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carry bells, and are driven by men with lances, who conduct them to the place of destination, travelling only by night, and avoiding frequented places.
At Madrid, people go to see the animals, the evening before a combat, in a meadow called el aroyo. Amateurs are known as aficionados, and they are as experienced in the points of a bull as our men of the turf are in the points of a horse. At night the animals are shut up in boxes, the gates of which are opened by ropes moving on pulleys, and from which they issue forth only to find themselves in the arena. When they appear to be pacifically disposed, they are previously harassed with spears, and even frictions with nitric acid are said to be had recourse to, and to exasperate them in the highest degree, which they well may do.
Each bull carries on its neck a tuft of ribbons, which are made fast by means of a thread passed through the hide. This is called the divisa, and the colours of the devisas are indicated in the programme, with the names of the owner and the district whence it came.
All the bulls that appear in the arena in places of secondary importance are not necessarily put to death. The programme then makes an announcement, as for example, Se lidiaran seis toros, siende dos de muerte, “six bulls will be fought, two of them to death.” But at Madrid the slaughter is complete, and no bull goes out of the arena alive.
The number of victims is mostly eight, and these generally disembowel each two or three horses before being given up to the rapier of the espada. Such constitutes a media-corrida, or a demi-combat. A whole combat, as it was formerly understood, and in the times of Ferdinando VII., a zealous aficionado, consisted of two acts, in which thirteen bulls performed, the first act being played in the morning and the second à la tarde, that is to say, about five in the evening. The second act is the only one that is now performed, and that in the presence of a vast concourse of spectators, in the circus to the left of the handsome gate, Alcala, as you go out of the town.
The arena is in general very spacious; the drama requires room for its development, and the smaller the place is, the greater the danger. The circus of Cadiz, which is one of the smallest in Spain, is dreaded by the most intrepid toreros. If the bulls are active, or, as it is expressed in the jargon of the sport, de muechas piernas, the torero has to keep close to the barriers, or he might be easily caught. In more extensive arenas the torero soon leaves the bull at a distance, for they do not run quick except under the impulse of the first rush, and they soon get tired.
The circuses of Madrid, Seville, Xeres, Malaga, and Valentia will accommodate from ten to twelve thousand spectators, so it can be easily imagined what a size the arena is. A barrier of planks, called las tablas, is raised round the arena to a height of about six or seven feet, and this bas a raised step running all round within, so that the torero can put his foot on it and vault over the barrier, if hard pushed. Between the tablas and the lowest seats in the amphitheatre, an open space, four or five feet in width, is left for the use of those engaged in the service. These lowest seats in the circus, known as the asientos
de barrera, are those which are most sought after, although they are the most dangerous; for it sometimes happens to the bull, when carried away by excitement, to leap the barrier. The boxes, called tertulias or palcos, are situated higher up.
Four entrances give admittance to the arena. The first, which is placed opposite to the ayuntamiento, is called the toril, and is the passage by which the bulls enter. The second, on the opposite side, is the matadero, and the dead bodies of the bulls are carried out by it. The third opens upon the stables and the kennels; and the fourth leads to the space reserved for the toreros, where they dress and are tended in case of accident.
All those who are engaged in the combats are comprised under the general designation of toreros or diestros; it is seldom that the names of toreador or of matador are now used. The toreros are, however, divided into several categories, each of which has its especial mission to fulfil. The part which each actor has to perform in the tragedy is indeed distinctly marked out for him. The picador has to encounter the first rush of the bull, and he is posted at the distance of only a few paces from the toril. One of the essential qualities of an efficient picador is that he should be a good horseman, the more especially as they are for the most part wretchedly mounted. As, further, he has often to make the best of his way to a place of safety on a horse that has been disembowelled and is half dead, he must excel in the art of supporting his steed. It requires, also, that he should be a powerful man, and of a certain weight, in order to resist the onslaught of the bull. He must also be experienced in falls, for he has many to undergo, his horse being sometimes thrown over with its four legs in the air. His resource under such circumstances consists in falling by the side of the horse, so that the latter shall serve as a kind of shield, and receive the butts from the horns which are in reality addressed to the rider. The picador's arm, as his name indicates, is a lance six or seven feet in length, with a spear of from two to three inches, which can wound and irritate the animal, but not kill it. The picador wears a leather thumbstall, so that the lance (vará) shall not slip in his hand. He must strike the bull on the left shoulder, and nowhere else, under pain of dishonour. A thrust that should tell elsewhere would be looked upon as a cowardly assassination. Some are so skilful that they will strike the bull several times in the same placea carefulness which no doubt the poor beast duly appreciates.
