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William Faulkner — LIGHT IN AUGUST in particular, and his face was quite calm beneath the uplifted chair. The others fell back from about the woman, freeing her, though she continued to wrench her arms as if she did not yet realise it. “Get out of here!” Joe shouted. He whirled, swinging the chair; yet his face was still quite calm. “Back!” he said, though no one had moved toward him at all. They were all as still and as silent as the man on the floor. He swung the chair, backing now toward the door. “Stand back! I said I would kill him some day! I told him so!” He swung the chair about him, calmfaced, backing toward the door. “Don’t a one of you move, now,” he said, looking steadily and ceaselessly at faces that might have been masks. Then he flung the chair down and whirled and sprang out the door, into soft, dappled moonlight. He overtook the waitress as she was getting into the car in which they had come. He was panting, yet his voice was calm too: a sleeping face merely breathing hard enough to make sounds. “Get on back to town,” he said. “I’ll be there soon as I ...” Apparently he was not aware of what he was saying nor of what was happening; when the woman turned suddenly in the door of the car and began to beat him in the face he did not move, his voice did not change: “Yes. That’s right. I’ll be there soon as I—” Then he turned and ran, while she was still striking at him. I He could not have, known where McEachern had left the horse, nor for certain if it was even there. Yet he ran straight to it, with something of his adopted father’s complete faith in an infallibility in events. He got onto it and swung it back toward the road. The car had already turned into the road. He saw the taillight diminish and disappear. The old, strong, farmbred horse returned home at its slow and steady canter. The youth upon its back rode lightly, balanced lightly, leaning well forward, exulting perhaps at that moment as Faustus had, of having put behind now at once and for all the Shalt Not, of being free at last of honor and law. In the motion the sweet sharp sweat of the horse blew, sulphuric; the invisible wind flew past. He cried aloud, “I have done it! I have done it! I told them I would!” He entered the lane and rode through the moonlight up to the house without slowing. He had thought it would be dark, but it was not. He did not pause; the careful and hidden rope were as much a part of his dead life now as honor and hope, and the old wearying woman who had been one of his enemies for thirteen years and who was now awake, waiting for him. The light was in hers and McEachern’s bedroom and she was standing in the door, with a shawl over her nightdress. “Joe?” she said. He came down the hall fast. His face looked as McEachern had seen it as the chair fell. Perhaps she could not yet see it good. “What is it?” she said. “Paw rode away on the horse. I heard …” She saw his face then. But she did not even have time to step back. He did not strike her; his hand on her arm was quite gentle. It was just hurried, getting her out of the path, out of the door. He swept her aside as he might have a curtain across the door. “He’s at a dance,” he said. “Get away, old woman.” She turned, clutching the shawl with one hand, her other against the door face as she fell back, watching him as he crossed the room and began to run up the stairs which mounted to his attic. Without stopping he looked back. Then she could see his teeth shining in the lamp. “At a dance, you hear? He’s not dancing, though.” He laughed back, into the lamp; he turned his head and his laughing, running on up the stairs, vanishing as he ran, vanishing upward from the head down as if he were running headfirst and laughing into something that was obliterating him like a picture in chalk being erased from a blackboard. She followed, toiling up the stairs. She began to follow almost as soon as he passed her, as if that implacable urgency which had carried her husband away had returned like a cloak on the shoulders of the boy and had been passed from him in turn to her. She dragged herself up the cramped stair, clutching the rail with one hand and the shawl with the other. She was not speaking, not calling to him. It was as though she were a phantom obeying the command sent back by the absent master. Joe had not lighted his lamp. But the room was filled with refracted moonglow, and even without that very likely she could have told what he was doing. She held herself upright by the wall, fumbling her hand along the wall until she reached the bed and sank onto it, sitting. It had taken her some 85

Light in August (William Faulkner,1932)  

Light in August (William Faulkner,1932)

Light in August (William Faulkner,1932)  

Light in August (William Faulkner,1932)

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