Beschreibung present you this wonderfully illustrated edition. I have shown the manuscript of this book to a well-known author. One of those staid, established authors whose venom has been extracted by the mellow years. My author is beyond rancour and exploit; he has earned the right to bask in his own celebrity, and needs to judge no more, because no longer does he fear judgment. He is like a motorist who has sowed his wild petrol. He said to me: 'You are very, very unwise. I never criticise my contemporaries, and, believe me, it doesn't pay. ' Well, I am unwise; I always was unwise, and this has paid in a coin not always recognised, but precious to a man's spiritual pride. Why should I not criticise my contemporaries? It is not a merit to be a contemporary. Also, they can return the compliment; some of them, if I may venture upon a turn of phrase proper for Mr Tim Healy, have returned the compliment before they got it. [Pg 2] It may be unwise, but I join with Voltaire in thanking God that he gave us folly. So I will affront the condemnatory vagueness of wool and fleecy cloud, be content to think that nobody will care where I praise, that everybody will think me impertinent where I judge

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