THE FREEBOOTERS. A Story of the Texan War.

THE FREEBOOTERS. A Story of the Texan War.

by GUSTAVE AIMARD

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Overview

PREFACE.

Apart from the thrilling interest of Aimard's new story, which I herewith offer to English readers, I think it will be accepted with greater satisfaction, as being an historical record of the last great contest in which the North Americans were engaged. As at the present moment everything is eagerly devoured that may tend to throw light on the impending struggle between North and South, I believe that the story of "THE FREEBOOTERS," which is rigorously true in its details, will enable my readers to form a correct opinion of the character of the Southerners.

The series, of which this volume forms a second link, will be completed in a third volume, to be called "THE WHITE SCALPER," which contains an elaborate account of the liberation of Texas, and the memorable battle of San Jacinto, together with personal adventures of the most extraordinary character.

***

An excerpt from the beginning of:

CHAPTER I.

FRAY ANTONIO.

All the wood rangers have noticed, with reference to the immense virgin forests which still cover a considerable extent of the soil of the New World, that, to the man who attempts to penetrate into one of these mysterious retreats which the hand of man has not yet deformed, and which preserve intact the sublime stamp which Deity has imprinted on them, the first steps offer almost insurmountable difficulties, which are gradually smoothed down more and more, and after a little while almost entirely disappear. It is as if Nature had desired to defend by a belt of thorns and spikes the mysterious shades of these aged forests, in which her most secret arcana are carried out.

Many times, during our wanderings in America, we were in a position to appreciate the correctness of the remark we have just made: this singular arrangement of the forests, surrounded, as it were, by a rampart of parasitic plants entangled one in the other, and thrusting in every direction their shoots full of incredible sap, seemed a problem which offered a certain degree of interest from various points of view, and especially from that of science.

It is evident to us that the circulation of the air favours the development of vegetation. The air which circulates freely round a large extent of ground covered with lofty trees, and is driven by the various breezes that agitate the atmosphere, penetrates to a certain depth into the clumps of trees it surrounds, and consequently supplies nourishment to all the parasitical shrubs vegetation presents to it. But, on reaching a certain depth under the covert, the air, less frequently renewed, no longer supplies carbonic acid to all the vegetation that covers the soil, and which, through the absence of that aliment, pines away and dies.

This is so true, that those accidents of soil which permit the air a more active circulation in certain spots, such as the bed of a torrent or a gorge between two eminences, the entrance of which is open to the prevailing wind, favour the development of a more luxuriant vegetation than in flat places.

It is more than probable that Fray Antonio[1] made none of the reflections with which we begin this chapter, while he stepped silently and quietly through the trees, leaving the man who had helped him, and probably saved his life, to struggle as he could with the crowd of Redskins who attacked him, and against whom he would indubitably have great difficulty in defending him.

Fray Antonio was no coward; far from it: in several critical circumstances he had displayed true bravery; but he was a man to whom the existence he led offered enormous advantages and incalculable delights. Life seemed to him good, and he did all in his power to spend it jolly and free from care. Hence, through respect for himself, he was extremely prudent, only facing danger when it was absolutely necessary; but at such times, like all men driven into a corner, he became terrible and really dangerous to those who, in one way or the other, had provoked in him this explosion of passion.

In Mexico, and generally throughout Spanish America, as the clergy are only recruited from the poorest class of the population, their ranks contain men of gross ignorance, and for the most part of more than doubtful morality. The religious orders, which form nearly one-third of the population, living nearly independent of all subjection and control, receive among them people of all sorts, for whom the religious dress they don is a cloak behind which they give way with perfect liberty to their vices, of which the most venial are indubitably indolence, luxury, and intoxication.

Enjoying a great credit with the civilized Indian population, and greatly respected by them, the monks impudently abuse that halo of sanctity which surrounds them, in order to shamefully plunder these poor people under the slightest excuses.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940015042580
Publisher: OGB
Publication date: 08/29/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 575 KB

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