The picador, when the alcade makes the sign for the portals to be opened, gets a firm seat, lowers his lance, and awaits the onslaught of the bull,
motionless on the back of his horse, whose eyes are carefully bandaged. This is scarcely fair to the equine quadruped, to whom it must be as disagreeable to be disembowelled by an unseen enemy as it is to the taurine quadruped to be speared many times in the same hole.) If the picador has a vigorous arm and a good seat, the bull passes by, after having felt the full weight of the lance, which leaves on its shoulder a wound which, before long, stripes its black hide with purple streamlets, and it wends its way towards a second picador who is posted alongside the barriers at some distance from the first. Sometimes, however, the bull, if it be a spirited animal, or, as it is
termed, claro, rushes at the first picador again, regardless of the thrusts of the spear, and drives his horns into the chest or abdomen of the poor bandaged horse. The position then becomes critical, for, thus belaboured, the horse soon tumbles over on its side. The picador under such circumstances gets alongside the barriers, and vaults over into the space intervening between them and the first seats ; or he shields his body behind the prostrate horse, waiting till the chulos come to his rescue, which they do by shaking brilliant-coloured capes in the muzzle of the bull, and thus lead away the stupid beast after a vain shadow, and when one or two more thrusts with his horns might have assured him a complete revenge.
The picador must, we are told, be made of iron to resist such violent shocks and such tremendous falls as they have to endure. The floor of the arena is, however, well laid with sawdust, like the interior of an equestrian circus, to break the falls. The most renowned picadors of the present day are Sevilla, Fabre Rodrigues, Juan de Dios Dominguez, Joaquin Evisto, Antonio Sanchez, José Trigo, Joaquin Coito, and Francesco Briones of Puerto Réal; but Sevilla is “ facile princeps.”
The capeador or chulo comes immediately after the picador. He v mast be young, slim, active, and swift of foot. He has no other arm
than a capa, or cape of brilliant-coloured stuff, bright red, blue, yellow, or even green : all these colours easily distract the attention of the ferocious beast. The duties of the chulo are to worry the bull, to attract him from one spot to another, and especially, as we have seen, to give the change when a picador is unsaddled and in danger of being butted with the animal's horns; this is called, in technical language, capear, or sacar de capa, as also trastear. None of these words belonging to the Tauromachian dictionary have an equivalent in French, or in any other language; they belong exclusively to Spain, like the things which they represent. (Capear is translated in Gattel, “ to give signals with a cloak.” Sacar is especially colloquial, as sacar a luz, to produce; sacar a limpio, to clear; sacar per el rastro, to discover by the track. Trastear is, we are told by the same authority, "to. turn over the lumber of a house," or to play finely on an instrument:" in this instance it probably means to play with the feelings of the bull.)
The suertes, or tricks with the cape: the most in vogue are the veroncia, the navarra el chatre, the recortes, and the galleos. The veroncia and the navarra are especially common; to execute them the ehulo places himself right before the bull, calls him (cita) on his “jurisdiction,” that is to say, makes him leaves his ground, opens his arms, shakes his cape before the animal's eyes, and then runs away. In the navarra, after having shaken his cape on the muzzle of the beast, he simply jumps on one side as the bull rushes onwards. These brilliant and graceful evolutions are seldom attended with much danger. If the diestro is too sharply pursued, he has only to throw his cape behind him; the furious animal butts it, tears it with his feet and horns, throws it up in the air, embarrasses bimself in its folds, or makes a turban of it, after the fashion of the orientals. These suertes, however, serve at once to excite and fatigue the bull. Instead of rushing
upon the diestro, the animal gradually begins to content itself with advancing a few paces on the cape, and then returns to its querencia. Something more exciting becomes necessary to arouse its flagging passions. The time has come for affixing the banderillas. These are arrows about three feet in length, with an iron barb at the extremity, which fixes itself in the flesh; and it is further adorned with wings of paper, which rustle and flutter in the air. When the quadrille, as the troop that every matador brings with him is designated, is not numerous, the capeadores do duty as banderilleros ; but generally the suertes de banderillas are executed by especial actors. They require considerable coolness, agility, and skill, and may easily become dangerous.
