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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/267

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CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 245 cut and slash at them, taking them completely by sur- prise ; for they had no idea that an attack could possibly come from that quarter, not knowing that their people had fled from the place where the Spaniards and the Indian had crossed ; they were thus struck with terror, and being afraid to resist, the Spanish soldiers killed a number of them, until seeing how they had been deceived, they began to fly. Our infantry had now entered the town, and commenced setting fire to it, while the enemy were forsaking it, taking refuge in the mountain, although many of them perished, being pursued by our horse and slain in great numbers. It was about midday when we found where we could enter the city, and we took some repose in the houses of a garden, although we found them nearly all burned. Towards evening, the cacique and some of the other nobles, seeing that it was useless to attempt to defend even so strong a place, and fearing that we should pursue them into the mountain and destroy them, determined to come and acknowledge themselves vassals of your Majesty ; and I received them as such, and they promised me to be henceforth forever our friends. These Indians and others who came to give themselves up as vassals of your Majesty, after the burn- ing and destruction of their houses and haciendas, told us that the reason of their coming in so late was, that they thought their offences would be atoned for more efl^ectu- ally if they suffered first some injury, and that when this was done, we should have no unfriendly feelings towards them. We slept that night in the town, and in the morning pursued our route through a country of pine trees, unin- habited, and destitute of water ; we passed on a road leading through a narrow mountain defile, suffering much 32