned supreme.
One hour later, and they had gone from Madame ——'s,
never to return again.


CHAPTER IV.

"Time the supreme! Time is eternity,
Pregnant with all eternity can give;
With all that makes archangels smile
Who murders time, he crushes in the birth
A power ethereal."
YOUNG.

A YEAR had passed away. "How paradoxical is the
signification of the term!" How vast, when we consider
that each hour hastens the end of our pilgrimage! How insignificant
in comparison with futurity! A single drop in
the boundless deep of eternity! Oh Time! thou greatest
of all anomalies! Friend yet foe, "preserver and yet destroyer!"
Whence art thou, great immemorial? When
shall thy wondrous mechanism be dissolved? When shall
the "pall of obscurity" descend on thy Herculean net-work?
Voices of the past echo through thy deserted temples, and
shriek along thy bulwarks—Never, no, never!

Season had followed season in rapid succession, and the
last rays of an August sun illumined a scene so beautiful,
that I long for the pencil of a Claude Lorraine. It was a
far off town, in a far off state, yet who that has gazed on thy
loveliness, oh, San Antonio, can ere forget thee! Thine
was the sweetness of nature; no munificent hand had


28

arranged, with artistic skill, a statue here, a fountain
there.

The river wound like an azure girdle round the town;
not confined by precipitous banks, but gliding along the surface,
as it were, and reflecting, in its deep blue waters, the
rustling tule which fringed the margin. An occasional
pecan or live-oak flung a majestic shadow athwart its
azure bosom, and now and then a clump of willows sighed
low in the evening breeze.

Far away to the north stretched a mountain range, blue
in the distance; to the south, the luxuriant valley of the
stream. The streets were narrow, and wound with a total
disregard of the points of the compass. Could a stranger
have been placed blindfold in one of them, and then allowed
to look about him, the flat roofs and light appearance
of most of the houses would have forced him to declare
that he had entered a tropical town of the far-east.

Many of the buildings were of musquit pickets, set up-right
in the ground, lashed together with strips of hide,
and thatched with the tule before mentioned. There
were scarce three plank-floors in the town; by far the
greater number being composed of layers of pebbles, lime,
and sand, rolled with a heavy piece of timber till quite
compact; daily sprinkling was found necessary, however,
to keep down the dust, produced by constant friction.

The wealthy inhabitants built of sun-dried bricks, over-cast
with a kind of stucco. Yet, unfortunately, the plastering
art died with the Montezumas, for the most vivid
imagination failed to convert this rough coating into the
"silver sheen" which so dazzled Cortes's little band. The


29

reader will exclaim, "I can fancy no beauty from so prosy
a description. Thatched roofs and dirt floors, how absurd!"

Although a strict analysis might prove detrimental, I
assure you the "tout ensemble" was picturesque indeed.

"Italia! oh Italia! thou who hast
The fatal gift of beauty."

Art rivaled here. Thy gorgeous skies have floated hither,
and hover like a halo round the town. The sun had set;
the glowing tints faded fast, till of the brilliant spectacle
naught remained save the soft roseate hue which melted
insensibly into the deep azure of the zenith. Quiet seemed
settling o'er mountain and river, when, with a solemn
sweetness, the vesper bells chimed out on the evening air.
Even as the Moslem kneels at sunset toward the "Holy
City," so punctiliously does the devout papists bend for
vesper prayers. Will you traverse with me the crooked
streets, and stand beneath the belfry whence issued the
holy tones.

This ancient edifice was constructed in 1692. It fronted
the Plaza, and was a long, narrow building, flanked, as it
were, by wings lower than the main apartment, and surmounted
by a dome, in which were five or six bells. This
dome or belfry was supported by pillars, and in the intervening
openings were placed the bells. The roof was flat,
and the dark green and gray moss clung along the sides.
The interior presented a singular combination of art and
rudeness; the seats were of unpainted pine, and the cement
floor between was worn irregularly by the knees of devout
attendants. The railing of the altar was of carved mahogany,


30

rich and beautiful. Over this division of the long
room hung a silken curtain, concealing three niches,
which contained an image of the "Virgin," the "Child,"
and in the centre one, a tall gilt cross. Heavy silver candlesticks
were placed in front of each niche, and a dozen
candles were now burning dimly. A variety of relics, too
numerous to mention, were scattered on the altar, and in
addition, several silver goblets, and a massive bowl for holding
"holy water." A few tin sconces, placed against the
wall, were the only provision for lighting that dark, gloomy
church, and dreary enough it looked in the twilight hour.
About a dozen devotees were present, all kneeling on the
damp, hard floor. The silk curtain which concealed the
altar was drawn aside, with due solemnity, by two boys
habited in red flannel petticoats, over which hung a loose
white slip. The officiating priest was seen kneeling before
the altar, with his lips pressed to the foot of the cross.
He retained his position for several moments, then rising,
conducted the ceremonies in a calm, imposing manner.
When these were concluded, and all had departed save
the two boys, who still knelt before the Virgin, he beckoned
them to him, and speaking a few words in Spanish, ended
by pointing to the door and uttering, emphatically, "go."
Crossing themselves as they passed the images, they disappeared
through a side door, and the priest was left alone.


CHAPTER V.

* * * "He was a man
Who stole the livery of the court of heaven
To serve the devil in; in Virtue's guise,
Devoured the widow's house and orphan's bread;
In holy phrase, transacted villanies
That common sinners durst not meddle with."
POLLOK.

IN years, he could not have exceeded twenty-five, yet
the countenance was that of one well versed in intrigue.
The cast was Italian—the crisp black hair, swarthy complexion,
and never-to-be-mistaken eyes. A large amount
of Jesuit determination was expressed in his iris, blended
with cunning, malignity, and fierceness. The features
were prominent, particularly the nose; the lips finely cut,
but thin; the teeth beautiful and regular. In stature he
was low, and habited in the dress of his order, a long black
coat or gown, buttoned to the throat, and reaching nearly
to the feet.

Glancing at his watch as the sound of the last step died
away, he paced round and round the altar, neglecting now
the many genuflections, bows, and crossings with which
he had honored the images in the presence of his flock.
His brows were knit, as if in deep thought, and doubtless
he revolved the result of some deep laid plan, when the


32

door was hurriedly opened, and a man, bowing low before
the images, approached him. The dress of the stranger
declared him a ranchero: he wore no jacket, but his pantaloons
were of buckskin, and his broad sombrero was tucked
beneath his arm.

"Benedicit, Juan!"

"Bueño noche, Padre."

"What tidings do you bring me?" said Father Mazzolin.

The Mexican handed him a letter, and then, as if much
fatigued, leaned heavily against the wall, and wiped his
brow with a large blue cotton handkerchief. As the priest
turned away and perused his letter, a smile of triumphant
joy irradiated his face, and a momentary flush tinged his
dark cheek. Again he read it, then thrusting it into his
bosom, addressed the bearer:

"May the blessing of the church rest upon you, who
have so faithfully served your Padre;" and he extended his
hand. Warmly it was grasped by Juan, with a look of
grateful surprise.

"Este bueño?" inquired Juan.

"Si mui bueño. Juan, do you read American writing?"

"Chiquito," was answered, with a slight shrug.

"What is the news in the el grand Ciudad?"

"They have a strong ox to pull the ropes, now Santa
Anna is at the head. 'Bravura!' and the ranchero tossed
his hat, regardless of the place.

It was, however, no part of Mazzolin's policy to allow
him for one moment to forget the reverence due the marble
images that looked so calmly down from their niches, and


33

with a stern glance he pointed to them, crossing himself
as he did so. Juan went down on his knees, and with an
"Ave Maria," and a Mexican dollar (which he laid on
the altar), quieted his conscience.

"Señor Austin is in the Calaboose," he said, after a
pause.

Mazzolin started, and looked keenly at him, as if striving
to read his inmost thoughts.

"You must be mistaken, Juan; there is no mention of it
in my letter!" he said, in a tone of one fearing to believe
good news.

"Not at all, Padre. We started together—there were
fifteen of us—and after we had come a long way, so far as
Saltillo, some of Santa Anna's caveleros overtook us, and carried
Señor Americanno back with them, and said they had
orders to do it, for he was no friend to our nation. I know,
for I heard for myself."

"Do you know the particular reason of his arrest?"

Juan shook his head, and replied, "That the officers did
not say."

"Did you mention to any one your having a letter for
me?"

"No, Padre; I tell no man what does not concern him."

"A wise plan, Juan, I would advise you always to
follow; and be very careful that you say nothing to any
one about my letter: I particularly desire it."

"Intiendo," said Juan, turning toward the door. "I
go to my ranche to-morrow, but come back before many
sunsets, and if you want me again, Padre, you know where
to find me."


34

"The blessing of the 'Holy Virgin' rest upon you, my
son, and reward you for your services in behalf of the church."

"Adios!" And they parted.

Father Mazzolin drew forth the letter, and read it attentively
for the third time, then held it over one of the twelve
candles, and deliberately burnt it, muttering, the while,
"Ashes tell no tales."

Extinguishing the candles and locking the door of the
church, he said to himself:

"All is as I foresaw; a breach is made which can only
be closed by the bodies of hundreds of these cursed heretics;
and Santa Anna is blood-thirsty enough to drain the last
drop. Alphonso Mazzolin, canst thou not carve thy fortune
in the coming storm? Yea, and I will. I am no unworthy
follower of Loyola, of Xavier, and of Bobadillo. Patience!
a Cardinal's cap shall crown my labors;" and with a chuckling
laugh he entered the narrow street which led to his
dwelling.

"There is but one obstacle here," he continued; "that
Protestant girl's work is hard to undo," and his step became
quicker. "But for her, I should have been confessor
to the whole family, and will be yet, despite her warning
efforts, though I had rather deal with any three men. She
is as untiring as myself." He reached his door, and entered.


CHAPTER VI.

"And ruder words will soon rush in
To spread the breach that words begin;
And eyes forget the gentle ray
They wore in courtship's smiling day;
And voices lose the tone that shed
A tenderness round all they said."
MOORE.

INEZ DE GARCIA was an only child, and in San Antonio
considered quite an heiress. Her wealth consisted in broad
lands, large flocks, and numerous herds, and these valuable
possessions, combined with her beautiful face, rendered
her the object of considerable attention. Inez was endowed
with quick perceptions, and a most indomitable will, which
she never surrendered, except to accomplish some latent
design; and none who looked into her beautiful eyes could
suppose that beauty predominated over intellect. She was
subtile, and consciousness of her powers was seen in the
haughty glance and contemptuous smile. Her hand had
been promised from infancy to her orphan cousin, Mañuel
Nevarro, whose possessions were nearly as extensive as her
own. Inez looked with indifferenee on her handsome
cousin, but never objected, till within a few weeks of her
seventeenth birthday (the period appointed for her marriage),
when she urged her father to break the engagement.


36

This he positively refused to do, but promising, at Father
Mazzolin's suggestion, that she should have a few more
months of freedom, she apparently acquiesced. Among
the peculiar customs of Mexicans, was a singular method
of celebrating St.——'s day. Instead of repairing to their
church and engaging in some rational service, they mounted
their half wild ponies, and rode furiously up and down the
streets till their jaded steeds refused to stir another step,
when they were graciously allowed to finish the day on
the common. The celebration of the festival was not confined
to the masculine portion of the community; silver-haired
Señoras mingled in the cavalcade, and many a
bright-eyed Señoritta looked forward to St.——'s day
with feelings nearly akin to those with which a New
York belle regards the most fashionable ball of the season.

On the evening preceding the day of that canonized
lady, Mañuel entered the room where Inez sat, her needlework
on the floor at some distance, as though flung impatiently
from her, her head resting on one hand, while
the other held a gentleman's glove. Light as was his step,
she detected it, and thrusting the glove into, her bosom,
turned her fine face full upon him.

"What in the name of wonder brings you here this
time of day, Mañuel? I thought every one but myself
was taking a siesta this warm evening."

"I have been trying a new horse, Inez, and came to
know at what hour you would ride to-morrow." He stood
funning himself with his broad sombrero as he spoke.

"Excuse me, Señor, I do not intend to ride at all."


37

"You never refused before, Inez; what is the meaning
of this?" and his Spanish brow darkened ominously.

"That I do not feel inclined to do so, is sufficient
reason."

"And why don't you choose to ride, pray? You have
done it all your life."

"I'll be cross-questioned by no one!" replied Inez,
springing to her feet, with flashing eyes, and passionately
clinching her small, jeweled hand.

Mañuel was of a fiery temperament, and one of the
many who never pause to weigh the effect of their words
or actions. Seizing her arm in no gentle manner, he
angrily exclaimed,

"A few more weeks, and I'll see whether you indulge
every whim, and play the queen so royally!"

Inez disengaged her arm, every feature quivering with
scorn.

"To whom do you speak, Señor Nevarro? You have
certainly mistaken me for one of the miserable peons over
whom you claim jurisdiction. Allow me to undeceive you!
I am Inez de Garcia, to whom you shall never dictate, for
I solemnly declare, that from this day the link which has
bound us from childhood is at an end. Mine be the hand to
sever it. From this hour we meet only as cousins! Go
seek a more congenial bride!"

"Hold, Inez! are you mad?"

"No, Mañuel, but candid; for eight years I have known
that I was destined to be your wife, but I never loved you,
Mañuel. I do not, and, never can, otherwise than as a
cousin."


In a tone of ill-suppressed rage, Nevarro retorted:

"My uncle's authority shall compel you to fulfill the engagement!
You shall not thus escape me!"

"As you please, Señor. Yet let me tell you, compulsion
will not answer. The combined efforts of San Antonio will
not avail—they may crush, but can not conquer me."
She bowed low, and left the room.

Every feature inflamed with wrath, Nevarro snatched
his hat, and hurried down the street. He had not proceeded
far, when a hand was laid upon his arm, and turning,
with somewhat pugnacious intentions, encountered Father
Mazzolin's piercing black eyes.

"Bueño tarde, Padre."

The black eyes rested on Nevarro with an expression
which seemed to demand an explanation of his choler.
Mañuel moved uneasily; the hot blood glowed in his
swarthy cheek, and swelled like cords on the darkened brow.

"Did you wish to speak with me, Padre?"

"Even so, my son. Thou art troubled, come unto one
who can give thee comfort."

They were standing before the door of the harkell occupied
by the Priest: he opened it, and drew Mañuel in.

An hour later they emerged from the house. All
trace of anger was removed from Nevarro's brow, and
Father Mazzolin's countenance wore the impenetrable
cast he ever assumed in public. It was his business
expression, the mask behind which he secretly drew the
strings, and lured his dupes into believing him a disinterested
and self-denying pastor, whose only aim in life was
to promote the welfare and happiness of his flock.


39

When Don Garcia sat that night, à la Turk, on a
buffalo-robe before his door, puffing his cigarrita, and keeping
time to the violin, which sent forth its merry tones at
a neighboring fandango, Inez drew near, and related the
result of her interview with Mañuel, concluding by declaring
her intention to abide by her decision, and consult her
own wishes in the selection of a husband.

His astonishment was great. First he tried reasoning,
but she refuted every argument advanced with the adroitness
of an Abelard: the small stock of patience with
which "Dame Nature" had endowed the Don gave way,
and at last, stamping with rage, he swore she should comply,
or end her life in a gloomy cell of San Jose.

Inez laughed contemptuously. She felt the whirlwind
she had raised gathering about her, yet sought not to
allay it: she knew it was the precursor of a fierce struggle,
yet quailed not. Like the heroine of Saragossa, or the
martyr of Rouen, she knew not fear; and her restless
nature rather joyed in the strife.

A low growl from the dog who shared the robe, announced
an intruder, and the next moment the Padre
joined them. He was joyfully hailed by De Garcia as an
ally; but a dark look of hatred gleamed from Inez's eyes, as
they rested on his form: it vanished instantly, and she
welcomed him with a smile. She was cognizant of his
interview with Nevarro, for her window overlooked the
street in which it took place. She knew, too, his powers of
intrigue; that they were enlisted against her; and a glance
sufficed to show the path to be pursued. Long ago her
penetrating eye had probed the mask of dissimulation


40

which concealed, like the "silver vail" of Mokanna, a great
deformity; how much greater because, alas! a moral
one.

Father Mazzolin inquired, with apparent interest, the
cause of contention. The Don gave a detailed account,
and wound up by applying to him for support, in favor of
Nevarro. The look of sorrowful astonishment with which
he listened, compelled Inez to fix her large Spanish eyes
on the ground, lest he should perceive the smile which
lurked in their corners, and half played round her lip.

He rebuked her gently, and spoke briefly of the evils
which would result, if she persisted in her willful and ungrateful
course. Inez listened with a meekness which surprised
both parent and Padre; and when the latter rose to
go, approached, and, in a low tone, requested him to meet
her, that day week, in the confessional.

Woman's heart is every where the same, and in the solitude
of her own apartment, Inez's softer feelings found full
vent. She sat with her face in her hands, one long deep
sigh, which struggled up, telling of the secret pain that
was withering her joys and clouding her future. Suddenly
she started up, and passionately exclaimed,

"It is hard that his love should be wasted on one whose
heart is as cold and stony as this wall;" and she struck it
impatiently. Then drawing forth the glove, which on
Mañual's entrance had been so hastily secreted, she pressed
it repeatedly to her lips, returned it to its hiding-place,
and sought her couch.


CHAPTER VII.

"What cause have we to build on length of life:
Temptations seize when fear is laid asleep;
And ill-foreboded is our strongest guard."
YOUNG.

ST.——'s dawn was welcomed by joyous peals from
the church-bells, and the occasional firing of a few muskets,
by way of accompaniment. The sun rose with a brilliance
which would have awakened deep tones in Memnon's statue,
and gilded mountain and valley. Beautiful beyond description
the city looked in his golden light, and

"All nature seemed rejoicing."

Half hid by a majestic live-oak which shaded the front,
and within a few yards of the river, stood a small white
house. It was built of adobes, and contained only three
rooms. Instead of reaching these by a broad flight, one
step from the threshold placed you on the ground. The
floor was uncovered, and, as usual, of cement. In one corner
of the front apartment stood a side-board, covered with
glass of various kinds, and a few handsome pieces of plate.
Its vis-à-vis was a range of shelves, filled with books; and
on the plain deal mantle-piece stood a pair of neat China
vases; decked with brilliant prairie flowers. Before the
open window was placed the table, arranged for the morning


42

meal. How pure the cloth looked, how clear the glass;
and then the bouquet of fragrant roses which adorned the
centre, how homelike, fresh, and beautiful it seemed! An
air of comfort American, southern comfort—pervaded the
whole. The breakfast was brought in by a middle-aged
negress, whose tidy appearance, and honest, happy, smiling
face presented the best refutation of the gross slanders of
our northern brethren. I would that her daguerreotype,
as she stood arranging the dishes, could be contrasted with
those of the miserable, half-starved seamstresses of Boston
and New York, who toil from dawn till dark, with aching
head and throbbing heart, over some weary article, for
which they receive the mighty recompense of a shilling.

When she had arranged every dish with great exactness,
a small bell was rung; and, waiter in hand, she stood ready
to attend the family.

A bright, young face appeared at the open window.

"I hope, Aunt Fanny, you have a nice breakfast. You
have no idea what an appetite my walk has given me."

"Now, Miss Mary, ain't my cooking always nice?"

"Indeed, it is. Your coffee would not disgrace a pacha's
table; and your rolls are

The whitest, the lightest, that ever were seen."

She disappeared from the window, and entered the room
just as Mr. Hamilton came in, followed by Florence.

"My dear uncle, have you forgotten the old adage of
'early to bed, and early to rise?'"

"I am not sure that I ever learned it, Mary;" he dryly
replied, seating himself at the table.

"One would suppose you had taken a draught from the


43

'Elixir of Life;'" said Florence, glancing affectionately at
her beaming face.

"I have discovered the fountain of perpetual youth, so
vainly sought in South America!"

"Indeed! Is it located in this vicinity?"

"Yes; and if you will rise to-morrow with Aurora, when
'she sprinkles with rosy light the dewy lawn,' I will promise
to conduct you to it."

"Thank you; but Mary, what induced you to ramble
so early?"

"I have been nearly two miles for some roots Mrs.
Carlton expressed a wish for. See, Florry, how I have
dyed my hands pulling them up!"

"Were you alone, Mary?" asked Mr. Hamilton.

"I was, most of the time. As I came back, Dr. Bryant
overtook me. He spent the night at San Jose mission,
with a sick Mexican, and was returning. But where is
Aunt Lizzy?" continued Mary, with an inquiring glance
round the room.

"She went to mass this morning," replied her cousin.

"Oh, yes! It is St.——'s day. I heard the bells at
daybreak."

"It is a savage, heathenish custom they have adopted
here, of tearing up and down the streets from morning till
night. I wish, by Jove! they would ride over their canting
Padre! I think he would find some other mode of celebrating
the festival!"

"He would lay claim to saintship on the strength of it,"
replied Mary.

"You had better keep out of the street to-day, girls,"


44

rejoined Mr. Hamilton, pushing his cup away, and rising
from the table.

At this moment Aunt Lizzy entered; and after the
morning salutation, turned toward the door.

"You are later than usual this morning, aunt. Do sit
down and eat your breakfast, or it will be so cold you can
not touch it," said Mary.

"No really devout Catholic tastes food on this holy day,"
she answered, motioning it from her.

"It must be quite a penance to abstain, after your long
walk," said Mr. Hamilton with a smile.

"Father Mazzolin said, this morning, that all who kept
this holy day would add a bright jewel to their crown, and
obtain the eternal intercession of the blessed saint;" and
she left the room.

"That falsehood adds another stone to the many that
will sink him in the lake of perdition, if there be one!"
muttered Mr. Hamilton, as he departed for the counting-room.
The last few sentences had fallen unheeded on
Florence's ear, for she sat looking out the window, her
thoughts evidently far away. But every trace of merriment
vanished from Mary's face, and instead of her bright smile,
a look of painful anxiety settled there. A long silence ensued;
Mary stood by the table, wiping the cups as Aunt
Fanny rinsed them, and occasionally glancing at her cousin.
At length she said,

"Florry, will you walk over to Mrs. Carlton's with
me? I promised to go, and the walk will do you good,
for indeed your cheeks are paler than I like to see
them."


45

"Certainly, Mary, but do you remember what father
said about our remaining at home, to-day?"

"There is no danger, Florry, if we only look about us,
and I really must go."

"Well then, let us start at once."

In a few moments they set out, equipped in large straw
hats, and equally large gloves; in addition, Mary carried
in her hand a basket, filled with herbs and flowers.

"If we walk briskly, we shall get there before any of
the riders set forth. Ah! I am mistaken, there they come.
Florry, don't go so near the street: that horseman in blue,
looks as though he were riding on ice—see how his horse
slides about!"

A party of twenty or thirty thundered past, and the girls
quickened their pace. A few minutes' walk brought them
to Mrs. Carlton's door, which closed after them.

That lady was reading, as they entered, but threw aside
her book, and advanced joyously to greet them. She kissed
Mary affectionately, and cordially shook Florence's hand.

"I am glad you came, Mary. I feared you would not,
and really I want you very much."

"What can I do, Mrs. Carlton?"

"You can take off your hat and gloves, and prepare
yourselves to spend the day with me."

They laughingly complied, protesting, however, that
they could only remain a short time.

"Mary, my poor blind proselyte died yesterday, and bequeathed
her orphan child to me: I feel almost obliged to
accept the charge, for her fear lest it should fall into the
Padre's hands was painful to behold, and I promised to


46

protect it, if possible. The poor little fellow is nearly destitute
of clothes; I have cut some for him, and knew you
would assist me in making them."

"With pleasure, dear Mrs. Carlton, and so will Florry;
fill my basket with work, and we will soon have him a
suit. Oh! how glad I am that he has such kind friends
as yourself and husband."

"The Padre came last night to demand the child, but
we refused to give him up: he said he intended clothing
and educating the boy free of charge; yet I knew better,
for he refused to baptize Madame Berara's orphan-niece
without the customary fee, though he well knew she could
ill afford it, and was compelled to sell her last cow to
make up the requisite sum. I feel assured he will do all
in his power to entice Erasmo from me; but hope, by constant
watchfulness, to counteract his influence. Oh! Mary,
how much we need a Protestant minister here: one who
could effectually stem the tide of superstition and degradation
that now flows unimpeded through this community.
Oh! my dear friend, let us take courage, and go boldly forth
in the cause of truth, and strive to awaken all from the
lethargy into which they have fallen—a lethargy for which
their priests are alone responsible, for they administered the
deadly drug."

"I feel as deeply as yourself, dear Mrs. Carlton, the evil
tendency and deplorable consequences of the institutions
by which we are surrounded, and the little that I can do
will be gladly, oh, how gladly! contributed to the work of
reformation you have so nobly begun."

"You forget, Mary, in your proselyting enthusiasm, that


47

Aunt Lizzy belongs to the despised sect; surely you can
not intend, by attacks on her religion, to render her home
unpleasant?" said Florence.

Mary's eyes filled with tears, as she glanced, reproachfully
at her cousin, and replied,

"Nothing is further from my wishes, Florry, than to
make her home other than happy. Aunt Lizzy has every
opportunity of informing herself on this important question.
Yet she prefers the easier method, of committing her conscience
to the care of the priest; she has chosen her path
in life, and determinately closes her eyes to every other.
The state of the Mexicans around us is by no means analogous.
They were allowed no choice: bred from infancy in
the Romish faith, they are totally unacquainted with the tenets
of other creeds. Implicit obedience to the Padre is their
primary law, the grand ruling principle of life, instilled from
their birth. To lay before them the truths of our own 'pure
and undefiled religion,' is both a privilege and duty."

"You spoke just now, Miss Florence, of the 'despised
sect;' allow me, in all modesty, to say, that to the true
and earnest Christian there is no such class. Believe me,
when I say, that though deeply commiserating their unhappy
condition, and resolved to do all in my power to
alleviate it, still I would as cheerfully assist the conscientious
Papist, and tender him the hospitalities of my home,
as one of my own belief."

"You have expressed my feelings exactly, Mrs. Carlton,
and there are times when I wish myself a missionary, that
I might carry light to this benighted race," exclaimed
Mary, enthusiastically.


48

"We are very apt, my dear child, to consider ourselves
equal to emergencies, and capable of great actions, when a
strict examination would declare that the minor deeds and
petty trials which test the temper and the strength too
often destroy our equanimity, and show our inability to
cope with difficulties. Woman's warfare is with little
things, yet we are assured by the greatest of all female
writers, that 'trifles make the sum of human things;'
therefore, let us strive more and more earnestly to obtain
perfect control of ourselves; then shall we be enabled to
assist others."

"I often think," replied Mary, thoughtfully," that we
make great sacrifices with comparative ease, because we
feel our own insufficiency, and rely more on God for assistance;
while in lesser troubles we are so confident of success,
that we neglect to ask his blessing, and consequently
fail in our unaided attempts."

"You are right, Mary, and it should teach us to distrust
our powers, and lead us to lean upon 'Him, who is very
precious help in time of need.'"

A long silence ensued, broken at length by the entrance
of Mrs. Carlton's two children, who carried a large basket
between them. Hastily they set it down, on seeing Mary,
and sprung to her side: the little girl clung around her neck,
and kissed her repeatedly.

"Maria, you are too boisterous, my little girl; Miss
Mary will have no cause to doubt your affection. Elliot,
why do you not speak to Miss Florence, my son?"

Blushing at his oversight, the boy obeyed, and, joined by
his sister, stood at his mother's side. Maria whispered


49

something in his ear, but he only shook his head and replied,

"Not now, sister, let us wait."

She hesitated a moment, then laid her little hand on
Mrs. Carlton's shoulder:

"Mother, I know you said it was rude to whisper in
company, but I want to tell you something very much."

Mrs. Carlton smiled.

"I am sure the young ladies will excuse you, my daughter,
if it is important." She bent her head, and a prolonged
whispering followed. A flush rose to the mother's
cheek and a tear to her eyes, as she clasped her to her
heart, and said,

"I wish you, my children, to speak out, and tell all you
know of this affair."

Elliot was spokesman.

"We went into the garden as you desired us, mother,
and Erasmo and I picked the peas, while sister held the
basket; presently we heard a noise in the brush fence like
something coming through, and sister got frightened (here
he laughed), and wanted to run to the house, but we told
her it was only a sheep or dog outside; but it turned out
to be the Padre, and he came and helped us to pick.
Mother, he told us such pretty stories; I can't think of the
names; they must have been Dutch, they were so long and
hard. But I remember one of the tales: he said there
was once a good man who lived in Asia, and one day he
lost his crucifix; he looked every where for it, but could
not find it; and a long time afterward, he happened to be
walking by the sea-shore and looked out on the water,


50

and oh, what do you think? He saw his crucifix moving
on the water, and a great crab paddled out to land and
laid his crucifix down before him, and then paddled right
back into the sea again. Now wasn't that funny. I can't
think of the good man's name, Saint—Somebody—Saint
—Saint—"

"Brother, I reckon it was Saint Crab!"

"No, no! It was the crab that found the crucifix, and
I think he was smarter than the Saint."

"Now, Florry, should I repeat this legend to Aunt Lizzy,
it would be impossible to convince her that it proceeded
from the Padre's lips. Yet even prelates of Rome scruple
not to narrate as miracles tales equally absurd, where their
auditory is sufficiently ignorant to credit them. Pardon my
interruption, Elliot, and finish your story," continued Mary.

"Mother, the Padre talked to Erasmo in Spanish. I
could not understand all he said, but it was about coming
to live with him, and going to Mexico, to see the sights
there. When he came to the rows you left for seed, I told
him we must come to the house, and asked him to come
in; but he would not, and offered us all some money, and
said we must not tell a soul we had seen him, for he
happened to see us through the fence, and just came in to
speak to us, and you and father might think he ought not to
come into our garden. But oh, mother, would you believe
it! he told Erasmo, as he went off, that he must ask you
to let him go to bathe to-morrow; and instead of going to
the river, he must come to the church: he wanted to give
him something. He told him in Spanish, but I understood
what he said. Now, wasn't that teaching him to tell a


51

lie? and he a Padre too! Mother, don't you think he ought
to be ashamed?"

"Elliot, if you would gladden the hearts of your father
and mother, be ever truthful. Remember the story of
"Pedro and Francisco" you read not long ago, and put dishonesty
and dissimulation far from you: 'honesty is the
best policy,' and if you adhere to it through life, it will
prove of 'far more worth than gold.' Be sure you keep nothing
from me, particularly what the Padre may say."

"Shall we take the peas out under the hackberry and
shell them," said Maria.

"Yes, my dear, but first tell me where Erasmo is."

"Sitting on the steps, mother. I know he will help us
to shell them, for he said it was mere fun, picking peas."

"Say nothing to him of the Padre or his conversation,
but interest him about other things."

They left the room swinging the basket between them.
Mrs. Carlton's eyes filled as she looked after her children.
"A mother's care can do a great deal, yet how little did I
imagine that temptation would assail them at such a time,
and in such a garb."

"Oh, guard them carefully; for, surrounded by these influences,
it will be difficult to prevent contamination," said
Mary, earnestly.

Just then a long, loud shout from the street attracted
their attention, and hastening to the door, they perceived a
crowd gathered on the Plaza. In the centre was a body
of Mexican cavalry, headed by their commanding officer,
who, hat in hand, was haranguing them. The ladies looked
at each other in dismay.


52

"To what does this tend," asked Mary, anxiously.

"My husband told me several days since that Austin
was imprisoned in Mexico, and said he feared difficulties
would ensue, but knew not the cause of his confinement."

"There is Dr. Bryant coming toward us; I dare say he
can tell us the meaning of this commotion."

That gentleman, bowing low in the saddle, reined his
steed as near the step as possible.

"How do you do, Miss Hamilton, and you, my dear sister?
I had the pleasure of meeting Miss Mary in her morning
rambles; she is a most remarkable young lady. Assures
me she actually loves early rising." His dark eyes were
fixed laughingly upon her.

"Do stop your nonsense, Frank, and tell us the cause of
that crowd," said Mrs. Carlton, laying her hand on his
arm.

"My dear sister, that tall, cadaverous-looking cavalier is
the brother-in-law of Santa Anna, and no less a personage
than General Cos, sent hither to fortify this and every other
susceptible place."

"Against whom or what?"

"It is a long story, ladies. You know that Coahuila has
pursued an oppressive policy toward us for some time, and
refused to hear reason: Austin remonstrated again and
again, and at last went to Mexico, hoping that the authorities
would allow us (here he bit his lip, and his cheek
flushed)—it galls my spirit to utter the word—allow us to
form a separate State. The Congress there took no notice
of his petition, for, in truth, they were too much engaged
just then about their own affairs to heed him, and he


53

wrote to several persons in Austin, advising them at all
hazards to proceed. Some cowardly wretch, or spy in disguise,
secretly dispatched one of his letters to the ministers;
consequently, as Austin was returning, they made him
prisoner, and carried him back to Mexico. Santa Anna is
at the head of affairs. He has subverted the too liberal
constitution of 1824, but is opposed by a few brave hearts,
who scorn the servitude in store for them. Santa Anna
knows full well that we will not submit to his crushing
yoke, and therefore sends General Cos to fortify the Alamo.
This is the only definite information I have been able to
glean from several sources."

"Do you think there is probability of a war?"

"It will most inevitably ensue, for total submission will
be exacted by Santa Anna, and the Texans are not a people
to comply with any such conditions."

"You think Gen Cos is here to fortify the Alamo?"

"Yes; the work commences to-morrow, I hear, and the
fort will be garrisoned by Spanish troops."

"How many has he with him?" inquired his sister.

"Only fifty or sixty; this is merely the advanced guard,
the main body will probably arrive in a few days."

"I suppose they are joyously welcomed by the Mexicans
here, who have ever regarded with jealous eyes Protestant
settlers."

"Oh, yes, that shout testified the hearty welcome they
received."

At this moment Mr. Hamilton joined the group.

"Have you heard the news?" he inquired.

"Yes, and sad enough it is," said Mary, with a sigh.


54

"It will be a bloody conflict."

"I am afraid so," replied Dr. Bryant.

"Come, girls, I am going home, will you go now?"

Mary took her basket, which Mrs. Carlton had filled
with work, and they descended the steps.

"I declare, Miss Irving, I have a great desire to know
what that basket contains; it is as inseparably your companion
as was the tub of Diogenes. I often see it round
a corner before you are visible, and at the glimpse of it,
invariably sit more erect in saddle, and assume my most
amiable expression."

He raised himself, and peeped inquiringly over the edge;
Mary swung it playfully behind her.

"I never gratify idle curiosity, Dr. Bryant."

"Indeed, how very remarkable; but I assure you I know
full well the use to which those same herbs you had this
morning are to be applied; you are amalgamating nauseous
drugs, and certain pills, to be administered to my
patients. I am grieved to think you would alienate what
few friends I have here, by raising yourself up as a competitor.
Pray, where did you receive your diploma? and are
you Thomsonian, Allopathic, Homeopathic, or Hydropathic?"

Mary looked at Mrs. Carlton: both smiled.

"Ah! I see Ellen is associated with you. Do admit me
to partnership; I should be a most valuable acquisition,
take my word for it. A more humble-minded, good-hearted,
deeply-read, and experienced disciple of Esculapius
never felt pulse, or administered a potion."

They laughed outright.


55

"Mary, shall we tell Frank what we intend those herbs
for?"

"By no means, he does not deserve to know."

"Ah! I see Terence was right after all, in his opinion
of woman's nature—'When you request, they refuse; when
you forbid, they are sure to do it.'"

"Come, girls, come! I have business at home;" said
Mr. Hamilton, and they set out homeward. They had
not proceeded far, when Mary exclaimed, pointing behind
her,

"Oh, uncle, that woman will be killed! Can nobody
help her?"

"She will certainly be thrown from her horse!"

A party of five or six Mexicans were riding with their
usual rapidity toward them. An elderly woman in the
rear had evidently lost control of her fiery horse, which
was plunging violently. The other members of the company
seemed unable to render any assistance, as their own
could scarcely be restrained. The unfortunate Señora was
almost paralyzed with fright; for instead of checking him
by the reins, they had fallen over his head, become entangled
in his feet, and now grasping the mane, she was
shrieking fearfully.

"Oh, can't we do something for her!" cried Mary,
clasping her hands.

"I do not see how we can assist her," said Mr. Hamilton.

"At least, let us try;" and they hastened to the spot
where the infuriated animal was struggling.

"Stand back, girls! you can do nothing."

He made several ineffectual attempts to catch the bridle,


56

as the fore-feet rose in air, and at last succeeded in getting
one end. He bade the woman let go the mane, and
slide off. She did so, but some portion of her dress was
caught in the saddle, and she hung suspended. The
horse feeling the movement, again plunged, despite Mr.
Hamilton's efforts to hold him down. The scene was
distressing indeed, as she was raised and then flung down
again.

Mary saw the danger, and rushing round the enraged
horse, fearlessly pushed off the piece which was attached
to the pommel of the saddle, and freed the unfortunate
matron. The horse, feeling relieved of his burden, gave
a desperate bound, and rushed off down the street.

Florence shrieked, and sprung to her father's side
Mary was bending over the moaning woman, but turned
suddenly, and saw her uncle stretched at Florence's feet.
He was insensible, and a stream of blood oozed from his
lips. They raised his head, and motioned to the Mexicans,
that now gathered round, for water; some was hastily
procured, and then Mary entreated one of them to go for
Dr. Bryant: as she spoke, the tramp of hoofs caused her
to look up, and she perceived him urging his horse toward
them. He flung the reins to a man who stood near, and
bent over the prostrate form.

"There is some internal injury, I see no outward wound;
how did this happen?"

Florence briefly explained the manner in which her
father received a kick on the chest. Happily, they were
near their own home, and, with the assistance of two men,
Dr. Bryant carefully bore him in, and laid him on a couch


57

near the open window. A restorative was administered,
and soon the sufferer opened his eyes. The flow of blood had
ceased, but he lay quite exhausted.

The physician examined the wounded place, and assured
Florence there was no fracture.

"I am afraid some blood-vessel is ruptured?" said she,
anxiously.

"It is only a small one, I hope, but can not tell certainly
for several days. He must be perfectly quiet; the
least excitement might prove fatal, by causing a fresh
hemorrhage."

Nearly a week passed, and one evening Mary followed
the physician, as he left the house: he heard her step, and
turned. His usually laughing countenance was grave
and anxious; but he strove to seem cheerful.

"Doctor, I wish to know what you think of my uncle's
case; we are afraid it is more serious than you at first
pronounced it?"

"It is better that you should know the worst. I am
pained to grieve you, but candor compels me to say, that
a fatal injury has been inflicted. I hoped for the best, but
an examination this evening confirmed my fears."

Mary sobbed bitterly and long. Dr. Bryant sought not
to comfort her by exciting false hopes, but paced up and
down the gravel-walk beside her.

"You do not fear a rapid termination of the disorder?"
she said at last, in a low, trembling tone.

"He may linger some days, but I do not think it probable
that he will."

"Florry, Florry! what is to become of us!" cried the


weeping girl, in a voice of agony. "Oh, God! spare him
to us!"

"Do you think your cousin comprehends her father's
danger?"

"She fears the worst, and requested me this evening to
ask your opinion. Oh, how can I tell her that he must
die!"

"Do not crush all hope (though I have none); let her
believe that he may recover. She is not of a temperament
to bear prolonged agony. The shock will be less painful,
rest assured. Believe me, I deeply sympathize with you
both." And pressing her hand, he withdrew.


CHAPTER VIII.

"See! the dappled gray coursers of the morn
Beat up the light with their bright silver hoofs,
And chase it through the sky!"
MARSTON.

INEZ left her father's door as the last notes of the matin
bell died away on the cool, clear morning air. She held in
her hand a silken scarf, which, according to the custom of
her country, was thrown lightly across the head, and confined
at the chin.

Beautiful she looked, with the feverish glow on her
cheek, and her large Spanish eyes, restless and piercing,
flashing out at times the thoughts of her inmost soul. She
threw the mantilla round her head, and turned toward the
church. The step was firm yet hasty. She seemed endeavoring
to escape from herself.

The streets were silent, and the Plaza deserted, and
naught seemed stirring save the swallows that twittered
and circled round and round the belfry of the church.
There was something soothing in the deep stillness that
reigned on that balmy morning, and Inez felt its influence.
She paused at the entrance of the gray old church, and
stretched forth her arms to the rosy east.

"Peace, peace!" she murmured, in a weary tone, and
sunk her head upon her bosom. The door opened behind


60

her, and raising herself proudly, she drew the scarf closer
about her, and entered.

A basin of holy water was placed near, and hastily she
signed the figure of the cross, and proceeded down the aisle
to a side, door leading to one of the wings. She pushed it
noiselessly ajar, and passed in.

A solitary tin sconce dimly lighted the small confessional,
dark and gloomy as night, at that early hour. A wooden
cross suspended from the wall, a stone bench, and table,
on which lay a rosary and crucifix, and a small vessel of
holy water, formed the entire furniture. Before this table
sat Father Mazzolin, his face buried in his hands. Her
step, light as it was, startled him; yet without rising, he
murmured, "Benedicit."

"Bueños dias Padre."

He motioned to her to kneel, and she did so, on the damp
floor at his feet, drawing the scarf over her face, so as to
conceal the features.

"Bless me, my Father, because I have sinned."

He laid his hands on her bowed head, and muttered,
indistinctly, a Latin phrase. "I confess to Almighty God,
to blessed Mary, ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel,
to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy apostles
Peter and Paul, and to all the saints, that I have sinned
exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, through my most
grievous fault. Therefore I beseech the blessed Mary,
ever Virgin, the blessed Michael the Archangel, the blessed
John the Baptist, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and all
the saints, to pray to the Lord our God for me.

"Since my last confession, I accuse myself of many sins.


61

I have missed mass, vespers, and many holy ordinances of
our most holy church. Have borne hatred, and given most
provoking language.

" I have broken the engagement thou didst command
me to keep; have angered Mañuel, and enraged my father
greatly. I neglected fasting on the day of our most holy
Saint——.

"I have entered this church, this holy sanctuary, without
crossing myself; and passed the image of the blessed Virgin
without kneeling." She paused, and bent her head lower.

The Padre then said, "My daughter, thy sins are grievous;
my heart bleeds over thy manifold transgressions."

"Even so, my Father; even so."

"Dost thou still bear enmity to Mañuel Nevarro, who
loves thee truly, and is thy promised husband?"

"No, my Father; I desire to be speedily reconciled to
him whom I have offended."

"Wilt thou promise to offer no objection, but become his
wife?"

"My Father, I do not wish to be his wife; yet thy will,
not mine."

A smile of triumph glittered in the Padre's eye at this
confession; yet his low tone was unchanged.

