Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/115

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109
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

the ground—the head standing on the stump of the neck, which was supported by a stick driven into the ground and thrust up through the throat, and the arms and hands crossed, one over the other, immediately in front of the face. I recognized the head to be that of Antonio, the murdered Yuma chief, and concluded that the present gathering was held for the purpose of a grand jubilee over his death. My conjecture was correct, but before I had time to reflect, I was seized by the hands of two powerful Indians, who joined others, until a small ring of sixty or seventy were got together, and was hurried round and round, in a regular dance, about the horrid spectacle for the space of several minutes. Showing signs of fatigue from the violent rotary motion, I was rescued by a friendly Pimo, who said: "Do you like this thing?"

"Certainly," I replied, "it is your way of rejoicing over the death of your enemies, and as the Pimos and Maricopas are our friends, I do not see why I should not rejoice with you."

This response delighted him greatly, and he immediately translated it to the multitude, who greeted me with terrific yells of approbation. Availing myself of the good feeling engendered, I desired my robust friend, whose every limb quivered with excitement, to state to the multitude that my party had gone on a long time before; that the country over which I had to pass was frequently the scene of Apache horrors; and that I had sufficiently expressed my sympathy with the occasion to be allowed to depart in peace. This speech was received with another chorus of yells, and I was gently conducted down the steep, at the base of which I found my horse in safe keeping. My conductors were warmly thanked, and I set off at full gallop to join my comrades, delighted