FROM our first crossing of the Pyrenees we were impressed, even beyond our expectation, with the Spanish passion for the bullfight. The more cultivated Spaniards, to be sure, are usually unwilling to admit to a foreigner their pleasure in the pastime. “It is brutal,” said a young physician of Madrid, as we discussed it. ” It is a very painful thing to see, certainly. I go, myself, only two or three times a year, when the proceeds are to be devoted to some religious object a charity or other holy work.”
No sight is more common in streets and parks than that of a group of boys playing al taro one urchin charging about with sticks fastened to his shoulders for horns, or with a pasteboard bull’s head pulled over his ears, and others waving scarlet cloths and brandishing improvised swords and lances. It is said that in fierce Valencia youths have sometimes carried on this sport with knives for horns and swords, the spectators relishing the bloodshed too well to interfere. Not easily do such lads as these forgive the little king for crying, like the sensitive child he is, the first time he was taken to the bull-ring.
The corridas de taros, although denounced by some of the chief voices in Spain, are held almost a national shibboleth. Loyal supporters of the queen regent will add to their praises the sigh, ” If only she loved the bull-fight ! ” Cavaliers and ladies fair reserve their choicest attire to grace these barbarities. It is a common saying that a Spaniard will sell his shirt to buy a ticket to the bull-ring, but whatever the deficiencies of the inner costume, the dress that meets the eye is brave in the extreme. It is recently becoming the fashion for caballeros, especially in the north of Spain, to discard those very fetching cloaks with the vivid linings cloaks in which Spaniards muffle their faces to the eyebrows as they tread the echoing streets of cities founded some thousand or fifteen hundred years ago. But for a good old Spanish bull-fight, the good old Spanish costumes are out in force, the bright-hued capas and broad sombreros, and for the ladies, who also are beginning to discard the customary black mantilla for Parisian headgear, the exquisite white mantillas of early times and the largest and most richly decorated fans.
It is in such places as the grim Roman amphitheatre of Italica, whose grass-grown arena has flowed so red with martyrdoms of men and beasts, that one despairs most of Spanish ability to give up the bull-fight. It is in the air, in the soil, in the blood; a national institution, an hereditary rage. “But it is the link that holds your country bound to barbarism. The rest of the world is on the forward move. I tell you, the continuance of the bull-fight means the ruin of Spain,” urged a gigantic young German, in our hearing, on his Spanish friend. The slight figure of the Madrileno shook with anger. “And I tell you,” he choked, “that Spain would rather perish with the bull-fight than survive without it.”
Isabel la Catolica, who earnestly strove to put down these savage contests, wrote at last to her Father Confessor that the task was too hard for her. The “Catholic Kings ” could take Granada, unify Spain, establish the Inquisition, expel Moors and Jews, and open the Americas ; but they could not abolish bull-fighting. Nor was Pius V, with his denial of Christian burial to all who fell in the arena, and his excommunication for princes who permitted corridas de toros in their dominions, more successful. The papal bull, like the bulls of flesh and blood, was inevitably overthrown.
Spanish legend likes to name the Cid as the first torero.
Troth it goodly was and pleasant To behold him at their head, All in mail on Bavieca, And to hear the words he said.”
In mediaeval times the sport was not without chivalric features. Knights fought for honor, where professionals now fight for pesetas. When the great Charles killed a bull with his own lance in honor of the birth of Philip II, the favor of the Austrian dynasty was secured. The Bourbons looked on the sport more coldly, but as royalty and nobility withdrew, the people pressed to the fore. Out of the hardy Spanish multitude rose a series of masters, Romero the shoemaker, who, in general, gave to the art its modern form ; Martincho the shepherd, who, seated in a chair with his feet bound, would await the charging brute ; Candido, who would face the bull in full career and escape by leaping to its forehead and over its back ; Costillares, who invented an ingenious way of getting in the death-stroke; the famous Pepe Hillo, who, like Candido, perished in the ring ; a second Romero, said to have killed five thousand six hundred bulls; Montes the brick-layer, and a bloody band of followers. Andalusia isalas!–the classic soil of the bull-fight, as every peasant knows, and Seville the top of Andalusia.
” I have a handsome lover, Too bold to fear the Devil, And he’s the best torero In all the town of Seville.”
