Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/207

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175
CONQUEST.

wonderful beauty it is said. The captive pair were treated with kindness, rest and refreshment offered to them.

It was the hour of vespers when the Aztec monarch surrendered. This was the end of the contest. During that night a tremendous tempest burst on the fallen city of Tenochtitlan. Thunder and lightning shook the shattered teocallis and levelled them to the ground. The elements finished what the Conquistadores had begun,—the ancient city of the Aztecs was in ruins.

After the surrender of Tenochtitlan, Cortés withdrew to Coyoacán, still a picturesque old town in the suburbs of the modern city. There he remained while the capital was rebuilt. It is said that he gave a banquet to his captains in honor of the victory they had achieved, an occasion made genial by some good wine which opportunely arrived just then at Vera Cruz. The house he occupied with Marina, is still to be seen on the northern side of the plaza of the little town. Over the doorway are carved the arms of the conqueror, much obscured by repeated coats of whitewash. In the church-yard is a stone cross set up on a little mound, said to have been placed there by Cortés himself. His first labor was to cleanse the city and dispose of the dead, then to clear away the ruins in order to erect new buildings. The Spaniards were greatly disappointed not to find vast treasures belonging to the Aztec crown, which they were convinced were somewhere concealed. To his everlasting dishonor Cortés allowed Cuahtemoc to be tortured by putting his feet in boiling oil, in