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True Riches T.S. Arthur

Chapter XIV

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"How vain," he sighed to himself, as the throbbing of his heart grew less heavy and his thoughts ran clear. "I cannot so avoid this evil. It will most surely find me out. Dear, dear child! How shall we ever bear the parting!"

All day long Claire was in momentary dread of a visit or a communication from Jasper. But none came. A like anxiety had been suffered by his wife, and it showed itself in the pallor of her cheeks, and the heavy, almost tearful, drooping of her eyelids.

The next day and the next passed, and yet nothing was heard from the guardian. Now, the true guardians of the child began to breathe more freely. A week elapsed, and all remained as before. Another week was added; another and another. A month had gone by. And yet the days of a succeeding month came and went, the child still remaining in her old home.

Up to this time but brief allusions had been made by either Claire or his wife to the subject first in their thoughts. They avoided it, because each felt that the other would confirm, rather than allay, fears already too well defined.

"It is strange," said Claire, as he sat alone with his wife one evening, some three months subsequent to the twelfth birthday of Fanny, "that we have heard nothing yet from Mr. Jasper."

Edith looked up quickly, and with a glance of inquiry, into his face; but made no answer.

"I've turned it over in my mind a great deal," resumed Claire, thoughtfully; "but with little or no satisfactory result. Once I thought I would call on him"--

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"Oh, no, no! not for the world!" instantly exclaimed Edith.

"I see, with you, dear, that such a step would be imprudent. And, yet, this suspense--how painful it is!"

"Painful, it is true, Edward; yet, how in every way to be preferred to the certainty we so much dread."

"O yes--yes. I agree with you there." Then, after a pause, he said, "It is now three months since the time expired for which we agreed to keep Fanny."

"I know," was the sighing response.

They both remained silent, each waiting for the other to speak. The same thought was in the mind of each. Excited by the close pressure of want upon their income, Edward was first to give it voice.

"Mr. Jasper," said he, touching the subject at first remotely, "may have forgotten, in the pressure of business on his attention, the fact that Fanny is now twelve years old."

"So I have thought," replied Edith.

"If I send, as usual, for the sum heretofore regularly paid for her maintenance, it may bring this fact to his mind."

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True Riches
T.S. Arthur

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