All that night the city murmured like a swarm of wasps, and next day at dawn, so far as the eye could reach, the streets and market place were filled with tens of thousands of armed warriors. They threw themselves like a wave upon the walls of the palace of Axa, and like a wave from a rock they were driven back again by the fire of the guns. Thrice they attacked, and thrice they were repulsed. Then Montezuma, the woman king, appeared upon the walls, praying them to desist because, forsooth, did they succeed, he himself might perish. Even then they obeyed him, so great was their reverence for his sacred royalty, and for a while attacked the Spaniards no more. But further than this they would not go. If Montezuma forbade them to kill the Spaniards, at least they determined to starve them out, and from that hour a strait blockade was kept up against the palace. Hundreds of the Aztec soldiers had been slain already, but the loss was not all upon their side, for some of the Spaniards and many of the Tlascalans had fallen into their hands. As for these unlucky prisoners, their end was swift, for they were taken at once to the temples of the great teocalli, and sacrificed there to the gods in the sight of their comrades.
Now it was that Cortes returned with many more men, for he had conquered Narvaez, whose followers joined the standard of Cortes, and with them others, one of whom I had good reason to know. Cortes was suffered to rejoin his comrades in the palace of Axa without attack, I do not know why, and on the following day Cuitlahua, Montezuma’s brother, king of Palapan, was released by him that he might soothe the people. But Cuitlahua was no coward. Once safe outside his prison walls, he called the council together, of whom the chief was Guatemoc.
There they resolved on war to the end, giving it out that Montezuma had forfeited his kingdom by his cowardice, and on that resolve they acted. Had it been taken but two short months before, by this date no Spaniard would have been left alive in Tenoctitlan. For after Marina, the love of Cortes, whose subtle wit brought about his triumph, it was Montezuma who was the chief cause of his own fall, and of that of the kingdom of Anahuac.
On the day after the return of Cortes to Mexico, before the hour of dawn I was awakened from my uneasy slumbers by the whistling cries of thousands of warriors and the sound of atabals and drums.
Hurrying to my post of outlook on the little pyramid, where Otomie joined me, I saw that the whole people were gathered for war. So far as the eye could reach, in square, market place, and street, they were massed in thousands and tens of thousands. Some were armed with slings, some with bows and arrows, others with javelins tipped with copper, and the club set with spikes of obsidian that is called maqua, and yet others, citizens of the poorer sort, with stakes