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True Riches T.S. Arthur

Chapter V

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"I am to pay you two dollars, I believe?" said the lady, after Claire had told her how much the articles came to. As she said this, Jasper was close by and heard the remark.

"Right, ma'am," answered the clerk.

The customer laid a ten-dollar bill on the counter. Claire saw that the eyes of Jasper were on him. He took it up, placed it in the money-drawer, and stood some time fingering over the change and small bills. Then, with his back turned toward Jasper, he slipped a five dollar gold piece from his pocket. This, with a three dollar bill from the drawer, he gave to the lady, who received her change and departed.

Other customers coming in at the moment, both Jasper and his clerk were kept busy for the next hour. When they were alone again, the former said--

"How large a bill did you sell the old lady from the country, who was in this morning?"

"The amount was seven dollars, I believe."

"I thought she said two dollars?"

"She gave me a ten-dollar bill, and I only took three from the drawer," said the young man.

"I thought you gave her a piece of gold?"

"There was no gold in the drawer," was replied, evasively.

Much to the relief of Claire, another customer entered, thus putting an end to the conference between him and Jasper.

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The mind of the latter, ever suspicious, was not altogether satisfied. He was almost sure that two dollars was the price named for the goods, and that he had seen a gold coin offered in change. And he took occasion to refer to it at the next opportunity, when his clerk's positive manner, backed by the entry of seven dollars on the sales' book, silenced him.

As for Claire, this act of restitution, so far as it was in his power to make it, took from his mind a heavy burden. He had, still, three dollars in his possession that were not rightfully his own. It was by no means probable that a similar opportunity to the one just embraced would occur. What then was it best for him to do? This question was soon after decided, by his throwing the money into the cash-drawer of Jasper.

On his way home to dinner that day, Claire called into the store of a Mr. Melleville, referred to in the conversation with his wife on the previous evening. This gentleman, who was somewhat advanced in years, was in the same business with Jasper. He was known as a strictly upright dealer--"Too honest to get along in this world," as some said. "Old Stick-in-the-mud," others called him. "A man behind the times," as the new-comers in the trade were pleased to say. Claire had lived with him for some years, and left him on the offer of Jasper to give him a hundred dollars more per annum than he was getting.

"Ah, Edward! How do you do to-day?" said Mr. Melleville, kindly, as the young man came in.

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True Riches
T.S. Arthur

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