|The first excerpt represents the past or something you must release, and is drawn from An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce:
staring stonily, motionless. The sentinels, facing the
banks of the stream, might have been statues to adorn the
bridge. The captain stood with folded arms, silent,
observing the work of his subordinates, but making no sign.
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. In the code of military etiquette
silence and fixity are forms of deference.
The man who was engaged in being hanged was apparently about
thirty-five years of age. He was a civilian, if one might
judge from his habit, which was that of a planter. His
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
|The second excerpt represents the present or the deciding factor of the moment, and is drawn from The Turn of the Screw by Henry James:
the curtain rose on the last act of my dreadful drama, and the catastrophe
was precipitated. "Look here, my dear, you know," he charmingly said,
"when in the world, please, am I going back to school?"
Transcribed here the speech sounds harmless enough,
particularly as uttered in the sweet, high, casual pipe with which,
at all interlocutors, but above all at his eternal governess,
he threw off intonations as if he were tossing roses.
There was something in them that always made one "catch," and
I caught, at any rate, now so effectually that I stopped as short
as if one of the trees of the park had fallen across the road.
There was something new, on the spot, between us, and he was
|The third excerpt represents the future or something you must embrace, and is drawn from The Memorabilia by Xenophon:
one is faring ill their sympathies are touched, they rush to the aid
of the unfortunate; but when fortune smiles on others, they are
somwhow pained. "I do not say," he added, "this could happen to a
thoughtful person; but it is no uncommon condition of a silly
 Or, "a man in his senses . . . a simpleton"; for the sentiment L.
Dind. cf. Isocr. "ad Demonic." 7 D.
In answer to the question: what is leisure? I discover (he said) that
most men do something: for instance, the dice player, the
gambler, the buffoon, do something, but these have leisure; they can,
if they like, turn and do something better; but nobody has leisure to