J. H. (John Hovey) Robinson.

The Lone Star; or, the Texas bravo. A tale of the Southwest online

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Online LibraryJ. H. (John Hovey) RobinsonThe Lone Star; or, the Texas bravo. A tale of the Southwest → online text (page 1 of 13)
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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, hy F. Gleason, in the Clerk's Office
of the District Court of Massachusetts.

Publisher's Note. — The following Novellette was originally published in The Flag of ocr Union,
and is but one among the many deeply interesting productions emanating from that source. The Flag
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■ Of THE \


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•^f^HE first beams of the morning sun were
[I saluting the " Lone Star." A man of
about forty years of age, -wearing the uniform of
a Texan officer, was standing motionless upon
the margin of a prauie, not far from the Colora-
do river ; it was the gencral-in-chief of the forces
raised to repel the invasions of the "Napoleon
of the West," and shake off a despotism revolt-
ing to men deeply imbued with republican sen-
timents. The general had received tidings
from Colonel Travis, in command of Fort Alamo,
San Antonio de Bexar, that he was besieged by
overwhelming numbers, and could not long
maintain his position unless reinforcements were
speedily sent to his relief ; and he had added
that while the Alamo held out and successfully
resisted the enemy, signal guns should be filled
at sunrise every morning.

The colonel had redeemed his promise, and
for many consecutive days the booming of dis-
tant cannon had been heard rolling over the
prairies with a mournful sound, as if heralding
the fate of the devoted garrison. General
Houston, after accepting the command, which

had been tendered him for tlie second time, and
addressing a patriotic speech to the convention
(which took the place of the provisional govern-
ment) at Washington, mounted his horse, and
without loss of time rode towards Bexar.

For several mornings he had heai-d the signal
guns which were to assure the friends of the
cause of Texas that the Alamo was yet in the
hands of Travis and his men. At the jimcture
to which we have referred, he was in the act of
listening with intense interest to catch the low
thunder of the distant ordnance.

It was in vain that he bent forward and placed
his ear to the ground ; the sounds which would
have been so welcome did not reach him. It
was the hour when he had been bidden to ex-
pect the signal guns, and lie felt assured that
his sense of hearing, rendered acute by long
practice, had not failed in this instance. With
a dejected countenance he returned to the spot
where he had left his party, mounted his horse
and went forward in the direction of Bexar as
fast as practicable.

Early on the following morning he again Iw-



tenecl anxiously for tlie signal, but with no Let-
ter success. While thus engaged other sounds
attracted his attention. He heard horses ap-
proaching at a gallop, and in a moment they
came in sight ; two in number. The foremost
was ridden by a white man of goodly figure ;
the other by a negro of gigantic proportions.
Both were begriramed with powder, dust, and
gmoke, and their clothes were torn and stained
with blood, while the perspiration was streaming
from the flanks of their overtaxed steeds.

The general instinctively laid his hand upon
his side arms as he hailed the approaching horse-

" Are you friends, or foes ?"

" Either," responded the man in advance, in
a careless tone. " A friend, if you intnide not
upon my rights — a foe, if you wrong me."

" That is according to the great law of nar
ture," answered the general. " It is the motto
of the free sons of the forest. But be more
definite. Do you fight beneath the red banner
of the 'Lone Star,' or where the flag of the
Dictator of Mexico is thrown out to the breeze ?"

" I am from the Alamo," replied the other.

" From the Alamo !" exclaimed the general,
quickly. " I was just listening to hear the sig-
nal guns."

" You will listen long ere you hear them;
their thunders are silenced forever, and the gal-
lant hearts that manned them arc cold in

" In the name of Heaven, tell me all without
delay !" cried the general, greatly excited.
" What has been the fate of Travis, and Crock-
ett, and Bowie, and their brave followers?"

"Death, sir!" said the horseman, clenching
his fist, and setting his teeth hard together.
" They have been murdered in cold blood, and
after they had capitulated."

"How many escaped the slaughter?" asked
the general, in a suppressed voice.

" Myself and servant, and a woman with a
child in her arras, are all that survive to tell the
story of Mexican duplicity."

" A band of braver men never trod the
earth," said the general, turning suddenly from

the horseman and dashing a tear from his eye.
" Peace to their souls in that land where there
is no oppression, and where the white flag of
peace waves eternally."

" Amen, from the deepest fountains of my
heart," responded the stranger.

" Would to Heaven they had listened tome,"
continued Houston, sorrowfully ; " blo\vn up the
fort and retired to Gonzales. But far be it
from me to reproach them ; they acted as they
thought for the best, and no doubt left marks of
their prowess upon the enemy."

" They fought nobly, sir."

" By what miracle did you and your servant

" Those who seek death, seldom find it," re-
turned the horseman.

" Are you then weary of life?" asked the
general, regarding him attentively.

