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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/320

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298 LETTERS OF COKTES. their idols that stood near the square, they burned per- fumes and fumigated the air with certain gums pecuHar to this country, that greatly resemble anime ; which they offer to their idols in token of victory.* Although we endeavored to throw obstacles in the way of the ene- my, it was out of our power, as our people were hurry- . ing back to the camp. In this defeat thirty-five or forty Spaniards, and more than a thousand of our Indian allies, were slain by the enemy, besides more than twenty Christians wounded, among whom was myself in the leg. We lost the small field-piece that we had taken with us, and many cross- bows, muskets, and other arms. Immediately after their victory, in order to strike terror into the alguazil mayor and Pedro de Alvarado, the enemy carried all the Spa- niards, both living and dead, whom they had taken, to the Tlatelulco, which is the market-place, and in some of the lofty towers that are situated there they sacrificed them naked, opening their breasts and taking out their hearts to offer them to the idols. This was seen by the Spaniards of Alvarado' s division from where they were fighting, and from the whiteness of the naked bodies which they saw sacrificed they knew them to be Chris- tians ; but although they suffered great sorrow and dis- may at the sight, they effected a retreat to their camp after having fought gallantly that day, and carried their conquests almost to the market-place, which would have been taken, if God on account of our sins had not per- mitted so great a disaster. We returned to our camp, such was the grief we felt, somewhat earlier than had

  • Gum Copal is obtained from Mexico ; the name is also Blexican, originally

copalli. Another gum is found there resembling the incense of Arabia.