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The Red Badge of Courage

by Stephen Crane

An Episode of the
American Civil War


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 awak-
ened, 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 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 order-
lies at division headquarters. He adopted the
important air of a herald in red and gold.
"We're goin' t' move t' morrah--sure," he
said pompously to a group in the company
street. "We're goin' 'way up the river, cut
across, an' come around in behint 'em."
First | Next -> Digital Library - Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

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