' ' I have sought an honorable death on many
a hard fought field ; let that be my answer.
At the Alamo it was my fortune to save the life
of a young Mexican lad, and for that service I
was spared the general massacre. I regret it
but little, for when I fall I would fall with arms
in my hands, with my face to the foe, and not
be slaughtered like an ox by some paltry coward
who would fear to meet me in fair fight. My
brave companions were cut down around me }»y
scores, until not one remained 1)ut this faithful
African who is with me, and I could only look
on and witneas the indi.scriminate slaughter, and
call on Heaven for vengeance."

" A day of reckoning .shall come !" cried the
general, grasping his sword liilt, while his nether
lip trembled with indignation. "I will meet
the tyrant face to face, and punish him for his

"The news I bring should rally every man
m Tqxas, capable of bearing arms."

"It should ; but there are unfortunate divi-
sions among us which bring us more misfortimes
than any other cause ; but thank Heaven, there
are those who will follow me to battle, and do
all that their country and the warmest patriot-
ism can demand."

" Have I the honor of addressing the gencral-
iu-chief of the Texan army ?"



"My name is Houston, sir."

" A name already well known to fame ; but
there are those who affirm that you are opposed
to prosecuting an energetic war, such as the
present crisis requires."

" Let those who assert that I am opposed to
decisive measures, shoulder their guns and fol-
low me ; and he who is the first to tm-n back,
let posterity brand him a coward, and a traitor
to his country."

" I believe not all the tales I have heard.
That you are a brave man, has been proved to
the world. I shall keep myself advised of your
movenicuts as much as possible, and when there
is fighting to be done, I shall be neai* you to
take pai't in it."

"Your bold bearing, your free speech, your
soiled and blood-stained garments all assure me
that you can fight. May I ask the name of one
who braves death so fearlessly?"

" My name can be of little consequence to
you, but it were uncourteous not to give a fitting
answer. I am called Ethington ; but I care
not to be known, or would be known only by
my deeds."

" "Brave men should not give place to mis-
anthropy, because, forsooth, the lady of their
love has proved fickle or unkind. Away with
melancholy, sir, for fortune seldom forsakes one
not to return again."

" The advice is frankly given and well meant ;
but I regret to say that upon one like me, it is
tin-own away. I hope, in return, that you will
never live to tarnish the fame which you have
won, and that you may finish the bright career
before you with honor unsullied by a single act
of cowardice or indiscretion."

" The word cowardice is offensive, sir. What-
ever changes time may produce, it will fail to
make me a coward," said the general, contract-
ing his brows. " You shall have war, and war
to the knife. I say it — Sam Houston says it —
and no man can say these lips ever uttered a

' ' Texas looks to you for aid in this trying

* Language like this has been attributed to the Jiero
of San Jacinto.

crisis ; Heaven grant that she look not in vain.
Adieu, general, and when next we meet, may
it be where the banner of the ' Lone Star '
waves triumphantly on the field of battle."

Ethington touched his cap and moved on,
followed by the negro. Houston gazed after
him for a moment, and then turning slowly,
walked back to his party, with the sorrowful in-
telligence that the Alamo had fallen, and the
devoted gai-rison was no more.

[see engraving.]

"Felix," said Ethington, to his colored ser-

" Did you spoke to dis culhid gembleman,
massa?" said the latter, rolling up the whites
of his eyes.

"Do you know where we are ?" asked Ething-

" Li course I do."

"Well, where are we?"

"Li Texas, accordin' to de rules ob jography
as dey manifest theirselves to de invisable seiLses
ob dis enlightened nigger."

" Nonsense, you thick-headed fellow. I mean
in what particular locality are we?"

" Now you begin to 'press yourself to de un-
derstandin' ob dis here indervidooal ; but I
can't tell you noffin about it ; 'kas why I never
studied dar fine arts. Why didn't you ax de
big capen' wid de elephants on his shoulders?"

"Epaulettes, you mean."

" What's de odds ; dey all magnify dar same
ting, 'cordin' to de enlightened views ob dis
'telligent darkey."

" We must be near the Colorado river," add-
ed Ethington, musingly.

" Now look a here, massa. I'm got enuff ob
dis fightin' bisness ; and I motion dat we leave
Mcxus and Texico by dar boat. Why
don't you disremember dat discompassionate
white gal, and go an be as you used to wji-s?"

" Be careful how you .speak of Andrea St.
Aubert, Felix. Her name, in my presence,
must be spoken with respect."

" She'll be dar death ob dis nigger," said
Felix, with a sigh. " If it hadn't been for her,



you wouldn't been here In all dese scrapes,
fightin' like wild cats, and I at your heels, like-
ly to be killed any minnit."

" I did not ask you to follow me ; I gave you
your choice to go or stay."