The extravagance of the popular enthusiasm for these fiestas de toros is often ridiculed on the stage, where dramas dealing with bull-fighting, especially if they bring in the heroes of the arena, Pepe Hillo, Romero, Costillares, are sure to take. One zarzuela represents a rheumatic old aficionado, or devotee of the sport, trying, with ludicrous results, to screw his courage to the point of facing the bull. Another spends its fun on a Madrid barber, who is likewise a brain turned patron of the ring. Disregarding the shrill protests of his wife, he lavishes all his time, love, and money on the corridas and encourages his daughter’s novio, an honest young paper-hanger, to throw over his trade and learn to torear. After two years of the provincial arenas, the aspirant, nick-named in the ring The Baby, has nothing but torn clothes and bruises to show for his career, and his sweetheart, eager to recall him from the hazardous profession, vows a waxen bull, large as life, to the Virgin, in case he returns to papering, with its humble security and its regularity of wages. Mary hears. On that great occasion, The Baby’s debut at Madrid, the barber, who has just been lucky in the lottery, rents for him a gorgeous suit of second-hand finery, but in the Plaza de Toros not even a rose-and-silver jacket can shield a quaking heart. The Baby is a coward born, and from the first rush of the first bull comes off with a bloody coxcomb, crying out his shame on the shoulder of his Pilar, who shall henceforth have him all her own.
The little artist and I went into Spain with the firm determination not to patronize the bull-fight. Half our resolution we kept, her half. Wherever we turned we encountered suggestions of the corrida. Spanish newspapers, even the most serious, devote columns to Los Toros. Bull-fighting has its special publications, as El Toril and El Toreo Comico, and its special dialect. On the morning after a holy day the newspapers seem actually smeared with the blood of beasts. In the bull-fight season, from Easter to All Saints, corridas are held every Sunday in all the cities of southern and central Spain, while the smaller towns and villages butcher as many bulls as they can possibly afford. The May and June that I passed in the capital gave me a peculiar abhorrence of the Madrid Sunday,that feverish excitement everywhere ; the rattle of all those extra omnibuses and cars with their red-tasselled mules in full gallop for the Plaza de Toros; that sense of furious struggle and mortal agony hanging over the city all through the slow, hot afternoon ; those gaping crowds pressing to greet the toreros, a gaudy-suited company, on their triumphal return in open carriages ; that eager discussion of the day’s tragedy at every street-corner and from seat to seat along the-paseos, even at our own dainty dinner table and on our own balconies under the rebuking stars. At this strange Sabbath service the Infanta Isabel, whose mother’s birth was celebrated by the slaying of ninety-nine bulls, is a regular attendant, occupying the royal box and wearing the national colors. A French bull-fighter, visiting the Spanish capital, was invited by the Infanta to an audience and presented with a diamond pin. Not even the public mourning for Castelar could induce Madrid to forego the corrida on that Sunday just before his burial. Past the very senate-house where his body lay in state rolled the aristocratic landaus, whose ladies displayed the gala-wear of white mantillas.
But the Sundays were not enough. Every Catholic feast-day called for its sacrifice. Granada could not do fitting honor to Corpus Christi with less than three ” magnificas corridas.” The royal saint of Aranjuez, Fernando, must have his pious birthday kept by an orgy of blood. At the fiesta of Christ’s Ascension all Spain was busy staining his earth with the life-stream of His creatures. Valladolid was, indeed, ashamed to have torn to death only seven horses, but Segovia rejoiced in an expert who sat at his work and killed his bulls with drawing-room ease. Bordeaux improved the occasion, with aid of two celebrated Spanish espadas, by opening a French Plaza de Toros, and Valencia had the excitement of sending to the infirmary one torero with a broken leg and another with a crushed foot. Such accidents are by no means uncommon. A matador was mortally wounded in the Valencia ring that summer, a banderillero was trampled at the Escorial, and those favorite stabbers, Reverte and Bombita, were themselves stabbed by avenging horns.
If there is a temporary dearth of saint days, Spanish ingenuity will nevertheless find excuse for corridas. Bulls must bleed for holy charity, for hospitals, foundling asylums, the families of workmen out on strike. If the French squadron is at Cadiz, hospitality demands a bull-fight. In the interests of popular education, an historical corrida was arranged, with instructed toreros to display the special styles of bull-killing that have prevailed from the Cid to Guerrita. Again, as a zoological by-play, an elephant was pitted against the bulls. This, too, had precedent, for did not Philip IV once keep his birthday by turning in among the horned herd a lion, a tiger, a camel, and a bear, ” all Noah’s ark and AEsop’s fables ” ? A bull of Xarama vanquished them every one and received the gracious reward of being shot dead by Philip himself.
