The bull-fight is the national festival of Spain. The rigid Britons have had their fling at it for many years. The effeminate badaud of Paris has declaimed against its barbarity. Even the aristocracy of Spain has begun to suspect it of vulgarity and to withdraw from the arena the light of its noble countenance. But the Spanish people still hold it to their hearts and refuse to be weaned from it.

"As Panem et Circenses was the cry Among the Roman populace of old, So Pan y Toros is the cry in Spain."

It is a tradition which has passed into their national existence. They received it from nowhere. They have transmitted it nowhither except to their own colonies. In late years an effort has been made to transplant it, but with small success. There were a few bull-fights four years ago at Havre. There was a sensation of curiosity which soon died away. This year in London the experiment was tried, but was hooted out of existence, to the great displeasure of the Spanish journals, who said the ferocious Islanders would doubtless greatly prefer baiting to death a half dozen Irish serfs from the estate of Lord Fritters, - a gentle diversion in which we are led to believe the British peers pass their leisure hours.

It is this monopoly of the bull-fight which so endears it to the Spanish heart. It is to them conclusive proof of the vast superiority of both the human and taurine species in Spain. The eminent torero, Pepe Illo, said: "The love of bulls is inherent in man, especially in the Spaniard, among which glorious people there have been bull-fights ever since bulls were, because," adds Pepe, with that modesty which forms so charming a trait of the Iberian character, "the Spanish men are as much more brave than all other men, as the Spanish bull is more savage and valiant than all other bulls."

The sport permeates the national life. I have seen it woven into the tapestry of palaces, and rudely stamped on the handkerchief of the peasant. It is the favorite game of children in the street. Loyal Spain was thrilled with joy recently on reading in its Paris correspondence that when the exiled Prince of Asturias went for a half-holiday to visit his imperial comrade at the Tuileries, the urchins had a game of "toro" on the terrace, admirably conducted by the little Bourbon and followed up with great spirit by the little Montijo-Bonaparte.

The bull-fight has not always enjoyed the royal favor. Isabel the Catholic would fain have abolished bathing and bull-fighting together. The Spaniards, who willingly gave up their ablutions, stood stoutly by their bulls, and the energetic queen was baffled. Again when the Bourbons came in with Philip V., the courtiers turned up their thin noses at the coarse diversion, and induced the king to abolish it. It would not stay abolished, however, and Philip's successor built the present coliseum in expiation. The spectacle has, nevertheless, lost much of its early splendor by the hammering of time. Formerly the gayest and bravest gentlemen of the court, mounted on the best horses in the kingdom, went into the arena and defied the bull in the names of their lady-loves. Now the bull is baited and slain by hired artists, and the horses they mount are the sorriest hacks that ever went to the knacker.

One of the most brilliant shows of the kind that was ever put upon the scene was the Festival of Bulls given by Philip IV. in honor of Charles I.,

  "When the Stuart came from far, 
  Led by his love's sweet pain, 
  To Mary, the guiding star 
  That shone in the heaven of Spain."

And the memory of that dazzling occasion was renewed by Ferdinand VII. in the year of his death, when he called upon his subjects to swear allegiance to his baby Isabel. This festival took place in the Plaza Mayor. The king and court occupied the same balconies which Charles and his royal friend and model had filled two centuries before. The champions were poor nobles, of good blood but scanty substance, who fought for glory and pensions, and had quadrilles of well-trained bull-fighters at their stirrups to prevent the farce from becoming tragedy. The royal life of Isabel of Bourbon was inaugurated by the spilled blood of one hundred bulls save one. The gory prophecy of that day has been well sustained. Not one year has passed since then free from blood shed in her cause.

But these extraordinary attractions are not necessary to make a festival of bulls the most seductive of all pleasures to a Spaniard. On any pleasant Sunday afternoon, from Easter to All Souls, you have only to go into the street to see that there is some great excitement fusing the populace into one living mass of sympathy. All faces are turned one way, all minds are filled with one purpose. From the Puerta del Sol down the wide Alcala a vast crowd winds, solid as a glacier and bright as a kaleidoscope. From the grandee in his blazoned carriage to the manola in her calico gown, there is no class unrepresented. Many a red hand grasps the magic ticket which is to open the realm of enchantment to-day, and which represents short commons for a week before. The pawnbrokers' shops have been very animated for the few preceding days. There is nothing too precious to be parted with for the sake of the bulls. Many of these smart girls have made the ultimate sacrifice for that coveted scrap of paper. They would leave one their mother's cross with the children of Israel rather than not go. It is no cheap entertainment. The worst places in the broiling sun cost twenty cents, four reals; and the boxes are sold usually at fifteen dollars. These prices are necessary to cover the heavy expenses of bulls, horses, and gladiators.

