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True Riches T.S. Arthur

Chapter X

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"No, Edward, it is no use to talk of that," replied Jasper, positively. "I wish, now, to have her in my own family, and trust that you will not stand for a moment in the way."

"But, Mr. Jasper"--

"It will be of no avail to argue the point, Edward," said the merchant, interrupting him. "I was fully in earnest when I wrote to you, and am no less in earnest now. I am certainly entitled to the possession of my ward, and will not bear, patiently, any attempt on your part to deprive me of that right."

There was an angry quivering of the lips, and a stern knitting of the brows, on the part of Jasper, as he closed this emphatic sentence. Claire felt excited, yet was so fully conscious of the necessity of self-control, that he quieted down his feelings, and endeavoured to think calmly.

"Well, what do you say?" imperatively demanded Jasper, after waiting some moments for a reply.

"We cannot part with the child," said the young man, in a low, appealing voice.

"You must part with her!" was the quick, resolute response.

"Must? That is a strong word, Mr. Jasper." Claire's manner underwent another change, as was shown by the firm compression of his lips, and the steady gaze of his eyes, as he fixed them on the merchant.

"I know it is strong, but no stronger than my purpose; and I warn you not to stand in my way. I've got an old grudge against you, so don't provoke me too far in this matter. A pretty affair, indeed, when you attempt to come between me and my legal rights and duties."

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"Duties!" There was a stinging contempt in the young man's voice. The manner of Jasper had chafed him beyond all manner of self-control.

"You forget to whom you are speaking," said the latter, offended now, as well as angry. "But we will not bandy words. Will you, without further trouble, give into my hands the child of Mr. Elder?"

"I cannot do it, Mr. Jasper."

"Speak positively. Will you, or will you not do as I wish?"

"I will not," was the decided answer.

"Enough." And Jasper turned away, muttering in an undertone, "We'll soon see who is to be master here."

Claire lingered a short time, but, as Jasper showed no disposition to renew the conversation, he left the store, greatly disturbed and troubled in his mind.

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