Tales of Soldiers and Civilians
This revised edition of Ambrose Bierce's 1892 collection of "Soldiers" and "Civilians" tales fills a void in American literature. A veteran of the Civil War and a journalist known for his integrity and biting satire, Ambrose Bierce was also a lively short-story writer of considerable depth and power. As San Francisco's most famous journalist during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, Bierce was hired by William Randolph Hearst to write a column for San Francisco Examiner, where his "Soldiers" and "Civilians" tales first appeared during the late 1880s. By the standards of his day and ours, Bierce's journalism was often brilliantly insightful, viciously libelous, petty, and grand, frequently in the space of a single paragraph. This edition reveals the often compelling artistry of Bierce's original versions of the tales and the intentionally intricate design and scope of the original collection.
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Page 195 - O'er all there hung a shadow and a fear ; A sense of mystery the spirit daunted, And said, as plain as whisper in the ear, The place is Haunted!
Page 187 - Erin, my country! though sad and forsaken, In dreams I revisit thy sea-beaten shore; But , alas ! in a far foreign land I awaken, And sigh for the friends who can meet me no more!
Page 19 - He moved among them freely, going from one to another and peering into their faces with childish curiosity. All their faces were singularly white and many were streaked and gouted with red. Something in this — something too, perhaps, in their grotesque attitudes and movements — reminded him of the painted clown whom he had seen last summer in the circus, and he laughed as he watched them. But on and ever on they crept, these maimed and bleeding men, as heedless as he of the dramatic contrast...
Page 188 - Old Law did save, And such as yet once more I trust to have Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint, Came vested all in white, pure as her mind. Her face was veiled ; yet to my fancied sight Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shined So clear as in no face with more delight. But, oh ! as to embrace me she inclined, I waked, she fled, and day brought back my night.
Page 186 - It shall even be as when a hungry man dreameth, and behold, he eateth ; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and behold, he drinketh ; but he awaketh, and behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite : so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion.
Page 15 - It looked like diamonds, rubies, emeralds; he could think of nothing beautiful which it did not resemble. The trees upon the bank were giant garden plants; he noted a definite order in their arrangement, inhaled the fragrance of their blooms. A strange, roseate light shone through the spaces among their trunks and the wind made in their branches the music of /Eolian harps.
Page 15 - The cannon had taken a hand in the game. As he shook his head free from the commotion of the smitten water he heard the deflected shot humming through the air ahead, and in an instant it was cracking and smashing the branches in the forest beyond. 'They will not do that again,' he thought; 'the next time they will use a charge of grape.
Page 186 - Be not afeard ; the isle is full of noises, Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments Will hum about mine ears, and sometimes voices That, if I then had...
Page 8 - A horse. It was standing on yonder rock — pretty far out. You see it is no longer there. It went over the cliff.
Page 12 - Creek bridge, put it in order and built a stockade on the north bank. The commandant has issued an order, which is posted everywhere, declaring that any civilian caught interfering with the railroad, its bridges, tunnels or trains will be summarily hanged. I saw the order.