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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/270

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248 LETTERS OF CORTES. water and by land, to surround us, believing that we could not escape from their hands. I ascended a tower con- taining their idols, for the purpose of seeing in what manner they would approach, and in what quarter they would attack us, in order to take proper measures to meet them. When all our preparations were completed, there arrived by water a great fleet of canoes, exceeding two thousand in number, as I believe ; and in them came more than twelve thousand warriors ; at the same time the whole country was covered with the multitudes that poured in by land. The leaders of the advance troops bore in their hands swords that had been taken from our people, and calling out the names of their provinces, cried, " Mexico, Mexico — Temixtiian, Temixtitan f at the same time they showered reproaches upon us, and threatened to slay us with the swords that they had taken from us on a former occasion in the city of Temix- titan. After I had assigned each captain his post, finding that there were great numbers of the enemy on terra firma, I proceeded against them with twenty horse and five hundred Tlascallans, dividing my force into three parts ; and I ordered that when they had dispersed the enemy, they should rendezvous at the foot of a hill, half a league distant from there, because many of the enemy were at that point. When we had divided, each squad- ron pursued the enemy under its own leader ; and after having routed them and with lances killed many, we sought the rendezvous at the base of the hill ; and I ordered several foot soldiers, servants of mine, who were very daring, to endeavor to ascend the steepest part of the hill. I then with the horse went round to the rear, where it was more level, and attacked the enemy in the centre ; and when they saw the Spaniards ascend the