Gallardo himself, with his face covered, leaning on the staff of authority, walked in front of the paso with the dignitaries of the brotherhood. Others carried long trumpets hung with gold-fringed green banners. Now and again they put them to their lips through a slit in their masks, and a heart-rending funereal trumpeting broke the silence. But this horrifying roar woke no echo in the hearts of the people, the soft Spring night with its perfume of orange flowers was too sweet and smiling; in vain the trumpets roared funereal marches, or the singers wept as they sang the sacred verses, or the soldiers marched frowning like veritable executioners, the Spring night smiled, spreading the perfume of its thousand flowers, and no one thought of death.
The two peons stopped, because it was said in a voice which left no room for doubt.
He swaggered arrogantly as he walked, puffing at the cigar in his left hand, and swayed from his hips under his gorgeous cape, stepping out firmly with the pride of a handsome man.
The President seemed doubtful. The bull was rushing all about the ring, followed by the toreros, with their capes on their arms. When some of them succeeded in getting in front of him and stopping him, he would sniff the cloths with his usual snort and run off in another direction, kicking and bounding.
As if he were endeavouring to make himself agreeable to Do?a Sol, he broke out into praises of her family. The Marquis de Moraima was one of the most honourable men in the world.
After many halts on the journey, Gallardo came to the last turn, with the whole length of silk wound round his waist. The clever valet had put stitches, pins, and safety-pins all round his master's body, making his clothing literally all one piece. To get out of them the Torero would have to resort to the aid of scissors in other hands. He could not get rid of any one of his garments till he returned to the hotel, unless indeed a bull did it for him in the open Plaza, and they finished his undressing in the Infirmary.
When his work was over in some provincial town, and he returned to the hotel with his cuadrilla, for they all lived together, he would sit down perspiring, wearied with the pleasant fatigue of triumph, and before he could change his gala dress, all the wiseacres in the locality would come to congratulate him. He had been "colossal." He was the first torero in the world! That estocada of the fourth bull!...