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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/331

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CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 309 which the city could be completely destroyed, which they had all desired more than any thing in the world. Two or three days passed while we were concerting our plans ; and the inhabitants of the city were well aware that we were devising some scheme against them. They too, as it afterwards appeared, were preparing such means as they could for their defence, as we ima- gined at the time. Having settled with our allies to make the assault by land and water, the next morning after mass we took the road to the city ; and on arriving at the water-pass and entrenchment in the vicinity of the large buildings on the square, when about to com- mence hostilities, we were accosted by some of the peo- ple and desired to suspend hostilities, as they intended to sue for peace. I then directed the men to refrain from fighting, and calling to the enemy, said that the sovereign of the city should come and confer with me there, and issue an order for peace to be declared. After they assured me that some one had gone to call the ca- cique, I was detained more than an hour ; because in truth they had no desire for peace, and thus it turned out — for soon, while we were remaining inactive, they began to pour upon us a shower of arrows, darts,, and stones. Directly on seeing this, I attacked the entren-ch- ment, which we carried ; and on entering the square, we found it filled with large stones, rendering it difiicult for the horses to pass, as they require firm ground for their movements in war. We found several streets thus obstructed with stones to embarrass the horses. From that day we had so filled up this street of water leading from the square that the Indians never afterwards re- opened it ; and henceforth we began by degrees to de- stroy the houses and to obstruct and close ug what we had 40