Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/317

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CONQUEST OP MEXICO. 295 I began to cry out, " Hold, hold!" and on approaching the water, I beheld it full of Spaniards and Indians, in so dense a mass that it seemed as if there was not room for a straw to float. The enemy charged on the fugitives so hotly, that in the meUe they threw themselves into the water after them; and soon the enemy's canoes came up by means of the canal, and took the Spaniards alive. As this affair was so sudden, and I saw them killing our men, I resolved to remain there, and perish in the fight. The way in which I and those who were with me could do the most good, was to give our hands to some unfortunate Spaniards who were drowning, and draw them out of the water ; some came out wounded, others half-drowned, and others without arms, whom I sent forward. Already such multitudes of the enemy pressed upon us, that they had completely surrounded me and the twelve or fifteen men who were with me ; and being deeply interested in endeavoring to save those that were sinking, I did not observe nor regard the danger to which I was exposed. Several Indians of the enemy had already advanced to seize me, and would have borne me off, had it not been for a captain of fifty men whom I always had with me, and also a youth of his company, to whom next to God I owed my life ; and in saving mine like a valiant man, he lost his own.* In the mean time the Spaniards who had fled before the enemy, pursued their course along the causeway, and as it was small and narrow, and on the same level as the water, which had been effected by those dogs on purpose

  • Antonio de Quiiiones was the captain, and Francisco de Olea, the youth,

according to Gomara ; who says that the latter cut off at one blow the arms of the men that had seized Cortes, and was himself immediately slain by the ene- my. Cortes was then rescued by Quiiiones. — Cron. Nuev. Esp. Cap. 138.