Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/156

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XII.

THE LAST OF THE MONTEZUMAS.

Ahuitzotl died in 1502. His successor was Motecuhzoma II., the son of the famous warder King Axayacatl. Motecuhzoma took the surname of Xocoyotzin to distinguish him from the first king with his name.

He was thirty-four years old when he came to the throne. He had been general-in-chief of the armies, as was usual with the heir-apparent to the throne, and when he was elected king he was fulfilling the office of high-priest, which was unusual. His demeanor was grave, calm, and taciturn. He was inflexible in his determination, and admitted no contradiction, stern and cruel in exacting obedience to his commands; but extremely credulous and timid to cowardice when his superstitious fears were aroused.

He is said to have been handsome, of a fine form, slight rather than robust, with great dignity of manner. His well-formed features wore an habitual expression of sadness or gloom, even in the early days of his reign, when the shadow of his destiny had not to all appearance yet fallen upon him.

When his election was announced to him, he was

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