Front Page Titles (by Subject) Chapter II.: PATRIMONIAL APPENDAGES. - Illustrations of Taxation (1. The Park and the Paddock, 2. The Haycock, 3. The Jerseymen Meeting, 4. The Jerseymen Parting, 5. The Scholars of Arneside)
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Chapter II.: PATRIMONIAL APPENDAGES. - Harriet Martineau, Illustrations of Taxation (1. The Park and the Paddock, 2. The Haycock, 3. The Jerseymen Meeting, 4. The Jerseymen Parting, 5. The Scholars of Arneside) 
Illustrations of Taxation (1. The Park and the Paddock, 2. The Haycock, 3. The Jerseymen Meeting, 4. The Jerseymen Parting, 5. The Scholars of Arneside) (London: Charles Fox, 1834).
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Whatever the steward might have to say in favour of the new workmen of A— over the old, he did not wish the preference to apply in the case of a choice of innkeepers. His old acquaintance, Pritchard, of the Turk’s Head, was warmly patronised by him, in opposition to the upstart at the Navarino, who, with all his show of balconies and a splendid furnishing of his bar, treated his guests with sour wines and cold rooms.
As might be supposed, so rare a party of inmates was indulged with all the luxury that Pritchard could afford. In hopes of diverting them from their intention of taking their sister for a little tour among the lakes while a corner of the house at Fellbrow was being prepared for her, the host of the Turk’s Head took care that she should be worshipped as if she had been a rich ward on her way to Gretna. Every time she moved, the entire household seemed to start to anticipate her wishes. She was made so comfortable at the inn, and she so thoroughly enjoyed the beauties of the park and neighbourhood of Fellbrow, that there was little fear that she would desire to go to the lakes, or anywhere else, while awaiting her reception in what she wished to be her future home. The only circumstance that annoyed her was the notice she excited in the town, or at least in the neighbourhood of the inn. Pritchard shook his head over this, as over a grievance which could only be lamented, when any one could have told that his bragging, and his complacency, and his confidences had given the Cranstons half the consequence which caused them to be watched through shop-windows, way-laid by loungers, and talked over by gossips. A large portion of the remaining half might be ascribed to the extraordinary accession of goods, chattels, and followers which they brought into the place.
The half-deserted street in which Mrs. Barton, the perfumer, lived had not afforded such a sight for many a day as might now be witnessed morning and evening. Maynard, Miss Cranston’s old serving-man, took the young lady’s spaniel out for an airing twice a day; and all the inhabitants who remained in the neighbourhood soon learned to watch for the approach of the curious pair,—the prim beau, with his pig-tail hanging down his back, and the animal, no less spruce in its jacket of the finest flannel, tied with blue ribbons.
“Miss Biggs!—do make haste, Miss Biggs!” cried Mrs. Barton to her shopwoman. “Did you ever see such a fine head for powder as the old gentleman has? Quite one of the old school, I will answer for it;—the school for manners, as I say.”
Miss Biggs smiled sweetly as Maynard came up the street, and pronounced the phenomenon charming. She had not a very distinct idea of what the old school was; for while Mrs. Barton was always praising it, and might therefore be supposed a pupil, she was, in dress, of the very newest school she could get any tidings of, and, in manners, of no school but her own. She had one scholar in Miss Biggs, who had, by this time, learned to hang her head as far to the left as her mistress to the right. She had not Mrs. Barton’s prime requisite—an extremely wide mouth—for smiling; but she did not fall behind her in drawling and universal sympathy.
“It is really a privilege,” said Mrs. Barton, withdrawing her head from between two glasses of wash-balls, “to see such a fine old relic of Church and King, which always has my vote.”
“And mine, I am sure: I am always for Church and King,” replied Miss Biggs. “So different, you see, ma’am, from the upstarts, with not a grain in their hair, that come to the new inn, and are gone! Do you think, ma’am, we shall have the gentleman’s custom for powder? Perhaps if—”
Mrs. Barton was already sailing round the counter, and she reached the door in time to prepare a deep curtsey for Maynard. The old man looked behind him, to make sure that the obeisance was meant for him, and then took off his hat, and offered a bow of the last century. Mrs. Barton did not leave him long uncertain whether he was to pass on or stay. Might she presume to hope that self-love was to be flattered by the stranger’s approbation of the old town?
