Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub
[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

THE ROMANCE OF TRAVEL.

Spain and the Bullfights.

E commence our series of sketches of travel with an account by a recent traveller in Spain of the bull fights, the most curious and unique amusement of modern times, which has not unaptly been compared with the gladiatorial combats of the ancient Romans. The practice is common in the Spanish colonies as well as in the mother country. Our traveller says, During my residence in Spain, it was not long be

fore I discovered in the whole nation a strong predilection for a kind of spectacle peculiar to that country, I mean bull fights. Though not

[graphic]

partial to them myself, I have, however, been present at these exhibitions, and shall give you an accurate account of every thing relative to them.

You must know, in the first place, that the Spanish breed of bulls is very strong and vigorous. The Spaniards are reported in all ages to have attached great importance to the taming of these fierce animals, and to have honored with their particular regard those men who, by their courage and address, successfully accomplished so perilous an undertaking. This it doubtless was that gave rise to the sports known by the appellation of the bull fights, established in the principal towns of Spain. For this purpose the Spaniards have built vast amphitheatres, whose arena is the stage on which those who make a profession of fighting with bulls display their prowess. All round the circumference are ranged seats for the spectators, who sometimes assemble to the number of many thousands. If I recollect rightly, the amphitheatre of Madrid is capable of containing about twelve thousand persons. The price of places varies considerably, according as they are sheltered or exposed, in the shade, or in the sun; for these amphitheatres have no roofs. The spectacle takes place in the open air, and in broad day light.

A magistrate, attended by two police officers, called in Spanish alguazils, presides at the theatre for the preservation of order. At a signal given by the magistrate, & folding-door at the farther end of the arena opens, and the bull furiously advances. At the sight of the multitude of spectators by whom he is surrounded, he stops short

[graphic][subsumed][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »