Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/38

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in the event of a failure to arrive. Besides, no molestation of any kind had been experienced since Johnson's experiment. At length three or four days passed beyond the proper time for the conducta's arrival; provision was becoming exceedingly scarce; ammunition had been expended freely; no thought for the morrow had taken possession of their minds, and everything went on in the hap-hazard way of thoughtless Mexicans. No attempt was made to send a party in quest of the lost train, nor was any economy exercised. Two or three days more passed, and they were on the verge of starvation. The surrounding forests of heavy pines still furnished bear and turkeys, and other game in abundance, but their ammunition was becoming exceedingly scarce. In this dilemma some of the miners climbed Ben Moore, which gave a distinct view of the extensive plain reaching to and beyond the Mimbres river, but no sign of the conducta was visible. It was then ordered that a well-armed party should set out and discover its fate, but those who were to be left behind resolved to go also, as they would otherwise be forced to remain without means of defence or provisions. On a given day every man, woman and child residing in the Copper Mines took their departure; but they never reached their place of destination. The relentless Apaches had foreseen all these troubles, and taken measures accordingly. The party left, but their bones, with the exception of only four or five, lie bleaching upon the wide expanse between the Copper Mines of Santa Rita and the town of Chihuahua. Such is the narrative given me by an intelligent Mexican, whom I afterward met in Sonora. From that time for more than eighty years, the Apache had remained the unmolested master of this his great stronghold. This long interval of quiescence was rudely interrupted by the advent of