“Dear ma’am,” interposed Miss Biggs, “how can we expect that strangers should feel as we do towards our old town? Is it reasonable, dear ma’am?”
All were ready to agree in this; but Maynard protested that it was not a town to be despised. He admired enthusiasm in behalf of one’s native place—
O! how good he was to say so!
And independent of this, he saw much to admire in A—. The church-tower was a great ornament; and the market-place was remarkable for a town of the size. He was sorry to see so many shops shut up in this quarter; and that red-brick meeting-house—
“Ah! there—there, sir, you touch a tender point. Our dissenters,—I am ashamed to say it, I assure you,—our dissenters are so—O, dear sir! You cannot think what a weight it is upon our minds,—upon loyal minds, sir, that espouse Church and King.”
“O, sir!” added Miss Biggs, “I hope Church and King is your motto. I am sure you must be loyal.”
Maynard flattered himself that he was so; and he had been put to a pretty strong trial on that head,—so much as he had been in France.
“In France!—in that land of rebellion and conflagration, and blasphemy!” Mrs. Barton shuddered, and Miss Biggs followed her example. They begged pardon,—they did not mean to hurt his feelings,—but, if they set foot in that place, they should expect a judgment to overtake them before they could get back again.
Perhaps so; unless they went in the way of duty, the old gentleman said: but he went in the way of duty,—in the service of his young lady; notwithstanding which, he was very glad to get back again. He had had an idea, before he went, that he should find everybody wearing powder; but, if it used to be so, it was not so now.
Mrs. Barton had once found herself in a precisely similar mistake, which Miss Biggs allowed to be very remarkable. When our gentry began to return after the war, there was really very little more hair-powder issued from her shop than before. She had looked forward to this as a set-off, if Miss Biggs remembered, against the increase of rent which her landlord clapped on in proportion as people came home to live. Heaven knew she was loyal in her heart, and ready to assist the war as long as his Majesty chose to fight; but she could not but feel that she had borne her full share. She had renewed her lease at a higher rent, in the prospect of more custom, and then found that the tax on hair-powder,—a tax laid on to help the war,—had put people off wearing hair-powder!
“And your rent was not low, during the war, I dare say, ma’am. Though you let it be raised afterwards, I dare say it was high enough before. You like these times of low rents much better, I don’t doubt.”
“Better!” cried the ladies, looking piteously at each other.
“Why, let me see. There are a great many empty houses in this street, ma’am. House rent cannot be high here, though you are in the neighbourhood of the market.”
“But my lease, dear sir. Ah! there is the point, you see. When my lease was renewed, this street was the great thoroughfare of the town. It is untold the traffic there was,—it is indescribable the gentlemen’s carriages that used to pass my door, before people went out of their minds, as I say, about the new inn, and all the building that has gone on in that quarter.”
“For my part, I have never countenanced such doings,” said Miss Biggs, “going so far as to take my walk the other way on Sundays. To build new houses, when such as these that you see are standing—but the rage for building exceeds everything.”
“That came of the high rents,” said Maynard. “There was too much building by far, in most places.”
“And the new road. O! the opening of that new road! I shall never forget it. And my lease with six years to run from that very day.”
“It was a bad speculation, indeed, ma’am. Speculators in leases should take care—”
Mrs. Barton looked full of woe at being called a speculator. She had the testimony of her conscience that she did not deserve it.
“I mean no offence, I assure you, ma’am,” continued Maynard. “I mean no more than that every tenant who takes a lease is a speculator. If you agree to pay so much rent, and be answerable for so much tax, for fourteen years, and the tax happens to be presently taken off—”
The bare idea seemed to afford rapture.
“Your bargain turns out a good one; and the same if the neighbourhood improves, so as to render your situation a more desirable one than it was before. Your case, you say, is the reverse. Rent and tax remain as they were, and the neighbourhood is less desirable than it was; and so I say it is a bad speculation to you. ’Tis a pity you can’t take up your house, and carry it to the new road, and set it down there.”
Maynard was easily convinced how clever he should be thought, if he could put the ladies in the way of doing this. Such a very capital idea! the ladies thought it, till told that it was not original;—that in America such a thing had been heard of and seen as the removal of a dwelling on wheels.
