Open main menu

Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/348

This page needs to be proofread.

326 LETTERS OF CORTES. and desired me to go to the square of the market-place in the city, for their lord wished to confer with me there. Supposing it to be true, I mounte-d a horse, and we took the road to the city ; but after waiting more than three or four hours at the appointed place, he failed to appear. As soon as I perceived the deception, and that neither the lord nor any other messengers came, I sent for our Indian allies who had remained at the entrance of the city, about a league from where we were, agreeably to my orders, being informed that the inhabitants desired to treat with me for peace, and I should not want them within the city ; they came to me immediately, together with the troops of Pedro de Alvarado's camp. As soon as these troops arrived, we attacked some entrenchments and ditches, the only defences that remained in the enemy's power ; and both we and our allies took possession of as many of them as we wished. At the time I left the camp, 1 had made arrangements for Gonzalo de Sando- val to enter with the brigantines that part of the city where the Indians were strongly fortified, and when the enemy were surrounded, to delay the attack until he saw our divjrr sion engaged ; so that being thus closely invested and pres- sed on every side, they might have no space left for them to move, except over dead bodies, and on the terraces that remained to them ; being for the same reason destitute of arrows, darts and stones with which to annoy us. Our allies marched with us, armed with sword and buckler ; and such was the havoc made, both by land and sea, that more than forty thousand souls perished or were made prisoners that day ; and so piercing were the cries and lamentations of women and children that every heart was moved, and we had even more to do to restrain our allies from the slaughter and the practice of excessive cruelty, than to fight the enemy ; the people of-this country being