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|True Riches||T.S. Arthur|
|Page 2 of 7||
"And will it be hard to make that decision?" said Edith, a slight flush coming into her earnest face.
"I think not," was the firm reply.
"Have we loved her less than our own?" asked Edith.
"I believe not."
"Love seeks the highest good for its object."
"Can a stranger love the child as we have loved her?"
Claire shook his head.
"Can a stranger, even with more of what the world gives, yet with less of a genuine affection, secure for her, as we may, what should justly be regarded as the highest good in life."
"No stranger can ever be to her, Edith, what you have been, and will continue to be."
"We must not thrust her out, Edward. We cannot thrust her out. While God permits her to remain, let us keep her, assured that He will send for her use all things needful."
"Most cheerfully will I prolong my daily toil for her sake," replied Claire; "and cheerfully will I make sacrifice of personal comfort. Yes, let her remain where she is, so long as, in God's providence, she is permitted to remain. If Jasper continues to withhold the price of her maintenance, there will be the more left for her when she becomes of age; and then, if there are defects in her education, a few years of earnest application on her part, will remove them. Even now, we could compel him to pay for her a reasonable sum, but in securing this, we would assuredly lose the child, for this man's anger would burn hot against us."
"I have thought of that," replied Edith. "No, our only plain course, for the present, is to look away from Jasper, and regard Fanny as one of our own children."
To this conclusion the mind of Claire and his wife came firmly. Then the painful agitation they had for some time suffered gradually subsided, and they began earnestly to cast about for the ways and means whereby so large an extra draft as was likely to be made upon their slender income could be met.
Two propositions were made by Edith: one was, that they should make a reduction in their expenses, by moving into a smaller house. They now paid two hundred dollars annually for rent; and she was sure that, for one hundred and fifty, they might suit themselves very well. The other proposition was, to give two or three hours every evening, after the children were in bed, to fine needle-work, in which she was well skilled.
"I could easily earn two dollars a week, in this way," was her confident remark.
Claire, who had other plans in his mind, did not speak very encouragingly of these propositions, though he avoided disapproval. Increased expense demanded an increase of income; and his thoughts were all now bent suggestively in that direction. As for Edith, her burdens were heavy enough; and her husband, though he did not check her generous enthusiasm, by no means acquiesced in the plan of evening toil for his wife out of the range of her many domestic duties.
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