Character Sketch of Corporal Brewster

Corporal Gregory, Brewster is a retired military hero. He is portrayed as living in a country cottage during his old age. In contrast to him is a young soldier named McDonald. This contrast is dramatized through the eyes of Norah Brewster, the Corporal's grandniece, who has to decide whether it would be worth marrying the young and handsome Archie McDonald, knowing that in the course of time he may grow into the sort of aged wreck that old Brewster had become.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This exercise in foresight makes the Corporal a center of attention.

He appears first in all his glory through a picture and a newspaper clipping describing the honors he received from a grateful nation for valor shown at the battle of Waterloo. But when the man himself enters the stage, the ravages of time are all too evident. He seems obsessed with curious ideas. He repeats himself quite often. He is hard of hearing, impatient for food, and worried about the cold weather. He lives in his memories of the grand old army life, and of his comrades who were led by the legendary Duke of Wellington. Innovations like the railways disturb him, and the improvements in military organization and technology leave him bewildered and skeptical. But he is touched by the generosity of the young, and is happy when assured that his hope of being buried with full military honors will be fulfilled. He remains a patriotic soldier till he breathes his last.

The love he receives from others is the reward for the love he bears his profession and his country. Norah conies to realize that her granduncle's true heroism has much more to do, with his selfless dedication than with his military exploits and handsome looks which were temporal and no longer his. This, more than anything else, contributes to her enlightenment and convinces her of the value of a soldier's love.

Waterloo Study Center

Summary of Waterloo

The Effects of Old Age in Corporal Brewster

Meeting of Norah Brewster and Archie McDonald

Biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle