Alas! I saw the truth; I had been outwitted. The Spaniards, old in war, could not be caught twice by such a trick; they advanced down the pass with the carronades indeed because they must, but first they sent great bodies of men to climb the mountain under shelter of the night, by secret paths which had been discovered to them, and there on its summit to deal with those who would stay their passage by hurling rocks upon them. And in truth they dealt with them but too well, for my men of the Otomie, lying on the verge of the cliff among the scrub of aloes and other prickly plants that grew there, watching the advance of the foe beneath, and never for one moment dreaming that foes might be upon their flank, were utterly surprised. Scarcely had they time to seize their weapons, which were laid at their sides that they might have the greater freedom in the rolling of heavy masses of rock, when the enemy, who outnumbered them by far, were upon them with a yell. Then came a fight, short but decisive.
Too late I saw it all, and cursed the folly that had not provided against such chances, for, indeed, I never thought it possible that the forces of the Spaniards could find the secret trails upon the further side of the mountain, forgetting that treason makes most things possible.
THE SIEGE OF THE CITY OF PINES
The battle was already lost. From a thousand feet above us swelled the shouts of victory. The battle was lost, and yet I must fight on. As swiftly as I could I withdrew those who were left to me to a certain angle in the path, where a score of desperate men might, for a while, hold back the advance of an army. Here I called for some to stand at my side, and many answered to my call. Out of them I chose fifty men or more, bidding the rest run hard for the City of Pines, there to warn those who were left in garrison that the hour of danger was upon them, and, should I fall, to conjure Otomie my wife to make the best resistance in her power, till, if it were possible, she could wring from the Spaniards a promise of safety for herself, her child, and her people. Meanwhile I would hold the pass so that time might be given to shut the gates and man the walls. With the main body of those who were left to me I sent back my son, though he prayed hard to be allowed to stay with me. But, seeing nothing before me except death, I refused him.
Presently all were gone, and fearing a snare the Spaniards came slowly and cautiously round the angle of the rock, and seeing so few men mustered to meet them halted, for now they were certain that we had set a trap for them, since they did not think it possible that such a little band would venture to oppose their array. Here the ground lay so that only a few of them could come against us at one time, nor could they bring their heavy pieces to bear on us, and even their arquebusses helped them but little. Also