10:16 pm - Monday July 16, 2018

Four Men in a Cave-by Stephen Crane- Novel and Ebooks

Novel Name: Four Men In Cave

Written by:Stephen Crane

Category:Children,  Classics, Fiction, Short Stories, Short Novel

Page 1:

LIKEWISE FOUR QUEENS, AND A SULLIVAN COUNTY HERMIT

The moon rested for a moment on the top of a tall pine on a hill.

The little man was standing in front of the campfire making orations to
his companions.

“We can tell a great tale when we get back to the city if we investigate
this thing,” said he, in conclusion.

They were won.

The little man was determined to explore a cave, because its black mouth
had gaped at him. The four men took a lighted pine-knot and clambered
over boulders down a hill. In a thicket on the mountainside lay a little
tilted hole. At its side they halted.

“Well?” said the little man.

They fought for last place and the little man was overwhelmed. He tried
to struggle from under by crying that if the fat, pudgy man came after,
he would be corked. But he finally administered a cursing over his
shoulder and crawled into the hole. His companions gingerly followed.

A passage, the floor of damp clay and pebbles, the walls slimy, green-
mossed, and dripping, sloped downward. In the cave atmosphere the
torches became studies in red blaze and black smoke.

“Ho!” cried the little man, stifled and bedraggled, “let’s go back.” His
companions were not brave. They were last. The next one to the little
man pushed him on, so the little man said sulphurous words and
cautiously continued his crawl.

Things that hung seemed to be on the wet, uneven ceiling, ready to drop
upon the men’s bare necks. Under their hands the clammy floor seemed
alive and writhing. When the little man endeavored to stand erect the
ceiling forced him down. Knobs and points came out and punched him. His
clothes were wet and mud-covered, and his eyes, nearly blinded by smoke,
tried to pierce the darkness always before his torch.

“Oh, I say, you fellows, let’s go back,” cried he. At that moment he
caught the gleam of trembling light in the blurred shadows before him.

“Ho!” he said, “here’s another way out.”

The passage turned abruptly. The little man put one hand around the
corner, but it touched nothing. He investigated and discovered that the
little corridor took a sudden dip down a hill. At the bottom shone a
yellow light.

The little man wriggled painfully about, and descended feet in advance.
The others followed his plan. All picked their way with anxious care.
The traitorous rocks rolled from beneath the little man’s feet and
roared thunderously below him, lesser stone loosened by the men above
him, hit him on the back. He gained seemingly firm foothold, and,
turning halfway about, swore redly at his companions for dolts and
careless fools. The pudgy man sat, puffing and perspiring, high in the
rear of the procession. The fumes and smoke from four pine-knots were in
his blood. Cinders and sparks lay thick in his eyes and hair. The pause
of the little man angered him.

“Go on, you fool!” he shouted. “Poor, painted man, you are afraid.”

“Ho!” said the little man. “Come down here and go on yourself,
imbecile!”

The pudgy man vibrated with passion. He leaned downward. “Idiot–“

He was interrupted by one of his feet which flew out and crashed into
the man in front of and below. It is not well to quarrel upon a slippery
incline, when the unknown is below. The fat man, having lost the support
of one pillar-like foot, lurched forward. His body smote the next man,
who hurtled into the next man. Then they all fell upon the cursing
little man.

They slid in a body down over the slippery, slimy floor of the passage.
The stone avenue must have wibble-wobbled with the rush of this ball of
tangled men and strangled cries. The torches went out with the combined
assault upon the little man. The adventurers whirled to the unknown in
darkness. The little man felt that he was pitching to death, but even in
his convolutions he bit and scratched at his companions, for he was
satisfied that it was their fault. The swirling mass went some twenty
feet, and lit upon a level, dry place in a strong, yellow light of
candles. It dissolved and became eyes.

The four men lay in a heap upon the floor of a grey chamber. A small
fire smoldered in the corner, the smoke disappearing in a crack. In
another corner was a bed of faded hemlock boughs and two blankets.
Cooking utensils and clothes lay about, with boxes and a barrel.

Of these things the four men took small cognisance. The pudgy man did
not curse the little man, nor did the little man swear, in the abstract.
Eight widened eyes were fixed upon the center of the room of rocks.

Filed in: Children, Classics, Fiction

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