Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/147

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LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

except amidst their strongholds, until a recklessness begotten of unbelief, induced them to relax their watchfulness and incur special risks. In some cases, they have succeeded and got off scot free, but in ninety out of a hundred they have either fallen victims to misplaced confidence, or escaped almost by miracle. Let no one flatter himself with the idea that, from the moment he has passed the Pimo villages, he is at any time unobserved by the Apaches. Being a non-productive race, subsisting wholly on plunder and game, and incapable of providing a commissariat which will maintain any considerable body for even a week or two, they are scattered in small but active parties throughout the whole of Arizona, a large part of New Mexico, and all the northern portions of Chihuahua and Sonora, and in some parts of Durango. The territory over which they roam, and in which they appear to be ubiquitous, is more than three times larger than California; and California possesses more area than all the New England States, together with New York and New Jersey. This is to say, that the country over which the Apache race holds the mastership—which is literally the fact—is nearly as extensive as all the States which border on the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico put together. No great expenditure of arithmetic is necessary to prove that, to domineer over a region so vast, to guard all its passes, to keep watchmen on all the principal heights overlooking the plains usually traveled, to keep up a regular system of videttes over its expanse, to strike a half dozen places two and three hundred miles apart at the same time, to organize parties for scouring the wide valleys and attending the movements of travelers, and to be a terror and a scourge throughout its whole area, must employ the utmost resources, activity and energy of a