Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/47

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"Now," added Carasco, "you can appreciate the delicate position in which I find myself. I am ordered to the military command of Sonora, but am supplied with neither men nor money. Every day I was pained by accounts of dreadful Apache raids, in which men were massacred; women and children carried off captives; horses and property destroyed, and extensive districts laid waste and abandoned. At length I resorted to forced contributions from the rich and impressed the poor, determined they should fight for their own interests. This makes me unpopular with all parties, and I expect, some day, to be assassinated for my zeal in their behalf." Prophetic words! In less than a year Carasco was taken off by poison; so, at least, it was reported.

Wending our way from Fronteras we reached Arispe, the former capital of Sonora, on the 31st of May, 1850. At the time of our visit the place contained about twelve hundred inhabitants; but no American can possibly conjecture the terror felt by the people, of all classes, whenever it was announced that the Apaches were near. The second day after our arrival five Apache prisoners—two warriors and three women—were brought into town under a strong guard of twenty-five soldiers, and lodged in the town jail to await their ultimate destination. Two days afterward the rain poured down in torrents; the night was exceedingly dark and stormy; reverberating peals of thunder shook the solid hills, and repeated flashes of the most vivid lightning inspired the beholder with awe. The Mexican guard over the prisoners retired within and lighted their cigaritos, or engaged in the hazards of monte. The doors were securely closed and all prepared to pass the watch away with as much relish as the circumstances would permit. A little after midnight certain peculiar noises were heard about the prison and were