It was on a Wednesday afternoon, at one of the three grand corridas of the Seville Feria, that I became an accomplice in this Spanish crime. Our friends in Seville, people of cultivation and liberal views, had declared from the first that we could have no conception of Spanish life and character with-out sharing in the national fiesta. “We ourselves are not enthusiasts,” they said. ” In fact, we disapprove the bull-fight. We regard it as demoralizing to the community at large. It is, nevertheless, a thing scientific, artistic, heroic, Spanish. Be-sides, a large portion of the proceeds goes to charity. We do not attend the corridas, except now and then, especially when we have foreign guests who wish to see them. Before going they all regard bull-fighting as you do, as an atrocity, a barbarity, but invariably they return from the Plaza de Toros filled with delight and admiration. They say their previous ideas were all wrong, that it is a noble and splendid spectacle, that they want to see it again and again, that they cannot be too grateful to us for having delivered them from prejudice.”
I winced at the word. I have a prejudice against being prejudiced, and to the bullfight I went.
My yielding came too late for securing places in a box or in any part of the house from which one can make exit during the performance. Our gory-looking tickets admitted us to the uppermost row of high, whitewashed, stone seats of the circus proper, where we were soon inextricably wedged in by the human mass that formed around and below us. The hour of waiting passed merrily enough. The open amphitheatre, jammed to its full capacity of fourteen thousand, lay half in brilliant sunlight and half in creeping shadow. Above us arched the glowing blue sky of Seville, pricked by the rosy Giralda, and from time to time a strong-winged bird flew over. The great arena, strewn with yellow sand, was en-closed by a dark red barrier of wood, about the height of a man. This was encircled, at a little distance, by a more secure and higher wall of stone. The concourse was largely composed of men, both roughs and gentles, but there was no lack of ladies, elegantly dressed, nor of children. Two sweet little girls in white-feathered hats were just in front of us, dancing up and down to relieve the thrills of expectancy. White mantillas, pinned with jewels, bent from the boxes, while the daughters of the people dazzled the eye with their festival display of Manila shawls, some pure white, some with colored figures on a white ground or a black, and some a rain-bow maze of capricious needle-work. The rich-hued blossoms of Andalusia were worn in the hair and on the breast. The sunny side of the circus was brightly dotted by parasols, orange, green, vermilion, and fans in all the cardinal colors twinkled like a shivered kaleidoscope. The men’s black eyes glittered under those broad sombreros, white or drab, while they puffed their cigarettes with unwonted energy, scattering the ashes in soft gray showers over their neighbors on the seats below. The tumult of voices had a keener note of excitement than I had yet heard in Spain, and was so loud and insistent as often to drown the clashing music of the band. The cries of various venders swelled the mighty volume of noise. Water-sellers in vivid blouses and sashes, a red handkerchief twisted around the neck, on the left shoulder a cushion of folded carpeting for the shapely, yellow-brown jar, and a smart tin tray, holding two glasses, corded to the belt, went pushing through the throng. Criers of oranges, newspapers, crabs, and cockles, almond cakes, fans, and photographs of the toreros, strove with all the might of their lungs against the universal uproar.
“Crece el entusiasmo ; Crece la alegria ; Todo es algazara ; Todo es confusion.”
A tempest of applause marked the entrance in a box above of a popular prima donna, who draped a resplendent carmine scarf over the railing before her seat. Immediately the complete circuit of the rail was ablaze with color, cloaks and shawls instantly converting themselves into tapestry.
At last two attendants entered the arena, walked up to a hydrant in the centre, fastened on a hose, and watered the great circle. They pulled out the hydrant and raked sand over the hole. Simple as these actions were, a dreadful quiet fell on all the circus.
