"What are you bringing me out there?" shouted Potaje, facing the contractor. "A crock that no one would dream of mounting."
"Who should she be, son? A poor woman with a large family. Our own charwoman is ill, so I called her in."
Every fifty paces the saintly platform was stopped. There was no hurry, the night was long. In many cases the Virgin was stopped so that people could look at her at their ease; every tavern keeper also requested a halt in front of his establishment.
In Seville that night nothing was spoken of but Gallardo's accident, the worst he had ever had. In many towns special sheets had already been published, and the papers all over Spain gave accounts of the affair, which was wired in all directions, as if some political personage had been the victim of an attempt.
He looked fixedly for some time at the beautiful woman, with his melancholy Moorish eyes, which seemed to beg for pity.
Suddenly he stood up grasping his carbine.
"The Bible?... Rubbish! The creation of the world in six days.... Rubbish!... The story of Adam and Eve? Rubbish!... The whole of it lies and superstition."
He put the cigar away under his jacket, and the remembrance of that companion, who at that time was certainly wandering not very far off, made him smile with ferocious glee. The wine had warmed Plumitas, and his face had become quite different. His eyes had[Pg 206] an alarming metallic lustre, and his chubby face was contracted by a spasm which seemed to alter his usual good-natured expression. One could guess also a desire to talk, to boast of his exploits, to repay the hospitality received by astonishing his benefactors.
"Now, my fine fellow!... Gently, gently with him!" he shouted to the man, never ceasing to move his own hands and feet.
The landlord and all his family ran up with outstretched hands as if they were speeding him on a long journey.
"Juanillo, kiss your Godfather's hand," and the younger of the two rubbed a red cheek against the torero's hand, a cheek newly polished by his mother in view of this visit.
"How they sting him!" exclaimed the populace with ferocious laughter. When the banderillas had ceased to explode the melted fat on the neck formed little bubbles, and the bull no longer feeling the sting of the fire[Pg 348] stopped short, his head hanging, his eyes bloodshot, his muzzle covered with foam, and his red dry tongue licking the sand in search of moisture.下载