CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 57' I attacked another place, which was so large that it con- tained, according to an examination that I caused to be made, more than twenty thousand houses. As I came upon it by surprise, the inhabitants rushed unarmed into the streets, the women and children being in a state of nudity, and we had begun to attack them when I dis- covered that they made no resistance, and certain of their leaders carne to beg that I would stop hostiUties, as they were desirous of becoming the vassals of youi* Highness and my allies. They confessed that they had done wrong in not having before placed confidence in me, but declared that henceforth I should see them wil- ling to execute whatever I commanded in your Majesty's name, as your true and faithful liege subjects. Imme-* diately there joined me more than four thousand persons unarmed, and at a fountain outside of the town they brought us an abundance of provisions. Thus I left them in peace and returned to our camp, where T found the people who had remained very much alarmed, ima- gining that I had encountered great danger, in conse- quence of the return of the horses the night before. But when informed of the victory which it had pleased God to grant us, and that we had made friends of so many of the inhabitants, they were greatly rejoiced. Notwith- standing, I assure your Majesty, that there was scarcely one of us who did not feel some apprehension on finding ourselves so far in the interior of the country, and in the midst of so numerous and powerful a people, without hope of succour from any quarter. So desperate was our situation, that I heard with my own ears the remark made among our men, in almost a public manner, that I was a Peter Carbonero, who had brought them into dan- gers from which they could not escape. And I even
Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/79
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