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BERN AL DIAZ ON THE TEMPLES. 447
tempic; "but when they saw that we were preparing to ascend the great flight of steps," they said "they could not help themselves; and they had hardly said this, when fifty of us, going up for the purpose, threw down and broke in pieces the enormous idols which we found within the temple." Cortez then caused a number of " Indian masons to be collected, with lime, which abounded in that place, and had the walls cleared of blood and new plastered."
As they approached the territory of Mexico, he continues, " Appearances demonstrated that we had entered a new country, for the temples were very lofty, and, together with the terraced dwellings and the houses of the cacique, being plastered and whitewashed, appeared very well, and resembled some of our towns in Spain."
Farther on he says, "We arrived at a kind of fortifi-* cation, built of lime and stone, of so strong a nature that nothing but tools of iron could have any effect upon it. The people informed us that it was built by the Tlascalans, on whose territory it stood, as a defence against the incursions of the Mexicans."
At Tehuacingo, after a sanguinary battle, in which the Indians " drew off and left the field to them, who were too much fatigued to follow," he adds, "As soon as we found ourselves clear of them, we returned thanks to God for his mercy, and, entering a strong and spacious temple, we dressed our wounds with the fat of Indians."
Arrived at Cholula, Cortez immediately "sent some soldiers to a great temple hard by our quarters, with orders to bring, as quietly as they could, two priests." In this they succeeded. One of them was a person of rank and authority over all the temples of the city. Again • "within the high walls of the courts where wo
448 IXCIDEXTS OF T11TELwere quartered." And again: the city of Cholula, he says, "much resembled Valladolid." It " had at that time above a hundred lofty white towers, which were .he temples of their idols. The principal temple was higher than that of Mexico, and each of these buildings was placed in a spacious court."
Approaching the city of Mexico, he gives way to a burst of enthusiasm. "We could compare it to nothing but the enchanted scenes we had read of in Amadis de Gaul, from the great towers, and temples, and other edifices of lime and stone which seemed to rise up out of the water."
"We were received by great lords of that country, relations of Montezuma, who conducted us to our lodgings there in palaces magnificently built of stone, the timber of which was cedar, with spacious courts and apartments furnished with canopies of the finest cotton. The whole was ornamented with works of art painted, and admirably plastered and whitened, and it was rendered more delightful by numbers of beautiful birds."
"The palace in which we were lodged was very light, airy, clean, and pleasant, the entry being through a great court."
Montezuma, in his first interview with Cortez, says, "The Tlascalans have, I know, told you that I am like a god, and that all about me is gold, and silver, and precious stones; but you now see that I am mere flesh and blood, and that my houses are built like other houses, of lime, and stone, and timber."
"At the great square we were astonished at the crowds of people and the regularity which prevailed, and the vast quantities of merchandise."
"The entire square was enclosed in piazzas."
"From the square we proceeded to the great temple,
but before we entered it we made a circuit through a number of large courts, the smallest of which appeared to me to contain more ground than the great square of Salamanca, with double enclosures, built of lime and stone, and the courts paved with large white cut stones, or, where not paved, they were plastered and polished." "The ascent to the great temple was by a hundred and fourteen steps."
"From the platform on the summit of the temple, Montezuma, taking Cortez by the hand, pointed out to him the different parts of the city and its vicinity, all of which were commanded from that place." "We observed also the temples and adoratories of the adjacent cities, built in the form of towers and fortresses, and others on the causeway, all whitewashed and wonderfully brilliant."
"The noise and bustle of the market-place could be heard almost a league off, and- those who had been at Rome and Constantinople said that for convenience, regularity, and population they had never seen the like."
During the siege he speaks of being " quartered in a lofty temple;" "marching up the steps of the temple;" "some lofty temples which we now battered with our artillery;" "the lofty temples where Diego Velasquez and Salvatierra were posted;" "the breaches which they had made in the walls;" "cut stone taken from the buildings from the terraces."
Arrived at the great temple, instantly above four thousand Mexicans rushed up into it, who for some time prevented them from ascending. "Although the cavalry several times attempted to charge, the stone pavements of the courts of the temple were so smooth that the horses could not keep their feet, and fell." Vol. II.—3 L
"Their numbers were such that we could not make any effectual impression or ascend the steps. At length we forced our way up. Here Cortez showed himself the man that he really was. What a desperate engagement we then had! Every man of us was covered with blood."
"They drove us down six, and even ten of the steps, while others who were in the corridors, or within side of the railings and concavities of the great temple, shot such clouds of arrows at us that we could not maintain our ground," "began our retreat, every man of us being wounded, and forty-six of us left dead on the spot. I have often seen this engagement represented in the paintings of the natives both of Mexico and Tlascala, and our ascent into the great temple."
Again, he speaks of arriving at a village and taking up their "quarters in a strong temple;" "assaulting them at their posts in the temples and large walled enclosures."
At Tezcuco " we took up our quarters in some buildings which consisted of large halls and enclosed courts." "Alvarado, De Oli, and some soldiers, whereof I was one, then ascended to the top of the great temple, which was very lofty, in order to notice what was going on in the neighbourhood."
"We proceeded to another town called Terrayuco, but which we named the town of the serpents, on account of the enormous figures of those animals which we found in their temples, and which they worshipped as gods."
Again: "In this garden our whole force lodged for the night. I certainly never had seen one of such magnificence; and Cortez and the treasurer Alderete, after they had walked through and examined it, declared that
TOWERS, COURTS, ETC. 45]
it was admirable, and equal to any they had ever seen in Castille."
"I and ten more soldiers were posted as a guard upon a wall of lime and stone."
"When we arrived at our quarters at Jacuba it rained heavily, and we remained under it for two hours in some large enclosed courts. The general, with his captains, the treasurer, our reverend father, and many others of us, mounted to the top of the temple, which commanded all the lake."
"We crossed the water up to our necks at the pass they had left open, and followed them until we came to a place where were large temples and towers of idols."
"As Cortez now lodged at Cuejoacan, in large buildings with white walls, very well adapted for scribbling on, there appeared every morning libels against him in prose and verse. I recollect the words of one only:
'Que trista eata el alma mea
How anxious I am for a share of the plunder."
"When our party (for I went with Sandoval) arrived at Tustepeque, I took up my lodgings in the summit of a tower in a very high temple, partly for the fresh air and to avoid the moschetoes, which were very troublesome below, and partly to be near Sandoval's quarters." "We pursued our route to the city of Chiapas, in the same province with Palenque, and a city it might be called, from the regularity of its streets and houses. It contained not less than four thousand families, not reckoning the population of the many dependant towns in its neighbourhood." "We found the whole force of Chiapas drawn up to receive us. Their troops were adorned with plumage."
"On our arrival we found it too closely built to be