"Inez, I will not force thee to marry Manuel, yet thou
shalt never be another's wife. In infancy thou wast promised,
and thy hand can never be joined to another. Choose
you, my daughter, and choose quickly."

"Padre, give me time. May one so guilty as I speak out?"

"Yes, speak; for I would have thine inmost thoughts."

"Father, let me spend a month of quiet and peace among


62

the holy sisters at San Jose; there will I determine either
to be Mañuel's wife, or dedicate the remainder of my life
to the service of God and our most Holy Lady."

"You have spoken well: even so shall it be; but Inez,
I would question you further, and see you answer me truly,
as you desire the intercession of the blessed Virgin."

Inez lifted her head, and fixing her eyes full on his
swarthy face, replied with energy:

"My Father, even as I desire the intercession of our
blessed Virgin, so will I answer."

The head was bent again on her bosom. He had
sought to read her countenance during that brief glance,
but there was a something in its dark depths he could
not quite understand.

"My daughter, hast thou been of late with that Protestant
girl, by name Mary Irving?"

"I have seen her twice since last confession."

"Where did you meet her?"

"Once at Señora Perraras, and once she came for me,
to walk with her."

"Answer truly. Upon what subjects did you converse?"

Inez seemed striving to recall some portion of what had
past. At last she said, "Indeed, Padre, I can not remember
much she said. It was mostly of birds, and trees, and
flowers, and something, I believe, about this beautiful
town, as she called it."

"Think again. Did she not speak lightly of the blessed
church, and most holy faith? Did she not strive to turn
you to her own cursed doctrines, and, above all, did she
not speak of me, your Padre, with scorn?"


63

"No, my Father, most truly she did not." Again she
raised her eyes to his face. Piercing was the glance he
bent upon her. Yet hers fell not beneath it: calm and
immovable she seemed.

He lifted his hand menacingly.

"I bid you now beware of her, and her friend, the trader's
wife. They are infernal heretics, sent hither by the
evil one to turn good Catholics from their duty. I say
again, beware of them!" and he struck his hand heavily
on the table beside him. "And now, my daughter,
have you relieved your conscience of its burden? Remember,
one sin withheld at confession will curse you
on your death-bed, and send you, unshriven, to perdition!"

A sort of shudder ran through the bowed form of Inez,
and in a low tone, she replied, "I also accuse myself of
all the sins that may have escaped my memory, and by
which, as well as those I have confessed, I have offended
Almighty God, through my most grievous fault."

"I enjoin upon you, as penance for the omission of the
holy ordinances of our most holy church, five Credos
when you hear the matin bell, twelve Paters when noon
comes round, and five Aves at vespers. These shall you
repeat, kneeling upon the hard floor, with the crucifix before
you, and your rosary in your hand. In addition, you
must repair to a cell of San Jose, and there remain one
month. Moreover, you shall see and speak to none, save
the holy sisters. And now, my daughter, I would absolve
you."

Inez bent low, while he spread his hands above her


64

head and pronounced the Latin text to that effect, then
bade her rise, and dismissed her with a blessing.

The sun was just visible over the eastern hills, as Inez
stepped upon the Plaza. Her face was deadly pale, and
the black eyes glittered strangely.

"I have knelt to thee for the last time, Father Mazzolin.
Long enough you have crushed me to the earth;
one short month of seeming servitude, and I am free.
Think you I too can not see the gathering tempest? for
long I have watched it rise. It may be that happiness is
denied me; but yonder gurgling waters shall receive my
body ere I become a lasting inmate of your gloomy cell.
My plan works well; even my wily Padre thinks me penitent
for the past! But dearly have I bought my safety.
I have played false! lied! where is my conscience? Have
I one? No, no! 'tis dead. Dead from the hour I listened
to the Padre's teachings! If there be a hereafter,
and, oh! if there is a God, what will become of me?"
And the girl shuddered convulsively. "Yet I have heard
him lie. I know that even he heeds not the laws of his
pretended God! He bade me follow his teachings, and I
did, and I deceived him! Ha! he thinks the game all at
his fingers' ends. But I will neither marry Mañual, nor
be a holy sister of Jose. There will come a time for me.
Now I must work, keep him in the dark, spend the month
in seclusion; by that time the troubles here will begin,
and who may tell the issue?"

A quick step behind her, caused Inez to turn in the
midst of her soliloquy. Dr. Bryant was hastening by, but
paused at sight of her face.


65

"Ah, Señorita! How do you do this beautiful morning?"
He looked at her earnestly, and added, "You are
too pale, Inez—much too pale. Your midnight vigils do
not agree with you; believe me, I speak seriously, you will
undermine your health." Her eyes were fixed earnestly
on his noble face, beaming with benevolence, and a slight
flush tinged her cheek, as she replied, "Dr. Bryant, I am
not the devout Catholic you suppose me. The Padre
thinks me remiss in many of my duties, and I am going
for a short time to San Jose. You need not look at me so
strangely, I have no idea of becoming a nun, I assure
you."

"Inez, one of your faith can never be sure of any thing;
let me entreat you not to go to the convent. You need
recreation, and had much better mount your pony, and
canter a couple of miles every morning; it would insure
a more healthful state of both body and mind."

"I must go, Dr. Bryant."

"Well then, good-by, if you must, yet I fear you will
not return looking any better."

"Adios," and they parted.

Inez's eye followed the retreating form till an adjoining
corner intervened. Then pressing her hand on her heart,
as if to still some exquisite pain, she murmured in saddened
tones—"Oh! I would lay down my life for your love, yet
it is lavished on one who has no heart to give in return.
Oh, that I may one day be able to serve you!"

At that moment she perceived Mañuel Nevarro crossing
the Plaza, and drawing closer the mantilla, she hast-
[ened homeward.]


CHAPTER IX.

"A perfect woman, nobly planned;
To warn, to counsel, to command,
The reason firm, the temperate will,
Prudence, foresight, strength, and skill."
WORDSWORTH.

THE beautiful ideal of Wordsworth seemed realized in
Mrs. Carlton. She was by nature impetuous, and even
irritable; but the careful training of her deeply pious mother
early eradicated these seeds of discord and future
misery. She reared her "in the way she should go," and
taught her to "remember her Creator in the days of her
youth." Crushing vanity, which soon rose hydra-headed
in her path, she implanted in her daughter's heart a sense
of her own unworthiness, and led her to the "fountain of
light and strength."

Under her judicious care, Ellen's character was moulded
into perfect beauty. She became a Christian, in the purest
sense of the term. Hers were not the gloomy tenets
of the anchorite, which, with a sort of Spartan stoicism,
severs every tie enjoined by his great Creator, bids adieu
to all of joy that earth can give, and becomes a devotee at
the shrine of some canonized son of earth, as full of imperfections
as himself. Neither did she hold the lighter and


67

equally dangerous creed of the latitudinarian. Her views
were of a happy medium; liberal, yet perfectly orthodox.

Ellen married early in life, and many were the trials
which rose up to test her fortitude, and even her reliance
on Almighty God. Of six beautiful children that blessed
her union, four went down to an early tomb. Though
bowed to the earth by the weight of her affliction, she murmured
not against the hand that chastened her; but as one
by one was snatched from her warm embrace, she poured
out the depth of a mother's love on the remaining two.

One stroke of fortune reduced her, in a day, from affluence
to comparative penury; and leaving his luxurious
home, Mr. Carlton resolved to seek his fortune in the Western
World. Hither she had accompanied him, encountering,
without a murmur, the numerous hardships, which
those who have not endured can never fully realize. They
had preceded Mr. Hamilton but a few months, and joyfully
welcomed him as an agreeable acquisition to their little
circle.

Mrs. Carlton found in Mary a real friend; one who
sympathized with, and assisted her in her many benevolent
plans for ameliorating the condition of the destitute Mexicans
around them.

With Florence, the former had little affinity, and, consequently,
little intercourse. Their tastes were directly opposite;
and though they often met, there was no interchange
of the deep and holier feelings of the heart.

Frank Bryant was the orphan—brother of Mrs. Carlton,
and almost as dearly loved by her as her own darling Elliot.
A few months before St.——'s day, he reached San


68

Antonio, on a visit to the sister, from whom he had been
separated several years. Soon after his arrival, an epidemic
made its appearance among the lower order of Mexicans;
and as there was no resident physician at that early
time, his services were speedily in requisition. The Padre,
who numbered among his many acquirements a tolerable
knowledge of medicine, viewed with indifference the suffering
around him; and was only roused from his lethargy by
discovering the flattering estimation in which Frank was
held. Fearing so formidable a rival in the affections of his
people, he left no means untried to undermine the popularity
so deservedly acquired. But gratitude is a distinguishing
trait of Indian character; and though apparently obeying
the injunctions of their Padre, to follow no directions
save his own, they reverenced Dr. Bryant as a being of
superior order.

It was beside the bed of a dying friend that Inez first
met him. One long, weary night they watched together,
and when at last death freed the sufferer, with mingled
emotions of admiration and gratitude she thanked him for
the attentions conferred with such disinterested benevolence.
She could not avoid contrasting the conduct of the cold and
calculating Jesuit with the warm-hearted kindness of the
noble stranger.

In a few days it became evident that she had herself imbibed
the disease, and her terrified father besought the young
physician to restore her. With unwearied patience he
watched over the beautiful Señorita, whom Mrs. Carlton
and Mary most carefully nursed, and was rewarded by the
glow of returning health.


69

The idols of her youth were neglected and forgotten; one
image filled Inez's heart, and before it she poured out all
the passionate love of her ardent nature; hence her aversion
to a union with Mañual Nevarro.

Dr. Bryant early perceived her attachment; and knowing
full well that he could never return it, avoided her society
with a delicacy peculiarly his own. When thrown
accidentally into her presence, his manner was frank, kind,
and brotherly.

Inez did not deceive herself for a moment by supposing
that he would ever return her love. She knew too well
the nature of the barrier which intervened. To remain
unfettered, to see, to love, and one day to serve him, was
her dearest wish; and for its gratification she dared the
rage of her father, and the hatred of her Padre. She fancied
he loved another, and with the characteristic jealousy
of her nation, an aversion to that object settled on her
heart.

Dr. Bryant had nursed the last patient into convalescence:
still he lingered, and at the close of St.——'s
day, announced his intention of remaining until the difficulties
with Mexico were either amicably arranged, or
war declared. Mary and Florence he often met, for he
was a constant visitor at Mr. Hamilton's. His manner
toward them was very different; with Mary he ever assumed
the light bantering tone of brotherly freedom; with
Florence he was always grave and earnest. Their conversation
was generally upon literary topics, of which
she was fond. Many were their discussions for and against
their favorite authors and philosophers. In these arguments


70

Mary seldom took part, though fully qualified to do
so. Occasionally her cousin asked her opinion on various
topics; at such times she gave them clearly, yet modestly,
and with a gentle dignity peculiar to herself. The
earnest attention with which Frank listened to her views,
and his happy smile, when they coincided with his own,
somewhat puzzled Mary; yet she welcomed his repartees
with the same bright smile, and allowed distrust and jealousy
no room in her heart.


CHAPTER X.

"He swore that love of souls
Alone had drawn him to the church; yet strewed
The path that led to hell with tempting flowers,
And in the ear of sinners, as they took
The way of death, he whispered peace."
POLLOK.

How wearily pass the hours to the anxious watcher beside
the couch of pain. To her, it seems as though the
current of time had forgotten to run on and join the mighty
past, and that its swift waters were gathering glassily
around her. With unmitigated care, Florence had attended
the bedside of her suffering parent; occasionally
slumbering on his pillow, but more frequently watching
through the long nights, and often stealing to the casement,
to look out upon surrounding gloom, and wonder if
the light of day would ever fall again on earth. Ah! in
the midnight hour, when all nature is hushed, when universal
darkness reigns, when the "still small voice" will
no longer be silenced, then we are wont to commune with
our own hearts. All barriers melt away, and the saddened
past, the troubled present, and the shadowy future rise
successively before us, and refuse to be put by. In vain
we tightly close the aching lids; strange lurid lights flare
around us, and mysterious forms glide to and fro.


72

To the guilty, how fearful must the season of darkness
prove, when, unable longer to escape from themselves, they
yield to the pangs of remorse, and toss in unutterable anguish!

"By night, an atheist half believes a God."

And thousands, who in the sunny light of day rush madly
on to ruin, pause, shudderingly, in the midnight hour, and
look yearningly toward the narrow path where Virtue's
lamp, flashing into the deepest recesses of surrounding
gloom, dispels all shadow; and, in imagination, view the
Christian peacefully descending the hill of life, fearlessly
crossing the "valley of the shadow of death," and resting
at last on that blest shore, where night and darkness are
unknown, "swallowed up in endless day."

It was very evident that Mr. Hamilton could survive
but a few days; and to every entreaty that she would take
some rest, Florence but shook her head, and replied, that
she would not leave him when he must die so soon.

One evening Dr. Bryant, having administered a soothing
potion, turned to her and said, "My dear Miss Hamilton,
you will seriously injure your health by such constant
watching. Your father needs nothing now but quiet. Let
me entreat you to go out for a short time; the air will
refresh you, and your aunt will remain with Mr. Hamilton."
He drew her reluctantly from her seat as he spoke, and
whispered Mary to accompany her.

Drawing her arm round Florence, Mary turned in the
direction of their accustomed rambles, but her cousin said,
"I am too weary to walk far, let us go to our old seat by
the river."


73

The stream was only a few yards distant, and they
seated themselves on a broad, flat stone, beneath a cluster
of pomegranate and figs. The evening was beautifully
clear, the soft light which still lingered in the west mellowing
every object, and the balmy southern breeze, fresh
from "old ocean's bosom," rustling musically amidst the
branches above. As if to enhance the sweetness of the
hour, and win the mourners from their sad thoughts, the
soothing tones of the vesper bells floated afar on the evening
air; distance had softened them, and now they sounded
clear and Eolian-like. The river eddied and curled rapidly
along at their feet; and ever and anon, the stillness
that seemed settling around was broken by the plunging
fish, that gamboled in hundreds amidst its blue waters.

"How calm and holy this stillness seems! Florry, does
it not cause you to lift your heart in gratitude to the
'almighty Giver' of so many blessings?"

"All things are dark to sorrow;" replied Florence, and
folding her arms across her bosom, she dropped her head
wearily upon them.

"Oh, Florry, do not give up so! I can not bear to hear
your despairing tone. Still hope; your dear father may
be spared to us;" and she put her arms caressingly around
her.

"Hope!" echoed Florence;" I have ceased to hope that
he will recover. I know that lie can not: and in a few
hours I shall be alone in the world. Alone, alone!" she
repeated the words, as if fully to realize the misery in store
for her. O God! why hast thou not taken me before.?
Take me now; oh, in mercy, take me with him!"


74

In vain Mary strove to soothe and console her: she remained
perfectly still, her face hid in her arms, and replied
not to her anxious questionings. A long silence ensued,
and Mary wept. A feeling of desolation began to
creep over her; a second time she was to be thrown on
the wide, cold world. She thought of her uncle's generosity
and unvaried kindness during the many years she
had dwelt under his roof, and scarcely felt that it was not
her own. And then there stole up the image of her lost
mother; the wan, but saint-like face, and the heavenly
smile with which she pointed upward, and bade her child
prepare for the glorious union, in that mansion which Jehovah
assigned to those who are faithful on earth.

Poor Mary's heart was sad indeed; yet there was no
bitterness in her soul, no rebellious feelings toward Almighty
God, who had thus afflicted her so sorely. She wiped
away her tears, and calming herself as much as possible,
repeated, in a faltering voice, the beautiful hymn commencing
"I would not live always." She paused at the conclusion
of the second verse; but Florence did not lift her head,
and hoping to cheer her, she finished the hymn.

Twilight had fallen on the earth, and the blue vault
of heaven was studded with its myriad lamps. The new
moon glittered like a golden thread—low in the west—and
seemed almost to rest upon the bosom of the stream, as it
curved in the distance to meet the horizon.

"Come, Florry, you must not stay out so late; I am
afraid you will take cold!"

Florence rose mechanically and accompanied her.

"Oh, Florry, do try and trust in God, and believe that


75

in every trial and affliction he will comfort and assist
us."

Her cousin sighed heavily, but made no reply.

As they reached the gate it was quickly opened, and the
Padre met them: he bowed coldly to Mary, but shook
hands with Florence, and promised to come again the ensuing
day. It was so late that Mary could not distinguish
his features; but just as he turned to go, Aunt Fanny
threw open the kitchen door, and the light streamed full
on his face; their eyes met, and she started at the smile
of triumph that irradiated his dark countenance: he bowed,
and passed on.

Mary hastened down the walk, and entered the sick
room, fearing she scarcely knew what. The invalid was
tossing restlessly from side to side, and on the pillow lay a
rosary and crucifix. For an instant she stood motionless;
then sprang forward, and clasped his burning hand in hers.
"Uncle! dear uncle! tell me who has been with you!
Aunt Lizzy promised she would not leave you till we came
back. You have been excited; your hands are burning
with fever!"

"I was not alone, Mary; the Padre sat and talked with
me;" as the sufferer spoke, he shuddered and closed his
eyes.

"And did he leave these here?" said she, taking up the
crucifix and rosary.

"No, no! they are mine!" and he snatched them from
her.

Mary turned pale, and leaned against the bed for support.
Florence, now bending over her father, motioned to


76

her cousin to be silent; without effect, however; for, passing
round the bed, she knelt beside him. "Uncle, was it
by your desire that the Padre came here this evening?"

He did not seem to hear her question; she repeated it.

"Yes; that is, this is not his first visit."

"Uncle, why do you evade me? Tell me, I entreat
you, if he did not force himself here in my absence!"

"Mary, will you drive my father delirious with your interference
with his wishes?"

"No, Florry, not when I am convinced that such are
his wishes. I know that in health he is no more a Papist
than you or I; yet, now I see him clinging to that rosary
and crucifix, what am I to think? If you can explain this
mystery, do so, Florry."

"The day that you were at Mrs. Carlton's, learning to
make that custard my father likes so well, the Padre came,
and kindly sat with him some time. He came the next
night, and the next; and read and prayed with him. I
hope you are satisfied now that there is no intrusion."
All this was whispered so low as not to reach the ears of
the invalid.

"Were you present at any of these interviews, Florry?"

"No; they always preferred being alone."

"Oh! why did you not tell me this before?"

"I am sure I can't see what you are so excited about!
If my father chooses to become a Catholic, I should think
it would relieve you to know that he realizes his situation."
She turned resolutely away as she finished speaking, and
seated herself beside the bed.

Mary left the room almost stunned by the discovery she


77

had made; and scarce knowing what to do, wrapped her
shawl about her, and walked quickly to Mrs. Carlton's.
To her she related all she had just learned, and begged
her advice and assistance.

Mrs. Carlton was sorely puzzled and much distressed.

"I fear, Mary, it is too late to remedy the evil."

"Oh, do not say so! I can not bear that he should die
in that faith; he is too feeble to oppose any thing they
offer, and is scarcely conscious of his own actions. In
health, they dared not approach him; for they knew full
well that he scorned their creed, and disliked their Padre.
Yet now that he is so weak, in both body and mind, they
hope to influence him. Oh, how could Florence be so
blind! Dear Mrs. Carlton, come and reason with him.
I know he esteems you very highly, and your opinion might
weigh with him."

"Indeed, my dear child, I will do all in my power to
dissuade him from the unfortunate course he has taken,
but not to-night; he must be wearied very much already.
I will come in the morning."

Early the ensuing day she fulfilled her promise, and in
Florence's presence strove to elicit his views and belief.
To her surprise he refused to hold any conversation on the
subject; declaring that his mind was made up, and that
he was determined to die a member of the holy Catholic
Church.

Before she could frame a reply, they were startled by
the sound of a struggle at the door, and the next moment
it was flung wide open, and Father Mazzolin, livid with
rage, rushed in. Mrs. Carlton rose with gentle dignity,


78

and inquired his business. He heeded not her question,
but strode to the bed, and whispered in Mr. Hamilton's
ear. The invalid, in a voice so feeble that it was scarce
audible, requested them to leave him with the Padre for
an hour, as he wished to converse with him alone. Mrs.
Carlton perfectly well understood that he but repeated the
priest's orders, and perceiving that nothing could now be
effected, left the room accompanied by Florence. But
Mary clung to the bed, and refused to go.

"You have taken advantage of my uncle's weakness to
force yourself where your presence is unwelcome, and I
will not leave him when he is too weak to oppose your
orders."

He strove to force her out, but she clung firmly to the
bed; and muttering an oath between his teeth, he turned
to the sufferer, and spoke in an unknown tongue; a feeble
response in the same language seemed to satisfy him, and
darting a triumphant glance at the kneeling girl, he seated
himself, and conversed for nearly an hour. Then offering
up a Latin prayer, departed, promising to come again.

Mrs. Carlton had not left the house; she waited anxiously
for Mary. And when Florence re-entered the sick
room, the former hastened to her friend.

"Oh, I did all I could to prevent it!" cried Mary, in
despair. "All is over, I am afraid. I was sitting on the
door step, preparing some arrowroot, when I saw Aunt
Lizzy go out the gate. I thought it strange at the time
of day, but never suspected the truth. Presently I saw
her coming back with the priest, and knew in an instant
she had gone for him. I was determined to prevent his


79

seeing my uncle, if possible, and fastened the front door.
Before I could lock my uncle's, he wrenched open the window,
and sprang in. I tried to put the key in my pocket,
and told him he could not go in then; but he made Aunt
Lizzy hold one of my hands, while he forced open my fingers
and took the key. Oh! that Dr. Bryant had been
here." She showed Mrs. Carlton the marks of his grasp
on her wrist. "Tell, oh, tell me what I can do to save
him!"

"Alas! nothing, Mary. He is completely under the
control of the Padre, and no reasoning will avail now."

With a sad heart Mrs. Carlton took leave, advising Mary
"to offer no further resistance, as it was now impossible to
convince her uncle of his error."


CHAPTER XI.

"He's gone—his soul hath ta'en its earthless flight,
Whither? I dread to think—but he is gone!"
BYRON.

MR. HAMILTON, though perfectly conscious that his end
was rapidly approaching, had scrupulously avoided the
subject in the presence of the girls. One morning, after a
night of more than ordinary suffering, he lay quite exhausted.
Death was at hand, and feeling intuitively that
the appointed hour had arrived, he requested all to withdraw,
save Florence. When they were alone, he laid his
hand on her head, and said, in a low, feeble tone—"Floence,
I am going. I can not survive this day, and I wish
to give you my last advice. I am afraid your lot will be
a hard one, when I am gone; trials without number are
in store for you. Oh! my proud-hearted, beautiful Florence,
what will become of you now?" He covered his
face with his hands a moment, then continued—"I do not
wish you to return to your native place. My child must
be dependent on no one, yet to leave you here so unprotected,
is hard indeed. Dr. Bryant has promised to watch
over you, and the Carltons are kind friends. Florence, you
must depend upon yourself. Thank God, you are strong-minded,
and Mary, our kind, good Mary, will be near, to


81

comfort and assist you. I am growing weaker, but there
is one more thing I wish to say."

He paused, and for the first time Florence spoke.

"My father, tell me every wish; fear nothing for me,
there is nothing I can not bear now."

"For my sake, Florence, if not for your own, will you
promise to be guided by Father Mazzolin?"

"Do you mean in matters of religion, my father?"

"I mean in all things: matters of interest, as well as
matters of faith. He will assist you much, if you will
but follow his advice and directions."

There was a pause, and then Florence said slowly, as
if weighing every word—"Rest assured your wishes shall
be my law. I will consult the Padre as you desire."

With a look of relief the dying man sank back on his
pillow, and closed his eyes. Florence quickly summoned
the physician, and her aunt and cousin. A little while
after, as Mr. Hamilton's eye fell on the weeping Mary, he
extended his hand, and when she bent over him, drew her
face down, and imprinted a long kiss on her pale cheek.
Even as he did so, a dark form glided to the bedside.
Another moment, the uncle and niece were separated;
none knew how, yet the Padre stood between, whispering
low in the sufferer's ear. Almost gasping for breath, the
latter intimated his desire to confess for the last time.
And they were left alone.

Nearly an hour after, the priest entered the apartment
where Florence and Mary sat. He trembled visibly, yet,
in his usual tone, said that he wished the family to be
present at the last rites about to be performed for the dying


82

Papist. They immediately repaired to the sick room, and
the spectacle there presented, made Mary quiver in every
limb. The sufferer had been placed for convenience on a
low couch, and was supported by pillows in an upright
position. A dozen candles burnt around him, and a cloud
of incense wreathed slowly along the wall. The room
had been profusely sprinkled with holy water, and a chalice,
containing the consecrated wafer, sat near. Gasping
for breath, Mr. Hamilton clasped a crucifix to his lips,
though unable from weakness to secure it there; for twice
it fell from his fingers, and rolled to the floor.

Father Mazzolin, attired in a surplice, ornamented with
the insignia of his order, stood beside the bed, holding in
one hand a superbly-bound volume—in the other, a silver
cup containing oil.

After a moment's pause he opened the book, and hurriedly
read in a low, muttering tone, a Latin service of
several pages. At the conclusion he carefully poured out
a few drops of the oil, and just touched the palms of the
sufferer's hands, and the soles of his feet, bidding him at
the same time cross himself. Perceiving, that he was utterly
unable to do so, he hastily signed the figure, and resumed
his reading. How long he would have gabbled on,
it is impossible to say, but a gasping sound from the dying
man, declared that dissolution was at hand, and, snatching
the chalice, he hastily administered the wafer, which was
swallowed with difficulty. For the third time, Father
Mazzolin strove to replace the crucifix in his hand and bend
it to his lips. The cold fingers refused to clasp the consecrated
wood, and sank, stiffened and powerless, by his side.


83

Mary had gazed mournfully on, as this mummery was
enacted. A death-bed for a theatre, weeping relatives an
audience, and Father Mazzolin an amateur performer.
Aunt Lizzy was kneeling beside the Padre, ever and anon
invoking the Virgin; while Florence sat with her face in
her hands, almost as unconscious of what passed as her
dying parent. She bent over him now, and in heart-rending
accents conjured him not to leave her. He struggled
in vain to utter words of comfort; they died away in
whispers, and, with a slight moan, the spirit returned to
the God that gave it. The Padre snatched his hat and
hastily left the house, while Mary gave vent to an uncontrollable
burst of sorrow. Florence seemed suddenly frozen,
so rigid was her countenance, as she gazed on the cold
form before her. She neither wept nor moaned, but closed
the eyes with a long, long kiss, and drawing a sheet over
the marble features, turned, with a slow, unfaltering step,
away.


CHAPTER XII.

"For now that Hope's last ray is gone,
Sure Lethe's dream would bless:
In grief to think of bliss that's flown,
Adds pangs to wretchedness."
ANONYMOUS.

A FORTNIGHT had passed, and again it was evening.
In the small dining-room of Florence Hamilton's humble
home was assembled the now diminished family circle.
Florence sat sadly apart, leaning her head, with closed eyes,
against the window. The tea bell rang; she lifted her
head, glanced round the room, and wearily dropped her
brow again on its resting place. Mary approached, and
taking her hand, said, in a gentle, winning tone, "Come,
Florry dear."

"Eat your supper, Mary; I do not wish any."

"But you have not eaten any thing to-day, and need
something; do try, for my sake."

"I can not. If you knew how both head and heart
ache, you would not urge me."

Mary turned away, and ate the usually joyous meal with
a heavy heart. Florence had left her seat, and was
standing in the door: as her cousin rose from the table she
beckoned to her, and passed hurriedly out. Mary strove to


85

catch her arm, but she hastened on, as if trying to escape
from herself. Suddenly she paused by the river side, and
clasped her hands convulsively over her head.

"Mary! Mary! you know not what I suffer."

"Florry, sit down, and lean your weary head on my
shoulder."

She dipped her hand in the water, and dashed the cold,
sparkling drops on her cousin's burning brow, speaking the
while in a low, soothing tone. Florence rested a few
moments in her cousin's arms, then threw herself on a
grassy bank; and covered her face; one long, deep groan
alone attesting her mental anguish. Mary wept more
bitterly than she had yet done; still, she was so quiet, none
would have known her grief, save from the tears that fell
over her hand and arms. Can it be, that the spirits of
departed friends hover near us while on earth, and draw
closer in hours of woe? If so, why is it denied to the
suffering one to hear again the dear accents of the "loved
and lost?" Why may not their silver pinions fan the burning
brow of sorrowing mortality, and the echo of Heaven's
own melody murmur gently, "Peace, peace and joy for
evermore?"

Florence stood up before her cousin; all trace of emotion
had passed away, and left her calm. The bright moon
shone full on her face. Oh! how changed since the
morning she stood in Madame ——'s schoolroom. The
large dark eyes were sunken; the broad brow marked with
lines of mental anguish; the cheeks colorless, and her
long raven hair tossed back, and hanging like a vail below
her slender waist. There was a hollow, wasted look in


86

every feature; the expression was one of hopeless misery,
and a something there was which made the heart ache,
yet the haughty glance of other days might still be seen.

"Mary, look at me!"

"Well, Florry, I have looked at you, and sad enough it
makes me feel."

"I am changed Mary, strangely changed, am I not?
Answer me truly."

"Yes, you look weary and ill; but why do you ask me
such a question? You have had cause to look pale."

"Ah! you say truly; but, Mary, have you never suspected
that a secret grief was freezing the life-blood in my
cheeks?"

"Florry, what do you mean? I am afraid you are
feverish!" and Mary laid her hand anxiously on her
cousin's. It was flung contemptuously off.

"Mary, listen to what I have to say. I am in a strange
mood to-night, and you must not contradict me. Where
shall I begin? When my mother died I was four years
old, they say, and a very delicate child. My mother!
how strange it sounds. Yet I can at times faintly remember
her beautiful face. Very faintly, as in a dream, I have
seen an angel visitant. My mother, why did you leave
your hapless babe? Oh! why? my mother! I was left
much to myself, and followed unrestrained my own inclinations.
You know my fondness for books; that fondness
was imbibed in girlhood, as I wandered in my own sunny
home—my lost home. My father taught me to conceal
my emotions—to keep down the rising sob, to force back
the glittering tear; and when I smiled over some childish


87

grief, applauded my stoicism. I became unnatural,
cold, haughty, but not unfeeling. I remember well how
your pale face and mourning dress touched my heart, and
waked my sympathies. From that hour I lavished my
love on my father and yourself. Years passed and we
went to New Orleans—" Here Florence paused, and
closed her eyes for a moment, but quickly resumed—" You
know how I studied. Mary, was it merely from love of
metaphysics and philosophy, think you? No, no! Mr.
Stewart's look of surprise and pleasure as, one by one, I
mastered various intricacies, was the meed for which I
toiled. Mary, from the first day we met, I loved him, for
his was a master spirit. I worshiped him in my inmost
soul, and he loved me in return. I know—I feel that he
did. Yet he was even prouder than myself, and would
have scorned to speak of love to one who never smiled in
his presence. Oh! often when he stood beside my desk
giving instruction, my heart has sprung to him. I have
longed to hear the words of tenderness that welled up from
his heart, but scorned to tremble on his lips. No look of
love ever fell on me. His glance was cold and haughty.
Oh, how inconsistent is woman! I yearned for his love;
yet, had he tendered it, under my haughtiness would have
dropped my idol—have shivered it at my feet. Weeks
passed, and while near him I knew no sorrow; but the
morning of my life was destined to be short. The cloud that
had lowered on the horizon suddenly darkened around.
That never-to-be-forgotten letter came, and I saw a great
gulf open at my feet. An invisible hand placed Dudley
Stewart on one brink, and I was left upon the other; and

88

an unknown messenger thundered the decree of separation
—'Forget the past and live again in the future!' I started
as from a frightful dream. The cold reality forced itself
upon me. Mary, a suspicion stole into my heart, and
stung me. I thought for a brief time that Mr. Stewart
loved you, and whose hand may register the darkened
thoughts that crowded bitterly up? The morning we left
New Orleans, I went into the schoolroom for our books.
Ah! who may know the agony of that hour! I sat down
in his chair, and laid my head on his desk, and groaned in
mine anguish of spirit. Oh! Mary, that was the blackest,
bitterest hour of my life. I had fancied he loved me:
I feared I was deceived; I hated—despised myself for my
weakness. Yet I could not reproach him; he had never
sought my love.

"I had just risen from his desk when Mr. Stewart
came in. He did not seem to see me, but took a seat near
the door. I was well-nigh exhausted, but strove to appear
as cold and indifferent as ever. I gathered up my books
and turned to go, then he laid down his pen, and came to
me.

"'I believe you and your cousin leave to-day?'

"'Yes, in this evening's boat,' I answered, much as
usual.

"'I wish you a safe and pleasant voyage. My kindest
adieux to your cousin. Good-by, Miss Hamilton.'

"He held out his hand. I said 'good-by' as clearly
and coldly as himself. Our hands met but an instant: there
was no pressure—no warmth, and then he opened the door
for me to pass. As he did so our eyes met his glance was


89

calm and cold, but his lips were firmly compressed Had
he looked sad, mournful, or tender, I should have passed out
and triumphed; but my overtasked strength gave way; a
cold shudder crept through my frame, and consciousness
forsook me. I never fainted before or since. When I
revived, I raised my head and looked about me. I was
reclining on a couch; he kneeling beside me, calmly, as he
would have stood in class. He held my hand, and pressed
it warmly.

"'Are you better now, Florence?'

"'Oh, yes, thank you,' I said, and rose to my feet.

"He still held my hand. I withdrew it, and turned to
the door. He placed himself before it, and said—' Florence,
it was well done; you are an admirable dissembler,
but I am not deceived. You love me, and have for long,
yet I freely acknowledge your love can never exceed my
own. I love you better than my life, though perfectly
aware that we are now parted forever. I am a poor tutor,
dependent on my daily exertions for subsistence; you the
cherished daughter of a wealthy and ambitious parent.'

"He drew me to him, and imprinted a long kiss on my
lips; then put me gently back, and left the room.

"I never saw him again, but did I doubt his love? No,
no! I would sooner doubt my own existence. We embarked,
as you know, in the evening. That night was
beautiful—just such a one as this—serene and heavenly.
I stole out on deck when others slumbered, and for a long
weary hour paced to and fro. There was a wild tumult
in my soul which would not be stilled, and every restraining
effort but fanned the flame that raged within. A


90

never-to-be-forgotten contest was waged that night, and
my heart was the arena. My guardian angel whispered
low, 'Forget the past as a feverish dream; it is not well for
thee; forget, forget!' But the heaven-born accents were
suddenly drowned by the wild shriek of my dark destiny—
'Of Lethe's waters thou shalt never taste! I have shattered
the goblet at thy feet, and scattered the draught to
the winds of heaven! Behold the apotheosis of thine idol!
At this shrine shalt thou bow evermore—evermore!'

"A new impulse was implanted within me; and, impotent
to resist, I was impelled onward, and onward, till a
chasm yawned at my feet. Yet a moment I trembled on
the brink, then plunged desperately forward. Mary, listen.
I knelt on the damp, glistening deck, and implored Almighty
God to register my words in heaven. In his awful
name and presence, I solemnly swore to love Dudley
Stewart alone—to be his wife, or go down to the tomb as
Florence Hamilton. I rose up calm—the fierce warring
was stilled. Yet it was not inward peace that succeeded.
My fate was sealed—the last page of destiny transcribed.

"Time passed on, oblivious of the darkened hours it bore
on its broad bosom. Mary, I have watched for one loved
form, and listened for that calm, proud step. I have loved,
and trusted, and believed that we should meet again. Deluded
Florence! a period is put to thy hopes and fears!
Mary, he is married! All is over for me. The dull, heavy
weight resting upon my heart will soon crush out the life
spark, and lay low my proud head. Ah! my cousin, you
weep. I wish that I could; but tears have been too often
scornfully repulsed; they come not now at my call. Oh,


91

Mary, I am weary, weary! I long for rest, even the rest
of the dark, still tomb! I have no hope—no wish. I am
passive now. At last nature has broken the bonds so long
forced upon her, and the reaction is strong indeed. You
ask how I received my information: ah! you need not
doubt its authenticity. Aunt Lizzy and his mother were
old friends, and she received a letter the day before my
father died, announcing his approaching union with a
beautiful cousin! I am deservedly punished: I worshiped
the creature and forgot the God. I needed a desperate
remedy, and it is administered.

As Florence concluded she leaned heavily against a tree,
and raised her eyes to the jeweled vault above. Just then
a dense black cloud, which had floated up from the west,
passed directly over the moon, obscuring the silvery rays.
She pointed to it, and said, in a low, mournful voice—"How
typical of my life and heart; shut out from joy and hope
in one brief hour, unlike it ever to be brightened again."

"Oh! Florry, dear Florry! turn to God for comfort
and succor in this hour of need. He will enable you to
bear this trial, and go steadily on in the path of duty."

"Mary, I have no incitement to exertion; nothing to
anticipate. My future is blank and dreary. I know my
lot in life; I have nothing to hope for."

"Not so, Florry. Your future life will be an active one.
Are we not dependent on our exertions for subsistence?
and does not our little school open to-morrow? Cheer up,
darling! all may yet be bright. Bury the painful remembrances
of the past; believe me, peace, if not joyousness, will
surely follow the discharge of your duties."


92

"I can not forget the past. Had he sought my love, I
could scorn him for his baseness; but it is not so. I almost
wish it were. Yet I know and feel that he loves me; and
oblivion of the past is as impossible for him as myself. I
know not what strange impulse has induced me to tell you
all this. I did it half unconsciously, hoping for relief by
revealing that which has pressed so heavily on my heart.
Mary, never speak to me of it again; and, above all, do not
mention his name. It has passed my lips for the last time,
and all shall be locked again within my own heart. We
will open the school to-morrow; and may God help me,
Mary, pray, oh, pray for me! I had no mother to teach
me, and prayer is a stranger to my lips."

She walked hurriedly to the house, and shut herself
within her own apartment.


CHAPTER XIII.

"Freedom calls you! Quick! be ready;
Think of what your sires have been:
Onward! onward! strong and steady,
Drive the tyrant to his den."
PERCIVAL.

How intoxicating is the love of power; and how madly
the votaries of ambition whirl to the vortex of that moral
Corbrechtan, which has ingulfed so many hapless victims.
Our own noble Washington stands forth a bright beacon
to warn every ruler, civil or military, of the thundering
whirlpool. Father of your country! you stand alone on
the pedestal of greatness; and slowly rolling years shall
pour their waters into the boundless deep of eternity ere
another shall be placed beside you.

When Iturbide attempted to free his oppressed countrymen
from the crushing yoke of Spanish thralldom, Liberty
was the watchword. Success crowned his efforts—sovereign
power lay before him. He grasped it, and made himself
a despot. Ambition hurled him from the throne of the
Montezumas, and laid his proud head low. A new star
rose on the stormy horizon of the west; pure and softly
fell the rays on the troubled thousands round. The voice
of the new comer said "Peace," and the wild tumult subsided.


94

Ten years passed; Santa Anna culminated. The
gentle tones of the arch deceiver were metamorphosed into
the tiger's growl, the constitution of 1824 subverted in a
day, and he ruled in the room of the lost Iturbide.

The Alamo was garrisoned. Dark bodies of Mexican
troops moved heavily to and fro, and cannon bristled from
the embrasures. The usually quiet town was metamorphosed
into a scene of riot and clamor, and fandangos, at
which Bacchus rather than Terpsichore presided, often
welcomed the new-born day. The few Americans* in San
Antonio viewed with darkened brows the insolent cavaliers.
The gauntlet was flung down—there was no retraction, no
retreat. They knew that it was so, and girded themselves
for a desperate conflict.

The declaration of independence was enthusiastically
hailed by the brave-hearted Texans, as they sprang with
one impulse to support the new-born banner, that floated
so majestically over the sunny prairies of their western
home. Mechanic, statesman, plowboy, poet, pressed forward
to the ranks, emulous of priority alone. A small, but
intrepid band, they defied the tyrant who had subverted
the liberties of his country; defied Santa Anna and his
fierce legions, and spurned the iron yoke which the priests
of Mexico vainly strove to plant upon their necks. Liberty,


95

civil and religious, was the watchword, and desperately
they must struggle in the coming strife.

Mañuel Nevarro had eagerly enlisted in the Mexican
ranks, and in a few weeks after General Cos's arrival,
donned his uniform. Thus accoutred, he presented himself,
for the first time since their disagreement, before Inez,
who had but recently returned from San Jose, doubting
not that her admiration of his new dress would extend to
him who filled it. In truth, his was a fine form and handsome
face; yet sordid selfishness, and, in common parlance,
"a determination to have his own way," were indelibly
stamped upon his countenance.

Inez was busily preparing the evening meal when he
entered; and though perfectly aware of his presence, gave
no indication of it. He stood aside and watched her movements,
as she shaped and turned the tortillas. Presently
she began to sing

"He quits his mule, and mounts his horse,
And through the streets directs his course—
Through the streets of Gacatin,
To the Alhambra spurring in,
Wo is me, Alhama.
"And when the hollow drums of war
Beat the loud alarm afar,
That the Moors of town and plain
Might answer to the martial strain,
Wo is me, Alhama.

As the mournful cadence died away, she turned, and
started with well-feigned surprise on meeting the piercing
glance fixed upon her.

"Ah, Mañuel!" She held out both hands, with a most


96

amicable expression of countenance. He grasped them,
and would have kissed her beautiful lips, but she slipped
adroitly to one side—"No, no! Mañuel. I'll not permit
that till I am Señora Nevarro."

"And when will that be, Senorita?"

"Not till the war is over."

"But it has not begun yet; and it will be many moons
before we whip these cursed Americanos."

"How many, think you, Mañuel?"

"I can't tell, Inez; therefore we will not wait till the
War is over. The Padre is ready any time, and why not
marry at once?"

"Sacra Dios! I'll do no such thing."

"And why not, Inez?"

"Because they might kill you, Manuel, and then what
would become of me?"

"You would be as well off then as now; there would
be no difference, only you would be married. You will
mourn, any how, if I am killed."

"How do you know I would?" Her Spanish eyes
twinkled as she spoke; but for fear of going too far, she
laid her hand on his shoulder. Mañuel turned sharply
round.

"You deserve to be shot, Mañuel, for joining in a miff.
Why didn't you tell me you were going to be a soldier?"

He grasped her hand tighter, but made no reply.

"I say, why did not you tell me first?"

"And if I had told you, what then?"

"Why, I should not have let you do it, you savage. If
you had only asked me, I might be willing to marry you


97

next week. But as it is, I am not going to be left a widow,
I can tell you."

"Inez, I don't believe you care whether I am killed or
not. I do not understand you at all."

The girl's eyes filled, and her lip quivered with emotion.
"Mañuel, do you think me a brute? There is nobody
to love Inez but her father and you. I am not cold hearted."

"You speak truth, Inez; and my uncle will not live very
long, for he has seen many years. When he is gone, there
will be nobody to take care of you but me; so the sooner
we are married the better."

