Thursday, 23 August 2012

Free and easy style

. . . my bootneck sergeant scowled disapproval; he wasn’t use to the free and easy style of these Navy youngsters who couldn’t help bring their fifth-form ways to sea, and treated their men more like a football of which they were the captain, than a crew. It was natural enough: the cornet or ensign in the Army, when he joined his regiment for the first time, entered a world of rigid formality and discipline, but here was this lad just out of his ’teens with a little floating kingdom all his own, sent to fight slavers and pirates, chase smugglers, shepherd pilgrims, and escort the precious bullion on which a whole British army would depend — and not a senior to turn to for advice or guidance, but only his own sense and judgment.

Flashman on the March, p.17, Harper Collins, paperback edition 2005.

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