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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/136

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114 LETTERS OP CORTES. large size and excellent quality ; large and small jars, jugs, pots, bricks, and an endless variety of vessels, all made of fine clay, and all or most of them glazed and painted ; maize, or Indian corn, in the grain and in the form of bread, preferred in the grain for its flavor to that of the other islands and terra-firma ; pates of birds and fish ; great quantities of fish, fresh, salt, cooked and uncooked ; the eggs of hens, geese, and of all the other birds I have mentioned, in great abundance, and cakes made of eggs ; finally, every thing that can be found throughout the whole country is sold in the markets, comprising articles so numerous that to avoid prolixity, and because their names are not retained in my memory, or are unknown to me, I shall not attempt to enumerate them. Every kind of merchandise is sold in a particular street or quarter assigned to it exclusively, and thus the best order is preserved. They sell every thing by num- ber or measure ; at least so far we have not observed them to sell any thing by weight. There is a building in the great square that is used as an audience house, where ten or twelve persons, who are magistrates, sit and decide all controversies that arise in the market, and order delinquents to be punished. In the same square there are other persons who go constantly about among the people observing what is sold, and the measures used in selling ; and they have been seen to break mea- sures that were not true. This great city contains a large number of temples,* or houses for their idols, very handsome edifices, which are situated in the different districts and the suburbs ;

  • The original has the word mezquitas, mosques ; but as that term is applied

in English exclusively to Mahometan places of worship, one of more general application is used in the translation.