Montezuma's Daughter | H. Rider Haggard | Action & Adventure Fiction, Literary Fiction | 5/10

chapter 17 of Montezuma's daughter by H rider Haggard this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Patrick 79 chapter 17 the arising of pap Anson on the morrow pap Anson died and was buried with great pomp that evening in the burial ground of Chapultepec by the side of the emperor's royal ancestors but as will be seen she was not content with their company on that day also I learned that to be a god is not all pleasure since it was expected of me that I must master various arts and chiefly the horrid art of music to which I never had any desire still my own wishes were not allowed to weigh in this matter further came to me tutors agen men who might have found better employment to instruct me in the use of the lute and on this instrument I must learn to strum others there were also who taught me letters poetry and art as they were understood among the Aztecs and all this knowledge I was glad of still I remembered the words of the preacher which tell us that he who increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow and moreover I could see little use in acquiring learning that was to be lost shortly on the stone of sacrifice as to this matter of my sacrifice I was at first desperate but reflection told me that I had already passed many dangers and come out unscathed and therefore it was possible that I might escape this one also at least death was still a long way off and for the present I was a god so I determined that whether I died or lived while I lived I would live like a god and take such pleasures as they came to my hand and I acted on this resolve no man ever had greater or most strange opportunities and no man can have used and better indeed had it not been for the sorrowful force of my lost love and home which would force themselves upon me I should have been almost happy because of the power that I wielded and the strangeness of all around me but I must to my tale during the days that follow the death of PAP Anson the palace and the city also were plunge in ferment the minds of men were shaken strangely because of the rumors that fill the air every night the fierce portent blazed in the east and every day new wonders or omen were reported and with it some wild tales of the doings of the Spaniards who by most were held to be white gods the children of quetzel come to take the land which their forefather ruled but of all that were troubled none were in such bad case as the Emperor himself who journeys we sketched the ate or drank or slept so heavy worries fears upon him in this straight he sent messages to his ancient rival that wise and severe man Nessa the king of the allied state of Tess cuoco begging that he would visit him this king came an old man with a fierce and gleaming eye and I was witness to the interview that followed for in my quality of God I had full liberty of the whole Palace and even to be present at the counsels of the Emperor and his nobles when the two monarchs had feasted together Montezuma spoke to Nestor of a matter of the omens and of the coming of the tools asking him to lighten the darkness by his wisdom there Nezzer pulled his long gray beard and answered that heavy as heart of Montezuma might be it must grow still heavier before the end see Lord he said I am so sure that the days of our empire are numbered that I will play you it dies for my kingdoms which you and your forefathers have ever desired to win for what wager asked Montezuma I will play you thus answer'd Nezzer you shall stake three fighting of which should I win I asked the Spurs only I said against them all the wide Empire of toast poco a small stake said Montezuma are many and kingdoms are few still it shall serve our turn answered the aged King for know that we play against fate as the game goes so shall the issue be if you win my kingdoms all is well if I win the they 'uncle by to the glory of an who white for his people will cease to be a people and strangers shall possess the land let us play and see said Montezuma and they went down to the place that is called /co where the games are said here they began the match with dice and at first all went well with Montezuma so that he called aloud and already he was Lord of tes cuoco may it be so answered the aged Nezzer and from that moment that chance changed for strive as he would Montezuma could not win another point and presently the set was finished and Nezzer had won the how the music played and courtiers came forward to give the King homage of his success but he rose sighing and said I had far sooner lose my kingdoms than have won these fouls for I have lost my kingdoms they would have still passed into the hands of one of my own race now alas my possessions and his must come under the hand of strangers who shall cast down our gods and bring our names to nothing and having spoken thus he rose and taken farewell of the Emperor he departed for his own land whereas it chanced he died very shortly without living to see the fulfillment of his fears on the morrow of his departure came further accounts of the doings of the Spaniards their plunge Montezuma inter still greater alarm in his terrors he sent for an astronomer noted throughout the land for the truth of his divinations the astronomer came and was received by the Emperor privately what he told him I do not know but least it was nothing Pleasant for that very night men were commanded to pull down the house of the sage who was buried in his ruins two days after the death of the astronomer Montezuma be thought him that as he believed I also was a tool and could give him information so at the hour of sunset he sent for me bidding me walk with him in the gardens I went thither followed by my musicians and attendants who would never leave me in peace but he commanded that all should stand aside as he wished to speak with me alone then he began to walk beneath a mighty cedar trees and I with him but keeping one pace behind till he said at length tell me of your countrymen and why they have come across these shores see that you speak the truth well they are no countryman of mine Oh Montezuma I answered though my mother was one of them did I not bid you to speak the truth to if your mother was one of them must you not also be one of them for are you not your mother's bone and blood well as the King pleases I answered bowing then I began and told him of the Spaniards of their country their greatness their cruelty and their greed for gold and he listened eagerly though I think that he believed little of what I said for his fear had made him very suspicious when I had done he spoke and said why do they come here to Anahuac how I fear o king that they come to take the land or at the least to rob it of his treasure and to destroy its face what then is your counsel to how can I defend myself against these mighty men who are clothed in metal and ride upon fierce wild beasts who have instruments that make noise like thunder at the sound of which their adversary's fall dead by hundreds and who bear weapons of shining silver in their hands alas there is no defense possible for they are the children of quetzel come back to take the land from my childhood I have known that this evil overshadowed me and now it is at my door if I who I'm only a God may venture to speak to the Lord of the earth I answered I say that the reply is easy we'll meet force by force the tools are few and you can muster a thousand soldiers for every one of theirs fall on them at once do not hesitate till their prowess finds them friends but crush them such as the counsel of one whose mother was a tool the emperor answered with sarcasm and bitter meaning tell me now counselor how am I to know that in fighting against them I shall not be fighting against their gods how even am I to learn the true wishes and purposes of men or gods who cannot speak my tongue and whose tongue I cannot speak oh it is easy Montezuma I answered I can speak their tongue send me to discover for you now as I spoke this my heart banded with hope for if once I could come among Spaniards perhaps I might escape that altar of sacrifice also they seem to link between me and home they had sailed hither in ships and ships can retrace their path for though at present my love was not all sorrow it will be guessed that I should have been glad indeed to find myself once more among Christian men Montezuma looked at me for a while and answered you must think me very foolish tool what shall I send you to tell my fears and weaknesses to your countrymen and to show them the joints in my harness do you then suppose that I do not know you for a spy sent to this land by these same tools to gather knowledge of the land fool I knew it from the first and by witzel were you not vowed to test get your heart should smoke tomorrow on the altar of Witzel be warned and give me no more false counsels lest your end prove swifter than you think learn that I have asked these questions of you to a purpose and by the commands of the God as it is written in the hearts of those sacrificed this day this was the purpose and this was the command that I might discover your secret mind and that I should shun whatever advice you a chance to give you cancel me to fight the tools therefore I will not fight them but meet them with gifts and fair words for I know well that you would have me to do that which should bring me to my doom oh there see spoke very fiercely in a low voice but his head held low and his arms crossed upon his breast and I saw that he shook with passion even then though I was very much afraid for God as I was and not from this mighty King would