Gallardo felt irritated at the indifferent tone in which that woman made the enquiry. And he! all the time he was hovering between life and death he had thought only of her!... With a roughness born of indignation he told her about his "cogida" and his long convalescence, which had lasted the whole winter.
Do?a Sol interrupted to ask the bandit why he did not[Pg 213] become a soldier. He could go to distant countries where there were wars and utilize his talents nobly.
Gallardo turned to pick tip the rapier and again approached the bull. He was squaring himself to go in to kill, when the bull charged him at the same moment. He wished to fly, but his legs had no longer the agility of former days. He was caught and rolled over by the impetus of the rush. While everyone ran to his help Gallardo[Pg 328] picked himself up, covered with sand, with a rent in the back of his breeches, through which his shirt tail appeared, minus a shoe, and without the "mona" which adorned his pigtail.
When their work was ended, if they had a free day before going on to the next corrida in another town, the cuadrilla would postpone their journey, then they would indulge in dissolute merriment away from their families, in company of the enthusiastic amateurs who imagined that this was the usual way of life of their idols.
The maestros' capes finally attracted him towards the barrier, where the picadors waited for him motionless on their horses, their garrochas under their arms. He came up to a rider with lowered head and fierce snorts, as though intending to attack, but before the iron could be driven into his neck he gave a bound and fled, passing between the peons' outstretched capes. In his flight he ran against another picador, repeating the bound, the snort, and the flight. Then he ran against a third picador, who caught him fairly on the neck with his garrocha, increasing in this way both his fear and his velocity.
"I had fancied him different, but in any case I am delighted to have seen him. We will give him some alms when he goes. What an original country this is! What types!... And how interesting his chase after that civil guard all over Spain!... With this material one might write a most delightful feuilleton."
Blessed be the mother who bore so brave a son!...
On a mountain in the province of Cordoba the civil guards had found a decomposed body, with the head almost blown to pieces, apparently by a point blank shot. It was impossible to recognize it, but its clothes, the carbine, everything in short, made them think it must be Plumitas.
When the husband of Se?ora Angustias died, the Se?or Juan Gallardo, an excellent cobbler long established under a doorway in the suburb de la Feria, she wept as disconsolately as was appropriate to the event, but at the same time in the bottom of her heart, she felt the comfort of one who rests after a long march, and lays down an overwhelming burden.
Gallardo was like all toreros who only dream of being owners of the soil, and to be horse and cattle breeders. Town property, stocks and shares in no way tempt them, and they understand nothing whatever about them. But bulls make them think of the broad plains, and horses remind them of the country; besides, the necessity of constant movement and exercise by hunting and walking during the winter months adds to their desire to possess the soil.