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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/141

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CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 119 city is thus served with water, which they carry in canoes through all the streets for sale, taking it from the aque- duct in the following manner : the canoes pass under the bridges on which the reservoirs are placed, when men stationed above fill them with water, for which service they are paid. At all the entrances of the city, and in those parts where the canoes are discharged, that is, where the greatest quantity of provisions is brought in, huts are erected, and persons stationed as guards, who receive a cerium quid of every thing that enters. I know not whether the sovereign receives this duty or the city, as I have not yet been informed ; but I believe that it appertains to the sovereign, as in the markets of other provinces a tax is collected for the benefit of their cacique. In all the markets and public places of this city are seen daily many laborers and persons of various employ- ments waiting for some one to hire them. The inhabit- ants of this city pay a greater regard to style in their mode of living, and are more attentive to elegance of dress and politeness of manners, than those of the other provinces and cities ; since, as the Cacique* Muteczuma has his residence in the capital, and all the nobility, his vassals, are in the constant habit of meeting there, a general courtesy of demeanor necessarily prevails. But not to be prolix in describing what relates to the affairs of this great city, although it is with difiiculty I refrain from proceeding, I will say no more than that the man- s

  • The title invariably given to Muteczuma (or Montezuma) in these Des-

patches, is simply Seiior, in its sense of Lord, or (to use an Indian word) Cacique ; which is also given to the chiefs or governors of districts or provinces, whether independent or feudatories. The title of Emperador (Emperor), now generally applied to the Mexican ruler, is never conferred on him by Cortes, nor any other implying royalty, although in the beginning of this Despatch he as- sures Charles V. that the country is extensive enough to constitute an empire.