HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 21
watching the horses except me. I'm watching my one-armed
man, and I don't breathe easy until I see his head disappear
over the hill. Of course I'm prepared to help the gang raise
hell over the stakeholder getting away with the money, but
there ain't any hell raised. A little flea-bitten gray mare, ridden
by a nigger, comes under the wire a length ahead of the 4year-old.
"I'm crazy. I've bankrupted West Texas, and I break over the
hill after my one-armed man. But I don't find him, for he sure
tells the truth when he says he can walk like hell. I search
the county for him that evening, but I don't find him. The next
day I go over to Seguin, but he ain't there. I wait there two
days, but he never did show up, and he must be going yet, for
I have never seen him since his head went over the hill.
"That's the surest thing I ever had, and you see a plumb
outsider got away with all its fruit.
"There are two things," said Frank in concluding his story,
"that have worried me ever since. One is trying to figure how
much money I beat those sports out of, and the other is how
anybody could have acted as dishonest as that one-armed man
A COMPANY OF GAMBLERS.
VERYBODY knows how scarce Confederate soldiers were
in the South toward the latter part of 1863. As some
wit expressed it, Jefferson Davis had robbed the cradle
and the grave and was almost tempted to call out the cavalry.
It is needless to say that the wit belonged to some other branch
of service than cavalry. Texas was the only Southern state
on whose soil the federal troops had not succeeded in making a
permanent foothold. The naval and military forces had been
driven off by Magruder at Galveston; the invading force of
Banks had been defeated at Sabine Pass by Dick Dowling, and
Banks' Red River campaign had resulted only in making large,
though involuntary, contribution of food, clothing and ammunition
to the Confederates who opposed him.
And yet with all this pressing need for men at the front there
were hundreds upon hundreds of able-bodied men in Houston,
the headquarters of General Magruder, who commanded the
Trans-Mississippi department. There were blockade runners,
cotton exporters and hundreds of others who, on one pretext or
another, secured immunity from military service. Then, too,
there were scores of gamblers. How these latter escaped the
conscript officers no oe knew, but they did and they lived on
the fat of the land, toM-
Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young.. Galveston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/. Accessed April 20, 2014.