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The Red Badge Of Courage, Page Count, All Chapter Summary, Why Was Banned PDF Free Download
The Cold Passed Reluctantly From The Earth, And The Retiring Fogs Revealed An Army Stretched Out On The Hills, Resting. As The Landscape Changed From Brown To Green, The Army Awakened And Began To Tremble With Eagerness At The Noise Of Rumors. It Cast Its Eyes Upon The Roads, Which Were Growing From Long Troughs Of Liquid Mud To Proper Thoroughfares.
A River, Amber-tinted In The Shadow Of Its Banks, Purled At The Army’s Feet; And At Night, When The Stream Had Become Of A Sorrowful Blackness, One Could See Across It The Red, Eyelike Gleam Of The Hostile Camp. Fires Set In The Low Brows Of Distant Hills. Once A Certain Tall Soldier Developed Virtues And Went Resolutely To Wash A Shirt. He Came Flying Back From A Brook Waving His Garment Bannerlike.
He Was Swelled With A Tale He Had Heard From A Reliable Friend, Who Had Heard It From A Truthful Cavalryman, Who Had Heard It From His Trustworthy Brother, One Of The Orderlies At Division Headquarters. He Adopted The Important Air Of A Herald In Red And Gold. “we’re Goin’ To Move To More-sure,” He Said Pompously To A Group In The Company Street.
“we’re Goin’ ‘way Up The River, Cut Across, An’ Come Around In Behind ’em.” To His Attentive Audience, He Drew A Loud And Elaborate Plan Of A Very Brilliant Campaign. When He Had Finished, The Blue-clothed Men Scattered Into Small Arguing Groups Between The Rows Of Squat Brown Huts.
A Negro Teamster Who Had Been Dancing Upon A Cracker Box With The Hilarious Encouragement Of Twoscore Soldiers Was Deserted. He Sat Mournfully Down. Smoke Drifted Lazily From A Multitude Of Quaint Chimneys. “it’s A Lie! That’s All It Is-a A Thunderin’ Lie!” Said Another Private Loudly. His Smooth Face Was Flushed, And His Hands Were Thrust Sulkily Into His Trousers’ Pockets. He Took The Matter As An Affront To Him. “i Don’t Believe The Derned Old Army’s Ever Going To Move. We’re Set. I’ve Got Ready To Move Eight Times In The Last Two Weeks, And We Ain’t Moved Yet.”
The Next Morning The Youth Discovered That His Tall Comrade Had Been The Fast-flying Messenger Of A Mistake. There Was Much Scoffing At The Latter By Those Who Had Yesterday Been Firm Adherents Of His Views, And There Was Even A Little Sneering By Men Who Had Never Believed The Rumor. The Tall One Fought With A Man From Chatfield Corners And Beat Him Severely.
The Youth Felt, However, That His Problem Was In No Wise Lifted From Him. There Was, On The Contrary, An Irritating Prolongation. The Tale Had Created In Him A Great Concern For Himself. Now, With The Newborn Question In His Mind, He Was Compelled To Sink Back Into His Old Place As Part Of A Blue Demonstration. For Days He Made Ceaseless Calculations, But They Were All Wondrously Unsatisfactory. He Found That He Could Establish Nothing.
He Finally Concluded That The Only Way To Prove Himself Was To Go Into The Blaze, And Then Figuratively To Watch His Legs To Discover Their Merits And Faults. He Reluctantly Admitted That He Could Not Sit Still And With A Mental Slate And Pencil Derive An Answer. To Gain It, He Must Have Blaze, Blood, And Danger, Even As A Chemist Requires This, That, And The Other. So He Fretted For An Opportunity. Meanwhile, He Continually Tried To Measure Himself By His Comrades. The Tall Soldier, For One, Gave Him Some Assurance.
This Man’s Serene Unconcern Dealt Him A Measure Of Confidence, For He Had Known Him Since Childhood, And From His Intimate Knowledge He Did Not See How He Could Be Capable Of Anything That Was Beyond Him, The Youth. Still, He Thought That His Comrade Might Be Mistaken About Himself. Or, On The Other Hand, He Might Be A Man Heretofore Doomed To Peace And Obscurity, But, In Reality, Made To Shine In War.
