As I Lay Dying
Manuscript, page 70. Transcription follows image.
Page 70, As I Lay Dying Ms
William Faulkner Foundation Collection, 1918-1959, Accession #6074 to 6074-d, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections,
University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.   [Item Metadata: Autograph manuscript. 108 p. (107 R, 1 V) on 107 l. Slipcase.]


"But living kin will be different from them," he said.

"Will they?" I said. "I dont know. I never had any other kind."

So I took Anse. And when I knew that I had Cash, I knew that living was terrible and that
that was the answer to it. That was when I learned that words are no good; that words dont ever
fit even what they are trying to say. When he was born I knew that motherhood was invented by
someone who had to have a word for it because the ones that had the motherhood didn't care
whether there was a word for it or not. <I believed that> I knew that fear was invented by someone
that <didn't have the> had never had the fear; pride, who never had the pride. I knew that it had
been, not that they had dirty noses, but that we had had to use one another by words like spiders
dangling by their mouths from a beam and that only thru the blows of the switch could my blood and
their blood <[lonely?]> flow as one stream. I knew that it had been, not that my aloneness had to be
violated on and on each day, but that it had never been violated until Cash came.

Not even by Anse. He had a word too; love he called it. But I had been used to words for a
long time. I knew that that word was like the others: just a shape to fill a lack; that when
the right time came, you wouldn't need the word. Cash did not need to say it to me nor I to
him, and I would say, let him use it, if he wants to. So that it was Anse or love; love or Anse:
it didn't matter.

I would think that even when I lay with him in the dark and Cash asleep in the cradle within the
swing of my hand. I would think that if he were to wake and cry, I would suckle him too. Anse
or love: it didn't matter. My aloneness had been violated and then made whole again by the violation:
time, Anse, love, what you will, outside the circle.

That I learned that I had Darl. At first I would not believe it. Then I believed that I would
kill Anse. It was as tho he had tricked me, <tricked me> hidden within a word like within a
paper screen, and struck me in the back. <Then> But then I realized that I had been tricked by
words older than Anse or love, and that the same word had tricked Anse too, and that my revenge
would be that he would never know it. And when Darl was born I asked Anse to promise to take
me to Jefferson when I died, because I knew that father had been right, even when he couldn't have
known he was right anymore than I could have known I was wrong.

"Nonsense," Anse said. "You and me aint near done chapping yet, with just 2 of them."

He did not know that he was dead, then. Sometimes I would lie by him in the dark, hearing the
land that was now of my blood and flesh, and I would think: Anse. Why Anse. Why are you
Anse. I would think about his name until after a while I could see the word as a shape, a vessel,
and I would watch him flow into it as a liquid like cold molasses flowing out of the dark into the [vessel?],
until the jar <was filled and> stood motionless: a significant shape profoundly without life like a door
frame; and then I would find that I had forgotten the name of the jar. I would think: The shape of my
body where I used to be a virgin is in the shape of a         and I couldn't think [Anse,?] couldn't
remember Anse. It was not that I <couldn't> could think of myself as no longer unvirgin, because I was 3
then. And when I would think Cash and Darl that way until <I couldn't think of them> their names
would die and solidify into a shape and then fade away, I would say, All right. It doesn't matter. It
doesn't matter what they call them.

And so when Cora Tull would tell me I was not a true mother, I would think how words go straight up in
a thin line, quick and harmless, and how terribly doing goes along the earth, clinging to it, so that after a while
the 2 lines are too far apart to straddle from one to the other, and that sin and love and fear are just
sounds that the people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have