But it was not easy being a coward…. to be a coward was to embark on a career that lasted a lifetime. You couldn’t ever relax. You had to anticipate the next occasion when you would have to make excuses for yourself, dither, cringe, reacquaint yourself with the taste of rubber boots and the state of the fallen, abject character. Being a coward required pertinacity, persistence, a refusal to change- which made it, in a way, a kind of courage.
Julian Barnes The Noise of Time p158 (a biographical novel of Shostakovich)