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105 Biographies & Memoirs > Historical  
Recollections of a Rebel Reefer


        SAID a writer in Blackwood's Magazine many years ago: "None but kings and egoists are fit to indite the record of their lives. The king knows himself to be the first of his world, and what to the king is knowledge is to the egoist a confident belief. Pride, then, personal and overwhelming, is essential to the perfect autobiography; and if the pride be simple enough, we may perhaps dispense with the other great quality--self-knowledge. For though it obscure reality, pride can create a phantom at once improving and consistent. Nequidquam sapit qui sibi non sapit, wrote Cicero."

        The following account of some of my experiences in life will have at least the merit of simplicity, and, the story being about myself, I ask indulgence for its unavoidable egotism.

        It has been said that "adventures come only to him who seeks them," but I am doubtful of the correctness of this adage, for I can truthfully say that I had as little to do with the shaping of my course in life as has an empty bottle thrown overboard in mid-ocean. I spent the most important years of a boy's life, those between fifteen and nineteen, so far as education and the formation of character are concerned, tied to a sword and in the midst of a most cruel war, and when peace came I was wafted hither and thither, the sport of the fickle winds of varying fortune; and, having "sailed 'neath alien skies and trod the desert path," naturally I imagine that I have met with some adventures out of the usual run of the average schoolboy's experiences, and if I have written some of them down, it has been with the laudable desire of amusing other people rather than personal vanity or desire for notoriety.

        Its novelty is another excuse for this volume. The shelves of libraries are filled with "Recollections," "Reminiscences,"

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 No. 99
 Posted on 7 June, 2006
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