Page:Boissonnas, Un Vaincu, English, 1875.djvu/15

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which he discovered in different circumstances of his life.

It is common knowledge that sport in England is greatly appreciated, and that physical training is dutifully practiced. The English have imported their predilections in America, where they have taken root, particularly in Virginia, which was colonized at first by noblemen still used to wearing the plated armor and heavy arms of their times.

It is much more important in America than in France to be a good walker, a good swimmer, a good rider. His great height, his muscular strength, and the quality of his horsemanship made of Robert Lee the champion of his comrades. They admired him more for his fast 12-hour walks than for the perfection of his geometrical figures. Were they completely wrong? You will discover that Robert Lee served his country with his strong limbs as well as with his science and with his heart.

Be that as it may, masters and students shared a common feeling -- that of esteem. Esteem for his rectitude and for his character. It was known that this great walker never drank wine or liquor, which was rare in those days ; this dauntless rider never swore ; this strong fighter was gentle, kindly, always ready to help. To masters and students, the slightest assertion of Robert Lee was considered an oath.

In a military institution, where it is absolutely necessary to train young men to the rigorous discipline they will be submitted to later on, it is customary to punish the