delineation; a cross section of the daily existence of the raw enlisted-man.
In other respects it is reticent because it is truthful.
Does any one suppose that in the daily routine of the camp there was room for much fine talk about motives and results — that men were constantly appealing, like Carlyle
's Frenchman, “to posterity and the immortal Gods?”
Fortunately or unfortunately, the Anglo-Saxon
is not built that way; he errs on the other side; habitually understates instead of overstating his emotions; and while he is making the most heroic sacrifices of his life, usually prefers to scold about rations or grumble at orders.
He is to be judged by results; not by what he says, which is often ungracious and unornamental, but by what he does.
The very merit of this book is that in dealing with his men the author offers, within this general range, all the essential types of character — the man who boasts and the man who is humble — the man who thinks he may be frightened and is not, and the man who does not expect to be, but is. For his main character he selects a type to be found in every regiment — the young man who does not know himself, who first stumbles into cowardice, to his own amazement, and then is equally amazed