Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/156

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Before the time for slaughter arrived, I visited the grazing ground and selected seven finely polished skulls of Yumas, which I kept concealed in a sack. A quantity of powder was then mixed and made into a paste, and so arranged as to compose fuses. A few iron filings were mixed with several of these fuses, and a number of carbine caps arranged in such a manner as to flash and snap when required. The skulls were placed in a circle, the center of which I was to occupy. In each one was a burning candle, the light from which shone through the eye sockets. In front of every skull was a small fuse, and from each fuse led a train of dry powder to the center of the ring. Back of the fuses were placed considerable charges of dry powder, which would explode so soon as the fuses burned to their locations, and which explosion would immediately extinguish the candles, leaving all in darkness. The skulls were also attached to each other by a fine but strong thread, and the thread to a small twine, which, when drawn in, would bring the whole affair in a pile, and allow of their secretion. All my designs were confided to Loring, the Orderly Sergeant, and our plans laid.

Long before the appointed time, (about ten o'clock p. m.) the camp was crowded by excited Pimos and Maricopas. Probably three thousand were present. It was necessary to distract their attention from my movements, and I directed Sergeant Shearer to draw them off by some device from my immediate neighborhood. In this he succeeded admirably. No one was present to observe what I did. The skulls were properly arranged; the fuses, powder and caps laid, and candles lighted; and I took my place in the center, armed with a sabre, my head and right shoulder bare, and my gaze fixed on the moon, which was about to be obscured. The signal