VI
 

But, after all, no man, however great his plastic skill, can hope to mould and shape a work of art to suit his fancy, unless the stuff on which he works be first prepared and made ready to obey the craftsman's will. Nor certainly where the raw material consists of men, will you succeed, unless, under God's blessing, these same men have been prepared and made ready to meet their officer in a friendly spirit. They must come to look upon him as of greater sagacity than themselves in all that concerns encounter with the enemy. This friendly disposition on the part of his subordinates, one must suppose, will best be fostered by a corresponding sympathy on the part of their commander towards the men themselves, and that not by simple kindness but by the obvious pains he takes on their behalf, at one time to provide them with food, and at another to secure safety of retreat, or again by help of outposts and the like, to ensure protection during rest and sleep.

When on active service[1] the commander must prove himself conspicuously careful in the matter of forage, quarters, water-supply, outposts,[2] and all other requisites; forecasting the future and keeping ever a wakeful eye in the interest of those under him; and in case of any advantage won, the truest gain which the head of affairs can reap is to share with his men the profits of success.

Indeed, to put the matter in a nutshell, there is small risk a general will be regarded with contempt by those he leads, if, whatever he may have to preach, he shows himself best able to perform.

Beginning with the simple art of mounting on horseback, let him so train himself in all particulars of horsemanship that, to look at him, the men must see their leader is a horseman who can leap a trench unscathed or scale a parapet,[3] or gallop down a bank, and hurl a javelin with the best. These are accomplishments which one and all will pave the way to make contempt impossible. If, further, the men shall see in their commander one who, with the knowledge how to act, has force of will and cunning to make them get the better of the enemy; and if, further, they have got the notion well into their heads that this same leader may be trusted not to lead them recklesssly against the foe, without the help of Heaven, or despite the auspices-- I say, you have a list of virtues which will make those under his command the more obedient to their ruler.

[1] Al. "on garrison outpost duty."

[2] Reading {phulakon}, or if with Courier {thulakon}, "haversacks," i.e. "la farine, le contenant pour le contenu."

[3] Or, "stone walls," "dykes."