Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/250

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CHAPTER XXI.


Chastity of Apache Women.—Wantonness of the Navajoes.—Comparison Instituted.—Curious Customs.—A Feast and Dance.—Ceremonies.—Duration of the Feast.—Depilorizing the Eyes.—Apache Marriages.—Style of Courtship.—Coquetry.—Horses as Money.—The Bower of Love.—Affected Bashfulness.—Apache System of Polygamy.—Customs Regulating Marriage.—Nah-tanh's Views.—Burials.—Funeral Ceremonies.—Apache Reserve.—Small-Pox.—Capt. Shirland.—Fort Davis.—Fight with Apaches.—Indians Whipped.


Among those who have enjoyed the best opportunities for judging, the award for female chastity is given to the Apaches. During a period of about two years, when hundreds of them were under our charge, and mingling freely with our troops, not a single case occurred, to the best of my knowledge, wherein an Apache woman surrendered her person to any man outside her tribe. Cases of conjugal infidelity are extremely rare among them, and the girls take no ordinary pride in guarding their purity. The art of coquetry is practiced among them with quite as much zest as among the belles of our cities, and with such delicacy and tact, that the most refined among us might possibly study at a worse school. On the other hand, the Navajoes are extremely loose and sensuous. Although of the main branch of the great Apache tree they differ in tribal organization, in their manufacture of superb blankets, in their courage and address, and in the fact that they keep large flocks of sheep, and cultivate the earth. In all other respects they are pure Apaches. Female virtue is little regarded among them, but is deemed of primary importance among