"Not so. You must come and see us as often as you
can till the war is over; but I will marry no one now."

"Will you promise it shall be as soon as the war is
over?"

Inez coquettishly tossed her beautiful head, and advancing
to the fire, gayly exclaimed—"While we talked the
tortillas burned. Come, eat some supper. I know they
are as good as those you get at the Alamo."

Mañuel seated himself on a buffalo-robe, and while partaking
of the evening meal, Inez chatted away on indifferent
subjects, asking, during the conversation, what news
had been received from the Texan army.

"We got news to-day that they are marching down to
Gonzales, but I am thinking they will find hot work."

"How many men may we number, Mañuel, and think
you the chances are for us?"

"By the blessed Virgin, if we were not ten to five,
Mañuel Nevarro would not eat his tortilla in peace. The


98

Captain says we will scatter them like pecans in a high
wind."

"What bone is there to fight for at Gonzales?"

"Cannon, Inez, cannon. Don't you know we sent a
thousand men to bring it here, and the white rascal sent
five hundred to keep it there. By the Virgin, we will see
who gets it!"

"Holy Mother protect us! Mañuel, take care of yourself,
man, and rush not into danger. It will profit you little
that we have many men, if some strong arm tells your
length on the sward."

"Never fear, Inez—never fear. We must not stop till
every American turns his back on the Alamo, and his face
to the East."

"But you will not harm those that live here in peace
with all men?"

"The Padre told our General, yesterday, that we must
fight till all submitted, or the last American child was
driven to the far bank of the Sabine."

Inez laid her hand on his arm, and looking him full in
the face, asked, in a low tone—"Mañuel, would you help
to drive Mary from her home among us? She who nursed
me in sickness, and bound the white bread to your bleeding
arm, and made the tea for my dying mother, when none
other came to help? Mañuel! Mañuel! she is alone in
the world, with only her cousin. Spare Mary in her little
home; she hurts none, but makes many to die in peace."

Mañuel's face softened somewhat, but he replied in the
same determined tone—"The Padre says she is an accursed
heretic, and he will not rest till she is far away.


99

But I tell you now, Inez, she will not be harmed; for he
said he would see that she was protected, and would himself
take her to a place of safety. He said she had been
kind to our people, and none should molest her or her
cousin; but leave all to him."

"If the Padre promised, he will place them in safety;
he never forgets to do what he says. I am satisfied, Mañuel;
and for the rest of the Americans, the sooner they are
driven out the better."

"You say truly, Inez, the sooner the better: all, all shall
go, even their Doctor, that carries himself with such a
lordly air, and sits in saddle as though never man had horse
before. But the moon is up; I must return, for I watch
to-night, and must be back in time." He put on his hat
as he spoke.

"Mañuel, come as often as you can, and let me know
what is going on. You are the only one whose word I believe;
there are so many strange tales nowadays, I put
little faith in any. And before you go, put this crucifix
about your neck: 'twill save you in time of danger, and
think of Inez when you see it." She undid the fastening
which held it round her own throat, and pressing it to her
lips, laid it in his hand.

Astonished at a proof of tenderness so unexpected, Mañuel
caught her in his arms, but disengaging herself, she
shook her finger threateningly at him, and pointed to the
door. He lighted his cigarrita, and promising to come often,
returned to the Alamo.

Left alone, the Spanish maiden sought her own apartment,
muttering as she ascended the steps—"The Padre


100

protect you, Mary! Yes, even as the hawk the new chicken.
Take thee to a place of safety! even as the eagle
bears the young lamb to his eyrie. Yes, Mañuel, I have
bound the handkerchief about your eyes. You think I love
you, and trust both Padre and crucifix! Trust on, I too
have been deceived."


CHAPTER XIV.

MORE like somnambulism than waking reality was now
the life of Florence Hamilton. No duty was unperformed,
no exertion spared to conduce to the comfort of the now
diminished family circle. No words of repining or regret
were uttered—no tear dimmed the large dark eyes. She
moved and lived as it were mechanically, without the
agency of feeling or sympathy; yet though she obtruded
her grief on none, it was equally true that no gleam of returning
cheerfulness ever lightened the gloom which enveloped
her. A something there was in the hopeless, joyless
expression of her beautiful face, which made the heart
ache; yet none offered sympathy, or strove to console her,
for she seemed unapproachable, with the cold, haughty glance
of other days. Painfully perceptible was the difference between
Christian fortitude and perfect hopelessness—gentle,
humble resignation and despair. There was no peace in
her soul, for her future was shrouded in gloom: she had
no joys in anticipation. The sun of hope had set forever to
her vision, and she lived and bore her grief like one who
had counted the cost, and knew that for a little while longer
she must struggle on; and that oblivion of the past
was dispensed only by the angel of death. She acquiesced
in Mary's plan of opening a small school, and unfalteringly
performed her allotted tasks as assistant teacher. Unexpected


102

success had crowned their efforts, and fifteen pupils
daily assembled in the room set apart for the purpose.
Mary had feared opposition on the part of the Padre, and
was agreeably surprised at the number of Catholic children
committed to her care.

One morning early in October, having finished her household
duties, she repaired to the schoolroom for the day.
Florence was already at her post, though suffering from
violent nervous headache. Mary seated herself with her
back to the door, and called one of her classes. Arithmetic
it proved; and if the spirits of the departed were ever allowed
to return in vindication of their works, the ghost of
Pythagoras would certainly have disturbed the equanimity
of the "muchachos," who so obstinately refused the
assistance and co-operation of his rules and tables. In vain
she strove to impress on one that 2 from 8 left 6. Like
the little girl that Wordsworth met, he persisted "it was
seven." Despairing at last, she remanded the class to their
seats. Anxious to facilitate the progress of her pupils,
Mary spared no pains to make perspicuous what to them
appeared obscure. The little savages could not, or would
not understand that the earth was like a ball, and not
only turned upon its own axis, but made the entire circumference
of the sun. A pair of globes could not be procured,
and she taxed her ingenuity for a substitute. Selecting
two apples, one enormous, the other medium size,
she carefully introduced a reed through the centre of the
smaller apple, thus causing it to revolve on its axis. Calling
up the tyros in geography, she took the smallest, or
"Earth," as she designated it, and while causing it to perform


103

the diurnal motion, she carried it slowly round the
larger, or "Sun," as she termed it: thus illustrating the
combined movements of our globe. Even the dullest could
not fail to comprehend; and well satisfied with the result
of her experiment, she carefuly put her planets by in one
corner of the schoolroom, and proceeded with her questions.
The imperfect recitation finished, Mary glanced across the
room, hoping her cousin's patience was not so tried, and
some brilliant coruscations in that direction fixed her attention.
Florence had dropped her aching head on the
desk in front, shading her eyes with her hand; before her,
in dark array, stood some half dozen small boys just begining
to spell. Each held a book containing illustrations of
various well-known articles and animals, having the name
beneath.

"U–r–n—teapot." Elliot Carlton, whose seat was near,
gave a suppressed giggle. Florence looked around inquiringly,
then dropt her head again on her hand, bidding the
boy "spell on."

"S–t–a–g—goat." Elliot crammed his handkerchief
into his mouth, and Mary smiled.

"W–i–g—Curly head." Florence was effectually roused
this time, by a shout of laughter from Elliot, in which he
was joined by Mary, and Dr. Bryant, who had just entered,
and was standing in such a position that no one had perceived
him.

"Really, Miss Hamilton, I must congratulate you on the
extraordinary progress your pupils make; I was not aware
that you cultivated their powers of comparison in connection
with the rudiments of orthoepy."


104

"To what do you allude, Doctor; I am scarcely conscious
of what passes around me this morning," said Florence,
wearily pressing her hand across her aching brow.

"I am not surprised that you are somewhat stunned,
though, after all," he continued, pointing to the picture of a
ringleted pate, "the little fellow was not far wrong, for
this wig is incontestibly a curly head."

With a faint smile, which passed as quickly as it came,
she dismissed the class with an additional lesson.

"I am sorry to see you suffering so much this morning,"
said Frank, seating himself beside her: "and should certainly
not recommend this schoolroom as an antidote to
nervous attacks. Miss Mary, why do you allow your
cousin to overtax her strength? However, I bring you
good news. We have had an engagement at Gonzales,
and, thank Heaven, are victorious. The brave five hundred
sent to preserve the field-piece there, encountered
double their number of the enemy, and not only saved the
cannon, but scattered the Mexicans in all directions. Our
brave band are marching to Goliad, where they expect to
supply themselves and comrades with ammunition; they
have probably taken the magazine before this, and are returning."

"Thank Heaven we have triumphed!" cried Mary, fervently
clasping her hands; "but oh! if the tide should turn
this way, what will become of us? The Mexicans are
numerous here, and the Alamo strongly fortified and in
their possession." She turned her eyes inquiringly on
Frank, and started as she met the earnest, searching expression
of his, bent full upon her face.


105

"How pale you have grown of late," he murmured as
to himself, and replied to her questioning glance—"I think,
myself, there is much danger incurred by remaining here;
but rest assured you shall not be harmed. I am watching
the signs of the times, and will warn you should peril
approach."

He took Florence's hand, and pressed it as he spoke;
then turning to Mary, who had walked away, he said—"I
must insist on your cousin having rest; she is weary and
too much excited, and you, who are a good nurse, must
take better care of her."

"Indeed, Doctor, I did my best to prevent her teaching
to-day, but she would not listen to my entreaties," replied
Mary, with averted head.

"If I might venture to advise yourself and cousin, Miss
Hamilton, I should suggest the discontinuance of your school,
at least for the present; for in these stormy times one
scarce knows what a day may bring forth: and, indeed,
your pupils are dropping off within the last few days, and
you had better disband voluntarily."

"I believe you are right, Doctor; and if Mary concurs
with us, I think we will follow your advice."

"Do as you think best, Florry; I suppose we would
have no pupils soon, even if we continued our efforts; yet
I dislike very much to give up the school so very soon"
Her voice faltered slightly, and her cheek grew paler.

"Your reluctance to dismiss these children, I am not
surprised at; and if it will relieve you in the least, allow
me to see their parents, and arrange all pecuniary matters
You certainly feel no hesitation in confiding this to me."


106

"Thank you, Dr. Bryant, you are very kind; but we
will not burden you with an additional trouble. I prefer
taking these children home to their parents, who committed
them to my care; and as you and Florry think it advisable,
we will close our school this evening. Believe me,
however, that in refusing your kind offer, I am not insensible
to, but appreciate fully the motives which dictated
it."

"Feel no hesitation in calling on me to perform any
of the many services a gentleman friend may so often render.
If you knew how gladly I would serve you, I am sure
you would not fail to do so."

Shaking hands with Florence who stood near, he turned
to go, but paused at the threshold.

At this moment a slight disturbance in a distant corner
of the room attracted their attention, and springing forward,
little Maria Carlton exclaimed—"Oh, Miss Mary,
what do you think? Somebody has eat up the world, and
bit a great big piece out of the sun!"

When the merriment this excited had in some degree
subsided, Dr. Bryant laughingly said—"I am much afraid
you have a Polyphemus among your pupils. Miss Mary,
do discover the incipient monster, and eject him forthwith.
Heavens, what powers of digestion he must possess! Good-morning,
ladies—good-morning." And with a bow he
left the house.

"Florry, dear, do try and sleep some; I will do all that
is necessary about the children. True, there is not enough
to occupy me long, and meanwhile you must impart the
news of this victory to Aunt Lizzy."


CHAPTER XV.

"——I might not this believe
Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes."
SHAKSPEARE.

TWILIGHT had fallen slowly, for the evening was heavy
and wet, and dark masses of cloud driven by the northern
blasts sailed gloomily overhead. Nature wore a dreary
aspect, and one involuntarily turned inward for amusement.
A bright light gleamed from the window of Florence Hamilton's
humble home, and her little dining-room seemed by
contrast extremely cheerful; yet the hearts of its inmates
were more in accordance with the gloom which reigned
without. Aunt Lizzy, growing somewhat infirm of late,
had retired earlier than usual. Florence had been sewing
all the afternoon, but now lay with closed eyes on the
couch, her hands clasped over her head. Mary sat near
the table holding an open volume, but her thoughts had
evidently wandered far away; for her gaze was fixed abstractedly
on the fire which blazed and crackled at her
feet. The girl's countenance was an interesting study, as
she sat rapt in her saddened thoughts. A care-worn expression
rested upon her face, as though some weighty
responsibility too soon had fallen on one so frail. The


108

cheeks were very pale, and now and then across the lips
there came a quiver, as though she struggled inwardly, and
fain would give no outward show of grief. In truth, an
almost spiritual expression had come over her features;
the impress of some deep and hidden sorrow, nobly borne,
though chasing the rosy hue from her cheeks. Sadder
grew the look, and some acute pain wrinkled her brow as
she threw aside the book, and covered her face with her
hands; while a heavy, yet smothered sigh, struggled forth,
as if striving to relieve the aching heart.

The door opened noiselessly, and a dark shrouded form
glided with soft steps to the chair, and laid a heavy hand
on her shoulder. Mary raised her head, and starting up,
gazed inquiringly nt the muffled face, while the intruder
pointed to the motionless form of Florence, and laid a finger
on her lip. Then beckoning Mary to follow, she receded,
with stealthy tread, to the door, which was softly
closed, and walked hurriedly on till she reached a large
rose-tree, which shaded the window. Mary shivered as
the piercing wind swept over her, and strove in vain to
suppress a fit of coughing. There was a moment's silence.

"You did not know me?"

Mary started. "I did not, till you spoke; but, Inez,
what brings you out on such a night?"

Inez took off the mantilla which had so effectually concealed
her features, and threw it round the frail, drooping
form before her.

"No, no, Inez, you will take cold;" and Mary tendered
it back.

It was tossed off contemptuously, and mingled with a


109

bitter laugh came the reply—"I am not cold, Mariñita,
nor ever shall be but once again. I am burning with an
inward fire that will not be quenched."

"You are ill, Inez, and want some medicine; tell me
where and how you suffer?"

"No, no. I want nothing from you or yours: I come
to help, not to ask. Mary, why is it you have made me
love you so, when I hate yonder dark-eyed girl? But I am
losing time. I come to warn you of danger, and even now
I am watched; but no matter, listen to what I have to
say. The Padre hates you, even as—as I hate him, and
has sworn your ruin. I tell you now you must fly from
San Antonio, and fly quickly, for danger is at hand. My
countrymen are many here, and he is stronger than all.
You and I have thwarted him, and the walls of a far off
convent are our destination—you, and your cousin, and myself.
I am at heart no Catholic; I have seen the devil, if
there be one, in my confessor. I have heard him lie, and
seen him take the widow's and the orphan's portion.
Mary, if there was a God, would he suffer such as my
Padre to minister in his holy place, and touch the consecrated
vessels? No, no; there is none, or he would be
cut off from the face of the earth."

"Inez! Inez! stop and hear me."

"No, no! time waits for none, and I have little more to
say. Mary, you are deceived; your cousin is not what
you think. She is a Catholic; for mine own eyes have
seen her in the confessional, and my own ears have listened
to her aves and paters."

Mary uttered a deep groan, and clasped Inez's arm, murmuring


110

—"You are—you must be delirious or mad: Florry
deceive me! impossible!"

"Ah! poor deluded Mary: do you trust any on earth?
Yet I would trust you, with your white face and soft blue
eyes; and there is one other I would trust—but no more.
You will not believe that Florence has turned from the
faith of her fathers? Go to her as she sleeps yonder, and
feel with your own hand the crucifix around her neck. Ha!
you hold tight to my arm: I tell you your Cousin Florence is
as black-hearted as the Padre, for he told me she had promised
her dying father to follow his advice in all things, yet
she tells you not of this: and again, has she not won the
love of a good, a noble man, and does she not scorn his
love; else why is his cheek pale, and his proud step slow?
Mariñita, I have read you long ago. You love your Doctor,
but he loves that Florence, whose heart is black and
cold as this night. You are moaning in your agony; but
all must suffer. I have suffered more than you; I shall
always suffer. My stream of bitterness is inexhaustible;
daily I am forced to quaff the black, burning waters. Ha!
I know my lot—I swallow and murmur not. Mary, I am
sorry to make you drink so much that is bitter to-night;
but you must, for your own good; better a friend should
hold the cup and let you taste, than have it rudely forced
upon you."

"Why have you told me this, Inez? I never did you
harm, or gave you pain."

"Poor pale face! I want to save you from worse than
death—yea, from a living death. Go from this place;
for if you are here a month hence, you will be lost. Your


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people here will be defeated, and then the Mexicans will
hand you all over to the Padre, who says he means to put
you where you will be protected. Mark me: you will be
sent where no cry for succor will ever be heard. You will
be imprisoned for life, where none can come back to tell
the tale. Mary, go to your friends in the States; or if
you can not get there, go where your people are many, and
take your Doctor with you, for blood will yet run down
these streets, and I would not that his swelled the stream.
He has promised to watch over you; tell him to take you
from here—from this cursed place. I have crept from
home this dark night to tell you of your danger; I am
watched, for the Padre suspects me, but you were always
good; you nursed me and my dying mother, and were kind
to Mañuel, and I would risk more than I have to help
you. I have done all I can; I charge you, wait not till
the last moment."

Inez stretched out her hand for her mantilla, which she
folded closely about her face, and then clasped Mary's
hand in hers.

"Inez! oh, Inez!"

"Well, Mariñita, I may not linger here. I will see you
again if I can; but if we meet no more, forget not Inez
de Garcia, or the love she bears you: and as the greatest
blessing now for you, I hope you may soon find peace in
the quiet grave. I shall never find rest till I sleep that
last, unbroken sleep!"

"Inez, my heart is wrung by what I have heard tonight;
but I beg of you, as a last favor, do not, oh,
do not turn away from God! Inez, there is a God; and


112

death is not an everlasting sleep. Hereafter is an awful
tribunal; and if not again on earth, you and I shall
assuredly meet before God. Oh! believe that he will yet
bless you: that he will enable you to bear all earthly
trials; and, if faithful, he will receive you at last into the
kingdom of eternal rest. Try to forget the past, and in
this book you will find the path of duty so clearly marked
out, that you can not mistake it. 'Tis all I have about
me, yet I pray God it may be the greatest treasure you
possess."

She drew a small Bible from her pocket as she spoke,
and pressed it within Inez's fingers, adding—"I can not
sufficiently thank you for your kindness in warning me of
my danger; I shall leave this place as soon as possible,
and shall constantly pray that you may be spared and
blessed."

She held out her hands. Inez clasped them tightly for
a moment, and then glided down the walk as noiselessly
as she came.


CHAPTER XVI.

"Be sure that you teach nothing to the people but what is certainly
to be found in Scripture."
BISHOP TAYLOR.

MARY IRVING sought her chamber, and sinking on her
knees, fervently implored the blessing and guidance of Him
who is very precious help in time of need. She prayed for
strength to meet with Christian fortitude the trials which
awaited her, and in all the vicissitudes of her checkered
life to pursue unfalteringly the path of duty. She strove
to collect her scattered thoughts, and with what composure
she could assume, returned to the dining-room. The
fire was burning low on the hearth, and the single candle
gave but a faint, unsteady light. Florence was slowly
pacing up and down the floor; she raised her head as
Mary entered, then sunk it wearily on her bosom, and resumed
her walk.

"Florry, come sit here by me—I want to consult you."

"Is it very important, Mary? I feel to-night as though
I could comprehend nothing; let me wear off this dull
pain in my heart and head by walking, if possible."

"My dear Florry, it is important; and therefore you
will forgive me if I claim your attention."

Florence seated herself, and as she did so, leaned her head


114

on Mary's shoulder, while the latter wound her arm fondly
about her, and gently stroked back the raven hair from
her aching brow.

"Since we broke up our school, I have been warned
that we are in danger, and advised to leave San Antonio as
speedily as possible; for strife is evidently at hand, and
a battle-ground is no place for those so unprotected as you
and I."

"Dr. Bryant has promised to watch over us; and surely
you have implicit confidence in both his judgment and
honor. What do you fear, Mary?"

"Every thing. We may remain here too long—till escape
will be impossible; and then who may predict with
any degree of certainty the chances of war? That Dr.
Bryant will do all that a friend or brother would, I
doubt not; but he may be powerless to help when danger
assails; and even if he should not, to travel from here in
stormy times would not be so easy as you imagine."

"Who has been filling your head with such ideas?
It could be none other than that dark-browed Inez."

"If she has, could aught but disinterested friendship
actuate her to such a course?"

"Really, Mary, I should not have given you credit
for so much credulity. Do you place any confidence in
what that girl may tell you?"

"I do rely on what she confides to me. Has she ever
given you cause to doubt her sincerity? Indeed, Florry,
you do her injustice. I would willingly—God only knows
how willingly—doubt some portions of what I have heard
from her lips, but I dare not."


115

"Mary, can you not perceive that she is jealous of
us, and hopes, by operating on your fears, to drive us from
this place? The Padre hinted as much to me not long
since."

"Florry, it is for you to say whether Inez speaks truth.
From her lips I had the words—Your Cousin Florence is a
Papist, wears a crucifix about her neck, and kneels in the
confessional. Oh, Florry! will you—can you—do you
deny the charge?"

The cousins stood up, and each gazed full upon the
other. Mary's face was colorless as marble, and her hands
were tightly clasped as she bent forward with a longing,
searching, eager look. A crimson glow rushed to Florence's
very temples; then receded, leaving an ashy paleness.

"I am a member of the Church of Rome."

Mary groaned and sank back into her chair, at this confirmation
of her fears. Florence leaned against the chimney,
and continued in a low, but clear voice—"I have
little to say in defense of what you may consider a deception.
I deny the right of any on earth to question my
motives or actions; yet I would not that you, Mary, who
have loved me so long and truly, should be alienated, without
hearing the reasons which I have to allege in favor of
my conduct. Mary, think well when I ask you what
prospect of happiness there was for me a month since?
Alone in the wide world, with ruined hopes, and a long,
long, joyless future stretching gloomily before me. I was
weary of life. I longed for death, not as a passport to the
joys of heaven (for I had never sought or deserved them),
but as bringing rest, peace, and oblivion of the past. I


116

viewed it only as a long, last, dreamless sleep. Mary, I was
groping my way in what seemed endless night, when suddenly
there came a glimmer of light, faint as the first trembling
rays of the evening star, and just pierced the darkness
in which I wandered. The Padre came to me, and
pointed to the long-forgotten God, and bade me seek him
who hath said, come unto me all ye who are weary, and I
will give you rest. Mary, do you wonder that I clasped
the hand outstretched to save me, and besought him to
lead me to the outraged and insulted God? My eyes were
opened, and looking down the long, dark vista of the past,
I saw how, worshiping a creature, I built a great barrier
between myself and heaven. I saw my danger, and resolved,
ere it was too late, to dedicate the remainder of my
life to him who gave it. The door of the church was
opened, and Father Mazzolin pointed out the way by which
I might be saved. The paths seem flowery, and he tells
me the ways are those of pleasantness and peace, and I
have resolved to try them. Once, and once only, I met
him at confession, hoping, by unvailing my sufferings to a
man of God, to receive comfort of a higher order than I
might otherwise expect. He has granted me absolution
for the past, and I doubt not that in future the intercession
of the blessed saints in heaven will avail with my offended
Maker."

"Florry, my own dear Florry! hear me, for none on
earth love you as I do. Do you not believe the Bible—
God's written word? Has he not said, 'there is one mediator
between God and man—the man Christ Jesus?'
Has not Christ made propitiation for our sin, and assured


117

us there is but one way whereby we may be saved, repentance
for our past sins and faith in the sufficiency of
his atonement? Do you doubt the efficacy of Christ's
suffering and death? Tell me, Florry, by what authority
you invoke your saints? Surely you do so in opposition
to the express declaration of the Bible already quoted—
'there is one mediator between God and man.'"

"The holy Fathers of our church have been in the
habit of praying for the intercession of saints from the
earliest periods, and none have questioned their fervent
piety, or doubted the orthodoxy of their faith," replied Florence.

"In the first place," said Mary, "it would be ridiculous
in the extreme to advocate all the opinions and tenets advanced
by those same Fathers. St. Augustine doubted
the existence of the antipodes; Tertullian emphatically
pronounced second marriages adultery; Origen denied the
sin of David in causing the death of Uriah, and has often
been accused of favoring Arianism, and the doctrine of
transmigration of soul; while it is a well-known fact, that
Jerome, to vindicate Peter from the charge of dissimulation,
actually accused St. Paul of lying, and thereby favoring
deceit. In the second place, are you quite sure that
they were in the habit of invoking saints?"

"Certainly, Mary; for it is undeniable that St. Augustine
in his Meditations calls on the blessed Virgin, and all
the angels and apostles in heaven, to intercede with God
in his behalf. Father Mazzolin pointed out the passage
no later than last week, to remove the doubts which I confess
I entertained, as to whether it was proper and in accordance


118

with the practice of the Fathers to implore such
intercession."

"And does your conviction rest on so frail a basis?
Hear what the Rev. Dr. Milner says on this subject, in
the first volume of his Ecclesiastical History;" and taking
it from the shelf, Mary read:

"'The book of Meditations, though more known to English
readers than any other of the works ascribed to Augustine,
on account of the translation of it into our language
by Stanhope, seems not to be his, both on account of its
style, which is sententious, concise, abrupt, and void of any
of those classical elegancies which now and then appear in
our author's genuine writings; and also, on account of
the prayers to deceased saints which it contains. This
last circumstance peculiarly marks it to have been of a
later date than the age of Augustine. Frauds of this kind
were commonly practiced on the works of the Fathers in
the monastic times.'

"And why, Florry, does it peculiarly mark it as spurious?
Because, had he entertained these views on so vital a
point, the expression of them would most certainly have
occured in his other very voluminous works. I have
searched his Confessions for instances of this invocation,
either from himself or anxious mother, and had he believed,
as the Catholic prelates assert, in this intercession
of the dead, it would most assuredly have been sought in
the hour of his suffering and fear, lest he should be given
over. But I find none. On the contrary, these two passages
occur in his Confessions: 'I now sought the way
of obtaining strength to enjoy thee, and found it not, till I


119

embraced the mediator between God and man, Jesus
Christ, who is above all, God, blessed for ever, calling and
saying I am the way, the truth, and the life.' And here,
Florry, is another extract from the same book still more
conclusive—'Whom shall I look to as my mediator?
Shall I go to angels? Many have tried this, and have been
fond of visions, and have deserved to be the sport of the illusions
which they loved. The true mediator, whom in
thy secret mercy thou hast shown to the humble, and
hast sent, that by his example they might also learn humility,
the man Christ Jesus, hath appeared a mediator
between mortal sinners and the immortal Holy One, that
he might justify the ungodly, and deliver them from
death.' Yet in your manuals you are directed to say 'Mother
of God command thy son;' and one of your prayers,
Florry; is as follows: 'Hail, Holy Queen! Mother of
Mercy—our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee
do we cry, poor banished sons of Eve, to thee do we send
up our sighs, mourning and weeping in the valley of tears.
Turn thee, most gracious Advocate, thy eyes of mercy toward
us.' And at vespers you say,

'Hail, Mary! queen of heavenly spheres,
Hail! whom the angelic host reveres!'

Florry, in all candor, let us investigate this subject; we
will consult both the Bible and the Fathers, or, if you
prefer it, by the words of the latter only we will decide;
for truth we are searching."

"Mary, let me read a second time those passages from
St. Augustine. Strange I should have been so deceived,"


120

she continued, as, having perused them, she returned the
book to her cousin.

"Florry, can you perceive any encouragement there
given to the practice of invocation? Does not St. Augustine
expressly denounce it?"

"There can be no doubt of his sentiments on this point;
but, Mary, this is only one decision, when I have been
assured that the united voices of many Fathers established
it without a doubt, even supposing there was no authority
in Holy writ for such a custom—which, however, we have,
for did not Jacob wrestle with an angel, and did not his
blessing descend upon him?"

"But Christ had not then died; neither had the Christian
dispensation succeeded to the old Jewish rites and customs.
If you will turn to Jeremiah, you will also read how
the curse of God was pronounced against the idolators who
offered incense to the Queen of Heaven: yet you do the
same. Still, by the tradition of the elders, we will judge.
Hear the words of Paulinus on this subject—'Paul is not
a mediator; he is an embassador for Christ. John interceeds
not, but declares that this mediator is the propitiation
for our sin. The Son of Almighty God, because he redeemed
us with the price of his blood, is justly called the
true Redeemer.' Again, the great and good Ambrose—
'We follow thee, Lord Jesus, but draw us up that we may
follow. No one rises without thee. Let us seek him, and
embrace his feet, and worship him, that he may say to us,
Fear not. I am the remission of sin. I am the light, I am
the life. He that cometh to me shall not see death; because
he is the fullness of divinity.' One more, Florry—'Come


121

to yourselves again, ye wretched transgressors! Return
ye blind to your light! Shall we not believe God, when
he swears that neither Noah, nor Daniel, nor Job, shall
deliver one son or daughter by their righteousness. For
this end he makes the declaration, that none might put
confidence in the intercession of saints. Ye fools! who run
to Rome to seek there for the intercession of an Apostle.
When will ye be wise? What would St. Augustine say of
you, whom ye have so often quoted?' Such, Florry, are
the words of the celebrated Claud of Turin; but as he is
regarded by your church somewhat as a reformer, I will
just read one passage from Anselm, whose orthodoxy no
Papist ever questioned. Speaking of the intercession of
Christ—'If the people sin a thousand times, they need no
other Saviour; because this suffices for all things, and
cleanses from all sin.' Florry, we have jointly admired
the character of one of the earliest martyrs, St. Cyprian.
Will you hear him on this subject?—'Christ, if it be possible,
let us all follow. Let us be baptized in his name.
He opens to us the way of life. He brings us back to
Paradise. He leads us to the heavenly kingdom. Redeemed
by his blood, we shall be the blessed of God the Father.'
Yet you say in your prayers, 'We fly to thy patronage,
oh! holy Mother of God!' And again—

'Hail sacred gate.'

Florence, you have cited the Fathers: by their own words
are you not convinced as to intercession?"

"Mary, I was asking myself if vital Christianity could
exist in any church which allows such a system of deceit on
the part of its clergy? for deceived I assuredly have been."


122

"You should remember, Florry, that the promulgation
of Papal doctrines, and the aggrandizement of the Romish
church, is the only aim of its priesthood; consequently, all
means which conduce to this great object are unscrupulously
employed. Even crime is sanctioned where the
good of the church can be promoted."

"Surely, Mary, you can not mean what you say?
Crime sanctioned by the Romish clergy! Impossible!
How dare you make such an assertion!"

"It doubtless strikes you, Florry, as strangely uncharitable
and unchristian; yet, if you will consult the records
of the past, I venture to say you will think very differently.
What memorable event occurred on one of your saints'
days—the 24th of August, 1572? At dead of night the
signal was given, and the Papal ministers of France perpetrated
the foulest deed that stains the page of history.
Thirty thousand Huguenots were butchered in their beds.
And what distinguished the murderer from the doomed
victim? A white cross on the hat of the former. How
did Imperial Rome receive the tidings of this massacre?
The cannons were discharged, the Pope ordered a jubilee
and grand procession, and caused a Te Deum to be chanted.
I ask you, Florry, was not this sanctioning crime? Again,
how died the great Henry IV? The celebrated edict of
Nantes scaled his doom, and the infamous Ravaillac, for
the good of the Romish church, conveniently forgot the
commandment of Jehovah, and meritoriously assassinated
him. Florry, I have myself heard a Papist say, 'that
whatever her priest commanded, she would unhesitatingly
perform.' Shocked at the broad assertion, I replied: 'You


123

surely do not know what you are saying. Obey the priest
in all things! Why, you would not commit murder at his
command?' 'Certainly I would, if my priest bid me;
for if I obey him, I can not do wrong.' I know this to be
true; and I ask you what is the inference? You admit
that you have been deceived. Pious frauds were committed
in the time of Ambrose and Chrysostom; yet hear
what St. Augustine says: 'Lying is the saying of one
thing, and thinking of another;' and in all cases, even for
most pious purposes, he excludes lying as unchristian and
anti-scriptural."

Florence was leaning with clasped hands on the table,
gazing intently at her cousin; while Mary knelt on the
other side, her hand resting on the large family Bible. The
light fell full on her pale face as she knelt; her chestnut
curls half vailing the pure white cheek, and the dark-blue
eyes, earnest, and yet almost angelic, in their gentle, loving
expression.

"Oh, Florry! need I implore you in future to look to
Christ alone as the author of our salvation?"

"One more question, Mary. Is there not a passage in
Revelations substantiating the doctrine of intercession?
Father Mazzolin assured me the testimony was conclusive
in favor of that practice."

"The passages to which you allude are these: 'And
another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden
censor; and there was given unto him much incense, that
he should offer it, with the prayers of all saints, upon the
golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke
of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints,


124

ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.' No word
of intercession occurs here; and are we not as free to suppose
that the prayers so offered were in their own behalf
as that of their friends? Had it been as the Padre tells
you, would not St. John have said intercession or prayers
in behalf of others?"

"Mary, can you have mistaken the passage? This can
not be his boasted testimony."

"I know that these two verses are highly prized by
Papists, as establishing the doctrine in question; yet I can
not see them in that light—can you?" "No, no; and if
these are the strongest arguments they can adduce in the
defense of invocation, I reject it as a remnant of the dark
ages, during which period it certainly crept into the
Church."

"If you do this, Florry, you cause the whole fabric to
totter, for on this doctrine, as a foundation, rests the arch,
of which confession is the keystone."

"'Confess ye your sins, one to another,' is very strong in
our favor, Mary?"

"Florry, we are searching for truth, and let us in all humility
and candor investigate this particularly important
point. It seems to me that St. James's meaning is this—
when we have offended or harmed our fellow-men or
brethren, we should make all the amends in our power;
confess our faults unto them; implore their pardon, and abstain
from offensive conduct in future. Do you not think
that if he had intended us to interpret it differently, he
would have said—'Confess your faults unto your priest, and
be will give you absolution.' Setting aside all bias, do you


125

not think this reasonable; the more so, when we call to mind
those words of our Saviour in his sermon on the mount:
'Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there
rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave
there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be
reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy
gift.' If our Lord had intended the ordinance of confession,
would he not have said on this occasion, 'First confess
thy sins unto thy priest, and when he has absolved
thee, then come with clean hands and offer thy gift.' Mark
the difference, and ask your own heart if there is any encouragement
here for confessing to your Padre?"

"If this passage of James were all we could adduce in
favor of confession, I should think with you, Mary; yet it
is not so. When about to dismiss his Apostles on their
errands of mercy, Christ said to them—'Peace be with
you; as my Father hath sent me, even so I send you:'
and when he had breathed upon them, he said unto them
—'Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whosesoever sins ye remit,
they are remitted unto them, and whosesoever sins ye retain,
they are retained.' Now, Mary, do you not plainly
perceive that the power of forgiving sin was conferred upon
the Apostles?"

"Most assuredly I do; and avow my belief that they
were enabled to forgive sin, and at the same time other
miraculous powers were conferred on the 'Twelve.' 'Then
he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them
power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.'
We know that they cast out devils, restored the blind,
and raised the dead. Power to forgive sin was one among


126

many wonderful gifts conferred upon them. Yet you do
not believe that the power of raising the dead was transmitted
to posterity. How, then, can you say the gift of
absolution was?"

"But, Mary, Christ says in another place—'Thou art
Peter: and upon this rock I will build my church, and the
gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give
unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever
thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in
heaven.'"

"I perfectly agree with you, Florry, in believing that
St. Peter had miraculous powers bestowed on him by our
Saviour; but it seems absurd to suppose that those powers
were perpetuated in the ministers of the Roman Catholic
Church. Our Saviour said, what 'Peter loosed, should be
loosed in heaven,' and not what Peter's successors loosed
should be observed and loosed in heaven. We should not
judge of Christ's views by isolated passages, but rather
from all his teachings; for if we did, what would you say
to the verse just below those already quoted, 'And he said
unto Peter, get thee behind me Satan, thou art an offense
uuto me, for thou savorest not the things which be of God
but those that be of men.' But this is wandering from
the subject. In St. Augustine's Confessions, though I admit
somewhat abridged, I find nothing relating to confessing
to priests. This passage alone appears: 'O Lord,
thou knowest!—have I not confessed my sins to thee? and
hast thou not pardoned the iniquity of my heart?' Speaking
of a sudden illness during his boyhood, he says he eagerly


127

desired baptism, fearing to die, and his mother was
about to comply with his request, when he quickly recovered.
Now, had he considered confession necessary, would
he not have urged it upon all who read his Confessions,
which you will mark, Florry, were not made to a priest,
but obviously to God himself."

There followed a long pause, while Florence dropt her
face in her hands, and sighed heavily.

"Florry, it is very late; our candle has burnt low—see,
it is flickering in the socket; we have not heeded the
lapse of time." She rose and replaced the books she had
been consulting.

"Mary, Mary! why have you shaken my faith? I had
thought to find comfort in future, but you have torn my
hope from me, and peace flies with the foundations which
you have removed!"

"Florry, you have been blinded, deceived. They have
cried unto you, Peace! peace! when there was no peace.
But oh! there is a source of rest, and strength, and comfort,
which is to be attained not by confession, or the intercession
of the dead or living, but by repentance for the
past, and an active, trusting faith in the mediation of our
blessed Lord Jesus Christ."


CHAPTER XVII.

"The purple clouds
Are putting on their gold and violet,
To look the meeter for the sun's bright coming.
How hallowed is the hour of morning! Meet—
Ay! beautifully meet—for the pure prayer."
WILLIS.

MORN broke in the East; or, in the beautiful language
of the Son of Fingal, "Sols yellow hair streamed on the
Eastern gale." Awakened by the first chirping of the
feathered tribe, Florence rose as the gray morning light
stole into her chamber, and seating herself at the window,
looked out on the town before her. Quiet reigned as yet,
broken only by the murmuring and gurgling of the river,
which rolled swiftly on, just below their little gate. How
delightful to her seemed

"The cool, the fragrant, and the silent hour
To meditation due."

Calmly she now weighed the conversation of the preceding
night, and, engrossed in earnest thought, sat gazing out
till the Orient shone resplendent, and an October sun
poured his rays gloriously around her. Then she knelt,
and prayed as she had never done before. She sought the
"pure fountain of light," and implored strength and guidance


129

in her search after truth. Rising, her glance fell on
her sleeping cousin, and she was struck with the change
which within the last month had taken place in her appearance.
Approaching the bed, she lifted the masses of
chestnut hair that clung to the damp brow. As she looked
on the pure, pale face, there came a gush of tenderness
into her soul, and bending, she imprinted a long, warm
kiss. Mary stirred, and opened her eyes.

"Ah, Florry, you are up earlier than usual." She
closed them again, murmuring slowly, "I feel as though
I had no strength remaining; I can scarcely lift my head."

"Sleep, Mary, if you can. I will shut out the light,
and call you again after a while."

"No, Florry, I must not give way to such feelings; indeed
they are getting quite too common of late; I can't
think what makes me so weak and feverish."

An hour later, as they stood together at the door of their
little dining-room, a body of Mexican cavalry dashed furiously
past their gate. The cousins looked full at each
other. Then Florence said in a low, calm tone: "You
are right, Mary; we will go from this place; I feel now
that it is for the best." She averted her face; but Mary
saw an expression of keen agony resting there. "Florry,
let us consult Mrs. Carlton. She will advise us what
would be best to do in this emergency."

"Go and see her yourself; I can not. Whatever you
decide upon I will agree to. Oh! Mary, how desolate and
unprotected we are."

"No, not while there is an Almighty One to watch over
us. But, Florry, I am much troubled about Aunt Lizzy


130

I mentioned our wish to leave here, and she opposed it
strenuously, on the grounds that the Padre had promised
his protection. Now what are we to do?"

"Go to Mrs. Carlton's, Mary, and I will convince aunt
that it is best we should remove from here immediately.
You need apprehend no difficulty on her part. As you return
from Mrs. Carlton's, meet me in the church-yard."

"Florry, do not go till I come home; or, if you prefer
it, let us go there at once."

"No, Mary, I wish to be there alone."

"But I am afraid it is not quite safe for you to venture
out so far from home."

"I fear nothing: who would harm a daughter beside
her father's grave?"

Mary sighed heavily, but offered no further opposition.
Her walk to Mrs. Carlton's was a sad one, for her heart
clung to the scenes she had learned to love so well, and
the prospect of departure, and the uncertainty of the future,
weighed heavily on her heart, and made her step unwontedly
slow. She found her friend alone, and much depressed.
Mrs. Carlton clasped her tenderly in her arms, while
the tears rolled silently down her cheeks.

"I hope nothing has happened to distress you?" said
Mary, anxiously.

"You are the very one I wished to see. Mr. Carlton
said, this morning, that he was unwilling for me to remain
here any longer, as our troops are marching to attack the
Alamo. He says he will take us to Washington, and I
could not bear the idea of leaving you here."

"I have come to consult you on this subject; for some


131

of my Mexican friends have advised us to leave San Antonio;
and not knowing where or how to go, concluded to
come and see you. But Washington is far, very far from
here. How will we ever reach it in these unsettled times?"

"Mr. Carlton and Frank have gone to make all necessary
preparation for our immediate departure. We will
have two tents, and carry such cooking utensils and provisions
as are needful for a tedious journey: one wagon is
all we hope to obtain for conveying these. I suppose we
shall all ride horseback; for you know there is not a carriage
in the town. Frank does not wish us to leave this
place, for he suggested your coming to remain with us till
these stormy times were over. But this is not a suitable
home for you. Surely your cousin and aunt will consent
to accompany us?"

"Yes, I think so; for Florry left it entirely with me,
and certainly we should go now."

"I am very glad to hear you say so, Mary; not only
upon your own account, but also for Frank. He will consider
himself bound to accompany you; for he promised
your dying uncle to watch over you both with a brother's
care, and otherwise he could not be induced to leave San
Antonio at this crisis. He seems completely rapt in the
issue of the contest; and would you believe it, Mary, he is
anxious to enlist; but my entreaties have as yet prevented
him."

"Dear Mrs. Carlton, there is no obligation resting on
him to go with us. He has been very kind and careful,
and though deeply grateful, we could not consent to his
leaving against his own inclinations. Oh, no! we could


132

not allow this. Yet should he remain, what may be the
result? Oh! Mrs. Carlton, this is terrible."

Mary's cheek was very pale, and her lips quivered convulsively,
while the small hands clasped each other tightly.

"Mary, for my sake, use your influence with him in
favor of going to Washington. I can't go in peace, and
feel that he is here exposed to such imminent danger, for
when I am gone, what will restrain him? Mary, Mary!
do not deter him, if he feels it incumbent on him to see
you to a place of safety."

