A consultation was now held as to the best manner of getting Juanita to the fort comfortably, and it was decided to construct a “mountain-litter.” This was done the next morning, by procuring two stout poles, about twenty feet in length, and lashing them firmly to two short pieces of wood about three feet long and six feet apart: we then stretched a blanket between the poles, so as to form a comfortable bed. Two steady mules were selected and harnessed between the poles, in the front and rear of the bed, thus making a comfortable carriage.
Breakfast over, Juanita was placed in the carriage, and we started for the fort, travelling slowly and making frequent halts. Ned scarcely mentioned his wound; and, during the four days consumed on the trip, we were all delighted to see that Juanita was daily recovering her bloom, and buoyancy of spirits.
Upon reaching Fillmore, I dispatched Anastacio at once to Fort Bliss, informing Colonel Magoffin, of the result of our expedition, and asking him to send an ambulance through to Chihuahua with Juanita, in charge of Anastacio.
Two days later, the colonel’s own carriage, with four good road-mules, arrived, with an invitation, asking Juanita to accept his hospitality at Fort Bliss, and promising that Anastacio should accompany her, to her father’s hacienda.
Juanita decided to leave on the following morning; and, during the afternoon, I was surprised to learn, that Hal had ridden up to Las Cruces, six miles above the fort; but, shortly after his return, I noticed upon Juanita’s finger, a little gold ring, that I had not seen before, so I ventured pleasantly to refer to it, in the course of conversation that evening, and was informed, with many blushes, that it was-only a memento, of their trip through the Apache country.
In the morning, however, I almost had a pitched battle with Hal, to prevent him from accompanying Juanita to her home; and it was only through compromising, and permitting him to ride a few miles in the carriage with her, that I avoided it.
We all bade her good-by, with hearts filled to overflowing with thankfulness, for her release from the hands of her cruel captors; and, wishing her all manner of good luck, and a happy reunion with her father, the carriage drove off, but not until Hal had climbed in and taken the vacant seat by her side.
When he returned, a few hours later, his face radiant with happiness, I made up my mind that it would not be his fault, if he did not again see the young lady, before many months had elapsed.
During the evening I was aroused from the revery into which I had fallen, by an unusual disturbance in camp; and, on proceeding to ascertain the cause, found that Hal, had been endeavoring to thrash Patsey. On calling the delinquents before me, I was informed by Hal, that Patsey had spoken insultingly of Juanita, an offence that he had at once resented by attempting to chastise him.