The Youth Would Have Liked To Have Discovered Another Who Suspected Himself. A Sympathetic Comparison Of Mental Notes Would Have Been A Joy To Him. He Occasionally Tried To Fathom A Comrade With Seductive Sentences. He Looked About To Find Men In The Proper Mood. All Attempts Failed To Bring Forth Any Statement Which Looked In Any Way Like A Confession To Those Doubts Which He Privately Acknowledged In Himself.
He Was Afraid To Make An Open Declaration Of His Concern, Because He Dreaded To Place Some Unscrupulous Confidant Upon The High Plane Of The Unconfessed From Which Elevation He Could Be Derided. In Regard To His Companions His Mind Wavered Between Two Opinions, According To His Mood. Sometimes He Inclined To Believing Them All Heroes. In Fact, He Usually Admired In Secret The Superior Development Of The Higher Qualities In Others.
When Another Night Came, The Columns, Changed To Purple Streaks, Filed Across Two Pontoon Bridges. A Glaring Fire Wine-tinted The Waters Of The River. Its Rays, Shining Upon The Moving Masses Of Troops, Brought Forth Here And There Sudden Gleams Of Silver Or Gold. Upon The Other Shore A Dark And Mysterious Range Of Hills Was Curved Against The Sky. The Insect Voices Of The Night Sang Solemnly.
After This Crossing The Youth Assured Himself That At Any Moment They Might Be Suddenly And Fearfully Assaulted From The Caves Of The Lowering Woods. He Kept His Eyes Watchfully Upon The Darkness. But His Regiment Went Unmolested To A Camping Place, And Its Soldiers Slept The Brave Sleep Of Wearied Men. In The Morning They Were Routed Out With Early Energy, And Hustled Along A Narrow Road That Led Deep Into The Forest.
It Was During This Rapid March That The Regiment Lost Many Of The Marks Of A New Command. The Men Had Begun To Count The Miles Upon Their Fingers, And They Grew Tired. “sore Feet An’ Damned Short Rations, That’s All,” Said The Loud Soldier. There Was Perspiration And Grumblings. After A Time They Began To Shed Their Knapsacks. Some Tossed Them Unconcernedly Down; Others Hid Them Carefully, Asserting Their Plans To Return For Them At Some Convenient Time.
Men Extricated Themselves From Thick Shirts. Presently Few Carried Anything But Their Necessary Clothing, Blankets, Haversacks, Canteens, And Arms And Ammunition. “you Can Now Eat And Shoot,” Said The Tall Soldier To The Youth. “that’s All You Want To Do.” There Was Sudden Change From The Ponderous Infantry Of Theory To The Light And Speedy Infantry Of Practice. The Regiment, Relieved Of A Burden, Received A New Impetus.
But There Was Much Loss Of Valuable Knapsacks, And, On The Whole, Very Good Shirts. But The Regiment Was Not Yet Veteranlike In Appearance. Veteran Regiments In The Army Were Likely To Be Very Small Aggregations Of Men. Once, When The Command Had First Come To The Field, Some Perambulating Veterans, Noting The Length Of Their Column, Had Accosted Them Thus: “hey, Fellers, What Brigade Is That?” And When The Men Had Replied That They Formed A Regiment And Not A Brigade, The Older Soldiers Had Laughed, And Said, “o Gawd!” Also, There Was Too Great A Similarity In The Hats.
The Hats Of A Regiment Should Properly Represent The History Of Headgear For A Period Of Years. And, Moreover, There Were No Letters Of Faded Gold Speaking From The Colors. They Were New And Beautiful, And The Color Bearer Habitually Oiled The Pole. Presently The Army Again Sat Down To Think. The Odor Of The Peaceful Pines Was In The Men’s Nostrils. The Sound Of Monotonous Axe Blows Rang Through The Forest, And The Insects, Nodding Upon Their Perches, Crooned Like Old Women. The Youth Returned To His Theory Of A Blue Demonstration.