The way to the bull-ring is one of indescribable animation. The cabmen drive furiously this day their broken-kneed nags, who will soon be found on the horns of the bulls, for this is the natural death of the Madrid cab-horse; the omnibus teams dash gayly along with their shrill chime of bells; there are the rude jests of clowns and the high voices of excited girls; the water-venders droning their tempting cry, "Cool as the snow!" the sellers of fans and the merchants of gingerbread picking up their harvests in the hot and hungry crowd.

The Plaza de Toros stands just outside the monumental gate of the Alcala. It is a low, squat, prison-like circus of stone, stuccoed and whitewashed, with no pretence of ornament or architectural effect. There is no nonsense whatever about it. It is built for the killing of bulls and for no other purpose. Around it, on a day of battle, you will find encamped great armies of the lower class of Madrilenos, who, being at financial ebb-tide, cannot pay to go in. But they come all the same, to be in the enchanted neighborhood, to hear the shouts and roars of the favored ones within, and to seize any possible occasion for getting in. Who knows? A caballero may come out and give them his check. An English lady may become disgusted and go home, taking away numerous lords whose places will be vacant. The sky may fall, and they may catch four reals' worth of larks. It is worth taking the chances.

One does not soon forget the first sight of the full coliseum. In the centre is the sanded arena, surrounded by a high barrier. Around this rises the graded succession of stone benches for the people; then numbered seats for the connoisseurs; and above a row of boxes extending around the circle. The building holds, when full, some fourteen thousand persons; and there is rarely any vacant space. For myself I can say that what I vainly strove to imagine in the coliseum at Rome, and in the more solemn solitude of the amphitheatres of Capua and Pompeii, came up before me with the vividness of life on entering the bull-ring of Madrid. This, and none other, was the classic arena. This was the crowd that sat expectant, under the blue sky, in the hot glare of the South, while the doomed captives of Dacia or the sectaries of Judea commended their souls to the gods of the Danube, or the Crucified of Galilee. Half the sand lay in the blinding sun. Half the seats were illuminated by the fierce light. The other half was in shadow, and the dark crescent crept slowly all the afternoon across the arena as the sun declined in the west.

It is hard to conceive a more brilliant scene. The women put on their gayest finery for this occasion. In the warm light, every bit of color flashes out, every combination falls naturally into its place. I am afraid the luxuriance of hues in the dress of the fair Iberians would be considered shocking in Broadway, but in the vast frame and broad light of the Plaza the effect was very brilliant. Thousands of party-colored paper fans are sold at the ring. The favorite colors are the national red and yellow, and the fluttering of these broad, bright disks of color is dazzlingly attractive. There is a gayety of conversation, a quick fire of repartee, shouts of recognition and salutation, which altogether make up a bewildering confusion.

The weary young water-men scream their snow-cold refreshment. The orange-men walk with their gold-freighted baskets along the barrier, and throw their oranges with the most marvellous skill and certainty to people in distant boxes or benches. They never miss their mark. They will throw over the heads of a thousand people a dozen oranges into the outstretched hands of customers, so swiftly that it seems like one line of gold from the dealer to the buyer.

At length the blast of a trumpet announces the clearing of the ring. The idlers who have been lounging in the arena are swept out by the alguaciles, and the hum of conversation gives way to an expectant silence. When the last loafer has reluctantly retired, the great gate is thrown open, and the procession of the toreros enters. They advance in a glittering line: first the marshals of the day, then the picadors on horseback, then the matadors on foot surrounded each by his quadrille of chulos. They walk towards the box which holds the city fathers, under whose patronage the show is given, and formally salute the authority. This is all very classic, also, recalling the Ave Caesar, morituri, etc., of the gladiators. It lacks, however, the solemnity of the Roman salute, from those splendid fellows who would never all leave the arena alive. A bullfighter is sometimes killed, it is true, but the percentage of deadly danger is scarcely enough to make a spectator's heart beat as the bedizened procession comes flashing by in the sun.

