A woman's life in Texas, before the cattle drives, before the Alamo. Before the legends were born. She was there, and she saw it all. On the day that she was twelve years old, Margaret Becker came to Texas with her parents and her younger brothers. The witch-woman looked at her hands, and... read more
“I see de future in yo han’s, Missy Margaret . . . a big ol’ house, an’ a man you gwine marry fo’ love, anodder fo’ friendship ...Yo will meet de fust husban’ befoah de moon waxes and wanes agin. Count ten and ten and ten an’ one day t’day . . . ten year an’ one will you be blessed, Missy Margaret. Joy an’ sorrow, will you have, an’ always frien’s, some o’dem pow’ful men – even doh mos’ o’ dem will nebber know yo heart.”The old witchwoman on the banks of the Sabine
“Papa and Mama do not quarrel. Haven’t you ever noticed? Papa does speak hastily and harshly, but never to Mama or you, for he loves you both very much. And Mama knows this very well. She does not argue with him, she waits until his anger is past. Papa in anger – he is like a thunderstorm, Rudi. All flash and noise, and then it is over, and you can hear the birds singing. And that is when Mama speaks, soft and sensible words, and Papa will always listen to her”Margaret Becker
“It’s not really a fortress ...It’s a mission built by Spanish monks to minister to the Indians a hundred and more years ago – on low rising land, across the river from Bexar proper. There are cottonwood trees nearby, lining the riverbanks. The convent is two stories tall, well-built. That was what the Mexicans made into the barracks when the place became a garrison. That and the church next to it are built of stone – although the roof caved in over the main part of the church. The rest of it . . . well, it’s of mud-brick mostly – a long rectangular compound, a tall wall lined with single-room houses. A good few of them are ruinous, too. The rubble has been used to reinforce the outer wall. Jim Bowie had his men fill in others to make cannon-mounts at the corners and in the end of the church. Almaron and Esteban were very proud of their battery when I was there last. Given enough time, I suppose it could be strengthened even more...”Race Vining, describing the Alamo
“It’s the Gen’rals’ orders now that we move fast, and without our trash an’ traps. I’m sorry for this, ma’am, for it will cost your home an’ all. Special sorry, as I am one of the rearguard detailed to stay behind and see to the burning of it; better us, than Santy-Anna’s sojers, picking over all, ma’am. I’ll try an’ burn your place respectful an’ all. Do not delay – at once, take what you can of what is precious to you or wrap it in oilcloth and bury it in a place that you may find again easily. That’s my advice, ma’am, and sorry I am to be giving it to you tonight.”Harry Karnes, on the burning of Gonzales
“And the Gen’ral himself rode before us, on his white horse, he was – waving his hat, an’ ordering us to dress right and left, all proper-loike, aim and volley . . . but I swear to you the fiery spirit of Cuchculainn took us all, an’ Colonel Rusk, he cried, ‘If we stop, we are cut to pieces – go ahead, give them all perdition!’ an’ so we did – we were over their lines an’ into their camp, not even stopping to reload. Oh, we gave a proper Mexican quarter, so we did . . . they ran like hares! It would have done your hearts good to see it ... Or maybe not, for some died very ill, begging for a mercy we felt no inclination to grant.”Seamus O'Doyle, describing the Battle of San Jacinto
“Whatever has happened in your particular instance – it is not the business of Houston, or any other. If there is a piece of advice that you would allow me to give, it is this only: Scandal is a thing which may be faced down. It may even be kept small, if you and your husband keep your nerve and refuse to give fuel to it. This means ... that you and your husband must talk, arriving at a solution mutually agreeable – and then never speak of the circumstances to any, not even your closest and most dear. No justification, no blame, no recriminations; none must ever pass your lips. Thus, scandal dies, deprived of nourishment, although it is a hard oath to keep.”Sam Houston
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