Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/81

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LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

be. I saved my noble beast all I could, frequently dismounting and leading him by the bridle, so as to retain his strength and speed in case of necessity. In this way we jogged on until about three o'clock in the afternoon, by which time we had accomplished about fifty miles, leaving some seventy-five yet to go. The sun was intensely oppressive, and glared like a shield of red-hot brass. A friendly bush, surrounded with fine grass, and standing about one hundred yards to the left of the hard and splendid natural road which runs through four-fifths of the Jornada, invited me to partake of its modest shade, and I turned my horse in that direction, but was surprised at noticing a column of dust to my left, in the direction of the Sierra Blanca, which had the appearance of being in violent motion, and coming my way. Instinctively I felt that it was caused by Apaches; and I took the precaution to tighten my horse's girths, see that the saddle was properly placed and re-cap my four six-shooters, two of which were in my belt, and two in my holsters. I also untied a Mexican serape, or blanket, which was lashed to the after part of my saddle, and doubling it, I passed it over my shoulders and tied it under my chin by a stout buckskin thong. By this time the character of the coming party was unmistakable, and they were evidently bent on cutting me off from the road. My gallant horse seemed to appreciate the condition of affairs almost as well as I, and bounded on like a bird. The pursuing party failed in their first attempt and entered the road about three hundred yards in my rear. Perceiving that my horse was infinitely superior in speed and power, I drew rein to save him all that I could, and allowed the Indians to come within fifty yards. There were some forty of them, and none with fire-arms, but mainly supplied with lances, only five or six of the num-