The municipal authority throws the bowing alguacil a key, which he catches in his hat, or is hissed if he misses it. With this he unlocks the door through which the bull is to enter, and then scampers off with undignified haste through the opposite entrance. There is a bugle flourish, the door flies open, and the bull rushes out, blind with the staring light, furious with rage, trembling in every limb. This is the most intense moment of the day. The glorious brute is the target of twelve thousand pairs of eyes. There is a silence as of death, while every one waits to see his first movement. He is doomed from the beginning; the curtain has risen on a three-act tragedy, which will surely end with his death, but the incidents which are to fill the interval are all unknown. The minds and eyes of all that vast assembly know nothing for the time but the movements of that brute. He stands for an instant recovering his senses. He has been shot suddenly out of the darkness into that dazzling light. He sees around him a sight such as he never confronted before, - a wall of living faces lit up by thousands of staring eyes. He does not dwell long upon this, however; in his pride and anger he sees a nearer enemy. The horsemen have taken position near the gate, where they sit motionless as burlesque statues, their long ashen spears, iron-tipped, in rest, their wretched nags standing blindfolded, with trembling knees, and necks like dromedaries, not dreaming of their near fate. The bull rushes, with a snort, at the nearest one. The picador holds firmly, planting his spear-point in the shoulder of the brute. Sometimes the bull flinches at this sharp and sudden punishment, and the picador, by a sudden turn to the left, gets away unhurt. Then there is applause for the torero and hisses for the bull. Some indignant amateurs go so far as to call him cow, and to inform him that he is the son of his mother. But oftener he rushes in, not caring for the spear, and with one toss of his sharp horns tumbles horse and rider in one heap against the barrier and upon the sand. The capeadores, the cloak-bearers, come fluttering around and divert the bull from his prostrate victims. The picador is lifted to his feet, - his iron armor not permitting him to rise without help, - and the horse is rapidly scanned to see if his wounds are immediately mortal. If not, the picador mounts again, and provokes the bull to another rush. A horse will usually endure two or three attacks before dying. Sometimes a single blow from in front pierces the heart, and the blood spouts forth in a cataract. In this case the picador hastily dismounts, and the bridle and saddle are stripped in an instant from the dying brute. If a bull is energetic and rapid in execution, he will clear the arena in a few moments. He rushes at one horse after another, tears them open with his terrible "spears" ("horns" is a word never used in the ring), and sends them madly galloping over the arena, trampling out their gushing bowels as they fly. The assistants watch their opportunity, from time to time, to take the wounded horses out of the ring, plug up their gaping rents with tow, and sew them roughly up for another sally. It is incredible to see what these poor creatures will endure, - carrying their riders at a lumbering gallop over the ring, when their thin sides seem empty of entrails.

Sometimes the bull comes upon the dead body of a horse he has killed. The smell of blood and the unmoving helplessness of the victim excite him to the highest pitch. He gores and tramples the carcass, and tosses it in the air with evident enjoyment, until diverted by some living tormentor. You will occasionally see a picador nervous and anxious about his personal safety. They are ignorant and superstitious, and subject to presentiments; they often go into the ring with the impression that their last hour has come. If one takes counsel of his fears and avoids the shock of combat, the hard-hearted crowd immediately discover it and rain maledictions on his head. I saw a picador once enter the ring as pale as death. He kept carefully out of the way of the bull for a few minutes. The sharp-eyed Spaniards noticed it, and commenced shouting, "Craven! He wants to live forever!" They threw orange-skins at him, and at last, their rage vanquishing their economy, they pelted him with oranges. His pallor gave way to a flush of shame and anger. He attacked the bull so awkwardly that the animal, killing his horse, threw him also with great violence. His hat flew off, his bald head struck the hard soil. He lay there as one dead, and was borne away lifeless. This mollified the indignant people, and they desisted from their abuse.

A cowardly bull is much more dangerous than a courageous one, who lowers his head, shuts his eyes, and goes blindly at everything he sees. The last refuge of a bull in trouble is to leap the barrier, where he produces a lively moment among the water-carriers and orange-boys and stage-carpenters. I once saw a bull, who had done very little execution in the arena, leap the barrier suddenly and toss an unfortunate carpenter from the gangway sheer into the ring. He picked himself up, laughed, saluted his friends, ran a little distance and fell, and was carried out dying. Fatal accidents are rarely mentioned in the newspapers, and it is considered not quite good form to talk about them.

