I concluded that my New England bringing up had been too serious, and I wondered if I had made a dreadful mistake in marrying into the army, or at least in following my husband to Arizona. I debated the question with myself from all sides, and decided then and there that young army women should stay at home with their mothers and fathers, and not go into such wild and uncouth places. I thought my decision irrevocable.
Before the two small deep windows in our room we hung some Turkey red cotton(above), Jack built in his spare moments a couch for me, and gradually our small quarters assumed an appearance of comfort. I turned my attention a little to social matters. We dined at Captain Montgomery's (the commanding officer's) house; his wife was a famous Washington beauty. He had more rank, consequently more rooms, than we had, and their quarters were very comfortable and attractive.
There was much that was new and interesting at the post. The Indians who lived on this reservation were the White Mountain Apaches, a fierce and cruel
tribe, whose depredations and atrocities had been carried on for years, in and around, and, indeed, far away from their mountain homes. But this tribe was now under surveillance of the Government, and guarded by a strong garrison of cavalry and infantry at Camp Apache.
They were divided into bands, under Chiefs Pedro, Diablo, Patone and Cibiano; they came into the post twice a week to be counted, and to receive their rations of beef, sugar, beans, and other staples, which Uncle Sam's commissary officer issued to them.
In the absence of other amusement, the officers' wives walked over to witness this rather solemn ceremony. At least, the serious expression on the faces of the Indians, as they received their rations, gave an air of solemnity to the proceeding.
Large stakes were driven into the ground; at each stake, sat or stood the leader of a band; a sort of father to his people; then the rest of them stretched out in several long lines, young bucks and old ones, squaws and pappooses, the families together, about seventeen hundred souls in all. I used to walk up and down between the lines, with the other women, and the squaws looked at our clothes and chuckled, and made some of their inarticulate remarks to each other. The bucks looked admiringly at the white women, especially at the cavalry beauty, Mrs. Montgomery, although I thought that Chief Diablo cast a special eye at our young Mrs. Bailey, of the infantry.
This tribe was quiet at that time only a few renegades escaping into the hills on their wild adventures: but I never felt any confidence in them and was, on the whole, rather afraid of them. The squaws were shy, and seldom came near the officers' quarters.
Some of the younger girls were extremely pretty; they had delicate hands, and small feet enceased in well-shaped moccasins.
The young lieutenants sometimes tried to make up to the prettiest ones, and offered them trinkets, pretty boxes of soap, beads, and small mirrors (so dear to the heart of the Indian girl), but the young maids were coy enough; it seemed to me they cared more for the men of their own race.
Once or twice, I saw older squaws with horribly disfigured faces. I supposed it was the result of some ravaging disease, but I learned that it was the custom of this tribe, to cut off the noses of those women who were unfaithful to their lords.
Poor creatures, they had my pity, for they were only children of Nature, after all, living close to the earth, close to the pulse of their mother. But this sort of punishment seemed to be the expression of the cruel and revengeful nature of the Apache.
OWEN PROVED to be a fairly good cook, and I ventured to ask people to dinner in our little hall dining-room, a veritable box of a place. One day, feeling particularly ambitious to have my dinner a success, I made a bold attempt at oyster patties.
With the confidence of youth and inexperience, I made the pastry, and it was a success; I took a can of Baltimore oysters, and did them up in a fashion that astonished myself, and when, after the soup, each guest was served with a hot oyster patty, one of the cavalry officers, fairly gasped. ‘‘“Oyster patty, if I'm alive! Where on earth— Bless my stars! And this at Camp Apache!”’’
‘‘“And by Holy Jerusalem! they are good, too,”’’ exclaimed Captain Reilly, and turning to Bowen, he said: ‘‘“Bowen, did you make these?”’’(oyster Patty)
Bowen straightened himself up to his six foot two, clapped his heels together, came to “attention,” looked straight to the front, and replied: ‘‘“Yes, sir.”’’
I thought I heard Captain Reilly say in an undertone to his neighbor, ‘‘“The hell he did,”’’ but I was not sure.
At that season, we got excellent wild turkeys there, and good Southdown mutton, and one could not complain of such living.
But I could never get accustomed to the wretched small space of one room and a hall; for the kitchen. being detached, could scarcely be counted in. I had been born and brought up in a spacious house, with plenty of bedrooms, closets, and an immense old-time garret. The forlorn makeshifts for closets, and the absence of all conveniences, annoyed me and added much to the difficulties of my situation. Added to this, I soon discovered that my husband had a penchant for buying and collecting things which seemed utterly worthless to me, and only added to the number of articles to be handled and packed away. I begged him to refrain, and to remember that he was married, and that we had not the money to spend in such ways. He really did try to improve, and denied himself the taking of many an alluring share in raffles for old saddles, pistols, guns, and cow-boy's stuff, which were always being held at the sutler's store.
But an auction of condemned hospital stores was too much for him, and he came in triumphantly one day, bringing a box of antiquated dentist's instruments in his hand.
I saw that he loved tools and instruments, and I reflected, why not? There are lots of things I have
a passion for, and love, just as he loves those things, and I shall never say any more about it. ‘‘“Only,”’’ I added, aloud, ‘‘“do not expect me to pack up such trash when we come to move; you will have to look out for it yourself.”’’
So with that spiteful remark from me, the episode of the forceps was ended, for the time at least.a passion for, and love, just as he loves those things, and I shall never say any more about it. ‘‘“Only,”’’ I added, aloud, ‘‘“do not expect me to pack up such trash when we come to move; you will have to look out for it yourself.”’’