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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/200

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178 LETTERS OF CORTES. ran to the quarters of the Culuan captains, and began to attack the others scattered about the city. When I had arrived within arrow-shot of the city, they had ah'eady made about forty prisoners, and I hastened to enter it. A very loud noise was heard throughout the streets of the place, which arose from the combat going on. Guided by a native of the city, I reached the quarters of the captains, which I found surrounded by more than three thousand men, fighting to enter the door. They had taken the upper stories and the terraces, but the captains and those with them fought so stoutly and vigorously, that the assailants could not force an entrance, although the former were few in number ; because, besides the valor with which they fought, the building itself was very strong. As soon as I arrived, we entered, and so many of the citizens rushed in that I could not prevent the im- mediate death of the captains ; for I wished to save the lives of some of them in order to obtain information of the affairs of the great city, and who had succeeded Mu- teczuma after his death, &c. I rescued only one, more dead than alive, from whom I learned what I shall here- after relate. Throughout the city they killed many Culuan s who were quartered there ; and those who were alive when I entered the place, knowing my arrival, began to fly to- wards the garrison, many of whom perished in the act of escaping. The tumult was quickly heard and understood by those in the garrison, as it occupied a lofty situation, commanding the whole city and the adjacent plain, so that almost at the same moment those who had fled from the city, and the people who had come to its relief, and to see what was taking place, met — of whom there were more than thirty thousand men, the most showy people