" Darfore you am to blame, for you knew dis
darkey feller wouldn't leave you. Whar you
go, dar dis nigger goes, and dar's no rubbin' it
out, no how you can fix it. Yah, yah ? heah,
heah !"

" You are a faithful fellow, Felix, and it goes
against my better feelings to lead you into dan-
ger. Should you fall, I should, in some meas-
ure, feel that I was the cause of yoiu: death.
Once more I give you free permission to leave
me and seek a place of safety. As for myself,
I seek excitement, danger, battle and death."

" You ean't be killed no how ; you might as
well give it up fust as last. Why wasn't you
killed at the takin' of Bexar, or Goliad, and at

other great fights dat you've been in ? As for
leavin' you, I have 'spressed myself fully on
dat 'portant subjeck, and de natur' ob my sen-
timents remains dar same through all changes
ob dar climate and wicisitudes ob dar weather."

The parties rode on in silence for some dis-
tance. The sound of water was at length heard
and they soon reached the Colorado, whose banks
were fringed with broad woodlands, broken into
bold bluffs, or covered with grass, bordering
upon prairies and affording pasturage, where the
wild mustang, the deer and the buffalo were
often seen.

The horses were turned loose, and Ethington
and his servant took peaceable possession of a
small cabin near the river, which had evidently
been occupied by some person quite recently.
Felix kindled a fire, and Ethington took his
rifle and went in quest of game, for neither had
tasted food since the previous day.



T will be understood by tlie perusal of tbe
foregoing chapter, that our hero had met
witli some severe disappointment in matters per-
taining to the heart, which had driven him from
his home and friends, and made him a reckless
wanderer in the wilds of Texas.

The particular circumstances which had led to
these results shall be made known to the read-
er in due time. It is enough for the present
purpose to say that he had been deeply enamor-
ed with a young lady, by the name ot Andrea
St. Aubert, and for a brief period had firmly
believed that his passion was reciprocated.

Miss St. Aubert was endowed with rai-e
beauty of person, and those excellent gifts of
the mind which are calculated to charm and
dazzle those withm the sphere of its influence.
Walter Ethington was at length, as he believed,
undeceived in relation to the object of his idol-
atry (for his love fell little short of adoration).
He obtained such proofs of her inconstancy that
he felt all was at an end between them. Ad-
dressing her a hasty note, full of reproaches for
her perfidy, he left Louisiana, his native State,

determmed never to return, but to unite his
fortunes to the Texan patriots who were strug-
gling for their liberties, and die like a brave
man fighting to the last.

The cup of his short-lived happiness was dash-
ed to the earth, and he desii-ed to live no long-
er. His negro servant refused to desert him,
and had shared all the dangers of his reckless
career since entering Texas. He had been in
many engagements, fought boldly, and exposed
himself rashly to the enemy ; but strange to re-
late, had, miraculously as it would almost seem,
escaped death ; and to crown all had passed,
through the terrible tragedy of the Alamo, un-
scathed, while over one hundred and eighty men
had fallen.

Walter Ethington was about twenty-four
years of age, and had been pronounced " hand-
some " by the ladies, who are competent judges
in such matters, as every man of gallantry will
allow. In figure he was rather above the me-
dium size, straight as an arrow, firm and inde-
pendent in his bearing. He was brave in bat-
tle, and liis voice was the first to c'.ieer on to



the thickest of the fight. Without farther de-
scription of our hero, we will proceed with our

Having examined his rifle to see if it were in
proper order, he followed the general course of
the river througli a dense forest of live oak and
walnut, occasionally interspersed with the ash
and sycamore, pausing at intervals to watch the
waters hurrying on to be discharged into the
Grulf of Mexico. Emerging from the wood after
half an hour's walk, he stood on the border of a
small, rolling prairie, green with grass and
shrul)bery. At that moment he saw a deer
quietly browsing at the distance of about three
hundred yards. Ethington was a good marks-
man, and though conscious that it was a long
shot, resolved to fire without incurring the risk
of losing the opportunity by attempting to get

He discharged his piece witliout of time,
and had the satisfaction of seeing the deer run
a short distance and ^fall. Having reloaded his
rifle, he was proceeding to take possession of
his game, when tlio .sound of paddles, dipping
quickly and regularly into the water, readied
hLs ears.

The bank of the river was but a few paces
from hun, but when he reached it, a small boat
had touched the shore, and a tall man had leap
ed out, leaving a lad seated upon the middle
thwart. The person who had landed was pro-
bably past thirty years of age, not very fleshy,
but muscular enough to indicate much physical
strength. His features, though tanned by ex-
posure, were regular, strongly marked and bold
in their expression. His apparel was of coarse,
home-made fal)ric, calculated more for service
than show. His cap was of skin, and though
not an ornamental one, served all the purposes
of the wearer. In his hand he held that indis-
pensable attendant of the backwoodsman — a
rifle. The one who still occupied the boat, ap-
j)eared to be a mere lad, of perhaps thirteen or
fourteen years, and Walter did not trouble him-
self to bestow much notice upon him. The man
ascended the bank and approached Ethington.
" Again we meet, but I regret to see you

have not profited by my advice," he said, with
some coldness of manner.

