Evans, Augusta J. (Augusta Jane), 1835-1909, Inez: a Tale of the Alamo (New York: John Bradburn, 1864)
|IV.||VASHTI: or, UNTIL DEATH US DO PART||$2.00|
|V.||INEZ; A TALE OF THE ALAMO||$1.75.|
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!"
"But O, th' important budget!
Who can say what are its tidings?"
"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,
"That the feet hung dangling down,
Anxious in vain to find the distant floor."
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:
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.
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.
"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."
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
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
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.
"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.
"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
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.
"Philosophy can hold an easy triumph over past and future misfortunes;
but those which are present, triumph over her."
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.
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
"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
"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.
"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
"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."
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
"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?"
"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
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.
"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."
"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!"
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.
"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."
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
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
"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
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,
* * * "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."
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
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:
"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."
"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
"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.
"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."
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.
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.
"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!"
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
"What cause have we to build on length of life:
Temptations seize when fear is laid asleep;
And ill-foreboded is our strongest guard."
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
The whitest, the lightest, that ever were seen."
"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.
"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
"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,
"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
"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
"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
"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."
"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."
"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
"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."
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.
"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,
"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,
"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
"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."
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."
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.
"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.
"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
"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
"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?"
"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."
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
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.
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
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.
"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."
"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.
"See! the dappled gray coursers of the morn
Beat up the light with their bright silver hoofs,
And chase it through the sky!"
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.
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
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.
"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."
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?"
"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
"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?"
"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
"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."
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!"
"A perfect woman, nobly planned;
To warn, to counsel, to command,
The reason firm, the temperate will,
Prudence, foresight, strength, and skill."
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
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
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.
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
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.
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,
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
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
"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."
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.
"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.
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.
"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!"
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.
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
"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
"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.
"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."
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
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,
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.
"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
"He's gone—his soul hath ta'en its earthless flight,
Whither? I dread to think—but he is gone!"
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
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
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.
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,
"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."
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,
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
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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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.'
"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
"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,
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."
"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."
"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."
"Freedom calls you! Quick! be ready;
Think of what your sires have been:
Onward! onward! strong and steady,
Drive the tyrant to his den."
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.
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,
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 warBeat the loud alarm afar,That the Moors of town and plainMight answer to the martial strain,Wo is me, Alhama.
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.
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."
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."
"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.
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
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
"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
"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."
"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."
"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.
"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
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."
"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."
"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."
"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
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."
"——I might not this believe
Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes."
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
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.
"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."
"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."
"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
"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!"
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
"Be sure that you teach nothing to the people but what is certainly
to be found in Scripture."
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
"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
"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."
"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."
"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.
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
"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
"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
"'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
'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."
"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
'Hail sacred gate.'
"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."
"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
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
"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,
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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."
"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."
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
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 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."
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.
"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."
"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?"
"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
"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
"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
"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."
"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
"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
"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."
"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.
"'There is a soul just delivered from Purgatory!' It was found to
be a frog dressed in red flannel."
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.
"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, 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
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
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."
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
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
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
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.
"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:
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."
"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
"'When in this chest the money rings,
The soul straight up to heaven springs.'
"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
"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
"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
"'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
"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."
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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."
"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
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
"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
'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!"
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
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.
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:
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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.
"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?"
"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?"
"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
"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
"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.
"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
"'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."
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
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
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,
"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:
"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:
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.
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
"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.
"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!"
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
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
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
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:
"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
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
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
"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."
"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.
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.
"I simply tell thee peril is at hand,
And would preserve thee!"
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
"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?"
"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.
"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,
"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.
"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
"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.
"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:
"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
"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."
"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."
"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."
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.
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,
"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.
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.
"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
"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.
"Who's hero besides foul weather?"
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.
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
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.
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
"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."
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.
"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."
"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
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."
"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.
"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."
"'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;
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."
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.
"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."
"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.'
"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,
"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
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.
"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
"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.
"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
"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."
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.
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.
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
"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 "
"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?"
"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."
"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."
"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?"
"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.
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
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.
"'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.'"
"'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.'"
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
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:
"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,"
"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."
"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
'I thought upon this hollow world,
And all its hollow crew.'
"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
'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.'
"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.
"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!"
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?'"
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.
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.
"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
"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
"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."
"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."
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.
"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,
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
"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
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."
"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
"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."
"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
"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."
"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 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.
"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
"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
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:
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
"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."
"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,
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
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
"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."
"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
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.
"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."
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.
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,
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
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.
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.
"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
"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."
"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.
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
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.
"To die, is landing on some silent shore,
Where billows never beat nor tempests roar!"
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.
"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.
"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."
"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."
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
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.
"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
"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.
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
"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."
"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."
"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
"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
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,
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
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
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
"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."
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:
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:
"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
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
"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!"
"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!"
"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
"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, 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."
"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
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
"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."
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
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!"
"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,
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.
"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!"
"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;'
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
"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."
"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."
"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!
"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
"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!"
"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."
"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."
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.
"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!"
"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
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,
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.
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
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.
"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
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
"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."
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.
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!
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
"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!
"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!"
"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,
"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!
"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!"
"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,
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:
"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.
"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
"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?"
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
"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
"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!
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!"
|TEMPEST AND SUNSHINE||$1 50|
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|THE HABITS OF GOOD SOCIETY. The nice points of taste and good manners,
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|THE ART OF CONVERSATION.—A sensible work, for every one who wishes to be
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