Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/163

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157
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

learned the meaning of this occurrence. A celebrated leading man of the Mescalero Apaches, named Gian-nah-tah, or "Always Ready," gave the desired information, which precisely tallied with succeeding events. He said that, as the Apaches are a dispersed and perpetually wandering race, it is impossible for one detachment to know where others might be at any time; but that when a great body of them was needed for any joint undertaking they made smoke signals of a certain character by day, and signals of fire by night. That, on the occasion of which I write, the nature of the country prohibited fire signals from being seen except from very short distances, and runners were hurried through the district, bearing torches, which would indicate that the aid of all within sight was required. In fine, it was the "speed, Malise, speed," of the Apache. This explanation will account for what followed.

Between three and four o'clock a. m., just after the lights had disappeared, the sound of horses advancing at a fast gallop was heard approaching the station. The sentinel challenged, and was immediately answered with the round Saxon response, "Friends." It proved to be two of my own company, who had been sent back by Capt. Roberts with the information that there was abundance of water at Dragoon Springs, and instruction to join him with the train without delay. The poor fellows had ridden twenty-eight miles through that terrible storm, and in the heart of a country swarming with hostile and ever vigilant savages. Two days subsequently they had a splendid opportunity to test their gallantry, and most nobly did they respond to the appeal. In obedience to order, we set forward before daylight to join Captain Roberts, and reached Dragoon Springs, without incident, at three o'clock p. m. A long and fatiguing march