Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/219

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LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

preceding chapters, but they never could be made to comprehend the justice of those rescues, until I asked them "You took those people captive by force, did you not?"

"Yes; we took them because we were stronger and more expert than they."

"Well, I took them from you for the same reasons. We were stronger and more expert than you, and we deprived you of your spoil. Suppose you were to meet a small band of Comanches with two or three hundred horses which they had stolen from Mexican owners, and your party were the stronger of the two, would you not take their spoil?"

"Certainly, because they would do so to us under like circumstances."

"Very well; you would have taken two American lads and an American girl, if you had met them unprotected, I know, because you have done it; and we took not your people, but those you had reduced to captivity, and restored them to their relatives. We did not keep them for our servants and slaves; but, they being our friends, we released them from your grasp when we found them in distress. The same rule you apply to the Comanches and all other peoples we applied to you; were we not right?"

The justice and pertinence of these remarks were admitted with reluctance, for the untutored Apache mind, like that of what is called high civilization and refinement, is eminently selfish and obtuse to moral conviction. Extremes meet.

It was, nevertheless, pleasant to recall the many times I had escaped their well-laid plans to deprive me and my associates of life or property, and the as many occasions in which they had been foiled in their benevolent