274 LETTERS OF CORTES. again into the public square, from whence they were driven with great violence into the street, so that they were obliged to leave behind the gun that was on the square. As the Spaniards could not sustain the attacks of the enemy, they continued to retreat, exposed to much danger ; to which, indeed, they would have fallen vic- tims, but that it pleased God three of the cavalry should arrive at this juncture and enter the square, which the enemy no sooner perceived than they believed more were coming, and began to fly. The Spaniards killed some of them, and regained possession of the court and enclosure that I have mentioned above. Ten or twelve of the principal inhabitants of the city took refuge in the largest and highest tower of the temple, having a hundred and more steps leading up to it, where they fortified themselves ; but four or five Spaniards forced their way up, and although the Mexicans defended themselves re- solutely, overpowered them, and destroyed the lives of the whole. Afterwards five or six more of the cavalry arrived, who with others formed an ambuscade, by means of which they despatched more than thirty of the enemy. As it was already evening, I ordered our peo- ple to be collected and to retreat ; and while they were retreating, the multitude of the enemy so pressed upon them, that had it not been for the cavalry the Spaniards would have suffered great loss. But as all the difficult places in the street and on the causeway, where danger was anticipated, had been filled up and levelled by me at the time of the retreat, the horse could now enter or depart over them with ease ; so that when the enemy assailed our rearguard, the cavalry returning charged upon them, continually des- troying and despatching them with their lances ; and as
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