A trumpet blared. Mounted alguaciles, or police, tricked out in ancient Spanish costume, on blue saddles, and with tall blue plumes in their hats, rode in and cleared the arena of all stragglers. A door opened, and forth issued the full circus troupe, making a fine show of filigree, and urging their wretched old nags to a last moment of equine pride and spirit. Amid roars of welcome, they flaunted across the sanded enclosure and saluted the presiding officer. He dropped the key of the toril, that dark series of cells into which the bulls had been driven some hours before. An alguacil caught the key and handed it to the torilero, who ran with it toward a second door, ominously surmounted by a great bull’s head. Then there was a twinkling of the pink stockings and black sandals. Most of the gay company leaped the barrier, and even the chubs who remained in the ring placed themselves within convenient distance of the rail. Some of the picadores galloped out, but a few awaited the coming charge, their long pikes in rest. The door on which all eyes were bent flew open, and a bellowing red bull rushed in. The fierce, bloodthirsty, horrible yell that greeted him checked his impetuous onset. For a few seconds the creature stood stock-still, glaring at the scene. Heaven knows what he thought of us. He had had five perfect years of life on the banks of the Guadalquivir, one baby year by his mother’s side, one year of sportive roving with his mates, and then had come the trial of his valor. He had found all the herdsmen gathered at the ranch one morning, and, nevertheless, flattered himself that he had evaded those hateful pikes, garrochas, that were always goading him back when he would sally out to explore the great green world. At all events, here he was scampering alone across the plain. But promptly two horsemen were at his heels, and one of these, planting a blunt garrocha on his flank, rolled the youngster over. Up again, panting with surprise and indignation, he felt a homesick impulse to get back to the herd, but the second horseman was full in his path. So much the worse for the horseman ! The mettlesome young bull lowered his horns and charged the obstacle, only to be thrown back with a smarting shoulder. If he had yielded then, his would have been the quiet yoke and the long, dull life of labor, but he justified his breed ; he charged anew, and so proved himself worthy of the arena. Three more years of the deep, green river-reeds and the sweet Andalusian sunshine, three years of free, far range and glad companionship, and then the end. His days had been exempt from burden only to save his wild young strength for the final tragedy. One summer morning those traitors known as decoy-oxen, with bells about the neck, came trotting into the herd. The noble bulls, now at their best hour of life, the glory of their kind, welcomed these cunning guests with frank delight and interest, and were easily induced to follow them and their tinkling bells across the rich pastures, along rough country roads, even to the city itself and the fatal Plaza de Toros. The herdsmen with their ready pikes galloped behind the drove, and everywhere along the way peasants and townsfolk would fall in for a mile or two to help in urging the excited animals onward to their cruel doom.
In that strange, maddening sea of faces, that hubbub of hostile voices, the bull, as soon as his blinking eyes had effected the change from the darkness of the toril to the glaring light and gaudy colors of the coliseum, caught sight of a horseman with the familiar pike. Here was something that he recognized and hated. Lowering his head, the fiery brute dashed with a bellow at that tinselled figure. Ah, the pike had never been so sharp before ! It went deep into his shoulder, but could not hold him back. He plunged his horns, those mighty spears, into the body of the helpless, blindfolded horse, which the picador, whose jacket was well padded and whose legs were cased in iron, deliberately offered to his wrath. The poor horse shrieked, plunged, reeled, and fell, the chubs deftly dragging away the armored rider, while the bull ripped and trampled that quivering carcass, for whose torment no man cared, until it was a crimson, formless heap.
Such sickness swept over me that I did, not know what followed. When I looked again, two bloody masses that had once been horses disfigured the arena, and the bull, stuck all over like a hedge-hog with derisive, many-colored darts, had gone down under Guerrita’s steel.
My friends, observing with concern that I was not enjoying myself as much as they had promised, tried to divert my attention to the technical features of their ghastly game. It was really, they explained, a drama in three acts. It is the part of the mounted picador to draw off the first rage and vigor of the bull, weakening him, but not slaying him, by successive wounds. Then the jaunty banderilleros, the streamers of whose darts must correspond in color with their costumes, supply a picturesque and amusing element, a comic interlude. Finally an espada, or matador, advances alone to despatch the tortured creature. The death-blow can be dealt only in one of several fashions, established by rule and precedent, and the espada who is startled into an unprofessional thrust reaps a bitter harvest of scoffs and hisses.
A team of gayly-caparisoned mules with jingling bells had meanwhile trundled away the mangled bodies of the slaughtered animals, fresh sand had been thrown over the places slippery with blood, and the band pealed the entrance of the second bull. This was a demon, black as a coal, with a marvellous pride and spirit that availed him nothing. Horse after horse crashed down before his furious rushes, while the circus, drunk with glee, shouted for more victims and more and more. It was a massacre. At last our hideous greed was glutted, and the banderilleros took their turn in baiting the now enfeebled but undaunted bull. Wildly he shook himself, the fore half of his body already a flood of crimson, to throw off the ignominy of those stinging darts. The chubs fretted and fooled him with their waving cloaks of red and yellow, till at last the creature grew hushed and sullen. A strain of music announced that the matador Fuentes was asking beneath the president’s box permission to kill the bull. For my part, I gave the bull permission to kill the man. Fuentes, all pranked out in gray and gold, holding his keen blade behind him and flourishing a scarlet square of cloth, swinging from a rod, the muleta, advanced upon the brute. That bleeding body shook with a new access of rage, and the other espadas drew near and stood at watch. But even before a blow was struck the splendid, murdered creature sank to his knees, staggered up once more, sank again with crimson foam upon his mouth, and the music clashed jubilantly while Fuentes drove the weapon home. And again the team of mules, with foolish tossing of their bright-ribboned heads, jerked and jolted their dead kindred off the scene.
