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True Riches T.S. Arthur

Chapter XVII

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"Mr. Claire," said the auctioneer, as he took in hand a new article, "did you make that last entry?--Mr. Jackson, ten cents a yard."

Claire's head had fallen over on the book in which he had been writing, and the auctioneer, supposing him only yielding to a momentary feeling of fatigue, or indolence, thus called his attention to his duties.

But Claire made no answer.

"Say! young man! Are you asleep!" The auctioneer spoke now with some sharpness of tone; but, as before, his words were not heeded.

"What's the matter, Mr. Claire? Are you sick?"

Still no response or movement.

"Mr. Claire! Bless me!" The auctioneer was now by his side, with his hand on him. "Bring some water, quick! He's fainted--or is dead! Here! some one help me to lay him down."

Two or three men came quickly behind the auctioneer's stand and assisted to lift the insensible man from the high stool on which he was seated, and place his body in a reclining position. Then water was dashed into his face, and various other means of restoration used. Full ten minutes passed before signs of returning life were exhibited. His recovery was very slow, and it was nearly an hour before he was well enough to be removed to his dwelling.

The shock of his appearance, supported from the carriage in which he had been conveyed home, by two men, was terrible to his wife, whose anxiety and fear had wrought her feelings already up to a high pitch of excitement.

"Oh! what is the matter? What has happened?" she cried, wringing her hands, while her face blanched to a deathly paleness.

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"Don't be frightened," returned Claire, smiling feebly. "It was only a slight fainting fit. I'm over it now."

"That's all, madam," said the men who had brought him home. "He merely fainted. Don't be alarmed. It's all over."

After receiving the thanks of Claire and his assurances that he needed nothing further from their kindness, the men retired, and Edward then made every effort in his power to calm down the feelings of his wife, who continued weeping. This was no easy task, particularly as he was unable long to hide the many evidences of serious illness from which he was suffering. Against his remonstrance, so soon as she saw how it was with him, Mrs. Claire sent off the domestic for their family physician; who on learning the causes which led to the condition in which he found his patient, hesitated not to say that he must, as he valued his life, give up the night tasks he had imposed upon himself.

"Other men," said Claire, in answer to this, "devote quite as many hours to business."

"All men are not alike in constitution," returned the physician. "And even the strongest do not make overdrafts upon the system, without finding, sooner or later, a deficit in their health-account. As for you, nature has not given you the physical ability for great endurance. You cannot overtask yourself without a derangement of machinery."

How reluctantly, and with what a feeling of weakness, Claire acquiesced in this decision, the reader may imagine.

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True Riches
T.S. Arthur

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