Condensed Novels: And Stories

Condensed Novels: And Stories

Read FREE!

Condensed Novels: And Stories

Condensed Novels: And Stories

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The time was the year of grace 1779; the locality, Morristown, New Jersey.

It was bitterly cold. A north-easterly wind had been stiffening the mud of the morning's thaw into a rigid record of that day's wayfaring on the Baskingridge road. The hoof prints of cavalry, the deep ruts left by baggage waggons, and the deeper channels worn by artillery lay stark and cold in the waning light of an April day. There were icicles on the fences, a rime of silver on the windward bark of maples, and occasional bare spots on the rocky protuberances of the road, as if nature had worn herself out at the knees and elbows through long waiting for the tardy spring. A few leaves, disinterred by the thaw, became crisp again, and rustled in the wind, making the summer a thing so remote that all human hope and conjecture fled before them.

Here and there the wayside fences and walls were broken down or dismantled, and beyond them fields of snow, downtrodden and discoloured and strewn with fragments of leather, camp equipage, harness, and cast-off clothing, showed traces of the recent encampment and congregation of men. On some there were still standing the ruins of . . .

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