When they arrived at Tablada, they saw on the green plain a large concourse of people and carriages drawn up close to the palisades which separated the meadow from the animals' enclosure.
The little children came to look at him, frightened by his brilliant clothes, touching him admiringly, but not daring to speak. His mustachioed sister kissed him with a look of terror, as if he were being taken off to die. His mother hid herself in the darkest room. No, she did not wish to see him; she felt ill. Carmen, deathly pale,[Pg 173] was a little braver, biting her lips white with emotion, blinking her eyes nervously to keep back the tears, but when she saw him in the courtyard she immediately raised her handkerchief to her eyes, her whole frame shaking with the sobs she tried to suppress, and her sister-in-law and other women had to support her lest she should fall to the ground.
Gallardo was fairly astounded at the bandit's address. That man seemed to know every one. He knew who Do?a Sol was, and by an excess of respect, extended to her the titles belonging to her family.
Even his most fervent partisans were ashamed and silent, unable to explain a thing such as they had never seen before.
It was Captain Chivo, a gipsy singer, who had arrived that morning from Paris, faithful to his military discipline, to put himself at the head of his soldiers.
But before the brigand could accept his invitation, Potaje drank and drank again hurriedly. Plumitas only now and then touched his glass, and even then with great hesitation. He was afraid of wine, and also he had lost the habit of drinking it. In the country he could not always get it. Besides, wine was the worst enemy for a man like himself, who had to live constantly wide awake and on guard.
"I did not wish to stop you. You are not one of those rich men. You are a poor man like myself, only you have better luck, more than enough in your profession; if you have made money you have earned it well. I like you because you are a fine matador, and I have a weakness for brave men. The two of us are like comrades; we both live by exposing our lives. For this reason, although you did not know me, I was there, seeing you pass without even asking a cigarette from you, for fear that some rascal should take advantage by going on the highway and saying he was Plumitas; stranger things have happened...."
"I will get everything into order when we are married, Juaniyo. You will see, everything will go on all right, and you will see how your mother loves me."
Three times he performed this feat, amid the acclamations of the audience. Those who thought themselves "connoisseurs" now had their revenge for the explosion[Pg 52] of admiration provoked by Gallardo. This was what a true torero should be! This was real art!下载
The public guessed the espada's thoughts by the wildness of his movements.下载
The bandit seemed to understand the annoyance his words had caused, and went on most respectfully.下载
"El Plumitas!" The shepherd's voice, in spite of being shaking and breathless, seemed to penetrate throughout the whole house as he pronounced that name. The banderillero stood dumb with surprise, and from the espada's room came a volley of oaths, the rustle of clothes, and the sound of some one throwing himself roughly out of bed. From the room occupied by Do?a Sol other sounds also came which seemed in answer to this astounding news.
In the vestibule several men would be standing waiting for him close to the wicket, through the ironwork of which could be seen the white and luminous patio, so beautifully clean. Many of them were sun-burnt men, reeking of perspiration, in dirty blouses and wide sombreros with ragged edges. Some were agricultural labourers, moving or on a journey, who on passing through Seville thought it the most natural thing to come and ask for help from the famous matador, whom they called Don Juan. Some were fellow townsmen who addressed him as "thou," and called him Juaniyo.
Alongside of the pasos walked lads carrying jars of water. As soon as the platform halted, a corner of the velvet hangings was raised, and twenty or thirty men appeared, perspiring, half naked, purple with fatigue, with kerchiefs tied round their heads and the look of exhausted savages. These were the Gallicians, the strong porters, for any of that calling were merged in that nationality; they drank the water greedily, and if there were a tavern at hand mutinied against the conductor of the paso to obtain wine or food.