I must thank two uncertainties for the discovery of Akbar[1]; an echo and a philosophical dictionary.

The echo disturbs anyone who finds himself in a specific ancient dusty great-room which has the odor of yellowing print material. This great-room is located in the once grand summer lodge of Aiden Lair. Aiden Lair may be found with great difficulty (if at all) in the depths of the Adirondack Mountains. The    philosophical dictionary was possibly labeledThe Dictionnaire Philosophique, Voltaire, 1764. Itwas a literal but anachronistic reprint of the Philosophical Dictionary, Stanford, 1995. The event that I am about to describe to you took place a half century ago – therefore you must forgive my memory – for the ‘possibly labeled’ comment.

Ernest Hemingwayinvited me to an evening meal of trout and venison that he had prepared over a wood fire. He had gathered the wood from…

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