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|True Riches||T.S. Arthur|
|Page 1 of 4||
The minds of Claire and his wife were yet in a state of suspense, when, some weeks after the first interview, the former received a politely worded note from Jasper, requesting him to call at his store. He went, accordingly, and Jasper received him with marked suavity and kindness of manner, and, after making a few inquiries about his family, said--
"Edward: I believe I must confess to having been a little over-excited at our last interview. The fact is, I had forgotten all about that contract; and when you brought it to my mind so abruptly, I was thrown somewhat off of my guard, and said things for which I have since felt regret. So let what is past go. I now wish to have another talk with you about Fanny Elder. How is the child?"
"She is very well."
"And she has grown, I presume, finely?"
"Yes. She's now quite a stout girl."
"What kind of a child is she? Docile and obedient?"
"None could be more so. A sweeter disposition I have never seen."
"How are you getting on now, Edward?" Mr. Jasper's voice was kind and insinuating.
"Comfortably," was answered.
"What is your salary?"
There was a momentary hesitation on the part of Claire, and then he replied--
"Five hundred dollars."
"Is that all? I was under the impression that you received a thousand. I am very certain that some one told me so. Too little, Edward--too little. You are worth more than that to any one. Are you acquainted at Edgar & Co.'s?"
"I wish you were. One of their young men is going to leave, and they will have to fill his place immediately. The salary is twelve hundred."
Claire's heart gave a quick bound.
"Shall I speak to Edgar for you?" added the merchant.
"If you will do so, Mr. Jasper," said Edward, with a sudden earnestness of manner, "I shall be greatly indebted to you. I find it a little difficult to get along on five hundred dollars a year."
"How much family have you now?"
"Indeed. Oh yes, you should have a higher salary. I know you would just suit Edgar & Co., and I think the place may be secured for you."
A few moments of silence followed, and then Jasper resumed--
"But, as just said, I wish to talk with you about this ward of mine. Your salary is so light that you, no doubt, find the income received through her quite a help to you?"
"No--no," replied Claire; "it costs for her boarding, clothes, schooling, etc., quite as much as we receive."
"It does?" Jasper manifested some surprise.
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