The other toreros, pale with professional jealousy, exerted themselves to attract the attention of the public, but the applause they gained sounded weak and timid after the outburst that had preceded it. The public seemed exhausted by their former excess of enthusiasm, and only paid absent-minded attention to the fresh events unfolding themselves in the arena.
El Nacional, wishing to give signs of his existence, and reassured by the courteous manner of the visitor, appeared with a bottle of country wine and some glasses.
He was an old espada, who had had his youthful days of triumph, but very few now even remembered his name. Other matadors coming after him had eclipsed this fleeting reputation, so Pescadero, after fighting in America, and sustaining several cogidas, had retired with a little capital of savings. Gallardo knew that he owned a small tavern in the neighbourhood of the circus, but too far off for him to have many customers among the aficionados and toreros.
Lobato assisted the espada with his advice in choosing his two bulls. The overseer showed neither respect nor astonishment at these celebrated men, so admired by the populace. The shepherd of the bulls almost despised the toreros. To kill such noble animals, with every sort of trickery and deceit! He was the really brave man, who lived among them, passing daily between their horns in the solitudes, with no other defence than his own arm, and no thought of applause.
It was the paternal inheritance springing up afresh in him; that singing mania which had always accompanied Se?or Juan in his weekly outbreaks.
That night no one in the town slept, even old ladies of regular habits waited now till dawn to watch the innumerable processions.
"They have loosed you treacherous curs!" cried his manager from his seat, in spite of the corrida being supplied from the Marquis' herds. "These are not bulls! We shall see a difference when they are noble 'bichos,' bulls 'of truth.'"
"Sebastian, you will tell me the whole truth. You are kind, and you are Juan's best friend. All the little mother said the other day was temper. You know how really good she is. It was only an outburst, over directly. Pay no attention to it."