Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/196

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bush, tree or rock, but simply to maintain a cautious system of marching—never, for a moment, relaxing his watchfulness, and invariably keeping his weapons ready for immediate use. Whenever these precautions are observed, the Apache is slow to attack, even at monstrous odds in his favor.

The selfishness inherent in the human race crops out with intensity among these Indians; yet their hatred and animosity toward all other races is even stronger, and is the matrix of the cohesive principle by which they have been kept together, and which has proved their safe guard against all outside corrupting influences. Under no circumstances will one Apache risk anything for another, unless it is manifestly to his interest. The most refined civilization could not advance him in this respect. He appreciates self just as well as those who have been the habitués of Wall street, the Stock Exchange, or the Parisian Boulevards. If the height of good breeding consists in being perfectly impassive, and disregardful of the events which attend on fellow men, then the Apache has arrived at the apex of good breeding, and lordlings may take lessons from his school of manners. Their great natural intelligence makes them comprehend that "in union is strength," and their desire to exhibit that strength is ever prevalent. They delight to manifest their numerical power, for the reason that opportunities for such exhibition are very rare, and whatever is of common occurrence ceases to interest; and also because such combinations tend to inflict additional dread upon their enemies, and the inculcation of this sentiment is a chief cause of security to each Apache.

In all our dealings with Indian tribes we have quite underrated their abilities, and in this we have demonstrated our own stupidity. The vanity and self-conceit