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|True Riches||T.S. Arthur|
|Page 3 of 7||
A few days went by, with no incident of importance. Claire, during the time, appeared, to his wife more thoughtful that usual. One evening he came home with a brighter countenance.
"Good news, Edie," said he in a cheerful voice, as soon as the children's glad and noisy welcome of their father was over; and he drew his wife aside as he spoke.
"Good news, dear," he repeated. "I was sure the way would open for us, and it has opened."
"How, Edward?" asked Edith, with a quickly flushing face. "How has it opened?"
"I've secured employment for my evenings, at six dollars a week. So all will go on with us the same as usual. The only drawback lies in the fact that you will have to remain at home alone. But, for the sake of the end, you will bear that cheerfully."
The light which had come into Edith's countenance faded.
"What kind of employment?" she inquired, with a slight huskiness of voice.
"I've engaged to act as clerk in an auction store, where they have regular night-sales."
Edith shook her head.
"I thought you would be so delighted," said her husband, evidently much disappointed.
"You often come home, now, overwearied with the day's labour," replied Edith.
"An hour at tea-time will refresh me for the evening's work. Don't think of that a moment, Edith."
"How can I help thinking of it? No, no, Edward, you must not do this. It will destroy your health. You are not very strong."
"My health is perfectly good, Edith."
But Edith shook her head--
"Not so very good. You look paler, and are much thinner than you were a year ago. A little over-exertion throws your system off of its balance; and then you are sick."
"I will be very careful of myself," replied Claire. "If, after a few weeks, the extra labour is found to be too severe, I can give up the place. Nothing like trying, you know, dear."
Still, Edith was not satisfied. Very strongly she urged her husband not to increase his labour in the degree contemplated.
"Let us try if we can reduce our expenses by a closer economy. It is better to deny ourselves things not necessary to health, than to injure health by extra labour."
She urged this view, however, in vain. Claire could not, without at least a trial of his strength, decline the important offer which had been made to him. And so, after a consultation with Mr. Melleville, he entered upon his new employment, leaving his wife to spend the hours of his absence alone. Not idly were those hours spent. What she had at first proposed to do, she now began to execute. Without saying any thing to her husband, she had procured, from a friend who kept a fancy-store, and who took in from the ladies a great deal of work, some fine sewing; and with this she was busily occupied until his return, which did not take place on the first night until near eleven o'clock.
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