Page:Romance of History, Mexico.djvu/212

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CHAPTER XVIII

THE DEATH OF MONTEZUMA

True to their threats, the Aztecs renewed the assault early next morning, and Cortés soon realised that his men, few in number as compared with the enemy, could not long stand the strain of such fighting. He felt that their only hope lay in the emperor, who must be induced to appease his subjects once more by promising that the Spaniards would, if permitted, immediately leave the city.

"What have I to do with Malintzin?" exclaimed Montezuma bitterly, "I do not wish to hear from him. I desire only to die!" At last, however, Father Olmedo won his reluctant consent. "I will speak to my people," he said, "but it will be useless. They will neither believe me nor the false promises of Malintzin. You will never leave these walls alive."

So the emperor of the Aztecs, preceded by the golden wand of empire, but surrounded by a Spanish guard, mounted the palace roof to speak for the last time to his faithful people. He was arrayed in his royal robes, and on his weary brow rested the gorgeous crown of Mexico. A sudden silence fell

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