142 LETTERS OF CORTES. On Easter day, a little after midnight, I marched for the quarters of Narvaez, and before I met with the men he had posted outside of the city, the scouts I had sent for- ward took one of them prisoner, but the other made his escape ; from the former I received information of the state of things in the city. I then hastened as much as possible to prevent the one who had escaped from arriving before me, and giving notice of my approach ; but not- withstanding my exertions, he was half an hour in ad- vance of me. When I reached the city Narvaez had all his men in full armor, and the horses caparisoned, in complete readiness, and two hundred men guarded every square. We moved so silently that when we were at last discovered, and the alarm was given, I had entered the square in which were the quarters occupied by the whole army, and had taken possession of three or four towers, besides the other strong buildings that stood in the square. In one of these towers where Narvaez was quartered, the staircase was defended by nineteen match- locks ; but we mounted it with such rapidity that they had not time to put fire to more than one of the pieces, which, it pleased God, did not go off, nor occasion any injury. So our men ascended the tower until they reached the apartment of Narvaez, where he and about fifty of his men fought with the alguazil mayor and the rest that had gone up, and although the latter called upon them many times to surrender to your Highness, they refused until the building was set on fire, when they at last gave in. While the alguazil mayor was employed in taking Narvaez, I with the rest of our force, who came to their assistance, guarded the ascent of the tower, and caused the artillery to be seized and used for our defence. Thus I
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