70 LETTERS OF CORTES. And that your Majesty may know how well prepared they were, before I sallied forth from our quarters they had occupied all the streets with their forces and posted men in readiness for the attack, although as we took them by surprise they were easily routed, especially as they were without their leaders, whom I had already made prisoners ; and I set fire ta several towers and strong houses, from which they defended themselves and attacked us. Thus I scoured the city, fighting my way and leaving my quarters well secured, being of great strength, for five hours, l:^ntil I had driven- all the people out of the city, from different points, in which I was^ as- sisted by five thousand Indians of Tascaltecal, and four hundred of Cempoal. On my return to our quarters, I addressed myself to the captive nobles, and demanded why they had wished to betray and destroy me ? Tbey answered, that it was not their fault, as the men of Culua, [Mexico,] who were the vassals of Muteczuma, bad urged them to it, and that Muteczuma was to have had within, the distance of a league and a half from the city, as it afterwards appeared, a force of fifty thousand men for that purpose. But as they saw that he had deceived them, if I would allow one or two of their number to de- part, they would collect the people of the city and cause the women and children to return with their effects ; and they begged that I would pardon their mistake, declaring that henceforth they would never deceive me, but prove true and loyal vassals of your Highness, and my friends. After I had said a great deal to them in regard to their error I suffered two of them to go, and the next day the whole city was filled with men, women and children,- in as much security as if nothing had occurred ; and subsequently I set at liberty all the other chiefs upon i
Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/92
This page needs to be proofread.