Page:Notes of the Mexican war 1846-47-48.djvu/525

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arrived a little too early, and thereby had a fine chance to see what kind of people were our companions. They were like the English drink called "all sorts," made up of representatives from every class, from the poor Iepero, who, like the observationist, observes in the daytime what he can steal at night. There were priests, ladies and gentlemen of the highest class, commoners and cargadors (loafers), and ladrones, which latter class you will please to understand are numerous hordes of robbers to be met with in every part of the magnanimous republic of Mexico, and almost every one had a revolver under his coat. The Plaza de Toros is built like a circus; is of immense capacity, capable of seating from eight to ten thousand persons; and so far across that you can with difficulty recognize an intimate acquaintance, even by a well-known dress.

On last Sunday it was thronged. The day was one of the many favorite or fete days, and the people were dressed in their best finery, as if for a fair. It was a great day for the Plaza de Toros too, and we soon learned that there were to be some extra sports, several fine bulls having been procured from distant haciendas especially for the occasion.

At 3 o'clock, p.m., four horsemen and six picadors, or actors, came in the ring, waiting for the trumpet signal from their judges. The butchers on foot were very fancifully dressed in embroidered velvet jackets and ornamented pants buckling at the knee, parti-colored hose and shoes, and caps trimmed with silver and gold. Each wore a sash around his waist, and held in his hands a scarf of red, yellow or blue flag with which to tantalize the bulls. The horsemen were similarly dressed, though not so richly, and held long pikes with which they goad the toros (bulls), and, when attacked, defend themselves and horses from their fury.

There were two clowns, also, the stupidest creatures that ever played the fool before an audience. Their entire performances consisted in tossing up oranges and catching them on their heads when they fell down, and bellowing in imitation of the toros (bulls), and playing disgusting tricks upon each other.