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|True Riches||T.S. Arthur|
|Page 6 of 7||
"You don't know what you are declining, Mr. Jasper," urged Martin warmly. "You havn't yet looked at the statements which I am prepared to lay before you."
"I do know one thing," was the feeling answer, "and that is, that I am declining trouble and cost. About that part of the business, there can be little question."
"Then," said Martin, his manner changing, "I am to understand that you do not wish to join me in this matter?"
"Yes. I would like you to understand that distinctly."
"Very well. I am sorry you refuse so advantageous an investment of money; for right sure am I that no other investment you can make will turn out as this would have done. But, as you have declined, I will not offer a share in my good fortune to any one else; but prosecute the work to my own advantage."
"I thought you hadn't the capital to do that," said Jasper, speaking with ill-repressed eagerness.
"Nor have I," coolly answered Martin. "The proposition I was about to make was this--an advance of twenty thousand dollars capital on your part, to constitute you an equal partner in the mine. But this you decline."
"Certainly! certainly! I would not have entertained it for a moment."
"Exactly. So I have already inferred. I will, therefore, as just said, retain this advantage in my own hands. But, Mr. Jasper, I shall need some help."
The visitor fixed his eyes keenly on the merchant as he said this. There was a momentary pause. Then he resumed.
"I shall only want about ten thousand dollars, though; and this you must obtain for me."
"Martin! Do you think I am made of money?" exclaimed Jasper, starting to his feet, and facing his companion, in the attitude and with the expression of a man who, finding himself in the presence of an enemy, assumes the defensive.
"Oh no," was the quiet answer--"not made of money. But, for a particular friend, you can no doubt, easily raise such a trifle as ten thousand dollars?"
"Trifle! You mock me, sir!"
"Don't get excited about this matter, Mr. Jasper," coolly returned Martin, whose name the reader has probably recognised as that of an agent employed by the merchant and Grind, the lawyer, some years before, in making investigations relative to the existence of coal on certain lands not far from Reading, Pennsylvania. "Don't get excited," he repeated. "That will do no good. I have not come to rob you. I don't ask you to give me ten thousand dollars. All I want is a loan, for which I will pledge good security."
"What kind of security?" asked Jasper quickly.
"Security on my lead-mine."
"Pooh! I wouldn't give the snap of a finger for such security!"
Jasper, thrown off his guard, spoke more contemptuously than was prudent.
An instant change was visible in Martin, who, rising, commenced buttoning up his coat. There was about him every mark of a man deeply offended.
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