Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/160

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

"Now, the whole of this city is destroyed and not a bit of it left standing."

The life that Montezuma proposed to himself was one of enjoyment and pleasure. Upon his people he wasted little thought. The country was prosperous and they were happy, always a docile and domestic population busy with agriculture, their crops, and their families. It is said that he used to go out among them like the Sultan in the "Arabian Nights," disguised, to see what the occupations of his subjects were, and hear what they talked about. But this must have been chiefly to fill up his time, for there was no danger of sedition or conspiracy among the citizens of his capital. A walk incognito outside its walls, through the lanes of any one of the surrounding pueblos would have revealed to him a state of hostility and a longing for his overthrow which might have taught him something for the future.

In the palace was luxurious living; fruits of the warmer climate, and even fresh fish from the Gulf, it is said, were brought by swift-footed runners up the steep path that the steam-engine now requires fourteen hours to climb; music and the enjoyment of society, occupied leisure hours. The state correspondence of the Aztec court consisted in picture writings brought by messengers from all parts of the country, depicting in realistic forms the events requiring attention. Montezuma could go to the lovely Grasshopper Hill over the fine causeway under the aqueduct built by his ancestors; not as the gay, fashionable world now makes the excursion on horse-