Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/82

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ber carrying bows and arrows. These last named projectiles commenced to whistle near me; but I paid no heed, keeping steadily on my course, until one penetrated my blanket; but the effect was completely destroyed by the fluttering of its heavy double folds, which were kept in a rattling motion by the speed at which we were going. Perceiving that the force of the arrow had been neutralized, I drew a heavy holster pistol, and wheeling half round in my saddle, pointed it at the savages. This caused them to fall back in some alarm, and I took advantage of that fact to redouble my speed for a mile or so, gaining some six hundred yards on my pursuers, when I again drew rein to save my horse.

It required a long time for them to again recover shooting distance, but their yells and cries were perpetual. In this manner, alternately checking and speeding my horse, and presenting my pistol at the savages, we scoured over many miles of that infernal Jornada. Several arrows were sticking in my blanket; one had grazed my right arm, just bringing blood, and the other had touched my left thigh. I then became convinced that my horse was the main object of their pursuit. His value and unequaled qualities were well known to the Apaches, and they resolved to have him, if possible. Of course, my life would have been sacrificed, if they could only manage that little affair. I had bought the horse of Capt. A. Buford, First United States Dragoons, who assured me that his equal did not exist in the Territory. He had been offered a hundred mustangs for the horse by a Mescalero Apache, but refused, on the ground that he could take care of one animal with ease; but if he possessed a hundred, the Apaches would be likely to steal them at any moment while grazing.

Near the foot of the Jornada, the road takes a bold