The third bull galloped in with a roar that was heard far beyond the Plaza and gored his first two horses so promptly and so frightfully that, while the hapless beasts still struggled in their agony, the amphitheatre howled with delirious joy. Several capas were caught away on those swift, effective horns, and one picador was hurt. But the rain of darts teased and bewildered the bull to the point of stupidity, although he was dangerous yet.
Dark is his hide on either side, but the blood within doth boil ; And the dun hide glows, as if on fire, as he paws to the turmoil. His eyes are jet, and they are set in crystal rings of snow ; But now they stare with one red glare of brass upon the foe.”
It was the turn of Bombita, a dandy in dark-green suit with silver trimmings; but his comrades, pale and intent, stood not fat off and from time to time, by irritating passes, drew the bull’s wrath upon themselves, wearying him ever more and more, until at last Bombita had his chance to plant a telling blow.
Would it never end ? Again the fatal door swung open, and the fourth bull bounded in to play his tragic role. He was of choicest pedigree, but the utter strangeness of the scene turned his taurine wits. He made distracted and aim-less rushes hither and thither, unheeding the provocations of the horsemen, until he came upon the spot drenched with his predecessor’s life-blood. He pawed away the hasty covering of sand, sniffed at that ominous stain, and then, throwing up his head with a strange bellow, bolted back to the door by which he had entered, and turned tail to the arena. The fourteen thousand, crazy with rage, sprang to their feet, shook their fists, called him cow. The chubs brandished their cloaks about his horns ; men leaned over from the barrier and prodded him with staffs. Finally, in desperation, he turned on the nearest horse, rent it and bore it down. The picador, once set up by the chubs upon his stiff; iron-cased legs, his yellow finery streaked with red from his lacerated horse, tugged savagely at the bridle to force that dying creature to a second stand. One attendant wrenched it by the tail, another beat it viciously over the face ; the all-enduring beast, his entrails swinging from a crimson gash, struggled to his feet. The picador mounted, drove in the spurs, and the horse, rocking and pitching, accomplished a few blind paces toward those dripping horns that horribly awaited him. But to the amazement and scandal of the aficionados, the circus raised a cry of protest, and the discomfited rider sprang down in the very moment when his horse fell to rise no more. A chulo, at his leisurely convenience, quieted those kicking hoofs by a stab, the one drop of mercy in that ocean of human outrage.
Straw-colored darts, wine-colored darts, sky-colored darts, were pricking the bull to frenzy. I wished he had any half-dozen of his enemies in a clear pasture. Those glittering dragon-flies were always just out of reach, but he stumbled on the sodden shape of the unhappy horse and tossed it again and again, making the poor carcass fling up its head and arch its neck in ghastly mockery of life. Cowardice avails a bull as little as courage. This sorry fighter had been deeply pierced by the garrochas, and now, as he galloped clumsily bout the arena, in unavailing efforts to escape from his tormentors, his violent, foolish plunges made the dark blood flow the faster. It was Guerrita, Guerrita the adored, Guerrita in gold-laced jacket and violet trousers, who struck the ultimate blow, and so cleverly that sombreros and cigarettes, oranges and pocket-flasks, came raining, amid furies of applause, into the arena. This was such a proud moment as he had dreamed of long ago in the Cordova slaughter-house, when, the little son of the slaughter-house porter, he had stolen from his bed at midnight to play al toro with the calves, and then and there had solemnly dedicated himself to the glorious profession. Now the master of his art and the idol of all Spain, easily making his seventy-five thousand dollars a year, earning, in fact, three thousand on that single afternoon, Guerrita little foresaw that with the coming autumn he should go on pilgrimage to La Virgen del Filar, and before her beloved shrine at Saragossa cut off his bull-fighter’s pigtail and renounce the ring.
