Page:Romance of History, Mexico.djvu/241

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RECOVERY

their hunger, thirst, fatigue, and wounds, thought only of victory and revenge.

So ended the glorious battle of Otumba, when the Spaniards and their allies, few in number, wounded, weary, famished, with but twenty horses, and without cannon or muskets, put to flight a mighty Indian army. They themselves believed that it was a miracle, for had not some of the soldiers seen St. Jago on his milk-white horse leading on the cavaliers?

An old chronicler attributes the victory, with more reason, entirely to the general, who "by his single arm saved the whole force from destruction." Cortés, unexpectedly modest about his own exploit, thus describes the battle in his letter to the Emperor Charles: "We went on fighting in that toilsome manner a great part of the day, until it pleased God that there was slain a person amongst the enemy who must have been the general, for with his death the battle altogether ceased."

The next morning the victors continued their march to Tlascala, and Spaniards and allies alike greeted the first sight of the mighty boundary wall with shouts of joy. But Cortés, remembering the story of death and disaster he was bringing to the little republic, wondered anxiously if the people would demand from the strangers the blood of their fallen countrymen. The Tlascalans, however, flocked to meet the army with all kindliness. For a day or two the soldiers rested in a frontier village, and then the great chiefs of the republic came to welcome them and invite them to the capital.

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