"He still feels his wounds. He ought not to fight. That leg! don't you see it?"
"Wounded!" exclaimed the father bitterly, regretting it was not the case. "That is for 'true' toreros. Put a few stitches in his rags, and see they are washed.... Just see how they have served the cheat!"
Finally a servant showed him into the lift, and took him up to a small sitting-room on the first floor, from whose windows he could see all the restless life of the Puerta del Sol.
Again the matador struck in the steel, succeeding this time in finding the vulnerable spot, and the bull fell suddenly with a crash, his horns sticking into the sand, his belly upward and his legs rigid.
The son of Se?ora Angustias could not repress a feeling of pride each time he passed through the rows of servants drawn up on either side like soldiers, or when a Major-domo, with a silver chain round his neck, came to take his hat and stick. In one room fencing was practised, in another they gambled from the early hours of the afternoon till dawn. The members tolerated Gallardo because he was a "decent" torero, who spent a good deal of money, and had powerful friends.
The torero was also nearly falling asleep on a bench, when one of his friends offered to give him a lift home in his carriage; he was obliged to leave early so as to be home before the old Countess, his mother, arose to hear Mass, as she did daily, at dawn.
His feelings as a rough fellow were touched by the theatrical agony of Christ, with His cross on His back; the perspiring, agonized and livid face, reminded him of some of his comrades whom he had seen lying in the bull-ring infirmary. One must stand well with that powerful Lord; and he recited fervently several paternosters, as he stood before the image, the lights of whose wax[Pg 122] tapers were reflected like stars on the whites of his Moorish eyes.
When this Virgin with her pink cheeks and long eye-lashes appeared, beneath a canopy of velvet, which swayed with every step of the concealed carriers, a deafening acclamation rose from the populace assembled in the Plaza. Ah! how beautiful she was; the Queen of Heaven! A beauty which never aged!