" I have not, neither did I intend to," re-
plied Walter. " Why you take the liberty to
interest yourself in my affairs, I know not ; but
I will assure you, as I did at our first meeting,
that I thank yau not for your interference. By
some means. Heaven knows how, you have ob-
tained some knowledge of my past life, and have
presumed to make use of it under the mask of
friendship, disinterested, and all those fine
things ; but you are mistaken in your man. I
know my own mind, and am pleased to follow
my own mcliuations. "

" Headstrong boy, how long will it be ere
you listen to the voice of reason ? Whatever
friendship I might have professed to feel for you,
on the occasion of our first meeting, was real
and not affected, and is in nowise duninished
to-day. What if you do not understand the
motives which have impelled me to interest my-
self in your welfare. Judge me as you find me,
according to my actions, and not according to
your own prejudices. Go back to Andrea St.
Aubert, whom you have basely forsaken, and
upon your knees beg to be forgiven, and rein-
stated in her favor."

' ' Never, sir ! I have had sufiicicnt proofs
of her inconstancy, and to speak farther upon
this subject will be to oflfer me a personal af-

" Were Andrea St. Aubert to declare with
her ovrn fair lips that she had sacredly kept her
faith to you, would you believe her, or would
you notV" added the stranger, somewhat

" How could I believe her, sir, when I have
the evidence of my own eyes. Leave me ; I
tell you I will hear no more. Go and give
your advice to yonder beardless boy ; he will
perhaps li.sten to you. When I need your
counsel, I will seek you out and ask it boWly ;
until then, do not forget that we are strangers."

Walter spoke with much energy and bitter-
ness, and when he had cea.sed turned his back
towards the unknown and was walking away.

" One word more before we part. You are
in danger," added the man, earnestly.








" So are all men ; but I have ceased to fear

" ±}ut It IS near — even at the door, to use a
scriptural phrase . ' '

" So much the better ; let it come. Any-
thing is better than monotony and inactivity."

" There are those wlio seek your life."

" Let them take it ; for it has lost its value."

" You will not be warned ?"

" I tha}ik you not for this ofEciousness. Per-
haps your offers are well meant ; I know not
and care less. I am not in a reasonable mood,
and have no desire to be otherwise. I have be-
come indifferent to all the common affairs of
life. Deceived where I trusted tlie most, I no
longer lay myself liable to deception by tmsting
again. Unloved where I loved the most ten-
derly, I no longer bestow my love upon those
who are no better, and but dust and ashes, like
her and myscli'. If I appear rude and ungrate-
ful, you know why I am so, and thus have the
reason of my ingi-atitude and rudeness. To
warn wie of danger is time lost, for it is what
you term ' danger ' that I seek ; and if you will
inform me in wliat direction to find it, there will
I hasten to meet it, and feel a pleasure in doing

" The rash boldness that has signalized you
in the hour of battle, has attracted the attention
of the enemies ef Texas, and a certain number
of them under the command of one Garcia, a
desperate fellow, have devoted themselves to the
task of destroying the ' Texan Bravo,' as you
are styled among them," said the unknown,
without heeding the remarks of Ethington.

" That suits me well," replied Walter, with
a smile. "It will afford me excitement, and
give me an opportunity to merit the name they
have bestowed upon me. Let them come — the
' Texan Bravo ' is ready ; my life shall cost
them a dozen of their best men. Sorrow to
him who comes within the range of this rifle, for
these ' sights ' never cover their object in vain.
And see, if they venture to close quarters, here
are my pistols and bowie knife, ready to receive
them ; while my arms have the physical power
of three such cowardly fellows."

" This is sheer madness," said the stranger.
" To say more is useless. I abandon you to
your fate."

" Allow me to ask the name of such a disin-
terested friend," added Ethuigton, somewhat

" My name is Ridgley," replied the other,
then walked thouglitfully towards the boat,
puslied it from the shore, stepped in, took his
seat in the stern, and paddled down the stream
with the lad.

Walter looked after them a moment, and then
went to take possession of his game. Cutting
the choicest portions from the deer, he placed
them upon his shoulders, and retraced his steps
to the cabin. Felix now performed his part,
and very soon they were- dining upon roasted
venison, which emitted a most savory odor, es-
pecially for the olfactories of a hungry man.

When Ethington had satisfied the demands of
hunger, he laid down by the blazing fii-e and

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Online LibraryJ. H. (John Hovey) RobinsonThe Lone Star; or, the Texas bravo. A tale of the Southwest → online text (page 1 of 13)