The Brigade Was Halted In The Fringe Of A Grove. The Men Crouched Among The Trees And Pointed Their Restless Guns Out At The Fields. They Tried To Look Beyond The Smoke. Out Of This Haze They Could See Running Men. Some Shouted Information And Gestured As The Hurried. The Men Of The New Regiment Watched And Listened Eagerly, While Their Tongues Ran On In Gossip Of The Battle.
They Mouthed Rumors That Had Flown Like Birds Out Of The Unknown. “they Say Perry Has Been Driven In With Big Loss.” “yes, Carrott Went T’ Th’ Hospital. He Said He Was Sick. That Smart Lieutenant Is Commanding ‘g’ Company. Th’ Boys Say They Won’t Be Under Carrott No More If They All Have T’ Desert. They Allus Knew He Was A-” “hannises’ Batt’ry Is Took.” “it Ain’t Either.
I Saw Hannises’ Batt’ry Off On Th’ Left Not More’n Fifteen Minutes Ago.” “well-” “th’ General, He Ses He Is Goin’ T’ Take Th’ Hull Command Of Th’ 304th When We Go Inteh Action, An’ Then He Ses We’ll Do Sech Fightin’ As Never Another One Reg’ment Done.” “they Say We’re Catchin’ It Over On Th’ Left. They Say Th’ Enemy Driv’ Our Line Inteh A Devil Of A Swamp An’ Took Hannises’ Batt’ry.” “no Sech Thing. Hannises’ Batt’ry Was ’long Here ’bout A Minute Ago.” “that Young Hasbrouck, He Makes A Good Off’cer.
He Ain’t Afraid ’a Nothin’.” “i Met One Of Th’ 148th Maine Boys An’ He Ses His Brigade Fit Th’ Hull Rebel Army Fer Four Hours Over On Th’ Turnpike Road An’ Killed About Five Thousand Of ’em. He Ses One More Sech Fight As That An’ Th’ War ’ll Be Over.” “bill Wasn’t Scared Either. No, Sir! It Wasn’t That. Bill Ain’t A-gittin’ Scared Easy.
He Was Jest Mad, That’s What He Was. When That Feller Trod On His Hand, He Up An’ Sed That He Was Willin’ T’ Give His Hand T’ His Country, But He Be Dumbed If He Was Goin’ T’ Have Every Dumb Bushwhacker In Th’ Kentry Walkin’ ’round On It. So He Went T’ Th’ Hospital Disregardless Of Th’ Fight. Three Fingers Was Crunched. Th’ Dern Doctor Wanted T’ Amputate ’m, An’ Bill, He Raised A Heluva Row, I Hear. He’s A Funny Feller.”
There Were Moments Of Waiting. The Youth Thought Of The Village Street At Home Before The Arrival Of The Circus Parade On A Day In The Spring. He Remembered How He Had Stood, A Small, Thrillful Boy, Prepared To Follow The Dingy Lady Upon The White Horse, Or The Band In Its Faded Chariot. He Saw The Yellow Road, The Lines Of Expectant People, And The Sober Houses.
He Particularly Remembered An Old Fellow Who Used To Sit Upon A Cracker Box In Front Of The Store And Feign To Despise Such Exhibitions. A Thousand Details Of Color And Form Surged In His Mind. The Old Fellow Upon The Cracker Box Appeared In Middle Prominence. Some One Cried, “here They Come!” There Was Rustling And Muttering Among The Men.
They Displayed A Feverish Desire To Have Every Possible Cartridge Ready To Their Hands. The Boxes Were Pulled Around Into Various Positions, And Adjusted With Great Care. It Was As If Seven Hundred New Bonnets Were Being Tried On. The Tall Soldier, Having Prepared His Rifle, Produced A Red Handkerchief Of Some Kind. He Was Engaged In Knotting It About His Throat With Exquisite Attention To Its Position, When The Cry Was Repeated Up And Down The Line In A Muffled Roar Of Sound. “here They Come! Here They Come!” Gun Locks Clicked.
