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  True Riches T.S. Arthur

Chapter XXI

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Beyond what has already been written, there is not much, in the histories of those whom we have introduced, to be told, except briefly, worthy the reader's interested attention.

Martin, the old accomplice of Jasper, finding his power over that individual gone, and failing in the card he played against Claire's nice sense of honour and integrity of purpose, now turned, like an ill-natured, hungry cur, and showed his teeth to the man through whose advice he had so long been able to extort money from Jasper. He felt the less compunction in so doing, from the fact that Grind, angry with him for having been the agent of Jasper's final destruction, which involved him in a severe loss, had expressed himself in no measured terms--had, in fact, lashed him with most bitter and opprobrious words.

Several times, during the progress of events briefly stated in the concluding portions of the last chapter, Martin had, in his frequent visits to the lawyer, hinted, more or less remotely, at his great need of money. But to these intimations, Grind never gave the slightest response. At last the man said boldly--

"Mr. Grind, you must help me to a little money." This was directly after the failure of Jasper.

"I cannot do it," was the unequivocal reply. "You have, by your miserable vindictiveness, ruined Jasper, after having subsisted on him for years--base return for all you owe him--and, in doing so, half destroyed me. You have killed the goose that laid the golden egg, and there is no one but yourself to thank for this folly."

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"You must help me, Mr. Grind," said Martin, his brows knitting, and the muscles of his lips growing rigid. "You had a hand in that business as well as Jasper; you took a big slice, if he did keep the major part of the loaf; and so I have a right to ask some slight return for important service rendered."

"What! This to me!" exclaimed Grind, roused to instant excitement.

"This to you," was the cool, deliberate answer.

"You have mistaken your man," returned the lawyer, now beginning to comprehend Martin more thoroughly. "I understand my whole relation to this affair too well to be moved by any attempt at extortion which you can make. But I can tell you a little secret, which it may be interesting for you to know."

"What is it?" growled the man.

"Why, that I hold the power to give you a term in the State's prison, whenever I may happen to feel inclined that way."

"Indeed!" Martin spoke with a cold, defiant sneer.

"I am uttering no vague threat. From the beginning, I have kept this trap over you, ready to spring, if need be, at a moment's warning."

"I suppose you thought me a poor fool, did you not?" said Martin as coldly and contemptuously as before. "But you were mistaken. I have not been altogether willing to trust myself in your hands, without good advice from a limb of the law quite as shrewd as yourself."

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True Riches
T.S. Arthur

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