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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/106

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84 LETTERS OF COKTES. and others so numerous that they often cover the sur- face of the water. The next day after my arrival at this city I departed on my route, and having proceeded half a league, I entered upon a causeway that extends two leagues through the centre of the salt lake, until it reaches the great city of Temixtitan, [Mexico,] which is built in the middle of the lake. This causeway is as broad as two spears' length, and well constructed, so that eight horsemen can ride on it abreast ; and within two leagues, on either side of this causeway, there are three cities, one of which, called Mesicalsingo, is built for the most part on the lake, and the two others, called Nyciaca and Huchilohuchico,- are situated along its bor- ders, with many houses on the water. The former of these cities contains about three thousand families, the second more than six thousand, and the third four or five thousand ; in all of them are well built houses and towers, especially the residences of the governors and principal men, and the mosques or temples, in which they have their idols. In these cities there is a conside- rable trade in salt, which is manufactured from the water of the lake, and from a deposit on the grounds washed by the lake, which they boil in some way, and make into loaves, selling it to the natives and persons out of the district or province. I pursued my course over the abovementioned cause- way, and having proceeded half a league before arri- ving at the bod} of the city of Temixtitan, I found at its intersection with another causeway, which extends from this point to terra firma, a very strong fortress with two towers, surrounded by a double wall, twelve feet in height, with an embattled parapet, which commands the two causeways, and has only two gates, one for