The Sound and the Fury June Second, 1910 (Section 2)
As he continues to run errands in Cambridge thoughts of home haunt Quentin. As he hops onto a city streetcar, his memories reveal that he has shot Herbert. How he shot him or whether or not the shot was fatal, we don't know, but all that Quentin hears is Caddy's voice, repeating that he has shot Herbert. Quentin remembers a conversation he had with Herbert the first time he met him. Like Quentin, his sister's fiancé also went to Harvard. He seems to have done well for himself as a working adult, but Quentin knew that he had cheated on his exams while at Harvard. In his conversation, Quentin confronts his future brother-in-law about it, and Herbert tries to pay him to keep quiet. Quentin does not take the money, and they almost get in a fight because Quentin does not let him off the hook so easily, but Caddy enters the room just before anything could happen. When she and Quentin are alone, she gets mad at him for poking his nose in her business, but as Quentin continues to tell her that Herbert is not an upstanding gentleman, she admits to him that she has to marry somebody. Not only is she sick with blackguard and needs someone to take care of her, she is also pregnant. The baby may not even be his, because, as Quentin finds out, she has slept with many different boys. Caddy tries to explain to her brother, the virgin, why she has been so promiscuous: "There was something terrible in me sometimes at night I could see it grinning at me I could see it through them grinning at me through their faces it's gone now and I'm sick." June Second, 1910, pg. 112
Quentin's thoughts turn morbid, when he recalls that Versh told him about a man who mutilated himself with a razor to commit suicide. When he thinks of a time he complained to his father about his tortured existence as a virgin, his father tells him, "Purity [specifically, virginity] is a negative state and therefore contrary to nature. It's nature is hurting you not Caddy." June Second, 1910, pg. 116 Our narrator interrupts his memory to leave his flat irons underneath a bridge by the river. He notices dead plants floating in the water, and wonders to himself:
"And maybe when He says Rise the eyes will come floating up too, out of the deep quiet and the sleep, to look on glory. And after a while the flat irons would come floating up. I hid them [flatirons] under the end of the bridge and went back and leaned on the rail." June Second, 1910, pg. 116
Quentin watches the motion of the river quietly, and talks to someone in his thoughts: "Only you and me then amid the pointing and the horror walled by the clean flame" June Second, 1910, pg. 117. We had seen the "clean flame" earlier in Quentin's chapter, in reference to the flames of hell.
Quentin interrupts his thoughts of mortality as he finds himself shooting the breeze with a few young local boys fishing off the bridge. They are quite unsuccessful in catching a famously stubborn trout, so they decide to go swimming instead. One of the boys seems to be the butt of the other two's teasing, so becomes upset and decides not to swim with them. During this time, Quentin talks to the little boy, trying to make him feel better.
After making friends with the young men, Quentin thinks, as usual, of Caddy. He remembers a desperate conversation the two of them had about the unhappy state of their family. While Quentin begs his sister to run away with Benjy and him, Caddy reminds him that the money needed to run away has gone to his Harvard tuition. We also find that Mr. Compson has developed a serious drinking problem, which may kill him if he doesn't quit. Caddy said she did something so awful the year before this conversation took place that it exacerbated his drinking. The agonizing memory ends with Benjy, pulling at his sister's dress, his bellows deafening.