Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/91

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
85
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

persisted in their theory, that "kind treatment, a rigid adherance to what is right, and a prompt and invariable fulfillment of all promises, would secure the friendship of the Apaches;" but, although this kind of treatment had been exactly carried out by Mr. Bartlett and his Commission, the Apaches took occasion to manifest their appreciation and friendship by robbing over three hundred head of our finest mules and horses, which had been resting and growing fat and strong for future use. They never served us again. There are cases where an individual Apache will conceive a personal regard for a particular man, and will do him almost any act of kindness in his power, but this is far, very far, from being a general rule. From earliest infancy they are instructed to regard every other race as natural enemies. Their suspicions and savage distrust are aroused and cultivated before they ever come in contact with other people. An Apache child of three years will run and yell with fear and hate from a white man. Apache mothers hush their children by naming an American. To rob or kill a Mexican, is considered a most honorable achievement; but to commit successful outrage upon an American, entitles the perpetrator to the highest consideration. Dexterity in stealing is a virtue of no mean character. The most adroit thief is precisely the man who is best capable of maintaining his wives in plenty and bedecking them in meretricious finery, of which they are inordinately fond. The Apache woman who is saddled with the least work and the most ornaments, is the envied of her sex. For this reason, the young girls prefer to become the fifth, sixth, or seventh wife of a noted robber, rather than the single spouse of a less adroit thief. In the first case her labors are divided by her associate wives, and are, therefore, measurably lessened, while her chances for obtain-