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True Riches T.S. Arthur

Chapter XVIII

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And so it went on. Sometimes the young man had a turn of good fortune, and sometimes all the chances went against him. But he was too far committed to recede without a discovery. There was no standing still; and so newer and bolder operations were tried, involving larger and larger sums of money, until the responsibilities of the firm, added to the large cash drafts made without the cognizance of Jasper, were enormous.

To all such mad schemes the end must come; and the end came in this instance. Failing to procure, by outside operations, sufficient money to meet several large notes, he was forced to divulge a part of his iniquity to Jasper, in order to save the credit of the firm. Suspicion of a deeper fraud being thereby aroused in the mind of his partner, time, and a sifting investigation of the affairs of the house, revealed the astounding fact that Parker had abstracted in money, and given the notes of the firm for his own use, to the enormous amount of fifty thousand dollars.

A dissolution of co-partnership took place in consequence. Parker, blasted in reputation, was dragged before a court of justice, in order to make him disgorge property alleged to be in his possession. But nothing could be found; and he was finally discharged from custody. The whole loss fell upon Jasper. He had nursed a serpent in his bosom, warming it with the warmth of his own life; and the serpent had stung him. Is it any wonder?

This circumstance, the discovery of Parker's fraudulent doings, took place about two years prior to the time when Fanny Elder attained her legal age.

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The first thought of Jasper, after his separation from Parker, which took place immediately on discovering that he had used the credit of the firm improperly, was to send for Claire, and offer him a salary of a thousand dollars a year, to come in and fill the responsible position as clerk, from which Parker had just been ejected as partner.

"I can trust him fully," said Jasper to himself; "and I don't know anybody else that I can trust. He is honest; I will give him credit for that; too honest, it may be, for his own good. But, I don't know. Who would not rather be in his shoes than in Parker's?"

For some time Jasper's mind was favourable to making Claire the offer proposed, and he was about writing him a note, when a new view of the case struck him, dependent on the young man's relation to his ward, Fanny Elder.

"Oh no, no, no!" said he emphatically, speaking to himself--"that, I fear me, will not do. It would give him too open an access to my books, papers, and private accounts, in which are entries and memoranda that it might be dangerous for him to see."

Jasper sighed deeply as he finished this sentence, and then fell into a musing state. His thoughts, while this lasted, were not of the most self-satisfying character. Some serious doubts as to his having, in the main, pursued the wisest course in life, were injected into his mind; and, remarkable as it may seem for one so absorbed in the love of gain, there were moments when he almost envied the poor, but honest clerk, who had an approving conscience, and feared no man's scrutiny.

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True Riches
T.S. Arthur

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