MONSIEUR JULES HURET.
My dear friend:
For two reasons, very strong and very precise, it is my wish to inscribe your name at the head of these pages. First, that you may know how dear your name is to me. Second, — and I say it with a tranquil pride,—because you will like this book. And you will like it, in spite of all its faults, because it is a book free from hypocrisy, because it portrays life, life as you and I understand it. I have always in my mind's eye, my dear Huret, many of the faces, so strangely human, which you have arrayed in procession in a long series of social and literary studies. They haunt me. It is because no one better than you, and more profoundly than you, has felt, when surveying these human masqueraders, how sad and how comical a thing it is to be a man. May you find again in these pages that sadness which makes lofty souls laugh, that comicality which makes them weep.