Page:Romance of History, Mexico.djvu/260

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CHAPTER XXII

AWAITING THE BRIGANTINES

Word came from Martin Lopez that the brigantines were ready to be transported, and Sandoval was at once despatched with a strong escort to Tlascala. On the way he came to a village whence all the men seemed to have fled. A few women and children alone lurked in the deserted houses. Entering the temple, the Spaniards were, to their horror, confronted by the ghastly heads and skins of many of their comrades, murdered at that spot some time before. There too lay their arms and clothing and the hides of their horses, and on the wall one of the captured soldiers had written in charcoal, "Here was taken the unfortunate Juan Juste with many others of his companions." With angry curses the Spaniards turned away from the pitiful sight, and dire would have been their vengeance had the men of the village been at hand, but Sandoval, the most merciful of the Conquistadores, insisted on sparing the women and children.

As they drew near Tlascala the road for many miles was seen to be darkened by a mighty procession. Eight thousand tamanes escorted by twenty

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