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|True Riches||T.S. Arthur|
|Page 5 of 6||
Jasper groaned aloud. Ere he could reply, the door of the office opened, and the individual about whom they were conversing entered. With the skill of practised actors, each instantly assumed a part, and hid, under a false exterior, their true states of mind. With something of cordiality each greeted the other: while side-glances, unobserved by Jasper, passed rapidly between Martin and the lawyer. A few commonplace inquiries and remarks followed, when Jasper made a movement to go, saying, as he did so--
"Mr. Martin, I will be pleased to see you some time to-day."
"Thank you; I will do myself the pleasure to call," was coolly answered. "At what time will you be most at leisure?"
"During the afternoon. Say at four or five o'clock."
"I will be there at four," returned Martin, in a bland voice, and with a courteous inclination of the head.
"Very well--you will find me in."
The merchant bowed to the accomplices--they were nothing better--and retired.
"Humph! I didn't expect to find him here quite so early," said Martin, with a sinister smile. "I rather guess I frightened him last night."
"I rather guess you did," returned the lawyer, his countenance reflecting the light that played on the other's face.
"Will the money come?" asked Martin.
"That's good. Ten thousand?"
"What did he say? He came to consult you, of course?"
"Well, what did he say?"
"More than I need take time to repeat. He is thoroughly frightened. That is enough for you to know."
"Ten thousand," said Martin musingly, and speaking to himself. "Ten thousand! That will do pretty well. But, if he will bleed for fifteen thousand, why may I not set the spring of my lancet a little deeper. I can make good use of my money."
"No--no," returned the lawyer quickly. "Ten thousand is enough. Don't play the dog and the shadow. This is over-greediness."
"Well--well. Just as you say. I can make him another friendly call in a year or so from this time."
The lawyer smiled in a way peculiar to himself, and then said--
"Hadn't you better be content with five thousand now. This goose will, no doubt, lay golden eggs for some years to come."
"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," was the quick answer. "I have gone in now for the ten thousand; and ten thousand I must have. I may be content with a smaller sum at my next appearance."
"You are to see him at four o'clock?" said Grind.
"Yes; that was the hour I named. So you must get all the necessary papers ready for me in time. I don't want to let him get the hitch on me of seeking to extort money. I only ask a loan, and will give bona-fide security on my lead-mine." Then, with one of his low chuckles, he added--"If he can get ten thousand dollars out of it, he will do more than any one else can. Ha! ha! ha!"
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