have sent me to death by torment I wondered at the folly of one who in everything else was so wise why should he doubt with us and allow superstition to drag me down to the ruin today I see the answer Montezuma did not these things of himself but because the hand of destiny worked with his hand and the voice of destiny spoke in his voice the gods of the Aztecs were a false gods indeed but I for one believe that they had life and intelligence for these hideous shapes of stones were the habitations of devils and the priest spoke truth when they said that the sacrifice of men was pleasing to their gods to these Devils the king went for counsel through the priests and now this Doom was upon them that they must give false counsel of their own destruction and to the destruction of those who worship Him as was decrees by one more powerful than they now while we were talking the Sun had sunk swiftly so that all the world was dark but the light still lingered on the snowy crests of the Vulcans Papo an ish tack staining them an awful red never befall to my sight had the shape of the dead woman whose everlasting beer is a niche tax boat seems so clear and wonderful as on that night for either it was so or my fancy gave it a very shape and color of a woman's corpse steeped in blood and laid out for burial nor was it my fantasy alone for when Montezuma had finished operating me he chanced to look up and his eyes falling on the mountain remained fixed there look now jewel he said presently with a solemn laugh he all the lies the corpse of the nations of Anahuac washed in the water of blood and made ready for burial is she not terrible in death as he spoke the words and turned to go a sound of doleful wailing cave from the direction of the mountain a very wild and unearthly sound that caused the blood in my veins that stand still now Montezuma caught my arm in his and we gauged together on each tag and it seemed to us that this wonder happened for in that red and fearful light the red figure of the sleeping woman arose or appear to rise from its beer of stone it arose slowly like one who awakes from sleep and presently it stood upright upon the mountains brow towering high into the air there it stood a giant and awakened corpse it's white wrappings stained with blood and we trembled to see it for a while the Wraith remained thus gazing towards the city of Turlock tatlin and suddenly it through its vast arms upwards as though in grief and at that moment the night rushed in upon it and covered it while the sound of wailing died slowly away say till gasp the emperor do i not well to be afraid when such portents as these meet my eyes day by day hearken to the lamentations in the city we have not seen this sight alone listen how the people cry with fear and the priests beat their drums to avert the omen Oh weep on ye people and you priests pray and do sacrifice it is very fitting for the day of your doom is upon you o Tanakh ticklin queen of cities I see you ruined and desolate your palaces blackened with fire your temples desecrated your Pleasant gardens our wilderness I see your highborn women the wantons of stranger lords and your Prince's their servants the canals run red with blood of your children your gateways are blocked with their bones death is about you everywhere this honor is your daily bread desolation your portion farewell to you queen of cities cradle of my forefathers in which I was nursed hold thus Montezuma lamented in the darkness and as he cried aloud the great moon rose over the edge of the world and poured its level light through the boughs of the Cedars clothed in their ghostly robe of moss it struck upon Montezuma's tall shape on his distraught countenance and thin hands as he waved them to and fro in his prophetic agony My glittering garments and on the terror-stricken band of courtiers and the musicians who had ceased from their music a little wind sprang up also moaning sadly in the mighty trees above against the rocks of Chapultepec never did I witness such a scene more strange or more pregnant with mystery and the promise of unborn horror than that of this great monarch mourning over the downfall of his race and power as yet no misfortune had befallen the one or the other and silly knew that both were doomed and these words of lamentation burst from the heart broken by the grief of which the shadow Oni lay upon it but the wonders of the night were not yet done with when Montezuma had made an end of crying his prophecies I asked him humbly if I should summon to him the lords who were in attendance on him but who stood at some distance nay he answered I will not have them see me thus with grief and terror upon my face whoever fears at least I must seem brave walk with me a while to and if it is in your mind to murder me I shall not grieve I made no answer but followed him as he led the way down the darkest of the winding paths that from between the cedar trees where it would have been easy for me to kill him if I wished but I could not see how I should be advantaged by such a deed also though I knew that Montezuma was my enemy my heart shrank from thought of murder for a mile amor he walked on without speaking now beneath the shadow of the trees and now through open spaces of gardens planted with lovely flowers till at last we came to the gates of the place where the royal dead are laid to rest now in front of these gates was an open space of turf on which the moonlight shone brightly and in the center of this space lay something white shaped like a woman hail Montezuma's halted and looked at the gates and then said these gates opened four days since for Pope Anson my sister how long I wonder will pass before they open for me and as he spoke the white shape upon the grass which I had seen and he had not seen stirred like an awakening sleeper as the snow shape upon the mountain had stirred so this shape stirred as it had arisen so this arose as it through its arms upwards so this one threw up her arms now Montezuma saw and stood trembling and I trembled also then the woman for it was a woman advanced slowly towards us and as she came we saw that she was draped in grave clothes presently she lifted her head and the moonlight fell upon her full face now Montezuma groaned aloud and i groan for we saw that face was thin pale face of the princess PAP Alison PAP Anson who had lain four days in the grave and she came towards us gliding like one who walks in her sleep till she stopped before the bush in the shadow of which we stood now pap Anson the ghosts of Pop Anson looked at us with blind eyes that is with the eyes that were open yet they did not seem to see are you there Montezuma bye brother she said in a voice of Pop Anson Shirley I feel your presence though I cannot see you now Montezuma stepped from the shadow and stood face to face with the dead who are you he said who where the shape of what dead and dressed in the garments of the dead I am tampons in she answered and I am risen out of death to bring you a message Montezuma my brother what message do you bring me he asked hoarsely I bring you a message of doom my brother your empire shall fall and soon you shall be accompanied to death by tens of thousands of your people for four days I have lived among the dead and there I have seen your false gods which are Devils there also I have seen the priests that served them and many of those who worshiped and plunged into torment and uh turrible because of the worship of these demon gods the people of an who lack is destined to destruction have you no word of comfort for me pap Anson my sister he asked none she answered perchance if you abandon the worship of these false gods you may save your soul your life you cannot save nor the lives of your people she turned and passed away into the shadow of the trees I heard her graves clothes sweep across the grass now a fury sees Montezuma and he raved a loud saying curses our new plants in my sister why then do you come back from the dead to bring me such evil tidings had you bought me hope with you had you shown a way of escape that I would have welcomed you may you go back into the darkness and may the earth lie heavy on your heart forever as for my gods my father's worship them and I will worship them till the end I if they desert me at least I will never desert them the gods are angry because the sacrifices are few upon their altars henceforth they shall be doubled I the priests of the gods shall themselves be sacrificed because they neglect their worship Oh thus he raved on after the fashion of a weak man maddened with terror while his nobles and attendants who had followed him at a distance clustered about him fearful and wandering at length there came an end for tearing with his thin hands at his royal robes and at his hair and beard Montezuma fell and arrived in a fit upon the ground then they carried him into a palace and none saw him for three days a night but he made no idle threats as to the sacrifices for from that night forward they were doubled throughout the land already the shadow of the cross lay upon the altars of Anahuac but still the smoke of their offerings went up to heaven and the cry of their captors rang round the terrace the hour of the demon gods was upon them indeed but now they reaped the last red harvests and it was rich now I Thomas Wingfield saw these portents with my own eyes but I cannot say whether they were indeed worn he sent from heaven or illusions springing from the accidents of nature the land was terror stroke and it may happen that the minds of men the smitten can find a dismal meaning in omens which otherwise had passed unnoticed that pop Hanson rose from the dead is true