Across The Smoke-infested Fields Came A Brown Swarm Of Running Men Who Were Giving Shrill Yells. They Came On, Stooping And Swinging Their Rifles At All Angles. A Flag, Tilted Forward, Sped Near The Front. As He Caught Sight Of Them The Youth Was Momentarily Startled By A Thought That Perhaps His Gun Was Not Loaded.
He Stood Trying To Rally His Faltering Intellect So That He Might Recollect The Moment When He Had Loaded, But He Could Not. A Hatless General Pulled His Dripping Horse To A Stand Near The Colonel Of The 304th. He Shook His Fist In The Other’s Face. “you’ve Got To Hold ’em Back!” He Shouted, Savagely; “you’ve Got To Hold ’em Back!”
The Youth Awakened Slowly. He Came Gradually Back To A Position From Which He Could Regard Himself. For Moments He Had Been Scrutinizing His Person In A Dazed Way As If He Had Never Before Seen Himself. Then He Picked Up His Cap From The Ground. He Wriggled In His Jacket To Make A More Comfortable Fit, And Kneeling Relaced His Shoe.
He Thoughtfully Mopped His Reeking Features. So It Was All Over At Last! The Supreme Trial Had Been Passed. The Red, Formidable Difficulties Of War Had Been Vanquished. He Went Into An Ecstasy Of Self-satisfaction. He Had The Most Delightful Sensations Of His Life. Standing As If Apart From Himself, He Viewed That Last Scene. He Perceived That The Man Who Had Fought Thus Was Magnificent. He Felt That He Was A Fine Fellow. He Saw Himself Even With Those Ideals Which He Had Considered As Far Beyond Him. He Smiled In Deep Gratification.
Upon His Fellows He Beamed Tenderness And Good Will. “gee! Ain’t It Hot, Hey?” He Said Affably To A Man Who Was Polishing His Streaming Face With His Coat Sleeves. “you Bet!” Said The Other, Grinning Sociably. “i Never Seen Sech Dumb Hotness.” He Sprawled Out Luxuriously On The Ground. “gee, Yes! An’ I Hope We Don’t Have No More Fightin’ Till A Week From Monday.” There Were Some Handshakings And Deep Speeches With Men Whose Features Were Familiar, But With Whom The Youth Now Felt The Bonds Of Tied Hearts.
He Helped A Cursing Comrade To Bind Up A Wound Of The Shin. But, Of A Sudden, Cries Of Amazement Broke Out Along The Ranks Of The New Regiment. “here They Come Ag’in! Here They Come Ag’in!” The Man Who Had Sprawled Upon The Ground Started Up And Said, “gosh!” The Youth Turned Quick Eyes Upon The Field. He Discerned Forms Begin To Swell In Masses Out Of A Distant Wood. He Again Saw The Tilted Flag Speeding Forward.
The Shells, Which Had Ceased To Trouble The Regiment For A Time, Came Swirling Again, And Exploded In The Grass Or Among The Leaves Of The Trees. They Looked To Be Strange War Flowers Bursting Into Fierce Bloom. The Men Groaned. The Luster Faded From Their Eyes. Their Smudged Countenances Now Expressed A Profound Dejection. They Moved Their Stiffened Bodies Slowly, And Watched In Sullen Mood The Frantic Approach Of The Enemy. The Slaves Toiling In The Temple Of This God Began To Feel Rebellion At His Harsh Tasks.
The Youth Cringed As If Discovered In A Crime. By Heavens, They Had Won After All! The Imbecile Line Had Remained And Become Victors. He Could Hear Cheering. He Lifted Himself Upon His Toes And Looked In The Direction Of The Fight. A Yellow Fog Lay Wallowing On The Treetops. From Beneath It Came The Clatter Of Musketry. Hoarse Cries Told Of An Advance. He Turned Away Amazed And Angry. He Felt That He Had Been Wronged.
He Had Fled, He Told Himself, Because Annihilation Approached. He Had Done A Good Part In Saving Himself, Who Was A Little Piece Of The Army. He Had Considered The Time, He Said, To Be One In Which It Was The Duty Of Every Little Piece To Rescue Itself If Possible. Later The Officers Could Fit The Little Pieces Together Again, And Make A Battle Front. If None Of The Little Pieces Were Wise Enough To Save Themselves From The Flurry Of Death At Such A Time, Why, Then, Where Would Be The Army? It Was All Plain That He Had Proceeded According To Very Correct And Commendable Rules.
