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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/303

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CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 281 the others, displayed lo the inhabitants of the city the bodies of their countrymen cut into pieces, exclaiming at the same time that they would have them for supper that night and for breakfast the next day, as was in fact the case. Thus we returned to our camp to rest, for that day we had toiled much. The seven brigantines that I had retained entered the water-sireets of the city on the same day and burned a considerable part of it. The captains of the other divisions of the army and the six brigantines also fought gallantly on that day. I might well enlarge upon their exploits, but to avoid prolixity I omit the account, only adding that they re- turned victoriously to their camps without suffering any loss. On the following day, at an early hour of the morning, after hearing mass, I returned to the city in the same order with my whole force, so that the enemy might not have time to open the breaches in the road, and throw up entrenchments ; but although we were early on the ground, jof the three water-streets that crossed the road leading from the camp to the large houses on the square, two were in the same condition as on the previous days, and extremely difficult to be taken ; the combat lasted from eight o'clock till one in the afternoon, during which time all the arrows and balls carried by the archers and mus- keteers were exhausted. Your Majesty may well believe that the danger was very great to which we were ex- posed every time we gained these bridges, since in order to accomplish it the Spanish soldiers were obliged to throw themselves into the water and swim to the opposite side ; this could not be done, nor attempted by all, as the enemy stood ready to oppose their landing by slashing them with knives or thrusting lances at them. But as