Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/199

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
193
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

tinent the Apache is the most impracticable. Their enmity toward mankind, and distrust of every word and act are ineradicable. As their whole system of life and training is to plunder, murder and deceive, they cannot comprehend opposite attributes in others. He whom we would denounce as the greatest scoundrel they regard with special esteem and honor. With no people are they on amicable terms, and never hesitate to rob from each other when it can be done with impunity. There is no sympathy among them; the quality is unknown. Should an Apache's horse escape and run past another of the tribe, close enough to catch the animal by simply reaching forth his hand, that hand will never be stretched for the purpose; but the owner must do the business for himself, if his squaw is not at hand to do it for him. Nevertheless, after a successful raid, in which they have captured many animals, and having selected the best for riding, retire to some remote fastness to feed upon the remainder so long as they last, they will freely share to the very last bit with any and all comers of their race. This seeming hospitality is, however, not the result of kindliness, but the prompting of a selfish policy, for they are aware it assists to unite them in one common band of plundering brotherhood, and to preserve those relations toward each other without which they cannot operate advantageously. Frequently when one has received a small present of tobacco, or some such article, he will divide it among all on the spot, simply because he knows that the same thing will be done to him by the others whenever occasion serves, and not from any sense of generosity, as may be seen from the fact that, if one only be present to receive a gift, he immediately hides it on some part of his person and complacently ignores its existence to all who may arrive after the event.