Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/221

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LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

Like all other savages they highly prize physical strength and personal courage, but are severe critics in reference to the latter quality. When Lord Cardigan led the famous charge of the six hundred at Balaklava, it was carefully observed by the French Marshal, Pelissier, who exclaimed: "C'est beau, c'est grande, mais, c'est né pas de la guerre." In like manner, the Apache regards our reckless onsets as vain and foolish. He is in the habit of saying: "The Americans are brave, but they lack astuteness. They build a great fire which throws out so much heat that they cannot approach it to warm themselves, and when they hear a gun fired they are absurd enough to rush to the spot. But it is not so with us; we build small fires in secluded nooks which cannot be seen by persons unless close by, and we gather near to them so as to obtain the warmth, and when we hear a gun fired we get away as soon as possible to some place from which we can ascertain the cause." They regard our daring as folly, and think "discretion the better part of valor." I am not so sure but that they are correct in this idea, as well as in several others.

There is nothing which an Apache holds in greater detestation than labor or work of any kind. All occupations unconnected with war or plunder are esteemed altogether beneath his dignity and attention. He will patiently and industriously manufacture his bow and quiver full of arrows, his spear and other arms; but he disdains all other kinds of employment. He will suffer the pangs of hunger before engaging in the chase, and absolutely refuses to cultivate the ground, even at the cost of simply sowing the seed; but he is ever ready to take the war-path, and will undergo indescribable sufferings and hardships for the hope of a little plunder.