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  True Riches T.S. Arthur

Chapter XI

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When Edward Claire and his wife drew together on the evening of that day, after the children were in bed, both were calmer than at their previous interview on a subject that necessarily brought with it strong excitement of feeling. Both had thought much and felt much, and were now prepared to look calmly at the new relation affairs had so suddenly assumed. At dinner-time, Edward had related the substance of his interview with Jasper.

"What can he do?" asked Edith, referring now to the muttered threat of that individual.

"I don't know that he can do any thing more than withhold the regular sums heretofore paid for the support of Fanny. If he does that, I will collect them legally."

"Can't he take her away by force? Won't the law compel us to give her up?" asked Edith, in a troubled voice.

"Our contract gives us a right to her possession until she is twelve years of age. In that, the law will undoubtedly sustain us."

"The law is very uncertain, Edward."

"But our contract is plainly worded, and, in this State, private written contracts between parties to an agreement are good in law. At best, however, we can only keep her two years longer; that is what troubles me most."

"We must do our duty by her," said Edith, endeavouring to speak calmly, "during that time; and wean our hearts from her as much as possible, so that the giving of her up, when it has to be done, will cause as little grief as possible. Poor child! It will be hard for her to leave us, and go to her new home. That thought is beginning to pain me most."

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"And such a home! I have seen Mrs. Jasper frequently, and, if my observation is correct, she is no true woman. Dress, it seemed to me, was all she cared for; and there was a captiousness and ill-temper about her, at times, that was, to say the least of it, very unbecoming."

"And to her care we must resign this precious one," said Edith, with a sigh. "Oh, how the thought pains me! Dear, dear child!"

"The time is yet distant," remarked Claire--"distant by nearly two years. Let it be our duty to prepare her as fully for the new relation as possible. Two years is a long time--many changes will take place, and among them, it may be, a change in the purpose of Mr. Jasper. We will hope for this, at least; yet wisely prepare for a different result."

"As things now appear, I do not see what else remains for us to do. Ah me! How like lightning from a summer sky has this flashed suddenly over us. But, Edward, we must not, in the strong trial of our natural feelings, permit ourselves to forget that dear Fanny is in the higher guardianship of One who is infinitely wise and good. If she is to pass from our care to that of Mr. Jasper and his family, it is through His permission, and He will bring out of it good to all."

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True Riches
T.S. Arthur

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