Open main menu

Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/185

This page needs to be proofread.


CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 163 constant apprehension we all had of the multitude of people that was continually at our heels. The next day I set out at one o'clock in the order re- ferred to, watching with great caution my front and rear, and the enemy constantly followed us on both sides of our route, uttering loud cries and calling upon the people of all that region, which is very populous. Our cavalry, although few in number, attacked them, but did them little harm, since, as the country was rough and uneven, they betook themselves to the hills for refuge. In this manner we marched that day around several lakes,* until we arrived at a populous place where we expected to have a collision with the people of the town ; but when we reached it, we found it deserted, and the people fled to other places in the neighborhood. I remained there that day and the next, as our people, both the wounded and those unhurt, were extremely wearied and exhausted with hunger and thirst ; and the horses were also in the same condition ; we found there a quantity of maize, which we eat, and took supphes of it, both boiled and roasted, for our march. The next day we resumed our route, still pursued by the enemy, who annoyed us in front and rear, uttering loud cries and making slight attacks on the way. We continued our course, following the guidance of the Indian of Tascaltecal ; in the course of which we were compelled to endure much toil and fa- tigue, as we often lost our way ; and it was already even- ing when we arrived at a plain where were several small houses, in which we lodged with little enough to eat. The next day we resumed our march, starting at an early hour of the morning, with the enemy still hanging upon our rear ; after some skirmishing, we arrived at a

  • These small lakes are Zumpango, Jaltocan, and San Cristobal. — L.