Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/280

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was frequently favored with the presence of Comanche war parties, from whom no favor could be expected on any terms. Instead, then, of pursuing the scattered fragments of the invaders, our march was directed toward a point from which the two passes, that of the Alamo Gordo Viejo, and that of the Pajaro, could be watched, so as to intercept the savages when leaving with their accumulated plunder.

Our guide was the best in the country. He united an intimate knowledge of localities with an excellent sense of Indian character, and their modes of operating. The first portion of our march was over an extensive rolling prairie, deeply seamed with gulches, which compelled us to make wide detours. Several bands of wild horses were met on this excursion, but would bound off with great speed at our approach. On one occasion, however, a fine herd, headed by a superb black stallion, came directly toward us, nor halted until within thirty yards. They threw up their heads, snorted and seemed to regard their visitors with intense curiosity, mingled with doubt and fear. It was strictly forbidden to shoot those animals, whose presence and unexpected proceedings were a source of pleasure, and after a good survey of some five or six minutes, their leader stamped his hoofs with violence, and being followed by the herd, circled our little party several times, and then galloped off with incredible speed and grace of movement. All these signs were proofs positive that no Indians had been there for some time, for the introduction of horse-flesh as a delicate article of food is properly due to the Apaches, and not the Parisians, although the latter may have refined upon the original system of cooking.

The guide led us to a smooth hill, perfectly free from wood or brush of any sort, but richly covered with the