Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/59

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53
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

agreed to go and find out who were the campers about the fire. We approached cautiously, and found our selves in a bivouac of Indians and Mexicans. Among them was a young and handsome girl, clothed in a tattered chemise, with a buckskin skirt, and another skin thrown over her shoulders. This girl, who was not an Indian, appeared to be the waitress of the party, for whom she was preparing supper. As our approach had not been observed, we quietly proceeded to the cook fire, which was about four yards from the party, and I asked the girl, in a low voice, who those people were. She seemed evidently alarmed, and refusing to answer, hurried away to wait upon her associates. We remained until she came back, when I told her that it was necessary for us to know who they were; to which she placed her finger on her lips, and betokened that she dared not tell. The question was, however, pressed, when she stated in a whisper that she was a captive, and that the Mexicans present had just bought her, and were going to convey her to New Mexico. As this thing was specially prohibited by the United States laws, we made our way immediately to Mr. Bartlett and laid the matter before that gentleman for his consideration. With great promptitude Mr. Bartlett communicated the facts, in writing, to Col. Craig, and asked that gallant officer for a force to rescue the girl from her unhappy condition. This request was granted as soon as possible, and Lieut. Green was ordered to take a file of men and bring the girl before the Commissioner. This was done without delay, and the captive placed for the night under the care of Mr. Bartlett, who assigned her a comfortable room, and placed a proper guard over her quarters.

In the meantime the Apaches had slipped away, but a guard was put over the Mexican traders for the night.