The Sun Also Rises Chapter 15
The fiesta begins at noon on Sunday, July 6th, erupting with people. The festival is a time to drink and party, but San Fermin is also religious. Some people are drinking, some are going to Mass, and some are doing both.
Jake meets Cohn in one of the outdoor cafés. They have a drink, and out in the square a rocket announces the start of the festival. Another rocket is fired, and the smoke hangs ominously over the square. It is pierced by the crowd of onlookers and a parade of musicians and riau-riau dancers. A man plays a reed-pipe and a group of children follow him around. The dancers get closer. They are all men, and have a sign welcoming the foreigners. Cohn wants to know who the foreigners are. They are all foreigners, him most of all.
The fiesta lasts for seven days, and:
"The things that happened could only have happened during a fiesta. Everything became quite unreal finally and it seemed as though nothing could have any consequences. It seemed out of place to think of consequences during the fiesta." Chapter 15, pg. 154
In the afternoon there is a religious procession. Everyone is going into church, but Brett is not allowed in because she does not have a hat. They walk outside instead, and a group of dancers circle around Brett. The dancers lead them into a wine-shop.
Jake goes down the street to buy a wine-skin. The dancers do not want him to leave. It is a big party inside the wine-shop. Their attention is focused on Brett, whom they have given a garlic necklace. They are teaching her how to drink from the wine-skins.
Jake goes looking for a shop, but he cannot find it and must ask directions. He buys two wine-skins for a good price and has them filled with wine. When he gets back he finds Brett and Bill surrounded by the dancers. Mike is eating and drinking with some men, and Cohn is asleep in the back room. Not used to drinking, he passed out. He wakes up two hours later. They go out to have dinner, but Brett wants to have a bath first.
Dinner is good, and Jake wants to be up early to see the bulls run through the streets. He can't find his key so he sleeps in Cohn's room. All the others stay up, and are at the ring for the running. Jake wakes late, and the bulls have already started. He puts on Cohn's coat and watches them from his window. One man falls, but there is little blood. Jake goes back to bed, and talks to Cohn a little when he comes in. Cohn liked the show, but now he's tired. They both go to sleep.
They get up in the afternoon and have lunch, then go to one of the crowded cafés. Jake has six seats for the bull-fights. Three at ringside, and three higher up. He and Bill sit at the ring, Cohn, Mike, and Brett sit above, and Jake sells the last ticket. Bill tells Cohn the best way to watch so that he doesn't get disturbed by the horses. Cohn isn't worried; in fact, he's afraid he'll be bored. Jake tells him to watch the picador, not the horses, especially if they get hit. Brett is a little worried, but Jake is reassuring. Jake and Bill go back to the hotel before the fight. Bill complains about Cohn's attitude. At the hotel they see Montoya. He asks them if they want to meet Pedro Romero, one of the bull-fighters. They enter to see a young boy being dressed in his bull-fighting costume. He is only nineteen and gorgeous. They exchange a few words. Montoya thinks Romero might be the one, a real torero.
At the bull-fight Romero is wonderful. Jake thinks he might have aficion. A bull-fight always disturbs and exhilarates the emotions, because of the triumph and the gore. They meet up with the others, who are all impressed, especially by Romero. Brett has a crush on him. She didn't even mind the horses. Cohn, on the other hand, nearly got sick, and Mike enjoys teasing him about it. Cohn's comment about being bored comes back to haunt him as Mike insults him.
The bull-fight the next day is even better. Brett sits ringside with Mike and Jake. Jake explains things to her so that the bloodshed will seem more purposeful. He explains to her how and when to watch the bull, and the work of the bull-fighter. He shows her how close Romero always works to the bull. Romero never compromises himself, and his bull-fighting is honest and pure. He does not have to show how close he is to the bull, and this is what makes him different from all the others, and more real. Mike sees that Brett is falling in love with Romero. He wants to try and stop it, but Jake does not. He does not have to act jealous, showing everyone how close they are; he knows Brett loves him.
The bull-fight leaves them all exhausted. Romero does not fight the next day, and it is not as good. There is no bull-fighting the following day, but the fiesta continues.