Well, I might as well get myself born. The stork brought me into the world. I remember it exactly. I can recall the first thing I saw in my flight was the Alamo when I sat bolt upright in the diaper which was in the stork's bill. Even though the stork had to hold his mouth tightly shut, he was telling me about the heroes of the Alamo. He told me that the 181 men who went into the Alamo had died for liberty, and I can remember that I had a very clear idea of what liberty meant up until about five or six years ago. (Since then it has involved all kinds of economic theories, which worry me.)

He told me about Travis and Bowie and Bonham; about the tyrant Santa Anna, who came into the great State of Texas to take away the liberties of my forefathers, and how these brave Texans had willingly gone into the Alamo and died for the cause of liberty. The stork spoke of "Rivers of Blood," and he made such a good word-picture of General Santa Anna that I can see him today standing by the San Antonio River with his cannon, and again, ordering the burning of bodies of the Texas heroes who had died for liberty. As I passed, I remember that he had a cruel countenance and was a villain and a tyrant.

The stork told just about all that a young gentleman ought to know. He spoke in a somewhat declamatory fashion, and assured me that all my ancestors on both sides of the house had always fought for justice and liberty. In France, as Huguenots, they had suffered in the cause of religious liberty; to America they came, fought Indians and Frenchmen, and, starting with the Revolution, had fought in all the wars. Some preached the word of God, exactly as it should be preached, on behalf of the King of England; later, as ministers of the Protestant Episcopal Church, they preached on behalf of law and order, and for the Confederate States of America.

Most of the stork's declamation was devoted, however, to my grandfather, Samuel A. Maverick. "There," he said, pointing to the Plaza des Armas, "your grandfather was captured by a Mexican Army. He was marched barefooted over deserts of cactus and freezing mountains. He wore the chains of slavery for ten months [sic]; he was in the military prison of Perote, to which he marched, 1600 miles from San Antonio. What did he say when the villain and tyrant, Santa Anna, offered him freedom if he would not bear arms against Mexico? He said, 'However galling are the chains of slavery, I regard a lie as dishonorable. To say that I would lay down the arms of my country would be a lie.'"

And just two or three years ago, I visited this Mexican prison under the guidance of a friendly Mexican officer. There it stands today, beautiful, austere, one of the greatest beauties of architecture in the world.

As for the stork, he failed to mention that war is cruel and unnecessary; in fact, as I remember it, he spoke rather well of it. Neither did he say anything about my grandfather's land titles; in fact, I am afraid the stork was a conservative; certainly he was neither a pacifist nor a radical. As for public ownership of natural resources, he said not a word. Apparently, he was a pioneer stork, a bird of the genus status quo. But on liberty, justice, freedom, education, he was a thousand percent. So he gave me a good start, anyway.

He also told me of the greatest hill that ever was known on the face of the earth, barring none, including all the Seven Hills of Rome put together. It was Vinegar Hill, and it is still Vinegar Hill, and it is in Charlottesville, Virginia. There another stork, four years before the guns rumbled at Fort Sumter, brought Jane Lewis Maury, my mother, who, I am now sure, was bossing the stork long before he arrived at Piedmont, where he carefully laid her by the side of my grandmother.

Vinegar Hill is beyond the University of Virginia, built by Thomas Jefferson, and in the business district of Charlottesville. And I can remember two incidents: one of the wooden-legged mule, and the other of The President's Club.

For as surely as there is any history—and this is as true as a great many historical things which are accepted—there was a Confederate who was very poor. He came back from Appomattox and he found that the Yankees had stolen all his horses as well as his cows; his house, even, was burned. He had nothing. Industrious, courageous, he built a cabin at the foot hills of the Blue Ridge. And he finally got a cow from somebody and an old sick mule. Then the mule one day, while he was pulling a plow, got his leg hurt. So they sawed off the mule's leg and gave him a wooden one.

Twice a week, as regularly as clock-work, this Confederate soldier came to town and up Vinegar Hill with his wooden-legged mule. I can see the mule jogging up the hill as plain as day. It happened thirty years before I was born, but no matter. The mule was a happy fellow, and always smiled at me when I went by. Usually, the Confederate had on the back of his small wagon one or two barrels of water, and I saw the water slosh over the edge. The mule was an example of fortitude, and he showed that, like a human being subjected to suffering, he could take it and smile.

At a much earlier date, so the stork said, and long before the Civil War, there existed in the County of Albemarle, an organization known as The President's Club. The members of this club were none other than Thomas Jefferson, then very old and weak; my grandfather Maverick's kinsman, James Madison; and James Monroe. Often, close by Vinegar Hill, these three men stood and conversed. Came one day a youth, my mother's good father, Jesse Lewis Maury, grandson of a preacher, and a cousin of Meriwether Lewis, whom Jefferson had sent far to the west to claim great lands for the new and rising empire. Seeing the three presidents standing together on Vinegar Hill, he solemnly protested that he, too, was eligible for membership in The President's Club.

