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|True Riches||T.S. Arthur|
|Page 5 of 6||
This was his state of mind when a servant came to the library-door, and announced a gentleman who wished to see him.
"What is his name?" asked Jasper.
"He said it was no difference. He was a friend."
"It might make a great difference," Jasper muttered in an undertone. "Show him up," he said aloud.
The servant retired, and Jasper waited for his visitor to appear. He was not long in suspense. The door soon reopened, and a man, poorly clad, and with a face bearing strong marks of intemperance and evil passions, came in.
"You do not know me," said he, observing that the merchant, who had risen to his feet, did not recognise him.
Jasper shook his head.
"Look closer." There was an air of familiarity and rude insolence about the man.
"Martin!" exclaimed Jasper, stepping back a few paces. "Is it possible!"
"Quite possible, friend Jasper," returned the man, helping himself to a chair, and sinking into it with the air of one who felt himself at home.
Surprise and perplexity kept the merchant dumb for some moments. He would quite as lief have been confronted with a robber, pistol in hand.
"I do not wish to see you, Martin," said he, at length, speaking in a severe tone of voice. "Why have you intruded on me again? Are you not satisfied? Have you no mercy?"
"None, Leonard Jasper, none," replied the man scowling. "I never knew the meaning of the word--no more than yourself."
"You are nothing better than a robber," said the merchant, bitterly.
"I only share with bolder robbers their richer plunder," retorted the man.
"I will not bear this, Martin. Leave my presence."
"I will relieve you certainly," said the visitor, rising, "when you have done for me what I wish. I arrived here, to-day, penniless; and have called for a trifling loan to help me on my way North."
"Loan! what mockery! I will yield no further to your outrageous demands. I was a fool ever to have feared the little power you possess. Go, sir! I do not fear you."
"I want your check for two hundred dollars--no more," said Martin, in a modified tone--"I will not be hard on you. Necessity drives me to this resort; but I hope never to trouble you again."
"Not a dollar," replied Jasper, firmly. "And now, my friend, seek some other mode of sustaining yourself in vice and idleness. You have received from me your last contribution. In settling the estate of Reuben Elder to the entire satisfaction of all parties, I have disarmed you. You have no further power to hurt."
"You may find yourself mistaken in regard to my power," replied Martin as he made a movement toward the door, and threw back upon the merchant a side-glance of the keenest malignity. "Many a foot has been stung by the reptile it spurned."
The word "stay" came not to Jasper's lips. He was fully in earnest. Martin paused, with his hand on the door, and said--
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