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|True Riches||T.S. Arthur|
|Page 5 of 5||
"Can you remain where you are, and be out of danger?" asked Edith.
"There is danger everywhere."
"Ay; but in some positions more imminent danger. Is it well to court temptation?"
"Perhaps not. But I cannot afford to give up my place with Jasper."
"Yet, while remaining, you will be strongly tempted."
"Jasper is dishonest at heart. He is ever trying to overreach in dealing, and expects every one in his employment to be as keen as himself."
"Oh, Edward, do not remain with him a day longer! There is death to the spirit in the very atmosphere around such a man. You cannot serve such a master, and be true to yourself and to God. It is impossible."
"I believe you are right in that, Edith; I know you are right," said the young man, with a strong emphasis on the last sentence. "But what am I to do? Five hundred dollars a year is little enough for our wants; I have, as you know, been dissatisfied with that. I can hardly get as much in another situation. I know of but one opening, and that is with Melleville."
"Go back to him, Edward," said his wife.
"And get but four hundred a year? It is all he can pay."
"If but three hundred, it were a situation far to be preferred to the one you now hold."
"A hundred dollars a year, Edith, taken from our present income, would deprive us of many comforts."
"Think of how much we would gain in true inward enjoyment, Edward, by such a change. Have you grown happier since you entered the store of Mr. Jasper?"
The young man shook his head sadly, and murmured, "Alas! no."
"Can anything compensate for the anguish of mind we have both suffered in the last few hours, Edward?"
There was a quick flushing of the face, as Edith said this.
"Both suffered!" exclaimed Edward, with a look of surprise.
"Ay, both, love. Can the heart of my husband feel a jar of discord, and mine not thrill painfully? Can he be in temptation, without an overshadowing of my spirit? Can he be in darkness, and I at the same time in light? No, no; that were impossible. You have been in great peril; I knew that some evil threatened you, even before you confessed it with your lips. Oh, Edward, we have both tasted, in the last few hours, a bitterer cup than has yet been placed to our lips. May we not be called upon to drink it to the very dregs!"
"Amen!" fell solemnly from the lips of Edward Claire, as a cold shudder crept along his nerves. If there had been any wavering in his mind before, there was none now. He resolved to make restitution in the morning, and, as soon as opportunity offered, to leave a place where he was so strongly tempted to step aside from the path of integrity. The virtue of his wife had saved him.
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