Jefferson smiled. He asked the young man how it all happened.

The young man answered: "I am president of the Albemarle Possum Club."

Since I am a Member of Congress, it is my earnest desire that everything must be authentic. I have looked all this up, and it is true. [The Albemarle of Other Days, Rawings, Michie. Jesse L. Maury was born in 1811, Jefferson died in 1826, Madison in 1836, Monroe in 1831.] But I have not yet obtained documentary proof of the mule. In fact, people tell me in Albemarle County that it must be a fairy tale. The people of Albemarle County, however, do not know everything, and my mother still maintains it's true, though I am sure I detect a smile.

Still borne by the stork, I saw, around 1825, Matthew Fontaine Maury, a young boy later to be the great Commodore who should find the pathways of the seas, to have a great statue erected to him in Richmond, and be decorated by Kings and Emperors—which decorations he could not accept. He, too, rode a horse by Vinegar Hill and stayed at the House at Piedmont. He had been appointed as midshipman in the Navy by Congressman Samuel Houston, whose star of destiny rose somewhat later in Texas. To Vinegar Hill, in coaches and on horses, came British officers who were held in prison close by, presidents, generals, explorers, visitors to see the sage of Monticello, Lafayette, Custer with long yellow curls falling over his blue Yankee uniform, always marching troops—and students. They came from the North, the South, the East and the West.

Finally, there came one other, to study at the University, the best of them all. He was my father, the handsomest young man who ever did travel the route of the Great Vinegar Hill, Albert Maverick. He was a good dancer, and a gentleman of parts. He met a young lady, pretty, named Jane Lewis Maury, and he swore he would marry her. Somewhat after, during student days, his most heralded accomplishment was when he climbed the high beautiful columns that one sees at the University now, and which were built by Thomas Jefferson.

It is said that no other person in the history of Virginia has ever climbed those columns, and that he did it in the dead of the night. Whether it is true or not, I do not know; old-timers around the University say they saw him, and that they had been with him at an inn just before the feat. I hope that my father had not been imbibing any Monticello wine, for Uncle Reuben Maury told me that one who drinks it may find his feet indecisive and is likely to walk to the top of the old stile entering Piedmont and fall from the very top of it. Whatever the power of Monticello wine, history records that several students had been in town during the night, and, leaving Vinegar Hill, they went to the University and saw this mighty feat performed.

A few days later my father bade farewell to Vinegar Hill and to Piedmont. He went to Paris, where he completed his education. When he returned, my mother and he were married. My father had come to the University from the wild frontier country of Texas, riding much of the way on horses and in coaches. Directly after that a railroad was built into San Antonio, and he and my mother came into the city on the first rails laid into it.

These were all stories told me by the stork, for all children until quite recently were brought into the world that way.

After all these great events, or stories of events, the stork brought me to the great bay-window in front of the room where history records I was born, a stone's throw off the Alamo and just across from the Post Office. Then I got out of the diaper and noticed I was in a dress-suit, with stovepipe hat, and a cane in my hand. I can remember very distinctly that I was looking for my mother, whom I loved very much. I can also remember that the casement was a long way from the floor, and that I put my hands on the edge, and dropped to the floor. Then I walked directly to my mother's side. I took off all of my evening clothes, put them on the floor, and I lay by the side of my mother. I fell asleep.

So be it, I did enter upon the said scene, and October 23rd, 1895, aforesaid (as I later learned to say at the law school). It was three-thirty A.M. Central Standard Time, and the time is correct, for my father had been sitting up and heard the clock strike three, and then the half-hour; looking at his big gold watch, on which were engraved the letters, "A.M.," he confirmed the exact time. And at the moment, Dr. Herff, who had left Germany in the Revolution of 1847 because of socialistic leanings, cried out the fact. My father was glad, for he is a punctual man, and likes punctual children.

Now my mother says that the story I tell is not true. She also says that she never told me any such things in all my life and that it's all my imagination. However, my psychoanalyst tells me that my mother must have told me the story which made an indelible impression upon my childish mind, and that it is quite proper for me to believe it is true.

At any rate, I was born a well-dressed gentleman (though they tell me since that I look as if I sleep in my clothes); and this birth had some connection with the defeat of tyrants, for I plainly heard a bugle calling Texans to fight for Justice and Liberty, even though it meant Death.

