Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/213

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
207
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

to the greatest possible extent, knowing that their kindness for me would extend itself to the men of my company, and this belief was afterward fully justified when roving parties of Indians happened to meet my couriers. This occurred on several occasions, when the savages were so numerous as to make resistence out of the question. They would ride up, examine the soldier attentively, find out that he belonged to my company at Fort Sumner, bid him good-by in their best manner, and ride off, without attempting to do him harm or deprive him of horse or weapons.

About six months afterward, Gian-nah-tah, commonly called Cadete by the Mexicans, told me confidentially that neither myself nor my men would be harmed by the Apaches so long as we remained in the country, as those in camp felt that they were greatly indebted to us for many little kindnesses. This promise was carried out to the letter, and convinced me that gratitude for services rendered is by no means a strange emotion in the Apache character. I, however, doubt much if any other white man ever had the opportunity, or, having it, ever did take so much pains to win the respect and confidence of those strange and suspicious people. It will be observed that I use the word "those" in the foregoing sentence, instead of "that," and simply because each is so perfectly independent in all his belongings from all other tribes that they cannot be justly classified as a conjoint or co-operative race except for purposes of plunder and mutual defense when attacked. When summoned to prosecute hostilities, unless against some marauding party of Comanches, Navajoes, or other tribes, each individual is free to join or not as he may see fit. Should the enterprise promise plenty of plunder with but little personal risk, no trouble will be found to engage all the