Page:Romance of History, Mexico.djvu/289

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CHAPTER XXV

NO SURRENDER!

THE fateful day dawned, and still the city was beleaguered on every side, while within its walls the Aztecs were dying of famine and plague. Why was the war-god deaf to the frantic prayers of his faithful people? Had the victims been too few? "He shall have more!" cried the warriors, rushing again to battle.

Shamefaced and doubtful of their reception, the allies came stealing back to the Spanish camps. Huitzilopotchli and his priests had lied, or was the god impotent against the Teules? The Tlascalans, who had halted on the road, were the first to return. Cortés, only too thankful for the reinforcement, received them all kindly. He would permit them, he said, to share the joys of victory, though the Spaniards, he took care to add, did not really need their services.

The supreme importance of appearing strong and victorious induced the general to send help to a tribe of allies in a distant province, though, as he said himself, "God knows the peril in which we all stood!" To the remonstrances of his captains he replied, "The greater our weakness, the greater need have

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