though perhaps she only swooned and never really died at the least she did not go back there for a while for though I never saw her again it is said that she lived to become a Christian and told strange tales of what she had seen in the land of death end of chapter 17 recording by Patrick 79 chapter 18 of Montezuma's daughter by H rider Haggard this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Patrick 79 chapter 18 the naming of the brides now some months pass between the date of my naming as the god Tess cat and the entry of the Spaniards into Mexico and during all this space the city was in a state of ferment again and again Montezuma sent embassies to quarters bearing with them vast treasures of gold and gems as presents and at the same time praying him to withdraw for this foolish Prince did not understand that by displaying so much wealth he flew alone which must surely bring the falcon to himself to these ambassadors quarters returned courteous answers together with presence of small value and that was all then the advance began and the Emperor learned with dismay of the conquest of the warlike tribe of the trashcans who though they were Montezuma's bitter and hereditary foes it made a stand against the white man next came the tidings that from the enemies the conquered askins had become the allies and servants of the Spaniard and that thousands of their fiercest warriors were advancing with him upon the sacred city of Cholula awhile past and it was known that Cholula also had been given to massacre and that the holy or rather the unholy gods had been told from their shrines marvellous tales were told of the Spaniards of their courage and their might of their armor that they wore the Thunder that their weapons made in battle and the fierce beasts which they beast rode once two heads of white men taken in a skirmish was sent to Montezuma fierce-looking heads great and hairy and with them the head of the horse when Montezuma saw these ghastly relics he almost fainted with fear still he calls them to be set upon pinnacles on the Great Temple and proclamation to be made that this fate awaited every invader of the land meanwhile all confusion in his policies day by day councils were held of the nobles of high priests and of neighboring and friendly kings some advised one thing some another and the end of it was hesitation and folly hadn't Montezuma but listen to the voice of that great man Cuauhtemoc Anahuac would have been a Spanish fief today for Cuauhtemoc prayed him again and yet again to put away his fears and declare open war upon the tools before it was too late to cease from making gifts and sending embassies to gather his countless armies and smite the foe in the mountain passes but Montezuma would answer to what N nephew how can I struggle against these men when the gods themselves have declared for them surely the gods can take their own parts if they wish it and if they will not for myself or my own fate I do not care but alas for my people alas for the women and the children and the aged and the weak then II would cover up his face and moan and weep like a child and Guatemala pass from his presence dumb with fury at the folly of so great a king but helpless to remedy it for like myself Cuauhtemoc believed that Montezuma had been smitten with a madness sent from heaven to bring the land to ruin now it must be understood that though my place as a God gave me opportunities of knowing all that past yet I Thomas Wingfield was but a bubble on that great wave of events which swept over the rollover Anahuac two-generation since I was a bubble on the crest of the wave indeed but at that time I had no more power than the foam has over the wave Montezuma distrusted me as a spy and priest looked on me as a God and future victim and no more only guatemalan and autumn II who loved me secretly had any faith in me and with these two i often talked showing them the true meaning of these things that were happening before our eyes but they also was strengthless but though his reason was no longer captain still the unchecked power of Montezuma guided the ship of state first this way and then that just as a rudder directs a vessel to its ruin when the helmsman has left it and it swings at the mercy of the wind and the tide the people were distraught with fear of the future but not less on that account or perhaps because of it they plunged with further into pleasures alternating them with religious ceremonies in those days no feasts was neglected and no altar lacked its victim like a river that quickens its flows as it draws near the precipice over which it must fall so the people of Mexico for seeing ruin awoke as it were and lived as they had never lived before all day long the cries of victims came from a hundred temple tops and all night the sounds of revelry were heard among the streets let us eat and drink they said for the gods of the seer upon us and tomorrow we die now women who had been held virtuous proved themselves wantons and men whose names were honest showed themselves knaves and none cried fie upon them I even children were seen drunken in the streets which is an abomination among the Aztecs the Emperor had moved his household from Chapultepec to the palace in the great square face in the temple and his palace was a town in itself for every night more than a thousand human beings slept beneath its roof not to speak of the dwarfs and monsters and the hundreds of wild birds and beasts and cages here every day I feasted with whom I would when I was weary of feasting it was my custom to sally out into the streets playing on the lute for by now I had some degree of mastery over that hateful instrument dressed in shiny apparel and attended by a crowd of nobles and royal pages then the people would rush from the houses shouting and doing me reverence the children pelted me with flowers and the maidens dance before me kissing my hands and feet till at length I was attended by a mob of a thousand strong and I also danced and shouted like the village fool for I think that a kind of humor or perhaps it was a drunkenness of worship entered into me in those days also I sought to forget my griefs the I desire to forget that I was doomed to the sacrifice and that every day brought me nearer to the red knife of the priests I desire to forget but alas I could not the fumes of the mescal and the poke that I had drunk at the feasts would pass from my brain the perfumes of flowers the sights of Beauty and the adoration of the people would cease to move me and I could only brood heavily upon my doom and think with long enough my distant love and home in those days had it not been for the tender kindness of autumn II I think that my heart would have broken or I should have slain myself but this great beauteous lady was ever at hand to cheer me in a thousand ways and now and again she would let fall some vague word of her that said my pulses bounding it will be remembered that when first I came to the court of Montezuma I had found autumn affair and my fancy turned towards her now I still found her fair but my heart was so full of terror that there was no room in it for tender thoughts of her or any other woman indeed when I was not drunk with wine or adoration I turned my mind to making of my peace with heaven of which I still had some need still I talk much with autumn II instructing her in the matters of my faith and many other things as I had done with Marina who we now heard was the mistress and interpreter of quarters the Spanish leader she for her part listened gravely watching me the while with her tender eyes but no more for of all women ah to me was the most modest as she was the proudest and most beautiful so matters went on until the Spaniards had left Cholula on the road to Mexico it was then that I chanced one morning to be sitting in the gardens my lute in hand and having my attendant Nobles and tutors gathered at a respectful distance behind me from where I said I could say the entrance to the court of which the Emperor met his council daily and I noted that when the princes had gone the priests began to come and after them a number of very lovely girls attended by women of middle age presently what amuck the prince who now smile but rarely came up to me smiling and asked me if I knew what was going on yonder how he replied that I knew nothing and cared less but I suppose that Montezuma was gathering her a peculiar treasure to send to his masters the Spaniards beware how you speak – answered the prince haughtily your words may be true and yet did I not love you you should rule them even though you hold the spirit of Tesco alas he added stamping on the ground alas that my uncle's madness should make it possible that such words can be spoken oh well I emperor of Anahuac in a single week the head of every tool in Cholula should deck a pinnacle of yonder temple hope be where I you speak Prince I answered mocking him for there are those who did they hear might cause you to rue your words still one day you may be Emperor and then we shall see how you will deal with the tools at least others shall see though I shall not but what is it now does Montezuma choose new wives he chooses wives but not for himself you know too that your time grows short Montezuma and the priest named those who must be given to you – wife given to me – wife I said starting to my feet to me whose bride is death what have I got to do with love or marriage I who in some few short weeks must grace an altar Oh Guatemala and once I saved you did you love me surely you would save me now as you swore to do I swore that I would give my life for yours tool if it lay in my power and that oath I would