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Chapter Twenty-five – Lidea Ordinaria (Part Three)

Lidea Ordinaria (Part Three)

AND once again the chulos came running up to provoke and, at the same time, to tire the bull with their cloaks; for the bull must not be allowed to get sluggish. They waved the red lining in front of him; the bull blindly rushed out against the ample surface presented by the cloak, and the torero just managed by a single step to avoid the horns.

But this bull tried to amuse the crowd; he rushed against the toreros in such brisk and aggressive style that they all jumped over the barrier with the agility of fleas.

At this the bull just lashed his tail, with one leap bounded over the barrier after them, and chased them into the narrow passage between barrier and public. The whole staff connected with the corrida scuttled away into the arena to save itself; the bull triumphantly trotted through the passage and returned to the arena, proudly swishing its tail; and by making another rush it flung every living soul against the barrier. Now he was the sole master of the arena and he showed that he realized it, too; he seemed to be testily urging the whole amphitheatre to applaud him.

Once more the chulos came running out to tease him a little. The crowd gave vent to a roar; it wanted to fling the espada on to the animal in all its magnificent strength. The gold-bespangled espada with the sunken eyes and lips pressed tightly together stood in front of the president’s private box, a red muleta in his left hand and a drooping sword in his right; he was waiting for the president to give a sign, but the president hesitated.

The toreros were leaping around the bull who was chasing them away at the tip of his horns. The crowd rose up threateningly and yelled. The waiting espada lowered his head with its black tuft of hair at the back and the president nodded; thereupon trumpet-blasts resounded, the arena was emptied in a trice, and the espada with sword upraised, with motionless countenance was promising the bull his death. Then alone, brandishing his muleta, he entered the arena to cope with the bull.