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William Faulkner — LIGHT IN AUGUST “That was about four o’clock. Until six o’clock the folks saw them sitting on a bench in the courthouse yard. They were not talking: it was like each one never even knew the other one was there. They just sat there side by side, with her all dressed up in her Sunday clothes. Maybe she was enjoying herself, all dressed up and downtown all Saturday evening. Maybe it was to her what being in Memphis all day would be to other folks. “They set there until the clock struck six. Then they got up. Folks that saw it said she never said a word to him; that they just got up at the same time like two birds do from a limb and a man can’t tell which one of them give the signal. When they walked, Uncle Doc walked a little behind her. They crossed the square this way and turned into the street toward the depot. And the folks knew that there wasn’t any train due for three hours and they wondered if they actually were going somewhere on the train, before they found out that they were going to do something that surprised the folks more than that, even. They went to that little café down by the depot and ate supper, that’ hadn’t even been seen together on the street before, let alone eating in a café, since they come to Jefferson. But that’s where she took him; maybe they were afraid they would miss the train if they ate downtown. Because they were there before half past six o’clock, sitting on two of them little stools at the counter, eating what. she had ordered without asking Uncle Doc about it at all. She asked the café man about the train to Jefferson and he told her it went at two A.M. ‘Lots of excitement in Jefferson tonight,’ he says. ‘You can get a car downtown and be in Jefferson in forty-five minutes. You don’t need to wait until two o’clock on that train.’ He thought they were strangers maybe; he told her which way town was. “But she didn’t say anything and they finished eating and she paid him, a nickel and a dime at a time out of a tied up rag that she took out of the umbrella, with Uncle Doc setting there and waiting with that dazed look on his face like he was walking in his sleep. Then they left, and the café man thought they were going to take his advice and go to town and get that car when he looked out and saw them going on across the switch tracks, toward the depot. Once he started to call, but he didn’t. ‘I reckon I misunderstood her,’ he says he thought. ‘Maybe it’s the nine o’clock southbound they want.’ “They were sitting on the bench in the waiting room when the folks, the drummers and loafers and such, begun to come in and buy tickets for the southbound. The agent said how he noticed there was some folks in the waitingroom when he come in after supper at half past seven, but that he never noticed particular until she come to the ticket window and asked what time the train left for Jefferson. He said he was busy at the time and that he just glanced up and says, ‘Tomorrow,’ without stopping what he was doing. Then he said that after a while something made him look up, and there was that round face watching him and that plume still in the window, and she says, “ ‘I want two tickets on it.’ “ ‘That train is not due until two o’clock in the morning,’ the agent says. He didn’t recognise her either. ‘If you want to get to Jefferson anytime soon, you’d better go to town and hire a car. Do you know which way town is?’ But he said she just stood there, counting nickels and dimes out of that knotted rag, and he came and gave her the two tickets and then he looked past her through the window and saw Uncle Doc and he knew who she was. And he said how they sat there and the folks for the southbound come in and the train come and left and they still set there. He said how Uncle Doc still looked like he was asleep, or doped or something. And then the train went, but some of the folks didn’t go back to town. They stayed there, looking in the window, and now and then they would come in and look at Uncle Doc and his wife setting on the bench, until the agent turned off the lights in the waitingroom. “Some of the folks stayed, even after that. They could look in the window and see them setting there in the dark. Maybe they could see the plume, and the white of Uncle Doc’s head. And then Uncle Doc begun to wake up. It wasn’t like he was surprised to find where he was, nor that he was 145

Light in August (William Faulkner,1932)  
Light in August (William Faulkner,1932)  

Light in August (William Faulkner,1932)

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