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|True Riches||T.S. Arthur|
|Page 3 of 6||
"I have feared as much," was the low, half-tremulous response.
"And yet, if I do not send, the very omission may excite a question, and produce the consequences we fear."
"True, Edward. All that has passed through my mind over and over again."
"What had we better do?"
"Ah!" sighed Edith, "if we only knew that."
"Shall I send the order, as usual?"
Edith shook her head, saying--
"And I hesitate with the same fear."
"And yet, Edith," said Claire, who, as the provider for the family, pondered more anxiously the question of ways and means, "what are we to do? Our income, with Fanny's board added, is but just sufficient. Take away three hundred dollars a year, and where will we stand? The thought presses like a leaden weight on my feelings. Debt, or severe privation, is inevitable. If, with eight hundred dollars, we only come out even at the end of each year, what will be the result if our income is suddenly reduced to five hundred?"
"Let us do what is right, Edward," said his wife, laying her hand upon his arm, and looking into his face in her earnest, peculiar way. Her voice, though it slightly trembled, had in it a tone of confidence, which, with the words she had spoken, gave to the wavering heart of Claire an instant feeling of strength.
"But what is right, Edith?" he asked.
"We know not now," was her reply, "but, if we earnestly desire to do right, true perceptions will be given."
"A beautiful faith; but oh, how hard to realize!"
"No, Edward, not so very hard. We have never found it so: have we?"
Love and holy confidence were in her eyes.
"We have had some dark seasons, Edith," said Claire sadly.
"But, through darkest clouds has come the sunbeam. Our feet have not wandered for want of light. Look back for a moment. How dark all seemed when the question of leaving Jasper's service came up for decision. And yet how clear a light shone when the time for action came. Have you ever regretted what was then done, Edward?"
"Not in a sane moment," replied the young man. "O no, no, Edith!" speaking more earnestly; "that, with one exception, was the most important act of my life."
"With one exception?" Edith spoke in a tone of inquiry.
"Yes." Claire's voice was very tender, and touched with a slight unsteadiness. "The most important act of my life was"--
He paused and gazed lovingly into the face of his wife. She, now comprehending him, laid, with a pure thrill of joy pervading her bosom, her cheek to his--and thus, for the space of nearly a minute, they sat motionless.
"May God bless you, Edith!" said Claire at length, fervently, lifting his head as he spoke. "You are the good angel sent to go with me through life. Ah! but for you, how far from the true path might my feet have strayed! And now," he added, more calmly, "we will look at the present difficulty steadily, and seek to know the right."
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