Page:Romance of History, Mexico.djvu/159

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CHAPTER XIII

MEXICO THE GOLDEN

In the Old Palace meanwhile Spaniard and Tlascalan, rejoicing in the rest and good fare, took no thought for the morrow. Not so their general. Ever gay and confident in manner, he realised clearly the peril of his position in the heart of a fortified and perhaps hostile city. His first care must be to inspect the town and its strongholds, and for this he requested the emperor's permission.

Readily consenting, Montezuma detailed four nobles as guides. With a flourish of trumpets and drums, cavalry and infantry marched into the great square. Crowds of citizens had assembled to gaze once more on the strangers. Many women of both high and low degree mingled freely among the men. They all wore several embroidered petticoats of different lengths, a chemise matching the skirts, and a bright-coloured scarf crossed like a fichu at the throat, and hanging down with tasselled ends almost to the feet. They had no veils or any kind of headdress save a simple fillet of flowers which caught back their dark and flowing tresses. The richer ladies wore a loose mantle over their embroidered

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