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  True Riches T.S. Arthur

Chapter IX

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As no event of particularly marked interest occurred with those whose histories we are writing, during the next few years, we will pass over that time without a record. Some changes of more or less importance have taken place, in the natural progress of things; but these will become apparent as we pursue the narrative.

A dull, damp November day was losing itself in the sombre twilight, when Edward Claire left the store of Mr. Melleville, and took his way homeward. An errand for his wife led him past his old place of business. As he moved along the street, opposite, he noticed a new sign over the door, the large gilt letters of which were strongly reflected in the light of a gas-lamp. It bore the words, JASPER & PARKER.

Involuntarily the young man sighed. If he had remained with Jasper, there was little doubt but that his name would have been the one now associated with his in a copartnership. Parker was the young man who had betrayed the conversation between Claire and Mr. Melleville. His end in doing this was to gain the favour of Jasper, and thus secure the place left vacant by the departing clerk. He had succeeded in his purpose. Jasper offered him the situation, and he took it. Five years afterward, in which time Jasper had made money rapidly, he was elevated to the position of partner, with a fair interest in the business. He had been honest toward his employer, because he saw that through him there was a chance to rise. Honest in heart he was not, for he never scrupled to overreach a customer.

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Edward Claire, as we have remarked, sighed involuntarily. His own prospects in life were not what are called flattering. His situation with Mr. Melleville was now worth five hundred dollars a year, but his family had increased, and with the increase had come new wants. The condition of Mr. Melleville's business gave him no encouragement to hope for a larger income while in his service. Several times during the last two years he had made application for vacant places, but without success. Sometimes he felt restless and discouraged, as his vision penetrated the future; but there was ever a cheerful light at home that daily dispelled the coming shadows.

Scarcely had the sigh lost itself on the air, when a hand was laid on his arm, and an old acquaintance said--

"Ah, Edward! How are you?"

Claire seeing the face of his friend, returned the greeting cordially.

"What have you been doing with yourself?" asked the latter. "It is months, I believe, since I had the pleasure of meeting you."

"Busy all day," returned Clare, "and anchored at home in the evening. So the time is passing."

"Pleasantly and profitably, I hope," said the friend.

"Pleasantly enough, I will own," was answered; "as to the profit--if you mean in a money sense--there is not much to boast of."

"You are still with Melleville?"

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True Riches
T.S. Arthur

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