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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/180

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158 LETTERS OF CORTES. followed by a few horsemen ; and without stopping a moment I dashed in amongst the Indians, put them to flight whilst I regained the bridges, and pursued them to the main land. As the infantry were wearied, wounded and panic-struck, they did not follow me, and I saw the dangerous situation in which I was placed from being unsupported by them. On this account after having passed the bridges, when I sought to return I found them in possession of the enemy, and sunk to a great depth where we had filled them up ; and both sides of the causeway were covered with people, on the land and water, who galled us with stones and arrows to such a degree, that if God had not been pleased to interpose mysteriously in our behalf, it would have been impos- sible for us to escape thence ; and, indeed, it was rumored amongst the people in the city that I was dead. When i reached the last bridge next the city, I found all the cavalry that had accompanied me fallen in, and one horse without a rider ; and as in this situation I could not pass, I rushed alone against the enemy, and thus opened a passage by which the horsemen could extricate themselves. After this I found the bridge free, and passed over, although with some trouble, as I had to leap my horse, in one place, nearly six feet from one side to the other ; but as I and my horse were well protected by armor, the enemy did us no harm more than to cause our bodies a little pain. Thus the enemy that night came off victorious, having regained possession of four of the bridges. The other four I left well guarded, and returned to the garrison, where I constructed a bridge of timber that could be carried by forty men. Seeing the dangerous situation in which we were now placed, and the very serious injury that the Indians were doing us every day ; and fearing