Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/55

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LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

had almost dismissed them entirely, when I was surprised one morning to see the camp full of strange savages, who proved to be Navajoes, and were on the best terms with the Apaches. The new comers were fine looking, physically, but carried in their faces that nameless yet unmistakable impress of low cunning and treachery, which I afterward found to be the leading traits of their tribe. Although they are of the great Apache race, speaking identically the same language and observing the same general habits of life in all respects, yet they are far inferior in point of courage, prowess, skill and intelligence. Five Apache warriors will undertake and accomplish an exploit which no fifty Navajoes would venture to perform. A single Apache will go off, unaided, and commit a daring robbery or murder which twenty Navajoes would shrink from attempting.

Our new visitors were all mounted on small, but strong, active and wiry looking horses, which they rode with remarkable ease and grace. Feeling satisfied in my own mind that they had come there at the request of Mangas Colorado, I advised Col. Craig of my suspicions, and he, in turn, imparted the idea to Mr. Bartlett. We learned that four hundred Navajo warriors were encamped on the Gila river, only thirty miles distant, and knew that the Indian Commissariat could not support so great a number for any length of time, and that no such assemblage would have been got together in that portion of the country unless for some determined purpose. The hunting grounds around the Copper Mines offered no special inducement, as they must have crossed a hundred and fifty miles of better hunting country to arrive where they then were. There was no trading to rely upon, and on special incentive other than to help Mangas in driv-