"Mrs. Carlton, you can appreciate the peculiar position
in which I am placed. Florry and I would shrink from
drawing him away, in opposition to his wishes, particularly
when there is no danger attendant on our traveling; for
with you and Mr. Carlton we would feel no apprehension;
and even if we did, we could not consent to such
a sacrifice on his part. Yet I sympathize with you, most
sincerely, and will willingly do all that in propriety I
can to alleviate your sorrow; but knowing his sentiments,
how could I advise, or even acquiesce in his going?"

"My pure-hearted girl, forgive a request made so thoughtlessly.
I had not considered, as I should have done; yet
you can appreciate the anxious feelings which dictated it."
As she spoke, Mrs. Carlton clasped her friend to her heart,
and wept on her shoulder. No tear dimmed Mary's eye;
yet that she suffered, none who looked on her pale brow
and writhing lips could doubt. As she raised her head to
reply, Dr. Bryant entered, and started visibly on seeing her.
Mrs. Carlton endeavored to regain her composure; and


133

with a slightly faltering voice, asked how he succeeded in
procuring horses?

"Better than I had hoped," was the rejoinder; and he
held out his hand to Mary. She gave him hers, now cold
as ice. He held it a moment, and pressed it gently, saying:
"You see my sister is going to run away on the first
intimation of danger. I hope she has not infected you
with her fears; though, to judge from your looks, I should
almost predict a stampede in another direction."

"Indeed you are quite right. Florry and I are going
with her; though we had decided on leaving before we
knew she intended doing so."

"Ah! you did not seem to apprehend any immediate
danger when we conversed on this subject a few days since.
What has changed your views?"

"I have been warned not to risk the dangers attendant
on the approaching conflict by a Mexican friend, whose
attachment I have every reason to believe is sincere; and
besides, it needed but little to augment my fears; and Florry
and I concluded, if practicable, to remove to a place of
greater safety."

"Can you be ready within two days, think you, Miss
Mary? for, if we leave at all, it is advisable that we do so
immediately."

"Oh, yes! I know we can be ready by that time."

"Let me see—how many additional horses shall we
need? Yourself, your cousin, and aunt, and myself."

Mary looked eagerly at Mrs. Carlton; but she had averted
her head; and for a moment a terrible struggle within
kept the gentle girl silent.


134

"Dr. Bryant, I know you do not wish to leave here at
this juncture, intensely interested as you are in the event,
and I fear you are sacrificing your own wishes for our benefit.
Let me beg you to consult your inclinations, and do
not feel it in the least incumbent on you to attend us, particularly
when we are in the kind care of Mr. Carlton; and
you have already done so much toward contributing to our
comfort."

"Thank you for your consideration. Nevertheless, I
shall not rest satisfied till I place you in safety on the
banks of the Brazos. One of my greatest pleasures has
been to render you service, and you would not abridge them,
I hope, by refusing my company on your journey?"

Mary's eyes were fixed earnestly on his face while he
spoke, and though there was no change in his kind, gentle
tone, there came an undefinable expression over his noble
countenance—an expression in which coldness and sorrow
predominated. She could not understand him; yet a shudder
crept through her frame, and a sensation of acute pain
stole into her heart. She felt as though a barrier had suddenly
risen between them, yet could not analyze the cause.

"Your servants will take all possible care of the house
and furniture during your absence, which, I hope, will be
but temporary. They will not be molested; and I am
afraid we could not conveniently carry two additional persons.
What think you of this arrangement?"

"I think with you, that under existing circumstances
the servants could not well accompany us; and though
they will incur no danger, I regret the necessity of leaving
them, particularly should they object."


135

"I hope you will find no difficulty in arranging every
thing to your entire satisfaction, previous to our departure.
You and my sister must consult as to all minor points, and
I must look to our preparations. My respects to your
cousin. I will see you again to-morrow;" and bidding
her good morning, he turned away.

"Oh, such a weight is lifted from my heart!" exclaimed
Mrs. Carlton. "I can now exert myself as I am called
on to do."

"Florry will be waiting for me, and we have much to
do at home; so good-by," and Mary lifted her pale face
for a farewell kiss.

Mrs. Carlton affectionately embraced her, and bidding
her "make all speed," they parted.


CHAPTER XVIII.

"'There is a soul just delivered from Purgatory!' It was found to
be a frog dressed in red flannel."
KIRWAN.

FLORENCE having succeeded, as she imagined, in convincing
her aunt that it was advisable to remove from San
Antonio, slowly proceeded to the church-yard, little dreaming
that the door had scarce closed behind her ere Aunt
Lizzy, with swift steps, directed her way to the house of
the Padre. He was writing, but gave his attention, and
heard, with ill-disguised chagrin, that Florence distrusted
his promised protection.

"Does she doubt in matters of faith, think you?" he
eagerly inquired.

"Indeed, Padre, I can not say. All I know is, that she
and Mary sat till midnight, reading and talking, and she
has not seemed like herself since."

"Where shall I find Florence?" said he, taking his hat.

"In the church-yard, I think, beside her father's grave."

"Say nothing to her, but apparently acquiesce in her
plans; and, above all, do not let her dream that you have
told me these things."

Ah, Florence! who may presume to analyze the anguish
of your tortured heart, as you throw yourself, in such abandonment


137

of grief, on the tomb of your lost parent? The
luxuriant grass, swaying to and fro in the chill October
blast, well-nigh concealed the bent and drooping form, as
she knelt and laid her head on the cold granite.

"My father! oh, my father!" and tears, which she
had not shed before, fell fast, and somewhat eased the desolate,
aching heart. Florence had not wept before in many
years; and now that the fountain was unsealed, she strove
not to repress the tears which seemed to lift and bear away
the heavy weight which had so long crushed her spirits.

What a blessing it is to be able to weep; and happy are
they who can readily give vent to tears, and thus exhaust
their grief! Such can never realize the intensity of anguish
which other natures suffer—natures to whom this great
relief is denied, and who must keep the withering, scorching
agony pent up within the secret chambers of their desolate,
aching hearts. Sobs and tears are not for these. No,
no; alone and in darkness they must wrestle with their
grief, crush it down into their inmost soul, and with a calm
exterior go forth to meet the world. But ah! the flitting,
wintry smile, the short, constrained laugh, the pale brow
marked with lines of mental anguish, will ofttimes, tell of
the smouldering ruin.......

"My daughter, God has appointed me in place of the
parent he has taken hence; turn to me, and our most holy
church, and you will find comfort such as naught else can
afford."

Florence sprang to her feet, and shuddered at the sound
of his low, soft voice. The Padre marked the shudder, and
the uneasy look which accompanied it: "Padre, I have


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confessed, and I have prayed to almost every saint in the
Calendar, and I have had your prayers in addition to my
own; yet I find no comfort. No joy has stolen to my
heart, as you promised it inevitably would."

"My daughter, if peace has not descended on thy spirit,
I fear you have not been devout. Tell me truly if you
have not doubted in matters of faith, for our most holy
Mother ever grants the prayers of her faithful and loving
children?"

"I have searched the Bible, and I nowhere find authority
for invoking saints or the Virgin."

"I can convince you, without doubt, that there is such
authority—nay, command."

"'Tis useless, you may save yourself the trouble; for my
mind is clearly made up that we have not even the sanction
of the Fathers."

"Holy Mary, pardon her unbelief, and send down light
into her darkened soul!"

Florence fixed her eyes full upon him, and replied—
"Christ expressly declares 'I am the light, I am the
life.'"

"Daughter, your heretic cousin has done you a great
injury. May God protect you, and forgive her blasphemy."

"She needs no forgiveness, for she is pure in heart before
God, and truthful in all things."

The swarthy check of the Italian flushed—"Florence,
you and your aunt must come and stay at my house till it
is safe here; and, I doubt not when you are at leisure to
hear me, you will duly repent your hasty speeches. I shall


139

pray God and our Lady to give you a more trusting, believing
heart, and intercede with the blessed saints for your
entire conversion."

"Not so, Father Mazzolin; we shall leave this place in
a very few days, and I have come to bid adieu to the grave
of my father: leave me, for I wish to be alone and in
peace."

"Do you doubt my will or ability to protect you, my
daughter? Beneath my roof no danger can assail."

"We have fully decided to go from here, and further
reasoning or entreaty would be vain; accept, however, my
thanks for your proffered kindness."

"Girl, you have gone too far! Hear me while I am
placable, for I tell you now, without my consent, you can
not—shall not leave here."

"You have neither right nor power to detain me."

"Have I not? I swear, if you do not hear and abide by
what I say, your father's soul will remain forever in purgatory,
where it justly belongs."

"How dare you make so miserable a threat?" said the
calm, clear voice of Mary, who had approached unobserved.

"Cursed believer in a cursed creed, what do you here?
Begone, or dread the vengeance I shall surely inflict on so
blasphemous and damnable a heretic!"

Winding her arm tightly about Florence's waist, she replied—
"'Vengeance is mine saith the Lord. I will repay:'
and though I have never injured you, Padre—even if I had,
it ill becomes a consecrated priest to utter such language, or
so madly to give vent to passion."


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"Silence!" thundered the Padre, livid with rage; "I
will compass heaven and earth rather than you shall escape
me."

"Come, Florry, this is no place for us now; even the
church-yard is not sacred. Come home."

"Florence, dare you curse your own father?" The
girl's lips quivered, but no sound came forth—she seemed
stunned.

"You would usurp the prerogatives of Jehovah, Father
Mazzolin; but your threat is vain. You can not bless or
damn my uncle at will. How dare you, guilty as you are,
hold such impious language?"

For a moment he quailed before the calm, unflinching
girl, then seiziñg Florence's arm, hoarsely exclaimed: "One
more chance I give you. Florence, I am your brother—
your father, my father. On his death-bed he confessed
his sins and discovered his son."

A deep groan burst from Florence's lips, and her slender
frame quivered like a reed in a wintry blast. The Padre
laid his head on the granite slab which covered the remains
of Mr. Hamilton, and continued: "I call God in heaven,
and all the saints, to witness the truth of what I say, and
if I prove it not, may I sink into perdition. When your father
was yet young, he made the tour of Europe. Traveling
in Italy, he met at Florence a poor but beautiful girl; and
she, struck, in turn, by the handsome face of the stranger,
left her humble home, and listened to the voice of seduction.
He remained five months at Florence, and then suddenly
left Italy for his native country, without apprising the unfortunate
woman of his intentions. Hatred succeeded to


141

love, and she vowed vengeance. That woman was my mother;
and when ten years had passed, she told me my parentage,
and made me swear on the altar of her patron saint that
I would fulfill her vow of vengeance. She died, and I became
a priest of Rome, and in time was sent by my order to
Mexico, and thence here to assist my aged and infirm predecessor.
I had in my possession a miniature of my father,
and no sooner had I met him here than I recognized the base
being who had deserted my mother. I kept my peace; but
ere he died, he confessed that one sin—heavier than every
thing beside—weighed on his conscience. In the agony
and remorse of that hour my mother was revenged. I
told my parentage, and he discovered his child. Feeling
that I was your brother, he bade you remain here, claim
my protection, and follow my advice. But, Florence, hear
me—your misery touched my heart; a kindred feeling for
you made me desire to serve you; but I swear now that
if you hear not my voice, and return to the bosom of our
church, your father's soul shall linger in damnation, and my
vengeance shall follow you. You know not my power, and
woe to you if you defy me!"

Had the spectre-form of the deceased, leaving the shadowy
band of the spirit-world, risen on the granite slab before them,
the two girls could not have been more startled. Tightly
they clung one to another, their eyes riveted on the face of
the Padre. There was a long pause; then Florence lifted
herself proudly up, and cold and haughty was her tone:
"It is not for me to deny your statement. If my father
sinned, peace to his memory, and may God forgive him.
One so sinful and malignant as yourself can not be invested


142

with divine prerogatives. I have known your intentions
with regard to myself since the hour I knelt in confession.
I was destined for a convent, and I tacitly acquiesced in
your plans, hoping that so secluded from the world I should
be comparatively happy; but my feelings are changed on
many points, and any further interference from you will be
received with the scorn it merits. No love for me actuates
your movements, else you would have spared me the
suffering of this hour."

"You defy me, then?"

Florence had turned away, and heeded not his question;
but Mary, clasping her hands, looked appealingly in his face:
"Oh, Padre, by the tie which you declare exists between
yourself and Florry—for the sake of your lost parent—do
not put your threat in execution. Spare an unprotected
orphan. You will not harm your sister!"

"Know you not, girl, that when a Jesuit priest takes
the oath of his order, he tears his heart from his breast
and lays it at the feet of his superior? Appeal not to ties
of relationship: we repudiate them, and pity is unknown
among us."

With a shudder Mary joined her cousin, and rapidly and
in perfect silence they retraced their steps homeward.
When they reached their gate, Mary would have opened it,
but her cousin, taking her hand, led the way to their old
seat beside the river.

Florence seated herself as near the water as possible,
and then tightly clasping the hand she held, asked in a
voice of suppressed emotion; "Tell me, Mary, is there a
purgatory?"


143

"No, Florry; I think there is less foundation for that
doctrine than any advanced by your church."

"Mary, you speak truth, and all that you say I can
implicitly believe. Tell me what grounds support the
theory?"

"You remember the words of our Saviour. 'All sin
shall be forgiven, save blasphemy of the Holy Ghost; that
shall not be forgiven, either in this world or the next.'
Now Papists argue in this way: Then other sins can be
forgiven in another world; there is no sin in heaven, in
hell no forgiveness, consequently, there must exist a middle
place, or, in other words, a purgatory. Florry, you smile,
yet I assure you I have seen this advanced as unanswerable.
In the book of Maccabees is a very remarkable passage
authorizing prayers for the dead, and on this passage
they build their theory and sanction their practice. Yet
you know full well it is one of the Apocryphal books rejected
by the Jews, because not originally written in their
language. It was never quoted by our Saviour, nor even
received as inspired by your own church till the Council
of Trent, when it was admitted to substantiate the doctrine
of purgatory, and sanction prayers for the dead. I admit
that on this point St. Augustine's practice was in favor of
it; though it was only near the close of his long life that
he speaks of the soul of his mother. Yet already history
informs us that the practice of praying for the dead was
gaining ground in the church, along with image worship.
St. Cyprian, who lived long before him, and during a
purer state of the church, leaves no doubt on our minds as
to his sentiments on this subject; his words are these:


144

When ye depart hence, there will be no room for repentance
—no method of being reconciled to God. Here eternal
life is either lost or won. Here, by the worship of
God, and the fruit of faith, provision is made for eternal
salvation. And let no man be retarded, either by his sins
or years, from coming to obtain it. No repentance is too
late while a man remains in this world.' Our Saviour
nowhere gives any encouragement for such a doctrine. On
the contrary, he said to the dying thief: 'This day shalt
thou be with me in Paradise.' I know of no other argument
which Papists advance in favor of their darling theory,
save the practice of the latter Fathers of their church."

"Mary, I can not believe this doctrine, without further
proof of Divine sanction."

"Indeed, Florry, I know of no other reason in its favor,
and have long supposed it a system of extortion in connection
with indulgences, now used only as a means of gain
by the dissolute clergy of the Romish faith. I need scarcely
say, that the abuse of this latter doctrine drove Luther to
reformation. It is a well-known fact, that in the 16th century,
Tetzel, a Dominican monk high in his order, drove
through Germany in a wagon, containing two boxes—one
holding indulgences, the other the money received for
them. You will smile, Florry, when I repeat a translation
of the German lines written on the outside of the latter
box:

"'When in this chest the money rings,
The soul straight up to heaven springs.'

Yet the boldness and audacity of his general language was
quite in accordance: 'Indulgences,' said he, 'are the most


145

precious of God's gifts. I would not exchange my privileges
for those of St. Peter in heaven; for I have saved
more souls with my indulgences than he with all his sermons.
There is no sin so great that the indulgence will
not remit it. Even repentance is not necessary. Indulgences
save the dead; for the very moment the money
chinks against the bottom of this chest, the soul escapes
from purgatory, and flies to heaven.'

"Yet this inquisitor was high in favor with Pope Leo
X. You will say, Florry, that the abuse of a doctrine
should be no test of its soundness; and I admit that had
he received the punishment he so richly merited it would
not; yet this is only one instance among many. We have
conversed on the doctrines of the Romish faith merely as
theories, should we not now look at the practice? We
need not go very far. When Aunt Fanny expressed surprise
on seeing our Mexican shepherd eat meat last Friday,
did he not reply in extenuation, 'I have paid the priest
and can eat meat?' Now if it was necessary for him to
abstain previously, could the small sum paid to the Padre
exempt him from the duty? Again we see the working
of the system: was not Herrara scrupulously exact on the
same point? yet he rose from the table and told a most
positive lie. With regard to indulgences, there is not a
Papist who will admit that they are a license to sin. The
voice of history declares that 'a regular scale for absolution
was graded,' and the fact is authenticated by a recent
traveler, who asserts that in the chancel of Santa Croce,
at Rome, is hung a catalogue of the indulgences granted
to all who worship in that church. Yet your priests will


146

tell you they are the remission of sins already committed.
Did not Herrara say, 'I have paid the Padre and can eat
meat?' Now I ask you if this is not a license to commit
what would otherwise be considered a heinous offense by
all devout Papists?"

"Relying implicitly on what the Padre asserted, Mary, I
have never investigated these subjects as I should have done,
before giving my credence and support; but of the doctrine
in question I can henceforth entertain but one opinion—a
detestable and infamous method of filling the papal coffers;
for since you have led me to think on this subject, I clearly
remember that a large portion of the enormous expense
incurred by the building, ornamenting, and repairing of St.
Peter's, was defrayed by money obtained through the sale
of indulgences. Oh, Mary, how could I have been so deluded
—allowed myself to be so deceived!" She took from
her pocket the rosary and crucifix which, had been given
to her father, and threw them impatiently into the river
gurgling at her feet.

"The perfect harmony with which the entire system
works is unparalleled in the civil, religious, or political annals
of the world. A complete espionage is exercised
in papal countries, from the Adriatic to the Californian
gulf. And the greater portion of this is accomplished
by means of the confessional. The Superior at Rome can
become, at pleasure, as perfectly conversant with your
domestic arrangements, and the thousand incidents which
daily occur, as you or I, who are cognizant of them. To
what is all this tending? Ah, Florry, look at the bloodstained
records of the past. The voices of slaughtered


147

thousands, borne to us across the waste of centuries, bid
us remember the Duke of Alva, the Albigensian crusade,
the massacre of St. Bartholomew, and the blazes of Smithfield.
Ignatius Loyola! happy would it have been for
millions lost, and millions yet to be, hadst thou perished at
the siege of Pampeluna. Florry, contrast Italy and Germany,
Spain and Scotland, and look at Portugal, and
South America, and Mexico, and oh, look at this benighted
town! A fairer spot by nature the face of earth
can not boast; yet mark the sloth, the penury, the degradation
of its people, the misery that prevails. And why?
Because they languish under the iron rule of the papal see
—iron, because it admits of no modification. Entire supremacy
over both body and soul, or total annihilation of their
power. May the time speedily come when they shall
spurn their oppressors, and trample their yoke in the dust,
as their transatlantic brethren will ultimately do. Oh,
Florry, does not your heart yearn toward benighted Italy?
Italy, once so beautiful and noble—once the acknowledged
mistress of the world, as she sat in royal magnificence enthroned
on her seven hills; now a miserable waste, divided
between petty sovereigns, and a by-word for guilt and
degradation! The glorious image lies a ruin at our feet:
for the spirit that gave beauty and strength, and shed a halo
of splendor round its immortal name, has fled afar, perhaps
forever; banished by the perfidious system of Papacy
—that sworn foe to liberty, ecclesiastical or political.

"How incomprehensible the apathy with which the
English regard the promulgation of Puseyism in their
church! It is stealing silently but swiftly to the very


148

heart of their ecclesiastical institutions, and total subversion
will ultimately ensue. That Americans should contemplate
without apprehension the gradual increase of papal
power is not so astonishing, for this happy land has never
groaned beneath its iron sway. But that the descendants
of Latimer and of Ridley, of Hooper and of Cranmer,
should tamely view the encroachments of this monster
hydra, is strange indeed. Do not imagine, Florry, that I
doubt the sincerity of all who belong to the Church of
Rome. I know and believe that there are many earnest
and conscientious members—of this there can not be a
doubt; yet it is equally true, that the most devoted Papists
are to be found among the most ignorant, bigoted, and
superstitious of men. The masses of your church are
deceived with pretended miracles and wondrous legends,
such as the one currently reported respecting the holy
house of Loretto, which seems so migratory, and flies
hundreds of miles in a night. These marvelous tales
are credited by the uneducated; yet no enlightened man
or woman of the present age, who has fully investigated
this subject, can say with truth that they conscientiously
believe the doctrines of the Romish Church to be those
taught by our Saviour, or its practices in accordance with
the general tenor of the Bible. This may seem a broad assertion,
yet none who calmly consider the subject in all its
bearings, and consult the page of history, will pronounce it
a hasty one."

"Yet remember, Mary, that the sect in question is
proverbial for charitable institutions. One vital principle
is preserved. Surely this is a redeeming virtue. Catholics


149

are untiring in schemes of benevolence and philanthropy."

"You will start, and perhaps condemn me, when I
reply, that their boasted charity is but the mask behind
which they disseminate the doctrines of the Romish
Church. I may appear very uncharitable in the expression
of this opinion; yet hear me, Florry; facts are
incontrovertible. If you will think a moment, you can
not fail to remember Patrick, the porter at our friend Mrs.
D——'s. Having received a dangerous wound in his
foot, he was sent to the hospital, where several of the
nurses were Sisters of Charity. He remained nearly
a month, and on his return related to Mrs. D——,
in my presence, some of the circumstances of his long
illness. His words made a lasting impression on my
mind:

"'Indeed, and I am glad enough to come home, ma'am;
for never was I treated worse in my life. The first week
Sister Agnes, who nursed in my room, was kind and
tender as could be, and thought I, if ever angels come
to earth, this good woman is one; but I can tell ye I did
not think so long: she read some saints' lives to us,
and asked me if I was a Catholic. I said no, I was
no Catholic. Then she tried every way to make me
one, and told me if I refused I would surely die and
go to purgatory. Faith! the more she talked that way,
the more I wouldn't be a Catholic; and then she just let
me alone, and not another thing would she do for me. I
might call from then till now, and never a step would she
come, or nurse me a bit. It is no good care of hers that


150

has brought me back alive and well: I tell you, Sister
Agnes won't do for any but Catholics.'

"Florry, is such charity akin to that taught by the
Bible? Catholics boast of their asylums; and by means
of fairs and suppers, large amounts are annually collected
for the support of these numerous institutions. I have
been told by a directress of a Protestant orphan asylum,
that on one occasion a squalid woman, accompanied by
two boys, presented herself and entreated that her children
might be received into the asylum. The unhappy
mother informed the directress that she was a Roman
Catholic, and had claimed the protection of her own
sect; buts aid she, tearfully, 'Indeed I had no money to
pay for their entrance, and they refused to take my children.'

"Such, Florry, is their boasted charity; and I might
add, their lives are little in accordance with the spirit inculcated
by our Saviour, who said, 'When ye do your alms,
let not your left hand know what your right hand doeth.'
There are thousands who daily dispense charities of various
kinds; yet they do not term themselves Sisters of Charity;
neither promenade the streets in a garb so antiquated and
peculiar as to excite attention, or elicit encomiums on their
marvelously holy lives and charitable deeds. Do not suppose,
Florry, because I speak thus, that I doubt the sincerity
of all who enroll themselves as Sisters. I do believe
that there are many pious and conscientious women thus
engaged; yet they are but tools of the priests, and by them
placed in these institutions for the purpose of making proselytes."


151

A pause ensued, and Florence paced slowly along the
bank. Somewhat abruptly she replied:

"Yet you will admit, Mary, that we owe much to the
monks, by whose efforts light and knowledge were preserved
during the dark ages? But for them every vestige of literature,
every record of the past, would inevitably have been
lost."

"Tell me, Florry, what caused the dark ages? Was it
not the gradual withdrawal of light and knowledge—the
crushing, withering influence exerted on the minds of men?
And tell me if this influence was not wielded by the priests
of Rome—corrupted, fallen Rome? During the dark period
in question, papal power was at its height; the thunders
of the Vatican were echoed from the Adriatic to the
Atlantic—from the Mediterranean to the North Sea. An
interdict of its profligate Pope clothed cities, and kingdoms,
and empires in mourning; the churches were closed, the
dead unburied, and no rite, save that of baptism, performed.
Ignorance and superstition reigned throughout the world;
and it is said, that in the ninth century scarce a person
was to be found in Rome itself who knew even the alphabet.
Yet monasteries crowned every eminence, and dotted
the vales of southern Europe. The power of the priesthood
was supreme. Florry, I do admit that what remained of
light and learning was hid in the cell of the anchorite; not
disseminated, but effectually concealed. They forgot our
Saviour's injunction—'Let your light shine before men.'
Oh! Florry, did not the teachers of the dark ages put their
light under a bushel? Dark ages will ever follow the increase
of papal power. It is part of their system to keep


152

the masses in ignorance. How truly it has been said
that Rome asked but one thing, and that Luther denied
her—'A fulcrum of ignorance on which to rest that lever
by which she can balance the world.' They dare not allow
their people light and knowledge; and what to others
was indeed a dark age, is regarded by the priests of Rome
as a golden season. Can you point to a single papal country
which is not enveloped in the black cloud of superstition
and crime? To Italy, and Spain, and Portugal, the
dark ages have not passed away; neither will they, till
liberty of conscience is allowed, and the Bible permitted in
the hands of the laity. Under papal rule, those unfortunate
nations will never rise from their degradation; for
their masters and teachers 'love darkness rather than light,
because their deeds are evil.' It has often been said by
those who fail properly to consider this subject, that the
Roman Catholic schools and colleges which abound in the
United States are far superior to similar Protestant institutions.
Why do not these very superior teachers disseminate
knowledge at home? Why do they not first enlighten
the Spaniards, ere they cross the Atlantic to instruct
American pupils? The ignorance of Neapolitans is proverbial;
yet Naples is the peculiarly favored city of Romanism.
Tell me why these learned professors do not
teach their own people? Florry, papal institutions in
America are but branches of the Propaganda. They but
come to proselyte. I have heard it repeatedly averred of
a certain nunnery, 'that no efforts were made to affect the
religious views of the pupils.' Yet I know that such is not
the case. They are far too politic openly to attack the religion;

153

yet secretly it is undermined. I will tell you how,
Florry, for you look wonderingly at me. Prizes are awarded
for diligence, and application; and these prizes are
books, setting forth in winning language the doctrines of
their church. I have seen one of these which was given
to M—— K——, and I also read it most carefully. It
was titled 'Alethea; or, a Defense of Catholic Doctrines.'
Yet most indignantly they deny any attempts toward proselyting
the pupils intrusted to their care."

"Who will deny the truth of your statements, Mary?
Yet, if such are the facts, how can the world be so utterly
ignorant of, or indifferent to them? Strange that they can
thus regard a subject so fraught with interest to every lover
of liberty—to every patriot."

"Florry, Papists are unacquainted with these things;
for, begirt with darkening, crushing influence, they are effectually
secluded from even a wandering ray of light on
this subject. The avenue through which all information
is conveyed at the present day is barred to them. Books
are denied to the Catholic laity. You may ask how this
is effected in this enlightened and liberal age. The prelates
of Rome, who long ago resorted to ignorance as their
bulwark, are ever on the alert. No sooner is a new publication
announced, than it is most carefully perused by
them; and if calculated to point out the fallacy of their
doctrines, or depict their abuse of power, a papal bull is
forthwith issued, prohibiting all Catholics from reading the
heretical book. The writings of the prince of novelists,
Walter Scott, which are universally read by other sects,
are peremptorily refused to all Papists. And why? Because


154

many of his darts are aimed at their profligate priesthood.
Now if, as they tell their people, these are but
slanderous attacks on their religion, surely the shafts would
fall harmless on the armor of truth. Why then so strenuously
oppose their reading such works? Florry, the trite
adage, 'Truth is the hardest of all to bear,' is applicable to
these prelates of papacy; who, knowing their danger, are
fully resolved to guard the avenues of light and knowledge.
The Pope of imperial Rome, surrounded as he is with luxury,
magnificence, and hosts of scarlet-liveried cardinals,
who stand in readiness to convey his mandates to the remotest
corners of the earth, has been made to tremble on
his throne by the pen of feeble woman. The truthful delineations
of Charlotte Elizabeth startled his Holiness of the
Vatican, and the assistant conclave of learned cardinals
trembling lest their laity of the Green Isle should catch a
glimpse of light, A bull was quickly fulminated against
her heretical productions. Alas! when, when will the
Romish Church burst the iron bands which begirt her?

"The world at large—I mean the world as composed
of Protestants, latitudinarians, politicians, statesmen, and
fashionable dunces, are in a great measure acquainted with
these facts; but knowing the rapidly increasing power of
papal Rome, and the vast influence already wielded in this
happy land by its priesthood, they prefer to float along with
the tide, rather than vigorously resist this blasting system
of ignorance, superstition, and crime which, stealthily approaching
from the east and from the west, will unite and
crush the liberties of our glorious Republic. As patriots,
they are called on to oppose strenuously its every encroachment


155

—yet they dare not; for should they venture to declaim
against its errors, they endanger their popularity
and incur the risk of defeat at an ensuing election. Florry,
I was once conversing on this subject with a lady who had
recently visited Europe, and inquired of her if she had not
marked the evils and abuses which existed in the papal
dominions through which she traveled. She whisperingly
replied—'Certainly, my dear, I could not fail to mark the
ignorance and degradation which prevailed, but I never
speak of it, because, you know, it makes one very unpopular.'
Here, Florry, you have the clew to the mystery.
Americans quietly contemplate this momentous subject,
and silently view the abuses which are creeping into our
communities, because if they expose them, it is at the hazard
of becoming unpopular."

"Mary, can I ever, ever forget that hour in the churchyard?"
Florence sadly said, as they rose and proceeded
to the house. "Oh! it seems branded on my brain; yet
I must cast this new grief from me, for enough of anguish
was mine before. Still I feel that there is a path just
ahead, and it seems lighted up. But a slight barrier intervenes,
and when that is passed all will be well. Pray
for me, Mary, that I may be enabled to lead the life of a
Christian, and at last die the death of the righteous."

Clasping tightly the hand which rested in her own,
Mary replied:

"While life remains, it shall indeed be my prayer that
you may be blessed on earth, and rewarded in heaven.
Oh, Florry, I thank God that the scales have fallen from
your eyes, and that truth shines brightly before you." She


156

stopped suddenly, and pressed her hand to her side, while
the pale brow wrinkled with pain.

"I have been talking too much, there is a suffocating
sensation here."

"It is only momentary, I hope."

Mary shook her head, and smiled sadly: "I dont know,
Florry; I have felt strangely of late."

That evening, as the household were busily preparing
for their intended departure, Dr. Bryant abruptly entered,
and informed them, with a clouded brow, that removal
was impossible, as he could not procure a pair of horses for
any price.

"It is perfectly unaccountable what has possessed the
Mexican from whom I purchased as many as I thought
necessary. We agreed as to price, and they were to be
sent this afternoon; but about two hours ago, he came to
me, and declared that he had changed his mind, and would
not part with them. I offered double the original amount,
but he said money was no inducement. I strove to borrow
or hire for any given time, but every proposal was peremptorily
declined, and as it is impossible to leave here, I
came over to entreat you to remain with my sister, at least
for a few days, till we can determine what is advisable to
do."

His proposal was accepted, and the ensuing day saw them
inmates of Mrs. Carlton's.


CHAPTER XIX.

'We're the sons of sires that baffled
Crowned and mitred tyranny:
They defied the field and scaffold
For their birth-rights—so will we!"
CAMPBELL.

THE issue of the engagement of the 8th October placed
Goliad, with valuable munitions, in the hands of the
Texans. Many and joyous acclamations rose from their
camp, hope beamed on every face, and sanguine expectations
were entertained of a speedy termination of the conflict.
Slowly the little band proceeded toward Bexar, receiving
daily accessions from head-quarters, and girding
themselves for a desperate struggle. General Cos, fully
appreciating the importance of the post he held, made active
preparation for its defense, never doubting, however,
that the strong fortifications of the Alamo would prove
impregnable to assailants so feeble numerically. Under
the direction of the cautious Spaniard, the town already
assumed a beleaguered aspect, and in addition to the watchman
stationed on the observatory of the fortress, a sentinel
paced to and fro on the flat roof of the gray old church,
having orders to give instant alarm in case of danger by
the ringing of the several bells. Silver-haired men, bending


158

beneath the weight of years, alone passed along the
deserted streets, and augured of the future in the now
silent Plaza. The stores were closed, and anxiously the
few Americans awaited the result; rising at dawn with
the belief that ere twilight closed again their suspense
would be terminated. On the morning of the 28th the
booming of distant artillery was borne on the southern
breeze. With throbbing hearts the inhabitants gathered
about their doors, and strained their eyes toward the
south. A large body of Mexicans, availing themselves
of the cover of night, sallied from the Alamo, hoping to
cut off a squad of ninety-two men, who, leaving the main
body of the Texan army, had advanced for the purpose of
reconnoitring, and were posted at the old Mission of Conception,
some two miles below the town; and here the
contest was waged. The watchman on the church listened
intently as each report reached his ear, and kept his fingers
firmly on the bell-rope. An hour passed on, and the
sun rode high in heaven; gradually the thundering died
away. Quicker grew the breathing, and tighter the cold
fingers clasped each other. The last sound ceased: a
deathlike silence reigned throughout the town, and many
a cheek grew colorless as marble. There came a confused
sound of shouts—the mingling of many voices—the
distant tramp of cavalry; and then there fell on the aching
ears the deep, thrilling tones of the church bells.

An intervening bend in the river was quickly passed,
and a body of Mexican cavalry dashed at full gallop across
the plain, nor slackened their pace till secure behind the
sombre walls of the Alamo.


159

At intervals of every few moments, small squads pushed
in, then a running band of infantry, and lastly a solitary
horseman, reeling in his saddle, dripping with gore. Madly
his wounded horse sprung on, when just as the fort was
gained, his luckless rider rolled senseless at the entrance.
One deep groan was echoed from church to fortress. Victory,
which had hovered doubtful o'er the bloody field, settled
at last on the banner of the "Lone Star." Against
what fearful odds is victory ofttimes won! The intrepid
Texans, assaulted by forces which trebled their own, fought
as only Texans can. With unerring precision they lifted
their rifles, and artillerymen and officers rolled together in
the dust. The brave little band conquered, and the flying
Mexicans left them sole masters of the field of the "Horseshoe."
On the hill which rose just beyond the town,
stood, in bold relief against the eastern sky, a tall square
building, to which the sobriquet of "Powder-House" was
applied. Here, as a means of increased vigilance, was
placed a body of horse, for the purpose of watching the
plain which stretched along the river. Fearing every moment
to see the victorious Texans at the heels of their retreating
infantry, they had orders to dash in, at the first
glimpse of the advance-guard of the enemy. But night
closed and none appeared, and, dreading the morning
light, many lay down to sleep at the close of that eventful
day. Several hours elapsed, and then the Texan forces,
under General Burleson, wound across the valley, and settled
along the verge of the town. The Alamo was beleaguered.

Forced, as it were, to remain a witness of the horrors


160

of the then approaching conflict, the cousins strove to cast
from them the gloomy forebodings which crept into their
hearts, darkening the present and investing the future with
phantoms of terror. Mrs. Carlton and Mary were far more
hopeful than the remainder of the little circle, and kept up
the semblance of cheerfulness, which ever flies at the approach
of danger. The girls saw but little of the gentlemen,
for Mr. Carlton was ever out in search of tidings from
the camp, and Frank, in opposition to his sister's tearful
entreaties, had enlisted immediately after General Burleson's
arrival. His manner, during his brief visits, was
considerate and kind; yet Mary fancied at times that he
avoided her, though, marking her declining health, he had
prescribed some simple remedy, and never failed to inquire
if she were not improving. Still there was a certain
something, indescribable, yet fully felt, which made her
shrink from meeting him, and as week after week passed,
her cheek grew paler, and her step more feeble.

With an anxious heart, Mrs. Carlton watched her failing
strength; but to all inquiries and fears Mary replied
that she did not suffer, save from her cough, and for a time
dispelled her apprehensions.

One evening Mary stood leaning against the window,
looking earnestly, wistfully upon the beautiful tints which
ever linger in the western sky. She stretched her arms
toward the dim outline, murmuring slowly:

"Oh! that my life may fade away as gently as those
tints, and that I may at last rest on the bosom of my God."

Darkness closed around—the soft hues melted into the
deep blue of the zenith as she stood communing with


161

her own heart, and she started when a shawl was wrapped
about her, and the window closed.

"As ministering physician, I can not allow such neglect
of injunctions. How dare you expose yourself after my
express direction to keep close?"

"I have kept very closely all day, and did not know that
star-gazing was interdicted."

As she spoke, a violent fit of coughing succeeded; he
watched her anxiously.

"Do you suffer any acute pain?"

"Occasionally I do; but nothing troubles me so much
as an unpleasant fluttering about my heart, which I often
have."

"You must be very careful, or your cough will increase
as winter comes on."

Mary repressed a sigh which struggled up from her
heart, and inquired if there was any news.

"We can not learn exactly what is transpiring within
the Alamo, but feel assured the crisis is at hand; some
excitement has prevailed in the garrison all day, and it is
confidently expected in our camp that the assault will
soon be made."

"Oh! may God help you in the coming strife, and adjudge
victory to the side of justice and liberty."

"Apparently the chances are against us, Miss Irving;
yet I regard the future without apprehension, for the Texans
are fearless, and General Burleson in every respect
worthy the confidence reposed in him. Allow gloomy
forebodings no room in your heart, but, like myself, anticipate
a speedy termination of the war."


162

"Yet your situation is perilous in the extreme; hourly
you incur danger, and each day may be your last. Oh!
why will you hazard your life, and cause your sister such
bitter anguish?" Mary replied, with quivering lips, while
the tone faltered, despite her efforts to seem calm.

"At least, I could not die in a better cause; and, as the
price of independence, I would willingly yield up my life.
Yet Ellen's tears are difficult to bear; I bade her adieu a
few moments since, and must not meet her again till all is
decided. So good-by, Miss Irving."

He held her hand in his, pressing it warmly, then lifted
the cold fingers to his lips, and quietly turned away.


CHAPTER XX.

"It rains—what lady loves a rainy day?
She loves a rainy day who sweeps the hearth,
And threads the busy needle, or applies
The scissors to the torn or thread-bare sleeve;
And blesses God that she has friends and home."
ANON.

"MARY, where is your cousin? I have not seen her since
breakfast," inquired Mrs. Carlton, as the two friends
sat conversing in the chamber of the latter.

"She laid aside her book just now, declaring it was so
dark she could scarcely read. This gloomy day has infected
her spirits; she is probably in the dining-room. I will
seek her." And rising, Mary left the apartment.

For two days the rain had fallen in torrents, and now
on the third morning, the heavens were still overcast, and
at intervals of every few moments the heavy clouds discharged
themselves in copious showers. The despondency
induced by the unsettled times was enhanced by the
gloomy weather, and many an earnest wish was expressed
that sunshine would soon smile again upon the town.

Weary with pacing up and down the dining-room,
Florence had stationed herself at the window, and stood
with her cheek pressed against the panes, gazing dreamily


164

out upon the deluged streets. She was roused from
her reverie by Mary's entrance.

"Florry, I have come in quest of you. Pray, how are
you amusing yourself here, all alone?"

"Communing with my own thoughts, as usual. Here,
Mary, stand beside me. As you came in I was puzzling
myself to discover how those Mexican women across the
street are employing themselves. They seem distressed,
yet every now and then chatter with most perfect unconcern.
There, they are both on their knees, with
something like a picture hanging on the fence before
them. They dart in and out of the house in a strange, ex-excited
manner. Perhaps you can enlighten me?"

Mary looked earnestly in the direction indicated by her
cousin, and at length replied:

"You will scarcely credit my explanation: yet I assure
you I perfectly understand the pantomime. Florry, look
more particularly at the picture suspended in the rain.
What does it most resemble, think you?"

"Ah, I see now—it is an image of the Virgin! But I
should suppose they considered it sacrilegious to expose it to
the inclemencies of the weather."

"Look closely, Florry, they are praying to the Virgin,
and imploring a cessation of the rain. I once happened at
Señor Gonzale's during a thunder-storm, and, to my astonishment,
the family immediately hung out all the paintings
of saints they possessed. I inquired the meaning, and was
told in answer, that the shower would soon pass over,
as they had petitioned the images to that effect. Those
women have repeated a certain number of aves, and


165

withdrawn into the house, but ere long you will see them
return, and go through the same formula."

"It is almost incredible that they should ascribe such
miraculous power to these little bits of painted canvas,"
replied Florence, gazing curiously upon the picture which
was suspended with the face toward her.

"No, not incredible, when you remember the quantity
of relies annually exported from Rome, such as 'chips of
the Cross,' 'bones of the Apostles,' and 'fragments of the
Virgin's apparel,' which Papists conscientiously believe are
endowed with magical powers sufficient to relieve various
infirmities. I doubt not that those women confidently expect
a favorable response to their petition; and if such intercession
could avail, it was certainly never more needed.
Absurd as the practice appears to us, a doubt of the efficacy
of their prayers never crossed their minds. They are
both devout and conscientious."

"But, Mary, such superstitious ignorance is entirely confined
to the degraded and uneducated classes. No really
intelligent mind could rely on yonder picture to dispel these
clouds, and win a ray of sunshine. I think you are too
hasty in supposing that the enlightened portion of the
Catholic Church place such implicit confidence in images
and relics."

"What do you term the enlightened portion of the
church? Would not its prelates be considered as belonging
to that class?"

"Most certainly they would, Mary: for doubtless many
of the greatest minds Europe has produced, were and
are still to be found among the Roman Catholic clergy.


166

Yet you would not insinuate that these rely on the efficacy
of such mummery as that we have just witnessed?" replied
Florence, fixing her eyes inquiringly upon her cousin's
face.

"Allow me to ask one question ere I reply. Florry, do
you believe the days of miracles have passed away, or do
you suppose that the laws of nature are still constantly infringed,
the harmony of cause and effect destroyed, and
wonderful phenomena still vouchsafed to favored Europeans?"

"Of course I do not advocate the theory that miracles
occur at the present day. It is too preposterous to advance
in this enlightened age. There are perhaps natural
phenomena, only to be explained by scientific research;
yet in the common acceptation of the term miracle, I
unhesitatingly declare that I believe none have occurred
since the days of Christ and the Apostles."

