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|True Riches||T.S. Arthur|
|Page 2 of 7||
"Don't act too precipitately. Violence will excite suspicion, and suspicion is a wonderful questioner."
"We must play a desperate game, as things now are, or not play at all," said Jasper.
"True; but the more desperate the game, the more need of coolness, forethought, and circumspection. Don't forget this. How do you mean to proceed?"
"That is yet to be determined."
"Will you make another effort to influence Claire?"
"Do you regard him as altogether impracticable?"
"No influence that I can bring would move him."
"You will, then, resort to stratagem or force?"
"One or the other--perhaps both. The child we must have."
"Let me beg of you, Jasper, to be prudent. There is a great deal at stake."
"I know there is; and the risk increases with every moment of delay."
Grind showed a marked degree of anxiety.
"If the child were in our possession now," said Jasper, "or, which is the same, could be produced when wanted, how soon might an order for the sale be procured?"
"In two or three weeks, I think," replied the lawyer.
"Certain preliminary steps are necessary?"
"If these were entered upon forthwith, how soon would the child be wanted?"
"In about ten days."
"Very well. Begin the work at once. When the child is needed, I will see that she is forthcoming. Trust me for that. I never was foiled yet in any thing that I set about accomplishing, and I will not suffer myself to be foiled here."
With this understanding, Jasper and the lawyer parted.
A week or more passed, during which time Claire heard nothing from the guardian of Fanny; and both he and his wife began to hope that no further attempt to get her into his possession would be made, until the child had reached her twelfth year.
It was in the summer-time, and Mrs. Claire sat, late in the afternoon of a pleasant day, at one of the front-windows of her dwelling, holding her youngest child in her arms.
"The children are late in coming home from school," said she, speaking aloud her thought. "I wonder what keeps them!"
And she leaned out of the window, and looked for some time earnestly down the street.
But the children were not in sight. For some five or ten minutes Mrs. Claire played with and talked to the child in her arms; then she bent from the window again, gazing first up and then down the street.
"That's Edie, as I live!" she exclaimed. "But where is Fanny?"
As she uttered this inquiry, a sudden fear fell like a heavy weight on her heart. Retiring from the window, she hastened to the door, where, by this time, a lady stood holding little Edie by the hand. The child's eyes were red with weeping.
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