Short Stories

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PEN 0055
Essential English

Foundation in Law

ONLINE NOTES

Reading 1 (Short Stories)

A Rose for Emily
William Faulkner

| When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a |1 | |fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old man-servant—a | | |combined gardener and cook—had seen in at least ten years. | | |It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in | | |heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select streets. But garages and cotton gins |5 | |had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighbourhood; only Miss Emily’s house was left, lifting its | | |stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps—an eyesore among eyesores. And now Miss Emily | | |had gone to join the representatives of those august names where they lay in the cedar-bemused cemetery among the ranked | | |and anonymous graves of Union and Confederate soldiers who fell at the battle of Jefferson. | | |Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town, dating from that|10 | |day in 1894 when Colonel Sartoris, the mayor—he who fathered the edict that no Negro woman should appear on the street | | |without an apron-remitted her taxes, the dispensation dating from the death of her father on into perpetuity. Not that Miss| | |Emily would have accepted charity. Colonel Sartoris invented an involved tale to the effect that Miss Emily’s father had | | |loaned money to the town, which the town, as a matter of business, preferred this way of repaying. Only a man of Colonel | | |Sartoris’ generation and thought could have invented it, and only a woman could have believed it. |15 | |When the next generation, with its modern ideas, became mayors and aldermen, this arrangement created some little | | |dissatisfaction. On the first of the year they mailed her a tax notice. February came, and there was no reply. They wrote | | |her a formal letter, asking her to call at the sheriff’s office at her convenience. A week later the mayor wrote her | | |himself, offering to call or to send his car for her, and received in reply a note on paper of an archaic shape, in a thin,| | |flowing calligraphy in faded ink, to the effect that she no longer went out at all. The tax notice was enclosed, without |20 | |comment. | | |They called a special meeting of the Board of Aldermen. A deputation waited upon her, knocked at the door through which no | | |visitor had passed since she ceased giving china-painting lessons eight or ten years earlier. They were admitted by the old| | |Negro into a dim hall from which a stairway mounted into still more shadow. It smelled of dust and disuse—a close, dank | | |smell. The Negro led them into the parlour. It was furnished in heavy, leather-covered furniture. When the Negro opened the|25 | |blinds of one window, they could see that the leather was cracked; and when they sat down, a faint dust rose sluggishly | | |about their thighs, spinning with slow motes in the single sun-ray. On a tarnished gilt easel, before the fireplace stood a| | |crayon portrait of Miss Emily’s father. | | |They rose when she entered—a small,...
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