Gallardo also remembered that day. Poor Plumitas! With what emotion he took a flower offered by Do?a Sol ... because she had given the bandit a flower as she took leave of him. Did she not remember?...
It was fortunate that Plumitas was ugly and was dirty and ragged as a vagabond.
"Last month I was at the farm of 'the five chimnies' breaking fast as I am here to-day, though not in such good company, when I saw six civiles on foot coming. I am quite sure they did not know I was there, and only came for refreshment. It was an unlucky chance, for neither they nor I could turn tail in the presence of all the farm people. The owner locked the gates, and the civiles began to knock for them to be opened. I ordered him and a shepherd to stand by the two leaves of the door. 'When I say "now" open them wide.' I mounted my mare, with my revolver in my hand. 'Now!' The door was opened wide, and I galloped out like the devil. They fired two or three shots, but did not touch me. I also fired as I went out, and I understand wounded two of the civiles.... To cut it short, I fled lying on the mare's neck, so that they should not make a target of me, and the civiles revenged themselves by thrashing the farm servants; for which reason, Se?o Juan, it is best to say nothing about my visits. For if you do, down come the three cornered hats, sickening you with enquiries and declarations, as if they were going to catch me with those."
This order, given in the name of the national sport, was obeyed with far more alacrity than any one given by the authorities. The houses remained in darkness, the whiteness of their walls confounded with the shadowy mass of trees. The invisible people, assembled behind the barred and spiked window gratings, were silent in the expectation of something extraordinary. In the walks alongside the river the gas lamps were extinguished one by one as the shepherd advanced shouting the coming of the herd.
"Do not be a child," she said. "What is the use of remembering what is no longer possible. Why think of me? You have your wife, who I am told is both pretty and good, a kind companion. If not her, then others. There are plenty of girls down in Seville who would think it happiness to be loved by Gallardo. My love is ended. As a famous man accustomed to success your pride is hurt; but it is so; mine is ended. You are a friend and nothing more. I am quite different. I am bored, and I never retrace my steps. Illusions only last with me a short time, and pass, leaving no trace. I am to be pitied, believe me."
"Calm yourselves, gentlemen. Nothing much has happened. Let the game go on. They are bringing candles."
"It seems impossible, Sebastian, that a man like you, with a wife and children, should have lent yourself to this debauchery.... I who believed you so different and who had such confidence in you when you went on journeys with Juan! I who felt quite at ease thinking that he went with a man of good character! Where is all your talk about your ideas and your religion? Is this what you learn at the meeting of Jews in the house of Don Joselito, the teacher?"
His old superstitious terrors suddenly reappeared, crushing, overwhelming.
Carmen was the most earnest in her persuasions, using none of the manager's circumlocutions. He ought to retire at once, he ought to "cut off his pigtail," as they said in his profession, and spend his life quietly at La Rinconada or in his house in Seville with his family, she could bear it no longer. Her heart told her with that feminine instinct which seldom erred that something serious would occur. She could scarcely sleep, and she dreaded the night hours peopled with bloody visions.
That night no one in the town slept, even old ladies of regular habits waited now till dawn to watch the innumerable processions.