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The renowned writer of Caesar's "Commentaries" did not think it necessary to furnish a preface for those notable compositions, and nobody has ever yet attempted to supply the deficiency-if it be one. In truth, the custom is altogether of modern times. The ancient heroes who became authors and wrote a book, left their work to speak for itself-"to sink or swim," we had almost said, but that is not exactly the case. Cæsar carried his "Commentaries" between his teeth when he swam ashore from the sinking galley at Alexandria, but it never occurred to him to supply posterity with a prefatory flourish. He begins those famous chapters with a soldierly abruptness and brevity-"Omnia Gallia in très partes" etc. The world has been contented to begin there also for the last two thousand years; and the fact is a great argument against prefaces-especially since, as a rule, no one ever reads them till the book itself has been perused.
The great soldier who has here turned author, entering the literary arena as a novelist, has also given his English translators no preface. But our custom demands one, and the nature of the present work requires that a few words should be written explanatory of the original purpose and character of the Italian MS. from which the subjoined pages are transcribed. It would be unfair to Garibaldi if the extraordinary vivacity and grace of his native style should be thought to be here accurately represented. The renowned champion of freedom possesses an eloquence as peculiar and real as his military genius, with a gift of graphic description and creative fancy which are but very imperfectly presented in this version of his tale, partly from the particular circumstances under which the version was prepared, and partly from the impossibility of rendering into English those subtle touches and personal traits which really make a book, as lines and light shadows make a countenance. Moreover, the Italian MS. itself, written in the autograph of the General,
was compiled as the solace of heavy hours at Varignano, where the King of Italy, who owed to Garibaldi's sword the splendid present of the Two Sicilies, was repaying that magnificent dotation with a shameful imprisonment. The time will come when these pages-in their original, at least-will be numbered among the proofs of the poet's statement that-
"Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage:
Minds innocent and quiet take
These for a hermitage."
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