When the bull has killed enough horses, the first act of the play terminates. But this is an exceedingly delicate matter for the authorities to decide. The audience will not endure any economy in this respect. If the bull is enterprising and "voluntary," he must have as many horses as he can dispose of. One day in Madrid the bulls operated with such activity that the supply of horses was exhausted before the close of the show, and the contractors rushed out in a panic and bought a half dozen screws from the nearest cab-stand. If the president orders out the horses before their time, he will hear remarks by no means complimentary from the austere groundlings.

The second act is the play of the banderilleros, the flag-men. They are beautifully dressed and superbly built fellows, principally from Andalusia, got up precisely like Figaro in the opera. Theirs is the most delicate and graceful operation of the bull-fight. They take a pair of barbed darts, with little banners fluttering at their ends, and provoke the bull to rush at them. At the instant he reaches them, when it seems nothing can save them, they step aside and plant the banderillas in the neck of the bull. If the bull has been cowardly and sluggish, and the spectators have called for "fire," darts are used filled with detonating powder at the base, which explode in the flesh of the bull. He dances and skips like a kid or a colt in his agony, which is very diverting to the Spanish mind. A prettier conceit is that of confining small birds in paper cages, which come apart when the banderilla is planted, and set the little fluttering captives free.

Decking the bull with these torturing ornaments is the last stage in the apprenticeship of the chulo, before he rises to the dignity of matador, or killer. The matadors themselves on special occasions think it no derogation from their dignity to act as banderilleros. But they usually accompany the act with some exaggeration of difficulty that reaps for them a harvest of applause. Frascuelo sits in a chair and plants the irritating bannerets. Lagartijo lays his handkerchief on the ground and stands upon it while he coifs the bull. A performance which never fails to bring down the house is for the torero to await the rush of the bull, and when the bellowing monster comes at him with winking eyes and lowered head, to put his slippered foot between the horns, and vault lightly over his back.

These chulos exhibit the most wonderful skill and address in evading the assault of the bull. They can almost always trick him by waving their cloaks a little out of the line of their flight. Sometimes, however, the bull runs straight at the man, disregarding the flag, and if the distance is great to the barrier the danger is imminent; for swift as these men are, the bulls are swifter. Once I saw the bull strike the torero at the instant he vaulted over the barrier. He fell sprawling some distance the other side, safe, but terribly bruised and stunned. As soon as he could collect himself he sprang into the arena again, looking very seedy; and the crowd roared, "Saved by miracle." I could but think of Basilio, who, when the many cried, "A miracle," answered, "Industria! Industria!" But these bullfighters are all very pious, and glad to curry favor with the saints by attributing every success to their intervention. The famous matador, Paco Montes, fervently believed in an amulet he carried, and in the invocation of Our Lord of the True Cross. He called upon this special name in every tight place, and while other people talked of his luck he stoutly affirmed it was his faith that saved him; often he said he saw the veritable picture of the Passion coming down between him and the bull, in answer to his prayers. At every bull-ring there is a little chapel in the refreshment-room where these devout ruffians can toss off a prayer or two in the intervals of work. A priest is always at hand with a consecrated wafer, to visa the torero's passport who has to start suddenly for Paradise. It is not exactly regular, but the ring has built many churches and endowed many chapels, and must not be too rigidly regarded. In many places the chief boxes are reserved for the clergy, and prayers are hurried through an hour earlier on the day of combat.

The final act is the death of the bull. It must come at last. His exploits in the early part of his career afford to the amateur some indication of the manner in which he will meet his end. If he is a generous, courageous brute, with more heart than brains, he will die gallantly and be easily killed. But if he has shown reflection, forethought, and that saving quality of the oppressed, suspicion, the matador has a serious work before him. The bull is always regarded from this objective standpoint. The more power of reason the brute has, the worse opinion the Spaniard has of him. A stupid creature who rushes blindly on the sword of the matador is an animal after his own heart. But if there be one into whose brute brain some glimmer of the awful truth has come, - and this sometimes happens, - if he feels the solemn question at issue between him and his enemy, if he eyes the man and not the flag, if he refuses to be fooled by the waving lure, but keeps all his strength and all his faculties for his own defence, the soul of the Spaniard rises up in hate and loathing. He calls on the matador to kill him any way. If he will not rush at the flag, the crowd shouts for the demi-lune; and the noble brute is houghed from behind, and your soul grows sick with shame of human nature, at the hellish glee with which they watch him hobbling on his severed legs.

