Page:Mexico, California and Arizona - 1900.djvu/566

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546
OLD MEXICO AND HER LOST PROVINCES.

which it is forty miles distant. Atenco is devoted exclusively to raising this warlike stock, and it is an interesting, if somewhat fear-inspiring, sight to see them pasturing on their native hills. The effort is made to breed the darker colors, under the impression that these are most inclined to bravery. The bulls of Atenco are pure chestnut; those of such other well-known haciendas as Cazadero, Azala, and San Diego de los Padres are chestnut and black, black, and very dark chestnut, respectively.

Bulls of extra fighting quality are also brought over from Spain. The Espada "Cuatro Dedos" (Four Fingers), so named from the loss of one of his fingers, brings with him a company and twelve fine Spanish bulls. They work at Vera Cruz, then at Orizaba, and then reach the capital. The venerable Manuel Payno, statesman and author, writing back to a newspaper from the parent-country, says,

"With the prevailing craze for bulls in Mexico—which I do not share—it may interest you to know that fifteen magnificent bulls were shipped from here by the last French steamer. They were fierce to the degree that no one could approach their cage. They weighed a matter of thirty-three thousand pounds in all, and cost twelve thousand dollars. To-day's steamer takes out fifteen more, in my opinion even finer and braver than those, and, as a mere matter of curiosity, I should really like to hear the result of their contests."

The fight I have described contains the essential features of all; they are, the world over, but slight variations on the same theme. The object is always to gradate the torture to the waning strength of the bull, so as to get as much sport out of him as possible. Sometimes, by clumsy work, the victim, though fatally wounded, is not killed, and then a troop of tame cattle are let in to career around the