The townspeople do, indeed, suspect something afoul after Emily's father died and after "her sweetheart went away." When one of Emily's neighbors complains in Part II of "A Rose for Emily," the eighty-year-old mayor, Judge Stevens tells her,
"But what will you have me do about it, madam?"
"Why, send her word to stop it," the woman said. "Isn't there a law?"
After he dismisses the neighbor and others complain, the Board of Aldermen meet. The youngest member of the group concurs with the neighbor that a missive should be sent to Miss Emily to have "her place cleaned up."
"Dammit, sir," Judge Stevens said, "will you accus a lady to her face of smelling bad?"
In the Old South, represented by the Judge and Emily Grierson , telling her that there is a foul smell about her place is simply not done. Therefore, since no one dare approach her out of respect for the old ways, four men sneak into her yard and sprinkle lime inside a cellar door that they break open. After a week or two, the...
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