Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/114

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westward, and it was my lot to be something like a mile or two in the rear of my comrades, but being better mounted than they, this fact gave me no concern, especially as I knew that we were among peaceful and inoffensive tribes. Just south of the last village inhabited by the Maricopas, a low, flat-topped hill is met, with its northern base close to the highway along which I had to pass. On arriving near this hill, I observed a very large crowd of Indians on its summit and sides, who appeared to be performing a series of most unusual antics, accompanied with occasional discordant and ear-splitting yells. At first I feared that my comrades had committed some act that had aroused their vengeance, but cooler consideration convinced me that they were not the men to do foolish acts. I rode forward at a round gallop, with the intention of passing the hill and its occupants as quickly as possible without appearing to be in flight, but I was not destined to escape so easily. Four or five stalwart warriors placed themselves in the road and beckoned me to hold up, and, believing discretion to be the better part of valor, on this occasion at least, I obeyed their summons. One took my horse, while another assisted me, most courteously, to dismount, and then taking my hand, led me up the ascent, accompanied by his associates. It beggars all my descriptive powers to depict the scene which met my astonished gaze when I reached the summit and was introduced inside the inner ring. From four to five thousand Indians were present. The squaws were formed in three complete circles nearest the center, leaving a space of two hundred yards diameter. Around these were great numbers of warriors, of greater or less fame, and boys from ten to fifteen years of age. In the center of the open space a human head, and the forearms with hands attached, were placed upon