keep for all do not set so high a store on life as you my friend but I cannot help you you are dedicated to the gods and did I die a hundred times it would not save you from your fate nothing can save you except the hand of heaven if it so wills their fault you'll make merry while you may and die bravely when you must your case is no worse than mine and that of many others for death Oh weights us all farewell when he had gone iroh's and leave in the gardens I passed into the chamber where it was my custom to give audience to those who wish to look upon the God Teske as they called me here I sat upon my golden couch inhaling the fumes of tobacco and as it chanced I was alone for non dared enter that room unless I gave them leave presently the chief of my pages announced that one would speak with me and I bent my head signifying that the person should enter for I was weary of my thoughts the page withdrew and presently a veiled woman stood before me I looked at her wandering and bade a draw her veil and speak she obeyed and I saw that my visitor was princess or to me now I rose amazed for it was not usual that she should visit me thus alone I guessed therefore that she had tidings or was following some custom of which I was ignorant I pray you be seated she said confusedly it is not fitting that you should stand before me why not princess I answered if I had no respect for rank surely beauty must claim it a truce two words she replied with a wave of her slim hands I come here Oh Tess get according to the ancient custom because I am charged with a message to you those whom you shall Wed are chosen I am the bearer of their names Oh speak arm princess of the Atome they are and she named three ladies whom I knew to be among the loveless in the land I thought that there were four I said with a bitter laugh how am I to be defrauded of the fourth there is a fourth she answered and was silent give me her name I cried what other has been found to marry a felon do to sacrifice one that has been found Oh Tess cat who has borne other titles than this you give her now I looked at her questioningly and she spoke again in a low voice i oughtta me princess of the ahta me Montezuma's daughter am the fourth and the first you I said sinking back upon my cushions you yes I listen I was chosen by the priest as the most lovely in the land however unworthily my father the Emperor was angry and said that whatever befell I should never be the wife of a captive who must die upon the altar of sacrifice but the priests answered that this was no time for him to claim exception for his blood now when the gods were wroth was the first lady of the land to be withheld from the god they asked then my father sighed and said it should be as I willed that now in our saw distressed the proud must humble themselves to the dust even to the marrying of a captive slave who is named a god and doomed to sacrifice so I princess of the ahta me have consented to become your wife Oh Tess get though perchance had I known all that I read in your eyes this hour I should not have consented it may happen that in this shame I hope to find love if only for one short hour and that I purpose to vary the custom of our people and to complete my marriage by the sight of the victim on the altar as if I will I have the right to do but I see well that I am not welcome and though it is too late to go back upon my word have no fear there are others and I shall not trouble you I have now given my message is it your pleasure that I should go the solemn ceremony of wedlock will be on the twelfth day from now Oh Tess Kat now I rose from my seat and took her hand saying I thank you are to me for your nobleness of mind had it not been for the comfort and friendship from you and Guatemala cousin have given me I think that ere now I should be dead so you desire to comfort me to the last it seems that you have purposed it die with me how am I to interpret this are to me in our land a woman would need to love a man after no common fashion before she consented to share such a bed as awaits me on yonder pyramid and yet I may scarcely think that you whom Kings have sued for can place your heart so low how am I to read the writing of your words princess of the army read it with your heart she whispered it in low and I felt her hand tremble in my own I looked at her beauty it was great I thought of her devotion a devotion that did not shrink from the most horrible of deaths and a wind of feeling which was akin to love swept through my soul but even as I looked and thought I remember the English garden and the English made from whom I have parted beneath the bow at ditching him and the words that we had spoken doubtless she still lived and was true to me while I lived should I not keep true at heart to her if I must Wed these Indian girls I must Wed them but if once I told autumn II that I loved her then I broke my truth and with nothing less which she be satisfied as yet though I was deeply moved and the temptation was great I had not come to this be seated to me I said and listen to me you see this golden token and I drew Lily's pose earring from my hand and you see the writing within it she bent her head but did not speak and I saw that there was fear in her eyes I will redo the words ah to me and I translated into the Aztec tongue the quaint couplet heart-to-heart though far apart then at last she spoke what does the writing mean she said I can only read in pictures – it means out to me that in the Far land whence I come there is a woman who loves me and who is my love is she your wife then no she is not my wife ah to me but she has vowed to me in marriage she is vowed to you in marriage she answered bitterly why then we are equal for so am I to you but there is a difference between us you love her and me you do not love that is what you would make clear of me spare me more words I understand all still it seems that if I have lost she is also the path of loss great seas roll between you and this love of yours two seas of water and the altar of sacrifice and the nothingness of death now let me go your wife I must be for there is no escape but I shall not trouble you over much and it will soon be done with then you may speak your desire in the houses of the stars with you must wander and it is my prayer that you shall win it all these month I have been planning to find hope for you and I thought that I had found it but it was built upon false belief and it is ended had you been able to say from your heart that you loved me it might have been well for both of us should you be able to say before the end it might still be well but I do not ask you to say it and beware how you tell me a lie I leave you to but before I go I will say that I honor you more in this hour than I have honored you before because you have dared to speak the truth to me Montezuma's daughter when a lie had been so easy and so safe that woman beyond the sea should be grateful to you but though I bear her no ill will between me and her there is a struggle to the death we are strangers to each other and strangers we shall remain but she has touched your hand as I touch it now you linked us together and our our bond of enmity farewell my husband that is to be we shall meet no more until that sorry day when a shall be given to a felon in marriage I use your own words too then rising artemiy cast a veil about her face and passed slowly from the chamber leaving me much disturbed it was a bold II to have rejected the prophet love of this queen among women and now that I had done so I was not altogether glad what Lily I wondered have offered to descend from such state to cast off the purple of her royal rank that she might lie at my side on the red stone of sacrifice perhaps not for this fierce fidelity is only to be found in women of another breed these daughters of the son love holy when they love at all and as they love they hate they ask no priest to consecrate their vows Lord if these become hateful will they be bound by them for duties sake their own desire is their law but while it rules them they follow it unflinchingly and if need be they seek its consummation in the gates of death or failing that forgetfulness end of chapter 18 recording by Patrick 79 chapter 19 of Montezuma's daughter by H rider Haggard this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Patrick 79 chapter 19 the four goddesses some weary time went by and at last came the day of entry into Mexico of Cortes and his conquerors now of all the doings of the Spaniards after they occupied the city I do not propose to speak at length but these are matters of history and I have my own story to tell so I shall only write of those of them with which I was concerned myself I did not see the meeting between Montezuma and Cortez though I saw the Emperor set out to it clad like Solomon in his glory and surrounded by his Nobles but I am sure of this that no slave being led to sacrifice carried a heavier heart in his breast than that of Montezuma on this unlucky day for now his folly had ruined him and I think he knew that he was going to his doom afterwards towards the evening I saw the Emperor come back in his golden litter and pass over to the palace built by Azure his father that stood opposite to and some 500 paces from his own facing the western gate of the temple presently I heard the sound of a multitude shouting and amid stood the Tramp of horses and armed soldiers and from the seat in my chamber I saw the Spaniards advanced down the great street and my heart beat at the sight of Christian men in front clad in rich Armour rode their leader quarters a man of middle size but noble bearing with thoughtful eyes