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Bless me! reader, gentle or simple, or whatever you be, how impatiently by this time must you expect this preface, supposing it to be nothing but revengeful invectives against the author of the second Don Quixote. But I must beg your pardon: for I shall say no more of him than everybody says, that Tordesillas is the place where he was begotten, and Tarragona the place where he was born; and. though it be universally said, that even a worm when trod upon, will turn again, yet I am resolved for once to cross the proverb. You perhaps now would have me call him coxcomb, fool, and madman ; but I am of another mind; and so let his folly be its own punishment. But there is something which I cannot so silently pass over: he is pleased to upbraid me with my age: indeed, had it been in the power of man to stop the career of "me, I would not have suffered the old gentleman to have laid his fingers on me. Then he reflectingly tells me of the loss of one of my hands : as if that maim had been got in a scandalous or drunken quarrel in some tavern, and not upon the most memorable occasion that either past or present ages have beheld, and which perhaps futurity will never parallel. If my wounds do not redound to my honour in the thoughts of some of those that look upon them, they will at least secure me the esteem of those that know how they were gotten. A soldier makes a nobler figure as he lies bleeding in the bed of honour, than safe in an inglorious flight; and I am so far from being ashamed of the loss of my hand, that were it possible to recall the same opportunity, I should think my wounds but a small price for the glory of sharing in that prodigious action. The scars in a soldier's face and breast, are the stars that by a laudable imitation guide others to the port of honour and glory. Besides, it is not the hand, but the understanding of a man, that may be said to write; and those years, that he is pleased to quarrel with, always improve the latter.
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