Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/40

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

take a venture which will stagger the courage and nerve of a hundred Yurnas, Pimos or Navajoes, although the last mentioned tribe is an undoubted branch of the Apache race, as will be shown in a subsequent chapter. The cunning of the Apache is only equaled by his skill and the audacity with which he executes his projects, and every success is chuckled over with undissembled gusto by the whole tribe, the actors only assuming an unconcerned air, as if wholly disconnected with the matter. Their conversation is always carried on in low tones, and only one person ever presumes to speak at a time. There is no interruption to the speaker's remarks; but when he ceases another takes the word, and either replies or indorses the opinions of his predecessor. During a general conversation on indifferent topics they separate into several small knots, and in each the above rules are strictly observed.

I had selected the most lovely spot in the valley for the site of my tent, which was some six hundred yards distant from the rest, and shut out from sight by an intervening hillock. At his place the stream widened into a handsome basin ten yards cross, and with a little labor I had built a sort of dam, which raised the water in the basin to the depth of about three and a half feet, and formed a delicious bathing pool, which was shaded by a very large and spreading cotton wood tree. At this place the Apaches frequently congregated in considerable numbers, maintaining a lively conversation, and enabling me to make many observations I could not otherwise have done. As I was the only member of the Commission with whom they could converse, my tent became their head-quarters during their visits, which were almost daily for several consecutive months, until our amicable relations were broken up by their irrepressible rascality and treachery.