Our Friend Manso

By Benito Pérez Galdós; Robert Russell | Go to book overview

II
I AM MAXÁMO MANSO

AND I WAS thirty-five years old when that business happened. And if I add that it happened recently and that many of the occurrences included in this true story happened in less than one year's time, that should satisfy even those readers who are most demanding in matters of chronology. I must disappoint the sentimentalists right from the outset by informing them that I have two Doctor's degrees and hold a professorship in the Institute,* a post I earned in open competition. The subject I teach is a most important one but I choose not to mention it by name. I have dedicated my small intelligence and my time totally to philosophical studies, for in them I have found the purest joys of my life. I don't see how most people can profess to find this delightful study dry; it's always old and yet always new, this mistress of all wisdom who governs human existence, visibly or invisibly.

Perhaps those who reject philosophy have done so out of a failure to study her methodically, for that is the only fashion in which to navigate her tortuous secrets. Or perhaps in superficial study they have seen only her external harshness, and never gone deep enough to taste the remarkable sweetness and gentleness of what she holds within. As a special gift in my nature, I showed from early childhood a particular fondness for speculative labors, and for the investigation of truth and the exercise of reason. To this privilege was added, by great good fortune, that of coming under the tutelage of a skillful teacher, who from the very beginning put me on the right path. How true it is that the happy achievement of difficult undertakings results from a good start; and that a first step, correctly taken, leads to the swift and sure completion of a long journey.

Let it be said of me, then, that I am a philosopher, though I consider myself undeserving of that tide, applicable only to the great masters of think-

____________________
*
A prestigious preparatory school in Madrid.

-4-

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