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He herded the bulls bought by the management, [Pg 312]sometimes in the pastures of Munoza, at others during the excessive heat on the grazing uplands of the Sierra de Guadarrama. He brought them in to the enclosure two days before the corrida at midnight, driving them across the Abronigal stream and through the outskirts of Madrid, accompanied by amateur rough-riders and cowherds. He was rampant when bad weather prevented a corrida taking place, which kept the herd in the Plaza, and prevented his immediate return to the peaceful solitudes where the other bulls were still grazing.

"The stroke was well placed all the same!" shouted the enthusiasts, clapping as hard as they could, so that their noise should supply the place of numbers.

He remained at the head of the table, his face resting on his hands, and a cloud of perfumed smoke before his eyes which he turned from time to time with a self-satisfied air in the direction of some ladies who were watching the famous torero[3] with marked interest.

"And how about your business, Compar?" enquired Gallardo, "Is it going on better?"

A long time passed. Gallardo was not quite sure he had not been asleep. Suddenly the sound of Do?a Sol's voice woke him from his drowsiness; she was singing in a low voice that trembled with passion.

The champagne ended by bewildering Gallardo, and when they rose from the table he offered his arm to his hostess, amazed at his own audacity. Did they not do this in the great world? ... decidedly he was not quite so ignorant as he had appeared at first sight.

"He does not lean on it!" They began to shout from the benches. "The horns frighten him."

His most enthusiastic partizans stood up, waving their hands and sticks, to greet the matador, and loudly proclaiming their hopes. "Let us see what the lad from Seville will do!"...

For three days Gallardo endured tortures, his weakness preventing the use of an?sthetics, and Doctor Ruiz extracted several splinters of bone from the broken leg.

[Pg 197]

When the party came out, all the poor people scrambled and quarrelled for the handfuls of money thrown to them. There was enough for everybody, for Gallardo was liberal, and Se?ora Angustias wept with joy, leaning her head on a friend's shoulder.