Biographies of Distinguished Scientific Men
At last the moment of examination arrived, and I went to Toulouse in company with a candidate who had studied at the public college. It was the first time that pupils from Perpignan had appeared at the competition. My intimidated comrade was completely discomfited. When I repaired after him to the board, a very singular conversation took place between M. Monge (the examiner) and me.
"If you are going to answer like your comrade, it is useless for me to question you."
"Sir, my comrade knows much more than he has shown; I hope I shall be more fortunate than he; but what you have just said to me might well intimidate me and deprive me of all my powers."
"Timidity is always the excuse of the ignorant; it is to save you from the shame of a defeat that I make you the proposal of not examining you."
"I know of no greater shame than that