merely passive, or because they expect to be taken care of. But all military experience shows that the passive condition is least favorable to courage.
The severest test of soldiers is to keep still under fire when they themselves can do nothing; the mere order to march or shoot is an immense relief to the nervous tension.
Then as to the certainty of being taken care of, that is the very thing that never looks quite sure to the person most concerned, especially where, as on the Oregon
, women see the firemen taking possession of boats and running away with them before their eyes.
Still, it is fair to remember that a good deal of the apparent excitement and confusion among men in a shipwreck, as at a fire, comes from the fact that they feel called upon as men to bustle about and see if they can find something to do — a necessity under which women do not labor.
When it comes to the test of the mouse, I fancy that we really pass beyond the domain of physical courage, and enter that of nervous excitability.
I was once told by a very courageous woman that men also, if they wore long skirts, would probably scream and jump upon chairs whenever a mouse showed itself.
The feeling is not properly to be called fear, any more than is the shriek of a girl when her wicked brother puts a caterpillar on her neck; she does not seriously think that the little woolly thing will hurt her, but it makes her “crawl.”