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|True Riches||T.S. Arthur|
|Page 2 of 6||
"Looks! Oh! I never do any thing for looks. If I can be of any service, I will be there--but, if not, not. I'm a right up-and-down, straight-forward man of the world, you see."
The undertaker bowed, saying that all should be as he wished.
"You can step around there, after a while, Edward," said Jasper, as soon as the undertaker had retired. "When you go, I wish you would ascertain, particularly, what has been done with the child. If a neighbour has taken her home, make inquiry as to whether she will be retained in the family; or, better still, adopted. You can hint, in a casual way, you know, that her parents have left property, which may, some time or other, be valuable. This may be a temptation, and turn the scale in favour of adoption; which may save me a world of trouble and responsibility."
"There is some property left?" remarked Claire.
"A small house or two, and a bit of worthless land in the mountains. All, no doubt, mortgaged within a trifle of their value. Still, it's property you know; and the word 'property' has a very attractive sound in some people's ears."
A strong feeling of disgust toward Jasper swelled in the young man's heart, but he guarded against its expression in look or words.
A customer entering at the moment, Claire left his principal and moved down behind the counter. He was not very agreeably affected, as the lady approached him, to see in her the person from whom he had taken ten dollars on the previous day, in excess of a reasonable profit. Her serious face warned him that she had discovered the cheat.
"Are you the owner of this store?" she asked, as she leaned upon the counter, and fixed her mild, yet steady eyes, upon the young man's face.
"I am not, ma'am," replied Claire, forcing a smile as he spoke. "Didn't I sell you a lot of goods yesterday?"
"You did, sir."
"I thought I recognised you. Well, ma'am, there was an error in your bill--an overcharge."
"So I should think."
"A overcharge of five dollars."
Claire, while he affected an indifferent manner, leaned over toward the woman and spoke in a low tone of voice. Inwardly, he was trembling lest Jasper should became cognizant of what was passing.
"Will you take goods for what is due you; or shall I hand you back the money?" said he.
"As I have a few more purchases to make, I may as well take goods," was replied, greatly to the young man's relief.
"What shall I show you, ma'am?" he asked, in a voice that now reached the attentive ears of Jasper, who had been wondering to himself as to what was passing between the clerk and customer.
A few articles were mentioned, and, in a little while, another bill of seven dollars was made.
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