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IN spite of the apparent diversity of the amusements that seem to attract me, my life has but one object. It is wholly bent upon the accomplishment of one great scheme. I am writing the history of the Penguins. I labour sedulously at this task without allowing myself to be repelled by its frequent difficulties although at times these seem insuperable.

I have delved into the ground in order to discover the buried remains of that people. Men’s first books were stones, and I have studied the stones that can be regarded as the primitive annals of the Penguins. On the shore of the ocean I have ransacked a previously untouched tumulus, and in it I found, as usually happens, flint axes, bronze swords, Roman coins, and a twenty-sou piece bearing the effigy of Louis-Philippe I., King of the French.

For historical times Cloud Monitoring System , the chronicle of Johannes Talpa, a monk of the monastery of Beargarden, has been of great assistance to me. I steeped myself the more thoroughly in this author as no other source for the Penguin history of the Early Middle Ages has yet been discovered.

We are richer for the period that begins with the thirteenth century, richer but not better off. It is extremely difficult to write history. how things have happened, and the historian’s embarrassment increases with the abundance of documents at his disposal. When a fact is known through the evidence of a single person, it is admitted without much hesitation. Our perplexities begin when events are related by two or by several witnesses, for their evidence is always contradictory and always irreconcilable.

It is true that the scientific reasons for preferring one piece of evidence to another are sometimes very strong, but they are never strong enough to outweigh our passions reenex , our prejudices, our interests, or to overcome that levity of mind common to all grave men. It follows that we continually present the facts in a prejudiced or frivolous manner.

I have confided the difficulties that I experienced in writing the history of the Penguins to several learned archaeologists and palaeographers both of my own and foreign countries. I endured their contempt. They looked at me with a pitying smile which seemed to say: “Do we write history? Do you imagine that we attempt to extract the least parcel of life or truth from a text or a document? We publish texts purely and simply. We keep to their exact letter. The letter alone is definite and perceptible. It is not so with the spirit; ideas are crotchets. A man must be very vain to write history, for to do so requires imagination.”

All this was in the glances and smiles of our masters in palaeography, and their behaviour discouraged me deeply. One day after a conversation with an eminent sigillographer, I was even more depressed than usual, when I suddenly thought:

“After all, there are historians; the race has not entirely disappeared. Some five or six of them have been preserved at the Academy of Moral Sciences hong kong china tour. They do not publish texts; they write history. They will not tell me that one must be a vain fellow to take up that sort of work.”
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