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Then we knew that this was to be expected too; as if that quality of her father which had thwarted her woman's life so many times had been too virulent and too furious to die.When we next saw Miss Emily, she had grown fat and her hair was turning gray.Just as they were about to resort to law and force, she broke down, and they buried her father quickly. The town had just let the contracts for paving the sidewalks, and in the summer after her father's death they began the work. ." This behind their hands; rustling of craned silk and satin behind jalousies closed upon the sun of Sunday afternoon as the thin, swift clop-clop-clop of the matched team passed: "Poor Emily." She carried her head high enough--even when we believed that she was fallen. The next Sunday they again drove about the streets, and the following day the minister's wife wrote to Miss Emily's relations in Alabama. We learned that Miss Emily had been to the jeweler's and ordered a man's toilet set in silver, with the letters H. We were glad because the two female cousins were even more Grierson than Miss Emily had ever been.The construction company came with niggers and mules and machinery, and a foreman named Homer Barron, a Yankee--a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face. It was as if she demanded more than ever the recognition of her dignity as the last Grierson; as if it had wanted that touch of earthiness to reaffirm her imperviousness. That was over a year after they had begun to say "Poor Emily," and while the two female cousins were visiting her. She was over thirty then, still a slight woman, though thinner than usual, with cold, haughty black eyes in a face the flesh of which was strained across the temples and about the eyesockets as you imagine a lighthouse-keeper's face ought to look. So she had blood-kin under her roof again and we sat back to watch developments. So we were not surprised when Homer Barron--the streets had been finished some time since--was gone.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.She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue. Perhaps one of you can gain access to the city records and satisfy yourselves." "But we have. Didn't you get a notice from the sheriff, signed by him? A few of the ladies had the temerity to call, but were not received, and the only sign of life about the place was the Negro man--a young man then--going in and out with a market basket. " "I'm sure that won't be necessary," Judge Stevens said.
On the first of the year they mailed her a tax notice. 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. 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.
But garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood; 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.
During the next few years it grew grayer and grayer until it attained an even pepper-and-salt iron-gray, when it ceased turning.