Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/254

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I am not so sure that our expression, "a one-horse affair," did not take its rise from this Apache system of graduated values.

On the third night of the feastings and junketings incident to the marriage, the bride and bridegroom suddenly disappear. During the whole of the time mentioned, they have been constantly in the presence of the sachems and wise squaws of the tribe, and are never permitted to even speak with each other. But love is far more watchful than precaution, and when the old people are overcome by drowsiness, incident upon long wakefulness and frequent potations, the young couple manage to make their escape, usually with the connivance of their seniors, who pretend to be quite innocent of the matter.

Several days prior to his marriage the bridegroom selects some beautiful and retired spot, from three to five miles from the main camp, and there he erects one of the shelters already described, but festooned with wild flowers, and generally embowered among the trees in a place difficult to discover. Thither he retreats with his bride, a sufficiency of provision having been laid in to last them a week or ten days, and there they take up their temporary abode. Their absence is expected, and re-appearance creates no visible recognition, as it is deemed indelicate to make any open demonstration on such occasions. The young bride assumes the air and pretenses of extraordinary modesty, and in the event of meeting one of her former associates, invariably turns her back or hides her face, and puts on all the simper of an American girl of twenty years ago—not now-a-days—when accused of having a lover.

In a week this seeming bashfulness gives place to the regular and arduous duties of the Apache wife, and her