Texan Star, The

Texan Star, The
Catalog # SKU3733
Publisher Texas National Press
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Joseph A. Altsheler
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000


The Texan Star

The Story of a
Great Fight for Liberty

Joseph A. Altsheler

Based upon the Texan struggle for liberty against the power of Mexico, this revolution, epic in its nature, and crowded with heroism and great events, divides itself naturally into three parts.

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The first phase begins in Mexico with the treacherous imprisonment of Austin, the Texan leader, the rise of Santa Anna and his attempt, through bad faith, to disarm the Texans and leave them powerless before the Indians. It culminates in the rebellion of the Texans, and their capture, in the face of great odds, of San Antonio, the seat of the Mexican power in the north.

The second phase is the coming of Santa Anna with an overwhelming force, the fall of the Alamo, the massacre of Goliad and the dark days of Texas. Yet the period of gloom is relieved by the last stand of Crockett, Bowie, and their famous comrades.

The third phase is the coming of light in the darkness, Houston's crowning victory at San Jacinto, and the complete victory of the Texans.

The story of the Texan fight for freedom has always appealed to the author, as one of the most remarkable of modern times.


A boy and a man sat in a room of a stone house in the ancient City of Mexico, capital in turn of Aztec, Spaniard and Mexican. They could see through the narrow windows masses of low buildings and tile roofs, and beyond, the swelling shape of great mountains, standing clear against the blue sky. But they had looked upon them so often that the mind took no note of the luminous spectacle. the cry of a water-seller or the occasional jingle of a spur came from the street below, but these, too, were familiar sounds, and they were no longer regarded.

The room contained but little furniture and the door was of heavy oak. Its whole aspect indicated that it was a prison. the man was of middle years, and his face showed a singular blend of kindness and firmness. the pallor of imprisonment had replaced his usual color. the boy was tall and strong and his cheeks were yet ruddy. His features bore some resemblance to those of his older comrade.

"Ned," said the man at last, "it has been good of you to stay with me here, but a prison is no place for a boy. You must secure a release and go back to our people."

The boy smiled, and his face, in repose rather stern for one so young, was illumined in a wonderful manner.

"I don't want to leave you, Uncle Steve," he said, "and if I did it's not likely that I could. This house is strong, and it's a long way from here to Texas."

"Perhaps I can induce them to let you go," said the man. "Why should they wish to hold one so young?"

Edward Fulton did not reply because he saw that Stephen Austin was speaking to himself rather than his companion. Instead, he looked once more through the window and over the city at the vast white peaks of Popocatepetl and Ixtaccihuatl silent and immutable, forever guarding the sky-line. Yet they seemed to call to him at this moment and tell him of freedom. the words of the man had touched a spring within him and he wanted to go. He could not conceal from himself the fact that he longed for liberty with every pulse and fiber. But he resolved, nevertheless, to stay. He would not desert the one whom he had come to serve.

Stephen Austin, the real founder of Texas, had now been in prison in Mexico more than a year. Coming to Saltillo to secure for the Texans better treatment from the Mexicans, their rulers, he had been seized and held as a criminal. the boy, Edward Fulton, was not really his nephew, but an orphan, the son of a cousin. He owed much to Austin and coming to the capital to help him he was sharing his imprisonment.

"They say that Santa Anna now has the power," said Ned, breaking the somber silence.

"It is true," said Stephen Austin, "and it is a new and strong reason why I fear for our people. of all the cunning and ambitious men in Mexico, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna is the most cunning and ambitious. I know, too, that he is the most able, and I believe that he is the most dangerous to those of us who have settled in Texas. What a country is this Mexico! Revolution after revolution! You make a treaty with one president to-day and to-morrow another disclaims it! More than one of them has a touch of genius, and yet it is obscured by childishness and cruelty!"

He sighed heavily. Ned, full of sympathy, glanced at him but said nothing. Then his gaze turned back to the mighty peaks which stood so sharp and clear against the blue. Truth and honesty were the most marked qualities of Stephen Austin and he could not understand the vast web of intrigue in which the Mexican capital was continually involved. And to the young mind of the boy, cast in the same mold, it was yet more baffling and repellent.

