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|True Riches||T.S. Arthur|
|Page 1 of 5||
"Well, Edward, what does your wife say?" Such was the inquiry of Jasper, immediately on the return of his clerk from dinner.
"There will be no difficulty, so far as she is concerned," the young man answered.
"None, did you say, Edward?"
"None. She is willing to take the child, under the arrangement you propose."
"That is, for three hundred dollars a year, to find her in every thing?"
"Yes; until she is twelve years of age."
"So I understand it. After that, as the expense of her clothing and education will increase, we can make a new arrangement. Very well. I'm glad you have decided to take the child. It won't cost you six dollars a week, for the present, I am sure: so the additional income will be quite a help to you."
"I don't know how that will be. At any rate, we are willing to take the child into our family."
"Suppose then, Edward, we mutually sign this little agreement to that effect, which I have drawn up."
And Jasper took a paper from his desk, which he handed to Edward.
"I've no objection," said the latter, after he had read it over. "It binds me to the maintenance of the child until she is twelve years of age, and you to the payment therefor of three hundred dollars a year, in quarterly payments of seventy-five dollars each."
"Yes, that is the simple statement of the matter. You see, I have prepared duplicates: one for you, and one for myself. I will sign them first."
And Jasper took a pen and placed upon each of the documents his sign-manual.
Claire did the same; and a clerk witnessed the signatures. Each, then, took a copy. Thus, quickly and fully, was the matter arranged.
This fact of giving to the contract a legal form, was, under the circumstances, the very thing Claire most desired. He had already begun to see difficulties ahead, so soon as he announced his intention of leaving Jasper's service; particularly, as no reason that he could give would satisfy the merchant--difficulties growing out of this new relation as the personal guardian of little Fanny Elder. The signing of a regular contract for the payment of a certain sum of money, quarterly, for the child's maintenance, gave him a legal right to collect that sum, should Jasper, from any change of feeling, be disposed at some future time to give him trouble. This was something gained.
It was with exceeding reluctance that Claire forced himself, during the afternoon, to announce his intention to leave Mr. Jasper. Had he not promised Mr. Melleville and his wife to do this, it would certainly have been postponed for the present; perhaps altogether. But his word was passed to both of them, and he felt that to defer the matter would be wrong. So, an opportunity offering, he said--
"I believe, Mr. Jasper, that I shall have to leave you."
"Leave me, Edward!" Mr. Jasper was taken altogether by surprise. "What is the meaning of this? You have expressed no dissatisfaction. What is wrong?"
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