"Then, Florry, your position is untenable, for Romish
prelates of the present day do most unquestionably defend
the theory of the annual occurrence of miracles. Bishop
——, whose intellectual endowments are the constant
theme of encomiums, has recently visited Italy. On his
return to America, he brought with him a valuable collection
of relics, which he distributed among the members of
his church. Florry, I can vouch for the truth of what I
now say. He declared himself extremely fortunate in
having happened at Naples during the anniversary of the
death of St. Janarius. Said he, 'I repaired to the place
of his martyrdom, and took into my own hand the vial containing
the blood of the blessed saint, now decomposed.


167

As the hour rolled around I watched the holy dust in
breathless anxiety; at the appointed moment I perceived a
change in its appearance, and while I held the vial in my
hand the ashes liquefied and became veritable blood!
while the dark spots on a neighboring stone turned of
a deep crimson.' Now the bishop related this miracle far
and wide, and priests ministering at the altar repeated his
words to their listening flocks. Sanctioned by the example
of their prelates, do you wonder that the ignorant masses
of the Romish church should implicitly rely upon the intercession
of saints, and place unbounded confidence in the
miraculous powers imputed to relics? Again, the Manuals
placed in the hands of the laity, are compiled under the
special supervision of these ecclesiastical professors, who
necessarily indorse all we see there advanced. In the
Ursuline Manual I find this assertion: 'The Hail Mary
was composed in Heaven, dictated by the Holy Ghost, and
delivered to the faithful by the Angel Gabriel!' Now,
Florry, does not this seem blasphemy, bordering on the absurd?
What conscientious, honest, enlightened Christian
would unblushingly defend such a declaration?"

"But, Mary, admitting as you do, that you believe there
exist many truly conscientious members of this sect, why
indulge your apprehension at the promulgation of its tenets?"
replied Florence.

"I might answer you, Florry, in the words of Henry IV.,
who inquired of a celebrated Protestant divine, 'if a man
might be saved by the Roman Catholic religion?' 'Undoubtedly,'
replied the clergyman, 'if his life and heart be
holy.' 'Then,' said the king, 'according to both Catholics


168

and Protestants, I may be saved by the Catholic religion;
but if I embrace your religion, I shall not be saved according
to the Catholics.' Thus Henry most unquestionably
adjudged Protestants the more tolerant of the two sects.
Here, Florry, you have the clew to my anti-Romanism. I
fear the extension of papal doctrines, because liberty of
conscience was never yet allowed where sufficient power
was vested in the Roman Catholic clergy to compel submission.
To preserve the balance of power in ecclesiastical
affairs is the only aim of Protestants. We but contend for
the privilege of placing the Bible in the hands of the masses
—of flashing the glorious flambeau of truth into the dark
recesses of ignorance and superstition—into the abysmal
depths of papal iniquity. Unscrupulously employing every
method conducive to the grand end of disseminating Romish
dogmas, the fagot, the wheel, and all the secret horrors
of the Inquisition, were speedily brought to bear upon all
who dared to assume the privilege of worshiping God according
to the dictates of an unfettered conscience. If the
bloody tragedies of the middle ages are no longer enacted
upon the theatre of a more enlightened world, it is because
the power so awfully abused has been wrested from the
scarlet-robed tenants of the Vatican. The same fierce, intolerable
tyranny is still exercised where their jurisdiction
is unquestioned. From the administration of the pontifical
states of Italy to the regulation of convent discipline, we
trace the workings of the same iron rule. No barriers are
too mighty to be overborne, no distinctions too delicate to
to be thrust rudely aside. Even the sweet sacredness of
the home circle is not exempt from the crushing, withering

169

influence. Ah! how many fair young members of the
household band have been decoyed from the hearthstone
and immured in gloomy cells. Ah! how many a widowed
parent has mourned over the wreck of all that was beautiful
in a cherished daughter, snatched by the hand of
bigotry from her warm embrace, and forever incarcerated
in monastic gloom. Oh! tell me, Florry, if compulsory
service is acceptable to all-seeing God? If the warm
young heart, beating behind many a convent grate, yearns
to burst asunder the iron bands which enthrall her, and,
mingling again upon the stage of life to perform the duties
for which she was created, oh! where in holy writ is
sanction found for the tyrannical decree which binds her
there forever—a living sacrifice?"


CHAPTER XXI.

"'Tis the light that tells the dawning
Of the bright millennial day,
Heralding its blessed morning,
With its peace-restoring ray.
"Man no more shall seek dominion
Through a sea of human gore;
War shall spread its gloomy pinion
O'er the peaceful earth no more."
BURLEIGH.

IT was a dark, tempestuous night in December, and the
keen piercing blasts whistled around the corners and swept
moaningly across the Plaza. Silence reigned over the
town. No sound of life was heard—the shout of laughter,
the shriek of pain, or wail of grief was stilled. The
voices of many who had ofttimes hurried along the now
silent and deserted streets were hushed in death. The
eventful day had dawned and set, the records of its deeds
borne on to God by the many that had fallen. Oh! when
shall the millennium come? When shall peace and goodwill
reign throughout the world? When shall hatred,
revenge, and malice die? When shall the fierce, bitter
Strife of man with fellow-man be ended? And oh! when
shall desolating war forever cease, and the bloody records
of the past be viewed as monster distortions of a maddened
brain? These things shall be when the polity of the


171

world is changed. When statesmen cease their political,
and prelates their ecclesiastical intrigues; when monarch,
and noble, and peasant, alike cast selfishness and dissimulation
far from them; when the Bible is the text-book of
the world, and the golden rule observed from pole to pole.

The 11th of December is marked with a white stone in
the calendar of the Texans. During the fortnight which
elapsed from the engagement of Conception, the Alamo
had been closely invested by General Burleson, and brief
though bloody struggles almost daily occurred. The besiegers
numbered only eight hundred, while the fortress was garrisoned
by twenty-five hundred Mexican troops. Yet well-directed
valor has ever proved more than a match for numerical
superiority. On the morning of the 11th a desperate
assault was made, a violent struggle ensued, and ere long
victory declared for the "Lone Star." With unutterable
chagrin General Cos was forced to dispatch a messenger
bearing the white banner of submission to the Texan commander,
and night saw the Alamo again in Texan hands,
and General Cos and his disheartened band prisoners of
war.

Dr. Bryant had received, during the engagement, a
wound in the arm, which he caused to be dressed, and,
placing the injured member in a sling, strove to soothe the
dying and relieve the wounded. Early he dispatched tidings
of his safety to his anxious sister, and now devoted
himself to the suffering soldiery. Midnight found him beside
the couch of pain, and even as he bent to administer
a sedative, a hand was lightly laid on his shoulder. Looking
up, Frank perceived the muffled form of a female,


172

though unable to determine who stood beside him, for the
face was entirely concealed by the mantilla.

"Can I do any thing for you, Señora?"

"Dr. Bryant, will you leave your people here to see a
dying Mexican—one who fell fighting against you?"

"Most assuredly, if I can render relief; but Inez, you
should not have ventured here on such an errand; could
no messenger be found? It was imprudent in you to come
at this hour."

"No matter; I felt no fear of your people, and mine
would not molest me But I have little time to wait.
Mañuel is sorely wounded: we bore him from the Alamo,
and he lies at my father's. Can you do nothing for him?"

"I hope it is not too late to render assistance; we will
go immediately." And drawing his cloak over the wounded
arm, he followed her to Don Garcia's. Neither spoke
till they reached the threshold; then Frank said:

"Inez, does Manuel know you came for me?"

"Yes; he objected at first, but as the pain grew more
acute, he begged us to do something for him. I told him
there was none to help save you. He frowned a little, but
nodded his head, and then I lost no time."

They entered the apartment of the sufferer, and Inez
started at the change which had taken place during her
temporary absence. Mañuel feebly turned his head as
the door opened, and his eyes brightened as they rested on
Inez. He motioned her to sit beside him, and she complied,
lifting his head and carefully leaning it upon her
bosom. Dr. Bryant examined the wound, felt the pulse,
and stooping over him, asked:


173

"Nevarro, do you suffer much?"

Mañuel laid his hand on the bleeding side, and feebly
inclined his head.

"Inez, I can only use one hand, will you assist me in
binding this wound?"

She attempted to rise, but Nevarro clutched her hand
and gasped—"Too late—too late!"

Resolved to do something, if possible, for his relief,
Frank beckoned to the Don, who stood near, and with
some difficulty they succeeded in passing a bandage round
the mouth of the wound. The groans of the dying man
caused even the cheek of the fearless Inez to blanch. She
who scorned danger, and knew not fear, could not witness
without a pang the sufferings of another. She moaned in
very sympathy, and stroked gently back the straight raven
hair, now clotted with blood. The exertion necessarily
made proved fatal; the breathing grew short and painful,
the pulse slow and feeble. Appealing was the look which
the wounded one bent on Inez: he strove to utter his
wishes, but alas, it was indeed too late. The blood
gushed anew from his side, crimsoning bandage and couch,
and dyeing Inez's dress. Dr. Bryant took one of the cold
hands and pressed it kindly. Mañuel opened his eyes,
and looked gratefully on one who had at least endeavored
to relieve him. Convulsively the fingers closed over his
physician's hand; again he turned his face to Inez, and
with a groan expired.

Frank took the lifeless form from her arms, and laying
it gently back upon the pillow, closed the eyes forever, and
covered the face.


174

No words, save "Holy Mary!" escaped the Don's lips,
as he quitted the room of death.

Inez's lips quivered, and the convulsive twitching of her
features plainly indicated her grief at this mournful parting
with the playmate of her youth—with her affianced
husband. Yet the large dark eyes were undimmed; and
her tone calm, as though the "King of Terrors" were not
there in all his gloom.

"Inez, I sympathize with you in this affliction, and sincerely
regret that the fatal wound was inflicted by one of
my nation. Yet the past is irretrievable, though painful,
and many are, like you, bereft of friends and relatives. Inez,
in your hours of gloom and sadness can you not think of
your reunion with Mañuel, where death and parting are
unknown?"

She had averted her head, and a look of unutterable bitterness
rested on the pale, stern face.

"I thank you for coming, though you could not give
Mañuel relief. It was good and kind in you to try, and
none but Frank Bryant would have done it: again I thank
you. I shall not forget this night, and you, Señor, shall be
requited. I trust you are not suffering with your arm;
why is it bound up?" And she laid her hand softly on it.

"I received a slight though rather painful wound during
the engagement, and placed it in a sling for convenience
and relief; but, Inez, it is well-nigh day, see how the stars
are waning. You need rest, so good-night, or rather morning;
I will see you again to-morrow." And Frank sought
his sister, knowing full well her anxiety, and wishing
speedily to allay it.


CHAPTER XXII.

"Where is the place of meeting?
At what hour rises the moon?
I repair to what? to hold a council in the dark
With common ruffians leagued to ruin states!"
BYRON.

THE fierce storm of war had swept over the town, and
quiet seemed succeeding. No sound of strife disturbed the
stillness which settled around. Many had fallen, and the
grass began to bud on the grave of Mañuel; no tear moistened
the sod beneath which he rested. Inez often stood
beside the newly-raised mound with folded arms, and a
desolate, weary look on her beautiful features, which too
plainly indicated a longing to sleep near him. Yet she
never wept; for her love for Nevarro had been that of a
cousin, perhaps not so fervent. Still, now that his steps
no longer echoed at their door, and his deep voice sounded
not again on her ear, a lonely feeling stole into her heart,
and often she crept from her dreary home and sought the
church-yard.

Christmas had come and gone; a joyless season to many
saddened hearts accustomed to hail it with delight. The
cousins had returned to their home, and were busily arranging
their yard, and making some alterations for the
New Year. Florence had begun of late to grow cheerful


176

again, and Mary watched, with silent joy, the delicate
tinge come back to her marble cheek. She seemed very
calm, and almost hopeful; and the spirit of peace descended
and rested on their hearth. Only one cause of sorrow
remained—Mary's declining health: yet she faded so
gently, and almost painlessly, that their fears were ofttimes
lulled.

Dr. Bryant was still engaged in nursing the wounded,
and only came occasionally, regretting often that it was
not in his power to see them more frequently. A change
had come over him of late; the buoyancy of his spirits
seemed broken, and his gay tone of raillery was hushed;
the bright, happy look of former days was gone, and a tinge
of sadness was sometimes perceptible on his handsome face.
Mrs. Carlton had spoken on her last visit of Frank's departure.
She said she hoped he would return soon, as his business
required attention at home. He would not leave,
however, as long as his services were in requisition.

One Sabbath morning. Inez attended mass—something
unusual for her of late, for since Nevarro's death she had
secluded herself as much as possible. She knelt in her
accustomed place, with covered head, seemingly rapt in
devotion, but the eyes rested with an abstracted expression
on the wall beside her: her thoughts were evidently wandering
from her rosary, and now and then the black brows
met as her forehead wrinkled; still the fingers slid with
mechanical precision up and down the string of beads.
The services were brief, and the few who had assembled
quietly departed. As Inez rose to go, the Padre, who was
hastening down the aisle, was stopped by a Mexican in


177

the garb of a trader. They stood quite near, and the hoarse
whisper of the latter fell on her listening ear.

"Meet me at the far end of the Alameda, when the moon
rises to-night."

"I will be there before you: is there any good news?"

A finger was laid on the lip, and a significant nod and
wink were not lost upon the maiden, who, bowing low before
the Padre, walked slowly away. The day wore on, much
as Sabbaths ordinarily do, yet to her it seemed as though
darkness would never fall again, and many times she looked
out on the shadows cast by the neighboring houses athwart
the street. Twilight closed at last, and having placed her
father's evening meal before him, she cautiously gazed down
the narrow alley, and perceiving no one stirring, sallied
forth. The stars gave a faint light, and she hurried on
toward the bridge: swift was her step, yet noiseless, and
she glided on like a being from another world, so stealthy
were her movements. The bridge was gained at length
and almost passed, when she descried in the surrounding
gloom a dark figure approaching from the opposite direction.
Closer she drew the mantle about her form, and
slackened her rapid pace. They met, and the stranger
paused and bent eagerly forward:

"Who goes there?"

The voice was well known. Inez's heart gave a quick
bound, and she answered,

"Inez de Garcia!"

"Why, where are you roaming to this dark night, Inez?
Are you not afraid to venture out alone and so far from
home?"


178

"No, Doctor, I have no fears; I was never a coward you
know; and besides, who would harm me, an unoffending
woman? Surely your people will not molest me?"

"No, certainly not. But, Inez, I hope you are not
bending your steps toward the Alamo?"

"I am a friend to the Americans, though they have taken
the last of my family there was to give. Yet I will be
true to Mary and to you. Fear nothing for me, and let me
pass on my errand."

He stood aside. "Bueño noche, Señorita."

"Bueño noche;" and she glided on. "I fear I have
lost time;" and hastily glancing toward the east, she saw
a faint light stealing up from the horizon. Redoubling
her speed she pushed on, but, despite her efforts, the moon
rose with uncommon brilliance as she approached the place
of rendezvous, and soon every object was bathed in a flood
of light.

The Alameda, which she had just entered, was a long
double row of majestic cotton-woods, which, stretching out
in the direction of the Powder-House, was the favorite
promenade with the inhabitants of the town. Previous to
the breaking out of the war numbers were to be seen here
every afternoon, some walking, others playing games, another
group dancing, and the graver portion of the company
resting on the rude seats supplied for the purpose.
But their favorite resort was blood-stained, for the Alameda
was the battle-field in the late desperate conflict, and the
smooth surface was torn and trampled by the stamp of
prancing cavalry. Dark spots were still visible, that were
yet damp with gore. Just to the west rose the grim walls


179

of the fort, distinctly seen through the opening between the
trees. Beyond where the avenue ceased, stood a low,
irregular building of stone, thatched with tule.

Inez stood at the threshold and listened intently. The
place bore a desolate air, and neither sound nor light
betokened the presence of a human being. It had long
been uninhabited, and some declared it was haunted, so
that the Padre had some time before sprinkled holy water
profusely about, in order to drive away the evil one.

Cautiously Inez tried the fastening; it swerved not
beneath her firm, strong grasp. She shook it slightly: a
hollow echo answered back. Entrance was impossible;
and even as she lingered irresolute, the sound of approaching
steps was borne to her listening ears by the night wind.
What should she do? Without a moment's hesitation she
glided swiftly to a cluster of chapperal, and crouched low
among its thorny branches. Inez had scarcely secreted
herself, when the figure of a man, directing his steps to the
house she had just left, warned her to keep quiet. He
stood still a moment, then knocked. Drearily the knock
resounded through the empty building. Again was the
signal for admission given, but no response greeted the
anxious tympanums.

"Why in the name of twenty devils don't you open
the door?" and he shook it violently: still no answer.

"I swear I'll batter it down, and stretch you on it to boot,
if you don't let me in. Why do you keep me waiting? I
I am too late already."

"Nay, nay; restrain your impatience," said a voice
behind him.


180

"By the saints, you are come in good time, Padre. I
had well-nigh made a soldier's entrance."

"No need of violence. Señor. Why could not you wait
in Christian patience?"

"Look here, my good friend. I came not all the way
from Mexico to listen to a lecture; and you will do well
to save your canting for a better time and a worse man.
So, Mazzolin, just open the door of this cursed den."

Roused by the bold language of the stranger, the Padre,
though anxious to learn his errand, was still true to his
policy, and could in no measure compromise the dignity of
his person.

"There is no obligation resting on me to do so against
my will, and no man shall bully or threaten me, a priest
of our holy church." He had partially opened the door,
but closed it again.

Enraged beyond degree, the soldier grasped what little
collar was afforded by the habit he wore.

"You infernal, canting hypocrite! I swear by Cortes
I'll kick you to a jelly—I'll bastinade you till you won't
know the Virgin from the Devil, if you don't instantly let
me in, and keep your lying tongue in your Jesuit head.
Think you to gull me with your holy talk? I know you
all: you are a blessed, holy brotherhood, truly. Have
I not seen your letters to Mexico, you canting scoundrel?"
He shook the Padre violently as he delivered this benediction.

Now Father Mazzolin, like many of his sex, was fond
of supporting his dignity, and reverence for his sacred
person was especially inculcated by his teachings. Yet


181

when firmly met his threats melted away, and, to all appearances,
his choler too; for he knew full well when
to succumb and when to oppose belligerent demonstrations.
The expression of rage that darkened the face
of the soldier, left no doubt that he would execute his
threat if further opposed. And Father Mazzolin, fully
satisfied that the organ of reverence was altogether omitted
in his cranium, thought it best to comply.

"Ha! you can understand Irish logic as well as the next
brave one." And he entered, followed by the Padre, who
ground his teeth with mortification.

An hour later they stood again on the threshold in earnest
converse, not perceiving the dark form which fled, on
the reopening of the door, to the old hiding-place. They
turned to go in different directions: the stranger stopped,
and calling to the Padre, desired him to keep well the
secret, and in no way divulge a breath of their conference.

"It could not be in safer hands," was answered back,
and they parted.

A low, bitter laugh escaped Inez's lips as, waiting till it
was safe to venture forth, she rose from the chapperal and
hastened homeward.

"Padre, cunning though you are, we are well mated;
there are few like unto you and me."


CHAPTER XXIV.

"I simply tell thee peril is at hand,
And would preserve thee!"
BYRON.

Two days later the cousins sat in their front room,
Florence intently reading, Mary watching beside the couch
of pain, bathing her aunt's brow, and chafing the hands.
Aunt Lizzy was suffering from violent nervous headache:
all day she had tossed restlessly about, and now, soothed by
the gentle touches on her brow, had fallen asleep. Her
fingers had tightly clasped Mary's small, thin hands, but
gradually relaxing their hold, sunk beside her. Softly
smoothing back the disordered hair, the young nurse failed
to perceive the entrance of Dr. Bryant, and only looked up
when a beautiful bouquet of flowers was laid upon her lap.
The feverish glow deepened on her cheek as she warmly
thanked him.

"I am glad you like them, Miss Irving."

"How could I do otherwise?"

"My bunch is equally beautiful," cried Florence, holding
it up for inspection. "Pray, Doctor, how came you so
thoroughly acquainted with our different tastes? You
have selected admirably."

"I am gratified at succeeding so happily in my arrangement


183

of them. But I hope your aunt is not seriously indisposed?"

"No, merely a bad nervous attack, to which she is
subject."

"Miss Mary, as you are free from apprehension on
her account can you take a short ride this evening?
I have a gentle horse at the gate, and if you will trust
yourself with me, I think a good canter will benefit you exceedingly:
will you go?"

Mary sought Florence's eye: it brightened with pleasure.

"Certainly, Mary; why do you hesitate? I am very
glad Dr. Bryant suggested it; I will take good care of
aunt, and the ride will doubtless benefit you."

"You are very kind, Doctor; I will only detain you
while I change my dress." And she withdrew.

"Don't you think she looks much better to-day?" asked
Florence, anxiously, as her cousin left the room.

"She has certainly more color, but I am afraid it is only
a feverish glow. Let me entreat you, Miss Hamilton,
to watch over her with the greatest care: the slightest exposure
might cause a return of that terrible cough, and in
her feeble state I fear for the consequences."

"She has grown very, very thin, within the last month;
but then, when warm weather comes again, I doubt not
she will grow rosy and strong once more." They both
sighed heavily, as though against conviction each had
striven to cheer the other.

Mary re-entered the room equipped for her ride, and now,
for the first time, Florence thought her cousin beautiful
Beneath her straw hat floated back from her fair face a


184

luxuriant mass of brown curls; a bright blush mantled
the delicate cheek, and the gentle blue eyes seemed unusually
large and brilliant. A smile dimpled round her lip as
she met the fond glance bent upon her. Florence tenderly
clasped her hand a moment, then kissed her warmly, and
bade Dr. Bryant take all care of her. He promised to do
so, and soon they had passed beyond her sight. They rode
slowly, lest Mary should be too much fatigued; and often
the eyes of her companion rested on the frail but lovely being
by his side.

"Which way shall we ride?"

"If you have no preference, suppose we go to San Pedro?"

"You could not have selected more in accordance with
my own wishes."

A long silence ensued, broken only by the clatter of their
horses' hoofs along the gravel path.

"The prospect of leaving forever these beautiful environs,
which I have so often admired, fills me with inexpressible
regret. My heart clings to San Antonio, though
my residence here has been very brief;" said Dr. Bryant,
sadly.

"Do you go to return no more?" asked Mary, with
averted head.

"Yes, most probably I shall never see this place again;
for I wish to visit Europe so soon as my business affairs are
arranged at home, and on my return, shall devote myself
to my profession." He fixed his eyes earnestly on her face
as he spoke.

Slowly the head drooped, till the hat concealed her features.


185

"We shall miss you very much when you are gone.
Florry and I feel deeply grateful for your continued kindness,
and never—no, never shall we forget your care of my
uncle."

"Take care—take care; you are dropping your reins."

He gathered them up, and replaced them in her hand.

"Thank you; I had quite forgotten them."

"Do you not think it would be best for you and Florence
to return to your friends in Louisiana? This is an unpleasant
home for you."

"It was my uncle's wish that we should remain here,
and I know Florry would not consent to leave, unless some
danger threatened. "We have learned to love San Antonio
more dearly than any other place, except our old home;"
replied Mary, earnestly.

"By-the-by, I had almost forgotten to mention that I
have had a letter from an old friend, who inquired very
particularly after you—Dudley Stewart; you knew him, I
think, in New Orleans. His letter is dated six months
ago; but I am happy to receive it at all during these unsettled
times."

"We heard of his marriage," said Mary, in a low tone,
as the image of Florence rose before her.

"His marriage! Oh, no! you must be mistaken. He
would most certainly have mentioned it, for we are old and
intimate friends."

"It was reported that he had married his cousin."

"Ah! is that all? I am not much surprised that you
should have heard that, for before I left home it was quite
current. His widowed mother was very anxious to make


186

the match; but Stewart assured me he would never comply
with her wishes, as he had fully resolved never to wed
a woman he did not tenderly love; and though quite pretty,
Ellen is not sufficiently intellectual to attract such a
man."

"Are you quite sure of this, Dr. Bryant?" said Mary, in
a quick, eager tone.

"Certainly; I had it from his own lips."

"Oh! I—" She stopped short, and her cheek crimsoned,
as she met the piercing glance of his dark eye bent upon
her face. Her small hands trembled so that the reins
quivered, and she closed her eyes for a moment, while the
glow fled from her cheeks, leaving them pale as marble.

He caught her hand, and steadied her in her saddle.

"Forgive my inattention, Miss Irving, you are not strong
enough to extend your ride. Your face is very pale, and
you look fatigued."

"Yes, let us go home—home." Her voice was low and
faltering, and she with difficulty restrained the tears which
sprung to her eyes.

They turned their horses' heads, and neither attempted
to remove the restraint which both experienced. They
entered the town, and then seeing her hand glide quickly
to her side, he gently said:

"I am afraid we are riding too fast for you."

Her lips writhed for a moment with acute pain; but
with a faint smile, which touched him with its sadness,
she replied:

"I am better now—the pain has almost left me. I am
very sorry to trouble you so much, Dr. Bryant."


187

"Trouble!" he murmured, as if communing with his
own heart. "I see you do not know me, nor ever will;
for none have truly read my soul or sympathized." A
look of bitterness passed over his face, and a sterner expression
rested there than Mary had ever marked before.
She knew not what to reply, for she could not comprehend
the change, and even as she pondered, he pointed to the
western sky, and, much in his usual tone, asked:

"Don't you think the sunsets here exceed any you ever
beheld elsewhere?"

"In brilliancy they certainly do. Yet I love still better
the soft tints which often linger till the stars come out.
I think they blend and harmonize more beautifully with
the deep blue of the zenith than any I have seen before,
and I have watched sunsets from my childhood."

"You are right; I have noticed in more northern latitudes
a very perceptible difference in the appearance of
the firmament. The moon, for instance, on cold, clear
nights, presents a silvery, glittering disc, but the soft mellow
light of a southern clime is wanting."

While he spoke, the figure of a woman emerged from a
house near by, and, softly approaching Mary's horse, laid
her finger on her lips, and, pressing a piece of paper into
her hand, returned as silently as she came. Dr. Bryant
turned his head toward Mary as he finished speaking, and,
catching a glimpse of the retreating form, looked inquiringly
at her.

"I believe it was Inez, though the face was entirely
concealed. She did not speak, but gave me this paper,"
and Mary unrolled the note:


188

"MARINITA,

"Santa Anna has crossed the Rio Grande with eight thousand
men. I warn you of your danger. You can get horses
now, for the Padre can not control your people. There
are brave men in the Alamo, tell them of their danger.
Again I say, fly quickly from San Antonio. INEZ."

With a groan, Mary handed him the paper. In silence
he perused and returned it to her.

"Tell me, was it Inez who warned you before?"

"Yes, she told me we incurred unknown dangers by
remaining here." He mused for several moments.

"Ah! I can understand it all now. Several nights ago,
returning from the Alamo, I met her on the bridge alone;
she seemed excited, I thought, and impatient at meeting
me, for I questioned her rambling so late."

"Inez is a warm friend, and what she advises I feel
almost bound to do, for she is not timid, and only real
danger rouses her apprehension."

"Eight thousand men! and not two hundred to man
the Alamo. Inez is right; this is not a proper place for
you. We will go, as we once decided, to Washington; and
when you are in safety, I will return and lend my efforts
to the feeble garrison."

They reached the gate, and he gently lifted the frail
form from the saddle; and, drawing her arm through his,
led her to the house. As they entered, he bent his head
and said, in a low tone:

"Tell me candidly, are you able to undergo the fatigue
incident to this journey? I fear you are not."


189

"Yes, I shall perhaps grow stronger; at any rate, if
you do not change your mind, let no fears for me influence
you."

When leaving, he said it was probable that all would
be in readiness for their departure within a couple of days,
as he wished to see them secure, and then return.

"Mrs. Carlton will accompany us when she learns this
terrible news?" said Mary, inquiringly.

"Oh yes; I can not consent for her to remain, and
besides, Mr. Carlton has been anxious for some time regarding
his family."

Florence, having read the note, fully approved their
promptly removing, and all necessary preparations were
made for immediate departure.

Mary longed inexpressibly to impart to her cousin what
she had learned, respecting Mr. Stewart, but shrank instinctively
from reviving hopes which might never be realized
—hopes which Florence had long since crushed and
cast out of her heart as dead. With an earnest prayer
that her cousin might yet be blessed and happy, Mary
determined not to broach the subject, at least for a time.
Dr. Bryant without delay apprised the garrison of the rumor
which had reached him, and a courier was immediately
dispatched to head-quarters for reinforcements sufficient
to defend this important fortress—this key of the
state—from the powerful force now advancing to assault
it. Horses were supplied with alacrity, for he had made
many and warm friends, and two large tents, together with
a baggage-wagon, were readily granted to one who so nobly
contributed to the relief of the sick, wounded, and dying.


190

At length every arrangement was completed, and the
next morning appointed for their departure. Aunt Lizzy
had objected at first, but speedily became reconciled when
Dr. Bryant painted, in a graphic manner, the horrors which
were about to ensue.

As the shades of evening came gently on, the girls set
out for Mrs. Carlton's, as from her dwelling they commenced
their journey. Aunt Lizzy remained to give some final
direction, and then came a sorrowful parting with their
servants, one of whom took Mary in her arms and bade
God bless her, while the tears rolled over her wrinkled
face. Mary could not repress her own, and she sobbed
convulsively. Dr. Bryant, who had come over for them,
laid his hand on the shoulder of the true-hearted negress,
and said:

"Why, Aunt Fanny, you must not excite Miss Irving;
she is not strong, you know, and has a long ride before her
to-morrow."

"Oh yes, Doctor, it will do well enough for you to tell
me not to cry, but I can't help it, for I love her as if she
was my own child, and if I thought to see her again I
should not grieve so much; but I saw her mother before
her, and I know how she grew pale and thin, and then
took to the sofa, and never rose up till she was carried to
her grave; and can't I see that blessed child going just
like her? Oh! it's no use talking to me; she ain't long for
this world, and it's hard—yes it's hard for her to die away
from old Fanny!" and she covered her face with her
apron, and sobbed aloud.

Mary wiped her own tears quickly away, and taking the


191

hand of her old friend, led her back to the kitchen. For
several moments her companions waited anxiously for her;
and soon she advanced slowly to meet them. Frank drew
her arm through his, and sadly they walked away. Passing
the gate, Mary paused and looked out on the river,
where she had so often sat at this hour; and sad though
sweet associations, infinite in number, crowded upon her
mind.

How calm and beautiful all nature seemed, as though
arrayed in its loveliest garb to chain her affection, that, in
after years, the memory of that western home might steal
gently up amidst surrounding gloom, to charm away the
anguish of some bitter hour, and soothe the saddened spirit.
Her heart was inexpressibly touched, and she averted her
head to conceal the expression of keen sorrow which rested
on her face.

"This view of the San Antonio has often struck me as
particularly fine," said Dr. Bryant, turning to Florence,
whose pale cheek alone attested regret at leaving her home.

"Yes, I know none superior; and our favorite ramble
was along this bank, and down the river side."

"Its windings are multitudinous, yet how graceful every
curve; and then, the deep blue of its waters adds not a little
to the beauty of the whole. But we have not leisure
to admire it now, for your cousin must not be chilled, and
the wind blows freshly from the north."

He stepped on as he spoke, but feeling the small hands
clasped over his arm, looked earnestly down into the pale
face at his side. Mary was bending a last, long look on
house and tree and river; as they walked on, the different


192

objects passed beyond her view, and then a faint moan escaped
her lips. She met the anxious gaze of her friend,
and replied to its silent questioning:

"Forgive what doubtless seems a great weakness. You
and Florry can not sympathize with me now. You will
both return ere long, but my eyes have rested for the last
time on each loved object. I have dreaded this parting
from the home that has grown so dear to me—but the
pang is over."

Her deep blue eyes rested on his face, and touchingly
sad was the expression, as she swept back the clustering
hair from her brow. The lips quivered, as of late they
often did when she was excited. Florence did not hear
her words, for she had crossed the street; but Frank's heart
throbbed violently as he listened to her low, sad tone.
Laying his hand on hers, that were tightly clasped, he
pressed them gently, and said, in a slightly faltering voice:

"For Florence's sake—for mine—for your own, do not
give way to such gloomy forebodings! Your depressed
spirits will act injuriously on your health. Let me beg you
to place no confidence in Aunt Fanny's words at parting;
she was herself scarce conscious of their import."

"I have no gloomy forebodings, no apprehension of the
future, and generally no depressed spirits; but I know full
well that my life is gradually wasting away, slowly, gently,
and almost without pain. I am sinking to an early tomb.
Yet I would not have it otherwise if I could. Death has
long lost all terrors for me; I have no fear—all is peace
and quiet. I am paining you. Forgive me, Dr. Bryant;
but knowing that you and Florry were anxious about me.


193

I thought it best to tell you that I am fully aware of my
danger, if so I can term what I would not avert."

A shudder crept over the strong man as he looked down
at the calm, colorless face of her who spoke so quietly of
death, and of quitting forever the scenes she loved so truly.

"I can not—will not believe you are so ill. You will
grow stronger when we leave this place, and a year hence,
when quite well again, you will beg pardon for the pain
you have given me."

A faint smile played round the thin lips, and in silence
they proceeded to Mrs. Carlton's.


CHAPTER XXV.

"Who's hero besides foul weather?"
SHAKSPEARE.

FAR away stretched the prairie, bounded, ocean-like,
only by the horizon; the monotony occasionally relieved
by clumps of aged live oaks, which tossed their branches
to and fro in summer breezes and in wintry blasts, and
lent a mournful cadence to the howlings of the tempest.
Now and then a herd of deer, lifting proudly their antlered
heads, seemed to scorn danger from the hand of man, as
they roamed so freely over the wide, desolate waste which
possessed no visible limits. And groups of cattle, starting
at the slightest sound, tossed their horns in defiance, and
browsed along the mosquit, in many places so luxuriant as
well-nigh to conceal their forms. The day had been unusually
warm for January, and the sun beamed down with
a sickening intensity which made the blood tingle in the
veins. Toward noon the sky assumed a dull, leaden cast,
and light flakes of cloud, like harbingers of evil, scudded
ominously overhead. The sun passed the zenith, and a
low sighing breeze swept moaningly across the wide waste,
even as the wail of lost spirits floats out on the midnight
air, and then is hushed forever.


195

The cattle that stood leisurely cropping about, and now
and then moving a few paces, lifted their heads, snuffed
the air, and, with a simultaneous lowing, started at full
speed to the timbered tracts, where they were wont to resort
for shelter from the winds of winter. On, on they
rushed, till in the distance one might fancy them a quantity
of beetles, or other insects, dotting the surface before
them. Soon not a vestige remained of the flying herd, and
happy it was for them they made good their retreat, and
gained a place of refuge ere the "norther" burst in all its
keenness on the unprotected plain. Wildly the piercing
blasts whistled through the trees, and rushed furiously on,
unimpeded by the forests, which in more eastern lands present
a formidable barrier to their progress. The rain began
to fall heavily, when a small cavalcade sought the
protection of a clump of oaks, by placing the leafy boughs
between themselves and the beating, driving torrents. The
party consisted of several ladies and gentlemen, two children,
and as many servants; the latter in a wagon, the
remainder on horseback. With all possible speed the gentlemen
dismounted, and, tightly buttoning their great coats
about them, proceeded to stretch two tents, by means of
poles and pins, carried in the wagon.

Night closed in, and finding a sheltered spot beneath the
trees, a large fire was kindled, which threw its ruddy light
into the surrounding tents, and illumined the entire grove.
The horses were picketed out, almost within reach from
the tents, and the wagon containing their stores drawn so
near as, in some degree, to shelter them. The servants
prepared the evening meal—simple, it is true, yet enjoyed


196

far more than a sumptuous repast of Indian delicacies, and
untold ragouts, eaten without the sauce of hunger produced
by their long ride. More than a week had elapsed since
leaving San Antonio, and Mary had borne better than
they dared to hope the fatigue of the journey.

To-night, however, she lay exhausted on her pallet, the
thin cheek bright with fever: gently she declined all that
was proffered, and her hollow cough chased the smile from
the lips of her friends. Dr. Bryant knelt beside her, and
taking one hot hand in his own, asked, in a low anxious
voice, if she suffered.

Turning away her face, she said—"Oh no, not much.
There is, however, such a painful throbbing about my heart
I can scarcely breathe. Am I not feverish?" she continued.

"Yes;" and he placed his fingers on the pulse, beating
violently. "I am afraid you have taken severe cold—the
day has been so inclement." And, with a somewhat unsteady
hand, he administered a potion.

"Don't feel uneasy about me, Doctor, I shall be better
when I sleep." And she turned away, and wearily closed
her eyes.

When the camp-fire burned low, and all slumbered save
Mary, who could not calm her feverish excitement, and lay
wide awake, she fancied she heard steps around the tent.
All was silent; then again came the sound; and raising
herself, she thought she perceived some one standing near
the entrance. The figure disappeared, and then followed
a rumbling, stamping, kicking, as though the horses were
verily bewitched. "The Indians!" thought Mary; and
quickly rising, she threw a black mantle round her, and


197

creeping to the door of the tent, peeped cautiously out.
The horses still seemed restless, stamping and snorting, and
she thought she could softly reach the adjoining tent and
rouse the gentlemen, knowing that their arms were in
readiness. She had just stepped out of her own tent, and
stood out of doors, when she caught a glimpse of a dark,
muffled figure walking toward her The rain had ceased,
but it was very dark, and only by the aid of the fire-light,
now grown dim, she perceived it. A cold shudder crept
over her, as, raising her eyes to the blackened sky but an
instant, she sprung forward toward the place where she
fancied the gentlemen were sleeping. A hand was laid on
her arm, and a deep voice sounded in her ear:

"Be not alarmed, Miss Mary, I am here!"

She trembled so that she could scarcely stand. He supported
her a moment, ere she replied in a whisper—

"What causes the disturbance to-night?"

"I feel assured there are Indians about, though you need
fear nothing, for they are not in sufficient numbers to attack
us. There are four men in our party—nearly a dozen muskets,
besides my pistols, and plenty of ammunition. Were
you one of the timid sort, I should not venture to tell you
my apprehensions: but I know that you are not. I have
not slept, or even lain down; and a while ago, I heard the
sound of hoofs approaching Taking my pistols, I went
round to the horses, and had not waited many moments
before I saw two figures, evidently reconnoitring and planning
the abduction of our horses, who seemed much alarmed.
I suppose the intruders must have seen me, for they
suddenly wheeled off and galloped away."


198

"Perhaps there is a party not far distant, for whose assistance
they have gone."

"Possibly, though I think not; but you must not stand
on this wet ground." He led her to the tent, and seating
himself near the door, continued:

"I shall not sleep to-night, and rest assured you will be
most carefully guarded. You were imprudent to venture
out on such a night."

"What! when I thought there was danger, and none,
save myself, aware of it?"

"Did you think I could rest, knowing, as I do, how you
are suffering?"

"I never imagined you were up, or watching, for I heard
no sound near me."

"Well, no matter; sleep, if you can, and dream of peace,
and quiet, and perfect happiness." He sighed heavily as
he spoke, and rising, renewed the fire.

Mary lay watching him as he paced to and fro in front
of the burning logs—his arms folded across his chest, and
his cap drawn over the brow: gradually a sense of utter
weariness stole over her, and she slept.

At dawn a bustle commenced in the camp, and preparation
made—first for breakfast, then for moving.

When Mary came out, her pale face and wearied look
attracted Mrs. Carlton's attention.

"My dear child, I am afraid you are scarcely able
to travel to-day; did you not sleep well?"

"Not so soundly as I could have wished," she said,
passing her hand over her brow, as if to remove some
painful thought.


199

Dr. Bryant acquainted them with the adventures of the
night suggesting, that in future some of the party should
watch, as security for their horses; and all agreed that it
was advisable.

"How readily one might suppose this a gipsy encampment.
Miss Hamilton and myself are quite dark enough to
favor the illusion, and Ellen and Mr. Carlton would pass
as of gipsy descent; but what would they think of Miss
Mary? She is decidedly anti-gipsy in her appearance."

"I can tell you, Uncle Frank," cried Elliot, clapping his
hands; "they would take Miss Mary for an angel that came
to our tent, like the one that came down to see Abraham."

"Unfortunately, angels never appear in the form of
a lady, Elliot; so you must tax your ingenuity to dispose
of me in a different manner," said Mary, smiling gently on
the noble boy beside her.

"Indeed, I would sooner think you ought to be an angel
than any gentleman I know, or lady either; don't you
think so too, Uncle Frank?"

"Certainly I do; but, Elliot, you should not have made
me say so in Miss Florence's presence. You forget that
she is also a young lady."

"No, I don't, uncle, and I ask her pardon if I was rude;
but I heard you say Miss Mary was an angel, and though
I like Miss Florence very much indeed, I can't help thinking
so too."

Dr. Bryant's cheek flushed, and he glanced quickly
at Mary. Mr. and Mrs. Carlton and Florence laughed
good-naturedly; and laying his hand on the boy's head,
Frank said:


200

"My very promising nephew, you will never be accused
of want of candor if you grow up in your present spirit."

Mary drew the child to her, and whispered in his
ear:

"Your uncle meant that I should soon be in Heaven,
Elliot; and I hope it will not be very long before I am an
angel. Don't you see how thin and pale I am?"

Elliot's eyes filled, as he looked earnestly at the gentle
girl, so wasted of late, and throwing his arms about her
neck, he hid his face on her shoulder, and murmured:

"Oh! you must not go from us—we can't spare you
even to God! "Why does he want to take you? He has
plenty of angels already around him! Mother and uncle
and I had almost as soon die ourselves as see you go away
forever."

None heard what passed between them; but Mrs.
Carlton saw a look of pain on Mary's pure white brow,
and gently drawing her son away, changed the conversation
by asking if it would not be better for Mary to ride
awhile in the wagon.

"I am afraid she would find the jolting rather too
much for her. However, it will answer as a change, and
by driving myself, I can avoid many inequalities. So Miss
Irving make up your mind to relinquish your Babieca at
least for to-day."

"You are very kind, Dr. Bryant, but I greatly prefer
your riding as usual. Indeed you need not look so incredulous.
I won't allow you to make such a sacrifice."

"I was not aware that I was making any sacrifice," he
coldly answered, and turned away.


201

Mary's lip quivered with internal pain, but she offered
no further opposition.

All was in readiness for moving on. Dr. Bryant stood
arranging Florence's bridle, and bantering her on her inattention
to the reins. She laughed in her turn.

"Indeed, Doctor, don't you think me a capital horsewoman?
you will certainly admit it, after being vanquished
in a race?"

"Really, Miss Florence, I rather think the credit due to
your fine horse than to your skill as a rider."

"Ah, incorrigible as usual, I see, Doctor!" and she rode
off to join Mr. Carlton.

