294 LETTERS OF CORTES. ble with the enemy ; and in some instances they retreat" ed until they cast themselves into the water, and with our aid were enabled to return to the attack. Besides this, we were on the watch to prevent the enemy from sallying forth out of the cross-streets in the rear of the Spaniards who had advanced on the main street, and at this time sent us word that they had made much progress, and were not far from the great square of- the market- place ; adding, that they wished to push forward, for they already heard the noise of the combat in which the algua- zil mayor and Pedro de Alvarado were engaged on their side of the city. I answered them, that they must by no means go forward without leaving the bridges well filled up, so that if it became necessary to beat a retreat, the water might present no obstacle or impediment, for in this consisted all the danger. They sent to me a mes- sage in reply, the amount of which was that the whole they had gained was left in good condition, and that I might go and see if it was not so. But suspecting that they had disregarded the orders, and left the bridges im- perfectly filled up, I went to the place and found they had passed a breach in the road ten or twelve paces wide ; and the water that flowed through it was ten or twelve feet deep. At the time the troops had passed this ditch, thus formed, they had thrown into it wood and reed^canes, and as they had crossed a few at a time and with great circumspection, the wood and canes had not sunk beneath their weight ; and they were so intoxicated with the pleasure of victory that they imagined it to be sufficiently firm. At the moment I reached this bridge of troubles, I discovered some Spaniards and many of our allies flying back in great haste, and the enemy like dogs in pursuit of them ; and when I saw such a route,
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