Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/162

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Pedro roared and foamed, the animals quailed and bent before the storm, and all nature seemed convulsed. I was in charge of sixteen wagons with their mules and precious freight, and my chief attention was elicited to secure their safety. Experience had taught me that the Apaches would select exactly such a time to make a bold attempt, and I doubled my sentries. Throwing myself on the earthen floor, in front of a decent fire, without removing my side arms or any portion of my clothing, I endeavored to obtain some repose. About two o'clock a. m., I was aroused by the Sergeant of the guard, who informed me that strange lights were visible coming down the hills on the west, north and south sides. A hasty survey showed me four lights, as of large burning brands, on three different sides of the compass, and apparently approaching the station. I felt convinced from this open demonstration, that no attack was meditated, for, in that case, the greatest secrecy and caution would have been observed by the Apaches. Nevertheless, the garrison was summoned and disposed to the best advantage. All fires were extinguished, and all lights shrouded from observation. In the course of a few minutes seven or eight more lights made their appearance, and seemed to be carried by persons walking at a rapid pace. Some of them approached within, what I considered, two hundred yards of the station, and at one time I felt greatly inclined to try the effect of a chance shot from my rifle, but gave up the idea from the conviction that no Apache would carry a torch within that distance, and maintain an erect position, while my fire might expose the persons of my men and draw a more effective return. After an hour and a half of anxious watch, the lights gradually united and faded away toward the east.

It was not until more than a year had elapsed that I