Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/558

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538
OLD MEXICO AND HER LOST PROVINCES.

there without any pretence that he wanted to pasear, but simply and squarely because he liked it. He, too, sat with an impassive look, under which, however, his enjoyment might be detected.

Meantime the life of the bull, though far past praying for, was not wholly extinct, and so some understrappers fell upon him and despatched him with their poniards. Horsemen lassoed the carcass by the head and legs; again the gayly caparisoned mules came prancing in, and they dragged it off, spinning through the dust, to the sound of lively music.

Our second victim was a young black bull, with a knot of bright ribbon on his horn. He came in, equally unconscious, upon the heels of his dead predecessor. In the first onset he gored a horse so terribly that, though the latter kept its feet, there was no hope that it could live more than a few minutes. His rider, therefore, to make the most of it as an exhibition, rode rapidly round the ring till it dropped, and one could plainly hear the stream of blood as it ran.

"Pobre!" (poor thing!) murmured an Indian woman near me, in involuntary tenderness.

The horses, it should be explained, are thoroughly blind-folded, or they could never be brought to bear these terrible ordeals. They are poor creatures, a sort of crow-bait stock, fed up just sufficiently to carry them through the day on which they are deliberately sacrificed. Of all the participants in the tragic show, these Rozinantes have the worst of it, for even the bull, badgered and slain though he be, is not without a sort of grandeur in his fate; but these poor hacks recall the privates fallen in battle—unknown, hardly even counted, with no share in the bulletins and the glory.

Bull three, so far from being fierce, might even be called