"Your pardon, Se?ora Marquesa. It is idle talk and nothing more. I have a wife and four children, who weep for me more than the Virgin of Sorrows. I am an unhappy man, who is what he is because bad luck has pursued him."
The trumpets gave the signal to kill, and the espada, after making a short "brindis," walked towards the bull.
 The Snail.
The necessity for distracting his mind made him search the inside pocket of his coat and take out of his pocket-book a letter which exhaled a strong sweet scent.
Then he glanced round the boxes, fixing his eyes on[Pg 349] the one occupied by Do?a Sol. She had applauded him before when he executed his stupendous exploit of lying down before the bull. Her gloved hands had clapped enthusiastically when he had turned towards the barrier saluting the audience. Now, when she realised that the torero was looking at her, she saluted him with a kindly gesture, and even her companion, that odious fellow, made a stiff bow, as if he were breaking in two at the waist. He had surprised her several times with her opera-glasses fixed persistently on him, or searching for him when he retired behind the barriers. Ah! that gachi!... Possibly she felt once more attracted by his courage. Gallardo thought he would go and see her the following day, possibly the wind might have changed.
Eleven o'clock. Suppose he went to see Do?a Sol? Why not! The night before he had angrily rejected this thought. It would be lowering himself. She had gone away without any explanation, and afterwards, knowing him to be in danger of death, she had scarcely enquired after him. Only a telegram just at first, not even a short[Pg 293] letter, not even a line. She who was so fond of writing to her friends. No, he would not go to see her.
"He does not behave so badly," ... said Potaje in a conciliatory voice.... "The beast is better than I thought. He has a tender mouth and good legs.... You are quite right. Put him on one side."
Carmen was the most earnest in her persuasions, using none of the manager's circumlocutions. He ought to retire at once, he ought to "cut off his pigtail," as they said in his profession, and spend his life quietly at La Rinconada or in his house in Seville with his family, she could bear it no longer. Her heart told her with that feminine instinct which seldom erred that something serious would occur. She could scarcely sleep, and she dreaded the night hours peopled with bloody visions.