318 LETTERS OF CORTES. closed courts of many towers of the city. Finding his cavalry unable to make much progress, he was compel- led to retire, and in his retreat he had three horses wound- ed. Thus Pedro de Alvarado and his men returned to their quarters. We made no attempt that day to gain the single bridge and canal, which were all that remained between us and the market-place, but spent the time in levelling and filling up all the difl&cult places ; when we retired, the enemy pressed us closely, but it was done at their own cost. The next morning early we entered the city, and as there was nothing to be gained before arriving at the mar- ket-place but a passage of water with its entrenchment, near the little tower I have mentioned, we began the con- test, when an ensign with two or three Spaniards leapt into the water, and the enemy immediately abandoned the place. We commenced filling up at once, and mak- ing preparations so as to cross with the horses ; and while thus engaged, Pedro de Alvarado arrived by the same street with four horsemen, and great was the joy on the part of his division and our own ; for the road was now open to a speedy termination of the war. Pedro de Al- varado had left in his rear a detachment of men both to secure what had been gained and for his own protection ; and as soon as the passage was rendered fordable, I pro- ceeded with several horse to look at the market-place, having first directed the people of our party not to ad- vance beyond this passage. We then went on and pass- ed through the square, admiring its arcades, the terraces of which were filled with the enemy, who, when they saw the horsemen riding in it, (as it is of great extent,) were afraid to approach us. I ascended a tower ad- joining the market-place, in which and others we found as offerings to their idols the heads of our Christians who
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