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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/107

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CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 85 entering, and the other for departure. There came to meet me at this place nearly a thousand of the principal inhabitants of the great city, all uniformly dressed ac- cording to their custom in very rich costumes ; and as soon as they had come within speaking distance, each one, as he approached me, performed a salutation in much use among them, by placing his hand upon the ground and kissing it ; and thus I was kept waiting about an hour, until all had performed the ceremony. Connected with the city is a wooden bridge ten paces wide, where the causeway is open to allow the water free ingress and egress, as it rises and falls ; and also for the security of the city, as they can remove the long and wide beams of which the bridge is formed, and re- place them whenever they wish ; and there are many such bridges in different parts of the city, as your High- ness will perceive hereafter from the particular account I shall give of it. When we had passed the bridge, the Senor Mutec- zuma came out to receive us, attended by about two hundred nobles, all barefooted and dressed in livery, or a peculiar garb of fine cotton, richer than is usually worn ; they came in two processions in close proximity to the houses on each side of the street,* which is very wide and beautiful, and so straight that you can see from one end of it to the other, although it is two thirds of a league in length, having on both sides large and elegant houses and temples. Muteczuma came through the centre of the street, attended by two lords, one upon his right, and the other upon his left hand, one of whom

  • The streets are so different at the present time, that we are unable to form a

clear idea of what they then were, but this street seems to be the same that now crosses the city from the Hospital of St. Antonio. — L. 12