Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/252

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rejoicings are given, remains isolated in a huge lodge, in which are assembled the sagamores and principal warriors of the tribe. She is not allowed to participate in, or even see what is going on outside; but listens patiently to the responsibilities of her marriageable condition. This feast lasts from three to five days, according to the wealth of the girl's father. After it is finished she is divested of her eyebrows, which is intended to publish the fact that she is in the matrimonial market. A month afterward the eye lashes are pulled out, one by one, until not a hair remains. The reasons for this extraordinary despoliation I have never been able to learn, and I doubt much if the Apaches themselves can assign any cause for the act beyond the exactions of custom. But this system of depilorizing the brows and eyes is not confined to the women; it is universal among the warriors, nor could any arguments of mine induce them to forego the practice. It probably arose from a desire to look unlike any other people, and to add to their ferociousness of aspect.

Marriage among the Apaches also has its singularities, and is not unworthy of special mention. The girls are wholly free in their choice of husbands. Parents never attempt to impose suitors upon their acceptance, and the natural coquetry of the sought-for bride is allowed full scope. These are their halcyon days, for after marriage "comes the deluge." Any amount of ogling, sly pressing of hands, stolen interviews, etc., is gone through with, just the same as with us, until the suitor believes his "game made," when he proceeds to test his actual standing, which is invariably done as follows: In the night time he stakes his horse in front of her roost, house, hovel, encampment, bivouac, or whatever a few slender branches, with their butt ends