His Actions Had Been Sagacious Things. They Had Been Full Of Strategy. They Were The Work Of A Master’s Legs. Thoughts Of His Comrades Came To Him. The Brittle Blue Line Had Withstood The Blows And Won. He Grew Bitter Over It. It Seemed That The Blind Ignorance And Stupidity Of Those Little Pieces Had Betrayed Him. He Had Been Overturned And Crushed By Their Lack Of Sense In Holding The Position, When Intelligent Deliberation Would Have Convinced Them That It Was Impossible. He, The Enlightened Man Who Looks Afar In The Dark, Had Fled Because Of His Superior Perceptions And Knowledge.
He Felt A Great Anger Against His Comrades. He Knew It Could Be Proved That They Had Been Fools. He Wondered What They Would Remark When Later He Appeared In Camp. His Mind Heard Howls Of Derision. Their Density Would Not Enable Them To Understand His Sharper Point Of View. He Began To Pity Himself Acutely. He Was Ill Used. He Was Trodden Beneath The Feet Of An Iron Injustice.
He Had Proceeded With Wisdom And From The Most Righteous Motives Under Heaven’s Blue Only To Be Frustrated By Hateful Circumstances. A Dull, Animal-like Rebellion Against His Fellows, War In The Abstract, And Fate Grew Within Him. He Shambled Along With Bowed Head, His Brain In A Tumult Of Agony And Despair. When He Looked Loweringly Up, Quivering At Each Sound, His Eyes Had The Expression Of Those Of A Criminal Who Thinks His Guilt Little And His Punishment Great, And Knows That He Can Find No Words.
He Went From The Fields Into A Thick Woods, As If Resolved To Bury Himself. He Wished To Get Out Of Hearing Of The Crackling Shots Which Were To Him Like Voices. The Ground Was Cluttered With Vines And Bushes, And The Trees Grew Close And Spread Out Like Bouquets. He Was Obliged To Force His Way With Much Noise. The Creepers, Catching Against His Legs, Cried Out Harshly As Their Sprays Were Torn From The Barks Of Trees. The Swishing Saplings Tried To Make Known His Presence To The World.
He Could Not Conciliate The Forest. As He Made His Way, It Was Always Calling Out Protestations. When He Separated Embraces Of Trees And Vines The Disturbed Foliages Waved Their Arms And Turned Their Face Leaves Toward Him. He Dreaded Lest These Noisy Motions And Cries Should Bring Men To Look At Him. So He Went Far, Seeking Dark And Intricate Places.
The Trees Began Softly To Sing A Hymn Of Twilight. The Sun Sank Until Slanted Bronze Rays Struck The Forest. There Was A Lull In The Noises Of Insects As If They Had Bowed Their Beaks And Were Making A Devotional Pause. There Was Silence Save For The Chanted Chorus Of The Trees. Then, Upon This Stillness, There Suddenly Broke A Tremendous Clangor Of Sounds. A Crimson Roar Came From The Distance. The Youth Stopped.
He Was Transfixed By This Terrific Medley Of All Noises. It Was As If Worlds Were Being Rended. There Was The Ripping Sound Of Musketry And The Breaking Crash Of The Artillery. His Mind Flew In All Directions. He Conceived The Two Armies To Be At Each Other Panther Fashion. He Listened For A Time. Then He Began To Run In The Direction Of The Battle. He Saw That It Was An Ironical Thing For Him To Be Running Thus Toward That Which He Had Been At Such Pains To Avoid.
But He Said, In Substance, To Himself That If The Earth And The Moon Were About To Clash, Many Persons Would Doubtless Plan To Get Upon The Roofs To Witness The Collision. As He Ran, He Became Aware That The Forest Had Stopped Its Music, As If At Last Becoming Capable Of Hearing The Foreign Sounds. The Trees Hushed And Stood Motionless. Everything Seemed To Be Listening To The Crackle And Clatter And Earthshaking Thunder.