that noted everything and after him some few unhorsed by but the most of them on foot marched his little army of conquerors staring about them with bold wandering eyes and jesting to each other in Castilian they were but a handful bronzed with the Sun and scarred by battle some of them alarmed and almost in rags and looking on them I could not but marvel at the indomitable courage that enabled them to pierce their way through the hostile thousands sickness and war even to come home to Montezuma's power by the side of quarters holding his stirrup in her hand walked a beautiful Indian woman dressed in white robes and crowned with flowers as she passed the palace she turned her face I knew her at once it was my friend marina who now had attained to the greatness which she so desired and who notwithstanding all the evil that she had brought upon her country look most happy in it and in her master's love as the Spaniards went by I searched their faces one by one with a vague hope of hate for though it might well chance that death had put us out of each other's reach I have thought to see the gas sure among the number of the conquerors such a quest as theirs with its promise of blood and gold and raping would certainly commend itself to his evil heart should it be in his power to join it and a strange instinct told me that he was not dead but neither dead nor living was he among those men who went in Mexico that day that night I saw Guatemala and asked him how things went well for the kite that roost in the doves nest he answered with a bitter laugh but very ill for the Dove Montezuma my uncle has been cooing yonder and he pointed to the palace of Asha and the captain of the tools who coud in answer but though we try to hide it I could hear the Hulk shriek in his pigeons note a long there will be merry doings into noctilum oh he was right within a week Montezuma was treacherously seized by the Spaniards and kept a prisoner in their quarters watched day and night by their soldiers then came events upon events certain Lords and the coastlands having killed some Spaniards were summoned to Mexico by the instigation of Cortes they came and were burned alive in the courtyard of the palace nor was this all from Montezuma their monarch was forced to witness their execution with fetters on his ankles so lo had the emperor of the Aztecs fallen that he must bear chains like a common felon after this insult he swore allegiance to the king of Spain and even contrived to capture Kakuma the Lord of tesco coup by bribery and to deliver him into the hands of the Spaniards of whom he would have made war to them also he gave up the hoarded gold and treasure of the Empire to the value of hundreds of thousands of English pounds all this the nation ball for it was stupefied and still obey the commands of its captive king but when he suffered the Spanish to worship the true God in one of the sanctuaries of the great temple a murmur of discontent and sullen fury rose among the thousands of a sticks it filled the air it could be heard wherever men were gathered and each sound was like that of an angry sea the hour of the breaking of the tempest was at hand now all this while my life went on as before saved that I was not allowed to go outside the walls of the palace for it was feared that lest I should find some means of intercourse with the Spaniards who did not know that a man of white blood was confined there and doomed to sacrifice also in these days I saw little of princess otter me the chief of my destined brides who since our strange love scene had avoided me and when we met at feasts or in gardens spoke to me only in in different matters or of the affairs of state at length came the day of my marriage it was I remember the night before the massacre of the six hundred Aztec Nobles on the occasion of the festival of witzel on this my wedding day I was treated with great circumstance and worship like a God by the highest in the city who came in to do me reverence and burned incense before me till I was weary of the smell of it for those such sorrow was on the land the priest would abate no jot of their ceremonies or cruel teas and great hopes were held that I being of the race of the chills my sacrifice would have vote the angers of the gods at sunset I was entertained with splendid feast that lasted two hours or more and at his end all the company rose and shouted as with one voice glory to thee O Tess cat happy art thou here on earth happy mayst thou be in the houses of the sun when thou cometh thither remember that we dealt well by thee giving the our best and intercede for us that our sins may be forgiven glory to thee O Tess cat then two of the chief Nobles came forward and taking torches led me to a magnificent chamber that I had never seen before here they changed my apparel investing me in robes which was still more splendid than any I had worn either to being made of the – embroidered cotton and after glittering feathers of the hummingbird on my head they set wreaths of flowers and about my neck and wrists Emeril's of vast size and value and a sari popinjay I looked in this attire that seemed more suited to a woman's beauty than to me when I was a raid suddenly the torches were extinguished and for a while there was silence then in the distance I heard women's voices singing a bridal song that was beautiful enough after its fashion though I forbear to write it down the singing ceased and there came a sound of rustling robes and of low whispering then a man's voice spoke saying are ye there ye chosen of heaven and a woman's voice I thought there was that of Ottilie answered we are here o maidens of Anne who walk said that man speaking from the darkness and you Oh Tess cat God among the gods listen to my words maidens great honor has been done to you for by the very choice of heaven you have been endowed with the names the loveliness and the virtues of the four great goddesses and chosen to abide awhile at the side of this God your maker and your master who has been pleased to visit us for a space before he seeks his home in the habitations of the Sun see that you show yourselves worthy of this honor comfort him and cherish him that he may forget his glory in your kindness and when he returns to his own place may take with him grateful memories and a good report of your people you have but a little while to live at his side in this life for already like those of a caged bird the wings of his spirit beat against the bars of his flesh and soon he will shake himself free from us and you yet if you will it has allowed to one of you to accompany him to his home sharing his flight to the houses of the Sun but to all of you whether you go also or whether you stay to mourn him during your life days I say love and cherish him be tender and gentle towards him for otherwise ruin shall overtake you here and Hereafter and you and all of us will be ill spoken of in heaven and you Oh Tess Kat we pray of you to accept these maidens who bear the names and wear the charms of your celestial consorts for there are none more beautiful or better born in the realms of Anahuac and among them is numbered the daughter of our king they are not perfect indeed for perfection is known to you in the heavenly kingdoms only since these ladies are but shadows and symbols of the divine goddesses your true wives and here there are no perfect women alas we have none better to offer you and it is our hope that when it pleases you to pass hence you will think kindly of the women of this land and from high bless them with your blessing because the memory of these who were called your wives on earth is pleasant The Voice paused then spoke again women in your own divine names of sha Chi Chi lo ATLA and Callisto and in the name of all the gods I Wed you to Tess cat the Creator to sojourn with him during his stay on earth the god incarnate takes you in marriage whom he himself created that the symbol may be perfect and the mystery fulfilled yet lest your joy shall be too full look now on that which shall be as the voice spoke these words many torches sprang into flame at the far end of the Great Chamber revealing a dreadful sight for there stretched upon a stone of sacrifice was the body of a man but whether the man lived or was modelled in wax I do not know to this hour though unless he was painted I think that he must have been fashioned in wax since his skin Sean white like mine at the least his limbs and head were held by five priests and a six stood over him clasping a knife of obsidian in his two hands it flashed on high and as it gleamed the torches were extinguished then came the dull echo of a blow and the sound of groans and always still till once more the brides broke out into their marriage song a strange chance and a wild and sweet though after what I had seen and heard he'd had little power to move me they sang on in the darkness ever more loudly till presently a single torch was lit at the end of the chamber then another and another though I could not see who lit them and the room was a flare of light now the alter the victim and the priest were all gone there was no one left in this place except myself and the four brides now they were tall and lovely women all of them clad in white Bridal robes starred over with gems and flowers and wearing on their brows the emblems of the four goddesses but autumn II was the stateliest and most beautiful of the four and seemed in truth a goddess one by one they drew near to me smiling and sighing and kneeling before me kissed my hand saying I have been chosen to be your wife for a space tes cat happy made that I am may the gods grant that I become pleasing to your site so that