Ned still stared at the guardian peaks, but his thoughts floated away from them. His head had been full of old romance when he entered the vale of Tenochtitlan. He had almost seen Cortez and the conquistadores in their visible forms with their armor clanking about them as they stalked before him. He had gazed eagerly upon the lakes, the mighty mountains, the low houses and the strange people. Here, deeds of which the world still talked had been done centuries ago and his thrill was strong and long. But the feeling was gone now. He had liked many of the Mexicans and many of the Mexican traits, but he had felt with increasing force that he could never reach out his hand and touch anything solid. He thought of volcanic beings on a volcanic soil.

The throb of a drum came from the street below, and presently the shrill sound of fifes was mingled with the steady beat. Ned stood up and pressed his head as far forward as the bars of the window would let him.

"Soldiers, a regiment, I think," he said. "Ah, I can see them now! What brilliant uniforms their officers wear!"

Austin also looked out.

"Yes," he said. "They know how to dress for effect. And their music is good, too. Listen how they play."

It was a martial air, given with a splendid lilt and swing. the tune crept into Ned's blood and his hand beat time on the stone sill. But the music increased his longing for liberty. His thoughts passed away from the narrow street and the marching regiment to the North, to the wild free plains beyond the Rio Grande. It was there that his heart was, and it was there that his body would be.

"It is General Cos who leads them," said Austin. "I can see him now, riding upon a white horse. It's the man in the white and silver uniform, Ned."

"He's the brother-in-law of Santa Anna, is he not?"

"Yes, and I fear him. I know well, Ned, that he hates the Texans-all of us."

"Perhaps the regiment that we see now is going north against our people."

Austin's brows contracted.

"It may be so," he said. "They give soft words all the time, and yet they hold me a prisoner here. It would be like them to strike while pretending to clear away all the troubles between us."

He sighed again. Ned watched the soldiers until the last of them had passed the window, and then he listened to the music, the sound of drum and fife, until it died away, and they heard only the usual murmur of the city. Then the homesickness, the longing for the great free country to the north grew upon him and became almost overpowering.

"Someone comes," said Austin.

They heard the sound of the heavy bar that closed the door being moved from its place.

"Our dinner, doubtless," said Austin, "but it is early."

The door swung wide and a young Mexican officer entered. He was taller and fairer than most of his race, evidently of pure Northern Spanish blood, and his countenance was frank and fine.

"Welcome, Lieutenant," said Stephen Austin, speaking in Spanish, which he, as well as Ned, understood perfectly. "You know that we are always glad to see you here."

Lieutenant Alfonso de Zavala smiled in a quick, responsive way, but in a moment his face became grave.

"I announce a visitor, a most distinguished visitor, Mr. Austin," he said. "General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, President of the Mexican Republic and Commander-in-chief of its armies and navies."

Both Mr. Austin and the boy arose and bowed as a small man of middle years, slender and nervous, strode into the room, standing for a few moments near its center, and looking about him like a questing hawk. His was, in truth, an extraordinary presence. He seemed to radiate an influence that at once attracted and repelled. His dark features were cut sharply and clearly. His eyes, set closely together, were of the most intense black that Ned had ever seen in a human head. Nor were those eyes ever at rest. They roamed over everything, and they seemed to burn every object for the single instant they fell there. They never met the gaze of either American squarely, although they continually came back to both.

This man was clothed in a white uniform, heavy with gold stripes and gold epaulets. A small sword at his side had a gold hilt set with a diamond. He wore a three-cornered hat shaped like that of Napoleon, but instead of the Corsican's simple gray his was bright in color and splendid with plumage.

He was at once a powerful and sinister figure. Ned felt that he was in the presence of genius, but it belonged to one of those sinuous creatures, shining and terrible, that are bred under the vivid sun of the tropics. There was a singular sensation at the roots of his hair, but, resolved to show neither fear nor apprehension, he stood and gazed directly at Santa Anna.

324 pages - 7 x 8½ softcover

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