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True Riches T.S. Arthur

Chapter VIII

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"Then you deny it all?"

"I shall neither affirm nor deny any thing. You have angrily accused me of having done you a great wrong. All I ask is your authority, and the right to stand face to face with that authority. This is no light matter, Mr. Jasper."

"Well said, young man. It is no light matter, as you will, perhaps, know to your sorrow in the end. Don't suppose, for a moment, that I shall either forget or forgive this outrage. Leave me because I cheat in my business!" An expression of unmitigated contempt was on his face. "Poh! What hypocrisy! I know you! And let Mr. Melleville beware. He, I more than suspect, is at the bottom of this. But he'll rue the day he crossed my path--he will!"

And Jasper ground his teeth in anger.

By this time, Claire had become entirely self-possessed. He was both surprised and troubled; yet concealed, as far as possible, the real state of his feelings.

"So far as Mr. Melleville is concerned," said he, "I wish you to understand, that I applied to him for the situation."

"Exactly! That is in agreement with what I heard. I was such a rogue that you could not live with me and keep a clear conscience--so you sought for a place with an honest man."

Claire dropped his eyes to the floor, and stood musing for some considerable time. When he raised them, he looked steadily at his employer and said--

"Mr. Jasper, I never made use of the words you have repeated."

"If not the very words, those of a like signification?"

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"To whom? There is no need of concealment, Mr. Jasper." Claire was feeling less and less anxious for the result of this conference every moment. "Speak out freely, and you will find me ready to do the same. There had been some underhand work here--or some betrayal of an ill-advised confidence. The former, I am most ready to believe. In a word, sir, and to bring this at once to an issue--your informant in this matter is Henry Parker, who lives with Mr. Melleville."

The change instantly perceptible in the manner of Jasper showed that Edward's suspicion was right. He had, all at once, remembered that, during his conversation with Melleville, this young man was near.

"I see how it is," he continued. "An eavesdropper has reported, with his own comments and exaggerations, a strictly confidential interview. Such being the case, I will state the plain truth of the matter. Are you prepared to hear it?"

"Oh, certainly," replied Jasper, with a covert sneer in his voice. "I'm prepared to hear any thing."

"Very well. What I have to say is now wrung from me. I did not wish to leave you in anger. I did not wish to draw upon me your ill-will. But, what is unavoidable must be borne. It is true, Mr. Jasper, as you have been informed, that I am not satisfied with your way of doing business."

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True Riches
T.S. Arthur

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