The Chorus Peaked Over The Still Earth. It Suddenly Occurred To The Youth That The Fight In Which He Had Been Was, After All, But Perfunctory Popping. In The Hearing Of This Present Din He Was Doubtful If He Had Seen Real Battle Scenes. This Uproar Explained A Celestial Battle; It Was Tumbling Hordes A-struggle In The Air. Reflecting, He Saw A Sort Of A Humor In The Point Of View Of Himself And His Fellows During The Late Encounter.
They Had Taken Themselves And The Enemy Very Seriously And Had Imagined That They Were Deciding The War. Individuals Must Have Supposed That They Were Cutting The Letters Of Their Names Deep Into Everlasting Tablets Of Brass, Or Enshrining Their Reputations Forever In The Hearts Of Their Countrymen, While, As To Fact, The Affair Would Appear In Printed Reports Under A Meek And Immaterial Title.
But He Saw That It Was Good, Else, He Said, In Battle Every One Would Surely Run Save Forlorn Hopes And Their Ilk. He Went Rapidly On. He Wished To Come To The Edge Of The Forest That He Might Peer Out. As He Hastened, There Passed Through His Mind Pictures Of Stupendous Conflicts. His Accumulated Thought Upon Such Subjects Was Used To Form Scenes. The Noise Was As The Voice Of An Eloquent Being, Describing.
The Youth Fell Back In The Procession Until The Tattered Soldier Was Not In Sight. Then He Started To Walk On With The Others. But He Was Amid Wounds. The Mob Of Men Was Bleeding. Because Of The Tattered Soldier’s Question He Now Felt That His Shame Could Be Viewed. He Was Continually Casting Sidelong Glances To See If The Men Were Contemplating The Letters Of Guilt He Felt Burned Into His Brow.
At Times He Regarded The Wounded Soldiers In An Envious Way. He Conceived Persons With Torn Bodies To Be Peculiarly Happy. He Wished That He, Too, Had A Wound, A Red Badge Of Courage. The Spectral Soldier Was At His Side Like A Stalking Reproach. The Man’s Eyes Were Still Fixed In A Stare Into The Unknown. His Gray, Appalling Face Had Attracted Attention In The Crowd, And Men, Slowing To His Dreary Pace, Were Walking With Him.
They Were Discussing His Plight, Questioning Him And Giving Him Advice. In A Dogged Way He Repelled Them, Signing To Them To Go On And Leave Him Alone. The Shadows Of His Face Were Deepening And His Tight Lips Seemed Holding In Check The Moan Of Great Despair. There Could Be Seen A Certain Stiffness In The Movements Of His Body, As If He Were Taking Infinite Care Not To Arouse The Passion Of His Wounds.
As He Went On, He Seemed Always Looking For A Place, Like One Who Goes To Choose A Grave. Something In The Gesture Of The Man As He Waved The Bloody And Pitying Soldiers Away Made The Youth Start As If Bitten. He Yelled In Horror. Tottering Forward He Laid A Quivering Hand Upon The Man’s Arm. As The Latter Slowly Turned His Waxlike Features Toward Him The Youth Screamed: “gawd! Jim Conklin!” The Tall Soldier Made A Little Commonplace Smile. “hello, Henry,” He Said.
The Tattered Man Stood Musing. “well, He Was A Reg’lar Jim-dandy Fer Nerve, Wa’n’t He,” Said He Finally In A Little Awestruck Voice. “a Reg’lar Jim-dandy.” He Thoughtfully Poked One Of The Docile Hands With His Foot. “i Wonner Where He Got ’is Stren’th From? I Never Seen A Man Do Like That Before. It Was A Funny Thing. Well, He Was A Reg’lar Jim-dandy.”
The Youth Desired To Screech Out His Grief. He Was Stabbed, But His Tongue Lay Dead In The Tomb Of His Mouth. He Threw Himself Again Upon The Ground And Began To Brood. The Tattered Man Stood Musing. “look-a-here, Pardner,” He Said, After A Time. He Regarded The Corpse As He Spoke. “he’s Up An’ Gone, Ain’t ’e, An’ We Might As Well Begin T’ Look Out Fer Ol’ Number One.
