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|True Riches||T.S. Arthur|
|Page 3 of 4||
"After two years she will come into your hands without trouble, Mr. Jasper. Why not wait?"
"Wait! I will not hear the word. No! no! I must have her now."
"The law will not give her to you, Mr. Jasper," returned Grind, with the utmost self-possession. "The contract is clearly expressed; and it is binding."
"Is there no way to accomplish my end?" said Jasper, impatiently. "There must be. I cannot be foiled in this matter. Even pride would forbid this. But, there are stronger motives than pride at work now."
"Can you allege ill-treatment against the young man or his wife? Or neglect of your ward's comfort? Have they failed to do their duty by her in any respect?"
"I should not wonder; but, unfortunately, I can prove nothing."
"You might call for an investigation."
"And if every thing was proved right on their part?"
"The court would, most probably, return the child to their care. I am ready to take all necessary steps for you; but, Mr. Jasper, I very strongly incline to the opinion that the least noise you make in this matter, the better. Couldn't you--for a consideration in money, for instance--overcome the reluctance of Claire and his wife to part with the child? Honey, you know, catches more flies than vinegar."
"Buy him off, you mean?"
"No--no! I hate him too cordially for that. He's a villain in disguise; that's my opinion of him. A low, canting hypocrite. Buy him off for money. Oh no!"
"Could he be bought?" asked the lawyer.
"Could he?" A flush of surprise lit up, for a moment, the face of Jasper. "What a question for you to ask. Hasn't every man his price? Bought! Yes, I could buy him fifty times over."
"Then do so, and in the quietest manner. That is my advice."
"I'll steal the child!" exclaimed Jasper, rising up in his excitement, and moving uneasily about the room.
Grind shook his head, as he replied--
"All folly. No man ever did a wise thing while he was in a passion. You must permit yourself to cool down a great many degrees before you can act judiciously in this matter."
"But to be thwarted by him!" An expression of the deepest disgust was in the face of Jasper.
"All very annoying, of course," was the response of Grind. "Still, where we can't make things bend exactly to our wishes, it is generally the wisest policy to bend a little ourselves. We often, in this way, gain a purchase that enables us to bring all over to our side."
It must not be supposed that Grind, in giving his client advice that was to prevent an appeal to law, did so from any unselfish friendliness. Nothing of the kind. He saw a great deal to gain, beyond; and, in his advice, regarded his own interests quite as much as he did those of Jasper. He was not, however, at this interview, able to induce the merchant to attempt to settle the matter with Claire by compromise. The most he could do was to get him to promise, that, for the present, he would make no effort to get the person of the child into his possession.
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