Mr. Carlton had placed Mary in the wagon, and carefully
arranged her shawls that she might rest easily. Frank
quietly seated himself, and drove on.

"I shall not exert myself in the least to entertain you,
so you need not expect it; for having very politely told me
you did not desire my company, I shall not disturb you with
my chatter, I promise you, and take this opportunity to
inform you that my tympanums are at your service the remainder
of the day."

He glanced over his shoulder at the frail form nearly
buried beneath the weight of shawls and cloaks wrapt
about her. She smiled, and laid her head on her arm: as
she did so, he, looking at her, failed to perceive a large
stone in the track, and the wheels passing directly over it
caused the wagon to jolt most unmercifully.

Florence was just in the rear, and, unable to control
her mirth, laughed outright as Frank and Mary bounced
up and down; and, riding up to them, merrily asked "if


202

Mary duly appreciated her good fortune in having so
careful and scientific a driver?"

Not a little amused, yet scarce able to laugh, the latter
replied that "she did indeed congratulate herself on the
change of drivers, as she would not have survived the day
had it been otherwise."

Frank joined heartily in their merriment.

"Miss Hamilton," said he, "if you only knew what
caused me to overlook that unfortunate stone, you would be
more lenient in your criticisms."

"I am very sure you will adduce every possible reason
in your own favor, sir, and therefore feel no sympathy for
your carelessness," she retorted.

"Really you make me out as incorrigible a self-excuser
as the heroine of Miss Edgeworth's juvenile tales; though
even she chanced upon a good excuse occasionally. Come,
try me, and see what I can urge in my own defense."

"Well, then, I ask you, à la Godfrey, what you were
thinking of when you, who had an ailing lady in your cart,
drove directly over the largest rock you have seen in a
week?"

"In the first place, I did not see it. You need not look
quite so incredulous; I assure you I did not."

"That is very evident, but no excuse at all. Pray,
where were your eyes?"

"Where nature intended them to be, I suppose."

"Nonsense! why didn't you use them?"

"Because I have not the faculty of looking two ways at
once, like Brahma; and my optics were irresistibly drawn
in an opposite direction."


203

'A truce to all such excuses!"

'Patience, Miss Florence, hear me only once more.
The reason is, that I was looking at your cousin over there,
and calculating the chances of her surviving suffocation."

'There is certainly some danger. Pray, Mary, why
wrap up so closely? Æolus has closed the mouth of his
cave, and the warring winds are securely pent in their
prison."

"Are you not very much edified, Miss Mary? I should
beg pardon for such a waste of time and talk, if I were not
aware that

"'A little nonsense now and then,
Is relished by the wisest men.'"

As Mary made no reply, he turned around and regarded
her earnestly. Her hat had fallen back from the face,
which rested on his black cloak. Every vestige of mirth
fled from his countenance as they gazed on the sleeping girl.
The feverish flush had left the cheek, now perfectly wan;
the dark brown hair clung on the pure, beautiful brow, and
beneath the closed eyes were dark circles, traced by mental
suffering. The expression of the face was perfectly calm,
yet a wearied look, as though longing to be at rest, lingered
there. So motionless she lay, that Frank hastily placed
his hand on hers to feel if warmth and vitality remained.
Slowly and faint came the pulsations, and, as he watched
her deathlike slumber, his cheek grew pale, a look of unutterable
anguish settled on his noble brow, and the finely
cut lips were tightly compressed, as with some acute though
hidden pain. Florence slowly returned to Mr. and Mrs.
Carlton—no smile passed her lips the remainder of the day;


204

she seemed now, for the first time, to realize her cousin's
danger, and naught could divert her mind from this new
grief.

Dr. Bryant bent his head upon his breast, and murmured
in saddened tones: "Oh, Mary! Mary! how gladly
would I give all I possess on earth to see you strong and
well again."


CHAPTER XXVI.

And therefore my heart is heavy
With a sense of unquiet pain,
For but Heaven can tell if the parted
Shall meet in the earth again.
"With Him be the time and the season
Of our meeting again with thee:
Whether here, on these earthly borders,
Or the shore of the world to be."
CAREY.

ONE day our party had traveled further than on any
previous occasion: long and tedious was the ride, still they
pushed on, hoping to reach some stream ere the tents were
pitched for the night, as an abundant supply of pure fresh
water was essential to the comfort of their camp. In the
metaphorical strain of a certain writer—"Phœbus drove
his steeds to be foddered in their western stables." Slowly
twilight fell upon the earth, and, one by one, the lamps of
heaven were lit. The wagon in which Dr. Bryant and
Mary rode was rather in the rear of the party, as the riders
pressed anxiously forward. The cool night-wind blew fresh
upon the fevered brow of the invalid, and gently lifted and
bore back the clustering curls.

"I am very much afraid you will take cold:" and Dr.
Bryant wrapped his cloak carefully about her.

"Thank you:" and she sank back in its heavy folds, and


206

looked up to the brilliant firmament, where the stars glittered,
like diamonds on a ground of black velvet, in the
clear, frosty air.

"Orion has culminated; and how splendidly it glows
to-night, I think I never saw it so brilliant."

"Perhaps it appears so from the peculiar position whence
you view it. You never observed it before from a wagon,
in a broad prairie, with naught intervening between the
constellation and yourself save illimitable space, though
I agree with you in thinking it particularly splendid. I
have ever regarded it as the most beautiful among the many
constellations which girt the heavens."

"I have often wondered if Cygnus was not the favorite
of papists, Dr. Bryant."

"Ah! it never occurred to me before, but, since you mention
it, I doubt not they are partial to it. How many superstitious
horrors are infused into childish brains by nurses
and nursery traditions! I well remember with what terror
I regarded the Dolphin, or, in common parlance, 'Job's
Coffin,' having been told that, when that wrathful cluster
was on the meridian, some dreadful evil would most
inevitably befall all who ventured to look upon it; and often,
in my boyhood, I have covered my face with my hands,
and asked its whereabouts. Indeed I regarded it much
as Æneas did Orion, when he says:

"'To that blest shore we steered our destined way,
When sudden dire Orion roused the sea!
All charged with tempests rose the baleful star,
And on our navy poured his watery war.'

The contemplation of the starry heavens has ever exerted


207

an elevating influence on my mind. In viewing its glories,
I am borne far from the puerilities of earth, and my soul
seeks a purer and more noble sphere."

"Your quotation from Virgil recalled a passage in Job—
'Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth
the shadow of death into morning.' Oh! how inimitably
sublime is inspired language—and 'turneth the shadow of
death into morning.' And how comforting the promise
conveyed," said Mary, earnestly.

"Miss Irving, don't you admire Cassiopeia very much?"
said Dr. Bryant, wishing to turn the current of her thoughts.
"I think it very beautiful, particularly when it occupies its
present position, and, as it were, offers to weary travelers
so inviting a seat. Yet often I am strangely awed, in
gazing on the group so enveloped in unfathomable mystery.
Who may say when another of its jewels shall flicker and
go out? And when may not our own world to other
planets be a 'Lost Star?' How childish associations cling
to one in after years. I never looked up at Cassiopeia,
without recalling the time when my tutor gave me as a
parsing lesson, the first lines of the 'Task'—literally a task
to me (mind I do not claim the last as original, for it is a
plagiarism on somebody, I forget now who). My teacher
first read the passage carefully over, explaining each idea
intended to be conveyed, and at the conclusion turned to
an assistant, and remarked that 'with Cassiopeia for a
model, he wondered chairs were not earlier constructed.' I
wondered in silence what that hard word could signify,
and at length summoned courage to ask an explanation. A
few nights afterward, visiting at my father's, he took me out,


208

pointed to the constellation, and gave the origin of the name,
while, to my great joy, I discovered the resemblance to a
chair. Ah! that hour is as fresh in my memory as though
I stood but last night by his side and listened to his teachings.

"Yes, who will deny the magic influence of association?
After all, Dr. Bryant, it is not the intrinsic beauty of an
object that affords us such delight, but ofttimes the memory
of the happy past, so blended with the beauty viewed as
scarcely to be analyzed in the soothing emotions which steal
into the heart. Such a night as this ever reminds me of
the beautiful words of Willis, in his 'Contemplations;' and,
like Alethe, I often ask, 'When shall I gather my wings,
and, like a rushing thought, stretch onward, star by star, up
into heaven?'"

A silence ensued for several moments, and then the cry
of "Water!" "water!" fell refreshingly on the ears of the
wearied travelers, and the neighboring stream was hailed
as joyfully as was in olden time the well of Zem-Zem.

Soon the tents were pitched, and a bright crackling fire
kindled. Florence, declaring she was too much fatigued for
supper, threw herself on her pallet. Aunt Lizzy and Mrs.
Carlton were busily unpacking some of their utensils, and
Mary, closely wrapt up, stood by the blazing logs, thinking
how cheerful its ruddy light made every object seem, and
wondering if, after all, the Ghebers were so much to blame.
Mr. Carlton joined her; and after inquiring how she bore
their very fatiguing ride, remarked that in a few more days
their journeyings would be over.

"I shall almost regret its termination. This mode of


209

traveling seems very pleasant to me, and you, who are
strong and well, must enjoy it much more."

Just then the sound of approaching hoofs caused her to
look toward their wagon; and she perceived two men
mounted, one in the act of descending, while Dr. Bryant
advanced quickly to meet him.

Mr. Carlton left her. Silently she looked on, wondering
who the strangers could possibly be, when the words
fell with startling distinctness on her listening ear:

"Dudley Stewart! do my eyes deceive me?"

"Frank Bryant is it possible I meet you here?"

The tones of the last speaker were too familiar to be mistaken.
She trembled from head to foot as the past rose
before her. Her first thought was of Florence.

"Oh, if he is married, this meeting will be terrible!"
and her heart throbbed violently as the gentlemen approached
her. Scarce conscious of her movements, she advanced
to meet Dr. Bryant, whose arm was linked in that of the
new comer. They met: the fire-light glowed on the face
of both.

"Mr. Stewart!" and the wasted hand was extended.

"Mary Irving! or is this an illusion?" Tightly the
hand was clasped.

"It is I—your old pupil, though so altered, I wonder not
that you fail to recognize me." She lifted her eyes and
met Dr. Bryant's gaze, deep and piercing, as though he
were reading her inmost soul. Mr. Stewart looked long at
the face turned toward him.

"Frank, you did not tell me she was with you! Oh,
how changed—how wasted you are! But what means


210

this black dress?" and his fingers clutched her mourning
gown, while his deep tone faltered. Mary drew closer to
his side, and murmured:

"Florry is well; but my uncle has been taken from us."
Her head sunk on her bosom as she spoke.

"Where is Florence?" and he tightly clasped her hand
between his own.

A shudder crept over Dr. Bryant, who had not heard
their words, and he walked quickly away.

"Florry is in the tent. Mr. Stewart, we heard that you
were married; can this be true?"

"No, ho! Did your cousin credit the report?"

"Yes; and ere you make yourself known, let me in
some degree prepare her for the meeting."

So saying, she sought Florence, and asked if she were
sleeping.

"No, Mary; can I do any thing for you?" and she
raised her head.

"Yes, Florry, come with me—I want to speak to
you."

Her cousin accompanied her to the door, and standing so
that the tent intervened between them and Mr. Stewart,
Mary laid her hand on Florence's shoulder, and said:

"I have just learned, Florry, that Mr. Stewart is not
married."

"Mary, Mary! why touch a chord which ever vibrates
with the keenest agony? There is no happiness for me on
earth—I have known that for long, and now I am striving
to fix my thoughts, and all of hope that remains, on
heaven."


211

Mary linked her arm in Florence's, and gently drawing
her forward, replied:

"God has not promised heaven as the price of every
earthly joy and comfort. Can you not still hope for
happiness?"

"Mary, I am parted forever from him whom I have
loved so devotedly; yet I cease to repine. I know my lot, and
I will pass through life alone, yes, alone, without a murmur."

"Not so, Florence—my own treasured Florence!"

She turned quickly, and was clasped to the heart of him
she had sworn to love alone.

"Am I dreaming?" said Florence, gazing eagerly up
into the noble face before her. He lifted his cap from his
brow, and bent his head that the light might fall full upon
it. A gleam of perfect joy irradiated her beautiful face,
and, leaning her head on his shoulder, she whispered:
"Forgive me—for I doubted you."

He bent, and sealed her pardon with a long kiss.

Mary stole away to Mrs. Carlton to impart the good
news; Dr. Bryant had already communicated it. Warmly
she sympathized with them in again meeting an old friend;
but Mary heeded not her words, for her eyes were riveted
on Frank's stern brow and slightly curling lip. A mist
rose before her, and catching for support at the tent, she
would have fallen, had not his strong arm encircled her;
and soon she lay motionless in her tent. He stood and
looked on her a moment, then knelt and clasped the cold
hands. Mary had not swooned, though well-nigh insensible,
and a low moan of anguish escaped her lips, colorless,
and writhing with pain.


212

"Can I do nothing for you?"

"No, thank you; only do not tell Florry and Mr.
Stewart I am ill. It would only damp the joy of their
meeting."

He left her, and met the lovers as they sought the remainder
of the party. He understood at a glance the position
of affairs, and with the sad conviction that Mary loved
Mr. Stewart, and loved him in vain, he strove to repress
his emotion and appear as usual.

Florence withdrew her hand from Mr. Stewart's clasp,
and, with a deep blush, passed Frank in order to reach the
tent. He placed himself before it.

"Miss Hamilton, I can't allow any one to disturb your
cousin; she is almost exhausted by our long ride, and I
forbid all company, as she needs rest and quiet."

"I will not disturb her in the least, I assure you,
Doctor." But he persisted, and she was forced to form one
of the circle that now gathered round the fire.

Mr. Stewart, in answer to Dr. Bryant's inquiries, replied
that he had long felt anxious to visit San Antonio, but had
been detained at home by important business till within a
few weeks, when he set out for Austin, and obtaining
there a sort of guide and companion, was hastening on,
hoping to reach the former place ere the arrival of the
Mexican forces.

"Having heard," continued he, "that Mr. Hamilton's
death left his family somewhat unprotected, I felt particularly
anxious on their account. Seeing your camp-fire, attracted
us in this direction, and happy am I to meet so
many old friends "


213

To Florence he had been far more explicit, detailing the
causes which produced a most fortunate change in his circumstances,
and his immediate determination to seek her
in her Western home.

'You will return with us to Washington then, Stewart,
as we possess the treasure you are in search of?"

"Yes, if none of the party offer any objection," replied
he

"I don't know that any feel disposed to act so ungratefully:
suppose we inquire, however. Miss Hamilton, have
you any objection to receiving, as an escort and protector,
this amiable cavalier, who has wandered so far from home
to offer his services?"

"Frank, it is hardly fair to make her speak for the
party; some may differ with her, on so important a point."

"You seem quite certain as to her sentiments on this
subject. Upon my word, Miss Florence, if I were you, I
should most assuredly take this occasion to teach him a
little humility; for instance, just tell him it makes no
difference with you—that it is perfectly immaterial."

"In following your advice, Doctor, the responsibility will
be inevitably transferred to yourself; and I must thank
you for so politely relieving me."

"I see no reason, Stewart, why you should not join our
party, and lend your assistance toward enlivening the tedious
hours yet in store for us; though only a few more days
of travel remain, thank Heaven."

"One would suppose, from the fear of ennui which seems
to cloud your future, that Mary and I had not succeeded
so happily as we imagined, in our efforts to entertain you."


214

"Pardon me, Miss Florence, if I have failed duly to
appreciate your kind efforts; though candor compels the
avowal, that I was not aware any extraordinary exertion
was made in my behalf."

"Really, Frank, I should say you have made considerable
progress in raising yourself in your own estimation
since last I heard you converse. Mrs. Carlton, I am afraid
this climate is unfavorable for the growth of at least two
of the cardinal virtues."

"Your insinuation is contemptible, because utterly without
grounds. Miss Florence, I appeal to you, as worthy
the privilege of acting as umpire in this important discussion.
Have you ever observed aught in my conduct indicating
a want of humility?"

"Unfortunately, Doctor, should I return an answer in
your favor, it would be at the expense of a virtue equally
entitled to pre-eminence."

"To the very candid Miss Hamilton, I must return
thanks for her disinterested and very flattering decision."

Here the conversation was interrupted by a call to the
evening meal, and gladly they obeyed the welcome summons.

Florence glancing round perceived the absence of her
cousin, and inquired the cause.

"I dare say she is asleep, poor child," said Aunt Lizzy.

"She is trying to rest, Miss Hamilton, and I would not
advise any interruption. She needs quiet, for she was sorely
tried by this day's fatigues," observed Dr. Bryant.

"I am afraid so," replied Florence, an anxious look
again settling on her face. "Oh, I wish on her account


215

we could reach a place of rest and safety. I fear she has
failed in strength since leaving San Antonio."

"How sadly changed she has become: had she not
spoken in her old, familiar tones, I should not have known
her. I earnestly hope there is nothing serious in her attack,
and that she will soon regain her former bloom: it
pains me to see her so altered," said Mr. Stewart.

"She can not possibly improve while subjected to the
fatigues of this journey. I feared she was scarce able to
endure it," answered Frank.

The conversation turned on more agreeable topics, and
soon—by all but Frank, who could not forget her look of
anguish—she was for a time forgotten.

Mary heard from her couch of suffering the cheerful
blending of voices, though nothing distinct reached her
ear; and as none approached to soothe her by affectionate
inquiries, a sense of neglect stole over her. But too habitually
accustomed to judge gently of others and forget herself,
it passed quickly away. She knelt on her pallet, and
clasping her thin hands, raised her heart to God, in the low,
feeble tone of one well-nigh spent:

"My God, thou readest my heart! Thou knowest how,
day by day, I have striven to love thee more and serve
thee better. Yet, oh, Father of mercies! my soul is tortured
with unutterable agony! Oh! on the verge of the
tomb, my heart still clings to earth and its joys. Look
down in thy mercy upon me, and help me to fix my
thoughts on heaven and thee. For long I have known
the vanity of my hope, and the deceitfulness of human
things; yet I could not tear away the pleasing image, and


216

turn to thee alone for comfort. Oh, may peace be my
portion the few days I have to live, and when death comes,
be thou with me, my God, to comfort and take me soon to
my home above."

She sank back in very weariness. "Oh, Frank, how
could you so mistake me?—you whom I have loved so
long, how could you believe I loved another?"

In the clear sunny light of morning, how cheerful all
things looked; and to a heart at peace with God, nature
seemed rejoicing. The deep blue vault arching illimitably
above—the musical murmuring of the creek, as it rushed
along its rocky bed—the mosquit, bent and glittering with
its frosty mantle, blended with the blazing camp-fire and
the busy hum of preparation for the day, stole pleasingly
into the heart. All the party, save Mary, stood about
the fire, warming their fingers and chatting on the various
occurrences of their long journey. All paused to welcome
the invalid, as she joined them with a slow, feeble
step; yet she looked better than she had done since leaving
her home. Restlessly she had tossed on her hard couch,
and now the hectic flush mantled the thin cheek and
brightened the deep blue eyes. The warm congratulations of
her friends on her improved appearance brought a sad smile
to her lip, and the expression of Dr. Bryant's countenance
told her that he at least realized her danger. Never had
Florence looked more beautiful, as the clear cold air brought
the glow to her check, added to the effect of her mourning
dress and the expression of quiet happiness, imparting an
indescribable charm to her lovely features.


217

"As you now stand, Miss Florence, looking so earnestly
toward the east, you seem to me a perfect realization of
Willis's Jeptha's Daughter:

"'She stood before her father's gorgeous tent,
To listen for his coming. Her loose hair
Was resting on her shoulder, like a cloud
Floating around a statue, and the wind
Just swaying her light robe, revealed a shape
Praxiteles might worship:
Her countenance was radiant with love:
She looked to die for it—a being whose
Whole existence was the pouring out
Of rich and deep affections.'"

As he looked upon her, these lines were uttered half
unconsciously; and then turning to Mary, he gently asked
if he might speak what was passing in his mind.

"Certainly, Frank—continue your quotation; the lines
never seemed so beautiful before;" said Mr. Stewart, glancing
at Florence as he spoke.

"Doubtless not, Stewart, because never so applied. Miss
Hamilton, your cousin looks more as did the Jewish maiden
at close of evening:

"'Her face was pale, but very beautiful; her lip
Had a more delicate outline, and the tint
Was deeper. But her countenance was like the
Majesty of angels.'"

"Dr. Bryant, is it possible you so far forget yourself and
previously expressed opinions, as to make quotations? I
thought you a sworn foe to the practice."

"On ordinary occasions, I am: and you may rest assured
it is the last time I commit such an absurdity by a
camp fire. I think you once asked me my objection—will


218

you hear it now? When I was quite young, I one day
read an anecdote of the celebrated Greek professor, Dr
Porson, which gave me a strong bias against quotations,
particularly locating them, which necessarily follows. Porson
was once traveling in a stage-coach, when a young
Oxonian, fresh from college, was amusing some ladies with
quite a variety of small talk, among other things a quotation
from Sophocles, as he said. A Greek quotation in a
stage-coach roused Porson, who half slumbered in a quiet
corner. 'Young gentleman,' said he, 'I think you indulged
us, just now, with a quotation from Sophocles; I don't
happen to remember it there.'—'Oh, sir,' rejoined the tyro,
'the quotation is word for word, and in Sophocles too.
The professor handed him a small edition of Sophocles,
and requested him to point out the passage. After rummaging
about for some time, he replied: 'Upon second thought
the passage is in Euripides.' 'Then,' said Porson, handing
him a similar edition of Euripides, 'perhaps you will be so
kind as to find it for me in this little book.' Our young
gentleman returned unsuccessfully to the search, with the
very pleasant cogitation of 'Curse me, if ever I quote Greek
again in a stage-coach.' The tittering of the ladies increased
his confusion, and desperate at last, he exclaimed
—'Bless me, how dull I am; I remember now perfectly
that the passage is in Æschylus.' The incorrigible professor
dived again into his apparently bottomless pocket,
and produced an edition of Æschylus; but the astounded
Oxonian exclaimed, 'Stop the coach! Halloa! coachman,
let me out instantly; there is a fellow inside here that has
got the whole, Bodleian library in his pocket. Let me out

219

I say—it must be Porson or the devil!' Now previous to
reading this anecdote, I must confess to quite a penchant
for quotations, but I assure you a full year elapsed ere I
ventured on another; and for a long time the ghost of
our gentleman appeared, spectre-like, before me, whenever
I attempted one."

When the merriment subsided, Mr. Stewart asked if it
was not of this same professor that a phrenologist remarked,
on examining his skull, that "the most important
question was, how the ideas found access to the brain—once
inside, and there are very solid reasons to prevent their getting
out again."

"Yes, the same. Craniologists admit, I believe, that
his was the thickest skull ever examined; and it is related
that when he could no longer articulate English, he spoke
Greek with fluency."

In a few moments the camp was broken up, and they
proceeded on their way. Mary cast a longing glance toward
her horse, now mounted by one of the servants, and
was taking her seat in the wagon, when Dr. Bryant said:

"Would you like to try your horse a little while this
morning? If it proves too fatiguing, you can return to
the wagon."

"I should like it very much, if I felt strong enough,
but I could not sit upright so long. Doctor, will you be
so kind as to ride my horse for me to-day, and let William
drive?"

"Certainly, if you prefer it; but may I venture to ask
your reason?"

"You have long been separated from your friend, and


220

naturally wish to be with him. Do not, on my account,
remain behind the party, as you are forced to do in driving
the wagon, but join Florence and Mr. Stewart, who seem
in such fine spirits this beautiful morning. I feel too weary
and feeble to talk, and William will take good care of me.",

He fixed his dark eyes mourfully on her face: she could
not meet his gaze, and her head sunk upon her bosom.

"Believe me, Miss Irving, every other pleasure is second
to that of watching over and being with you. If, in the
proposed change, my feelings alone are to be consulted,
allow me to remain with you."

"Thank you, Dr. Bryant, you are very kind to remember
me so constantly; my only object was to promote your
enjoyment of the day."

They rode for some distance in silence.

"This is my birth-day; and how little I fancied, on the
last anniversary, that I should be so situated," said Dr.
Bryant, as though speaking unconsciously.

"How one's feelings change with maturer years. I remember
well that, in my childhood, the lapse of time
seemed provokingly slow, and I wondered why, from year
to year, it seemed so Very long. The last three years of
my life, though somewhat checkered, have flown too
quickly away. A month ago, I would willingly have recalled
them, but they are lost in the ocean of eternity, only
to be remembered now as a changing, feverish dream,"
Mary replied.

"Miss Irving, without the benign and elevating influence
of Hope, that great actuating principle from the opening
to the close of life, what a dreary blank our existence


221

would prove. In childhood it gorgeously gilds the future;
the tints fade as maturity gains that future, and then it
gently brightens the evening of life, while memory flings
her mantle of witchery over the past, recalling, in hour
of sadness, all of joy to cheer the heart, and banishing forever
the phantoms of terror—the seasons of gloom that once
haunted us."

"Yes, how appropriately has the great bard of Time,
termed Hope 'silver-tongued.' And then, its soothing accents
are felt and acknowledged in the darkest hour of
human trial. When about to sever every earthly tie—
when on the eve of parting with every object rendered
dear by nature and association—when the gloomy portals
of the silent tomb open to receive us, then comes Hope
to paint the joys of heaven. Our reunion with those we
have loved and lost—perfect freedom from sin—the society
of angels, and the spirits of the just made perfect; the presence
of our Saviour, and an everlasting home in the bosom
of our God."

A look of unutterable peace and joy settled on the face
of Mary as she finished speaking and sank back, her hands
clasped, and her eyes raised as though in communion with
the spirits above.

Dr. Bryant's eyes rested with a sort of fascination on
her countenance.

"You have this hope; yes, already your soul turns from
earth and its vanities to the pure, unfailing fount of heavenly
joy. Oh! that I, like you, could soon find peace and
perfect happiness! I have striven against the bitter feelings
which of late have crept into my heart; still, despite


222

my efforts, they gather rapidly about me. I look forward,
and feel sick at heart. Turbid are all the streams of earthly
pleasures, and fully now I realize those lines, which once
seemed the essence of misanthropy—

'I thought upon this hollow world,
And all its hollow crew.'

For a time I found delight in intellectual pursuits, but soon
wearied of what failed to bring real comfort in hours of
trial."

"You need some employment to draw forth every faculty:
in a life of active benevolence and usefulness, this will
be supplied. Do not give vent to feelings of satiety or ennui;
your future should be bright—no dangers threaten,
and many and important duties await you in life. God
has so constituted us, that happiness alone springs from the
faithful discharge of these. Every earthly resource fails to
bring contentment, unless accompanied by an active, trusting
faith in God, and hope of blessedness in heaven. Wealth,
beauty, genius are as nought; and fame, that hollow, gilded
bauble, brings not the promised delight, and an aching
void remains in the embittered heart. One of our most
talented authors, now seated on the pinnacle of fame, assures
us that

'The Sea of Ambition is tempest tost,
And your hopes may vanish like foam.'
'The Sun of Fame but gilds the name,
The heart ne'er felt its ray.'

Pardon me if I have ventured too far, or wounded your
feelings: it was not my intention, and I have spoken half
unconsciously."


223

"Thank you, Miss Irving, for your kind words of comfort
and advice6 Fear not that ambition will lure me; I
know its hollow, bitter wages, and can not be deceived.
Yet there is a lonely feeling in my heart which I can not
dispel at will. Still my plans for the future are sufficiently
active to interest me; and I doubt not that a year hence
I shall feel quite differently. If I could always have your
counsel and sympathy, I should fear nothing."

"In seasons of trial—in the hours of gloom and despondency
—appeal to your sister for comfort. Oh! she is far
more capable of advising and cheering than I, who only
echo her sentiments." Mary pressed her hand to her side,
and leaning back, closed her eyes, as if longing for rest.

"I have drawn you on to converse more than was proper
—forgive my thoughtlessness; and, if it would not be impossible,
sleep, and be at rest." He carefully arranged her
shawls, and as she lay a long while with closed eyes, he
thought her sleeping, but turning, after a time, was surprised
to perceive her gazing earnestly out on the beautiful
country through which they now rode.


CHAPTER XVII.

"Alas! how light a cause may move
Dissensions between hearts that love!
Hearts that the world in vain had tried,
And sorrow but more closely tied;
That stood the storm when waves were rough,
Yet in a sunny hour, fall off,
Like ships that have gone down at sea,
When heaven was all tranquillity!"
MOORE.

PEACE and quiet and rest for you at last!" cried Dr. Bryant,
as they drove into the village of Washington, and, by
dint of much trouble and exertion, procured a small and
comfortless house. But a bright fire soon blazed in the
broad, deep, old-fashioned chimney—the windows and doors
closed—their small stock of furniture and provisions unpacked,
and a couch prepared for Mary, now far too feeble
to sit up. The members of the safe and happy party gathered
about the hearth, and discussed hopefully their future
prospects. Dr. Bryant raised his eyes to the somewhat insecure
roof, through which the light of day occasionally
stole in, and exclaimed:

'And doth a roof above me close?'"

"Not such a one as greeted Mazeppa on regaining his
senses, Frank; rather insecure, 'tis true, yet somewhat better


225

than the canvas covering for which we have been so
grateful of late."

Dr. Bryant leaned his elbow on the mantle-piece, and
fell into a fit of musing, not unusual to him since leaving
San Antonio. The servant disturbed his reverie by requesting
room for her cooking utensils. He raised his head as
she spoke, and then, as if utterly unconscious, dropped it
again, without reply.

"A cigar for your thoughts, Bryant!" said Mr. Stewart,
and linking his arm in that of his friend they turned
away.

Florence approached her cousin, and bending over the
wasted form, asked if she were not already better.

Mary lifted her arms to her cousin's neck, and for a moment
strove to press her to her heart, but strength had failed
rapidly of late, and they sank wearily by her side. Florence
sat down and took both hands between hers.

"Tell me, dear, if you are in pain?"

"No, Florry, I do not suffer much now; I am at present
free from all pain. I have not had an opportunity of
talking with you for some time. Florry, tell me, are you
very happy?"

"Yes, Mary, I am very happy—happier than I ever was
before; and far more so than I deserve. Oh! Mary, how
miserable I have been; and it is by contrast that the transition
is so delightful. I doubted the goodness and mercy
of God; and, in the bitterness of my heart, I asked why I
had been created for so much suffering. Oh, Mary! my
pure-hearted, angel cousin, how much of my present happiness
I owe to you. Suppose you had suffered me to wander


226

on in the maze of darkness. At this moment I should
have been a desolate, deluded, miserable nun; clinging to
a religion which, instead of Bible truths, filled the anxious,
aching heart with monkish legends of unattested miracles,
and in place of the pure worship of God, gives us mummeries
nearer akin to pagan rites! I thank God that I
am released from my thralldom. I see now the tissue of
falsehood so plausible in which all things were wrapped.
Blackness and deceit in the garb of truth and purity! And
it is horrible to think that he who so led me astray claims
to be my brother! Mary, Mary, how can I tell Mr. Stewart
this?—tell him that I have wandered from the true
faith—that I have knelt in confession to him who cursed
our common father! He will despise me for my weakness;
for only yesterday he said he first loved me for my
clear insight into right and wrong, and my scorn of deceit
and hypocrisy! Yet I deceived you; at least, tacitly—you
who have ever loved me so truly, you who have saved me
at last, and pointed out the road to heaven. Mary, forgive
me! I never asked pardon of any on earth before, but I
wronged you, good and gentle though you always were.
Forgive me, oh, my cousin!"

Mary clasped Florence's hands in hers, and though too
feeble to speak very audibly, replied:

"Florry, think not of the past; it has been very painful
to us both, yet I thank God that you are right at last.
You know how I love you: I would give every treasure
of earth to contribute to your happiness; and now that
you are so blest, listen to my counsel. Florry, there is a
cloud no bigger than a man's hand resting low on the horizon


227

of your happiness—be warned in time. You know
Mr. Stewart's firm, unwavering principles of Protestantism;
you know, too, the aversion with which he regards
the priests of Rome; it may be a hard task now, but it
will be tenfold more difficult a year hence. Go to him at
once, tell him you were misguided and deceived, and reveal
every circumstance connected with that unhappy
period. He will love you more for your candor. Florry,
you turn pale, as though unequal to the task. Oh, my
cousin, you prize his love more than truth; but the time
will come when he will prize truth more than your love!
Florry, let me beg you tell him all, and at once." She
sank back, as if exhausted by her effort in speaking so long,
yet firmly retained Florence's hand.

"Mary, if I do this, it is at the risk of losing his esteem,
which I prize even more than his love. And after all, I
can not see that truth or duty requires this humiliating confession.
Should he ever question me, I should scorn to
deceive him, and at once should tell him all. But he does
not suspect it, and I, being no longer in danger or blinded,
need not reveal the past."

Mournfully Mary regarded her beautiful cousin.

"Florry, if you conceal nothing now, he will esteem you
more than ever for hazarding his love in the cause of truth.
If, in after years, he discovers the past, he will tell you
that, silently at least, you deceived him, and reproach you
with want of candor and firmness. Oh! there is a fearful
risk to run; he will never place confidence in you again—
be warned in time."

The entrance of Aunt Lizzy and Mrs. Carlton prevented


228

further conversation, and unclasping Mary's fingers, Florence
disengaged her hand and left the room.

Two days passed in furnishing and arranging their new
home, and Mary saw but little of her cousin. As evening
closed in again, the invalid watched from her couch the
countenance of Mr. Stewart, as he sat earnestly conversing
with her aunt. Florence and Mr. and Mrs. Carlton were
out making some necessary purchases, and Dr. Bryant had
been absent on business of his own since morning.

"Florence is too young to marry, or even dream of it,
at present, Mr. Stewart; and besides, if I must be candid,
I have always entertained different views for her."

"Pardon me, but I believe I scarcely comprehend your
meaning. You speak of other views for her; may I venture
to ask the nature of these?"

"I have never expected her to marry at all, Mr. Stewart."

"And why not, pray? What can you urge in favor of
your wishes?"

"I had her own words to that effect, scarce a month
ago."

A proud, happy smile played round his lips, and he replied:
"She may have thought so then, but I think her
views have changed."

"But for Mary, she would have been the same:" and a
bitter look passed over her wrinkled face.

"Excuse me, if I ask an explanation of your enigmatical
language; there is some hidden meaning, I well know."

"Mr. Stewart, your mother and I are old friends, and I
wish you well; but all good Catholics love their church


229

above every earthly thing. I should like to see Florence
happy, but her eternal good should first be secured; you
are a Protestant, and bitterly opposed to our Holy Church,
and I can not consent to see her marry a heretic, for such
you are: she is too far astray already."

"If your niece were herself a Papist, your reason would
indeed be a cogent one; but, under existing circumstances,
I am puzzled to understand you."

"Were it not for Mary's influence, Florence would even
now rest in the bosom of our Holy Church. She has done
her cousin a grievous wrong; may God and the blessed
Virgin forgive her!"

Mary groaned in spirit, as she marked the stern glance
of his eagle eye, and feebly raising herself, she said: "Mr.
Stewart, will you take this seat beside the sofa? I wish to
speak with you."

Aunt Lizzy left the room hurriedly, as though she had
already said too much, and silently he complied with Mary's
request.

"You are pained and perplexed at what my aunt has
just said; allow me to explain what may seem a great
mystery. You are not aware that my uncle died a Papist.
Weakened in body and mind by disease, he was sought
and influenced in secret, when I little dreamed of such a
change. On his death-bed he embraced the Romish faith,
and, as I have since learned, exacted from Florry a promise
to abide by the advice of his priest, in spiritual as
well as temporal matters. He expired in the act of taking
the sacrament, and our desolation of heart can be better
imagined than described—left so utterly alone and unprotected,


230

far from our relatives and the friends of our youth.
I now marked a change in Florry, though at a loss to account
for it. An influence, secret as that exerted on her
lost parent, was like wise successful, and, to my grief and
astonishment, I found that she too had embraced papacy."

The door opened and Florence entered. She started on
seeing her lover, but advanced to them much as usual
He raised his head, and cold and stern was the glance he
bent on her beautiful face. She stood beside him, and
rising, he placed a chair for her in perfect silence. Mary's
heart ached, as she noted the marble paleness which overspread
her cousin's cheek. Mr. Stewart folded his arms
across his chest, and said in a low, stern, yet mournful
tone:

"Florence, I could not have believed that you would have
deceived me, as you have silently done."

Mournfully Florence looked for a moment on Mary's
face, yet there was no reproach in her glance; it seemed
but to say—"You have wakened me from my dream of
happiness."

She lifted proudly her head, and fixed her dark eye full
on her lover.

"Explain yourself, Mr. Stewart; I have a right to know
with what I am charged, though I almost scorn to refute
that of deceit."

"Not a week since, Florence, you heard me avow my
dislike of the tenets and practices of the Romish Church.
I said then, as now, that no strong-minded, intelligent woman
of the present age could consult the page of history
and then say that she conscientiously believed its doctrines


231

to be pure and scriptural, or its practices in accordance
with the teachings of our Saviour. You tacitly concurred
in my opinions. Florence, did you tell me you had once
held those doctrines in reverence? Nay, that even now
you lean to papacy?" Stern was his tone, and cold and
slightly contemptuous his glance.

A bitter, scornful smile wreathed the lips of his betrothed.
"I acknowledge neither the authority of questioning, nor
allow the privilege of any on earth to impugn my motives
or my actions. Had I felt it incumbent on me to acquaint
you with every circumstance of my past life, I should undoubtedly
have done so, when you offered me your hand.
I felt no obligation to that effect, and consequently consulted
my own inclinations. If, for a moment, you had
doubted me, or asked an explanation of the past, I should
have scorned to dissemble with you; and now that the
subject is broached you shall have the particulars, which,
I assure you, have kept well, though, as you suppose, sometime
withheld. I have been a member of the Church of
Rome: I have prayed to saints and the Virgin, counted
beads and used holy water, and have knelt in confession to
a priest of papal Home. I did all this, thinking, for a time,
my salvation dependent on it. You know all now."

Mr. Stewart regarded her sadly as she uttered these
words, and his stern tone softened as he noticed her bloodless
cheek and quivering lip.

"Florence, it is not your former belief or practice that
gives me this pain, and saddens our future. If you were
at this moment a professor of the Romish faith, I would
still cherish and trust you; I should strive to convince you


232

of your error—to point out the fallacy of your hopes. When
I recall the circumstances by which you were surrounded,
and the influences exerted, I scarcely wonder that, for a
time, you lent your credence and support. But, Florence,
full well you know that this is not what pains me. It is
the consciousness that you have kept me in ignorance of
what your own heart told you would show your momentary
weakness, and led me to suppose you entertained a belief
at variance with your practice. You have feared my
displeasure more than the disregard of truth and candor.
Florence, Florence! knowing how well I loved you, and
what implicit confidence I reposed in you, how could you
do this?"

"Again, Mr. Stewart, I repeat that I perceive no culpability
in my conduct. Had I felt it my duty, your love or
indifference would not have weighed an atom in my decision
to act according to my sense of right and wrong."

He turned from her, and paced to and fro before the fire.
Florence would have left the room, but Mary clasped her
dress, and detained her.

"Mr. Stewart, you have been too harsh and hasty in
your decision, and too severe in your remarks. Florry has
not forfeited your love, though she acted imprudently. Ask
your own heart whether you would be willing to expose
to her eye your every foible and weakness. For you, like
all God's creatures, have faults of your own. Is there nothing
you have left untold relative to your past? Oh! if
you knew how deep and unutterable has been her love,
even when she never again expected to meet you, you
would forget this momentary weakness—a fault committed


233

from the very intensity of her love, and fear lest she
should sink in your estimation."

"Mary, if she had said, Dudley, I have not always felt
as now, and my mind was darkened for a time, I should
have loved her, if possible, more than before, for her noble
candor. My own heart would have told me, This is one in
whom you may eternally trust, for she risked the forfeiture
of your love in order that truth might be unsullied. How
can I confide in one who values the esteem of man more
than the approval of her own conscience? You have said
her love was a palliation. No, you are wrong; it is an
aggravation of her fault. She should have loved me too
well to suffer me to discover by chance what should have
been disclosed in confidence. Mary, her love is not greater
than mine. None know how I have cherished her memory
—how I have kept her loved image in my heart during
our long separation. I would give every earthly joy or
possession to retain her affection, for it is dearer to me than
every thing beside, save truth, candor, and honesty. I have
nothing to conceal from her: I would willingly bare my
secret soul to her scrutiny. There is nothing I should wish
to keep back, unless it be the pain of this hour."

He paused by her side, and looked tenderly on the pale,
yet lovely face of Florence.

"Mr. Stewart, shall one fault forever destroy your confidence
in Florry, when she has declared that had she
thought it incumbent on her to speak of these things—if
she had felt as you do, she asserts that nothing could have
prevented her revealing every circumstance."

"Mary, I fear her code of morality is somewhat too lax;


234

and the fact that she acknowledges no fault is far more
painful than any other circumstance."

"Mary, I have omitted one thing which I wish him to
know. I neglected to inform you, that the priest to whom
I confessed is my half-brother! I have now told you all;
and thinking as you do, it is better that in future we forget
the past and be as strangers to each other. That I
have loved you fervently, I can never forget—neither your
assertion that I am unworthy of your confidence."

She disengaged her dress from Mary's clasp, and turned
toward the door. Mr. Stewart caught her hand, and firmly
held it. She struggled not to release herself, but lifted
her dark eyes to his, and calmly met his earnest glance.

"Florence!"

There was a mournful tenderness in the deep tone. Her
lip quivered, still her eyes fell not beneath his, piercing as
an eagle's.

"Mr. Stewart, you have wronged her; you have been
too severe." And Mary clasped his hand tightly, and
looked up appealingly. He withdrew his hand.

"Florence, this is a bitter, bitter hour to me. Yet I may
have judged too harshly: we will forget the past, and, in
future, let no such cloud come between us."

"Not so, Mr. Stewart: if I am unworthy, how can you
expect confidence from me? Think you I will change the
code which you just now pronounced too lax? Oh! you
know not what you have done. It is no light thing to tell
a woman of my nature she is unworthy of the love she
prized above every earthly thing!" Her voice, despite her
efforts, faltered.


235

"Florence, I have been too severe in my language, and
you too proud and haughty. Full well we know that without
the love of each other life would be joyless to both.
Ours is not a common love; and again I say, let us forget
the past, while, in future, need I ask you to keep nothing
from me?"

He drew her to him as he spoke, and passing his arm
round her, pressed her to his heart. A long time Florence
hid her head on his shoulder, as if struggling with her
emotion, and then a heavy sob relieved her troubled
heart. Closer he clasped her to him, and, laying his check
on hers, murmured:

"My own darling Florence, forgive me, if I misjudged
you; tell me that you will not remember my words—that
this hour shall be to us as a painful dream."