This seldom happens. The final act is usually an admirable study of coolness and skill against brute force. When the banderillas are all planted, and the bugles sound for the third time, the matador, the espada, the sword, steps forward with a modest consciousness of distinguished merit, and makes a brief speech to the corregidor, offering in honor of the good city of Madrid to kill the bull. He turns on his heel, throws his hat by a dexterous back-handed movement over the barrier, and advances, sword and cape in hand, to where his noble enemy awaits him. The bull appears to recognize a more serious foe than any he has encountered. He stops short and eyes the newcomer curiously. It is always an impressive picture: the tortured, maddened animal, whose thin flanks are palpitating with his hot breath, his coat one shining mass of blood from the darts and the spear-thrusts, his massive neck still decked as in mockery with the fluttering flags, his fine head and muzzle seeming sharpened by the hour's terrible experience, his formidable horns crimsoned with onset; in front of this fiery bulk of force and courage, the slight, sinewy frame of the killer, whose only reliance is on his coolness and his intellect. I never saw a matador come carelessly to his work. He is usually pale and alert. He studies the bull for a moment with all his eyes. He waves the blood-red engano, or lure, before his face. If the bull rushes at it with his eyes shut, the work is easy. He has only to select his own stroke and make it. But if the bull is jealous and sly, it requires the most careful management to kill him. The disposition of the bull is developed by a few rapid passes of the red flag. This must not be continued too long: the tension of the nerves of the auditory will not bear trifling. I remember one day the crowd was aroused to fury by a bugler from the adjoining barracks playing retreat at the moment of decision. All at once the matador seizes the favorable instant. He poises his sword as the bull rushes upon him. The point enters just between the left shoulder and the spine; the long blade glides in up to the hilt. The bull reels and staggers and dies. Sometimes the matador severs the vertebrae. The effect is like magic. He lays the point of his sword between the bull's horns, as lightly as a lady who touches her cavalier with her fan, and he falls dead as a stone.

If the blow is a clean, well-delivered one, the enthusiasm of the people is unbounded. Their approval comes up in a thunderous shout of "Well done! Valiente! Viva!" A brown shower of cigars rains on the sand. The victor gathers them up: they fill his hands, his pockets, his hat. He gives them to his friends, and the aromatic shower continues. Hundreds of hats are flung into the ring. He picks them up and shies them back to their shouting owners. Sometimes a dollar is mingled with the flying compliments; but the enthusiasm of the Spaniard rarely carries him so far as that. For ten minutes after a good estocada, the matador is the most popular man in Spain.

But the trumpets sound again, the door of the Toril flies open, another bull comes rushing out, and the present interest quenches the past. The play begins again, with its sameness of purpose and its infinite variety of incident.

It is not quite accurate to say, as is often said, that the bull-fighter runs no risk. El Tato, the first sword of Spain, lost his leg in 1869, and his life was saved by the coolness and courage of Lagartijo, who succeeded him in the championship, and who was terribly wounded in the foot the next summer. Arjona killed a bull in the same year, which tossed and ruptured him after receiving his death-blow. Pepe Illo died in harness, on the sand. Every year picadors, chulos, and such small deer are killed, without gossip. I must copy the inscription on the sword which Tato presented to Lagartijo, as a specimen of tauromachian literature: -

"If, as philosophers say, gratitude is the tribute of noble souls, accept, dear Lagartijo, this present; preserve it as a sacred relic, for it symbolizes the memory of my glories, and is at the same time the mute witness of my misfortune. With it I killed my last bull named Peregrino, bred by D. Vicente Martinez, fourth of the fight of the 7th June, 1869, in which act I received the wound which has caused the amputation of my right leg. The will of man can do nothing against the designs of Providence. Nothing but resignation is left to thy affectionate friend, Antonio Sanchez [Tato]."

It is in consideration of the mingled skill and danger of the trade, that such enormous fees are paid the principal performers. The leading swordsmen receive about three hundred dollars for each performance, and they are eagerly disputed by the direction of all the arenas of Spain. In spite of these large wages, they are rarely rich. They are as wasteful and improvident as gamblers. Tato, when he lost his leg, lost his means of subsistence, and his comrades organized one or two benefits to keep him from want. Cuchares died in the Havana, and left no provision for his family.

There is a curious naivete in the play-bill of a bull-fight, the only conscientious public document I have seen in Spain. You know how we of Northern blood exaggerate the attractions of all sorts of shows, trusting to the magnanimity of the audience. "He warn't nothing like so little as that," confesses Mr. Magsman, "but where's your dwarf what is?" There are few who have the moral courage to demand their money back because they counted but thirty-nine thieves when the bills promised forty. But the management of the Madrid bull-ring knows its public too well to promise more than it is sure of performing. It announces six bulls, and positively no more. It says there will be no use of bloodhounds. It promises two picadors, with three others in reserve, and warns the public that if all five become inutilized in the combat, no more will be issued. With so fair a preliminary statement, what crowd, however inflammable, could mob the management?

