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Colonel Sartoris was the mayor of Jefferson when Emily's father died. The Colonel knew that her father had nothing but the house to leave to Emily, so he invented a story about a loan that Emily's father had made to the town long, long ago that the town had never repaid. In return, Emily's property taxes would be remitted, or forgiven, as long as she lived, "into perpetuity." When Colonel Sartoris passed away and a new generation came into control of city government, the truth about her taxes came out, and Emily was asked to pay.
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