“An Empress Passed”
Manuscript, page 1. Transcription follows image.
Page 1, An Empress Passed 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: "There Was A Queen" Autograph manuscript, 8 p. (8 R, 0 V) on 8 l.]


<Through the Window>
An Empress Passed.

<At 5 oclock in the afternoon, Elnora entered the kitchen, carrying an armful of wood
The house, the premises, lay quiet in the 5 oclock somnolence of the summer afternoon.>

[margin: <As Elnora crossed the back yard toward the kitchen>]


Elnora <crossed the backyard toward> came up the lane from her cabin, where she had been resting
since dinner. She was a tall, light-colored woman with a grave, pleasant face beneath a colored head rag,
and resting with her, <meant doing a who used to cook 3 hot meals a day, and big ones at that, and
who still cooked two, since there were now only women in the big house who ate for their supper
such spindling cold things as sliced tomatoes and> meant doing a thousand and one things in her cabin,
among her private affairs and possessions – washing her and Isom's and Saddie's <and Sundy's clothes>
clothes, rearranging the pictures and the [teacups?], cutting <fresh newspaper> and frilling fresh newspaper doilies
for the mantel shelf and table.
[margin: and setting to simmer on the hearth the pan of side meat which would
be her supper, since she could not eat what they ate for supper at the house]
She used to cook 3 hot meals, big ones too, when there were men in the
big house, and she still cooked two, since there were only 2 women now,
[margin: the old one and the young one, and a 10 year old boy]
who ate for for their supper such spindling
cold things as sliced tomatoes and such that old Bayard dead 12 years, whose half sister Elnora was,
[margin: tho neither of them knew it]
have called sheep fodder.

<In the> She entered the back yard. In the long afternoon the house, the premises, lay somnolent, peaceful;
[interlineated: It was 4 miles from town]
it was still of quiet of women-folks; in the old days, <old Bayard woul> at about this hour, old Bayard
would be stomping up and down the porch, yelling stableward for his horse, and young Bayard would be
somewhere about, and <Caspey> the negro men: Simon, Elnora's father's husband, <and Joe> dead too now,
and Joel and Caspey, Elnora's <brother and Simon's> half brother and Simon's sons, <gone to Memphis> the
one gone to the convict farm for stealing and the other gone to Memphis to wear fine clothes on Beale Street. -
[margin: so that there were none left now save her son Isom <and his d> who did what
little work was necessary, and Saddie who attended Miss Jenny, <dressing and> helping to dress and undress
her, serving as a serene wall against which Miss Jenny talked, sleeping on a cot in Miss Jenny's room, because
Miss Jenny was more than ninety years old.]
When she passed the woodpile she stooped, tall, with a small fine head, and gathered an armful of wood,
after the old habit of the menfolks, of the wood which would not be needed for the fodder food which the women
would eat.

<Saddie> She entered the kitchen. Saddie was sitting at the kitchen table, eating <a cold sweet potato> from a
dish of cold turnip greens and looking at a thumbed fashion magazine. "What you doing <up> back here?" Elnora said.
"Why aint you up there where you can hear Miss Jenny?"

"She aint need nothing," Saddie said. She was 16 and almost black. "She setting in the window like always."

"Where Miss Narcissa?"

"She and Bory went down across the pasture about 3 oclock," Saddie rose, chewing. "They aint come back yet."

"Down across the pasture? What for?"

"I dont nome."

"I bound you dont," Elnora said. "And I dont neither. A women so lazy she wont hardly walk as far as the
garden, even. And yet all of a sudden she can pick up and go to Memphis and and leave Miss Jenny here without
nobody but niggers and stay 2 days. <and> And now walking down to the pasture at 3 oclock in the evening."

"What you got against Miss Narcissa, mammy?"

"Aint got nothing against her." Elnora dumped the wood into the box with a prolonged crash. "Wouldn't care if I aint