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Montezuma's Daughter   By: (1856-1925)

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MONTEZUMA'S DAUGHTER

by H. Rider Haggard

NOTE

The more unpronounceable of the Aztec names are shortened in many instances out of consideration for the patience of the reader; thus 'Popocatapetl' becomes 'Popo,' 'Huitzelcoatl' becomes 'Huitzel,' &c. The prayer in Chapter xxvi. is freely rendered from Jourdanet's French translation of Fray Bernardino de Sahagun's History of New Spain, written shortly after the conquest of Mexico (Book VI, chap. v.), to which monumental work and to Prescott's admirable history the author of this romance is much indebted. The portents described as heralding the fall of the Aztec Empire, and many of the incidents and events written of in this story, such as the annual personation of the god Tezcatlipoca by a captive distinguished for his personal beauty, and destined to sacrifice, are in the main historical. The noble speech of the Emperor Guatemoc to the Prince of Tacuba uttered while they both were suffering beneath the hands of the Spaniards is also authentic.

DEDICATION

My dear Jebb,

Strange as were the adventures and escapes of Thomas Wingfield, once of this parish, whereof these pages tell, your own can almost equal them in these latter days, and, since a fellow feeling makes us kind, you at least they may move to a sigh of sympathy. Among many a distant land you know that in which he loved and fought, following vengeance and his fate, and by your side I saw its relics and its peoples, its volcans and its valleys. You know even where lies the treasure which, three centuries and more ago, he helped to bury, the countless treasure that an evil fortune held us back from seeking. Now the Indians have taken back their secret, and though many may search, none will lift the graven stone that seals it, nor shall the light of day shine again upon the golden head of Montezuma. So be it! The wealth which Cortes wept over, and his Spaniards sinned and died for, is for ever hidden yonder by the shores of the bitter lake whose waters gave up to you that ancient horror, the veritable and sleepless god of Sacrifice, of whom I would not rob you and, for my part, I do not regret the loss.

What cannot be lost, what to me seem of more worth than the dead hero Guatemoc's gems and jars of gold, are the memories of true friendship shown to us far away beneath the shadow of the Slumbering Woman, and it is in gratitude for these that I ask permission to set your name within a book which were it not for you would never have been written.

I am, my dear Jebb,

Always sincerely yours,

H. RIDER HAGGARD.

The volcano Izticcihuatl in Mexico.

DITCHINGHAM, NORFOLK, October 5, 1892.

To J. Gladwyn Jebb, Esq.

NOTE

Worn out prematurely by a life of hardship and extraordinary adventure, Mr. Jebb passed away on March 18, 1893, taking with him the respect and affection of all who had the honour of his friendship. The author has learned with pleasure that the reading of this tale in proof and the fact of its dedication to himself afforded him some amusement and satisfaction in the intervals of his sufferings.

H. R. H.

March 22, 1893.

CONTENTS

I WHY THOMAS WINGFIELD TELLS HIS TALE

II. OF THE PARENTAGE OF THOMAS WINGFIELD

III. THE COMING OF THE SPANIARD

IV. THOMAS TELLS HIS LOVE

V. THOMAS SWEARS AN OATH

VI. GOOD BYE, SWEETHEART

VII. ANDRES DE FONSECA

VIII. THE SECOND MEETING

IX. THOMAS BECOMES RICH

X. THE PASSING OF ISABELLA DE SIGUENZA

XI. THE LOSS OF THE CARAK

XII. THOMAS COMES TO SHORE

XIII. THE STONE OF SACRIFICE

XIV. THE SAVING OF GUATEMOC

XV. THE COURT OF MONTEZUMA

XVI. THOMAS BECOMES A GOD

XVII. THE ARISING OF PAPANTZIN

XVIII. THE NAMING OF THE BRIDES

XIX. THE FOUR GODDESSES

XX. OTOMIE'S COUNSEL

XXI. THE KISS OF LOVE

XXII. THE TRIUMPH OF THE CROSS

XXIII. THOMAS IS MARRIED

XXIV. THE NIGHT OF FEAR

XXV. THE BURYING OF MONTEZUMA'S TREASURE

XXVI. THE CROWNING OF GUATEMOC

XXVII... Continue reading book >>




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