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|True Riches||T.S. Arthur|
|Page 5 of 6||
"I did, Edward; and can readily bring you in now, as one of my young men is going to leave me for a higher salary than I can afford to pay. There is one drawback, however."
"What is that, Mr. Melleville?"
"The salary will be only four hundred dollars a year."
"I shall expect no more from you."
"But can you live on that sum now? Remember, that you have been receiving five hundred dollars, and that your wants have been graduated by your rate of income. Let me ask--have you saved any thing since you were married?"
"So much the worse. You will find it difficult to fall back upon a reduced salary. How far can you rely on your wife's co-operation?"
"To the fullest extent. I have already suggested to her the change, and she desires, above all things, that I make it."
"Does she understand the ground of this proposed change?" asked Mr. Melleville.
"And is willing to meet privation--to step down into even a humbler sphere, so that her husband be removed from the tempting influence of the god of this world?"
"She is, Mr. Melleville. Ah! I only wish that I could look upon life as she does. That I could see as clearly--that I could gather, as she is gathering them in her daily walk, the riches that have no wings."
"Thank God for such a treasure, Edward! She is worth more than the wealth of the Indies. With such an angel to walk by your side, you need feel no evil."
"You will give me a situation, then, Mr. Melleville?"
"Yes, Edward," replied the old man.
"Then I will notify Mr. Jasper this afternoon, and enter your service on the first of the coming month. My heart is lighter already. Good day."
And Edward hurried off home.
During the afternoon he found no opportunity to speak to Mr. Jasper on the subject first in his thoughts, as that individual wished him to attend Mrs. Elder's funeral, and gather for him all possible information about the child. It was late when he came back from the burial-ground--so late that he concluded not to return, on that evening, to the store. In the carriage in which he rode, was the clergyman who officiated, and the orphan child who, though but half comprehending her loss, was yet overwhelmed with sorrow. On their way back, the clergyman asked to be left at his own dwelling; and this was done. Claire was then alone with the child, who shrank close to him in the carriage. He did not speak to her; nor did she do more than lift, now and then, her large, soft, tear-suffused eyes to his face.
Arrived, at length, at the dwelling from which they had just borne forth the dead, Claire gently lifted out the child, and entered the house with her. Two persons only were within, the domestic and the woman who, on the day previous, had spoken of taking to her own home the little orphaned one. The former had on her shawl and bonnet, and said that she was about going away.
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