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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/91

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CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 69 came to see or to speak to me. Being somewhat per- plexed by this treatment, a female interpreter that I had, who was a native of this country,* and whom I obtained at Putunchan on the Rio Grande, (as I have already men- tioned in my farmer despatch,) was informed by another female, a native of this city, that a numerous force of Muteczuma lay very near the city, and that the inhabit- ants had carried out their wives and children and wear- ing apparel, as an attack was meditated that would de- stroy us all ; and that if she wished to save herself, she should go with her, as she could protect her. My inter- preter told this to Geronimo de Aguilar, another inter- preter, whom I had obtained in Yucatan, of whom I also wrote to your Highness, and he gave me the informa- tion ; when I took one of the natives of the city, and drew him aside privately so that no one saw me, and interro- gated him on the subject ; this man confirmed all that the Indian women and the natives of Tlascala had stated. Judging from this information, as well as the signs that I had observed, I determined to anticipate their move- ments, in order to prevent being taken by surprise ; and I sent for the nobles of the city, to whom I said that I wished to speak with them, and shut them in a room by themselves. In the mean time, I caused our people to be put under arms, and ordered them, when a gun was fired as a signal, to attack a crowd of Indians that had collected near my quarters, many of whom had entered within it. After I had shut up the nobles, I left them well secured, and mounting a horse, I caused the signal gun to be fired, and we made such execution that in two hours more than three thousand of the enemy perished.

  • Dona Marina, the most celebrated of Mexican women.