26 INTRODUCTION. shore on the arrival of the fleet, and made signals to the Spaniards, inviting them to land. Two canoes also went along side, with messengers from the governor, named Teuhtlile or TeudiUi, inquiring for the admiral of the fleet ; and when shown into his presence they made a humble salutation, and gave him to understand that the governor wished to know what people they wei-eand what they wanted, and to oiFer them any assistance for the prosecution of their voyage. Aguilar, the interpreter, was now at fault, not understanding their language ; but Cortes en- deavored to make amends by entertaining the messengers in a hospitable manner ; and inviting them to partake of wine and sweetmeats, he signified to them that the next day he would come on shore and visit the governor in the most friendly manner. He then dismissed them with presents. The next day being Good Friday, Cortes landed with a large number of his men, taking with him also the horses and artilleiy, and two hundred natives of Cuba, who performed the drudgery of the camp. Having selected the best situation he could find amongst the sand banks on the sea shore, he employed his men in building huts of the branches of trees ; and while they were thus en- gaged, many Indians came amongst them bringing pieces of gold to barter for such trinkets as had been given to the gover- nor's messengers. They also brought much bread and meat already cooked in their fashion, and red pepper, which they were willing to give or sell to the Spaniards. In exchange for these things, they received glass beads, looking-glasses, scis- sors, knives, pins, &c., which pleased them much. The next day they came again with a fresh supply of gold and pro- visions ; but Cortes cautioned his people not to show too great an eagerness for gold, lest it should be supposed to have been the object of their coming ; and he even forbade their receiving it at all, in order to guard against such an impression. On the following day, which was Easter, Cortes received a visit in his camp from the governor ; who came from his residence, a dis- tance of eight leagues, for this purpose. He was attended by a retinue of men, who were unarmed and for the most part well clothed, some of them in rich cotton garments ; others were naked and laden with provisions, being in the capacity of porters. The governor paid his respects to Cortes after the
Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/44
This page needs to be proofread.