My father then slept briefly, rose and ate breakfast. There was no particular excitement. I was number eleven. He walked to his office—the old Maverick Land Office, the foundations of which were the cannon of the Alamo, used by the patriots of Texas to fire at the Mexican soldiers. And my father got there on time, as he had always done before and has always done since. In the afternoon, the leaders of the town assembled at the San Antonio Club, across the plaza from the Alamo, where my father bought champagne. Uncle George, who was always full of theories and was regarded by some as a Radical, reminded my father that I was number eleven. To make it plain, he then and there ordered a silver napkin ring, made like a Venetian boat, with the ring sitting on the boat, and put for my name the word "Zed," which, if you do not know, was then, as it is now, the very last letter in the alphabet. As for Uncle Willie, he said nothing, only grunted. He was playing cards with Army officers from Fort Sam Houston. Albert Steves, the best fellow in town, owner of a lumber yard, arrived and started buying champagne too. My mother indignantly denies that my father or the gentlemen of the city celebrated too much, even though father got home very late. I never doubt my mother's word.

The next morning, however, my father rose, and taking out the family Bible, wrote these words:
No. 11. Fontaine Maury, October 23, 1895, boy, 3:30 a.m., 9⅔ lbs.
They had decided to name me after my cousin, the Commodore. How I lost the heavy load of Fontaine must be taken up in another chapter.

After the stork brought me, life was a blank for three or four years, for I remember little. But I do remember as though it were yesterday the assembling of Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders. I was nearly four, and it is historically correct that the regiment left near our home, and by the Alamo, for the front. That may be a story of my mother's, but it seems I stood there, both my mother and father holding my hands, as the troops left for Cuba. Cousin Lewis, a corporal named after my Confederate uncle, Major Lewis Maverick, waved good-bye.

Later, I really remember the boys coming back from the Spanish War, from Cuba and the Philippines—telling tall tales of battles with natives of all kinds, for by then we were involved in taking away the liberty which we had just gotten for those people. My first memories as a boy were of bugles, guns, drums and marching feet.

I can remember also that about 1905 and 1910 there was a great deal of talk about foreign trade, and about incidents in Morocco. In San Antonio our bankers and business men were selling cotton to China; there was a heavy trade through San Antonio with Mexico. There was prosperity.

It was at this time that the United States of America budded into a great nation, and the expression "Dollar Diplomacy" was born.

In about 1910, when I was fifteen years old, I think I began to feel and to understand somewhat the stirring of revolution which was then coming over the world. I was attending grammar school in 1909. I could look across the way from the second story where I sat, and see strange looking Mexican men gesticulating with each other through the windows. I saw a little man with a spiked beard walk in with the rest, and there were constant conversations. The little man was Francisco I. Madero, soon to be president of the United States of Mexico.

One of my companions in school was a Mexican, and he said that he had heard one of the Mexicans say in the Spanish language that "they would soon take the field for the liberty of their people." We asked our teacher what that meant and he told us that it meant that they were going to have a revolution over in Mexico and that people would be killed.

One of my brothers had just been in college with one of the Madero boys, so one day I spoke to Mr. Madero, who was very cordial. Suddenly the newspapers began to tell of the revolution that had broken out in Mexico. It was not long before the great and mighty Porfirio Diaz, who ruled for more than thirty years in Mexico, had taken ship for Switzerland. Madero became the president.

From that time on the world has been crowded with war, revolution, hunger and death. We started to intervene in Mexico a half-dozen times. We would have, if we had listened to the money-bags. (We may still, if we listen.)

All this revolution and war and military life seemed natural to me, for San Antonio has been a military center always; it was the battle-ground of Indians for centuries. Since 1880, and to this date, it has been the greatest military district on either American continent, and probably the world.

And here in San Antonio we live—wife, two children, mother and father, and relatives by the score. Here in all this military and pomp and guns I live with the first-class hatred of war, and one that will last, I hope, until I am dead.

Our cottage in town stands on the edge of the city. On the west side of our house is the Zoo, on the south is old Fort Sam Houston, and thank God, towards the rising sun is the open country and the mesquite brush, which comes close to the house. And, so that the district shall not be without true refinement and culture, the Country Club is close by on the north.

In the night we hear lions roar from the Zoo; the caged wolves yelp and howl and are answered by the wild coyotes from the open country. The Country Club affords a retreat for our gentlemen who can praise the Supreme Court, curse Congress, drink sixteen-year-old Scotch, solemnly shaking their wise heads at the impudence of the common people: from these same bastions of golf at night comes music, drowning out my wolves, both domestic and foreign. For a dead moral certainty a great rumble of a cannon is heard at 6:15—the morning cannon—then a sound of trumpets and drums, for at old Fort Sam Houston the soldiers are rising for another day.