Montezuma's Daughter eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 451 pages of information about Montezuma's Daughter.

As Otomie spoke I heard a trumpet blare without the walls.  Hurrying to the gates by the first light of day, I could see that the Spaniards were mustering their forces for attack.  They did not come at once, however, but delayed till the sun was well up.  Then they began to pour a furious fire upon our defences, that reduced the shattered beams of the gates to powder, and even shook down the crest of the earthwork beyond them.  Suddenly the firing ceased and again a trumpet called.  Now they charged us in column, a thousand or more Tlascalans leading the van, followed by the Spanish force.  In two minutes I, who awaited them beyond it together with some three hundred warriors of the Otomie, saw their heads appear over the crest of the earthwork, and the fight began.  Thrice we drove them back with our spears and arrows, but at the fourth charge the wave of men swept over our defence, and poured into the dry ditch beyond.

Now we were forced to fly to the next earthwork, for we could not hope to fight so many in the open street, whither, so soon as a passage had been made for their horse and ordnance, the enemy followed us.  Here the fight was renewed, and this barricade being very strong, we held it for hard upon two hours with much loss to ourselves and to the Spanish force.  Again we retreated and again we were assailed, and so the struggle went on throughout the live-long day.  Every hour our numbers grew fewer and our arms fainter, but still we fought on desperately.  At the two last barricades, hundreds of the women of the Otomie fought by the sides of their husbands and their brothers.

The last earthwork was captured by the Spaniards just as the sun sank, and under the shadow of approaching darkness those of us that remained alive fled to the refuge which we had prepared upon the teocalli, nor was there any further fighting during that night.

CHAPTER XXXV

THE LAST SACRIFICE OF THE WOMEN OF THE OTOMIE

Here in the courtyard of the teocalli, by the light of burning houses, for as they advanced the Spaniards fired the town, we mustered our array to find that there were left to us in all some four hundred fighting men, together with a crowd of nearly two thousand women and many children.  Now although this teocalli was not quite so lofty as that of the great temple of Mexico, its sides were steeper and everywhere faced with dressed stone, and the open space upon its summit was almost as great, measuring indeed more than a hundred paces every way.  This area was paved with blocks of marble, and in its centre stood the temple of the war-god, where his statue still sat, although no worship had been offered to him for many years; the stone of sacrifice, the altar of fire, and the storehouses of the priests.  Moreover in front of the temple, and between it and the stone of sacrifice, was a deep cemented hole the size of a large room, which once had been used as a place for the safe keeping of grain in times of famine.  This pit I had caused to be filled with water borne with great toil to the top of the pyramid, and in the temple itself I stored a great quantity of food, so that we had no cause to fear present death from thirst or famine.

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Montezuma's Daughter from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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