The panic began that same evening, at the Petite Bourse of eight o'clock, which was then held upon the footway of the Boulevard des Italiens, at the entrance of the Passage de l'Opéra; and here only the coulissiers operated amid an unprepossessing crowd of brokers, remisiers, and shady speculators. Street hawkers moved up and down and gatherers of cigar-stumps crawled on all fours through the tramping groups. The Boulevard was quite obstructed by this obstinate mob, for, although the stream of promenaders occasionally carried it away and dispersed it, it always formed again. That evening nearly two thousand persons remained collected there, thanks to the mildness of the weather, which, with the misty, lowering sky, betokened rain after the terrible cold. The market was very active; Universals were offered on all sides, and the quotations fell rapidly. Rumours soon became current, and anxiety set in. What had happened, then? In an undertone, folks named the probable vendors, according to the remisier who gave the order or the coulissier who[Pg 344] executed it. If the big-wigs were selling in this way, something serious was preparing, surely. And so from eight o'clock until ten there was no end of jostling and scrambling; all the keen-scented gamblers abandoned their positions; there were even some who had time to change sides and become 'bears' instead of 'bulls.' And all went to bed in a fever of uneasiness, as on the eve of great battles.
The weather was execrable on the following day. It had rained all night; a fine, cold rain drenched the city, which the thaw changed into a cloaca of yellow liquid mud. Already, at half-past twelve o'clock, the Bourse began clamouring in this downpour. Everyone having taken refuge under the peristyle and in the hall, the crowd was enormous; and by the dripping from the wet umbrellas the hall itself was soon changed into an immense puddle of muddy, water. Dampness oozed from the black filth of the walls, whilst from the glass roof there fell but a dim, ruddy light, desperately melancholy.
Amid the many evil reports in circulation, the extraordinary stories which were turning people's heads, one and all, on entering, began to look for Saccard and scrutinize him. He was at his post, erect, near the accustomed pillar; and he had the air of other days, the days of triumph, an air of brave gaiety and absolute confidence. He was not ignorant of the fact that Universals had fallen three hundred francs at the Petite Bourse the night before; he scented immense danger. He expected a furious assault on the part of the 'bears;' but his plan of battle seemed to him invincible; Daigremont's flank movement, the unexpected arrival of an army of fresh millions, would sweep everything before it, and once more assure him the victory. Henceforth he himself was without resources; the coffers of the Universal were empty, he had scraped even the centimes out of them; yet he did not despair, Mazaud was carrying him over, and he had so completely won the broker's confidence by acquainting him with the promised support of Daigremont's syndicate, that he had accepted without security further orders for purchase to the amount of several millions. The tactics agreed upon between them were not to let the quotations fall too low at the opening of[Pg 345] the Bourse, but to sustain them and wage war pending the arrival of the reinforcements. The excitement was so great that Massias and Sabatani, abandoning useless strategy now that the real situation was the subject of all gossip, came and spoke openly with Saccard, and then ran to carry his last orders, the one to Nathansohn under the peristyle, and the other to Mazaud, who was still in the brokers' room.
It was ten minutes to one o'clock, and Moser, who arrived looking quite pale from the effects of one of his liver attacks, the pain of which had kept him from closing his eyes all the night, remarked to Pillerault that everybody appeared yellow and ill that afternoon. Pillerault, who in the approach of disaster straightened himself up in the swaggering attitude of a knight-errant, burst out laughing. 'Why, it is you, my dear fellow, who have the colic,' said he. 'Everybody else is very gay. We are going to give you one of those thrashings which folks remember as long as they live.'
The truth was, however, that in the general anxiety the hall remained very gloomy under the reddish light, and this was particularly evident from the subdued rumble of the conversation. You no longer heard the feverish outbursts of the days when everything was rising, the agitation, the roar of a tide, streaming from all sides like a conqueror. The Boursiers no longer ran, they no longer shouted; they glided, they talked in low tones, as in a sick room. Although the crowd was very great, and one could not circulate without stifling, only a distressful murmur arose, the whispering of the current fears, of all the deplorable news which folks exchanged in one another's ears. Many remained silent, with livid, contracted faces and dilated eyes, which questioned other faces despairingly.
'And have you nothing to say, Salmon?' asked Pillerault, full of aggressive irony.
'Of course not,' muttered Moser; 'he's like the rest: he has nothing to say; he is frightened.'
Indeed, that day Salmon's silence disturbed no one, such was the deep, mute expectancy of one and all.
It was around Saccard, however, that a stream of customers[Pg 346] especially crowded, trembling with uncertainty and eager for an encouraging word. It was afterwards remembered that Daigremont did not show himself that day any more than Deputy Huret, who had doubtless been warned, and was once more Rougon's faithful dog. Kolb, amid a group of bankers, pretended to be absorbed in a big arbitrage affair. The Marquis de Bohain, above the vicissitudes of fortune, quietly promenaded his little pale aristocratic head, certain of winning whatever happened, since he had given Jacoby orders to sell as many Universals as he had charged Mazaud to buy. And Saccard, besieged by the multitude of the others, the believers and the simpletons, displayed a particularly amiable and tranquillizing manner towards Sédille and Maugendre, who, with trembling lips and moist, supplicating eyes, came in search of the hope of triumph. He vigorously pressed their hands, putting into his grasp the absolute promise of victory, and then, like a man who is ever happy, beyond the reach of all danger, he began lamenting over a trifle.
