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|True Riches||T.S. Arthur|
|Page 3 of 4||
"How long since, pray?" asked Jasper, with ill-disguised contempt.
"I did not like it in the beginning, but gradually suffered myself to think that all was fair in trade, until I found I was no better than a common cheat! Happily, I have been able to make a sudden pause in the way I was going. From this time, I will serve no man who expects me to overreach a customer in dealing. So soon as my mind was fully made up to leave your employment, I called to see my old friend, Mr. Melleville; stated to him, frankly and fully, what I thought and felt; and asked him if he could not make room for me in his store. Parker doubtless overheard a part of what we were saying, and reported it to you. I would, let me say in passing, much rather hold my relation to this unpleasant business than his. Mr. Melleville offered me my old salary--four hundred dollars--and I agreed to enter his service."
"Four hundred dollars!" Jasper said this in unfeigned surprise.
"Yes, sir; that is all he can afford to pay, and of course all I will receive."
"And I offered you six hundred and fifty."
"Edward, you are the most consummate fool I ever heard of."
"Time will show that," was the undisturbed reply. "I have made my election thoughtfully, and am prepared to meet the result."
"You'll repent of this; mark my word for it."
"I may regret your ill-will, Mr. Jasper; but never repent this step. I'm only thankful that I possessed sufficient resolution to take it."
"When are you going?"
"Not before the end of this month, unless you wish it otherwise. I would like to give you full time to supply my place."
"You can go at once, if it so please you. In fact, after what has just passed, I don't see how you can remain, or I tolerate your presence."
"I am ready for this, Mr. Jasper," coolly replied the young man.
"How much is due you?" was inquired, after a brief silence.
"Twenty-five dollars, I believe," answered Claire.
Jasper threw open a ledger that lay on the desk, and, turning to the young man's account, ran his eyes up the two columns of figures, and then struck a balance.
"Just twenty-seven dollars," said he, after a second examination of the figures. "And here's the money," he added, as he took some bills from the desk and counted out the sum just mentioned. "Now sign me a receipt in full to date, and that ends the matter."
The receipt was promptly signed.
"And now," sneered Jasper, bowing with mock deference, "I wish you joy of your better place. You will, in all probability, hear from me again. I haven't much faith in your over-righteous people; and will do myself the justice to make some very careful examinations into your doings since you entered my service. If all is right, well; if not, it won't be good for you. I'm not the man to forgive ingratitude, injury, and insult--of all three of which you have been guilty."
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