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  • "'Little do I know of the Pyrrhic dance, yet it pleases me to imagine that it was in the nature of our manoeuvres, only with a clearly-acknowledged, rather than a dimly-perceived, sacred function...'

    'One thing that I do remember about the Pyrrhic dance is that it was danced in armour.'

    'I am happy to hear you say so, sir,' said the young man with a smile... 'for it strengthens my point, since we do the same. To be sure, we admit the degeneration that has taken place since Hector and Lysander and we have reduced our equipment in due proportion; but mutatis mutandis, we still drill, or dance, in armour.'

    'Do you indeed?' cried Stephen. 'I had never noticed it.'

    'Why, this, sir,' said the Royal Marine, tapping his gorget, a little silver crescent hanging on the front of his red coat, 'this is a breast-plate. Somewhat smaller than the breast-plate Achilles wore, but then so are our deserts.'"

    —P. O'Brian, The Commodore, 219

    March 18, 2008