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The Infidel, Vol. II. or, the Fall of Mexico   By: (1806-1854)

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First Page:

THE INFIDEL;

OR, THE FALL OF MEXICO.

A ROMANCE.

BY THE AUTHOR OF "CALAVAR."

SECOND EDITION.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. II.

Philadelphia: CAREY, LEA & BLANCHARD. 1835.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1835, by CAREY, LEA & BLANCHARD, in the Clerk's office of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

PHILADELPHIA C. SHERMAN & CO. PRINTERS, NO. 19 ST. JAMES STREET.

Un esforcado soldado, que se dezia Lerma Se fue entre los Indios como aburrido de temor del mismo Cortes, a quien avia ayudado a salvar la vida, por ciertas cosas de enojo que Cortes contra èl tuvo, que aqui no declaro por su honor: nunca mas supimos del vivo, ni muerto, mala suspecha tuvimos.

BERNAL DIAZ DEL CASTILLO Hist. Verd. de la Conqista .

No hay mal que por bien no venga, Dicen adagios vulgares.

CALPERON La Dama Duende .

THE INFIDEL.

CHAPTER I.

Before sunrise on the following morning, many a feathered band of allies from distant tribes was pouring into Tezcuco; for this was the day on which the Captain General had appointed to review his whole force, assign the several divisions to the command of his favourite officers, and expound the system of warfare, by which he expected to reduce the doomed Tenochtitlan. The multitudes that were collected by midday would be beyond our belief, did we not know that the royal valley, and every neighbouring nook of Anahuac capable of cultivation, were covered by a population almost as dense as that which makes an ant heap of the 'Celestial Empire,' at this day.

While they were thus congregating together, marshalled under their native chiefs, emulously expressing their attachment to the Spaniard, and their enthusiasm in his cause, by the horrible clamour of drums and conches, Cortes was receiving, in the great Hall of Audience, the compliments and reverence of those cavaliers, distinguished soldiers, and valiant infidel princes, whom he had invited to the feast, with which he marked the close of his mighty preparations and the beginning of his not less arduous campaign.

A table crossed the room immediately in front of the platform, on which the noblest and most honoured guests had already taken their stations. Two others, running from pillar to pillar, extended the whole length of the apartment, leaving in the intermediate space, as well as betwixt them and the walls, sufficient room for the passage of revellers and attendants, of which latter there were many present, bustling to and fro, in the persons of Indian boys and girls, all branded with the scarry badge of servitude. The walls, pillars, and ceiling, were ornamented with green branches of trees and viny festoons, among which breathed and glittered a multitude of the gayest and most odoriferous flowers; and besides these, there were deposited and suspended, in many places, Indian banners and standards as well as spears, bucklers, and battle axes, the trophies of many a field of victory. The tables were covered with brilliant cotton cloths, and loaded not only with all the dainties of Mexico, but with some of the luxuries of Europe, among which were conspicuous divers flagons of wine, on which many a veteran gazed with looks of anxious and affectionate expectation.

The peculiarity of the scene, animated as it was by a densely moving throng of guests in their most gallant attire, was greatly heightened by a circumstance, for which but few were able to account. Although full noon day, the light of heaven was carefully excluded, and the apartment illuminated only by torches and lamps. This, though it gave picturesqueness to every object in view, was, to say the least, remarkable; and those who were most interested to watch the workings of the commander's mind, beheld in it a subject for many disturbing reflections. But, to such persons, there was another phenomenon still more unsatisfactory, in the spectacle of a line of veteran soldiers, original followers of Cortes, extending round the whole apartment, who stood against the walls, each with a spear in his hand and a machete , a heavy, straight sword, on his thigh, surveying the revellers more with the air of sentinels than companions in festivity... Continue reading book >>




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