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[203]

At length the long-desired day arrives, and, for all purposes of business, Madrid is like a Protestant Sunday. The whole city throngs to the circus, even to the very lowest class of the populace; and I have often seen more waiting on the outside-merely to hear, and echo and enjoy, the shouts and stories that come from within, because they could not afford to pay the price of admittance—than the entire amphitheatre could contain. For myself, I cannot speak with any of the skill or assurance of a connoisseur. I never went but twice, and then stayed only long enough the first time to see four bulls killed, and the second time three, for it was physically impossible for me to stay any longer. The horrid sights I witnessed completely unmanned me, and the first time I was carried out by one of the guards, and the second time I was barely able to get out alone. Still, however, I saw all the operations and manoeuvres, as much as if I had been there a hundred times, and had all the technics and pedantry of the art at my command; and what was wanting in the practice and experience of a hardened amateur was fully made up to me by the vivacity with which I felt everything, and the deep impression its splendors, its dangers, and its cruelties made on my memory. . . . . Nothing can prevent the crowd from going if they have the money necessary to pay their admittance; and if they have it not, instances have been known where they have sold everything they possessed in the world to get it; and. . . . I was shown a man who was so absolutely destitute of all means, that he married the evening previous, as the only way of obtaining them. Nothing, in short, can hinder them, not even the heats, which hinder everything, and almost bring life itself to a pause in Madrid; and if they cannot get seats on the shady side of the amphitheatre, they will sit in the sun during one of the burning noons of July and September; and do it so heedlessly, that the first bull-fights given after the dog-days this year sent a crowd of patients to the hospital, thirty-eight of whom died within ten days afterwards of fevers caught there.

Nor are these the only fatal effects. The interest the common people take in everything relating to this festival rises afterwards, at any moment of excitement, to passion and guilt. Quarrels arise about a favorite picador or banderillero, that are never appeased; the details of one of these shows become the source of family bitterness for life; and only a few days ago, one Monday afternoon, as I was just going into the palace of the Prince de Laval to dinner, a man stabbed his brother, who fell dead before me at the door I was entering, in


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