Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/142

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This event initiated me into another phase of Apache character I had never before seen. It proved that they are capable of bold and dangerous undertakings under very adverse circumstances, or when the chances are nearly evenly balanced; but this seldom occurs, as they almost invariably have opportunities to examine, at their leisure, all persons or parties who enter the regions inhabited by them, and form their plans so as to take every advantage with the least possible chance of losing a man.

After my return to San Diego, I determined to forsake my wild, almost nomadic life, and return to civilized existence. I was tired and disgusted with the incessant watchfulness, the unceasing warfare, and unrequited privations I had suffered. Life had been a round of contentions for two years. I had passed through an unbroken series of tribulations and dangers during that period. Hunger, thirst, severe cold and excessive heat, with much personal peril, had been my invariable concomitants, and I panted for a more quiet life. San Francisco held forth the only inducement on this coast, and thither I wended my way, on the steamer Sea Bird, then commanded by Capt. Healey, with Gorman as mate.

As this narrative is wholly devoted to incidents and adventures among Indian tribes, the author will be excused from giving a recital of his life until he was again compelled, in obedience to orders, to renew acquaintance with nomadic races. It is sufficient to say, that twelve years elapsed before such intimacy was effected, faithful details of which will be given in the succeeding chapters.

During the period of quiescence from exciting life which succeeded two years' eventful wanderings across