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commencement of the bull-fights, and during the intervals between them. When the spectators had be. gun to assemble, a guard of soldiers, about thirty in number, was marched into the arena, and after going through a variety of evolutions, were divided into small detachments, and distributed through the different parts of the toro. The different combatants who were to display their skill and courage on the occasion, came forward, and made their obeisance to the townmajor, and then retired to their places. The first two were on horseback, called the picadores; one a Chilian, of enormous stature and bodily strength, the other a half-Indian, of a more delicate frame, and a more sprightly countenance. They had both been convicted of crimes, and condemned to fight bulls for the amusement of the public; their irons were not taken off until immediately before entering the toro. There were five or six others, called banduleros, with different colored flags, for the purpose of provoking and teasing the bull; the last were the mattadores; having in the left hand a fag, and in the right a sword. The picadores were armed with pikes, about twelve feet in length, with the point so as to wound the animal without penetrating deeply; they posted themselves on the left side of the place whence the bull was to be let out, and at the distance of fifteen or twenty paces from each other. On the signal given, the gate flew open, and a furious animal rushed forth. He immediately made at the Chilian, but feeling the point of the steel in his shoulder, he suddenly wheeled round and ran towards the middle of the arena, when the bandaleros endeavored to provoke him with their flags. It was the turn of the mestiso to receive
him next on his lance; but it was not until after the
bulls were let out in succession, and the same circum. stances repeated with very little variation. The whole was terminated with a feat, performed by a wild
gau. cho; the bull being let out, he was immediately lassoed by the gauchos on horseback, who threw him and held him fast by pulling in opposite directions; he was then tied, and a saddle girt on him by the gaucho, who was bare-legged, and had nothing on but a shirt, and a kind of petticoat something like a Scotch kilt; the ordinary dress of these people. The animal being properly prepared, he was suffered to rise with the gaucho on his back, and ran perfectly wild and furious around the circus, leaping, plunging, and bellowing, to the great diversion of the spectators, while: the gaucho was continually goading him with an enormous pair of spurs, and lashing bim with his whip. When the animal was sufficiently tortured in this way, the gaucho drew his knife and plunged it into the spinal marrow; the bull fell as if struck by lightning, rolled upon his back with his feet in the air, which were not even seen to quiver. Such is the barbarous amusement of bull-fighting, formerly the delight of the representatives of the kings of Spain, and their mimic royalty; in a more enlightened and a happier age, confined here to the coarse and vulgar; and it is to be hoped that, in the progress of science, liberty, and civilization, will disappear for ever.
The theatre was attended by respectable people; but I found it in a low state, though I had not expected much. It is but an indifferent building, yet capable of containing a considerable number of persons. The ladies were dressed with taste and elegance, and some of them handsome. With respect to the interior
arrangements, the orchestra, the scenery, the dresses of the actors, and the whole of the performance, I presume they were about equal to our theatre during our revolutionary war. When the curtain rose, the national hymn was sung by the whole of the theatric corps, accompanied by the orchestra; during which, it is the etiquette for every person to stand up; the song was followed by thunders of applause. The performance is about equal to that of New Orleans, except that the prompter takes rather too audible a part. Between the acts, the greater part of the audience flow into an extensive coffee-house, which communicates by. a folding door. Here hundreds are seen, officers and and citizens, walking about promiscuously, or in groups around small tables, drinking chocolate or coffee, or taking other refreshments. The men of Buenos Ayres, idle away a great deal of their time at these places, of which, there are six or eight in the city; they are always crowded at noon and in the evening, as at New Orleans. There is a society de buen gusto, for the purpose of improving the stage; it is one of the modes in a free country of inculcating patriotic sentiments. Several very good plays have been translated and performed, and occasional pieces got up. In honor of the victory of Chacabuco, a dramatic production, of some merit, was produced, entitled the battle of Marathon; the incidents of which, somewhat resemble each other.* The tragedy of Pi
* The same play was performed after the victory of Maipu. with still greater propriety, as it was actually reported that San Martin had been entirely defeated. The picture of San Martin was exhibited on the stage, and I had an opportunity of witnessing the popular enthusiasm in favor of el heroe, as he is generally called.
zarro has also been translated, and formed, and also several other pieces.
INCLUDING Patagonia, this viceroyalty was the most important in extent of territory, of any of the Spanish governments in America. The provinces of Upper Peru alone, (added to it in 1778,) are as extensive as New Grenada, and more so than lower Peru or Lima, and equal, at least, to the whole of the United States east of the Mississippi. La Plata stretches from the northernmost part of the province of Moxos, in twelve degrees south, to Cape Horn; it extends to the Pacific between lower Peru and Chili, in the province of Atacama; it is bounded by the Portuguese dominions on the north and east, and separated from Peru by the river Desaguadera, or drain of lake Titicaca; on the east it is washed by the Atlantic, and on the west divided from Chili by the Cordilleras. The only portion of this vast territory which is generally believed to be unfavorable to a numerous population, is what is called the pampas of Buenos Ayres: the interior of Patagonia is but little known, and respecting it, different opinions are enter