226 LETTERS OF CORTES. the skins being as well tanned as could be done in any part of the world, which together with much cotton cloth and the ejBTects of the Spaniards were thus offered to their idols. And we found the blood of our companions and brothers spilled and sacrificed in all the towns and tem- ples; the occasion of much grief, as it renewed the memory of all our past suffering. The traitors of that and the adjoining towns, at the time the Christians passed through them, gave them a good reception, in order to lull them into security, for the purpose of per- petrating the greatest piece of cruelty that was ever practised ; for whilst our men were descending a de- clivity at a slow pace, all being on foot, dragging their horses by their bridles, and impeded at every step, the enemy, concealed in ambush on both sides of the diffi- cult pass, fell upon the midst of them, killing some, and taking others alive to carry them to be sacrificed at Te- saico, and pluck out their hearts before their idols. That this was the fate of some of them, appears from the fact that when the alguazil mayor abovementioned passed that way, certain Spaniards that accompanied him dis- covered in a house of a village between Tesaico and where the Christians were killed and made prisoners, the following words written with coal on a white wall : " Here the unfortunate Juan Yuste was a prisoner."* This person was a cavalier, one of the five horsemen of the party ; and the sight of these words, without doubt, filled the hearts of all who observed them with profound grief. The alguazil mayor having arrived at this town, the inhabitants, conscious of their great guilt, began to seek refuge in flight, and the Spanish horse and foot
- It was the town of Zultepec in which this discovery was made. Juan de
Yuste was the man who advised Narvaez to seize Juan Velazquez. — L.