Let me say something ere I say good night, of some personal characteristics.
Early's courage was supreme.
Never did mortal breast hold a braver soul nor one more firmly set. It is as natural to die as it is to be born, and as natural to fear as it is to live, or love, or hate; and many of the bravest men that ever lived have been exercised by apprehensions that caused their hearts to thrill and their frames to quake.
Frederick the Great
is described by Macauley
as marching through Europe
with ‘a bottle of poison in one pocket and a copy of bad verses in the other.’
He feared his fate.
carried an amulet of poison around his neck, and once took
it. When Marshall Turenne
, on one occasion, was leaping on his horse to meet a sudden assault, his legs shook as his feet sought the stirrups.
‘Ah, you rascals,’ he exclaimed, as he smilingly looked down upon them, ‘if you knew where I was going to take you you would shake worse than that.’
, who, after a life of hair-breadth adventures, fell at Khartoum
, writes in his diary, that he has always been frightened, and very much so, not at the fear of death, but the fear of defeat and its consequences.
‘I do not believe,’ he says, ‘in the calm, unmoved man. I think it is only that he does not show it outwardly.’
Early had that supreme courage that shrinks before no responsibility and that dared with composure to face defeat and disaster for his country.
Whatever pangs may have stirred his secret breast were never disclosed in outward manifestation.
His hand never quivered, his face never changed when he launched the thunderbolts of war or received its rude shocks, and if ever he took account of danger or death or misfortune or blame or shame, it was a matter left behind the mask of his impassive countenance between him and his Maker.