Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/214

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the position of head of his household, and succeeded to the homage of maids of honor, pages, and esquires.

Malintzi withdrew, persuaded of the necessity by the good father Olmedo, who baptized her, trained her in the Christian faith, and now, in the hour of trial, stood by her side.

Doña Catalina was not destined to enjoy long her new state. The air of the lofty plateau did not suit her constitution, accustomed to the lower atmosphere of Cuba. She died suddenly.

At Coyoacán there is a tale that Doña Catalina was drowned by her husband, and the well is even shown to tourists into which she is supposed to have been thrown. This legend is probably of later date than the time of her death, but even then rumors arose that it had been a violent one, and reports were rapidly circulated about Cortés likely to injure his reputation and, moreover, that of the Malintzi.

At that time Cortés was thinking of a return to Spain. He was thirty-five, still young enough to thirst for a full recognition at home of his great deeds. While making his preparation for departure, he heard of the insurrection of his lieutenant Olid in Honduras, who had declared himself independent. It was necessary for him to hasten at once to chastise his boldness. Aguilar, the interpreter, was dead, and Cortés, who had never troubled himself to acquire the Mexican dialects, had to send for Marina to accompany him, as interpreter only. This caused the rumors about the death of his wife to circulate more