The banderillo advances towards the bull,"attracting its attention by striking his barbed arrows one against the other. The bull moves to the encounter, lowering its head, or “humbling" himself, in technical language, in order to give its opponent the cogida; this is the moment for planting the barbs, which is done by opening the arms and fixing one in each shoulder. If the bull has been well played by the .capeadores, that is to say, if the mantle has been cast very low, and it has got into the way of lowering its head well, the suertes de banderillas are accomplished with dexterity and security; but if, on the contrary, it holds its head high, the feat is one both of difficulty and danger. It is indispensable to the success of the banderillo that he should have a just appreciation of the animal's character, of the state of fatigue or anger it is in, and of the side by which it butts by preference, and which is indicated by the more rapid movement of the ear to the right or to the left. When the bull has three or four pairs of banderillas fixed in his shoulders, then he is doomed to death.
The espada, who up to this time has been apparently an unconcerned spectator of the different events of the combat, but who has in reality been carefully studying the qualities, the babits, and the faults of the foaming monster, with whom it is now his turn to struggle, advances in front of the ayuntamiento’s box, sword in hand, and a red veil attached to a stick, called muleta, on his arm, and he asks permission to administer the final estocade or thrust. The permission being granted, he throws his montera in the air, to show that he is prepared to risk all and everything, and he turns to the perilous encounter.
The costume of the espada is at once elegant and rich. The picadors are possibly more picturesque in their wide leather trousers, their red, orange, or blue velvet jackets, decorated with no end of embroidery, buttons, and ornaments, their silken sashes and their widebrimmed monteras, or hats, with coloured streamers; but the espada, in his doublet of satin, embroidered with gold or silver, and in breeches and silk stockings, seems too much of the gentleman to be what he is—a matador. Some of the costumes of the espadas have been known to cost from 601. to 801. of our money.
The arms of the matador consist of a long sword, with a handle in the form of a cross, and of the muleta before noticed, and which helps him to excite the bull, to run the changes upon it, and, above all, to “humble” it, that is to say, to make it lower its head, a position essential to the performance of certain estocades. There are, indeed, various
suertes de muerte, or death-thrusts, which are executed with the variations necessitated by the peculiar character and dispositions of the four-footed antagonist. One of the most common is that described as á toro recibido. The matador confronts the bull, challenges it with movements to and fro of his muleta, and, when it rushes at him, holds out his sword between its horns with extended arm. The animal transfixes itself, and at the same moment the torero jumps aside to avoid the impulse forwards.
The estocada de vuela piés, the invention of which is attributed to. Joaquin Rodriguès, demands, on the contrary, that the bull should be perfectly quiescent; it is one of the most beautiful feats of the sword that can be contemplated, and, when perfectly successful, the colossal brute falls at the feet of his pigmy opponent without having lost a drop of blood, and as if struck down by lightning. It is indeed a strange and surprising spectacle to see the immobility of death succeed 80 instantaneously to so much fury and agitation.
There are also other estocades that are less frequently had recourse to; such are the estocada á la carrera, á media vuelta, and á paso de banderillas, which serve to give variety to the combats, and are also sometimes necessitated when the animals are of cowardly, malicious, or treacherous dispositions. It would be difficult, Théophile Gautier says, to give an accurate idea of these different kinds of estocades, the technical terms of tauromachia having no equivalents in our languages, and hence each word would require a periphrase or a commentary.
The death of the bull does not always follow immediately upon an estocade. It sometimes happens that the sword, entering from above, strikes upon a bone, and is driven sideways; it is necessary in such a case to begin again. The most skilful toreros do not always succeed at the first thrust. The estocades are followed by the immediate death of the animal only when, penetrating between two of the vertebræ, they cut the spinal marrow, or reach what the toreros call the herradura. Such a thrust kills the bull even when the sword has gone in but a slight depth. The torero knows when the sword has cut the herradura, when it has penetrated obliquely in the lower part of the chest. The bull remains a minute or two on its legs and then falls dead, without a drop of blood issuing from the wound or from the muzzle. The torero, who, however, knows what will follow, leaves the bull to its fate, and turns round to salute the spectators par manière de gentillesse, the latter still gazing uncertain if the bull has received its death-wound.
Sometimes a torero or chulo has to advance and agitate a cape before the eyes of the animal to induce it to move before it falls over. Then the cachetero comes forward, armed with his puntilla, with which he gives the coup de grace at the base of the horns. This operation is called cachetear.
Some sword-thrusts, called golletes, cause the bull to vomit a great deal of blood, and are on that account viewed with disfavour. Some. times, also, the animals are so cowardly that they cannot be got to move; and this necessitates the use of the media luna, a kind of crescent, by means of which the hamstrings are cleft behind.