Montezuma's Daughter eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 451 pages of information about Montezuma's Daughter.
that its shadow was lifted from me, if only for a little while, would have been the act of a coward.  For good or evil I had given myself to Montezuma’s daughter, and I must abide by it or be shamed.  Still such was the nobleness of this Indian lady that even then she would not take me at my word.  For a little while she stood smiling sadly and drawing a lock of her long hair through the hollow of her hand.  Then she spoke: 

’You are not yourself, Teule, and I should be base indeed if I made so solemn a compact with one who does not know what he sells.  Yonder on the altar and in a moment of death you said that you loved me, and doubtless it was true.  But now you have come back to life, and say, lord, who set that golden ring upon your hand and what is written in its circle?  Yet even if the words are true that you have spoken and you love me a little, there is one across the sea whom you love better.  That I could bear, for my heart is fixed on you alone among men, and at the least you would be kind to me, and I should move in the sunlight of your presence.  But having known the light, I cannot live to wander in the darkness.  You do not understand.  I will tell you what I fear.  I fear that if—­if we were wed, you would weary of me as men do, and that memory would grow too strong for you.  Then by and by it might be possible for you to find your way back across the waters to your own land and your own love, and so you would desert me, Teule.  This is what I could not bear, Teule.  I can forego you now, ay, and remain your friend.  But I cannot be put aside like a dancing girl, the companion of a month, I, Montezuma’s daughter, a lady of my own land.  Should you wed me, it must be for my life, Teule, and that is perhaps more than you would wish to promise, though you could kiss me on yonder stone and there is blood fellowship between us,’ and she glanced at the red stain in the linen robe that covered the wound upon her side.

’And now, Teule, I leave you a while, that I may find Guatemoc, if he still lives, and others who, now that the strength of the priests is shattered, have power to protect you and advance you to honour.  Think then on all that I have said, and do not be hasty to decide.  Or would you make an end at once and fly to the white men if I can find a means of escape?’

‘I am too weary to fly anywhere,’ I answered, ’even if I could.  Moreover, I forget.  My enemy is among the Spaniards, he whom I have sworn to kill, therefore his friends are my foes and his foes my friends.  I will not fly, Otomie.’

‘There you are wise,’ she said, ’for if you come among the Teules that man will murder you; by fair means or foul he will murder you within a day, I saw it in his eyes.  Now rest while I seek your safety, if there is any safety in this blood-stained land.’

CHAPTER XXIII

THOMAS IS MARRIED

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Montezuma's Daughter from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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