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True Riches T.S. Arthur

Chapter XVII

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"Here is a letter for you," said his wife, coming into the room, after a brief absence. "A young man just left it at the door."

Claire took the letter, wondering as he did so who it could be from. On breaking the seal, and unfolding it, he was greatly surprised to find within a check to his order for one hundred and fifty dollars, signed Leonard Jasper; and still more surprised to read the accompanying note, which was in these words:

"Enclosed you will find one hundred and fifty dollars, the sum due you for Fanny Elder's maintenance during the past and current quarter. When convenient, I should be glad to see you. Seeing that the child has remained with you so long, I don't know that it will be advisable to make a change now, although I had other views in regard to her. However, when you call, we can settle matters in regard to her definitively."

"Better to us than all our fears," murmured Claire, as he handed the letter to his wife, who read it with a truly thankful heart.

"Our way is smooth once more," she said, smiling through outpressing tears--"the mountain has become a level plain. All the dark clouds have been swept from our sky, and the sun is shining even more brightly than of old."

It was more than a week before Claire was sufficiently recovered to go out and attend to business as usual. At the first opportunity, he called upon Mr. Jasper, who received him with marked kindness of manner.

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"I do not, now," said the merchant, "entertain the same views in regard to my ward that I did some time ago. Your opposition to my wishes then, fretted me a good deal; and I made up my mind, decisively, that so soon as she was twelve years of age, you must give her up. It was from this feeling that I acted when I refused to pay your last order. Since then, I have reflected a good deal on the subject; and reflection has modified, considerably, my feelings. I can understand how strong must be the attachment of both yourself and wife, and how painful the thought of separation from a long-cherished object of affection."

"The dread of separation, Mr. Jasper," replied Claire, "has haunted us during the last two years like an evil spirit."

"It need haunt you no more, Edward," was the kindly spoken reply. "If you still wish to retain the care of this child, you are free to do so."

"You have taken a mountain from my heart, Mr. Jasper," was the young man's feeling response.

"It is settled, then, Edward, that she remains with you. And now I must say a word about her education. I wish that to be thorough. She must have good advantages; better than the sum now paid for her maintenance will procure."

Claire made no reply, and Jasper continued--

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True Riches
T.S. Arthur

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