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poor, cost such an amazing deal to collect, that the saving in taking them off would be much more than the amount that comes into the Treasury.” “If the house-tax is taken off,” said Fanny, “I shall persuade Richard to rebel at not being asked for it, as vehemently as some people in London threaten to rebel for a contrary reason. I should like to see a higher tax laid upon Fellbrow. I think we do not pay our share.” “You have nothing to do but to give Mr. Taplin a hint to that effect. He will be very thankful for it.” “Why?" “He will gain a per centage upon the increase. These surveyors of the assessed taxes have so much per cent. upon all that they can lay hold of, which would not have been paid but for their exertions.” “That is what makes Mr. Taplin so disliked,” Sarah observed. “He squeezes every shilling he can get from people who do not know how to answer him, or resist him.” “Let them come to Richard,” cried Fanny. “He knows the law. He will help them, I am sure.” “He cannot,” said James. “There is nothing for it but applying in person to the Commissioners; and many people do not think the matter is mended by going to the Commissioners at all.” “But Richard might keep Mr. Taplin in awe.” “That depends on whether Taplin has most reason to wish to stand well with Richard or to have his per centage on increases. He will soon be taxing you for Fido, Sarah. I will answer for it he has Fido down in his memorandum-book already.” Fanny dreaded a burst of grief from Sarah; but she did not know Sarah's power of selfcommand, or appreciate the strength of the motive to keep back the sad tale till the lovers should be alone. Wallace had sauntered near them, so as to hear the last sentence, and be struck with a bright idea in consequence. “What do you think I have a good mind to do?” said he to Anne. “It would be capital fun to send an anonymous letter, very solemn, to Taplin, to bid him look to your sister's dog, and tell him of half a hundred more taxable articles that she mever had or will have.”. -“O, don’t do it, Mr. Wallace : You will make him so angry, and my father, too !” “And then,” pursued Wallace, “she will have to come before the Commissioners to tell her story, and 3 * “O, Mr. Wallace, pray do not " entreated Anne. The more alarmed she looked, the more Wallace was amused with the idea of bringing up, not only Sarah, but half the neighbourhood, before the Commissioners. He suspected that Taplin's avarice about his per centages would carry him a great way in demanding what he had no right to. In answer to her “Pray do not,” - Anne obtained a “Well, well,” which satisfied her. In all innocence, she allowed him to extract from her everything she knew about the little concerns of her acquaintance among the small housekeepers of A , and the cottages on Whitford's lands. She was charmed by Mr. Wallace's close interest in such trifles, and so engrossed by it that her father's voice startled her when he called to her over the hedge. He was mounted, leading a string of horses which he was conducting to a fair at some distance. As George was otherwise engaged, it was necessary for the girls to be at home to keep the books, he said, and they had been out a very long time. Where was Sarah 2.
When Anne looked round, Sarah and her companions were not to be seen. Till lately, nothing so wonderful had ever happened as that the one sister should not know where the other was, or should have to go home alone. Wallace's gallantry was exhausted. After explaining the improbability of Anne's meeting another mad dog this day, he loaded his piece, and declared he must have a turn through yonder cover before he showed himself in A , though the hour for business appointed by himself was already past. ‘He supposed James was there; and he would serve the purpose at present. If James was gone elsewhere after his amusement, why the people at A must wait a little.
“Who said James was at his living?” asked Fanny of her brother Richard, as she sat at a window of the Navarino, waiting till he should have settled his business with the surveyor and the commissioners, and be at liberty to finish his walk with her. “Who said James was at his house this morning * “Not I,” said Richard. “I know nothing about him. Where is he 7” “Riding over the moor with the Lees. You may see them from this window. Now look 2 Just turning down towards Bray Fells. He wants to show Mary Lee that ride under the crags; and they could not have a finer morning.” “When did the Lees come 2 I heard nothing of their being here.” “They only arrived yesterday; and they will be off to town again in a month. They spend Christmas here, that is all. Mary Lee little expected such weather'as this, little expected any rides so near Christmas, I should think.” “James will take care that she has one every day, I dare say, while the roads are in their present state. He will make the most of a party of friends while they are to be had. How long are we to be kept here, I wonder ?” “There is no knowing. There is quite a little crowd below, and more are coming up every
minute. If all these people are here on business, like you, there is no telling when it will be dome.” Leaming forward to whisper, she added, “The Swallows are here, I see. Let me ask the girls to this window. . I want you to see Sarah. I don't call it seeing her, to sit in the park, and take a curtsey from her as she passes.” Nor did Richard : but he did not wish to be aiding and abetting in deceiving the poor girl. From this hour James's head would be full of Miss Lee— “Of Mary Lee! he never cared for her in London.” “Because he was taken up with other things them. At Fellbrow, he fell in love for want of better amusement 32 “If I thought that ”—cried Fanny, “I do not mean but that he would be as angry as you, if he heard me say so. He is fully persuaded,—at least he was yesterday,+that he has lost his heart in that direction,” glancing towards the girls; “ but before Christmas-day, he will find that he has it to lose again.” Fanny spoke not another word. She repeated again and again to herself how glad she was that she had warned Sarah against the infirmity of some of James's purposes, though she had believed as fully as Sarah herself that he was really in love. She had prepared Sarah for his house never being finished,—for his betaking himself to the turf when he should be tired of the field,— for his putting a curate into his living, and carrying Sarah to London, never perhaps to visit A–