Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/125

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LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

small body of soldiers left here to assist the Americans in crossing the river and supplying their needs, and, why did you massacre the American party with sheep, who came here on their road to California?" These unexpected queries discomfited the savages, and threw us "all aback," as may readily be supposed. Caballo en Pelo, Pasqual, and several other leading men, undertook to deny these charges in toto, but we were too well informed, and their denials only tended to put us more than ever on the qui vive.

A few words interchanged between the members of our party decided our course of action. In any case we were fully committed, and nothing but perilous measures could decide the result of our desperate surroundings. It was determined to hold all the Yumas present as captives, subject to instant death upon the exhibition of any hostility on the part of that tribe. We felt that our lives were at the mercy of those savages, but also resolved that we should not be sacrificed without a corresponding amount of satisfaction. Their principal men were in our camp unarmed; we had the disposal of their lives in our power, and knew that they could not escape in the event of any hostile act against our small party. These deliberations were fully unfolded to the chiefs, who were informed that no more of their tribe would be admitted into our camp without jeopardizing the safety of those already there. They were also told, that having come of their own free will, they would be expected to remain during our pleasure, and, in the meantime, be fed from our very limited resources. They were furthermore informed that the launch which they had taken from the soldiers would be needed for our conveyance across the Colorado, and as we knew it to be in their possession, it must be forthcoming when required. The