'Oh, Universals—orders to buy, almost all.'
The broker, with a practised hand, turned the telegrams over, and was evidently well pleased. Very much involved with Saccard, whom he had long been carrying over for considerable sums, and from whom that very morning he had received orders to buy on a very large scale indeed, he had finally become the Universal's authorized broker. And, although so far not a prey to any great anxiety, he nevertheless felt relieved at noticing how persistent was the infatuation of the public, how obstinately people went on buying Universals in spite of the extravagance of the rise. One name particularly struck him, among those appended to the telegrams, that of Fayeux, the dividend-collector at Vend?me, who must have secured a vast number of petty buyers among the farmers, devotees, and priests of his province, for not a week passed but he thus sent orders after orders.
'Give those to the Cash-clerk,' said Mazaud to Flory. 'And don't wait for the telegrams to be brought down to you. Go up and wait, and bring them down yourself.'
Going at once to the Cash department, Flory leant over the balustrade, shouting, 'Mazaud! Mazaud!' at the top of his voice.
Tips, opportunities to make money：ways to make more moneyIt was Gustave Sédille who approached, for employees lose their own names at the Bourse and take those of the brokers whom they represent. In this wise Flory himself was called Mazaud by the others. For two years Gustave Sédille had been out of the office, but he had lately returned to it in the hope of thereby inducing his father to pay his debts; and that afternoon, owing to the absence of the principal clerk, he[Pg 321] found himself entrusted with the Cash-work, which amused him. Flory leant over to whisper in his ear, and they agreed between them that they would only effect the purchases for Fayeux at the last quotation, after using his orders for a private gamble of their own, first buying and then selling in the name of their usual man of straw, so as to pocket the difference, for a rise seemed to them to be certain.
Meantime Mazaud went back towards the corbeille. But at every step an attendant handed him a fiche on which an order had been scribbled in pencil by some customer who had been unable to approach. For these fiches each broker had his own special colour—red, yellow, blue or green—so that he might easily recognise them. Mazaud's were green, the colour of hope; and the little slips kept on accumulating between his fingers as the attendants continually went to and fro, taking them, at the end of the railed passages, from the employees and speculators who, in order to save time, were each provided with a supply of the little cards.
As Mazaud halted once more in front of the velvet-topped balustrade he again came upon Jacoby, who also carried a handful of fiches, red ones, the hue of freshly shed blood. These undoubtedly were orders from Gundermann and his followers, for everybody was aware that in the massacre now being prepared Jacoby would be the broker of the 'bears,' the executioner-in-chief of the Israelite banking world. He was at present listening to another broker, his brother-in-law, Delarocque, a Christian who had married a Jewess, a very bald, stout, thick-set, florid man, partial to clubland and known to receive the orders of Daigremont, who had lately fallen out with Jacoby as he had formerly fallen out with Mazaud. The story which Delarocque was telling—a story of equivocal character—lighted up his little blinking eyes, while he waved, in passionate pantomime, his memorandum-book, from which protruded his package of fiches, which were blue, the soft blue of an April sky.
'Monsieur Massias is asking for you,' an attendant came to say to Mazaud.
The latter quickly returned to the end of the railed[Pg 322] passage. The remisier, now completely in the pay of the Universal, had brought Mazaud news from the coulisse, which had already begun business under the peristyle in spite of the terrible cold. A few speculators ventured to show themselves there, but went to warm themselves in the hall every now and then; whereas the coulissiers, wrapped in heavy overcoats, with their fur collars turned up, bravely kept their places in a circle, as usual, underneath the clock, and growing so animated, shouting and gesticulating so vehemently that they did not feel the cold. And one of the most active was little Nathansohn, now in a fair way to become a man of importance, for luck had favoured him since the day when, resigning his position as a mere petty clerk at the Crédit Mobilier, he had had the idea of renting a room and opening a wicket.
Tips, opportunities to make money：drifters money honey topicSpeaking rapidly, Massias explained to Mazaud that, as prices seemed to have a downward tendency under the weight of the shares with which the 'bears' were overwhelming the market, Saccard had just had the idea of operating at the coulisse, in order to influence the official opening quotation at the corbeille. Universals had closed the day before at three thousand and thirty francs; and he had given an order to Nathansohn to buy a hundred shares, which another coulissier was to offer at three thousand and thirty-five. This would be a rise of five francs.
Tips, opportunities to make money：money mir'All right! the quotation will reach us;' said Mazaud.
And he came back to the groups of brokers, who had now mustered in full force. There were sixty of them all told, and, in spite of the regulations, they were already doing business among themselves, at the mean quotation of the day before, whilst waiting for the ringing of the bell. Orders given at a predetermined fixed rate did not influence the market, since it was necessary to wait until this rate should be quoted; it was the orders to buy or sell on the best terms available, the execution of which was left to the broker's judgment, that provoked the continual oscillations in one or the other sense. A good broker should be possessed of shrewdness and foresight, a quick head, and agile muscles—for rapidity often ensures success—to say nothing of the necessity of having a[Pg 323] good connection in the banking world, of securing information from all parts, and particularly of being the first to receive telegrams from the provincial and foreign money markets. And in addition to all this, a strong voice is needed, in order to be able to shout loudly.
One o'clock struck, however; the peal of the bell passed like a gust of wind over the surging sea of heads, and the last vibration had not died away when Jacoby, with both hands resting on the velvet-covered handrail, shouted in a roaring voice, the loudest of the whole corporation of stockbrokers: 'I have Universals! I have Universals!'
He did not name any price, but waited to be interrogated. The sixty brokers had drawn near and formed a circle around the corbeille, where a few fiches, just thrown away, had already set spots of bright colour. Face to face, the brokers, like duellists at the outset of a fray, scrutinised one another, eager to see the first quotation established.
'I have Universals!' repeated Jacoby in his deep, thundering voice: 'I have Universals!'
'What price Universals?' asked Mazaud, in a voice which, albeit thin, was so shrill that it dominated his colleague's in the same way as the strain of a flute rises above a violoncello accompaniment.
Delarocque proposed the last quotation of the previous day. 'At three thousand and thirty I take Universals!' he bawled.
But another broker at once intervened with a higher bid: 'At three thousand and thirty-five deliver Universals!'