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|True Riches||T.S. Arthur|
|Page 5 of 6||
On pushing open the door of their sitting-room, the attention of Claire was arrested by the animated expression of his wife's face. She raised her finger to enjoin silence. Tripping lightly to his side, she drew her arm within his, and whispered--
"Come into the chamber, dear--tread softly--there, isn't that sweet?--isn't it lovely?"
The sight was lovely indeed. A pillow had been thrown on the floor, and upon this lay sleeping, arm in arm, the two children. Pressed close together were their rosy checks; and the sunny curls of Fanny Elder were mixed, like gleams of sunshine, amid the darker ringlets that covered profusely the head of little Edith.
"Did you ever see any thing so beautiful?" said the delighted mother.
"What a picture it would make!" remarked Edward, who was charmed with the sight.
"Oh, lovely! How I would like just such a picture!
"She is a beautiful child," said Edward.
"Very," was the hearty response. "Very--and so sweet-tempered and winning in her ways. Do you know, I am already attached to her. And little Edie is so delighted. They have played all the morning like kittens; and a little while ago lay down, just as you see them--tired out, I suppose--and fell off to sleep. It must have been hard for the mother to part with that child--hard, very hard."
And Mrs. Claire sighed.
"You will scarcely be willing to give her up, if she remains here long," said Edward.
"I don't know how I should feel to part from her, even now. Oh, isn't it sad to think that she has no living soul to love or care for her in the world."
"Mr. Jasper is her guardian, you know."
"Yes; and such a guardian!"
"I should not like to have my child dependent on his tender mercies, certainly. But he will have little to do with her beyond paying the bills for her maintenance. He will place her in some family to board; and her present comfort and future well-being will depend very much upon the character of the persons who have charge of her."
"I wish," said she, after a pause, "that we were able to take her. But we are not."
And she sighed again.
"Mr. Jasper will pay six dollars a week to any one who will take the entire care of her until she is twelve years of age."
"Will he?" A sudden light had gleamed over the face of Mrs. Claire.
"Yes; he said so this morning."
"Then, why may not we take her? I am willing," was Edith's quick suggestion.
"It is a great care and responsibility," said Edward.
"I shall not feel it so. When the heart prompts, duty becomes a pleasure. O yes, dear, let us take the child by all means."
"Can we make room for her?"
"Why not? Her little bed, in a corner of our chamber, will in noway incommode us; and through the day she will be a companion for Edie. If you could only have seen how sweetly they played together! Edie has not been half the trouble to-day that she usually is."
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