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    Gallardo's friends found the wrecked ambitions of the sword carrier an unfailing source of merriment, but he took no notice of their jokes. Give up bulls? Never!! So that all memory of the past should not be effaced, he combed his coarse hair in curls above his ears, and preserved on his occiput the long, sacred lock, the pig-tail of his younger days, the hall-mark of the profession which distinguished him from other mortals.
    Upon his election to the Cortes,—Spain's national parliamentary assembly,—Blasco Ibá?ez naturally turned, in his novels, to a consideration of political and social themes. Beginning with La Catedral (The Shadow of the Cathedral), one of the most powerful modern documents of its kind, he took up in successive novels the treatment of such vital subjects as the relation of Church to State, the degrading and backward influence of drunkenness, the problem of the Jesuits, the brutality and psychology of the bull-fight. In all of these works the writer is characterized by fearlessness, passion and even vehemence; yet his ardor is not so strong as to lead him into conscious unfairness. A fiery advocate of the lowly, he yet can cast their shortcomings into their teeth; they, in their ignorance, are accomplices in their own degradation, partners in the crimes that oppress them. They slay the leaders whom they misunderstand; they are slow to organize for the purpose of bursting their shackles. This appears in La Barraca (one of the so-called regional novels) no less than in La Catedral, La Bodega and other books of the more purely sociological series. In varying degree, applied to a nation rather than to a class, this fearless attitude is evident in Los Cuatros Jinetes del Apocalipsis and Mare Nostrum, in which is assailed the neutrality of Spain during the late and unlamented conflict. This unflinching determination to see the truth and state it is also discernible in a most personal manner; the sad inability of such noble spirits[Pg vii] as Gabriel Luna (La Catedral) or Fernando Salvatierra (La Bodega) to solace themselves with a belief in future life is perhaps an exteriorization of the author's own views, even as these revolutionary spirits are, in part, embodiments of himself.
    And Don José, who never looked after his own affairs, leaving them to his wife's rather ineffectual management, thought day and night of the matador's fortune, investing the money at good interest, with the keenness of a money-lender.


    1.A third pair of darts were fixed in, and from the burning flesh a nauseous odour of melted fat, burnt hide, and singed hair spread throughout the arena.
    3.He felt overwhelmed, as if the fatigues of his previous bad night had suddenly overcome him. He longed to throw himself on one of the beds which occupied the end of the room, but again the anxiety which possessed him, with its mystery and uncertainty, banished the desire to sleep.
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