All the enthusiasts shouted their advice.
The espada appeared at the church door radiant and magnificent, giving his arm to his wife, and Carmen smiling, with a tear on her eyelashes, felt as if she were being married to him a second time.
"Juan, I have just seen your wife. Things are going worse and worse. Try and calm her and set yourself right with her."
The "first singer in the world," leaning on a friend, with unsteady legs and passing on his glass to some one else, would, after coughing, pour forth the full torrent of his hoarse voice, of which the roulades obscured the clearness of the words. Before he had half ended his slow ditty another voice would begin, and then another, as if a musical contest were established; some sang like birds, others were hoarse like broken bellows, others screamed with piercing yells, most of the singers remained hidden in the crowd, but others proud of their voice and style planted themselves in the middle of the roadway in front of la Macarena.
But before the brigand could accept his invitation, Potaje drank and drank again hurriedly. Plumitas only now and then touched his glass, and even then with great hesitation. He was afraid of wine, and also he had lost the habit of drinking it. In the country he could not always get it. Besides, wine was the worst enemy for a man like himself, who had to live constantly wide awake and on guard.
Then as Gallardo opened his arms to salute the president, the thundering ovation redoubled, all shouted claiming the honours of the "maestria" for the matador. "He ought to be given the ear." "Never was the honour better deserved." "Sword-thrusts like that are seldom seen," and the enthusiasm waxed even greater when one of the attendants of the Plaza presented him with a dark, hairy, bloody triangle; it was the tip of one of the beast's ears.
Everyone thought he was destined to die, gored to death in the Plaza, and for this very reason they applauded him with homicidal enthusiasm, with a barbarous interest, like that of the misanthrope, who followed a tamer everywhere, awaiting the moment when he would be devoured by his wild beasts.