Aztec Idol

Aztec Idol.

The Sacrificial Stone And Idol

The Sacrificial Stone And Idol.

The Hospital Of Jesus

The Hospital Of Jesus.

The Painting Of Cortez

The Painting Of Cortez.

We saw in the hospital the standard which the followers of Cortez bore through many desperate conflicts. Over what dreadful scenes of carnage has this banner floated! For the Aztec nation was not easily subdued. The armor of the Spaniards, and the sight for the first time of horses and cannon, took them by surprise; but when the invaders tried to burn their temples, and offered violence to their gods, the Aztec's national pride was touched beyond all power of control, and they arose en masse to rescue their country from invasion and their shrines from sacrilege. They were content to lose a thousand lives from their own ranks, if they could shed the blood of a single Spaniard. "The only trouble is," they proudly said, "there are too few of you to glut the vengeance of our gods!"

The Sacred Banner

The Sacred Banner.

A mile or two outside the city stands a venerable cedar, known by the name of La Noche Triste, or "The Mournful Night." It was under this tree, on the eventful evening when the Spaniards retreated from the city, that even the iron resolution of Cortez failed him, and he wept bitterly at the seemingly overwhelming ruin which had come upon him. For, execrated and pursued by an appalling multitude of Aztecs, the Spaniards had been driven from the capital, fighting for life at every step, bleeding from countless wounds, and, apparently, destined to be massacred ere they could reach the coast. In view of the cruelty and bloodshed which they subsequently caused, it seems almost a pity that they did not all perish. Within a year, however, they had returned, and regained everything that had been lost.

The Mournful Night Tree

The Mournful Night Tree.

The Paseo

The Paseo.

Extending westward from the City of Mexico, is a magnificent avenue called the Paseo. This is a feature of their capital of which the Mexicans may justly feel proud, although they are indebted for it to the Emperor Maximilian. It is a noble boulevard, fully two hundred feet in breadth, and straight as an arrow for two miles. On either side are double rows of shade trees, beneath which stroll the multitudes who must content themselves with merely gazing at the brilliant spectacle of carriages and horses, as the fashionable world of Mexico sweeps by. At intervals, this driveway is embellished by six circular spaces intended for the statues of distinguished men. Some of these are already occupied; and that which most attracted me was the monument of Guatemozin, the nephew of Montezuma, and the last of the Aztec emperors. Few men have better merited a bronze memorial than this undaunted hero of a vanquished race. When he knew that his cause was absolutely hopeless, when Montezuma had expired, and the capital had become a vast charnel house, in which the invading Spaniards, sick at last of slaughter, could hardly take a step save on the body of an Indian, this Aztec king rejected every summons to surrender; and, finally, when taken prisoner on the last foot of soil which remained to him, he looked his conqueror, Cortez, proudly in the face and said: "I have done all I could to save my people, but have failed. Draw, then, that dagger from your belt and set me free!" Cortez, however, filled with admiration, did not strike the blow, although it would have been more merciful if he had done so then and there; for when the lust for gold had driven nobler feelings from the Conqueror's breast, he shamefully allowed the brave young Emperor to be tortured, in the vain attempt to force him to reveal the hiding-place of the Aztec treasures. Though his feet were soaked in oil, and he was suspended over a slow fire, no amount of suffering caused Guatemozin to betray his secret. The hidden treasure was never discovered, and though the deposed Emperor survived his torture, he was finally hanged by the command of Cortez.