Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/562

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
542
OLD MEXICO AND HER LOST PROVINCES.

Saltus has introduced this real Mazzantini into his "Mr. Incoul's Misadventure," in which occurs a description of a bull-fight in the mother-country.

The great Mazzantini is Italian on his father's side and Spanish on his mother's. He was born at Elgoibar, in Spain, in 1856, educated partly at Bilbao, and afterwards at Rome, where his family went to reside. He returned to Spain, and, when a little more than fourteen, held some minor clerical post under the chief equerry of the King. It is interesting to note that superior education seems to tell even in bull-fighting, as it can probably be maintained it does in any and all occupations, no matter how little demand they at first sight would seem to make upon it. Old Don Quixote was right in fancying his intellectual powers would have stood him in good stead in the remotest field in which he might have chosen to apply them.

"I assure thee, niece," we all recollect him saying, "that were not my whole soul engrossed by the arduous duties of chivalry, there is not a curious art I would not acquire—particularly that of making bird-cages and tooth-picks."

Mazzantini is an educated man, and there are probably very few of them in his peculiar calling. He left his clerkship to continue his studies, and took the degree of bachelor of arts, I do not recollect at what university; but perhaps it was even at Salamanca, beyond which, as we know, no further bachelorizing is possible. When this was over, he entered the telegraphic bureau of the Spanish Southern Railway, where he became a chief of station. It was at this time, through dint of seeing so many of the spectacles going on about him, that he acquired his taste, his veritable passion, for bull-fighting. He began to take part in the novilladas a kind of amateur exhibitions, and