Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/179

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147
MALINTZI.

Malina, and with them the word Malintzi, or Malinche, has attached itself to her as well.

When the Spaniards again landed, a grave difficulty presented itself. Aguilar, the interpreter, knew Mayan, but not one word did he understand of the Aztec dialect now spoken. Suddenly one of the young women presented by the Tabascan chief was seen conversing fluently with the visitors who crowded round the boats of the new-comers. She was instantly summoned by the commander, and at once became very important as interpreter, translating for Aguilar what he could easily render into Spanish. Through her was transmitted the first message of Montezuma to the dreaded white woman. It makes a pretty picture—this graceful Aztec girl standing between the two parties: on one side the Indians, richly dressed, to impress the stranger, in robes of gay colors, adorned with feathers and ornaments; on the other Cortés, in the armor of the time, assuming all the haughtiness of demeanor possible; grouped about him his band of stalwart followers, curiosity on their features, making up by their eyes for the uselessness of their ears, which were of no use to them for understanding what was going on. The Aztecs speak and announce the will of their monarch. Marina, with intelligence in her glance, listens attentively, then with her grave smile reports the matter to Aguilar. Aguilar must have been in rags, for his long sojourn with the Indians had brought him to a low estate. He gathers the Mayan message from the lips of Marina translated from Nahuatl, and gives it in good sound Spanish to