"The weather is lifting.... We shall have a corrida the day after to-morrow."
Gallardo was softened by her allusion to their former poverty, which always made him very tolerant to the good woman. All right, let the one-eyed one remain, and let what God willed happen. And crossing the patio with his back turned to her so as not to see that terrible eye, the matador took refuge in his office close to the vestibule.
"And when shall we be married?" she continued, cutting short her lover's indignation by this query.
Gallardo felt irritated at the indifferent tone in which that woman made the enquiry. And he! all the time he was hovering between life and death he had thought only of her!... With a roughness born of indignation he told her about his "cogida" and his long convalescence, which had lasted the whole winter.
The saddler finally agreed. After all a free journey to Madrid was not a thing to be refused, even though it were in such dismal company. During the journey, Carmen made up her mind; she would speak earnestly to her husband. Why go on bull-fighting? Had they not enough to live on? He must retire at once if he did not[Pg 335] wish to kill her. This corrida must be the last one ... and even this was one too many. She hoped to arrive in Madrid in time to prevent her husband fighting, feeling that by her presence she might prevent some catastrophe.
The evening before this he had fought at Ciudad Real and, still in his splendid dress, had thrown himself into the train in order to arrive in Madrid in the morning. He had spent a wakeful night, only sleeping by snatches, boxed up in the small sitting accommodation that the other passengers managed, by squeezing themselves together, to leave for the man who was to risk his life on the following day.
When the carriage arrived Gallardo crossed the patio without encountering as heretofore the emotion of the women. Carmen did not appear. Bah! those women! ... their only use was to embitter life. His brother-in-law was waiting, extremely proud of himself in a suit of clothes that he had filched from the espada, and had altered to his own figure.