152 LETTERS OF CORTES. no good reason for it, having received many benefits from me, and having always been treated well. Their answer was, that I must depart and leave the country, when the war would immediately cease; otherwise they were all resolved to die, or to destroy us. This they did, as it appeared, to induce me to leave the fortress, that they might cut us oiF at pleasure on our departure from the city, when we were between the bridges. I answered them that they need not suppose I asked for peace from fear, but that I was pained to be under the ne- cessity of injuring them, and destroying so fine a city as theirs. They replied that they should not cease their attacks until I departed from the city. After the engines were completed, immediately on the following day, I sallied forth to gain possession of certain terraces and bridges ; and placing the engines in front they were followed by four pieces of artillery, with many bowmen and shield bearers, and more than three thou- sand native Tlascalans, who had come with me as aux- iliaries, subordinate to the Spanish troops. Having reached a bridge, we brought the engines near to the walls of the terraces, together with scaling ladders, by means of which we ascended them. But the multitude of people was so great that defended the bridge and the terraces, and such showers of heavy stones were thrown from above, that the movements of the engines were dis- concerted, and a Spaniard killed and many others wounded, without our being able to make any progress, although we struggled hard for it, and fought from morn- ing till mid-day, when we returned sad enough to our quarters. The enemy were so much encouraged by this unsuc- cessful movement on our part, that they advanced almost
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