The fifth bull was black as ebony. He dashed fearlessly into the arena, charged and wheeled and tossed his horns in the splendor of his strength, sending every red-vested chulo scrambling over the wall. Then he backed to the middle of the sanded circle, snorting and pawing the earth. Another instant, and the nearest horse and rider went crashing against the barrier. The picador, with a bruised face, forced up the gasping horse, mounted and rode it, the beast treading out its entrails as it went, to meet a second charge. But the swaying horse fell dead before it reached those lowered horns again. The next picador, too, went down heavily under his jade and received an awkward sprain. He mounted once more, to show that he could, and the circus cheered him, but his horse, torn to death, could not bear his weight. He gave it an angry push with the foot as he left it writhing in its life-blood. This whirlwind of a bull, who shook off all but one of the banderillas, mortified even the matadores. Disregarding the red rag, he rushed at Fuentes himself. The nimble torero leapt aside, but the bull’s horn struck his sword and sent it spinning half across the arena. His comrades immediately ran, with waving capas and bright steel, to his aid, but that too intelligent bull, fighting for his life, kept his foes at bay until the circus hissed with impatience. The toreros, visibly nettled, gathered closer and closer, but had to play that death-game cautiously. This bull was dangerous. The coliseum found him tedious. He took too long in dying. Stabbed again and again and again, he yet agonized to his feet and shook those crimsoned horns at his tormentors, who still hung back. It really was dull. The matadores buzzed about him, worrying his dying sight, but he stood sullen in their midst, refusing the charges to which they tempted him, guarding his last drops of strength, and, cardinal offence in a toro, holding his head too high for the professional stroke. His vital force was ebbing. Red foam dripped from his mouth. That weary hoof no longer pawed the earth. The people shouted insults even to their pet Guerrita, but Guerrita, like the rest, stood baffled. At last that formidable figure, no longer black, but a red glaze of blood and sweat and foam, fell in a sudden convulsion. Then his valiant murderers sprang upon him, the stabs came thick and fast, and the jingling mule-team pranced in to form his funeral cortege.
One more, the sixth. I was long past indignation, past any acuteness of pain, simply sickened through body and soul and unutterably wearied with this hideous monotony of slaughter. The last bull, a white star shining on his black forehead, tore into the arena, raced all about the circle, and struck with amazing rapidity wherever he saw a foe. Three horses were down, were up again, and were forced, all with trailing intestines, to a second charge. The bull flashed like a thunderbolt from one to another, rending and digging with his savage horns, until three mangled bodies writhed on the reddened sand, and stabbers watched their chances to run forward and quiet with the knife the horrible beating of those hoofs in air. The circus yelled delight. It had all been the work of a moment, a brave bull, a great sensation ! For the performers it was rather too much of a good thing. Those disembowelled carcasses cluttered up the arena. The scattered entrails were slippery under foot. The dart-throwers hastened to the next act of the tragedy. Theirs was a subtlety too much for the fury-fuddled wits of that mighty, blundering brute. He galloped to and fro, spending his strength in useless charges and, a score of times, ignoring the men to hook wildly at their brandished strips of colored cloth. The darts had been planted and he was losing blood. The matador went to his work, but the uncivil bull did not make it easy for him. Bombita could not get in a handsome blow. The house began to hoot and taunt. A stentorian voice called to him to ” kill that bull to-morrow.” Exasperated by the laughter that greeted this sally, Bombita drove his Toledo blade to its mark. While the final scene of general stabbing was going on, boys, men, even women vaulted into the arena, played over again with one another the more memorable incidents, ran to inspect those shapeless carcasses of what God created horses, and escorted the funeral train of the bull, one small boy riding in gleeful triumph on top of the great black body, harmless and still at last. As we passed out by a hall-way where the dead animals had been dragged, we had to pick our way through pools of blood and clots of entrails. Thus by the road of the shambles we came forth from hell.
” I do not understand at all,” sincerely protested my Spanish host, disconcerted by the continued nausea and horror of red dreams which, justly enough, pursued me for weeks after. “It was a very favorable corrida for a beginner,no serious accident, no use of the fire-darts, no houghing of the bull with the demi-lune, nothing objectionable. And, after all, animals are only animals; they are not Christians.”
“Who were the Christians in that circus?” I asked. “How could devils have been worse than we?”
He half glanced toward the morning paper but was too kindly to speak his thought. It was not necessary. I had read the paper, which gave half a column to a detailed account of a recent lynching, with torture, in the United States.