The speculation was followed out;—how charming it must be to the owner of the house to be able to put it where it would be sure of bringing a good rent till it was worn out, instead of placing it, as now, where there was no certainty of how much or how little it would be in request twenty years hence.—How charming it would be to the tenant to have the power of wheeling himself into any position he liked, or of obtaining a reduction of rent in case of the desired ground being preoccupied! (for in those circumstances, rent would be precisely proportioned to the advantages of the locality.) How charming, lastly, to the government, to receive the house-tax in a steady proportion which none could dispute: for no house-tax could then be collected unless it were lowered ad valorem. No one who could move away would stay in a poor situation, to pay a tax as high as had been imposed in a favourable locality. Equity would be the order of the day, Mrs. Barton decided, if houses went on wheels; and landlords, tenants, and assessors might be all loyal and harmonious together.—Miss Biggs put her head out at the door to take a survey of the solid front of the dwelling, while her mistress tried the stability of the foundations with her toe. There was little hope that this house could be set upon wheels. The house would be even more difficult to shift than the lease.
Mrs. Barton next declared herself liable to nearly as much sorrow for her neighbours’ afflictions as for her own; during which announcement her companion smiled with arch amiability at Maynard. Mr. Pritchard, at the Turk’s Head, paid prodigiously in the articles of rent and taxes; and how he had suffered from his Navarino rival could only be known to those who had been formerly accustomed to see the sporting gentry throng to his inn at this season. He was once proud of the consequence of his inn, as shown by the charges it had to bear; but now, he talked very differently, poor man, about such charges. He had been heard to say, more than once lately, a thing—a fact—something which he would hardly say to the young gentlemen who were now occupying his best apartments.—What could this be?—After much pressing on the one side, and “Shall I, Miss Biggs?” on the other, it appeared that Pritchard complained of his house having been for years taxed nearly three times as much as Fellbrow itself. No one could believe it, as Mrs. Barton had told the complainant. It was impossible that any one could credit it.
“I can, ma’am,” said Maynard. “I heard a good deal of that matter in London; and I dare say some of the same ridiculous confusion and partiality,—or I should rather say inequality,—may exist in this place. But, halloo, what comes here? Please to let me in, ladies. If you will let me in, and shut the door—I never could abide these packs of those animals,—a very different thing from carrying one quiet little creature like this. There! look how it hugs me, at the very hearing and sight of the pack! Now we shall do!”
Mrs. Barton rejoiced in such an opportunity for hospitality. She became suddenly remarkably afraid of a pack of harriers, and took care that the door was fastened as securely as if harriers had been especially addicted to eating and drinking pomatum and lavender water. Miss Biggs kneeled to the spaniel, and coaxed it till sent by a sign from her mistress to bring a little glass of fine cordial for their guest, whom they declared they should keep fast prisoner till all danger of encountering that dreadful pack of dogs was past. There was an upper window from which their progress could be traced for some distance; and the cook was called from cooking the “little rasher” to take her station at this watch-post. Maynard had so much to say about his young master’s love of sport, and his young mistress’s virtues and graces, and the wealth of them all, that there was little chance of the spaniel having its usual airing this morning. The inventory of Mr. Cranston’s dogs, with the necessary comments, consumed as much time as would have carried Fanny’s favourite a couple of miles on the moor.
The pack and the huntsman were not without their admirers, meanwhile. Among the many who looked knowingly or joyously on them, none were more emphatic than Mr. Taplin,—the lawyer, as he was called before he failed,—the assessor, as he had been generally named since his friends had procured him the appointment. What a fine set of new subjects for assessment had he in this family of the Cranstons! How many servants and carriages! Armorial bearings, of course; and here was the huntsman; and besides this pack, there were Mr. James’s pointers, and Miss Cranston’s spaniel, and the fine terrier of Mr. Wallace. Then there were horses in abundance on the road, he understood. It was a pity the house and window duties could not be made more suitable in amount to such a mansion as that at Fellbrow. He must try, for the sake of justice, as well as of his own pocket, to contrive an increase. He trusted that such wealthy and high-spirited young men would not be troublesome as to the amount of tax they were to pay,—either for their habitations or their pleasures.