She withdrew from his embrace, and, lifting her head,
replied:

"I was wrong to doubt your love, or believe that you
would think long of my weakness; but I am innocent of
the charge of dissimulation, and never let us recur to the
past."

She held out her hand, and clasping it in his, Mr.
Stewart led her away.

An hour later Mary lay with closed eyes, too weary, from
overexcitement, even to look about her. All had left the
room, and a dim light from the hearth just faintly lighted
the large, comfortless apartment. With noiseless step Dr.
Bryant entered, and seating himself in the vacant chair,
near Mary's sofa, bent forward that he might look on the
wan face of the sufferer. His heart ached as he noted the


236

painful alteration of the last week, and gently and softly he
took one of the thin white hands between his own. It was
cold and damp, and, while he pressed it, the dark blue eyes
rested earnestly on his face.

"I hoped you were sleeping, did I wake you?" and he
laid the hand back, as she strove to withdraw it.

"No, I have not slept since morning."

"Oh! I am troubled at your constant suffering; is there
any thing I can do for you?"

"No thank you, Doctor, I wish nothing."

"All my arrangements are completed, and to-morrow I
return to your home. Can I deliver any message, or execute
any commission?"

For a moment Mary closed her eyes, then replied in
a low voice:

"If you should see Inez, tell her to remember my gift at
parting, and thank her, in my name, for her many, many
kindnesses." She paused, as if gathering courage to say
something more.

"And tell her, too, that ere many hours I shall be
at rest. Tell her I have no fear, nay more, that I have
great hope, and that heaven is opening for me. Let her
prepare to join me, where there is no sorrow nor parting."

There was a silence, as if each were communing with
their own hearts.

"You go to-morrow, Dr. Bryant? Then you will not
stay to see me die? I am failing fast, and when you return,
I shall have gone to that bourne whence no traveler
comes back to tell the tale. Let me thank you now, for
your unvarying kindness; many have been your services,


237

and a brother's care has ever followed me. Thank you;
I appreciate your kindness, and earnest and heartfelt is my
prayer that you may be very happy and blest on earth;
and when you, too, come to die, may your end be like
mine—free from all fear, and may hope and joy attend
your last moments!"

Her breathing grew short, and large drops stood on her
pure, beautiful brow.

He had bent his head upon his bosom while she spoke,
but now he raised it, and, taking her hand, clasped it
warmly.

"Mary, Mary, if you knew what torture you inflicted,
you would spare me this!"

It was the first time he had called her Mary, and her
pale lip quivered.

"Forgive me, if I cause you pain!"

Bending forward, he continued, in a tone of touching sadness
—" I had determined, Mary, to keep my grief locked
in my own heart, and never to let words of love pass my
lips. But the thought of parting with you forever is more
than I can bear. Oh! Mary, have you not seen for weeks
and months how I have loved you? Long ago, when
first we met, a deep, unutterable love stole into my heart.
I fancied for a time that you returned it, till the evening
we met at my sister's, and you spoke with such indifference
of leaving me behind. I saw then I had flattered myself
falsely; that you entertained none save friendly feelings toward
me. Still, I thought in time you might learn to regard
me with warmer sentiments. So I hoped on till the
evening of our last ride, when your agitation led me to suppose


238

you loved another. I saw you meet Mr. Stewart,
and was confirmed in my supposition. I gave up all hope
of ever winning your affection in return. Now I see my
error in believing for a moment that you felt otherwise to
him than as a brother, as the betrothed of your cousin. I
know that you have never loved him, and pardon my error.
When I sought you just now, it was to say good by, and
in absence and varied and exciting pursuits to shut out
from my heart the memory of my hopes and fears. Mary,
your words fill me with inexpressible anguish! Oh, you
can not know how blank and dreary earth will seem when
you are gone! I shall have no hope, no incitement, no
joy!"

As she listened to this confession, which a month before
would have brought the glow to her cheek and sparkle to
her eye, she felt that it came too late; still a perfect joy
stole into her heart. She turned her face toward him, and
gently said:

"I am dying; and, feeling as I do, that few hours are
allotted me, I shall not hesitate to speek freely and candidly.
Some might think me deviating from the delicacy of
my sex; but, under the circumstances, I feel that I am
not. I have loved you long, and to know that my love is
returned, is a source of deep and unutterable joy to me.
You were indeed wrong to suppose I ever regarded Mr.
Stewart otherwise than as Florry's future husband. I
have never loved but one."

"Mary, can it be possible that you have loved me, when
I fancied, of late, that indifference, and even dislike, nestled
in your heart? We shall yet be happy! I thank God


239

that we shall be so blest!" And he pressed the thin hand
to his lips.

"Do not deceive yourself. Your confession has come too
late. I can never be yours, for the hand of death is already
laid upon me, and my spirit will wing its way, ere
long, home to God. Now that we understand each other,
and while I yet live, let us be as calm, as happy as the
circumstances allow. It may seem hard that I should be
taken when the future appears so bright, but I do not repine,
neither must you. God, ever good and merciful, sees
that it is best I should go, and we will not embitter the
few hours left us by vain regrets." Too feeble to speak
more, she closed her eyes, while her breathing grew painfully
short.

Dr. Bryant bent forward, and gently lifting her head,
supported her with his strong arm, and stroked off from her
beautiful brow the clustering hair. A long time she lay
motionless, with closed eyes, and bending his head, he
pressed a long kiss on the delicately-chiseled lips.

"O God! spare me my gentle angel Mary," he murmured,
as looking on the wan, yet lovely face, he felt that
to yield her up was more than he could bear.

At this moment Mrs. Carlton entered: he held out his
hand, and drawing her to his side, said, in a deep, tender tone:

"She is mine now, sister; thank God, that at last I
have won her, and pray with me that she may be spared
to us both."

Fervently she pressed his hand, and a tear rolled down
and dropped upon it, as she bent down to kiss the sufferer.
Gently he put her back.


240

"She is wearied, and just fallen asleep; do not wake
her."

He carefully depressed his arm that she might rest more
easily. Mrs. Carlton seated herself beside her brother, and
whispered:

"You will not go to-morrow, Frank?"

"No, no; I will not leave her a moment. Ellen, does
she seem very much thinner since leaving home? I know
she is very pale."

"Yes, Frank; she is fearfully changed within the last
week."

"Oh, Ellen! if she should be taken from me;" and
closer he drew his arm, as though fearing some unseen
danger.

"We must look to Heaven for her restoration, and God is
good," answered his sister, turning away to conceal her
tears.


CHAPTER XXVIII.

"Ah! whence yon glare
That fires the arch of heaven?—that dark red smoke
Blotting the silver moon?......
Hark to that roar, whose swift and deafening peals,
In countless echoes, through the mountains ring.
Startling pale midnight on her starry throne!
Loud and more loud, the discord grows,
Till pale Death shuts the scene,
And o'er the conqueror and the conquered draws
His cold and bloody shroud."
SHELLEY.

THE 6th of March rose dark and lowering, and all nature
wore an aspect meet for the horrors which that day
chronicled in the page of history. Toward noon the dense
leaden cloud floated off, as though the uncertainty which
vailed the future had suddenly been lifted—the crisis had
come. Santa Anna and his blood-thirsty horde, rendered
more savage by the recollection of the 11th December,
poured out the vial of their wrath on the doomed town.
Oh! San Antonio, thou art too beautiful for strife and
discord to mar thy quiet loveliness. Yet the fiery breath
of desolating war swept rudely o'er thee, and, alas! thou
wast sorely scathed.

A second time the ill-fated fortress was fiercely charged.


242

Long it withstood the terrible shock, and the overwhelming
thousands that so madly pressed its gray, mouldering
walls. The sun went down as it were in a sea of blood,
its lurid light, gleaming ominously on the pale, damp
brows of the doomed garrison. Black clouds rolled up and
vailed the heavens in gloom. Night closed prematurely
in with fitful gusts, mingling the moans and strife of nature
with the roar of artillery. Still the fury of the onset
abated not: the Alamo shook to its firm basis. Despairingly
the noble band raised their eyes to the blackened
sky. "God help us!" A howling blast swept by, lost in
the deep muttering of the cannonade. Then a deep voice
rung clearly out, high above the surrounding din: "Comrades,
we are lost! let us die like brave men!"

The shriek of departing hope was echoed back by the
sullen groan of despair. Travis fell, fighting at the entrance.
As the hero sank upon the gory floor, there was
a pause; friend and foe gazed upon the noble form! His
spirit sprung up to meet his God.

"On, comrades! Travis has fallen! dearly will we die!"
One hundred and fifty brave hearts poured out their lifeblood
by his motionless form, struck down like sheep in the
slaughter-pen. But seven remained: in despair they gazed
on the ruin around, reeling from exhaustion and slipping
in gore. There was borne on the midnight air a faint,
feeble cry: "Quarter! quarter!" Alas! brave hearts,
the appeal was lost, for an incarnate demon led the thirsty
band. With a fiendish yell it was answered back, "No
quarter!" and ye seven were stretched beside your fearless,
noble Travis.


243

Not a living Texan remained. The stiffening forms,
grim in death, returned not even a groan to the wild shout
of triumph that rung so mockingly through the deserted
chambers of the slaughter-house. Victory declared for the
wily tyrant—the black-hearted Santa Anna. Complete
was the desolation which reigned around: there was none
to oppose—no not one; and the Alamo was his again!
Oh, Death! thou art insatiate! Hundreds had yielded to
thy call, and followed the beckoning of thy relentless hand:
and still another must swell thy spectre host, and join the
shadowy band of the Spirit World!

For three days Don Garcia lay motionless on his couch
of pain; even utterance was denied him, for paralysis had
stretched forth her numb, stiffening finger, and touched
him, even while he stood in the busy haunts of men. All
day the din of battle had sounded in his ear; Inez from
time to time stole from his side, and looked out toward the
fortress, dimly seen through the sulphurous cloud of smoke
and the blaze of artillery.

In the silent watches of the night, the shout of "Victory!"
was borne on by the blast. "My father, the Alamo is
taken—Santa Anna has conquered!" He struggled fearfully,
a gurgling sound alone passed his lips, and he fell back
lifeless on his pillow.

Calmly the girl bent down and closed the eyes, covered
decently the convulsed features, and then, shrouding her
face with the mantilla, stept forth for assistance. The
next day saw the Don borne to his last resting-place. In
accordance with the custom of the nation, no female followed
the bier. It was borne by two men, and followed


244

by some dozen children, and perhaps as many aged Mexicans.
While just in advance strode the Padre, repeating
the Latin service for the dead, and attended by four boys
—two bearing censers, one a cross, and the other holy
water. With indecent haste they pressed forward, passing
through the church, and resting the bier for a moment
on the altar, while an Ave Maria was repeated. At, a
sign from the Padre, the procession moved on to the churchyard,
and, without further ceremony, the body deposited
in consecrated ground. Holy water was sprinkled profusedly
around, and then all departed, leaving him to sleep
undisturbed the last dreamless sleep.

Night found Inez sitting alone by her dreary, deserted
hearth. Father, mother, sister, cousin, all had passed
on before her; and the last of her house, she mused in her
lonely home. A faint fire flickering on the hearth just
revealed the form and face of the Mexican maiden. Her
mantilla lay on the floor beside her, the black hair, thick
and straight, hung to the waist, her brilliant, piercing eyes
were bent vacantly on the fire, her dark cheek perfectly
colorless as clay.

" Who is there to care for Inez now? Who will
smoothe my pillow, and close my eyes, and lay me to
rest?"

Her desolation of heart conquered; her head sunk upon
her bosom, and a deep, bitter groan burst from her lips.
Slowly she rocked herself to and fro in the loneliness
of her spirit.

She had not loved her father warmly; there was little
congeniality between them, and her hasty rejection of


245

Mañuel's suit mutually embittered their intercourse. For
Nevarro, a sort of, sisterly feeling was entertained, no
warmer affection. Yet she could love intensely. A little
sister had waked her tenderness—her heart clung to the
gentle child, so unlike herself. She sickened, and in
a day went down to the tomb: bitter was the grief of
Inez, who felt little for her mother, and soon she too took
her place in the church-yard. Dr. Bryant came, and again
Inez loved—again she was disappointed; and now she sat
alone in the wide world, without one remaining tie to bind
the future.

The hour of bitterness had come. She looked upon that
dreary future and her utter desolation, and no gleam of
hope stole to her darkened soul. An almost vacant expression
settled on the dark countenance of the once beautiful
maiden. Softly the door was pushed ajar, and the form of
the Padre stood within. By instinct she seemed aware of
his entrance, for raising her bowed head, the black sparkling
eyes flashed, and the broad brow wrinkled into a
frown dark as night. He approached her, and they stood
face to face upon the hearth.

"What do you here, in the house of death, Mio Padre?"

"Inez, my queen of beauty, I have come to take the
prize for which I toiled. There are none now between
us, no, not one. You need not draw back so proudly."

A bitter, contemptuous laugh rung out on the night air,
and Inez folded her arms upon her bosom.

"Truly, Padre, we are well mated! You have opposed
me, and I thwarted you! I am your equal: think you
to intimidate me with threats? You should know better!"


246

"Inez, listen! I leave this place before many days. My
work is finished here; there are none to oppose, and I go
elsewhere. To Mexico first, and then to Italy. You must
go with me, my proud beauty! I can not leave you here!"

Again Inez laughed her mocking laugh. "Go with you,
Mio Padre! No, no; I must decline the honor. The
hour of settlement has come! Alphonso Mazzolin, for
long you have plotted my destruction; and one by one removed
every obstacle in your way, and smoothed my path
to ruin! I have known this—silently I have watched you
manœuvre. You counseled Mañuel; you flattered him,
encouraged his hasty course and overbearing manner, and
caused the rupture between us. You knew my nature, and
foresaw the result. You thought to secure me within the
walls of yonder gloomy convent, and hoped that in time
my broad lands would bless and enrich your holy church!
But, Padre, I did not fancy the home prepared for me in
San Jose. I promised to comply with my father's wish,
and fulfill the engagement, much to your surprise and
chagrin. Padre, I would have married Mañuel, sooner
than second your plans. I, too, foresaw the tempest that
even now howls over us. It was my only hope, and
I said, who may predict the chances of war? The Americans
may yet number the most here, and then your
power will be at an end. Seemingly I was passive, but
you are thwarted. We stand face to face, and I scorn
you, incarnate devil as you are. How dared you do as
you have done? Mine eyes are opened—you can no
longer deceive me with your lying legends and the marvelous
traditions of your country. I tell you; I hate you


247

with an everlasting hate. You have led me far from God,
if there be a God, and may my curse follow you, even to
your grave!"

Fiercely the glowing face was bent upon him. Hate,
scorn, bitterness of heart, and utter desolation mingled
strangely in the withering glance. The Padre seized her
arm, and hoarsely exclaimed:

"We know each other now: no matter, you can not es
cape me: if force be necessary to take you hence, I can
command it at any moment. You know full well my
word is law; resist not, nor further rouse me—there is no
help for you save in submission. I will not leave you."

"Ere I follow you hence, yonder river shall close over
my body. I tell you now I will not accompany you."

He stepped to the door and whistled faintly. The next
moment a black-browed soldier stood before them.

"Herrara, she has broken her promise—she refuses to
enter a convent, and she defies me, and scorns our holy
chruch. I somewhat expected this; and I charge you
now, suffer her not to pass the threshold of her own room;
guard well the door, there is no window. See you, Inez,
you can not escape me?" He whispered in the intruder's
ear, and, promising to come again the ensuing day, left the
house, carefully closing the door after him. Lighting his
cigarrita, Herrara requested Inez to seek her own apartment,
that he might secure the door outside, and then return
to the fire. Without a word she ascended the stairs
to her own room. A chain was passed about the door, and
then the retreating steps of the soldier died away.

"What should she do? Inez sat down to collect her


248

thoughts, and looked round the apartment. The walls
were of solid rock, and in one corner was a small grating
of four iron bars, which admitted light and air, but precluded
all hope of escape in that quarter. The door was
secured, and no means of egress presented itself. Her eye
rested on her lamp, and a smile lit up the dark countenance
of the prisoner. She threw herself on her bed: slowly the
hours rolled—midnight came at last. She rose and listened
—no stir, no sound of life reached her: she glanced
at her lamp, now dim—the light was waning, and softly
stepping across the room, she drew from a basket several
bundles of paper. These she tore in pieces, and placing
them beside the door, drew the lamp near. Inez carefully
twisted up her long black hair, and placed on her head a
broad sombrero, which the Don had worn of late; then
taking his Mexican blanket, she slipped her head through
the opening, and suffered it to fall to her feet. Something
seemed forgotten, and after some little search, she found a
small cotton bag, into which she dropped a polonce, then
secured it beneath the blanket. Queerly enough she looked,
thus accoutred; but apparently the oddity of her appearance
never once crossed her mind, for, stepping across
the floor, she held the pieces of paper over the lamp till
ignited, then quickly thrust them one by one between the
small crack or chink in the centre of the door. It was of
wood, old and dry, and caught like tinder. She watched
it burn; the door was narrow, and the devouring element
soon consumed all save the top and bottom pieces which
extended across. These quivered as their support crumbled
beneath them, and soon would fall with a crash. She

249

watched her time, and gathering dress and blanket closely
about her, sprang through, and though almost suffocated
with smoke, hurried down to a small door at the rear of the
house. She stood without and listened: Inez fancied she
heard the crackling of the fire, yet there was no time to
lose. Just before her sat a large stone vessel, containing
the soaking corn for the morning tortillos; drawing forth
her bag, she filled it with the swollen grain, and hastened
on to where a small black horse was lassoed, having his
hay scattered on the ground beside him. It was but the
work of a moment to throw on and fasten her father's
saddle, which hung on a neighboring tree, and loosing the
hair larait, she patted the pony she had often ridden on
St.——'s day, and sprang into the seat. Slowly she
passed through the narrow yard, and entered the street;
pausing, she glanced up at her window, and perceived
through the grating the blaze and smoke now filling the
vacant room. Distinctly the clank of the chain fell on her
ear, and turning into an alley, she galloped away.

Inez knew it would be impossible to pass over the bridge,
and down the Alameda without detection, for seven hundred
Mexican troops were stationed on the outskirts of the
town; and, with the celerity of thought, she directed her
way in the opposite direction, toward a shallow portion of
the river, occasionally used as a ford. Happily the distance
was short; and urging her somewhat unwilling horse, she
plunged in. The moon rose full and bright as she reached
the opposite bank; and pausing a moment, she looked back
upon the sleeping town. No sound of life fell on her ear;
and avoiding the beaten track, she turned her horse out on


250

the grass, and hastened on toward the east, directing her
course so as to pass beyond the Powder-House, which was
dimly seen in the distance. At a quick canter it was soon,
passed, and she pressed on to the Salado, some three miles
distant. Full well she knew she would be sought for when
morning dawned; and with such speed she almost flew on,
that sunrise found her many miles from her home. Inez
was fearless, or she would never have dared to undertake
what lay before her. Alone, unprotected, in the guise of a
man, without possessing his ordinary means of defense, there
was much to risk; for Indian depredations were frequent,
and she must traverse a wide waste of almost interminable
length ere reaching any settlement.

When the sunbeams played joyously about her Inez stopped
to rest, and eating a few grains of her treasured corn,
she allowed her horse to graze a short time along the margin
of a stream, where the grass was tender and abundant;
and then remounting, rode on somewhat more leisurely than
she had previously done.


CHAPTER XXIX.

"To die, is landing on some silent shore,
Where billows never beat nor tempests roar!"
GARTH.

SINCE morning, Mary had lain in the deep, dreamless
sleep of exhaustion: and now the leafless boughs, which
waved to and fro before her window, threw long shadows
athwart the wall and across the deserted yard. Evening
was creeping slowly on. Over the wan, yet lovely face of
the sleeper had come a gradual change—agonizing, yet indescribable.
It ever appears when Death approaches to
claim his victim, and it seems as though the shadow cast
by his black pinions. Mary opened her eyes and looked
silently on the sad group which clustered around her couch.
Mr. Stewart, alone able to command his voice, asked if she
was not better, as she had slept so gently.

"All is well, Mr. Stewart—I have no pain;" and her
eye again rested on Florence. Long was the look, and full
of deep, unutterable tenderness. Feebly she extended her
hand.

"Florry!"

Her cousin knelt beside her, and buried her face in her
hands. Mary laid hers on the bowed head.

"Dear Florry, I have little time to stay. Do not sadden


252

this last hour with vain regrets. Ah! my cousin, I thank
God that you will be so happy. When you miss me from
your side you will feel lonely enough, and your heart will
ache for me again. Yet, though bodily absent, I shall not
be far away, Florry. My spirit will hover round the loved
ones I leave on earth. Your dead, forming an angel-guard,
will ever linger about your earthly path, and in the hour
like this will bear up your spirit to God. Think not of me
as resting in the silent grave. I shall not be there, but
ever near you. I do not say, try to forget me, and fix your
thoughts on other things. Oh! I beg you to think of me
often, and of our glorious reunion in heaven! Florry, there
is one thing which will stand between you and me. My
dear cousin, conquer your pride, cast away your haughtiness,
and learn to lean on God, and walk in accordance
with his law. Oh! who would exchange the hope of a
Christian for all that worlds could offer? One may pass
through life, and do without it; but in the hour of death
its claim is imperatively urged, and none can go down to
the tomb in peace without it. Florry, you said last night
it was hard that I should die. I am not merely reconciled,
but I am happy! Earth looks very bright and joyous, and
if I might stay, my future is attractive indeed. Yet I know
that for some good end I am taken, and what seems to you
so hard, is but a blessing in disguise. Oh! then, when you
are summoned away, may you feel, as I now do, that the
arms of your God are outstretched to receive you." She
held out her hand to Mr. Stewart, who stood beside, her:
he clasped it in his.

"Cherish Florry, and let no, shadow come between you.


253

It gives me inexpressible joy to know that when I am gone
you will be near to love and to guide her."

"We will comfort and guide each other, dear Mary, and
oh! I pray God that we may be enabled to join you in
that land of rest to which you are hastening." He fervently
kissed the thin white hand he held, and then gently raised
Florence. Mary lifted her arms feebly, and they clasped
each other in a long, last embrace.

"Mary, my angel cousin, I can not give you up. Oh!
I have never prized you as I ought. Who will love me as
you have done?"

"Hush, Florry!" whispered the sinking voice of the sufferer.
"I am very, very happy—kiss me, and say good-by."

Gently Dr. Bryant took Florence from her cousin, and
then each in turn, Mrs. Carlton and Aunt Lizzy, bent over
her; as the latter turned away, Mary took her hand, and
drawing her down, murmured:

"My dear aunt, forgive what may have pained you in
my past life. We have differed on many points, but we
both know there is one God. Oh! aunt, in his kingdom
may we soon meet again: think of me often, dear aunt.
When I am gone you will be very lonely, but only for a
short period are we separated."

Dr. Bryant elevated her pillow that she might rest more
easily. She lifted her eyes to his pale face. "Frank, will
you turn the sofa that I may see the sun set once more?"

He moved it to the west window, and drew aside the
curtain that the golden beams might enter: she could not
look out for the sofa was low, and sitting down beside


254

her, he passed his arm around her, and lifted her head to
his bosom. For a time she looked out on the brilliant hues
of the setting sun, now just visible above the tree tops.
Slowly it sank, then disappeared forever to her vision.
Once Dr. Bryant had seen her lips move, as in prayer; now
the deep blue eyes were again raised to the loved face bending
over her.

"Long ago, I prayed to God that I might fade away
gently, and die a painless death. He has granted my
petition. All things seem very calm and beautiful—earth
ne'er looked so like heaven before; yet how insignificant
in comparison with the glories which await me. Frank,
if aught could draw me back, and make me loth to leave
this world, it would be my love for you. Life would be
so bright passed by your side. You know the depth of my
love, yet I may not remain. Frank, tell me that you can
give me up for a little while. Oh! can you not say, 'God's
will be done?'"

"Mary, it is a terrible trial to yield you up, when I
looked forward so joyously to the future. It is hard to
think of the long, long dreary years that are to come, and
know that you will not be near me; that I can not see
your face, or hear your loved tones. Oh, Mary, you know
not the bitterness of this hour; yet I can say God's will
be done, for I have conquered my own heart, but every
earthly joy and hope has passed away. To our reunion I
must ever look as my only comfort, and I pray God that
it may be speedy."

He bent his head till his lips rested on the white brow,
now damp in death. Wearily she turned her face toward


255

his; he clasped the wasted form tightly to his heart, and
kissed the pale lips; her fingers clasped his hand gently,
and she whispered, "Good-by!"

"Good-by, my darling Mary!—my own angel one, good-by!"

Again he pressed his lips to hers, and then rested her
head more easily upon his arm. The eyes closed, and those
who stood watching her low, irregular breathing, fancied
she slept again.

One arm was around her, while the other supported the
drooping head. Her beautiful brown hair fell over his
arm, and left exposed the colorless face. She was wasted,
yet beautiful in its perfect peace and joy was the expression
which rested on her features. Dr. Bryant, leaning his
noble brow on hers, felt her spirit pass away in the last
sigh which escaped her lips. Yet he did not lift his head.
Cold as marble grew the white fingers which lingered in
his, still he clasped her tightly. He sat with closed eyes,
communing with his own saddened heart; he was stilling
the agony which welled up, and casting forth the bitterness
which mingled darkly with his grief, and he said unto
his tortured soul: "Be still! my treasure is laid up in
heaven."

He lifted the hair from his arm, and gently drew his
hand from hers; yet, save for the icy coldness of her brow,
none would have known that the soul which lent such
gentle loveliness to the countenance had flown home to God.

Dr. Bryant pressed a last kiss on the closed eyes and
marble brow, softly laid her on her pillow, and left the
room.


CHAPTER XXX.

"ALL things are dark to sorrow," and the very repose
and beauty of nature seems to the aching heart a mockery.
No violent bursts of grief had followed Mary's death, for
so peaceful and painless was her end, it was scarce allowable.
Yet now that she had been consigned to the quiet
grave, a dreary sense of loneliness and desolation crept to
the hearts of the saddened group. They stood assembled
at the door of their new home, to bid adieu to Dr. Bryant.
In vain had been his sister's tears and entreaties, and Mr.
Carlton's expostulations. Florence had clasped his hand,
and asked in trembling accents, why he left them in their
sorrow, and Mr. Stewart implored him not to seek death
on the battle-field.

Firm in his purpose, naught availed. He stood upon
the step ready to depart; his noble face was very pale,
and grief had touched with saddening finger every lineament.
Yet his tone and mien were calm as usual.

"My dear sister," said he, "in times like these a man
should first regard duty—the laws and precepts of his
God! then the claims of his suffering country; and lastly,
the ties of nature and the tenderer feelings of his heart.
Ellen, think how many have torn themselves from weeping
wives and clinging children, and cast their warm love


257

far from them. The call to patriots is imperative. I
have now nothing to detain me here: it is my duty to lend
my arm toward supporting our common liberty. Do not
fear for me, Ellen, my dear sister; remember that the
strong arm of all-seeing God is ever around us, to guard
in time of danger!" He clapped her tenderly to his heart,
then placed her in her husband's arms.

"Florence, if not again in Texas, I hope we shall soon
meet, in more peaceful hours, in Louisiana; if not, I pray
God that you and Stewart may be as happy as I once
hoped to be." He pressed her hand wamly, and returning
the long, tight clasp of Mr. Stewart, mounted his horse
and rode slowly away.

"Mother," said Elliot, "Uncle Frank has not taken the
right road toward home."

"Hush, Elliot!" she sadly answered, while her tears
gushed anew; "he has gone by his Mary's grave."

On that hour, spent at the early tomb of the "loved and
lost" Mary, we will not intrude: it is rendered sacred by
its deep, unutterable anguish.

Nearly a week passed, and Dr. Bryant had hurried on,
riding through the long, long nights, and only pausing at
times to recruit his jaded steed. He had arrived at within
two days' ride of San Antonio, and too wearied to proceed,
stopped as night closed in, and picketing his horse wrapped
his cloak about him, and threw himself under a large
spreading oak to rest, and, if possible, to sleep. An hour
passed on: still he lay looking up to the brilliant sky above.
Perfect quiet reigned around, and he felt soothed inexpressibly.
Overcome with fatigue, sleep stole on, and momentary


258

oblivion of the past was granted. He was startled from
his slumber by the neighing of his horse; and rising lightly,
drew forth his pistols, cocked one, and turned in the direction
whence came the sound of approaching hoofs. The
neighing was answered by the advancing steed, and soon
the figure of both rider and horse was dimly seen; for the
moon was not yet risen, and the pale light of the stars but
faintly assisted the vision.

"Who comes there?" asked Dr. Bryant, throwing off
his cloak, and stepping up to the stranger.

"A peaceful Mexican, in search of cows, and some twenty
sheep which strayed away. I think, from your voice,
you are an Americano. I am friendly to your people—you
will not molest me, and I will not harm you."

"My friend, I rather doubt your word. These are stormy
times for a man to venture out in search of cattle, so far
from San Antonio."

"I could tell you a piece of news that would satisfy you
that I run less risk than yourself. But, stranger, it's not
civil to doubt a man's word, and make him an enemy
whether he will or not."

"I am willing to receive your proffered proof of sincerity,
and hope to find you unlike your fickle nation. Come, tell
the news which sanctions this long ramble of yours. These
are dark days, and it becomes every man to look well to
his own safety, and likewise watch his neighbor's movements."

"I will do you a kindness, stranger; turn your horse's
head, and let moonrise find you where you drank water at
noon. San Antonio is no place for Americans now. Santa


259

Anna has taken the Alamo; and every one of your people
lie low. Not one was spared to carry the tale to Austin—no,
not one!"

Dr. Bryant groaned in spirit, and his extended arm sunk
to his side.

"O God! hast thou forsaken us? Surely thou wilt
yet listen to the voice of justice and liberty," he murmured
to himself, and there was a pause.

"How long since the ill-fated Alamo fell?" he inquired.

"Five days ago. Hintzilopotchli came down and held
his bloody feast, and cut off many brave men."

"By what force was the fortress assaulted?"

"Seven thousand men, led by the great and victorious
Santa Anna. Not long lasted the strife: we were too
many for your people, and the fight was short."

"And was our noble Travis slaughtered with his brave
band?"

"He was too brave to live. Think you he would survive
his comrades? No! he fell first, and then all followed."

"Will Santa Anna march to Austin, think you; or, content
with victory, remain in your town?"

"Truly you give me credit for few brains and a woman's
tongue. I have told you one true tale, can you expect
another from a fickle Mexican? I tell you now, stranger,
push me not too closely, if you would hear what is good
for you."

"Your voice sounds strangely familiar; yet I can not
recognize it sufficiently to know with whom I am speaking.
If, as you declare, friendly to our people, you will not object


260

to giving your name. Perhaps I have known you in San
Antonio."

"We Mexicans can tell a friend across the prairie—but
no matter. I am thinking we be strangers, yet I am not
ashamed of my name. They call me Antoine Amedo—did
you ever hear of such an 'hombre?' My ranche is just below
the mission San Jose, and I have large flocks of sheep
and cattle."

"Antoine Amedo," repeated Dr. Bryant, musingly, and
striving, through the gloom, to scan his features. "You
are right; I do not know you, though your voice is familiar."

"If you have no objection, Señor Americano, I will let
my horse picket awhile, and rest myself; for I have ridden
many miles since sunrise, and not a blessed 'barego' have
I smelled."

"You are at liberty to rest as long as you please: consult
your own inclinations." And he turned away to his
own horse, yet marked that the new comer dismounted
with some difficulty.

He changed his own picket, that fresh grass might not
be wanting; and returning to the tree, leaned against its
huge body, and watched the movements of the intruder.
They were very slow, as if he were well-nigh spent with
overexertion. He took off his broad hat, smoothed his hair,
then replaced it; adjusted his heavy blanket more comfortably,
and drawing forth a sort of wallet, proceeded to satisfy
the cravings of hunger. He ate but little, and returning
the bag or sack to its hiding-place in the broad girdle
which was passed about his waist beneath the blanket,


261

stretched himself on the ground, with not even a straggling
bough between him and the deep blue vault of heaven.

No sound broke the silence, save the cropping of the
horses as they grazed near; and, seeking again his grassy
couch, Dr. Bryant closed his eyes, and communed with his
own heart. Sleep was now impossible, and he lay so rapt
in thought, that time flew on unheeded. The moon was
shining brightly now, and every object was distinctly seen.
He heard the rustling of leaves and the crush of grass. A
moment he opened his eyes, then closed them, and feigned
sleep.

The Mexican had risen, and softly approaching the motionless
form, knelt on the ground beside him, and listened
to his breathing. It was low and regular, as one in quiet
slumber. He bent and gazed into the up-turned face—not
a muscle quivered or a feature moved. Stealthily a hand
crept round the collar of the cloak, and lifted a heavy lock
of the raven hair. Smoothing it out on the grass, he drew
forth a crooked blade, which, in accordance with the custom
of his countrymen, ever hung in the girdle passed about
the waist. It glittered in the moonlight; and with dexterous
hand he cut the lock of hair: then, returning the
knife to its resting-place, rose, and noiselessly retreating to
his former position, some yards distant, threw himself down
to sleep.

Dr. Bryant, fully conscious of every movement, determined,
if possible, to solve this mystery. His pistols were
in readiness, and, had violence been attempted, he would
have sprung to his feet and defended himself. He waited
awhile, then turned, stretched, yawned, and finally rose


262

up. He drew out his watch, the hand pointed to two
He wound it up, and drawing his cap closer about his ears,
for the night was cold, approached his companion and
stirred him with his foot. No sound or movement indicated
consciousness; he stooped and shook him.

"Antoine, Antoine, get up my friend: you don't intend
to spend the night here, do you?"

Amedo sat upright, and rubbed his eyes with well-feigned
sleepiness: "Well, Señor Americano, what is it—Indians
smelling about?"

Dr. Bryant could not repress a smile at the drowsy tone
of the ranchero, who scarce five moments before had crept
from his side.

"Upon my word, you seem a match for the seven sleepers
of old. Why, man, if Indians had stumbled on you by
chance, they had slung your scalp on yonder bough. In
times like these men should slumber lightly."

"Very true, Señor; yet mine eyes are heavy, for two
moons have seen me riding on. But you are up! wherefore?"

"I proceed on my journey, and wakened you to ask advice
and direction, and request your company, if it be that
we take the same route."

"Jesu Maria! One might think the man had choice!
Why, turn your horse's head, and rest for naught but grass
and water."

The Mexican had risen, and in adjusting his blanket,
a sudden gust of wind lifted his hat, and it fell to the
ground at his feet; he clutched at it convulsively, but it
was too late. Dr. Bryant started back in astonishment:


263

"Inez!"

The head sunk on her bosom, and the hair which had
been confined at the back of her head, fell in luxuriant
masses to her waist.

"Fearless, yet unfortunate girl! what has led you to
this freak?"

A singular group they presented, standing on the broad
and seemingly boundless prairie—the March wind moaning
through the old oaks, and rustling the brown grass. The
moon shone full upon them; Dr. Bryant, with his large
cloak wrapt closely about him, and the black cap drawn
over his brow—-surprise, reproach, pity, and chagrin strangely
blended in his gaze. One arm was folded over the
broad chest, the other hung by his side. Inez stood just
before him, her beautiful head bent so that the black locks
well-nigh concealed her features. Her father's large variegated
blanket hanging loosely about the tall, slender form.
At her feet lay the hat, crushed by the extended foot, and
quivering in the night wind, her hands tightly clasped.

"Inez, you crouch like a guilty being before me! Surely
you have done nothing to blush for. Yet stranger step
was never taken by a reasonable being. Inez, raise your
head, and tell me what induced you to venture in this
desolate region, alone, unprotected, and in disguise?"

Inez lifted slowly the once beautiful face, now haggard
and pale. Anguish of spirit had left its impress on her
dark brow, wrinkled by early care. Mournful was the
expression of the large, dark eyes raised to his face:

"Dr. Bryant, I am alone in the wide, wide world—there
are none to protect—none to care for me now! My father


264

sleeps by Mañuel's side, in the church-yard, and I am the
last of my house. The name of De Garcia, once so proud
and honored, will become a by-word for desolation and
misery! I have said cursed was the hour of my birth!
and I now say blessed is the hour of my last sleep! You
see me here from necessity, not choice, for all places would
be alike to me now; but I have been driven from my lonely
hearth—I dared not stay, I flew to this dreary waste for
peace—for protection! There is no rest, no peace for me.
Not one is left to whom I can say, guard and keep me
from harm! Alone, friendless, in this wide, bitter world!"

"Your language is strangely ambiguous, Inez! Can you
not explicitly declare what danger threatens, and believe
that all I can do to avert evil will gladly be done?"

"Dr. Bryant, the Padre is my most inveterate enemy!
Is not this sufficient to account for my presence here?"

"Unfortunate girl! how have you incurred that man's
hatred?"

"It is a long tale, and needless to repeat: enough, that
he plotted my ruin—that the strong, silent walls of a far-off
convent was my destination. And why?—That my flocks
and lands might enrich his precious church! You look
wonderingly upon me; strange language, this, I think you
say, for a lamb of his flock. How dare you speak so irreverently
of the holy man, consecrated priest of Home as-he
is? Dr. Bryant, I am no Catholic, nor have I been since
you have known me. It was my policy to appear passive.
I attended mass, and sought the confessional, and
fill the while cursed him in my heart. I watched him,
and saved your people from destruction. Would you know


265

how? I heard whispered promises to meet at dead of
night. I followed; I saw the meeting between an emmissary
of Santa Anna and my godly Padre. At imminent
risk I listened to their plot. You were to be kept in
ignorance of the powerful force hurrying on to destroy you.
Santa Anna was to burst suddenly upon the town, and,
ere you could receive reinforcements, capture the Alamo at
a blow. Once in his possession, more than one of your people
were to be handed over to the tender mercies of my
holy confessor. I warned you of your danger, and happily
you heeded the signs of the time; else you, too, would now
moulder beneath the walls of the Alamo. His prey escaped
him, and with redoubled eagerness he sought to consummate
my destruction. I was made a prisoner in my own
home, ere the sod settled on my father's grave! I fled in
the midnight hour, and you see me here! Dr. Bryant, I
well-nigh cut short the knotted thread of my life; but one
thing saved me, else my body would even now whirl along
the channel of the river. When I parted from the blue-eyed,
sainted Mary, she gave me this book, and asked me
not only to read but follow its teachings. She clasped my
hand, and told me to remember God, and the eternity
which awaited me, and the judgment of that other, final
world. Oh! if there be a heaven and a purgatory! a
God and a judge! if I sink to perdition, one alone is to
blame. He told me he had power to forgive my sins; that
the more completely I obeyed him on earth, the more
blessed I should be in heaven. Yet I have heard him lie,
and seen him set aside the rules of humanity and the laws
of God! Mary's Bible tells me 'to keep holy the Sabbath

266

day.' Yet, from my childhood, I have seen our Priests at
mass on Sabbath morning, and at monte and cock-fights on
the evening of the same day! And I have seen them take
from the widow, as the burial-fee of her husband, the last
cow she possessed. I saw these things, and I said, there
is no God, or he would not suffer such as these to minister
as his chosen servants upon the earth. I said in my heart,
purgatory is but a lie made to keep pace with their marvelous
legends and frequent miracles! There is not a purgatory,
or they would fear the retribution in store for them.
I had none to teach me aright. I mocked at the thought
of religion. I said there is none on the earth—it is merely
a system of gain, and all that constitutes the difference is,
that some are by nature more of devils, and others gifted
with milder hearts. But I saw Mary—pure angel that she
is—I saw her with the sick and the dying: she railed not
at our priest, as he at her. She carried her Bible to the
bed of death, and told them to look to God for themselves.
She bade them leave off saint-worship, and cling to Jesus
as their only Mediator. Peace followed her steps, and
much good she would have done, but my Padre interfered,
peremptorily ordered all good Papists to shun her as they
would an incarnate demon, and frightened many into submission
with his marvelous tales and threats of purgatory.
I said to myself, if there be truth in God and religion, this
Mary walketh in the right path, for like an angel of mercy
and light she ever seems. She was the hope, the joy, the
blessing of all who knew her. Oh' I will come to you,
Mary, and learn of you, and die near, that you may be
with mo in the hour of rest."


267

Inez sank on the ground, and burying her face in her
arms, rocked herself to and fro. Dr. Bryant had listened
to her rambling, incoherent language, like one in a dream,
till the name of Mary passed her lips, and then his head
sank upon his chest, and he groaned in the anguish of his
tortured spirit.

Inez held in one hand the small Bible given at parting;
his eye fell upon it, and he stepped nearer to her:

"Inez, the Mary you have loved rests no longer on earth.
She has passed away, and dwells in heaven. She was true
to God, and his holy law, and great is her reward. Scarce
a week since I laid her in her quiet grave, yet not there
either, but yielded her up to the arms of God!"

He paused, for his deep tone faltered. Inez rose quickly
to her feet as he spoke, and gazed vacantly on his face.

"Mary gone forever! Mary in heaven! Shall I never
again see her, sweet angel of truth and purity, with her
soft blue eyes, so full of holy love and gentleness? Oh,
Mary, thou art blessed! thou art at rest! When shall I,
too, find eternal rest? Ere long, Mary, I, too, will sleep
the last, unbroken, dreamless sleep!"

Dr. Bryant laid his hand on the sacred volume, and
would have drawn it from her clasp; but tightening her
hold, she shook her head, and mournfully exclaimed:

"No, no; it is mine! When I die, it shall be my pillow;
while I live, it rests near my heart, and in the church-yard
I will not let it go. You have no right to claim it: you
have not loved her as I have done. She loved you, yet
you heeded not the jewel that might have, even now, been
your own!"


268

"Inez, I have loved—I do love her, as none other can!
Too late I found my love returned. Had God spared her
to me, she would have been my wife Oh, Mary, Mary'
my own cherished one! May thy spirit hover round me
now, as in life thou wert my guardian angel! Inez, I, too,
have suffered, and severely. I have little to anticipate in
life, yet I am not desponding as you; my faith in God and
his unchanging goodness is unshaken. Let us both so live
that we may join my Mary in glory."

Inez answered not, but passed her hand wearily across
her brow.

"Inez, which will you do? retain your disguise, and go
with me, or return to your old home? I am not going to
Austin, but to Goliad, to join the Texans there; will you
accompany me, and claim the protection of our banner?
All that a brother could, I will gladly do; with me you
are safe, at least for a time; and when the storm of war
has passed, I doubt not your home will again be happy."

"I know you, Dr. Bryant, and I know that you are true
to God, and keep his law. I will go with you to Goliad,
and there we will decide what I must do. Oh! I am
weary and sick at heart, and not long will I burden you."

She stooped, and picking up the hat, replaced it on her
head, and turned toward her horse.

Frank kindly took her hand.

