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INTRODUCTION

What M. Anatole France says of the literary critic: “ The critic, if he would be frank, ought to say: 'Gentlemen, I am going to talk about myself apropos of Shakespeare, or Pascal, or Goethe,'” contains a formula which might also be applied to the Professor's sponsor. He, too, if he would be frank, ought to say: "Gentlemen, I am going to talk about myself apropos of the Professor."

And yet, he desires nothing less than that his words should be regarded as autobiographical. It will transpire that the Professor herein delineated is bald, and has half a dozen children; whereas he himself has but two children, and displays not the least symptom of baldness. Could anything make clearer the fact that the Professor and himself are not identical?

He begs, therefore, that the chapters which follow will not be looked upon as autobiography, but as fiction—with just the amount of truth necessary in an age of realism to make it convincing.

With this, he draws the curtain on his friend the Professor

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