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By Thomas Mann

Recounts the enchanted occupation of the con guy extraordinaire Felix Krull--a guy unhampered through the ethical precepts that govern the behavior of standard humans.

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As for the interior decoration of our house, it was, in accordance with my father's taste, both cosy and cheerful. Pleasant nooks offered repose, and in one corner stood a real spinning-wheel; there were innumerable knick-knacks and decorations ? conch shells, glass boxes, and bottles of smelling-salts ? which stood about on étagères and velvet-covered tables; countless downy cushions covered in embroidered silk were strewn everywhere on sofas and daybeds, for my father loved to have a soft place to lie down; and curtain rods and halberds, and between the rooms were those airy portières made of bamboo tied with strings of glass beads.

But however much he was admired, he himself had no very high regard for his calling and often made highly ambiguous remarks about the nature of artists. 'Phidias,' he used to say, 'also called Pheidias, was a man of more than ordinary gifts, as may be gathered from the fact that he was convicted and put in jail for embezzling the gold and ivory entrusted to him for his statue of Athena. Pericles, who found him out, allowed him to escape from prison, thereby proving himself not only an expert in art but, what is more important, an expert in understanding the nature of the artist, and Phidias or Pheidias went to Olympia, where he was commissioned to make the great gold-and-ivory Zeus.

The children of the noble family of Siebenklingen, whom I had admired from a distance while they regarded me with haughty aloofness, came up and asked me to play croquet, and while our parents drank coffee together I went off with them in the seventh heaven of delight, my diamond brooch still on my blouse. That was one of the happiest days of my life, perhaps the happiest. A cry was raised that I should play again, and the management of the casino actually approached my father, and asked for a repeat performance, but he refused, saying that he had only permitted me to play by way of exception and that repeated public appearances would not be consistent with my social position.

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