Saturday, January 27, 2024

the last book I ever read (The Hamlet: A Novel of the Snopes Family by William Faulkner, excerpt ten)

from The Hamlet: A Novel of the Snopes Family by William Faulkner:

Approaching the village again, his feet made no sound in the dust and, in the darkness, seemingly no progress either, though the light in Mrs Littlejohn’s kitchen window just beyond the store’s dark bulk—the only light anywhere—drew steadily nearer. Just beyond it the lane turned off which led to his cabin four miles away. That’s where I would have kept straight on, to Jefferson and the railroad, he thought; and suddenly, now that it was too late, now that he had lost all hope of alternative between planned and intelligent escape and mere blind desperate harried fleeing and doubling through the swamp and jungle of the bottom like a spent and starving beast cut off from its den, he knew that for three days now he had not only hoped but had actually believed that opportunity to choose would be given him. And he had not only lost that privilege of choice, but due to the blind mischance which had permitted his cousin either to see or guess what was in the wallet, even the bitter alternative was deferred for another night. It began to seem to him now that that puny and lonely beacon not only marked no ultimate point for even desperate election but was the period to hope itself, and that all which remained to him of freedom lay in the shortening space between it and his advancing foot. I thought that when you killed a man, that finished it, he told himself. But it dont. It just starts then.

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