CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 203 (if God gave us victory) for the timbers and decks and other necessary things belonging to the brigantines. They promised me to do so, and expressed a desire to send their warriors vs^ith me, declaring that when the brigantines were removed, they would all go, with the whole population of their country, and that they would die with me, or be revenged on the Culuans, their mortal enemies. The next day, which was the 28th of De- cember, the day of the Innocents, I set out with all our force drawn up in order, and marched as far as a place called Tezmoluca, six leagues from Tascaltecal, in the province of Guajocingo, the inhabitants of which have always observed the same friendship and alliance with us as the people of Tascaltecal : and there we reposed for the night. In my former despatch, most Catholic Sire, I stated that the people of the provinces of Mexico and Temix- titan, as I was informed, had made great preparations of arms, and constructed fosses, entrenchments and fortresses to oppose our entrance, as they already knew my intention to return against them. Aware of this, and how skilfal and ingenious they were in matters relating to war, I had often meditated in what manner I could take them by surprise. Since they understood that we possessed information of three routes or avenues, by each of which we could enter their territory, I determined to take this one by Tezmoluca ; because, as the pass over the mountains on this route was more rough and cragged than the others, 1 believed the resistance would not be so great, nor the enemy so well prepared. The next day after the Innocents, having heard mass, and committed ourselves to God, we set forth from Tezmoluca, my- self leading the van, with ten horse and sixty foot,
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