Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/131

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125
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

ing our pistols, and giving him the sole alternative of obeying or dying. They chose the former, and decamped with haste. So soon as they disappeared round the base of a friendly sand hill, we immediately repacked our wagon, and drove on with all possible speed, hoping to escape in the fast coming darkness.

Eleven years afterward, Pasqual himself told me that they met about three hundred of their warriors half an hour after being expelled from our camp, and the whole band came in pursuit of us, but as the Indian never risks life when he thinks the same end can be accomplished by strategy, and as time is of no moment to them, it was agreed to fall foul of us just before daylight the next morning, and by a rapid and combined assault massacre our little party with comparative ease and impunity. Acting on that policy, they approached our abandoned camp with extreme caution, and commenced a survey from surrounding hillocks. They were not surprised to see no fire, as they knew there was no wood in that part of the desert, and they remained quiescent until nearly morning, when their scouts gave them the unwelcome information that we were gone.

Our flight was continued all night and part of the next day, until overtaken by one of those dreadful sandstorms which prevail on the Colorado desert. The day was intensely hot, and the most oppressive silence seemed to reign absolute. Suddenly a dark, dense and singular looking cloud arose in the west and moved toward us with incredible velocity. Great masses of heavy sand were lifted as if they were so many feathers and carried high into the air with extreme violence. The places formerly occupied by huge hillocks containing many thousand tons of sand, were swept clean as if by magic in a few moments, and the vast banks removed to other lo-