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overrun by the French, Cadiz for a short time formed the only place where this national pastime was allowed. The French, always remarkable for their humanity to animals, having interdicted this cruel sport in those provinces of the Peninsula that were subject to their sway, it could only be exhibited at Cadiz, the inhabitants of which place betook themselves to it with renewed enthusiasm, and were almost reconciled to an invasion which had thus procured for them a temporary restoration of their favourite pastime.*
“And, gentle friends,
_“ Hadst thou full power to kill,
Thy loss continues unrepaid by pain.”—Dryden. From the preceding account our readers will have formed some general notion of the mode of conducting the bull.. feasts in Spain; but as we are enabled to lay before them a more particular as well as a much more spirited and interesting description, furnished by the kindness of a literary friend, who witnessed a splendid exhibition of this nature given at Madrid to celebrate the return of King Ferdinand to his capital, we scruple not to'enrich our volume with his narrative. So rare have these spectacles now become, that it is not easy to meet with a traveller who has witnessed them; and seldom, indeed, do we encour er one so well able to describe what he has seen.
“Were we to suffer our opinion of the national character of the Spaniard to be guided by the amusement which forms so prominent a feature in his pursuit of pleasure as
* This chapter has been mostly transcribed from the Encyclopædia Britannica.
the bull-fight, we should be guilty of injustice in ascribing to his general nature that barbarous brutality which characterizes an entertainment unparalleled for cruelty, except in the gladiatorial exhibitions of a Nero or a Commodus.
“ This amusement bears a greater affinity to the scenes of the Coliseum. than to any of the entertainments of the other principal people who successively invaded and tinctured Spain with the manners and customs of their own nations. The only argument against its Latin origin is, that in the exhibitions of the Roman circles, animals useful for domestic purposes seem generally to have been excluded . from the public combats; but there are no records whatever which lead us to believe that the Goths were addicted to this species of entertainment; nor do the tournaments and other popular amusements of the Moors produce any proofs that the bull-fight is of Saracenic origin. From whatever source it originated, there never was a pursuit more completely national, or to which a people were more devoted. Neither the Olympic games of Greece, nor the boasted gladiatorial exhibitions of Rome, ever attracted a greater concourse of spectators, or created a greater degree of enthusiasm in the breasts of the Greeks and Romans, than is excited by a bull-fight in that of a Spaniard. The remains of Roman amphitheatres in various parts of Spain also corroborate the probability that this exhibition is derived from that people, and that bulls were substituted for the wild beasts, as being the most powerful and fiercest animal which the country produced.
“No trivial eagerness of anticipation was therefore evinced by the Madridianos, when the placards in the coffee-houses and the streets announced a magnificent Fiesta de Toros, * in celebration of the return of Fernando ; and, from an early period of the morning destined for the enjoy, ment of the entertainment, every inhabitant of Madrid appeared to be bending his course towards the Puerta d'Alcala, near to which the Plaza de los Toros, or theatre, is situated. It is only by witnessing the crowds of eager beings of every denomination flocking in all directions to the same point of attraction, with anxiety depicted in their countenances, and impatience betrayed by their hasty steps, that the intensity
* Literally, bull-feast.
of a Spaniard's attachment to this national amusement can be conceived.
“Business, pleasure, and religion seem for the moment to be entirely abandoned or lost in this one predominant gratification. Neither the decrepitude of age nor the helplessness of infancy prevents its pursuit ; no command of masters can deter servants; no occupation appears paramount with the master to detain him from its indulgence; and though it is impossible to aver, with Burgoing, that the chastity of many a young female has fallen a sacrifice to the temptation of witnessing a bull-fight, when all the strength of her own inclinations, and all the ardour of a lover were insufficient for his purpose, yet an attendance at one of these exhibitions is enough to convince the beholder of its being that in which the Spaniard centres his chief delight. On this morning every street in Madrid which did not form an avenue to the scene of action appeared to be as deserted as at the hour of the siesta. Most of the shops were shut ; vehicles and mules adorned with gaudy trappings, were all in motion towards the same place, or hurrying back to convey more spectators to the destined scene of entertainment.
6. Those who were not rich enough to obtain adnittance into the building, or who had not sufficient interest to pass the barrier by other means, crowded in multitudes round the doors, and covered all the space between the theatre and the Puerta d'Alcala, to join in the tumultuous cries of the spectators within, and to gain the earliest intelligence of the event of the combats.