Some industrious and ascetic statistician has visited Spain and interested himself in the bullring. Here are some of the results of his researches. In 1864 the number of places in all the taurine establishments of Spain was 509,283, of which 246,813 belonged to the cities, and 262,470 to the country.

In the year 1864, there were 427 bull-fights, of which 294 took place in the cities, and 13 3 in the country towns. The receipts of ninety-eight bullrings in 1864 reached the enormous sum of two hundred and seventeen and a half millions of reals (nearly $11,000,000). The 427 bull-fights which took place in Spain during the year 1864 caused the death of 2989 of these fine animals, and about 7473 horses, - something more than half the number of the cavalry of Spain. These wasted victims could have ploughed three hundred thousand hectares of land, which would have produced a million and a half hectolitres of grain, worth eighty millions of reals; all this without counting the cost of the slaughtered cattle, worth say seven or eight millions, at a moderate calculation.

Thus far the Arithmetic Man; to whom responds the tauromachian aficionado: That the bulk of this income goes to purposes of charity; that were there no bull-fights, bulls of good race would cease to be bred; that nobody ever saw a horse in a bull-ring that could plough a furrow of a hundred yards without giving up the ghost; that the nerve, dexterity, and knowledge of brute nature gained in the arena is a good thing to have in the country; that, in short, it is our way of amusing ourselves, and if you don't like it you can go home and cultivate prize-fighters, or kill two-year-old colts on the racecourse, or murder jockeys in hurdle-races, or break your own necks in steeple-chases, or in search of wilder excitement thicken your blood with beer or burn your souls out with whiskey.

And this is all we get by our well-meant effort to convince Spaniards of the brutality of bullfights. Must Chicago be virtuous before I can object to Madrid ale, and say that its cakes are unduly gingered?

Yet even those who most stoutly defend the bull-fight feel that its glory has departed and that it has entered into the era of full decadence. I was talking one evening with a Castilian gentleman, one of those who cling with most persistence to the national traditions, and he confessed that the noble art was wounded to death. "I do not refer, as many do, to the change from the old times, when gentlemen fought on their own horses in the ring. That was nonsense, and could not survive the time of Cervantes. Life is too short to learn bull-fighting. A grandee of Spain, if he knows anything else, would make a sorry torero. The good times of the art are more modern. I saw the short day of the glory of the ring when I was a boy. There was a race of gladiators then, such as the world will never see again, - mighty fighters before the king. Pepe Illo and Costillares, Romero and Paco Montes, - the world does not contain the stuff to make their counterparts. They were serious, earnest men. They would have let their right arms wither before they would have courted the applause of the mob by killing a bull outside of the severe traditions. Compare them with the men of to-day, with your Rafael Molina, who allows himself to be gored, playing with a heifer; with your frivolous boys like Frascuelo. I have seen the ring convulsed with laughter as that buffoon strutted across the arena, flirting his muleta as a manola does her skirts, the bewildered bull not knowing what to make of it. It was enough to make Illo turn in his bloody grave.

"Why, my young friend, I remember when bulls were a dignified and serious matter; when we kept account of their progress from their pasture to the capital. We had accounts of their condition by couriers and carrier-pigeons. On the day when they appeared it was a high festival in the court. All the sombreros in Spain were there, the ladies in national dress with white mantillas. The young queen always in her palco (may God guard her). The fighters of that day were high priests of art; there was something of veneration in the regard that was paid them. Duchesses threw them bouquets with billets-doux. Gossip and newspapers have destroyed the romance of common life.

"The only pleasure I take in the Plaza de Toros now is at night. The custodians know me and let me moon about in the dark. When all that is ignoble and mean has faded away with the daylight, it seems to me the ghosts of the old time come back upon the sands. I can fancy the patter of light hoofs, the glancing of spectral horns. I can imagine the agile tread of Romero, the deadly thrust of Montes, the whisper of long-vanished applause, and the clapping of ghostly hands. I am growing too old for such skylarking, and I sometimes come away with a cold in my head. But you will never see a bull-fight you can enjoy as I do these visionary festivals, where memory is the corregidor, and where the only spectators are the stars and I."