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True Riches T.S. Arthur

Chapter XIII

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"'Don't be frightened, my little dear. No one will do you any harm; and if you will be a right good girl, and do just as we want you to do, you shall go home to-morrow.'

"I tried not to cry, but the tears came running down my face. Then the other man said sharply--

"'Come now, my little lady, we can't have any more of this! If you wish to go home again tomorrow, dry your tears at once. There! there! Hush all them sobs. No one is going to do you any harm.'

"I was so frightened at the way the man looked and talked, that I stopped crying at once.

"'There!' said he, 'that is something like. Now,' speaking to the lady, 'put on her things. It is time she was there.'

"I was more frightened at this, and the men saw it; so one of them told me not to be alarmed, that they were only going to show me a large, handsome house, and would then bring me right back; and that in the morning, if I would go with them now, and be a good girl, I should go home again.

"So I went with them, and tried my best not to cry. They brought me into a large house, and there were a good many men inside. The men all looked at me, and I was so frightened! Then they talked together, and one of them kept pointing toward me. At last I was taken back to the house, where I stayed all day and all night with the lady. This morning we got into the cars, and came back to the city. The lady took me to a large house in Walnut street, where I stayed until after dark, and then she brought me home in a carriage."

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Such was the child's story; and greatly puzzled were Claire and his wife to comprehend its meaning. Their joy at her return was intense. She seemed almost as if restored to them from the dead. But, for what purpose had she been carried off; and who were the parties engaged in the act? These were questions of the deepest moment; yet difficult, if not impossible of solution--at least in the present. That Jasper's absence from the city was in some way connected with this business, Claire felt certain, the more he reflected thereon. But, that Fanny should be returned to him so speedily, if Jasper had been concerned in her temporary abduction, was something that he could not clearly understand. And it was a long time ere the mystery was entirely unravelled.

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True Riches
T.S. Arthur

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