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Chapter XIII

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Scarcely had Edward Claire left the store of Jasper, ere the latter went out hurriedly, and took his way to the office of Grind, the lawyer, to whom he said, as he entered--

"It's just as I feared. The miserable wretch proved as intractable as iron." Jasper was not only strongly excited, but showed, in his voice and manner, that he had suffered no ordinary disappointment.

"Couldn't you buy him over?" There was a mixture of surprise and incredulity in the lawyer's tones.

"No," was the emphatic response.

"That's strange! He's poor?"

"He gets five hundred a year, and has a wife and three children to support."

"Why didn't you tempt him with the offer to get him a place worth a thousand?"

"I did."

"With what effect?"

"He wouldn't give up the child."


"Isn't it too bad, that a mean-souled fellow like him should stand in our way at such a point of time? I could spurn him with my foot! Hah!"

And Jasper clenched his teeth and scowled malignantly.

"I am disappointed, I confess", said Grind. "But angry excitement never helped a cause, good or bad. We must have possession of this child somehow. Martin came down from Reading this morning. I saw him but an hour ago."

"Indeed! What does he say?"

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"The indications of coal are abundant. He made very careful examinations at a great number of points. In several places he found it cropping out freely; and the quality, as far as he was able to judge, is remarkably good."

"Will he keep our secret?" said Jasper.

"It is his interest to do so."

"We must make it his interest, in any event. No time is now to be lost."

"I agree with you there. A single week's delay may ruin every thing. The coal is our discovery, and we are, in all equity, entitled to the benefit."

"Of course we are. It's a matter of speculation, at best; the lucky win. If we can get an order for the sale, we shall win handsomely. But, without producing the child, it will be next to impossible to get the order. So we must have her, by fair means or by foul."

"We must," said the lawyer, compressing his lips firmly.

"And have her now."

"Now," responded Grind.

Jasper rose to his feet.

"It's easy enough to say what we must have," remarked Grind, "but the means of gaining our ends are not always at hand. What do you propose doing?"

"I shall get the child."

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True Riches
T.S. Arthur

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