The growth of courage in the pilot-house is steady all the time, but it does
not reach a high and satisfactory condition until some time after the young
pilot has been "standing his own watch" alone and under the staggering
weight of all the responsibilities connected with the position. When the apprentice
has become pretty thoroughly acquainted with the river, he goes clattering along
so fearlessly with his steamboat, night or day, that he presently begins to
imagine that it is his courage that animates him; but the first time the pilot
steps out and leaves him to his own devices he finds out it was the other man's.
He discovers that the article has been left out of his own cargo altogether.
The whole river is bristling with exigencies in a moment; he is not prepared
for them; he does not know how to meet them; all his knowledge forsakes him;
and within fifteen minutes he is as white as a sheet and scared almost to death.
Therefore pilots wisely train these cubs by various strategic tricks to look
danger in the face a little more calmly.
- Life on the Mississippi
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