Tips, opportunities to make money：cardi b money lyrics video'I am very worried,' said he. 'A camellia was forgotten in my yard during the very cold weather, and it has died.'
Tips, opportunities to make money：gigy moneyThe remark ran through the hall, and everybody began deploring the fate of the camellia. What a man that Saccard was, with his impassable assurance, his ever-smiling face! for one could never tell if it were not some mask, concealing frightful anxieties which would have tortured any other.
'The brute! how fine he is!' murmured Jantrou, in the ear of Massias, who was coming back.
Tips, opportunities to make money：1 pound to philippine pesoJust then Saccard called Jantrou, a sudden recollection coming to him at this supreme moment—a recollection of the afternoon when, in Jantrou's company, he had seen the Baroness Sandorff's brougham drawn up in the Rue Brongniart. Was it again there on this day of crisis? Was the high-perched coachman maintaining his stony immobility in that pelting rain, while the Baroness, behind the closed windows, awaited the quotations?
'Certainly, she is there,' answered Jantrou, in an undertone, 'and heartily with you, thoroughly determined not to retreat a step. We are all here, solid, at our posts.'
Saccard felt happy at this proof of fidelity, although he doubted the disinterestedness of the lady and the others. However, in the blindness of his fever, he believed that he was still marching on to conquest, with his whole nation of shareholders behind him—that infatuated, fanaticised people of the humble and the fashionable worlds, in which pretty women of good position mingled with servant girls in the same impulse of faith.
At last the bell sounded, passing like the wail of a tocsin over the wild sea of heads. And Mazaud, who was giving orders to Flory, hurried back to the corbeille, while the young clerk rushed to the telegraph office, greatly agitated on his own account; for, having been losing for some time, through his obstinacy in following the fortunes of the Universal, he had that day risked a decisive stroke, on the strength of the story of Daigremont's intervention, which he had overheard in the office, behind a door. The corbeille was quite as anxious as the hall; ever since the last settlement the brokers had plainly felt the ground trembling beneath them, amidst such serious symptoms that their experience took alarm. There had already been some partial collapses; the market, too heavily burdened, exhausted, was cracking in every direction. Was there going to be, then, one of those great cataclysms, such as occur every ten or fifteen years, one of those crises which supervene when gambling has reached an acutely feverish stage, and which decimate the Bourse and sweep it clean like a wind of death? The shouts in the Rente and Cash markets drowned one another, the jostling was rougher than ever, while on high were the tall black silhouettes of the quoters, who were waiting, pen in hand. And Mazaud, standing at his post, with his hands grasping the red-velvet balustrade of the corbeille, at once heard Jacoby, on the other side of the circular basin, shouting in his deep bass voice: 'I have Universals! At two thousand eight hundred, I have Universals!'
This was the last quotation of the Petite Bourse of the night before; and, in order to put a stop to the fall at once, Mazaud thought it prudent to take at this price. His shrill[Pg 348] voice arose above all the others: 'At two thousand eight hundred I take! Three hundred Universals, deliver!'
Thus was the first quotation fixed. But it was impossible to maintain it. Offers flowed in from all sides. Mazaud struggled desperately for half an hour, but with no other result than that of slackening the rapidity of the fall. What surprised him was that he was no longer sustained by the coulisse. What game was being played by Nathansohn, whose orders to purchase he was expecting? And not until afterwards did he learn the shrewd tactics of the coulissier who, whilst buying for Saccard, was selling on his own account, having been warned of the real situation by his keen Jew scent. Massias, heavily involved himself as a buyer, ran up, out of breath, to report the rout of the coulisse to Mazaud, who lost his head and burned his last cartridges, at once letting fly the orders which he had hitherto been keeping back, in view of executing them by degrees pending the arrival of the reinforcements. This sent the price up a little; from twenty-five hundred it rose to twenty-six hundred and fifty, with the sudden leaps peculiar to tempestuous days; and again for a moment did boundless hope buoy up the hearts of Mazaud, Saccard, all who were in the secret of the plan of battle. Since the quotations were so soon going up again, the day was won, and the victory would be overwhelming when the reserves should fall upon the 'bears' flank, changing their defeat into a frightful rout. There was a movement of profound joy; Sédille and Maugendre could have kissed Saccard's hand, Kolb drew nearer, while Jantrou disappeared, running off to carry the good news to the Baroness Sandorff. And at this moment little Flory, quite radiant, was seen hunting everywhere for Sabatani, now his intermediary, to give him a fresh order to buy.
But it had just struck two, and Mazaud, who bore the brunt of the attack, again weakened, his surprise now increasing at the delay of the reinforcements in taking the field. It was high time for them to turn up; what were they waiting for? Why did they not relieve him from the untenable position in which he was exhausting himself?