Page:Romance of History, Mexico.djvu/148

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CHAPTER XII

THE GREAT MONTEZUMA

In the green land of the valley the Spaniards were met by another embassy from Montezuma. The envoys had expected to meet the strangers on the farther side of the mountains, and were astonished at the ease with which they had surmounted that formidable barrier. They had been sent to offer Cortés bribes and a yearly tribute for his king if he would even now turn back. In vain, no humiliation on the part of the emperor could change the foreordained.

When Montezuma had received the news that the Spaniards were actually in the valley and marching towards the capital, he retired to sacrifice and prayer alone. The gods were dumb, no good omen answered his supplication. "We are born, let that come which must come!" cried the unhappy man at last. Even from his council he received no help; opinion was divided, some were for amicably receiving the strangers, others, and among these his brother Cuitlahuac, would drive them from the

land. Hopeless himself, Montezuma inclined to the peaceful party, exclaiming, "Of what avail is

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