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True Riches T.S. Arthur

Chapter VIII

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"I don't just understand this," said Jasper to himself, after the interview with his clerk described in another chapter. "I thought him perfectly satisfied. He didn't say he was offered a higher salary. Ah! guess I've got it now. It's only a bit of a ruse on his part to get me to increase his wages. I didn't think of this before. Well, it has succeeded; and, in truth, he's worth all I've offered him. Shrewd, quick, and sharp; he's a young man just to my mind. Should he grow restless again, I must tempt him with the idea of a partnership at some future period. If business goes on increasing, I shall want some one with me whom I can trust and depend on more fully than on a clerk."

Thus, in the mind of Jasper, all was settled; and he was fully prepared, on the next morning, when he met Edward to hear from him that he would remain in his service. A different decision took him altogether by surprise.

"Where are you going?" he asked. Edward hesitated a moment ere replying.

"Back to Mr. Melleville's."

"To Melleville's! Will he give you more salary than I have agreed to pay?"

"No," was the answer; "but I have reasons for wishing to accept the place he offers me."

"Well, just as you please," said Jasper, coldly. "Every one must suit himself."

And, with the air of a person offended, he turned himself from the young man. Soon after he went out, and did not come back for two or three hours. When he re-entered the store there was an angry flash in his eyes, which rested somewhat sternly upon Claire.

"Let me say a word with you, Edward."

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There happened to be no customer in to engage the clerk's attention, and he retired, with his employer, to the back part of the store. Jasper then turned and confronted him with a stern aspect.

"Well, young man!" said he sharply, "it seems that you have been making rather free with my good name, of late; representing me as a cheat and a swindler."

For a few moments the mind of Claire was strongly excited and in a perfect maze of confusion. The blood mounted to his face, and he felt a rising and choking sensation in his throat. Wisely he forbore any answer until he had regained his self-possession. Then, with a coolness that surprised even himself, he said--

"That's a broad accusation, Mr. Jasper. Will you go with me to your authority?"

Jasper was not just prepared for a response like this; and he cooled down, instantly, several degrees.

"My authority is quite satisfactory," he returned, still manifesting angry feeling. "That you have been slandering me is plain; and, also, betraying the confidential transactions of the house. It is full time we parted--full time. I didn't dream that I was warming an adder to sting me?"

"I must insist, Mr. Jasper," said Claire firmly, "that you give me your authority for all this. Let me stand face to face with the man who has so broadly accused me."

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True Riches
T.S. Arthur

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