you may love me as I worship you then she would spoken would draw back again out of earshot and the next would take her place last of all came out of me she knelt and said the words then added in a low voice having spoken to you as the bride and goddess to the husband and the god Tess cat now Oh chill I speak as the woman to the man you do not love me too therefore if it is your will let us be divorced of our own act who were Wed by the command of others for so I shall be spared some shame these are friends to me I will not betray us and she nodded toward her companion brides as you will are to me I answered briefly I thank you for your kindness – she said smiling sadly and withdrew making a bee Sion's looking so stately and so sweet as she went that again my heart was shaken as though with love now from that night to the dreadful hour of sacrifice no kiss or tender word passed between me and the princess of the ahta me and yet our friendship and affection grew daily for we talked much together and I sought to turn her heart to the true kingdom of heaven but this was not easy for like her father Montezuma autumn II clung to the gods of her people though she hated the priests and saved when the victims were the foes of our country shrank from the rights of human sacrifice which she said were instituted by the palace since in the early days there were no men offered on the saw altars of the gods but flowers only daily grew and ripened although I scarcely knew it at length in my heart after Lily I loved her better than anyone on earth as for the other women though they were gentle and beautiful I soon learned to hate them still I feasted and reveled with them partly since I must or bring them to a miserable death because they failed to please me and partly that I might drown my terror in drink and pleasure before let it be remembered that the days left to me on earth were few and the awful end drew near the day following the celebration of my marriage was that of a shameless massacre of 600 of the Aztec nobles by the order of the Hidalgo Alvarado whom Coulter's had left in command of the Spaniards for at this time Cortes was absent in the coastlands whether he had gone to make war on narvi who had been sent to subdue him by his enemy Velasquez the governor of Cuba on this day was celebrated the Feast of witzel that was held with sacrifice songs and dances in the great court of the temple that court which was surrounded by a wall carved over with the writhing shapes of snakes it chanced that on this morning before he went to join the festival Guatemala their prince came to see me on a visit of ceremony I asked him if he intended to take part in the feast as the splendor of his apparel brought me to believe yes he answered but why do you ask because we're I you Gua tomorrow say now will the dancers be armed well no it is not usual they will be unarmed Cuauhtemoc and they are the flower of the land an arm they will dance in yonder enclosed space and the twos will watch them armed now how would it be if these chance to pick a quarrel with the nobles I do not know why you should speak the stool for surely these white men are not cowardly murderers still I take your words as an omen and though the feast must be held for see already nobles gather I will not share in it oh you are wise guatemalan i am sure that you are wise afterwards ah to me Cuauhtemoc and i went into the garden of the palace and sat upon the crest of a small pyramid a tea oculi in miniature that Montezuma had built for a place to have outlook on the market and the courts of the temple from this spot we saw the dancing of the Aztec Nobles and heard the song of their musicians oh it was a gay site for in the bright sunlight their feather dresses flash like coats of gems and none would have guessed how it was to end mingling with the dancers were groups of spaniards clad in mail and armed with swords and matchlocks but i noted that as the time went on these men separated themselves from the Indians and began to cluster like bees about the gates and at various points under the shadow of the wall of serpents now what may this mean I said to Cuauhtemoc and as I spoke I saw a Spaniard wave a white cloth in the air then in an instant before the cloth had ceased a flutter a smoke arose from every side and with it came the sound of the firing of matchlocks everywhere among the dancers men fell dead or wounded but the mass of them unharmed odd yet huddled themselves together like frightened sheep and stood silent and terror stricken then the Spaniards shout in the name of their patron saint as it is accustomed to do when they have some such wickedness in hand drew their swords and rushing on the unarmed Aztec nobles began to kill them now some shriek and some fell and some suit still that were cut down but whether they stayed or ran the end was the same for the gates were guarded and the wall was too high to climb there they were slaughtered every man of them and may God who sees all reward their murderers it was soon over within ten minutes of the waving of the cloth those six hundred men were stretched upon the pavement dead or dying and with shouts of victory the Spaniards were despoiling their corpses of the rich ornaments they had worn then I turned to go out amuck and I said it seems that you did well not to join in yonder revel but Guatemala answer he stared at the dead and those who had murdered them and said nothing only autumn II spoke you Christians are a gentle people she said with a bitter laugh it is thus that you will repay our hospitality now I trusted Montezuma my father is pleased with his guests where I he every man of them should lie on the stone of sacrifice if our gods were Devils as you say what are those who worship yours then at length Cuauhtemoc said only one thing remains to us and that is vengeance Montezuma has become a woman and I heed him no more nay if it were needful I would kill him with my own hands but two men are still left in this land quit law hah my uncle and myself now I go to summon our armies and he went all that night the city murmured like the swarms of wasp the next day at dawn so far as the eye could see the streets and marketplace were filled with tens of thousands of armed warriors they threw themselves like a wave upon the walls of the palace of Asha and like away from the rock which driven back again by the fire of guns thrice they attacked and thrice they were repulsed then Montezuma the woman king appeared upon the walls praying them to desist because forsooth did they succeed he himself might perish even then they obeyed him so great was their reverence for his sacred royalty and for a while attack the Spaniards no more but further than this they would not go if Montezuma forbade them to kill the Spaniards at least they determined to starve them out and from that hour a straight blockade was set up against a palace hundreds of the Aztec soldiers had been slayed already but the loss was not all upon their side for some of the Spanish and many of the Trask ins had fallen into their hands as for those unlucky prisoners their end was Swift for they were taken at once to the temples of the great t oculi and sacrificed their to the gods in the sight of their comrades now it was that Court is returned with many more men for he had conquered Narvaez whose followers joined the standard of Cortes and with them others one of whom I had good reason to know Cortes was suffered to rejoin his comrades in the palace of Asia without attack I do not know why and on the following day quit law ha Montezuma's brother king of pala pan was released by him that he might soothe the people but quit la Hawaa was no coward once safe outside his prison walls he called the council together of whom the chief was Guatemala where they resolved on war to the end giving it out that Montezuma had forfeited his kingdom by his cowardice and on that resolve they acted had it been but taken two short months before by this date no Spaniard would have been left alive in Tanakh ticklin for after morena the love of quarters who subtle wit bought about his triumph it was Montezuma who was the chief cause of his own fall and of that of the kingdom of a Nowacki end of chapter 19 recording by Patrick 79 chapter 20 of Montezuma's daughter by H rider Haggard this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Patrick 79 chapter 20 ah Tommy's Council on the day after the return of quarters to Mexico before the hour of dawn I was awakened from my uneasy slumbers by the whistling cries of thousands of warriors and the sound of a tables and drums hurrying to my post of outlook on their little pyramid where Ultima joined me I saw that the whole people were gathered for war so far as the eye could reach in square marketplace and street they were massed in thousands and tens of thousands some were arms with slings some with bows and arrows others with javelins tipped with copper and the club set with spikes of obsidian that is called Makua and yet others citizens of the poorest sort mistakes hardened in the fire the bodies of some were covered in golden coats of mail and mantels of feather work and their skulls protected by painted wooden helms crested with hail and fashion like the heads of Pumas snakes or wolves others wore ice corporals or coats of quilted cotton but most of them were naked except for the cloth about their loins on the flat as odious all roofs of houses also and even on the top of the tea Oakley of sacrifice were bands of men whose part it was to rein missiles into the Spanish quarters oh it was a strange sight to see in that red sunrise and one never-to-be-forgotten as the light flashed from