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True Riches T.S. Arthur

Chapter XII

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"Oh yes. We have no wish to make any profit out of her."

"That being the case, Edward," said the merchant, "why are you so reluctant to give her up?"

"Because," was the reply, "both myself and wife have become strongly attached to her. In fact, she seems like one of our own children."

"When she is twelve, you know," Edward, returned Jasper, "you will have to resign her. Our agreement only extends to that time." He spoke in a mild, insinuating, friendly tone of voice. So much so, in fact, that Claire, well as he knew him, was partially deceived and thrown off of his guard.

"True; unless you have seen reason by that time, which we hope will be the case, to let her remain in her present home. Believe me, Mr. Jasper,"--Claire spoke earnestly--"that Fanny will take the parting very hard, if ever it comes."

"As come it must, Edward, sooner or later," was the mild, yet firm response.

"Are you so earnest about this, Mr. Jasper? I have flattered myself that you did not really care a great deal about having Fanny."

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"I am entirely in earnest, Edward," was the reply. "I may have seemed to you indifferent about this child, but such has not been the case. I have feelings and purposes in regard to her which I cannot explain, but which are near my heart. I see your position and that of your wife, and I feel for you. If compatible with what I conceive to be my duty, I would let her remain under your care. But such is not the case. Surely, it will be far better for both you and Fanny for the change that must come to be made now."

The calm, kind, insinuating manner of Jasper disarmed Claire, and made him wish that he could meet the desire of his old employer, without the painful breach in his home circle which must be the consequence. With his eyes cast upon the floor, he sat silently communing with his own thoughts for some time. The announcement of a vacancy in the house of Edgar & Co., and the offer to try and get the situation for him, had flattered his mind considerably. If he did not make some compromise in the present case, he could count nothing on the influence of Jasper. But, how could he compromise? There was but one way--to give up Fanny--and that he was not prepared to do.

Seeing that the young man remained silent, Jasper said--

"Edward, I will make you this very liberal offer. Understand, now, that I am deeply in earnest--that the possession of Fanny is a thing of great moment to me; and that to gain this desired object, I am prepared to go very far. If you will meet me in a spirit of compromise, I will become as I was some years ago, your friend; and I have the ability to aid any one materially. As just said, I will make you this liberal offer:--Let me have the child now, and for the next two years I will pay you the same that you have been receiving for her maintenance."

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True Riches
T.S. Arthur

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