Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/56

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ing us out of the place, or assisting him to steal our animals.

Their visits were very regular for three or four days, when, probably finding us too strong and too much on our guard to attack, they disappeared for a while, to return some weeks after and help to carry off our horses and mules. During their stay, my tent and its neighborhood were crowded with these savages, who asked me a multitude of questions, but never answered one of mine. This reticence on their part taught me a lesson, and I soon learned to endure their presence with perfect equanimity and nonchalance, smoking and replying to their queries with a simple nod or wave of the hand. My six-shooters and knife were always upon my person during these interviews, and my boy José sat in the back part of the tent with a Sharp's carbine and double barreled gun, well loaded with buckshot, within easy reach. I never permitted a Navajo to get behind me, and, while treating them with courtesy, gave them to understand that I had no special feeling on the subject, but regarded their visits as a matter of course.

It was a noticeable fact that neither Mangas Colorado or any of his leading men ever mixed with the Navajoes while in our camp, and judging this conduct somewhat strained and unnatural, Mr. Wiems and myself determined to watch them. In pursuance of this object, we saddled our horses one evening after the Indians had retired, for they were never permitted in camp after sunset, and very quietly picked our way to their bivouac, about two miles distant at that time. Gaining a slight eminence that overlooked them, we applied our field glasses, and, by the light of their fires, distinctly saw Mangas and the principal men in close conference with the leading Navajoes. This fact was also reported to