William Faulkner LIGHT IN AUGUST
He found Christmas’ old path through the woods to the mill. He did not know that it was there, but when he found in which direction it ran, it seemed like an omen to him in his exultation. He believes her, but he wants to corroborate the information for the sheer pleasure of hearing it again. It is just four o’clock when he reaches the mill. He inquires at the office. “Bunch?” the bookkeeper, says. “You won’t find him here. He quit this morning.” “I know, I know,” Hightower says. “Been with the company for seven years, Saturday evenings too. Then this morning he walked in and said he was quitting. No reason. But that’s the way these hillbillies do.” “Yes, yes,” Hightower says. “They are fine people, though. Fine men and women.” He leaves the office. The road to town passes the planer shed, where Byron worked. He knows Mooney, the foreman. “I hear Byron Bunch is not with you anymore,” he says, pausing. “Yes,” Mooney says. “He quit this morning.” But Hightower is not listening; the overalled men watch the shabby, queershaped, not-quite-familiar figure looking with a kind of exultant interest at the walls, the planks, the cryptic machinery whose very being and purpose he could not have understood or even learned. “If you want to see him,” Mooney says, “I reckon you’ll find him downtown at the courthouse.” “At the courthouse?” “Yes, sir. Grand jury meets today. Special call. To indict that murderer.” “Yes, yes,” Hightower says. “So he is gone. Yes. A fine young man. Goodday, goodday, gentlemen. Goodday to you.” He goes on, while the men in overalls look after him for a time. His hands are clasped behind him. He paces on, thinking quietly, peacefully, sadly: ‘Poor man. Poor fellow. No man is, can be, justified in taking human life; least of all, a warranted officer, a sworn servant of his fellowman. When it is sanctioned publicly in the person of an elected officer who knows that he has not himself suffered at the hands of his victim, call that victim by what name you will, how can we expect an individual to refrain when he believes that he has suffered at the hands of his victim?’ He walks on; he is now in his own street. Soon he can see his fence, the signboard; then the house beyond the rich foliage of August. ‘So he departed without coming to tell me goodbye. After all he has done for me. Fetched to me. Ay; given, restored, to me. It would seem that this too was reserved for me. And this must be all.’ But it is not all. There is one thing more reserved for him.
Light in August (William Faulkner,1932)