temples and palace walls onto the glittering feathered garments and gay banners the points of countless Spears and the armor of the Spaniards who hurried to and fro behind the battlements making ready for their defense so soon as the Sun was up a priest blew a shrill note upon his shell which was answered by a trumpet call from the Spanish quarters then with a shriek of rage the thousands of the Aztecs rushed to the attack and the air grew dark with missiles instantly a wavering line of fire and smoke followed by a sound of thunder broke from the walls of the palace of azure and the charging warriors fell like autumn leaves beneath the cannon and the arquebus balls of the Christians for a moment they wavered and a great groan went up to heaven but I saw guatemalan forward a banner in his hand and forming up again they rushed after him now they were beneath the wall of the palace and the assault began for the Aztecs fought furiously time upon time they strove to climb the wall piling up the bodies of the dead to serve them as ladders and time upon time they were repulsed with cruel loss failing in this they set themselves to battering it down with heavy beams but when the breach was made and they clustered in it like herded sheep that cannon opened fire on them tearing long lanes through their mass and leaving them dead by scores then they took to the shooting of flaming arrows and by this means fire the out works but the palace was of stone and would not burn thus for 12 long hours the struggle raged unceasingly till the sudden fall of darkness put an end to it and the only sight to be seen was the flare of countless tortures carried by those who sought out their dead and the only sound to be heard were the voice of women lamenting and the groans of the dying on the morrow the fight broke out again at dawn when Court is salad forth with the greater part of his soldiers and some thousands of the task analyses at first I thought that he aimed his attack at Montezuma's palace and a breath of hope went through me since then it might become possible for me to escape in the confusion but this was not so his object being to set fire to the houses from the flat roofs of which numberless missiles were hailed hourly upon his followers their charge was desperate and he succeeded for the Indians could not withstand the shock of horsemen any more than any naked skins could turn the Spaniard steel presently scores of houses were in flames and thick columns of smoke rolled up like those that flowed from the mouths of poeple but many of those who rode and ran from the gates of Ashur did not come back bitter for the Aztecs clung to the legs of the horses and dragged their riders away living that very day these captives were sacrificed on the altar of Witsel and in the sight of the comrades and with them a horse was offered up which had been taken live and was born and dragged with infinite labour up the steep sides of the pyramid indeed never had the sacrifice has been so many has joined these days of combat all day long the altars ran red and all day long the cries of the victims rang in my ears as the maddened priests went about their work for thus they sought to please the gods who should give them victory over the tools even at night the sacrifices continued by the light of the sacred fires that from below gave those who wrote them the appearance of Devil's flitting through the flames of hell and inflicting its torments on the Damned much as they are depicted in the doom painting of the resurrection of the dead that is painted over the chancel arch in this church of ditching ham and how will buy our through the darkness a voice called out threats and warning so the Spaniard saying who eats all is hungry for your blood ye tools ye shall surely fall away ye have seen your fellows go that cage is already that knives are sharp and the ions are hot for the torture prepare ye tools for though you slay many you cannot escape thus the struggle went on day after day till thousands of the Aztecs were dead and the Spaniards were well nigh worn out with hunger war and wounds for they could not rest a single hour at length one morning when the assault was at his hottest Montezuma himself appeared upon the central tower of the palace clad in splendid robes and wearing the diadem before him stood heralds bearing golden ones and about him were the nobles who attended him in his captivity and a guard of Spaniards he stretched out his hand and suddenly the fighting was stayed and a silence fell upon the place even the wounded ceased from their groaning then he addressed the multitude what he said I was too far off to hear though I learned his purport afterwards he prayed his people to cease from war for the Spaniards were his friends and guests and would presently leave the city of Tenochtitlan when these cowardly words have passed his lips our fury took his subjects who for long years had worshipped him as a god and a shriek rent the air that seemed to say two words only woman traitor then I saw an arrow rush upwards and strike the Emperor and after the hour a shower of stones so that he fell down there upon the tower roof now a voice cried we have slayed our King Montezuma is dead and instantly with a dreadful wailing the multitude fled this way and that so that presently no living man could be seen where there had been thousands I turned to comfort autumn II who was watching at my side and had seen her royal father fall and led her weeping into the palace here we met Guatemala the prince and his mane was fierce and wild he was fully armed and carried a bow in his hand his Montezuma dead I asked I neither know nor care he answered with a savage laugh then added now curse me ah to me my cousin for it was my arrow that smote him down this king who has become a woman and a traitor false to his manhood and his country then Artemis ceased weeping and answered I cannot curse you Guatemala the gods have smitten my father with a madness as you smote him with your arrow and it is best that he should die though for his own sake and for that of his people still Guatemala I am sure of this that your crime will not go unpunished and that in payment for this sacrilege you shall come yourself to a shameful death it may be so said Cuauhtemoc but at least I shall not die betraying my trust and he went now I must tell that as I believed this was my last day on earth for on the morrow my year of godhood expired and I Thomas Wingfield should be led out to sacrifice notwithstanding all the tumult of the city the mourning for the dead and the fear that hung over it like a cloud the ceremonies of religion and its feasts were still celebrate strictly more strictly indeed than ever before thus on this night a festival was held in my honor and I must sit at the feast crowned with flowers and surrounded by my wives while those Nobles who remained alive in the city did me homage and with them quit lo ha hoo if Montezuma were dead would now be emperor it was a dreary meal enough for I could scarcely be gay though I strove to drown my woes in drink and as for the guests they have little jollity left in them hundreds of their relatives were dead and with them thousands of the people the spaniards still held their own in the fortress and that day they had seen their emperor who was to them a god smitten down by one of their own number and above all they felt that doom was upon themselves what wonder that they were not merry indeed no funeral feast could have been more sad for flowers and wine and fair women do not make pleasure and after all it was a funeral feast for me at length it came to an end and I Flay to my own apartment whether my three wives followed me for autumn II did not come calling me most happy and blessed who tomorrow should be with myself that is with my own Godhead in heaven but I did not call them blessed for rising in wrath I drove them away saying that I had one comfort left and it was that wherever I might go I should leave them behind then I cast myself upon the cushions of my bed and mourned in my fear and bitterness of heart this was the end of the vengeance which I had sworn to wreak on to Garcia that I myself must have my heart torn out from my breast and offered to the devil had I done so today I might have been my betrothed husband and happy in her love at home in peaceful England instead of what I was a lost soul in the power of fiends and about to be offered to a fiend in the bitterness of the thought and the extremity of my anguish I wet aloud and pray to my maker that I might be delivered from this cruel death or at least that my sins should be forgiven me so that tomorrow night I might rest in peace in heaven thus weeping and praying I sank into a half sleep and dreamed that I walked on the hillside near the church path that runs through the garden of the larger Digium the whispers of the wind were in the trees which clothed the Bank of the vineyard hills the scent of the sweet English flowers was in my nostrils and the balmy air of June bluer my brow it was night in the stream of mine and I thought that the moon shone sweetly on the meadows and the river while from every side can the music of the nightingale but I was not thinking of these delightful sights and sound though they were present in my mind for my eyes watched the church path which goes up the hill at the back of the house and my heart listened for a footstep that I longed to hear then there came a sound of singing from beyond the hill and the words of the song were sad for they told of one who had sailed away and returned no more and presently between the apple trees I saw a white figure on the crest slowly it came towards me