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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/284

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262 LETTERS OF CORTES. shoutings about our quarters, when the Spanish sentinels called " to arms ;" the men rushed forth, but found none of the enemy, the shoutings that had caused the alarm being heard from a distance. As our force was divided into so many parts, these two divisions desired my arri- val with the brigantines as their only safety ; and with this hope they waited some few days until I arrived, as I shall hereafter relate. During those six days the two divisions met in the course of the day, as they were near one another, and the cavalry scoured the country, always destroying with their lances many of the enemy ; they also collected from the neighboring heights a large quan- tity of maize, of which bread is made, the principal food of the people in this region, and much superior to that of the islands. In the preceding chapters I stated that I remained at Teeaico with three hundred men and the thirteen bri- gantines ; as soon as I ascertained that the divisions of the army had reached their positions, I embarked and took a look at the city, doing some injury to the canoes. Although I was very desirous of being upon the land for the purpose of directing the movements of the army, yet as the captains were persons who could be safely en- trusted with the business committed to them, and the charge of the brigantines was one of much importance, and required great concert of action and care, I deter- mined to embark in them, the greatest advantage as well as risk being likely to occur by water ; notwithstanding I was formally requested by the principal persons with me to join the divisions, as in their opinion most exposed to danger. The next day after the feast of Corpus Christi, [the Ascension,] Friday, at dawn of day, I de- spatched Gonzalo de Sandoval with his division from