Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/39

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33
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

the military escort to the Boundary Commission, which immediately commenced repairing the half-ruined presidio, and rendering some fifty small adobe buildings habitable for the members of the Commission. These proceedings were watched with great interest and unfeigned anxiety by the Apaches, who frequently asked whether we intended to remain at the Copper Mines, and as frequently received a reply in the negative. The real object of our stay was explained to them; but they could not conceive that people should take so much pains to build houses and render them comfortable only for a short residence, to be again abandoned at the very period when men could live in the open air without disquietude.

Shortly afterward, the whole Commission, numbering some two hundred and fifty well-armed men, arrived, making a total force of over three hundred men. This odds was more than the Apaches could face, with any prospect of success, and they relapsed into the better part of valor, under the advice of Mangas Colorado and his leading warriors. The gentle nomads pitched their main camp about two miles from the Copper Mines, and made frequent visits to observe our movements and to practice their skill in begging.

Although the Copper Mine, or Mimbres Apaches, have signalized themselves by many of the boldest and most daring exploits, they are not physically comparable to the Mescalero, Jicarilla and Chiricahui branches of the same tribe. But what they lack in personal strength they make up in wiliness and endurance. No amount of cold, hunger or thirst seems to have any appreciable effect upon an Apache. Whatever his sufferings, no complaint or murmur is ever heard to escape his lips, and he is always ready to engage in any enterprise which promises a commensurate reward. Ten Apaches will under-