Her first time dating a woman
They rose when she entered--a small, fat woman in black, with a thin gold chain descending to her waist and vanishing into her belt, leaning on an ebony cane with a tarnished gold head. I have no taxes in Jefferson." "But, Miss Emily--" "See Colonel Sartoris." (Colonel Sartoris had been dead almost ten years.) "I have no taxes in Jefferson. That was two years after her father's death and a short time after her sweetheart--the one we believed would marry her --had deserted her.Her skeleton was small and spare; perhaps that was why what would have been merely plumpness in another was obesity in her. After her father's death she went out very little; after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all.
Her eyes, lost in the fatty ridges of her face, looked like two small pieces of coal pressed into a lump of dough as they moved from one face to another while the visitors stated their errand. She just stood in the door and listened quietly until the spokesman came to a stumbling halt. "Just as if a man--any man--could keep a kitchen properly, "the ladies said; so they were not surprised when the smell developed. "It's probably just a snake or a rat that nigger of hers killed in the yard. Give her a certain time to do it in, and if she don't.During the next few years it grew grayer and grayer until it attained an even pepper-and-salt iron-gray, when it ceased turning.Up to the day of her death at seventy-four it was still that vigorous iron-gray, like the hair of an active man.So when she got to be thirty and was still single, we were not pleased exactly, but vindicated; even with insanity in the family she wouldn't have turned down all of her chances if they had really materialized. Later we said, "Poor Emily" behind the jalousies as they passed on Sunday afternoon in the glittering buggy, Miss Emily with her head high and Homer Barron with his hat cocked and a cigar in his teeth, reins and whip in a yellow glove.When her father died, it got about that the house was all that was left to her; and in a way, people were glad. Being left alone, and a pauper, she had become humanized. I don't care what kind." The druggist named several. But what you want is--" "Arsenic," Miss Emily said. Then some of the ladies began to say that it was a disgrace to the town and a bad example to the young people.The little boys would follow in groups to hear him cuss the niggers, and the niggers singing in time to the rise and fall of picks. Whenever you heard a lot of laughing anywhere about the square, Homer Barron would be in the center of the group. We were a little disappointed that there was not a public blowing-off, but we believed that he had gone on to prepare for Miss Emily's coming, or to give her a chance to get rid of the cousins.
Presently we began to see him and Miss Emily on Sunday afternoons driving in the yellow-wheeled buggy and the matched team of bays from the livery stable. (By that time it was a cabal, and we were all Miss Emily's allies to help circumvent the cousins.) Sure enough, after another week they departed.
When the Negro opened the 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. I have no taxes in Jefferson." "But there is nothing on the books to show that, you see We must go by the--" "See Colonel Sartoris. "Show these gentlemen out." II So SHE vanquished them, horse and foot, just as she had vanquished their fathers thirty years before about the smell.
At first we were glad that Miss Emily would have an interest, because the ladies all said, "Of course a Grierson would not think seriously of a Northerner, a day laborer." But there were still others, older people, who said that even grief could not cause a real lady to forget noblesse oblige- -without calling it noblesse oblige. Her kinsfolk should come to her." She had some kin in Alabama; but years ago her father had fallen out with them over the estate of old lady Wyatt, the crazy woman, and there was no communication between the two families. And as soon as the old people said, "Poor Emily," the whispering began. And, as we had expected all along, within three days Homer Barron was back in town. The Negro man went in and out with the market basket, but the front door remained closed.
A neighbor saw the Negro man admit him at the kitchen door at dusk one evening. Now and then we would see her at a window for a moment, as the men did that night when they sprinkled the lime, but for almost six months she did not appear on the streets.
None of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such. When she opened the package at home there was written on the box, under the skull and bones: "For rats." IV So THE NEXT day we all said, "She will kill herself"; and we said it would be the best thing.