at stumbling into courage; who begins with skulking, and ends by taking a flag.
's Micah Clarke
the old Roundhead soldier tells his grandchildren how he felt inclined to bob his head when he first heard bullets whistle, and adds, “If any soldier ever told you that he did not, the first time that he was under fire, then that soldier is not a man to trust.”
This is putting it too strongly, for some men are born more stolid, others more nervous; but the nervous man is quite as likely to have the firmer grain, and to come out the more heroic in the end. In my own limited experience, the only young officer whom I ever saw thoroughly and confessedly frightened, when first under fire, was the only one of his regiment who afterwards chose the regular army for his profession, and fought Indians for the rest of his life.
As for The Red Badge of Courage
, the test of the book is in the way it holds you. I only know that whenever I take it up I find myself reading it over and over, as I do Tolstoi
, and find it as hard to put down.
None of Doyle
's or Weyman
's books bear re-reading, in the same way; you must wait till you have forgotten their plots.
Even the slipshod grammar seems a part of the breathless life and