96 LETTERS OF CORTES. importunities of the local governors, his vassals, might lead him to act against his own wishes, and in opposi- tion to your Majesty, while he desired in every possible manner to promote your Majesty's service ; that so far he had informed them what he desired to have done, and was well content to remain where he was ; and should they wish to suggest any thing to him, he could answer that he was not at liberty, and thus excuse him- self from attending to them. Several times he asked permission to visit his pleasure-houses for the purpose of recreation, both within the city and without, and in no instance was his request denied. He often made an excursion, attended by five or six Spaniards, one or two leagues out of the city, and always returned in fine spirits to his quarters where I had placed him ; and whenever he went out, he made many presents of jew- els and cotton cloth, both to the Spaniards by whom he was accompanied, and to his own people, who followed him in such numbers that there were never less than three thousand men in his retinue, most of whom were nobles and persons of distinction ; and he always gave many banquets and entertainments to those who ac- companied him, which they considered worth relating. When I discovered that Muteczuma was fully devo- ted to the service of your Highness, I requested him that, in order to enable me to render a complete account to your Majesty of the productions of the country, he would point out to me the mines from which gold was obtained ; to which he consented with the greatest rea- diness, saying that it would give him pleasure to do so. He immediately sent for several of his public servants, and assigned them to four provinces, two to each province, in which he said the gold was obtained ; and he asked
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