92 LETTERS OF CORTES. ance, I recollected what the officer whom I had left in command at Vera Cruz, had written me concerning the occurrences in the city of Almeria, which I have already related, and which, as he was informed, had all taken place in pursuance of orders from Muteczuma. Having used the precaution to station guards at the corners of the streets, I went to the palace of Muteczuma, as I had before often done to visit him ; and after conversing with him in a sportive manner on agreeable topics, and receiv- ing at his hands some jewels of gold, and one of his own daughters, together with several daughters of his nobles for some of my company, I then said to him, " that I had been informed of what had taken place in the city of Nautecal or Almeria, and of the fate of the Spaniards, who had been killed there ; that Qualpopoca alleged in defence of his conduct, that whatever he had done was in pursuance of orders from him, which, as his vassal, he could not disregard ; that I did not believe it was so, but nevertheless, in order to clear himself from the impu- tation, it seemed to me proper that he should send for Qualpopoca and the other principal men of that city, who had been concerned in the slaughter of the Span- iards, that the truth of the matter might be known, and those men punished, by which means he would satisfy your Majesty of his loyal disposition beyond all dispute ; lest instead of the rewards which your Majesty would or- der to be given him, the reports of these outrages might provoke your Majesty's anger against him, on account of his having commanded the injury to be done ; since I was well satisfied that the truth was contrary to what those men had declared." Immediately Muteczuma ordered certain of his follow- ers to be called, to whom he gave a small stone resem-
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