Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/31

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increased their distance to about one hundred and fifty yards. The chief, whom I afterwards found to be Cuchillo Negro, or the "Black Knife," then endeavored to gain my left side, but I foiled his attempt by keeping my horse's head in his direction wherever he moved. He then said, "Good-by," and started to rejoin his comrades, but I again brought him to a sense of his position, by telling him I would not permit it, and he must stay with me until my friends came up. This excited considerable surprise, for he evidently labored under the idea that I was alone, or nearly so. The following dialogue then took place:

Cuchillo Negro.—"What do you want in my country?"

American.—"I came here because my chief has sent me. He is coming soon with a large force, and will pass through this country, but does not intend to remain or do any harm to his Apache brethren. We come in peace, and will always act peaceably, unless you compel us to adopt other measures; if you do, the consequences will do you great harm."

Cuchillo Negro.—"I do not believe your words. You are alone. My people have been on the watch, and have seen no forces coming this way. If any such had been on the road, we would have known it. You are in my power. What more have you to say?"

American.—"Indian, you are foolish. Long security has made you careless. A company of soldiers is close behind me; but your young men have been asleep. The squaws have retained them in camp, when they should have been on the lookout. I am not in your power, but you, personally, are in mine. Your people can kill me, but not until I have put a ball through your body. Any signal you may make to them, or any forward movement on their part, will also be signal for your death. If you