Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/121

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115
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

which we had to pass in order to reach water, of which ourselves and animals were greatly in need. The thermometer stood at 118 degrees Fahrenheit, in the shade, and we had marched twenty-four miles that day without water. On emerging from the willows to the banks of the broad, red, swift and turbid stream which met our gaze, we discovered, on the opposite side, within easy rifle reach, a large number of Yuma men, women and children, a fact which assured us that our approach had not been known by that tribe. They instantly fled in all directions, thereby proving their fear and suspicions, which would not have been entertained if the two people had been at peace with each other. Having watered our suffering animals, we prosecuted our way down the Colorado, and encamped upon an open sand beach, with three hundred yards of clear ground in the rear and the river in front. No weapon in possession of the Yumas could reach anything like that distance, while our rifles commanded the whole area. Our animals were drawn up in line on the river side with a careful guard, and were fed with an abundance of young willow tops, which they eat greedily. Our fires were well supplied and kept blazing brightly, so as to shed light on the surrounding shore and disclose the approach of any enemy. In this manner we passed an anxious night.

The next day, soon after dawn, an Indian presented himself unarmed, and with reiterated assurances of the most cordial friendship for the Americans. He subsequently proved to be Caballo en Pelo, or the "Naked Horse," the head chief of the Yumas. Our reception was not calculated to excite his hopes, every one extending his left hand, and keeping a revolver in his right, and it was not long before Caballo en Pelo found that he had committed himself to the tender mercies of men