’All is done indeed, Otomie, and our oaths are lifelong, though other oaths have been broken that they might be sworn,’ I answered.
Thus then I, Thomas Wingfield, was wed to Otomie, princess of the Otomie, Montezuma’s daughter.
THE NIGHT OF FEAR
Long before I awoke that day the commands of the council had been carried out, and the bridges in the great causeways were broken down wherever dykes crossed the raised roads that ran through the waters of the lake. That afternoon also I went dressed as an Indian warrior with Guatemoc and the other generals, to a parley which was held with Cortes, who took his stand on the same tower of the palace that Montezuma had stood on when the arrow of Guatemoc struck him down. There is little to be said of this parley, and I remember it chiefly because it was then for the first time since I had left the Tobascans that I saw Marina close, and heard her sweet and gentle voice. For now as ever she was by the side of Cortes, translating his proposals of peace to the Aztecs. Among those proposals was one which showed me that de Garcia had not been idle. It asked that the false white man who had been rescued from the altars of the gods upon the teocalli should be given in exchange for certain Aztec prisoners, in order that he might be hung according to his merits as a spy and deserter, a traitor to the emperor of Spain. I wondered as I heard, if Marina knew when she spoke the words, that ’the false white man’ was none other than the friend of her Tobascan days.
’You see that you are fortunate in having found place among us Aztecs, Teule,’ said Guatemoc with a laugh, ’for your own people would greet you with a rope.’
Then he answered Cortes, saying nothing of me, but bidding him and all the Spaniards prepare for death:
‘Many of us have perished,’ he said; ’you also must perish, Teules. You shall perish of hunger and thirst, you shall perish on the altars of the gods. There is no escape for you Teules; the bridges are broken.’
And all the multitude took up the words and thundered out, ’There is no escape for you Teules; the bridges are broken!’
Then the shooting of arrows began, and I sought the palace to tell Otomie my wife what I had gathered of the state of her father Montezuma, who the Spaniards said still lay dying, and of her two sisters who were hostages in their quarters. Also I told her how my surrender had been sought, and she kissed me, and said smiling, that though my life was now burdened with her, still it was better so than that I should fall into the hands of the Spaniards.