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|True Riches||T.S. Arthur|
|Page 1 of 6||
Edward Claire was in no doubt as to the reception the motherless child would receive from his kind-hearted wife. A word or two of explanation enabled her to comprehend the feeling from which he had acted.
"You were right, Edward," said she in hearty approval. "I am glad you brought her home. Come, dear," speaking to the wondering, partly shrinking orphan, "let me take off your bonnet."
She kissed the child's sweet lips and then gazed for some moments into her face, pleased, yet half surprised, at her remarkable beauty.
Little Fanny felt that she was among friends. The sad expression of her face soon wore off, light came back to her eyes, and her prattling tongue released itself from a long silence. An hour afterward, when she was laid to sleep in a temporary bed, made for her on the floor, her heavy eyelids fell quickly, with their long lashes upon her cheeks, and she was soon in the world of dreams.
Then followed a long and serious conference between Edward and his wife.
"I saw Mr. Melleville to-day," said the former.
"Did you? I am glad of that," was answered.
"He will give me a place."
"But, Edith, as I supposed, he can only pay me a salary of four hundred dollars."
"No matter," was the prompt reply; "it is better than five hundred where you are."
"Can we live on it, Edith?" Edward spoke in a troubled voice.
"Why not? It is but to use a little more economy in our expenses--to live on two dollars a week less than we now spend; and that will not be very hard to do. Trust it to me, dear. I will bring the account out even. And we will be just as happy. As happy? Oh, a thousand times happier! A hundred dollars! How poorly will that compensate for broken peace and a disquieted conscience. Edward, is it possible for you to remain where you are, and be innocent?"
"I fear not, Edith," was the unhesitating reply. "And yet, dear, I should be man enough, should have integrity enough, to resist the temptations that might come in my way."
"Do not think of remaining where you are," said the young wife earnestly. "If Mr. Melleville will pay you four hundred dollars a year, take his offer and leave Mr. Jasper. It will be a gain rather than a loss to us."
"A gain, Edith?"
"Yes, a gain in all that is worth having in life--peace of mind flowing from a consciousness of right action. Will money buy this? No, Edward. Highly as riches are esteemed--the one great good in life as they are regarded--they never have given and never will give this best of all blessings. How little, how very little of the world's happiness, after all, flows from the possession of money. Did you ever think of that, Edward?"
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