and I knew that it was she for whom I waited Lily my beloved now she sees to sing but drew on gently and her face seemed very sad moreover it was the face of a woman in middle life but still most beautiful more beautiful indeed than it had been in the bloom of youth she had reached the foot of the hill and was turning towards the little garden gate when I came forward from the shadow of the trees and stood before her back she started with a cry of fear then grew silent and gaze unto my face so changed she murmured can it be the same Thomas is it you that to come back from the dead or is this but a vision and slowly and doubtingly the dream Wraith stretched out her arms as though to clasp me then I awoke High awoke and lo before me stood a fair woman clothed in white on whom the moonlight shone as in my dream and her arms were stretched towards me lovingly it is I beloved and no vision I cried springing from my bed and clasp reader to my breast to kiss her but before my lips touched hers I saw my error for she whom I embraced was not Lily buh-zard might be truth it but artemiy princess of the autumn II who was called my wife then I knew that this was the saddest and the most bitter of dreams that had been sent to mock me for all the truth rushed into my mind losing my hold of otta me I fell back upon the bed and groaned aloud and as I fell I saw the flush of shame upon her brow and breast well this woman loved me and thus my act and words were an insult to her who could guess well what prompted them still she spoke gently upon me till I came but to watch and not to awaken you I came all so that I may see you alone before the daybreak hoping that I might be of service or at the least of comfort to you for the end draws near say then in your sleep did you mistake me for some other woman dearer and fairer that I am that you would have embraced me I dreamed that you were my betrothed whom I love and who is far away across the sea I answered heavily but enough of love and such matters what have I to do with them who go down into darkness in truth I cannot tell you still I have heard wise men say that if love is to be found anywhere it is in the same darkness of death that is light indeed Oh grieve not for if there is truth in the faith of which you have told me or in your own either on this earth or beyond it with the eyes of the Spirit you will see your dear before another Sun is set and I pray that you find her faithful to you tell me now how much does she love you which she have lain by your side on the bed of sacrifice as had other things gone otherwise between us two it was my hope to do no I answered it is not the custom of our women to kill themselves because the husband chance to die perhaps they think it better to live and when again answered utter me very quietly but I saw her eyes flash and her breast heaved in the moonlight as she spoke Oh enough of this foolish talk I said listen artemiy if you had cared for me truly surely you would have saved me from this dreadful doom or prevailed on Guatemala our Montezuma's daughter could you have not brought in a during all these months that he issued a royal mandate commanding that I should be spared do you then take me for so poor a friend too she answered hotly no that for all these month by day and night I have worked and striven to find a means to rescue you before he came a prisoner I importune my father the Emperor till he ordered me from his presence I have sought to bribe the priests I have plotted ways to escape I and Guatemala's helped for he loves you had it not been for the coming of these accursed tools and the war that they have levied on this city I had surely saved you for a woman's thought leaps far and can find a path where none seems possible but this war has changed everything and moreover the star readers and diviners of all Geary's have given a prophecy which seals your fate for they have prophesized that if your blood flows and your heart is offered at the hour of noon tomorrow on the altar of Tess get our people shall be victorious over the tools and utterly destroy them but if the sacrifice is celebrated one moment before or after that propitious hour then the doom of turn octagon is sealed also they have declared that you must die not according to custom at the temple of arms across the lake but on the Great Pyramid before the chief statue of the God all this is known throughout the land thousands of priests are now offering a prayers that the sacrifice may be fortunate and a golden ring has been hung over the stone of slaughter in such a fashion that the light of the Sun must strike upon the center of your breasts at the very moment of midday for weeks you have been watched as a Jaguar what sheets pray for it is feared that you would escape to the tools and we your wives have been watched also at this moment there is a triple ring of guards about the palace and priests are set without your doors and beneath the window places judge then what chance that is of escape tool Oh little indeed I said and yet I know a road if I kill myself they cannot kill me nay she answered hastily what shall that I value while you live you may hope but once dead you are dead forever also if you must die it especially you should die by the hand of the priest believe me though the end is horrible and she shuddered it is almost painless so they say and very Swift they will not torture you that we have saved you what a mock and I though at first they wished thus to honor the God more particularly on this great day o jewel artemiy went on seating herself by me on the bed and taking my hand think no more of these brief terrors but look beyond them is it so hard a thing to die and swiftly we all must die today or tonight or the next day it matters little when and your faith like ours teaches that beyond the grave is an endless blessedness think then my friend tomorrow you will have passed far from this strife and turmoil the struggle and the sorrows and the daily fears of the future that make the soul sick will be over for you you will be taken to your peace when no one shall disturb you forever there you will find that mother whom you have told me of and who loved you and there perhaps one will join you who loves you better than your mayhap even I may meet you there friend and she looked at me strangely the road that you are doomed to walk is dark indeed but surely it must be well rotten and there is a light shining beyond it so be a man my friend and do not grieve rejoice rather that at so early an age you have done with woes and doubts and come to the gates of joy that you have passed the thorny unwatered wilderness and see the smiling lakes and gardens and among them the temples of your Eternal City and now farewell we meet no more till the hour of sacrifice for we women who masquerade as wives must accompany you at the first platforms of the temple farewell dear friend and think upon my words whether they are acceptable to you or no I am sure of this that both for the sake of your own honor and because I ask it of you you will die bravely as though the eyes of your own people were watching all and bending suddenly artemiy kiss me on the forehead gently as a sister made and was gone the curtain swung behind her but the echoes of her noble words still dwelt in my heart nothing can make man look on death lovingly and that awaiting me was one from which the bravest would shrink yet I felt that autumn II had spoken truth and that terrible as it seemed it might prove less terrible than life had shown itself to be an unnatural Tom fell upon my soul like some dense miss from the face of the ocean beneath that mr. wart is my foam above it the Sun might shine yet around was one gray piece in sour I seem to stand outside of my earthly self and to look on all things with a new sense the tide of life was ebbing away from me the shore of death loomed very near and I understood then as in extreme age I understand today how much more part we mortals have in death than in this short accident of life I could consider all my past I could wonder on the future of my spirit and even marvel at the gentleness and wisdom of the Indian woman who was able to think such thoughts and utter them well whatever befell in one thing I would not disappoint her I would die bravely as an Englishman should do leaving the rest to God these barbarians should never say of me that the foreigner was a coward who was I I should complain did not hundreds of men as good as I was perish daily in yonder square and without a murmur had not my mother died also at the hand of a murderer was not that unhappy lady Isabella Disick wenzer walled up alive because they had been mad enough to love a villain who betrayed her the world is full of terrors and sorrows such as mine who was I that I should complain so I mused on till at length the day dawned and with the Rising Sun rose the clamour of men making ready for battle for now the fight raged from day to day and this one was to be the most terrible but I thought little then of the war between the Aztecs and the Spaniards who must prepare myself for the struggle of my own death that was now at hand end of chat two-twenty recorded by patrick 79

1 thought on “Montezuma's Daughter | H. Rider Haggard | Action & Adventure Fiction, Literary Fiction | 5/10

  1. Montezuma's Daughter | H. Rider Haggard | Action & Adventure Fiction, Literary Fiction | 5/10

    17: [00:00:00] – Chapter 17: THE ARISING OF PAPANTZIN

    18: [00:27:38] – Chapter 18: THE NAMING OF THE BRIDES

    19: [00:52:34] – Chapter 19: THE FOUR GODDESSES

    20: [01:21:15] – Chapter 20: OTOMIE’S COUNSEL

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