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LOVE / William Faulkner ?. IN 1921 BETH CAME ACROSS the flagged terrace, her geranium colored dress taut with fury. She was running, then she saw the man in the wicker chair and she slowed to a walk and approached him, repressing the fury although it still lurked in her walk, though not in her voice. "HeUo," she said, "Dear." The man in the chair was methodically sucking tea into himself. A gardener was trimming a box hedge below the pool, and a crisp maid fluttered in the purlieus of the sunset at the back of the scene—the invariable feminine complement to whatever picture the man in the chair filled—servants with dreams engendered rosUy by Scullery out of Moving Pictures watching him from behind window curtains, daughters of preferred stock and six percent.—slightly shopworn Dianas in bathing suits or riding breeches or Fifth Avenue frocks harrying him with various kinds ofassurance and hopeful exasperation. For he was a cold man, with bronze skin and silver temples and ice-colored eyes, who fell into easy, immaculate attitudes of a distracting weariness that were a challenge to women young and old. NOTE: The manuscripts of "Love" reside in the University of Virginia Library, Manuscripts Collection. The 49-page typed version from c. 1921 breaks off on the last page, but a three-page autograph fragment, apparently from the same time, provides the story's conclusion. That three-page fragment, while difficult to read because of Faulkner's peculiar handwriting, corresponds without variation to the story's ending in the typescript of the later version among the Rowan Oak papers at the University of Mississippi. Thanks to Curator Michael Plunkett of the Manuscripts Collection of the University of Virginia Library. Thanks to Jill Faulkner for permission to publish it, and to the biographies of Faulkner by Joseph Blotner and David Minter, and studies of his work byJames B. Meriwether, James B. Carouthers, David Minter. Particular thanks to Robert Hull of the Manuscripts Collection at the University of Virginia, without whose knowledge and expertise "Love" would not have been published. SM The Missouri Review · 223 He looked like something that cost eleven thousand dollars, made by Fisher. "Did you miss me," Beth said. "Dear." In the setting sun—setting privately and decorously, as it were, across that smug unostentation of clipped greenery and Italian pools and oriental pagodas—her geranium dress seemed to possess a quality of turgid light of its own. Beth stood, a slender relict of her rage, looking at the man's profile with fretted yearning. He drank some tea placidly and Beth said: "Did you?" "FrightfuUy," he said. "I've had no one to talk to me all afternoon." "Dear," Beth said. She swooped slenderly and sat on the arm of the chair. The crisp maid stopped flitting and she gave the two heads a discreet deadly look across the bushes where lemon verbena bloomed like sculptured butterflies fledged onto a tangle of dark bronze. "What putrid luck," Beth said. "And me with that—" She struggled with something internal momentarily. She unclenched her hands and smoothed her face. "Why didn't you caU me?" The man drank some tea. "Call you where?" "I was several places. I was at the Club once." "But I didn't know that," the man said. "Did I." "Dear," Beth said. The man filled his cup deliberately. Beth watched the lean, clipped back of his head. He sat back and Beth erased her expression. She moved her shoulder slightly. "We do have rotten luck. We could have had the whole afternoon together, if you'd just let me known." The man drank tea. Beth watched his bronze profile, his close silver temple. Across the verbena bushes the maid watched the man and the woman with poised ferocity. Then she turned and went along the path toward the house, swiftly at first. Then she slowed, her crisp apron swinging to the calculated insolence of her stride. At the door she looked back at the two heads above the chair. Then she jerked her head around and entered the house. Her heels made a furious staccato and a footman, turning up the lights, said: "How about...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 123-148
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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