She, on the other hand, spoke to him as "tu," but only in the hours of privacy. If she had to write to him asking him not to come, or saying she was going out[Pg 165] with her relations, she always used the ceremonious "uste" and there were no expressions of affection, only the cold courtesies that might be written to a friend of an inferior class.
Gallardo was very thoughtful for some time after reading these letters. To retire!... What nonsense! Women's worries! Affection might easily dictate this, but it was impossible to carry it out. Cut off his pigtail before he was thirty! How his enemies would laugh! He had no right to retire as long as his limbs were sound and he was able to fight. Such an absurdity had never been heard of. Money was not everything. How about[Pg 304] his fame? And his professional pride? What would his thousands and thousands of admiring partisans say? What could they reply to his enemies if those latter threw it in their teeth that Gallardo had retired through fear?
The Se?ora Angustias, left with her two children, Encarnacion and Juan, had to sharpen her wits and develop a multiplicity of talents to carry the family along. She worked as charwoman in the wealthiest houses in the suburb, sewed for the neighbours, mended clothes and laces for a certain pawnbroking friend of hers, made[Pg 60] cigarettes for gentlemen, availing herself of the dexterity acquired in her youth when the Se?or Juan, an ardent and wheedling lover, used to wait for her at the entrance of the Tobacco factory.
He wanted to take advantage of the brute's quiescence, the public incited him to action. Among the men standing by the inside barrier, leaning their bodies half over it so as not to lose a single detail of the supreme moment, he recognised many amateurs of the people, who had begun to turn from him, and who were now again applauding him, touched by his show of consideration for the populace.
He continued giving several passes to the bull, amid the[Pg 234] exclamations of the people a few steps from him, and who seeing him close were giving him advice. "Be careful, Gallardo! The bull still has his full strength. Don't get between him and the barrier. Keep your retreat open."