The two mites stared religiously at the hero whose portraits they had so often seen on the prints which adorned the walls of their poor little home, a supernatural being whose exploits and wealth had been their chief admiration ever since they had begun to understand mundane matters reenex facial.
"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.
On arriving in Seville he once more felt the influence of the pervading atmosphere. His friends surrounded him anxious to hear every detail of poor Chiripa's death. The professional toreros enquired about it in La Campana, recalling pitifully the little rascal with the scarred face who had run so many errands for them. Juan, fired by such marks of consideration, gave rein to his powerful imagination, and described how he had thrown himself on the bull when he saw his unlucky companion caught, how he had seized the brute by the tail, with other portentous exploits, in spite of which poor Chiripa had made his exit from this world ielts hk test date.
. He would be a torero and nothing but a torero; if others became that, why not he? He thought of the weevilled beans, and his mother's dry bread, of the abuse which each new pair of trousers drew on him, of hunger, the inseparable companion of so many of his expeditions. Besides he felt a vehement longing for all the enjoyments and luxuries of life, he looked with envy at the coaches and horses; he stood absorbed before the doorways of the great houses, through whose iron wickets he could see court-yards of oriental luxury, with arcades of Moorish tiles; floors of marble and murmuring fountains, which dropped a shower of pearls day and night over basins surrounded by green leaves. His fate was decided. He would kill bulls or die. He would be rich, so that the newspapers should speak of him, and people bow before him, even though it were at the cost of his life. He despised the inferior ranks of the torero. He saw the banderilleros who risked their lives, just like the masters of the profession, receive thirty duros only for each corrida, and, after a life of fatigues and gorings, with[Pg 75] no future for their old age but some wretched little shop started with their savings, or some employment at a slaughter-house. Many died in hospitals; the majority begged for charity from their younger companions. Nothing for him of banderilleros, or of spending many years in a cuadrilla, under the despotism of a master! He would kill bulls from the first and tread the sand of the Plazas as an espada at once.
The misfortune of poor Chiripa gave him a certain ascendancy among his companions, and he formed a cuadrilla, a ragged cuadrilla who tramped after him to the "capeas" in the villages. They respected him because he was the bravest and the best dressed. Several girls of loose life attracted by the manly beauty of the Zapaterin, who was now eighteen, and also by the prestige of his pig-tail, quarrelled among themselves in noisy rivalry, as to who should have the care of his comely person. Added to this, he now reckoned on a Godfather, an old patron and former magistrate, who had a weakness for smart young toreros, but whose intimacy with her son made Se?ora Angustias furious, and caused her to give vent to all the most obscene expressions she had learnt while she was at the Tobacco factory.