“At length, not only every seat was occupied, but the space of floor between them filled with men, women, and children, crouching into all the grotesque attitudes which the convenience and view of the more fortunate spectator required; while anxious listeners crowded the avenues almost to suffocation, where the roar of the bull might delight their ears, but where there was not the slightest hope or possibility of ocular gratification.
“The circular of the Plaza de los Toros is somewhat more than three hundred feet in diameter, five times as large as that of Drury-lane theatre, and surrounded by a strong barrier-paling about six feet in height, in which, at .equal distances, are four pair of double gates, used for the first
admission of the bulls, and afterward thrown open to tempt their re-entrance into the circus, when their impetuous fury prompts them to leap into the passage beyond them in pursuit of their tormentors. This passage is about eight feet in width, and surrounds the whole of the arena; affording at once a defence to the spectators in the lower seats, a retreat for the bull-tighters, and an additional space to contain those whose avidity for the amusement induces them to hazard its enjoyment in so dangerous a station. Beyond this passage, at a sufficient height for the lowest seat to command a perfect view of the barrier, the lower benches rise one above the other to the outer wall of the building, with avenues of ingress and egress resembling the vomitories of the ancient amphitheatres. Above this species of pit are two galleries surrounding the whole edifice; the first seated with rising benches like those below, and the second divided by partitions into boxes, decorated with silk hangings, and furnished after the taste of their proprietors; for most of the families of fashion have their private boxes in this national theatre. In this 1:pper tier are the royal boxes and those appropriated to the court and foreign ambassadors, all of which are likewise adorned with festoons and draperies of silk; those of the royal family being the only ones which exhibited the colour of crimson in the decorations. These boxes are roofed in, with an awning projecting over the passage round the barrier; but the circus is open to the sky, admitting the beams of a powerful sun upon the spectators; and the seats varied in price accordingly as they were more or less exposed to this inconvenience.
“ These ample dimensions, calculated to accommodate more than fifteen thousand people, are alone sufficient to attract and rivet admiration; but when every part of the building is filled with eager spectators, attired in all the varied costumes of the different provinces of Spain, the ladies in their mantillas, the soldiers in their motley uniforms, the monks in their sacerdotal habits, the citizens in their large capotes, and the courtiers in their embroidery, it is impossible to imagine a more imposing spectacle, or to describe the effect of the coup d'æil presented by such a regularly-arranged multitude, and such a variety of colours, upon an unaccustomed spectator.
“ It was at this moment, when such crowds of human beings were seen waiting with anxious countenance for the scene of blood,—when every eye beamed with the same expression of impatience, and every lip opened but to speak upon the subject of the anticipated combat,—that it was impossible for classic recollection not to trace the striking resemblance between the descriptions of the ancient gladiatorial exercises of the Romans, and the paraphernalia of the modern bull-fight of the Spaniards.
“At a theatre of dramatic entertainment, neither the vilest acting, multiplied mistakes of machinery, nor the unnecessary delays of the performers, can induce the national gravity of the Spaniard to betray the slightest expression of impatience. But here every dormant passion of his nature seemed roused into action; his established solemnity appeared to be forgotten, and anxiety and impatience dwelt in the eager glance which every one directed towards the gate at which the animals were expected to enter.
" As the entrance of the bulls was protracted until the boxes of the grandees above were occupied, murmurs of impatience began to be heard from the lower seats, which gradually rose into clamour, and joined with the bellowing of the animals issuing from the a:ljoining receptacle in which they were secured.
" At length the sound of trumpets announced that this impatience was about to be gratified. The folding gates were thrown open, and a procession of the picadors, stacadors, banderillas, and matadors, bearing the various arms with which they were respectively to fight or to annoy the bulls, passed round the arona, headed by two men mounted on mules, and habited in the costume of heralds. The proclamation of the combat by the heralds was announced by a flourish of trumpets ; and the torreadors made their obeisance to the spectators and retired, leaving one of tho heralds mounted on a stage, as the arbiter and director of the tournament.
“. There are four kinds of fighters or tormentors generally employed in the bull-fight; viz. the stacadors and banderillas, who fight on foot, the first waving their handkerchief or mantle in the face of the animal, and the others planting arrows in his neck, to increase his ferocity to its