For a year and a half Juan killed novillos in the best Plazas in Spain. His fame had even reached Madrid. The amateurs of that town were curious to know the "Sevillian lad" of whom the newspapers spoke so much, and of whom the intelligent Andalusians told such stories.
"I do not know how!... I am the most ignorant man in the world, except about killing bulls!"... He much regretted that the Puntillero of his cuadrilla was not there, a lad who drove the women wild with his beautiful playing.
Gallardo was obliged to defend himself with his elbows against the outstretched hands, and, amid the jostling of the crowd, he managed at last to reach the steps of the carriage. Amidst the general excitement he was finally unceremoniously hoisted into his seat from behind.
At last!... The public quieted down a little, ceasing to thump, but still continuing shouting and whistling. The animal was finished by the puntilero, he was fastened by his poll to the team of mules, and dragged out of the arena, leaving behind him a broad belt of smoothed sand covered with blood-stains, which the servants obliterated with rakes and baskets of sand.
Suddenly this silence was broken by an immense and noisy uproar, so loud one would have thought that every brick in the building was knocking against its neighbour, a wild volley of applause which made the whole place shake. In the courtyard close by the chapel the sound of whacks on the loins of the horses tied there was heard, then the sound of iron hoofs on the[Pg 339] pavement, lastly the sound of voices. "Who is hit?" And fresh picadors were called into the arena.
"And, a little family? Is there no hope?"
Do?a Sol examined this place, which was the most important centre of exportation of the taurine industry, with great interest. There were large enclosures alongside the railway siding, and dozens of huge boxes on wheels with movable doors. The bulls who were to be entrained, arrived, galloping along a dusty road edged with barbed wire. Many came from distant provinces, but on getting close to Empalme they were sent on with a rush, in order to get them into the enclosures with greater ease.下载
His companions looked on with astonishment, delighted that one of their own set could make head against educated men, and even put them in a corner, which by the way might not be very difficult, as the Spanish clergy, as a rule, are not highly educated.
"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.