This Here Thing Is All Over. He’s Up An’ Gone, Ain’t ’e? An’ He’s All Right Here. Nobody Won’t Bother ’im. An’ I Must Say I Ain’t Enjoying Any Great Health M’self These Days.” The Youth, Awakened By The Tattered Soldier’s Tone, Looked Quickly Up. He Saw That He Was Swinging Uncertainly On His Legs And That His Face Had Turned To A Shade Of Blue. “good Lord!” He Cried, “you Ain’t Goin’ T’-not You, Too.”
The Tattered Man Waved His Hand. “nary Die,” He Said. “all I Want Is Some Pea Soup An’ A Good Bed. Some Pea Soup,” He Repeated Dreamfully. The Youth Arose From The Ground. “i Wonder Where He Came From. I Left Him Over There.” He Pointed. “and Now I Find ’im Here. And He Was Coming From Over There, Too.” He Indicated A New Direction.
They Both Turned Toward The Body As If To Ask Of It A Question. “well,” At Length Spoke The Tattered Man, “there Ain’t No Use In Our Stayin’ Here An’ Tryin’ T’ Ask Him Anything.” The Youth Nodded An Assent Wearily. They Both Turned To Gaze For A Moment At The Corpse. The Youth Murmured Something.
He Became Aware That The Furnace Roar Of The Battle Was Growing Louder. Great Blown Clouds Had Floated To The Still Heights Of Air Before Him. The Noise, Too, Was Approaching. The Woods Filtered Men And The Fields Became Dotted. As He Rounded A Hillock, He Perceived That The Roadway Was Now A Crying Mass Of Wagons, Teams, And Men. From The Heaving Tangle Issued Exhortations, Commands, Imprecations. Fear Was Sweeping It All Along.
The Cracking Whips Bit And Horses Plunged And Tugged. The White-topped Wagons Strained And Stumbled In Their Exertions Like Fat Sheep. The Youth Felt Comforted In A Measure By This Sight. They Were All Retreating. Perhaps, Then, He Was Not So Bad After All. He Seated Himself And Watched The Terror-stricken Wagons. They Fled Like Soft, Ungainly Animals. All The Roarers And Lashers Served To Help Him To Magnify The Dangers And Horrors Of The Engagement That He Might Try To Prove To Himself That The Thing With Which Men Could Charge Him Was In Truth A Symmetrical Act.
There Was An Amount Of Pleasure To Him In Watching The Wild March Of This Vindication. Presently The Calm Head Of A Forward-going Column Of Infantry Appeared In The Road. It Came Swiftly On. Avoiding The Obstructions Gave It The Sinuous Movement Of A Serpent. The Men At The Head Butted Mules With Their Musket Stocks. They Prodded Teamsters Indifferent To All Howls. The Men Forced Their Way Through Parts Of The Dense Mass By Strength.
The Blunt Head Of The Column Pushed. The Raving Teamsters Swore Many Strange Oaths. The Commands To Make Way Had The Ring Of A Great Importance In Them. The Men Were Going Forward To The Heart Of The Din. They Were To Confront The Eager Rush Of The Enemy. They Felt The Pride Of Their Onward Movement When The Remainder Of The Army Seemed Trying To Dribble Down This Road.
They Tumbled Teams About With A Fine Feeling That It Was No Matter So Long As Their Column Got To The Front In Time. This Importance Made Their Faces Grave And Stern. And The Backs Of The Officers Were Very Rigid. As The Youth Looked At Them The Black Weight Of His Woe Returned To Him. He Felt That He Was Regarding A Procession Of Chosen Beings.
The Separation Was As Great To Him As If They Had Marched With Weapons Of Flame And Banners Of Sunlight. He Could Never Be Like Them. He Could Have Wept In His Longings. He Searched About In His Mind For An Adequate Malediction For The Indefinite Cause, The Thing Upon Which Men Turn The Words Of Final Blame. It-whatever It Was-was Responsible For Him, He Said. There Lay The Fault.
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