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They rose when she entered--a small, fat woman in black, with a thin gold chain descending to her waist and vanishing into her belt, leaning on an ebony cane with a tarnished gold head. I have no taxes in Jefferson." "But, Miss Emily--" "See Colonel Sartoris." (Colonel Sartoris had been dead almost ten years.) "I have no taxes in Jefferson. That was two years after her father's death and a short time after her sweetheart--the one we believed would marry her --had deserted her.Her skeleton was small and spare; perhaps that was why what would have been merely plumpness in another was obesity in her. After her father's death she went out very little; after her sweetheart went away, people hardly saw her at all.
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They broke open the cellar door and sprinkled lime there, and in all the outbuildings.
As they recrossed the lawn, a window that had been dark was lighted and Miss Emily sat in it, the light behind her, and her upright torso motionless as that of an idol.
When the next generation, with its more modern ideas, became mayors and aldermen, this arrangement created some little dissatisfaction.
On the first of the year they mailed her a tax notice. They wrote her a formal letter, asking her to call at the sheriff's office at her convenience.
A week later the mayor wrote her himself, offering to call or to send his car for her, and received in reply a note on paper of an archaic shape, in a thin, flowing calligraphy in faded ink, to the effect that she no longer went out at all. They called a special meeting of the Board of Aldermen.
A deputation waited upon her, knocked at the door through which no visitor had passed since she ceased giving china-painting lessons eight or ten years earlier.
They were admitted by the old Negro into a dim hall from which a stairway mounted into still more shadow.
It smelled of dust and disuse--a close, dank smell. It was furnished in heavy, leather-covered furniture.
When the Negro opened the blinds of one window, they could see that the leather was cracked; and when they sat down, a faint dust rose sluggishly about their thighs, spinning with slow motes in the single sun-ray.
On a tarnished gilt easel before the fireplace stood a crayon portrait of Miss Emily's father. I have no taxes in Jefferson." "But there is nothing on the books to show that, you see We must go by the--" "See Colonel Sartoris. "Show these gentlemen out." II So SHE vanquished them, horse and foot, just as she had vanquished their fathers thirty years before about the smell.
Then they could hear the invisible watch ticking at the end of the gold chain. It was another link between the gross, teeming world and the high and mighty Griersons. I'll speak to him about it." The next day he received two more complaints, one from a man who came in diffident deprecation. I'd be the last one in the world to bother Miss Emily, but we've got to do something." That night the Board of Aldermen met--three graybeards and one younger man, a member of the rising generation. .." "Dammit, sir," Judge Stevens said, "will you accuse a lady to her face of smelling bad?