How many men? Is that thy wish to know?
Yes, yes! no matter 'bout a man or two.
If thou wouldst know their actual count, then go.
When have thy minions stormed the forteress
And count the corpses lying there within,—
Their number will reveal to thee how strong
The garrison was of the Alamo.
[Grinding his teeth.]
My boy! thou art still young and ignorant
And ne'er perhaps hast heard of certain means
That force the strongest man to ope his lips.
And break the stoutest bosom's stubbornness.
There is the lash that stripes thy tender back
With grooves of bloody gore; there is the rack
That sends a shock of pain through every limb;
There is the iron virgin that inflicts
Her spiked embrace into thy quivering flesh;
There are the red-hot tongs, and many more
I care not to describe. All these await
Thy youthful form, if thou refuse to answer.
Once more: how many hold the Alamo?