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True Riches T.S. Arthur

Chapter XIV

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From that time Claire and his wife heard no more from Jasper, who regularly paid the sums quarterly demanded for Fanny's maintenance. This demand was not now made in person by Claire. He sent a written order, which the guardian never failed to honour on the first presentation.

Mr. Melleville, according to promise, called upon the firm of Edgar & Co., in order to speak a good word for Edward; but learned, not a little to his surprise, that no vacancy was anticipated in the house.

"Mr. Jasper," said he, "told one of my young men that a clerk had left, or was about leaving you."

"It's a mistake," was the positive answer. "He may have meant some other firm."

"All a wicked deception on the part of Jasper," said Melleville to himself, as he left the store. "A lie told with sinister purpose. How given over to all baseness is the man!"

Claire was no little disappointed when this was told him; but his answer showed how he was gaining in just views of life; and how he could lean on right principles and find in them a firm support.

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"I would rather," said he, "be the deceived than the deceiver. The one most wronged in this is Leonard Jasper. Ah! is he not preparing for himself a sad future? As for me, I am more and more satisfied, every day, that all events, even to the most minute, are in the direction or permission of Providence; and that out of the very occurrences we deem afflictive and disastrous, will often arise our greatest good. For the moment I was disappointed; but now I feel that it is all right."

No change of marked importance occurred in the family of Claire during the next two years, to the close of which period both he and his wife looked with increasing earnestness of mind. Fanny had grown rapidly during this time, and was now tall for her age--and still very beautiful. In character she was every thing the fondest parents could desire.

At last came the child's twelfth birthday. Neither Clare nor his wife referred to the fact; though it was present to both their minds--present like an evil guest. Must they now give her up? Their hearts shrank and trembled at the bare idea. How plainly each read in the other's face the trouble which only the lips concealed!

Never had Fanny looked so lovely in the eyes of Claire as she did on that morning, when she bounded to his side and claimed a parting kiss, ere he left for his daily round of business. Could he give her up? The thought choked in their utterance the words of love that were on his lips, and he turned from her and left the house.

As Claire, on his way to Mr. Melleville's store, came into the more business portions of the city, his thoughts on the child who was soon to be resigned, according to the tenor of his contract with her guardian, he was suddenly startled by seeing Jasper a short distance ahead, approaching from the direction in which he was going. Happening, at the moment, to be near a cross street, he turned off suddenly, in obedience to an instinct rather than a purpose, and avoided a meeting by going out of his way.

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True Riches
T.S. Arthur

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