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|True Riches||T.S. Arthur|
|Page 3 of 6||
But, in home treasures, how poor was Leonard Jasper! Poor to the extreme of indigence! The love of his children, reaching toward him spontaneously its tendrils, he rejected in the selfish devotion of every thought and feeling to business as a means of acquiring wealth. And as to the true riches, which many around him were laying up where no moth could corrupt nor thieves break through and steal, he rejected them as of no account.
With such a man as Leonard Jasper, holding the position of head of a family, how little of the true home spirit, so full of tenderness and mutual love, is to be expected! Had Mrs. Jasper been less a woman of the world; had she been capable of loving any thing out of herself, and, therefore, of loving her husband and children, with that true love which seeks their higher good, a different state of things would have existed in this family, spite of Jasper's unfeeling sordidness. But, as it was, no fire of love melted the natural perverseness inherited by the children, and they grew up, cherishing mutual antagonism, and gradually coming to regard their parents only as persons with power to thwart their inclinations, or as possessing the means of gratifying their desires.
With all his wealth, how few were the real sources of happiness possessed by Jasper! Pressed down with anxiety about the future, and forced to toil beyond his strength, how many of life's truest blessings were poured into the lap of Edward Claire!
The sleep of the poor clerk, that night, was sound and refreshing. The merchant tossed to and fro on his pillow until long after the midnight watches advanced upon the morning; and then, when wearied nature claimed her due, he slept only for brief periods, continually startled by frightful dreams.
At an early hour next day, he called upon Grind, who was still his legal adviser.
"Have you seen Martin?" he asked the moment he entered the office.
"Martin! Surely he is not in the city!" returned Grind evasively.
"He surely is," said Jasper, fretfully.
"Martin. Where in the world did he come from? I thought him somewhere in the neighbourhood of the Rocky Mountains. What does he want?
"No good, of course."
"That may be said safely. Have you seen him?"
"When? This morning?"
"No; he called at my house last night."
"Called last night! What did he want?"
"Ten thousand dollars," replied Jasper.
"Ten thousand dollars!!" The lawyer's well-feigned surprise completed the deception practised upon Jasper. He did not, for an instant, suspect collusion between him and Martin.
"Yes; he very coolly proposed that I should lend him that sum, enable him to carry on some lead-mining operations in the west."
"So I told him."
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