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“An Occurrence at Owl Creek”

A man stood upon a railroad bridge in northern Alabama, looking down into the swift water twenty feet below. A sentinel at each end of the bridge stood with his rifle in the position known as "support," that is to say, vertical in front of the left shoulder, the hammer resting on the forearm thrown straight across the chest a formal and unnatural position, enforcing an erect carriage of the body. The story describes Peyton Fahrquhar, an old and highly respected family man from Northern, Alabama. A thirty-five year old planter, referred to by military Soldiers as a civilian. The body features were described as good, and clearly described to have a kindly expression to others. Such demeanor made it extremely hard to be expected to have his neck in a noose (hemp). As a slave owner and like other slave owners, a politician, he was naturally an original secessionist and ardently devoted to the Southern cause. A sentinel at each end of the bridge stood with his rifle in the position known as "support," that is to say, vertical in front of the left shoulder, the hammer resting on the forearm thrown straight across the chest -- a formal and unnatural position, enforcing an erect carriage of the body.

It did not appear to be the duty of these two men to know what was occurring at the center of the bridge; they merely blockaded the two ends of the foot planking that traversed it. “Death is a dignitary who when he comes announced is to be received with formal manifestations of respect, even by those most familiar with him”. Striking through the thought of his dear ones was sound which he could neither ignore nor understand, a sharp, distinct, metallic percussion like the stroke of a blacksmith's hammer upon the anvil; it had the same ringing quality. The functions of “time was depicted of the ticking of his watch as they hurt his ear like the trust of a knife; he feared he would shriek. As these thoughts, which have here to be set down...
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