Archibald [´RCIbqld] Joseph [´GqVzIf] Cronin [´krqVnIn] was born in 1896. In 1919 he graduated from Glasgow [´glxzgqV] University where he took a medical course. After that he practised medicine for over ten years and gained a lot of experience of life.
Though Cronin was an excellent doctor, he hoped some time to take up a literary career. The opportunity to write came when his medical practice was interrupted by an illness. His first novel, "Hatter's Castle" [´hxtqz ´kRsl], came out in 1931. It was followed by a number of other novels. "A Thing of Beauty" was published in 1955.
Stephen Desmonde had returned home after several years at Oxford, where he had been taking a course of theology. Stephen himself did not want to be a parson and had only taken up the course because his father wished him to do so. He was fond of painting and wanted to devote his life to art.
Against his father's will he left England to study painting in France [frRns]. On arriving in Paris [´pxrIs] he entered Professor Dupret's Art School. The extract given below is an account of his meeting with other students from England.