252 LETTERS OF CORTES. danger. As we were dashing from one side to the other, several youths in my service followed me in my move- ments ; but at one time two of them neglected to do so, and found themselves so situated that they could not es- cape falling into the hands of the enemy, who, without doubt, would put them to a cruel death, as they are wont to do. My feelings on this occasion God only knows, on account of their being Christians, and men of valor, who had performed good service for your Majesty in this war. Leaving this city, we began to pursue our route through other villages in the vicinity, and drew near the enemy, who, I ascertained, had taken the young men prisoners. In order to revenge their death, and because the enemy followed us with terrible outcries, I with twenty horse placed myself behind some houses in ambush ; and when the Indians saw the other ten horse and all the people and baggage going on before, they immediately pursued them by a road that was wide and level, with- out fear. As soon as we saw them pass, I gave the watchword " the Aposile St. James," when we rushed upon them with great violence. And before they had thrown themselves into the canals near by, we had slain more than a hundred of their principal men, and they no longer cared to follow us. This day we went to sleep two leagues in advance, at the city of Coatinchan, very much wearied and wet, for it had rained much that night, and we found the place deserted. The next day we resumed our march, casting our lances from time to time at some Indians who came forth to greet us with outcries ; and we went to sleep at a village called Gilo- tepeque, which we also found deserted. The next day, at twelve o'clock, we arrived at a city called Aculnian,
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