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The professor

He wanders to the post box down the way his old tweed hangs like burlap to the knees and reeks of pencils, prunes and mildewed cheese - no editor has sent good news today. The wise poetic eyes take on a glaze of resignation, but with smiles he greets the neighbors' children, lets them search for sweets in pockets jammed with notes for epic plays, scraps of poems, old clips of critics' praise: he'd walked among the lions, brushed by fame. One letter starts: ''We're honoring your name . . .'' he'd be Emeritus in several days. Though lanterns light behind the eyes there's neither disappointment nor surprise.

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