324 LETTERS OF CORTES. pleased in one hour none of them would be left alive, why would not Guautimucin, their lord, come to confer with me, on my promising not to injure him; for should he and they seek peace, they would be well received and treated by me." I exchanged other words with them, and even drew tears from their eyes, when they answer- ed — " That they were fully conscious of their error and hopeless condition, and they would go to speak with their lord, and return instantly with an answer ; and requested me to remain where I was." They went away, but came back in a few moments, and said — " That as it was now evening, their lord had not come to confer with me ; but that in the middle of the next day he would come at all events, and confer with me in the square of the market- place ;" so we returned to our camp. I gave directions for the next day that they should get ready a carpeted seat, as is their custom, on the rectangular building in the middle of the square for the cacique and the chief men of the city, and that a repast should be prepared, as was accordingly done. The next morning we went to the city, and I cautioned our people to be on their guard, in case the inhabitants should be guilty of any treachery, that we might not be taken by surprise. I also gave the same caution to Pedro de Alvarado, who was there ; and when we reached the market-place, I sent a message to Guautimucin, inform- ing him that I waited his coming. It appeared, however, that he had determined not to come, but sent to me five of the principal nobles of the city, whose names I omit to mention as a matter of no great consequence. These persons having arrived said, "that their lord had sent them to beg me to pardon him for not coming, as he was afraid to appear before me, and also was in bad health ;
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