"Inez, do not despond. I trust all may yet be well with
you, and rest assured it gives me heartfelt pleasure to be
enabled to render you a service, and take you to a place of
safety. But your hand is hot—-burning: it is feverish excitement
from which you suffer. When we have reached


269

Goliad, and you can rest, I doubt not your strength and
spirits will return; meantime take one of my pistols, it is
loaded, and, in case of danger, will render good service."

She took the proffered weapon, and having secured it in
the girdle, turned to mount her horse. Frank assisted in
arranging the accoutrements, and, springing upon his own
recruited steed, they turned their faces southward


CHAPTER XXXI.

"Our bosoms we'll bare to the glorious strife,
And our oath is recorded on high,
To prevail in the cause that is dearer than life,
Or crushed in its ruins to die.
And leaving in battle no blot on his name,
Look proudly to heaven, from the death-bed of fame."
CAMPBELL.

A BLOODY seal was set upon thee, oh! Goliad. A gory
banner bound around thy name; and centuries shall slowly
roll ere thou art blotted from the memory of man.
The annals of the dim and darkened past afford no parallel
for the inhuman deed, so calmly, so deliberately committed
within thy precincts; and the demon perpetrator
escaped unpunished! A perfect appreciation of the spirit
of the text—"Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord; I will
repay," alone can sanction the apathy manifested by one
to whom the world looked as the avenger of his murdered countrymen.

Rumors of the fall of the Alamo, the overwhelming force
of Santa Anna, and his own imminent danger, had reached
Colonel Fanning. In vain he entreated reinforcements,
in vain urged the risk hourly incurred. The Texan councils
bade him save himself by flight. "Retreat, fly from


271

the post committed; to my keeping!" The words sounded
like a knell on the ear of the noble man to whom they
were addressed. He groaned in the anguish of his spirit,
"I will not leave this fortress—Travis fell defending with
his latest breath the Alamo! Oh, Crocket! Bowie! can I
do better than follow thy example, and give my life in this
true cause?"

An untimely death—the separation and misery of his
darling family, weighed not an atom! "Patria infelici
fidelis!" was ever his motto, and unfaltering was his own
step. There came a messenger from head-quarters—
"Abandon Goliad, and retreat!"

"Colonel, you will not sound a retreat?" and Dr. Bryant
laid his hand upon his commander's arm.

"My God! it is a fearful thing to decide the destinies
of four hundred brave men! Bryant, if we remain it is
certain death—the tragedy of San Antonio will be reacted
in our case!"

"Colonel, you must remember the old saw—'He that
fights and runs away, lives to fight another day,' said a
time-worn ranger, settling his collar with perfect nonchalance.

"Why, Furgeson, do you counsel flight? My brave comrade,
bethink yourself!"

"Well, Colonel, it is something strange for me to say
run; but when I do say it, I am in earnest. The most
hot-headed fellow in our company dare not say I lack courage:
you know as well as I do what they call me—'Bulldog
Furgeson,' but who feels like fighting the grand devil
himself, and his legion of imps to boot? I am a lone man,


272

and have nothing in particular to live for, it's true; but it
is some object with me to do the most service I can for our
Lone blessed Star! I should like a game with old 'Santy'
in a clear ring, and fair play; but I am thinking we had
best take French leave of this place, and join the main
body, where we can fight with some chance ahead. Now
that's my opinion, but if you don't believe that doctrine,
and want to take the 'old bull right by the horns,' I say
lets at him."

A smile passed over the face of his commander.

"Thank you, Furgeson, and rest assured I shall not
doubt your stanch support in time of need."

Again the broad brow contracted, and, linking his arm
in that of Dr. Bryant, he paced to and fro, engrossed in
earnest, anxious thought. Pausing at length, he pointed
to his troops, awaiting in silence his commands.

"Bryant, at least half those brave fellows have wives
and children, and bright homes, beckoning them away,
yet see them calmly trust to me in this trying hour. Should
my order go forth to man the fort, and meet the worst, I
know full well not a murmur would be heard. Still it is
equally certain that, if we brave the conflict, not one of us
shall survive to tell the tale. What am I to do? Make
this a second Thermopylæ?"

"Peculiarly painful, I know full well, is the situation
in which you are placed. Yet one strong argument remains
to be urged. Colonel, if we desert Goliad, and
sound a retreat, we can not escape. The force of the
enemy is too powerful, their movements too rapid, to allow
us to retire to a place of safety without a desperate encounter.


273

Is it not better policy to remain here, and meet
the shock?"

"If we fight at all it must be at fearful odds; four hundred
to six thousand! Yet, should I follow the dictates of
my own heart, I would not give one inch!—no, not one!
Dearly they should buy the ground on which I stand!"

"Colonel, shall we not meet them on this spot, and lay
down our lives, as did our brethren of the Alamo?"

"No, by Jove! I shall have to leave, whether I will or
not!" And crumpling the note of orders, he tossed it to
the ground, and pressed it with his heel.

He stepped forth, and drawing his military cap about
his eyes, folded his arms upon his broad chest, and addressed
his troops:

"Comrades! Retreat is no test of an army's bravery,
neither the courage of its commander. In every age and
nation, circumstances have occurred in which the cause
of liberty, or the general welfare of the state, has been promoted
by timely flight rather than desperate engagements.
'The Swamp Fox' often retired to his island of refuge, safe
from invading bands—the daring Sumter was forced at
times to retreat; and even our great Washington fled from
superior forces, and waited till a more convenient season.
Fellow-soldiers: there is one of two steps to be immediately
taken. We will stand to our post, and fall to a
man, like Travis and his noble band, and our names will
go down to posterity as did the Spartans of old,

'Wreathed with honor, and immortal fame;'

or else we set out at once for head-quarters, consolidate
our forces, and march united to oppose Santa Anna.


274

"Comrades, which will ye do?"

No sound was heard along the ranks, each bent his head
and communed with his own spirit; and the image of
their distant, yet cherished homes, rose up and murmured
—"Remember thy weeping wife and thy fair-browed
boy; who will guard them when thou art gone?"

The eagle eye of their brave leader was piercingly bent
on the mute assemblage; the momentary gleam of hope
that lighted his noble countenance faded away. There
came a faint sound of rising voices—it swelled louder, and
louder still:

"God bless our noble Colonel! our brave Fanning!
With him is the issue. Say but the word, and we will
follow!"

"Bryant, I can not sign their death-warrant!" he said,
in a low, subdued tone, sinking his head upon his breast.
He lifted himself up, and raising his voice, calmly replied:

"Had I not received orders to retreat, and if I were not
fully aware that lingering here insured our total destruction,
I should scorn to turn my back upon Goliad! Oh!
gladly I would die in its defense; but your fate is too entirely
in my hands to admit of following my individual
wishes! None know the pang it causes me to sound a
'Retreat,' yet it may be, that the success of our cause demands
it at my hands, and therefore I say, 'Retreat, comrades!'
—at dawn to-morrow, we move from Goliad."

The decree went forth, and the ensuing day saw the
doomed band moving eastward toward head-quarters they
were destined never to reach.

On arriving at Goliad, Dr. Bryant had immediately enlisted,


275

after placing Inez in safety at the house of an aged
Señora of her nation; and no sooner was it decided to
leave the town the following day than he sought his Spañish
friend.

She was sitting alone when he entered, and quickly rising,
placed a seat for him.

"Thank you, Inez, I have only a moment to remain—I
come to say good-by."

"Which way do your people go now?" she hoarsely
asked.

Santa Anna is marching with overwhelming forces to
ward us, and Colonel Fanning thinks it advisable to retire
to head-quarters. We set out at dawn to-morrow."

"You can not escape by flight: it were better to remain
here. I tell you now, if you leave Goliad, you will be cut
off to a man."

"Inez, my own feelings would strongly incline me to
follow your advice, but it has been decided otherwise!"

"Then, if you must go, I go with you!"

"Impossible, Inez, impossible! you know not what you
say! For you to venture from this place under existing
circumstances, beset as we are on every hand with dangers
seen and unseen, would be the height of madness."

"I know not fear! of that you must have been convinced
long ere this. Danger can not intimidate me; what
you meet and suffer, that will I encounter."

"Bethink yourself, Inez! What can you hope to accomplish
by this strange step? You have nothing to fear
here from your own nation: what can you gain by seeking
a home among my people? Strange, mysterious being!


276

I wish for your own sake you were timid—that fear might
strengthen your sense of prudence!"

Inez had bent her head while he spoke, as in humiliation,
now she lifted herself and said, in a low, determined
tone:

"I am alone in the wide world, and I have hut one
hope, but one pleasure; to be with you while life remains,
and to die near, that you may close my eyes and lay me
down to rest." She paused a moment, and then clasping
her hands, approached him, and continued in a more passionate
tone:

"Oh, if you knew how I have loved you, you could not
look down so coldly, so calmly upon me! you could not
refuse the favor I ask! Oh, Dr. Bryant, do not scorn me
for my love!—'tis not a common love; for it I have lost
every earthly comfort and blessing; for this struggled and
toiled, and braved numberless dangers. I have loved you
better than every thing beside! Turn not from me, and
think contemptuously of the worship given unsought! If
you can not love me, do not, oh, do not despise me! Let
me a little while longer be with you, and see you; I will
not trouble or incommode any one—do not leave me. Oh,
Dr. Bryant, do not leave me!"

The large black eyes were raised entreatingly to his, and
an expression of the keenest anguish rested on her colorless,
yet beautiful face.

Sadly he regarded her as she hurried on: no glance of
scorn rested even for a moment upon her. Yet a stern
sorrow settled on his broad brow and around the firmly-compressed
lips.


277

"Inez, I do not, can not love you, other than as the kind
friend of other days. I have never loved but one—I never
shall. Mary, my own angel Mary, ever rests in my heart.
I can not forget her—I can never love another. I do not
even thank you for your love, for your avowal gives me inexpressible
pain! I have suspected this, Inez, for long,
and your own heart will tell you I gave no ground to hope
that I could return your affection. I have striven to treat
you like a sister of late, yet this painful hour has not been
averted. Equally painful to both. Inez, your own words
make it more than ever necessary that we should part forever.
I can not return your love—I will not encourage it.
You must, as soon as safety allows, return to your old home.
Inez, do not cherish your affection for me, it can only bring
pain and remorse; forget me, and remember that you have
imperative duties of your own to perform. This is your
darkest hour, and believe me, in time you will be happy,
and a blessing to your people. Remember Mary's words,
and her parting gift, and I pray God that we may so live
that we shall all meet in a happier home."

"Then I shall never see you again?" she said, in a
calm and unfaltering voice.

"For your sake, Inez, it is best that we should not meet
again. If I survive this war I go to Europe, and you will
probably never see me more. Inez, I pain you—forgive
me. Your own good requires this candor on my part."

An ashy paleness overspread the cheek and brow of his
companion as he spoke, and the small hands clutched each
other tightly, yet no words passed the quivering lips.

"Good-by, Inez! my kind and valued friend, good-by."


278

He held out his hand. She raised her head, and gazed into
the sad yet noble face of the man she had loved so long.
She clasped his hand between both hers, and a moan of
bitter anguish escaped the lips.

"My love will follow you forever! A woman of my
nature can not forget. I shall sink to eternal rest with
your name on my lips—your image in my heart. Yet I
would not keep you here—go, and may your God ever
bless you, and—and—may you at last meet your Mary,
if there be a heaven! We part now, for you have said it;
good-by, and sometimes, when all is joy and gladness to you,
think a moment on Inez! the cursed, the miserable Inez!
stiting in bitter darkness by her lonely hearth! Good-by!"
She pressed her lips to his hand, and without a tear,
shrouded her face in her mantilla and turned away.

"God bless you, Inez, and keep you from all harm!"
and Dr. Bryant left the house, and returned to his commander.

Colonel Fanning had led his troops but a few miles when
the vanguard halted, and some excitement was manifested.
Spurring forward, he inquired the cause of delay.

"Why, Colonel, if we ain't 'out of the frying-pan into
the fire,' my name is not Will Furgeson. Look yonder,
Colonel, it takes older and weaker eyes than mine to say
them ain't Santy Anna's imps marching down upon us,
thick as bees just swarmed, too!"

"You are right, Furgeson; it is the entire Mexican
force! let us form at once and meet them!"

Quick and clearly his orders rung out, and his little band,


279

compact and firm, waited in silence the result. With an
exulting shout the Mexicans charged. Desperately the
doomed Texans fought, heaping up the slain at every step.
The wily Santa Anna changed his tactics. There came
a momentary cessation as the crowding thousands were
furiously driven back. And, seizing the opportunity, he
spurred forward, offered honorable terms, and besought
Fanning to surrender and save the lives of his brave
followers.

"We will only surrender on condition that every privilege
of prisoners of war be guaranteed to us," replied
Colonel Fanning.

"I, Santa Anna, commander-in-chief of the Mexican
forces, do most solemnly pledge my word, that all the
privileges consistent with your situation as prisoners of
war, shall be extended to yourself and men. And hereby
swear, that on these conditions you may lay down your
arms in safety, without further molestation on our part."

Is there one of my readers who for a moment would
attach blame to the noble Fanning? The lives of his
men were of far more importance to him than the renown
of perishing, like Travis, in a desperate struggle. With the
latter there was no alternative, for the cry of even seven
exhausted men for "quarter" was disregarded, and the
garrison fell to a man. But honorable terms were offered
Fanning: he remembered his men, and surrendered.
Santa Anna! can there be pardon for such a hardened
wretch as you? Does not sleep fly your pillow? In the
silent watches of the night, do not the spectre forms
of your victims cluster about your couch, and the shambles


280

of Goliad rise before you? Can you find rest from the
echoing shrieks of murdered thousands, or shut your eyes
and fail to perceive the mangled forms stiffening in death,
and weltering in gore? If you are human, which I much
doubt, your blackened soul will be tortured with unavailing
remorse, till Death closes your career on earth, and you
are borne to the tribunal of Almighty God, there to receive
your reward......

Night found the Texans again in Goliad, and they sought
sleep secure from evil; for had not Santa Anna's word been
given that further molestation would not be allowed? and
they believed! Soundly they slept, and dreamed of far-off
homes and fireside joys.

"That bright dream was their last!'

Sunrise came, and they were drawn out upon the Plaza.
Their leader was retained in custody, and, unsuspicious of
harm, they each maintained their position. Dr. Bryant
raised his eyes—they rested but a moment on Santa Anna's
face. Turning quickly, he shouted aloud,

"Turn, comrades, let us not be shot in the back'"

Another moment the signal was given, and a deadly fire
poured upon four hundred unresisting prisoners of war, to
whom honorable conditions had been granted by the brave
and noble generalissimo of the Mexican forces.

Not one of many noble forms was spared. Dr. Bryant
sank without a struggle to the earth; and his spirit, released
from sorrowing mortality, sprung up to meet his
Mary and his God!

The deed was done; and Santa Anna, the mighty chief
who mowed down four hundred unarmed men, was immortalized!


281

Fear not, brave heart, that posterity will forget
thee! Rest assured that the lapse of time can not obliterate
the memory of thy mighty deeds!

Fanning survived but a, few hours, and then a well-aimed
ball laid low forever his noble head. Who among
us can calmly remember that his body was denied a burial?
Oh, thou martyr leader of a martyr band, we cherish thy
memory! dear to the heart of every Texan, every American,
every soldier, and every patriot. Peace to thee, noble
Fanning! and may the purest joys of heaven be yours
in that eternity to which we all are hastening.

It was noon! Still and cold lay the four hundred forms
upon the Plaza. Even as they sank, so they slept. No
disturbing hand had misplaced one stiffened member. The
silence of death reigned around the murdered band. A
muffled figure swiftly stole down the now deserted streets,
and hurrying to the Plaza, paused and gazed on the ruin
and wreck that surrounded her. Pools of blood were yet
standing, and the earth was damp with gore. One by one
Inez turned the motionless forms, still the face she sought
was not to be found. She had almost concluded her search,
when her eye fell on a prostrate form, closely wrapt in a
long black cloak; she knelt and gazed into the up-turned
face, and a low cry of bitter anguish welled up and passed
her colorless lips. Gently she lifted the cloak, clasped by
one icy hand: the ball had pierced his side, and entered
the heart. So instantaneous had been his death that not
a feature was convulsed. The dark clustering hair was
borne back from the broad white brow, the eyes closed as


282

in deep sleep, the finely-cut lips just parted. Pallid was
the cheek, yet calm and noble beyond degree was the marble
face on which Inez gazed. She caught the cold hand
to her lips, and laid her cheek near his mouth, that she
might know and realize that his spirit had indeed joined
Mary's in the "land of rest." The icy touch extinguished
every gleam of hope, and calmly she drew the cloak over
the loved face, concealing every feature, then dropped her
handkerchief upon the covered head, and drawing her mantilla
like a shroud about her, went her way to wait for
night and darkness.

Stretched on a couch in the home of the kind-hearted
Señora who had received her, Inez noted the moments
and hours as they passed. An eternity seemed comprised
in the time which elapsed from noon till dusk. Again and
again she raised her bowed head, and looked out on the
slowly sinking sun. It passed at length beyond her vision.
She rose and sought her friend, an aged dame, whom God
had gifted with a gentle heart, keenly alive to the grief
and sufferings of another.

"Well, Señorita Inez, what will you have?"

"I have a great favor to ask, yet it is one I doubt not
will be granted. Señora, among yonder slain is one who
in life was ever kind to me and to our people. Since
morning he has lain in his own blood! To-morrow will
see them thrown into heaps, and left with scarce sod enough
to cover! I can not, will not see him buried so! I myself
will lay him down to rest, if Santa Anna claims my
life for it to-morrow! I have caused a grave to be dug in
a quiet spot, but I can not bear him to it unassisted. My


283

strength is gone—I am well-nigh spent: will you help me
to-night? They will not miss him to-morrow, and none
will know till all is at rest! Señora, will you come with me?"

"Tell me first, Inez, if it is he who brought you here;
who acted so nobly to me, and bade adieu to you but two
days since?"

"Yes, the same! will you refuse to assist me now?"

"No, by our blessed Virgin! I will do all an old woman
like me can do; yet united, Inez, we shall be strong."

Wrapping their mantillas about them, they noiselessly
proceeded to the Plaza. Darkness had closed in, and happily
they met not even a straggling soldier, for all, with
instinctive dread, shunned the horrid scene. They paused
as Señora Berara stumbled over a dead body, and well-nigh
slipped in blood:

"Jesu Maria! my very bones ache with horror! this is
no place for me. Señorita, how will you know the body?
Oh! let us make haste to leave here!"

"Hush! do you see a white spot gleaming yonder?
Nay, don't clutch my arm, it is only my handkerchief. I
laid it there to mark the place. Come on, step lightly, or
you will press the dead.

With some difficulty they made their way along the
damp, slippery ground, now and then catching at each
other for support. Inez pauzed on reaching her mark, and
bent down for several moments; then raising herself she
whispered:

"Señora, I have wrapped his cloak tightly about him,
lift the corners near his feet, while I carry his head. Be
careful, lift gently, and do not let the cloak slip."


284

Slowly they lifted the motionless form, and steadily bore
it away: Inez taking the lead, and stepping cautiously.
She left the Plaza and principal streets, and turned toward
a broad desolate waste, stretching away from the town,
and bare, save a few gnarled oaks that moaned in the
March wind. The moon rose when they had proceeded
some distance beyond the last house, and Inez paused suddenly,
and looked anxiously about her.

"Sacra Dio! I trust you have not lost your way! Holy
Mother, preserve us if we have gone wrong."

"I knew we must be near the place: it is under yonder
tree; fear nothing, Señora, come on:" and a few more
steps brought them to the designated spot.

A shallow excavation had been made, sufficient to admit
with ease the body of a full-grown man; and on
its margin they softly laid their burden down. Every
object shone in the clear moonlight, and stranger scene
never moon shone upon. A dreary waste stretched away
in the distance, and sighingly the wind swept over it.
Inez knelt beside the grave, her wan yet still beautiful
features convulsed with the secret agony of her tortured
soul; the long raven hair floating like a black vail around
the wasted form. Just before her stood the old woman,
weird-like, her wrinkled, swarthy face exposed to full view,
while the silver hair, unbound by her exertion, streamed
in the night breeze. Loosely her clothes hung about her,
and the thin, bony hands were clasped tightly as she bent
forward and gazed on the marble face of the dead. Wonder,
awe, fear, pity, all strangely blended in her dark countenance.


285

Inez groaned, and rocked herself to and fro, as if crushed
in body and spirit. She could not lay him to rest forever
without the bitterest anguish, for in life she had worshiped
him, and in death her heart clung to the loved form.
Again and again she kissed the cold hand she held.

"Señorita, we must make haste to lay him in, and cover
him closely. Don't waste time weeping now; you can not
give him life again. Have done, Señorita Inez, and let
us finish our work."

"I am not weeping, Señora! I have not shed a single
tear; yet be patient: surely there is yet time."

Inez straightened the cloak in which Frank Bryant was
shrouded, placed the hands calmly by his side, and softly
smoothed the dark hair on his high and noble brow. She
passionately kissed the cold lips once, then covered forever
the loved, loved features, and they carefully lowered the
still form into its last resting-place.

They stood up, and the old dame pointed to the earth
piled on either side. Inez shuddered and closed her eyes
a moment, as if unequal to the task.

Her companion stooped, and was in the act of tossing
forward a mass of earth; but Inez interposed: "Señora,
softly! I will do this: remember there is no coffin."

Fearfully calm was her tone as she slowly pushed in
the earth. There was no hollow echo, such as ofttimes
rends the heart of the mourner, but a heavy, dull sound of
earth crushing earth. Gradually she filled the opening
even with the surface, then carefully scattered the remaining
sod.

"I will not raise a mound, for they would tear him up,


286

should they know where I have laid him." Inez walked
away, and gathering a quantity of brown, shriveled leaves,
and also as much grass as she could draw from the short
bunches, sprinkled them on the grave and along the fresh
earth.

"Think you, Señora, they will find him here?"

"No, no, Señorita! none will know that we have buried
him. But the night is already far gone, why do you
linger?"

For a moment longer Inez gazed down upon the new-made
grave: "But a few more hours, and I shall sleep here by
your side; farewell till then."

She turned away, and silently they retraced their steps
to the town, reaching without inquiry or molestation their
own home.


CHAPTER XXXII.

"So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, that moves
To the pale realms of shade, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry slave, at night
Scourged to his dungeon; but sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."
BRYANT.

A BRIGHT day in April drew near its close, and the
golden rays of the spring sun poured joyously through the
open casement into the chamber of death. Yes, the "King
of Terrors" drew nigh, and the cold damp, which his black
pinions swept on, settled upon the brow of Inez. A few
days after the massacre at Goliad, a raging fever crimsoned
her cheeks, and lent unwonted brilliance to the large black
eyes. Delirium ensued, and wildly the unfortunate girl
raved of the past—of her former love, her hopelessness,
her utter desolation. The dreamless sleep of exhaustion
followed this temporary madness: long she lay in the stupor
so near akin to death, and now, consciousness restored, she
awaited in silence her hour! In vain the kind-hearted
Señora entreated her to see a priest—steadfastly she refused.


288

At length Madame Berara assumed the responsibility
of calling in her own confessor, and silently quitting
the room, went in quest of him. Inez suspected the cause
of her unusual absence, and too feeble to concentrate her
thoughts, turned her face to the wall, and wearily closed
her eyes. Yet one hand felt along the cover and beneath
the pillow. For what was she searching on the bed of
death? The thin fingers rested on a small and well-worn
Bible, and a tiny package, wrapped in paper and carefully
tied. The sacred volume was feebly pushed beneath her
head, and mechanically she undid the knot, and drew forth
a glossy lock of black hair. Wearily she pressed it to her
lips several times, and again folding it away, her hands
sank powerless upon her bosom.

Inez, Inez! are there none near to clasp thy cold hand,
and tenderly lift thy weary head? Alas, thou desolate
one! Thou art left alone in the bitter hour of thy trial!
When all things seem shrouded in impenetrable gloom, and
thy darkened soul turns from the tortured past to the dim,
uncertain future, no loved one is nigh to dash away the
gathering mists, and point to that celestial home "of which
it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive."

Oh, Inez! thy short life has been dark and tempestuous;
it is hard that a calm and peaceful end is denied to
thee, thou suffering one, longing for rest, oblivion of the
past, utter unconsciousness! Struggle on proud maiden!
but a few moments, and thy tones will vibrate no longer,
thy firm step cease forever, and thy memory pass away
like the shadows of night!

Señora Berara re-entered the silent chamber, accompanied


289

by a priest, clad in the vestments of his order. They
approached the bed, and the aged dame, bending over Inez,
whispered audibly:

"I could not find my own Padre, but I bring one who
will confess and absolve thee! Make haste to prepare for
heaven."

"I want neither confession nor absolution! Begone!
and let me die in peace," she answered, without unclosing
the lids, which lay so heavily upon the sunken eyes.

"Leave us together! I will call thee when thou art
wanted," whispered he of the Order of Jesus. The matron
immediately withdrew, repeating an Ave Maria; and
they were left alone.

"Inez!"

A shudder crept through the wasted form, and, with a
start, she looked upon the face of the intruder. Even in
death, hatred was strong; the dim eye flashed, and the
cold, damp lips wreathed into a smile of utter scorn:

"Well, Padre! you have tracked me at last. It is a
pity, though, you had not set out one day later; you
would have altogether missed your prey! But I am content,
for I am far beyond your reach!" She gasped for
breath, yet ghastly was the mocking smile which lit up
the face.

"Not so, Inez! you escaped me once; I have you now!
You have defied me in health; but in death I conquer.
You can not die in peace without my blessing. Remember,
remember, one sin unconfessed will sink you into everlasting
perdition! Think you I will absolve you? Never!
Never!"


290

"What brings you here? Think you the approach of
death will terrify me?—that I shall claim your intercession
and absolution? Have you come hoping to make a
bargain, and receive my order for a hundred sheep, or as
many cattle, on condition that you pray me out of purgatory?
I tell you now, if there be such a place, you will
surely follow me ere long. We shall not be separated
long, my godly Padre!"

Large drops rolled from her brow, and, gasping, she continued
more indistinctly:

"There is one to stand between us now, even black-browed
Death! and now, as I speak, I see his shadow
flung over me. I am dying, and if I am lost, you are to
blame! you, and you only! You a man of God! You
forgive my sins, and give me a passport to heaven! Padre,
I know you, in all your hypocrisy, and I know that, if there
be a God, you have outraged his every law! You have
led me astray! You have brought me to this! Padre, I
am sinful, full well I know it; for this is an hour when the
barrier which hides the secret soul is thrown down, and
every deed and thought stands up boldly for itself. I have
not served God! But oh! I would not change places
with you leader, teacher, guide, consecrated priest, as you
are for you have mocked him! Yes, mocked him! set
aside his written word, and instead of Bible truths you
told me of Saints, and Relics, and Miracles! You bade me
worship the cross, and never once mentioned Him who
consecrated it with his agony and blood! In my childhood
I believed your legends and miracles, and trusted to such as
you to save me. A dreadful curse will rest upon your head,


291

for you came in sheep's clothing, and devoured many precious
souls! Padre, I—I—" In vain she strove to articulate,
further utterance was denied her. The ghastly hue
of death settled upon her face. She lifted her eyes to
heaven as in prayer; vacantly they wandered to the face
of the Padre, now well-nigh as pale as her own; then
slowly closed forever. A slight quiver passed over the
lips, a faint moan, and Inez was at rest. For long her
wearied spirit had cried "Peace! peace!" and now she
laid herself down and slept the long, unbroken sleep of
death.

"Oh! you have yearned for rest,
May you find it in the regions of the blest."

As she had died without the pale of the church, they
refused the lifeless form a narrow bed in consecrated ground.
Even the ordinary service for the dead was entirely omitted;
and, without a prayer, they committed her to the silent
tomb. The kind old dame, remembering her grief at
the secret burial of her noble friend, obtained permission
to lay her by his side, and, with the fierce howlings of the
tempest for her funereal dirge, they consigned Inez—the
proud, beautiful, gifted, yet unfortunate Inez—to rest.
Peace, Inez, to thy memory, and may the sod lie lightly
on thy early grave!


CHAPTER XXXIII.

"There's a bliss beyond all that the minstrel has told,
When two, that are linked in one heavenly tie,
With heart never changing, and brow never cold,
Love on through all ills, and love on till they die!"
MOORE.

"COME, Florence, put on your bonnet; we land in a few
moments," said Mr. Stewart, entering the splendidly furnished
saloon of a Mississippi steamer, where she sat, book
in hand. Quietly the young wife, for such she now was,
complied with his request, and taking her husband's arm,
they advanced to the bow of the boat. It was a bright,
sunny morning in early May, and the balmy breath of the
opening summer wafted gladness to many a weary, aching
heart. The margin of the river was fringed with willow,
poplar, cotton-wood, and cypress, the delicate fresh green
foliage contrasting beautifully with the deep azure sky,
and the dark whirling waters of the turbid stream. It was such
a day as all of us may have known, when nature wore the
garb of perfect beauty, and the soothing influence is felt
and acknowledged gratefully—joyfully acknowledged by
every one accustomed from childhood duly to appreciate,
admire, and love the fair and numberless works of God,
who,


293

———"Not content
With every food of life to nourish man,
Makes all nature beauty to his eye
And music to his ear."

Florence was gazing intently, as each object receded
from her view. They turned an angle in the stream, and
drew near a landing, with only a solitary warehouse visible.
She started, and her clasped hands, resting on her
husband's arm, pressed heavily. He looked down into the
flushed face, and said with a smile:

"Well, Florence, what is it? Why do you tremble
so?"

"Mr. Stewart, I can not be mistaken: this is my father's
old landing! Why do you look so strangely? Oh! if you
knew what painful memories crowd upon my mind, you
could not smile so calmly!" and her voice faltered.

Laying his hand tenderly on hers, he replied:

"You once asked me whereabouts on the river my plantation
was situated. I evaded your question. You are aware
that I inherited it from a bachelor uncle. He purchased
it from your father, and to your old home, my dear Florence,
we have come at last. It is yours again, and I should
have told you long ago, but feared you might be impatient
of the journey; and then it is pleasant to surprise
you."

Ere Florence could speak the mingled emotions of her
heart, the boat stopped, and the jangling bells warned them
to lose no time.

Mr. Stewart placed her on the bank, and beckoning to
a coachman mounted on a large heavy carriage, opened


294

the door, assisted her in, and then cordially shaking the
outstretched hand of the servant, inquired if all were well
at home?"

"Oh yes, sir! all well except your mother. She has
had the asthma, but is better. But ain't you going to let
me look at your wife? You put her in as if I wan't to
Bee my new mistess."

Mr. Stewart laughed, and opening the door, bade Florence
look out; she threw back her long mourning vail,
and bent forward; their eyes met, and both started with
Surprise:

"Isaac!"

"Miss Florry! sure as I am alive!" and he grasped the
white hand heartily.

"I can not understand this at all! Isaac, how came you
here?"

"Why you see, when the plantation was sold, we were
sold with it; that's how I come to be here."

"My dear Florence, it is strange, very strange, that I
never once thought of your recognizing the servants, though
I should have known you could not forget them. In what
capacity did Isaac formerly serve?"

"He was always our coachman; and many a ride in
childhood I owe to his kindness and wish to make me
happy. Isaac, I am very glad to see you again." And
her smile confirmed her words.

Mr. Stewart took the seat by her side, and was closing
the door, when the old man interfered.

"Miss Florry, I know old master is dead—we heard
that sometime ago; but where is Miss Mary? that blessed


295

good child, that never gave a cross word to one on the
plantation. Why didn't she come home with you?"

Florence could not reply, and the tears rolled silently over
her cheeks.

"Isaac," said Mr. Stewart, in a low, saddened tone,

Mary has gone to a brighter home in heaven! She is
happier far than she could be even here with us! She
died about a month ago."

There was a pause, and then, wiping his rough sleeve
across his eyes, Isaac slowly said—" And Miss Mary is dead!
Well, she has gone, to heaven, if ever any body did! for
she was never like common children. Many's the time
when my poor little Hannah was burnt, and like to die,
that child has come by herself of dark nights to bring her
a cake, or something sweet and good! God bless her little
soul! she always was an angel!" and again wiping his
eyes he mounted the box and drove homeward.

Ah! gentle Mary! no sculptured monument marks thy
resting-place! No eulogistic sermon, no high-flown panegyric
was ever delivered on thy life and death! Yet that
silent tear of old Isaac's outspoke a thousand eulogies! It
told of all thy kindness, charity, love, angelic purity of heart,
and called thee "Guardian Angel" of the house of Hamilton.

Night found Florence sitting alone in the parlor of her
old and dearly loved home. The apartment was much as
she had left it five years before, and old familiar articles of
furniture greeted her on every side. She sat down to the
piano, on which in girlhood she had practiced, and gently
touched the keys. The soft tones, waking the "slumbering
chord of memory," brought most vividly back the scenes


296

of other days. Again she stood there an only cherished
daughter, and her father's image, as he used to stand leaning
against the mantle-piece, rose with startling distinctness
before her. And there, too, stood her cousin, with the
soft blue eyes and golden curls of her girlhood; and she
fancied she heard, once again, the clear, sweet voice, and
felt the fond twining of her arms about her. Long forgotten
circumstances in primitive freshness rushed upon her
mind, and unable to bear the sad associations which crowded
up, Florence turned away from the instrument, and
seating herself on the sofa, gave vent to an uncontrollable
burst of sorrow—

"Oh! what a luxury it is to weep,
And find in tears a sad relief!"

And calmly Florence wept, not bitterly, for she had had
much of sorrow to bear, and schooled her heart to meet
grief and sadness. Yet it was hard to come back to her
cherished home and miss from her side the gentle playmate
of her youth, the parent she had almost idolized, and feel
that she had left them in far distant restíng-places. She
heard her husband's step along the hall, and saw him enter
—she strove to repress her tears and seem happy, but the
quivering lips refused to smile. He sat down, and drawing
his arm around her, pressed her face to his bosom, and
tenderly said:

"My mother had much to say, after my long absence, and
I could not leave her till this moment. My own heart
told me that you suffered, and I longed to come to you and
sympathize and cheer."

"Do not think me weak, Mr. Stewart, because you find


297

me weeping. It is seldom I give vent to my feelings, but
to-night I am overwhelmed with recollections of the past.
Oh! now, for the first time, I realize that Mary has indeed
gone forever. Mary! Mary! my heart aches already
for you, and your warm, unchanging love! Oh!
how can I look forward to the long coming years, and feel
that I shall never see her again?"

"Florence, my own Florence, I would not have you repress
a single tear. I know how sadly altered all things
are, and what a dreary look your home must bear. All I
ask is, that when you feel lonely and unhappy, instead of
hiding your grief, come to me, lay your weary head upon,
my shoulder, and I will strive to cheer you, my precious
wife! Let nothing induce you to keep aught from me—
let perfect confidence reign between us; and do not, for a
moment, doubt that I wish you other than you are. The
past is very painful both to you and to me, and the memory
of Frank and Mary constantly saddens my spirit.
Yet we will look forward to a happier future, and strive to
guide and cheer each other." He kissed the broad brow
as he spoke, and drew tighter the arm which encircled his
wife, as though no danger could assail while he was near.

"Of late, Mr. Stewart, I have wondered much how you
ever learned to love me; for I am much changed, and in
my girlhood I was cold, proud, and often contemptuous in
my manner. Ah, Mary, how different from you! If
I have higher aims in life, and purer joys, I owe it all
to her, for she led me to love the law of God, and exemplified
in her daily life the teachings of Christ! But for
her, I shudder to think what I should now have been!


298

O God, I thank thee that I am saved even as a burning
brand from the fire! I have hope of happiness on earth,
and at last a joyful reunion with the loved ones that have
gone on home before me. And you, my husband, help me
to conquer myself to break down my pride, and to be more
like Mary. Oh, forgive my weaknesses, and ever love me
as you now do!"

He clasped her to his heart, and whispered—" Fear not,
Florence, that I will ever love you less! I, too, have faults
which you may be called on to excuse, yet all is bright for
us, and I trust no common share of happiness will be our
portion through life!"

"Oh, sweet reward of danger past!
How lovely, through the tears
That speak her heart's o'erflowing joy,
The young wife's smile appears.
The fount of love for her hath gushed,
Life's shadows all have flown;
Joy, Florence! thou a heart hast found
Responding to thine own!"

THE END.


1874. 1874.


[Figure]

NEW BOOKS
AND NEW EDITIONS,
RECENTLY ISSUED BY
G. W. CARLETON & Co., Publishers,
Madison Square, New York.

The Publisher, upon receipt of the price in advance, will send any 'book on this
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All books in this list [unless otherwise specified] are handsomely bound In cloth
board binding, with gilt backs, suitable for libraries.

Mary J. Holmes' Works.

TEMPEST AND SUNSHINE $1 50
ENGLISH ORPHANS 1 50
HOMESTEAD ON THE HILLSIDE 1 50
'LENA RIVERS 1 50
MEADOW BROOK 1 50
DORA DEANe 1 50
COUSIN MAUDE 1 50
MARIAN GRAY 1 50
DARKNESS AND DAYLIGHT $1 50
HUGH WORTHINGTON 1 50
CAMERON PRIDE 1 50
ROSE MATHER 1 50
ETHELYN'S MISTAKE 1 50
MILLBANK 1 50
EDNA BROWNING 1 50
WEST LAWN..........(new) 1 50

Marion Harland's Works.

ALONE $1 50
HIDDEN PATH 1 50
MOSS SIDE 1 50
NEMESIS 1 50
MIRIAM 1 50
AT LAST 1 50
HELEN GARDNER 1 50
SUNNYBANK $1 50
HUSBANDS AND HOMES 1 50
RUBY'S HUSBAND 1 50
PHEMIE'S TEMPTATION 1 50
THE EMPTY HEART 1 50
TRUE AS STEEL......(new) 1 50
JESSAMAINE....(just published) 1 50

Charles Dickens' Works.
Carleton's New Illustrated Edition."

THE PICKWICK PAPERS $1 50
OLIVER TWIST 1 50
DAVID COPPERFIELD 1 50
GREAT EXPECTATIONS 1 50
DOMBEY AND SON. 1 50
BARNABY RUDGE 1 50
NICHOLAS NICKLEBY 1 50
OLD CURIOSITY SHOP 1 50
BLEAK HOUSE 1 50
LITTLE DORRIT 1 50
MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT $1 50
OUR MUTUAL FRIEND 1 50
TALE OF TWO CITIES 1 50
CHRISTMAS BOOKS 1 50
SKETCHES BY "BOZ". 1 50
HARD TIMES, etc 1 50
PICTURES OF ITALY, etc 1 50
UNCOMMERCIAL TRAVELLER 1 50
EDWIN DROOD, etc 1 50
CHILD'S ENGLAND, and CATALOGUE 1 50

Augusta J. Evan's Novels.

BEULAH $1 75
MACARIA 1 75
INEZ 1 75
ST. ELMO $2 00
VASHTI......(new) 2 00

Captain Mayne Reid—Illustrated.

SCALP HUNTERS $1 50
WAR TRAIL 1 50
HUNTER'S FEAST 1 50
TIGER HUNTER 1 50
OSCEOLA, THE SEMINOLE 1 50
THE QUADROON 1 50
RANGERS AND REGULATORS 1 50
WHITE GAUNTLET 1 50
WHITE CHIEF $1 50
HEADLESS HORSEMAN 1 50
LOST LENORE 1 50
WOOD RANGERS 1 50
WILD HUNTRESS 1 50
THE MAROON 1 50
RIFLE RANGERS 1 50
WILD LIFE 1 50

A. S. Roe's Works.

A LONG LOOK AHEAD $1 50
TO LOVE AND TO BE LOVED 1 50
TIME AND TIDE 1 50
I'VE BEEN THINKING 1 50
THE STAR AND THE CLOUD 1 50
HOW COULD HE HELP IT 1 50
TRUE TO THE LAST $1 50
LIKE AND UNLIKE 1 50
LOOKING AROUND 1 50
WOMAN OUR ANGEL 1 50
THE CLOUD ON THE HEART 1 50
RESOLUTION......(new) 1 50

Hand-Books of Society.

THE HABITS OF GOOD SOCIETY. The nice points of taste and good manners,
and the art of making oneself agreeable
$1 75
THE ART OF CONVERSATION.—A sensible work, for every one who wishes to be
either an agreeable talker on listener
1 50
THE ARTS OF WRITING, READING AND SPEAKING.—An excellent book for Self-instruction
and improvement
1 50
A NEW DIAMOND EDITION of the above three popular books.—Small size,
elegantly bound, and put in a box
3 00

Mrs. Hill's Cook Book.

MRS. A. P. HILL'S NEW COOKERY BOOK, and family domestic receipts $2 00

Charlotte Bronte and Miss Muloch.

SHIRLEY.—Author of Jane Eyre $1 75
JOHN HALIFAX, GENTLEMAN $1 75

Mrs. N. S. Emerson.

BETSEY AND I ARE OUT—And other Poems. A Thanksgiving Story $1 50

Louisa M. Alcott.

MORNING GLORIES=A beautifui javenile, by the author of "Little Women 1 50

The Crusoe Books—Famous "Star Edition."

ROBINSON CRUSOE.—New illustrated edition $1 50
SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON. Do. Do 1 50
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS. Do. Do 1 50

Julie P. Smith's Novels.

WIDOW GOLDSMITH'S DAUGHTER $1 75
CHRIS AND OTHO 1 75
TEN OLD MAIDS......[in press] 1 75
THE WIDOWER $1 75
THE MARRIED BELLE 1 75

Artemus Ward's Comic Works.

ARTEMUS WARD—HIS BOOK $1 50
ARTEMUS WARD—HIS TRAVELS 1 50
ARTEMUS WARD—IN LONDON $1 50
ARTEMUS WARD—HIS PANORAMA 1 50

Fanny Fern's Works.

FOLLY AS IT FLIES $1 50
GINGERSNAPS 1 50
CAPER-SAUCE......(new) $1 50
A MEMORIAL.—By JAMES Parton 2 00

Josh Billings' Comic Works.

JOSH BULINGS' PROVERES $1 50
JOSH BULINGS ON ICe 1 50
JOSH BILLINGS FARMER'S ALMINAK,
(In papers covers.)
25 cts.

Verdant Green.

A racy English college story—with numerous comic illustrations $1 50

Popular Italian Novels.

DOCTOR ANTONIO.—A love story of Italy. By Ruffini $1 75
BEATRICE CENCI —By Guerrazzi. With a steel Portrait 1 75

M. Michelet's Remarkable Works.

LOVE (L'AMOUR).—English translation from the original French $1 50
WOMAN (LA FEMME). DO. DO. DO. 1 50






Rice University
Date: 2010-06-07
Available through the Creative Commons Attribution license