In real life, we recognize that most people have several different sides to their characters. We know that a teenager may be sullen and withdrawn at home, diligent and hard-working at his job, and the life of the party with certain of his friends. That's what makes people interesting. But with a book character, we sometimes forget to see that the character, too, is multi-dimensional. Type-casting and stereotyping are easy and convenient for the author, but they can be misleading for the reader. The problem becomes more complicated when the character in a book is based on a real person.
The Reverend Robert Audley Browne poses such a problem. Tall, handsome, eloquent, well-respected -- in A Scratch with the Rebels, he is an important influence upon the young men recruited for the Roundhead Regiment. Rev. Browne arrived in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, as a young minister and built a large and faithful congregation in the Presbyterian church to which he was assigned. He believed unconditionally in Calvinist theology and conveyed the hopeful news to his followers that if they lived moral lives, they were among the Elect, would be protected by God's own hand, and were predestined to Life Eternal.
Daniel Leasure recognized Rev. Browne as an ideal chaplain for his new regiment, and convinced Browne to ask for a leave of absence from his church to accompany the Pennsylvania soldiers into a war against the evils of slavery. He was a perfect fit. The soldiers adored him, accepted his teachings (for the most part), and gained a reputation for being the most Godly regiment in the Union Army. They went bravely into battle believing that nothing could harm them. Of courses some of them died as a result of their bravery, but Browne made even those deaths seem righteous and acceptable.
Rev. Browne, however, had another side to his character -- one probably related to his core religious beliefs. He was a misogynist. He saw all women as evil (like Eve in the Bible). And when he saw a danger to the moral fiber of his young men, he could be implacable and relentless on his attacks. In Beyond All Price, Browne appears as the villain rather than the savior. He was convinced that Nellie Chase was one of those evil women -- probably a prostitute because she had had once held a job in a (gasp!) theater. He accused her of many sins, tried to drive her out of the regiment, and even perpetrated the rumor that she was having an affair with the devoted family man, Daniel Leasure.
In one book, Browne is a character to be admired; in the other, he inspires anger and disgust. Which one is the real Robert Audley Browne? The truth, of course, lies somewhere between. In later life, he returned to his pastoral duties and served in the Pennsylvania Senate. He also became president of Westminster College, and ran unsuccessfully for governor as the candidate of the Prohibition Party. His life gave him the breadth of experience to be a full and rounded personality, with both good and bad qualities in equal measure.