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True Riches T.S. Arthur

Chapter XIX

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Words would only have mocked their feelings, and so but few words passed between them, yet how full of thoughts crowding upon thoughts were their minds--how over-excited their hearts with new emotions of love.

After the younger members of the family had retired on that evening, Mr. and Mrs. Claire and Fanny were alone together. All three were in a calmer state of mind. Fanny listened with deep attention, her hand shading her countenance so as to conceal its varying expression, to a brief history of her parentage. Of things subsequent to the time of her entrance into her present home, but little was said. There was an instinctive delicacy on the part of Claire and his wife, now that Fanny was about coming into the possession of property, which kept back all allusion to the sacrifices they had made, and the pain they had suffered on her account, in their contentions with her guardian. In fact, this matter of property produced with them a feeling of embarrassment. They had no mercenary thoughts in regard to it--had no wish to profit by their intimate and peculiar relation. And yet, restricted in their own income, and with a family growing daily more expensive, they understood but too well the embarrassment which would follow, if any very important change were made in their present external relations. To explain every thing to Fanny, would, they knew, lead to an instant tender of all she possessed. But this they could not do; nor had they a single selfish desire in regard to her property. If things could remain as they were, without injustice to Fanny, they would be contented; but they were not altogether satisfied as to the amount they were receiving for her maintenance. It struck them as being too much; and they had more than once conferred together in regard to its reduction.

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The first thing to be done was to make Fanny comprehend her relation to Mr. Jasper, her guardian, and his wish to settle up the estate of her father, and transfer to her, or her representative, the property that remained in his hands.

"I will leave all with you, father," was the very natural response made to this. "All I have is yours. Do just as you think best."

On the next day a power of attorney in the name of Edward Claire was executed; and, as Jasper was anxious to get the business settled, every facility thereto was offered. Claire examined the will of Mr. Elder, in which certain property was mentioned, and saw that it agreed with the guardian's statement. All the accounts were scrutinized; and all the vouchers for expenditure compared with the various entries. Every thing appeared correct, and Claire expressed himself entirely satisfied. All legal forms were then complied with; and, in due time, the necessary documents were prepared ready for the signature of Claire, by which Jasper would be freed from the nervous anxiety he had for years felt whenever his thoughts went forward to this particular point of time.

On the evening preceding the day when a consummation so long and earnestly looked for was to take place, Jasper, with his mind too much absorbed in business troubles to mingle with his family, sat alone in his library, deeply absorbed in plans and calculations. His confidence in fortune and his own prudence had been growing weaker, daily; and now it seemed to him as if a great darkness were gathering all around. He had fully trusted in himself; alas! how weak now seemed to him his human arm; how dim the vision with which he would penetrate the future. He was mocked of his own overweening and proud confidence.

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True Riches
T.S. Arthur

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