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Yesterday. Ive saved you the rooms you had. Thats fine. Did you give Mr. Campbell the room on the plaza? Yes. All the rooms we looked at. Where are our friends now? I think they went to the pelota. And how about the bulls? Montoya smiled. To-night, he said. To-night at seven oclock they bring in the Villar bulls, and to-morrow come the Miuras. Do you all go down? Oh, yes. Theyve never seen a desencajonada. Montoya put his hand on my shoulder. Ill see you there. He smiled again. He always smiled as though bull-fighting were a very special secret between the two of us; a rather shocking but really very deep secret that we knew about. He always smiled as though there were something lewd about the secret to outsiders, but that it was something that we understood. It would not do to expose it to people who would not understand. Your friend, is he aficionado, too? Montoya smiled at Bill. Yes. He came all the way from New York to see the San Fermines. Yes? Montoya politely disbelieved. But hes not aficionado like you. He put his hand on my shoulder again embarrassedly. Yes, I said. Hes a real aficionado. But hes not aficionado like you are. Aficion means passion. An aficionado is one who is passionate about the bull-fights. All the good bull-fighters stayed at Montoyas hotel; that is, those with aficion stayed there. The commercial bullfighters stayed once, perhaps, and then did not come back. The good ones came each year. In Montoyas room were their photographs. The photographs were dedicated to Juanito Montoya or to his sister. The photographs of bull-fighters Montoya had really believed in were framed. Photographs of bull-fighters who had been without aficion Montoya kept in a drawer of his desk. They often had the most flattering inscriptions. But they did not mean anything. One day Montoya took them all out and dropped them in the waste-basket. He did not want them around. We often talked about bulls and bull-fighters. I had stopped at the Montoya for several years. We never talked for very long at a time. It was simply the pleasure of discovering what we each felt. Men would come in from distant towns and before they left Pamplona stop and talk for a few minutes with Montoya about bulls. These men were aficionados. Those who were aficionados could always get rooms even when the hotel was full. Montoya introduced me to some of them. They were always very polite at first, and it amused them very much that I should be an American. Somehow it was taken for granted that an American could not have aficion. He might simulate it or confuse it with excitement, but he could not really have it. When they saw that I had aficion, and there was no password, no set questions that could bring it out, rather it was a sort of oral spiritual examination with the questions always a little on the defensive and never apparent, there was this same embarrassed putting the hand on the shoulder, or a Buen hombre. But nearly always there was the actual touching. It seemed as though they wanted to touch you to make it certain. Montoya could forgive anything of a bull-fighter who had aficion. He could forgive attacks of nerves, panic, bad unexplainable actions, all sorts of lapses. For one who had aficion he could forgive anything. At once he forgave me all my friends. Without his ever saying anything they were simply a little something shameful between us, like the spilling open of the horses in bull-fighting. Bill had gone up-stairs as we came in, and I found him washing and changing in his room. Well, he said, talk a lot of Spanish? He was telling me about the bulls coming in tonight. Lets find the gang and go down. All right. Theyll probably be at the caf?. Have you got tickets? Yes. I got them for all the unloadings. Whats it like? He was pulling his cheek before the glass, looking to see if there were unshaved patches under the line of the jaw. Its pretty good, I said. They let the bulls out of the cages one at a time, and they have steers in the corral to receive them and keep them from fighting, and the bulls tear in at the steers and the steers run around like old maids trying to quiet them down. Do they ever gore the steers? Sure. Sometimes they go right after them and kill them. Cant the steers do anything? No. Theyre trying to make friends. What do they have them in for? To quiet down the bulls and keep them from breaking their horns against the stone walls, or goring each other. Must be swell being a steer. We went down the stairs and out of the door and walked across the square toward the caf? Iru?a. There were two lonely looking ticket-houses standing in the square. Their windows, marked SOL, SOL Y SOMBRA, and SOMBRA, were shut. They would not open until the day before the fiesta. Across the square the white wicker tables and chairs of the Iru?a extended out beyond the Arcade to the edge of the street. I looked for Brett and Mike at the tables. There they were. Brett and Mike and Robert Cohn. Brett was wearing a Basque beret. So was Mike. Robert Cohn was bare-headed and wearing his spectacles. Brett saw us coming and waved. Her eyes crinkled up as we came up to the table. Hello, you chaps! she called. Brett was happy. Mike had a way of getting an intensity of feeling into shaking hands. Robert Cohn shook hands because we were back. Where the hell have you been? I asked. I brought them up here, Cohn said. What rot, Brett said. Wed have gotten here earlier if you hadnt come. Youd never have gotten here. What rot! You chaps are brown. Look at Bill. Did you get good fishing? Mike asked. We wanted to join you. It wasnt bad. We missed you. I wanted to come, Cohn said, but I thought I ought to bring them. You bring us. What rot. Was it really good? Mike asked. Did you take many? Some days we took a dozen apiece. There was an Englishman up there. Named Harris, Bill said. Ever know him, Mike? He was in the war, too. Fortunate fellow, Mike said. What times we had. How I wish those dear days were back. Dont be an ass. Were you in the war, Mike? Cohn asked. Was I not. He was a very distinguished soldier, Brett said. Tell them about the time your horse bolted down Piccadilly. Ill not. Ive told that four times. You never told me, Robert Cohn said. Ill not tell that story. It reflects discredit on me. Tell them about your medals. Ill not. That story reflects great discredit on me. What storys that? Brett will tell you. She tells all the stories that reflect discredit on me. Go on. Tell it, Brett. Should I? Ill tell it myself. What medals have you got, Mike? I havent got any medals. You must have some. I suppose Ive the usual medals. But I never sent in for them. One time there was this whopping big dinner and the Prince of Wales was to be there, and the cards said medals will be worn. So naturally I had no medals, and I stopped at my tailors and he was impressed by the invitation, and I thought thats a good piece of business, and I said to him: ˉYouve got to fix me up with some medals. He said: ˉWhat medals, sir? And I said: ˉOh, any medals. Just give me a few medals. So he said: ˉWhat medals _have_ you, sir? And I said: ˉHow should I know? Did he think I spent all my time reading the bloody gazette? ˉJust give me a good lot. Pick them out yourself. So he got me some medals, you know, miniature medals, and handed me the box, and I put it in my pocket and forgot it. Well, I went to the dinner, and it was the night theyd shot Henry Wilson, so the Prince didnt come and the King didnt come, and no one wore any medals, and all these coves were busy taking off their medals, and I had mine in my pocket. He stopped for us to laugh. Is that all?
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