Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/239

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
233
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

of tracking was also sedulously shown me, but this requires very long and constant practice. Their code of signals by smokes, stones, broken branches, etc., was explained with apparent delight, in the conviction that the white man could learn something from them.

The force at Fort Sumner was so ludicrously small, in comparison with the number of Indians to be controlled and guarded, that I am convinced the savages would never have remained so long as they did had it not been for the extreme vigilance employed, and the peculiar policy adopted. In fact, within six months after my departure, Ojo Blanco, a famous Apache, took French leave of Fort Sumner, after having induced a goodly number of others to keep him company, and it was not long before nearly all the rest of his tribe followed the example.

Nothing can induce the Apaches to remain an hour in the place where one of them has died from disease, and they give a wide berth to all localities where Apaches have been known to give up the ghost from any cause.

The nearest town was Anton Chico, nearly ninety miles distant, and there were quite a number of well-known villages ranging from one hundred to one hundred and thirty miles northwest, west and southwest from the fort. The influenza was raging in the settlements, and had become epidemic. A great many children and quite a number of adults in the Mexican towns fell victims to the disease, which had assumed a malignant type. It soon made its appearance among the Apaches, but Dr. Gwyther, assisted by myself as interpreter, was unremitting in his attention, and by timely and judicious efforts, prevented the disease from being fatal in a single case, although nearly all were more or less affected. A wily and rascally old Apache, who had