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Newspaper Page Text
By Frank Filson
(Copyright, 1916, W. G. Chapman.)
Jacques Dubonnet, once" professor
of mathematics in the University of
Lyons, looked through his trench
periscope and grunted. Black with
rich Flanders mud, disheveled, with
grubby nails and a sky-blue uniform
barely distinguishable under the va
rious kinds of clay that covered it,
he looked like anything except what
he had been.
His fat body shook with fear as he
watched the periscopes along the
German trench opposite him. He
wiped the sweat from his forehead,
leaving the trail of a grimy hand.
'Teste! I am not a soldier, I am a
professor," he said. "I am a coward.
Why could they not have set me an
easier and cleaner job than this?"
An expansive smile broke over his
"Why did they not set me to solv
ing the problem of the relation of the
radii of a circle drawn within an iso
hedrous' triangle tangental to a fixed
point on a parabola?" he asked.
Fifty yards distant Hans Ernest
Muller looked through his periscope
toward the French trenches and
groaned in bitterness of spirit
Dressed in his gray-green uniform,
his stout form hardly covered by the
ill-fitting clothing, he looked more
like a rag-picker than an ex-professor
"Himmel, I wish I had that fellow
Dubonnet here," he said. "He, who
thinks he has solved the problem on
which we were both working at the
outbreak of the war, of the relation
of the radii of a circle drawn within
an isohedrous triangle tangental to
a fixed point on a parabola."
Seized with a sudden idea, born,
perhaps, of weeks of inaction, the
professor picked up a sheet of board
and a charcoal pencil, such as was
kept handy for writing insulting mes
sages to be displayed to the foemen
opposite, and began to sketch out his
circle and triangle.
Fifty yards away Prof. Dubonnet
was suddenly taken with an idea.
Perhaps it was a case of thought
transference! perhaps the inaction of
trench life had stimulated his think
ing faculties. At any rate he wrote
hurriedly upon a miniature black
board with a piece of white chalk
kept handy for writing insulting
"Peste! I Am ftot a Soldier; I Am a
messages to the enemy across the
barbed wire opposite.
While these two great minds were
at work, other minds were laboring
under different problems.
"Have you got your men ready?"
inquired CapL Dupont of the young
lieutenant in the section of trench