He stood watching the picturesque group for some time after it had reached the Paddock,—a place well known to every sporting gentleman who passed through A—. The Paddock was the residence of a noted horse-dealer; and Swallow, the tenant, had had the honour of welcoming to his stables almost every man of note in his particular line in the kingdom. Many a characteristic group might be seen in the shadow of his spacious gateway. Many an honoured voice might be heard in oath or laughter from his range of stables; and many a hero of the field had trod the grass of the ample paddock in the rear. The thresher in Mr. Whitford’s barn sometimes laid aside his flail to watch the curiously-coated and hatted gentry who were let into the sacred enclosure; and the thresher’s son, a shepherd-boy on the sheep-walk above, stood to wonder at the friskiness of the fine animals in Swallow’s field.
Swallow was not sorry that the dogs had come by this road, as it was of importance to him to establish a friendly intercourse with Mr. Cranston’s huntsman; but the present moment was not exactly that which he would have chosen for their arrival. Half an hour later would have been better. A van, on its way to London, was at the door. It could not wait; and certain packages must be put into it whose contents could scarcely fail to be guessed by the huntsman, any more than by the gamekeeper. It was provoking that the girls were out. They would have got the packages in at the back of the van very cleverly, while he was amusing the huntsman with a glass of liquor and conversation. He must try whether George could take the hint.
George was less quick at taking a hint than he would have been if he had not been accustomed to depend much on his sisters. He was not ashamed of being excelled by them, and, in a manner, taken care of by them, they having, as he always said, each a double mind, with which his single one could not pretend to compete. These girls were twins, and more perfectly alike in mind (if possible) than in form and feature. Their brother, still a rough and sadly careless boy, laughed at them, was proud of them, and depended upon them. The book which every horse-dealer is by law obliged to keep open to the inspection of the assessor was left in George’s charge by his father, who had him educated sufficiently to qualify him for making the necessary entries of sales. George was perpetually warned of the heavy penalties to which his father would be liable if the due entries were not made, if the book was not always kept open to the observation of the assessor, and regularly delivered in, every quarter, for examination and discharge; but it is probable that his father would more than once have been compelled to disburse the penalty, if Anne and Sarah had not been on the watch to guard against his carelessness. It was indeed a pity that they were absent now. George was so busy forming friendships with the dogs that his father’s coughs and winks were disregarded; and package after package was brought out and left within sight and scent, while room was being made for each in the van. In vain did Swallow interpose his broad shoulders and offer snuff. The huntsman was mounted, and could see what was passing in the rear; and he was moreover not to be persuaded to take a pinch. Swallow saw that his new acquaintance had picked up a notion at the Paddock which would not be long in reaching the owner of the Fellbrow preserves.
George’s mind had risen a flight too high to be brought down this morning by usual influences. He was off with the harriers, in the midst, and almost as fleet as any of them, before his father’s angry voice roused his ear. He looked back a moment, saw the assessor entering the gateway, supposed his father would find the book if it was wanted, and immediately heard nothing more than the greetings of the dogs.
“There is no knowing now,” growled his father, “when we shall get the lad back again. He had rather kennel with the dogs than come home to his business, any day of the year.—The book! O, it is at your service, I don’t doubt.—Let me see: where can the boy have hid it? My family are all out, you see, sir. If it is equally convenient, I will send one of them with the book, this afternoon.”
“Show it me now, Swallow. I don’t call this keeping the book open for my inspection at all times. Make haste, and find it, if you please. Your boy is not the only one of the family, I fancy, who has the taste you describe,—for sport rather than business. Hey, Swallow? But you will remember the gentlemen are on the spot now, and take care of yourself, I suppose. Remember they are on the spot, I advise you.”
“It would be rather hard to forget it,” replied the horse-dealer; “so many shows as they have brought into this quiet place. There is not a soul in A— but is watching them from morning till night,—except, indeed, the people (and they are not few) that are swarming about the Fellbrow house, like bees building their comb. Here’s the book, sir; and when I have added the sale I made half-an-hour ago—”
While Swallow was laboriously scrawling his two lines, the assessor walked off. There was no room for talk of penalties in his department this day. He would come again when all the Mr. Cranstons’ riding-horses should have arrived, and would want to be discussed. Swallow looked after Mr. Taplin, saying to himself, “Fine talk that, of my taking care of myself against the gentlemen, when he himself is in as deep as any of us! If he threatens me, I can bid him look to his own share.”