Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/120

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held. I am free to acknowledge that I was afraid to go forward, and used every argument to show the foolhardiness of such an attempt, but all my objections were met by the imperturbable Dr. Webb, who contented himself with saying—"Our provisions are nearly exhausted, our ammunition is nearly expended, we are ordered to go on, and it is our duty. We may be killed, but it is better to die fighting, since we have been warned and are on our guard, than to die of starvation on these terrible deserts. In any case, it is only a choice of deaths, but it is certain destruction to turn back, while we may manage to escape or pass the Yumas in safety." It was finally agreed to adopt his views—keep a sharp lookout, fight if need be, to the bitter end, and die like men in the proper discharge of a recognized duty. This determination was duly imparted to our Maricopa friends, who could not restrain expressions of amazement, and gave us some additional valuable information about the existence of the launches in which to cross the Colorado, the nature and habits of the Yumas, their treacherous manner of approach, and the best means for us to adopt. Those kindly people were then supplied with provisions enough to last them to their villages, and took leave of us with unfeigned regret, expecting never to see one of our number again. My next meeting with them will be found in a succeeding chapter.

Early next morning we resumed our journey down the Gila, and prosecuted it for several days until we reached the Colorado near its junction with the Gila. At that period the whole country was a wilderness, and the place now occupied by large houses and well filled stores, with an American population of six or seven hundred souls, was waste and desolate. The approach to the river was hidden by a dense mass of young willow trees, through