80 LETTERS OP CORTES. which contains a population, including the villages within two leagues of it, of more than twenty thousand inhabit- ants. In this place they quartered us in the excellent houses of the governor. Many persons, apparently of a superior rank, here waited upon me, and announced that Muteczuma, their sovereign lord, had sent them to receive me at this place, with orders to provide every thing necessary to supply our wants. The governor of this province and town presented me with forty slaves* and 3000 castellanos, and during the two days that I was there supplied us with an abundance of provisions. The next day — accompanied by the envoys of Muteczuma who received us here — I departed and reached for the night a small place four leagues distant, situated partly upon a great lake, and partly upon a rough, rocky moun- tain, where we were well lodged. Here likewise they would have tried our strength, but that they desired to do so without danger to the;mselves, as it seemed, by attacking us in the night, when they expected to take us by surprise. But as I was well informed of their inten- tions, they found that I had anticipated their designs. That night I placed a strong guard, who took and killed fifteen or twenty spies that came in canoes on the lake, or descended the mountain to see whether I was pre- pared to resist an attack. Thus few of them returned to give the information they were sent to obtain ; and finding us always upon our guard, they concluded to change their plans, and to suffer us to proceed in safety. The next morning when I was about leaving that place, there arrived ten or twelve of the most distinguished personages, as I afterwards learned, and among them a
- Slavery had been already introduced among the Mexicans, and the sons of
those whom they had taken in war were reduced to a sort of servitude. — L.