'Why yes, pleasant indeed,' answered the deputy, in a tone of conviction. 'I did not ask for so much; with that we can go ahead.' Then as in the next room he heard the footfall of Daigremont, who had just returned, he added in a low voice: 'Let me arrange it all.'
It was becoming evident that Huret greatly desired to see the Universal Bank established, and to become connected with it. No doubt he had already satisfied himself as to what kind of part he might play in the affair. Consequently, as soon as he had shaken hands with Daigremont, he put on a radiant expression, and waved his arm in the air. 'Victory!' he exclaimed, 'victory!'
'Ah! really. Tell me about it.'
'Well! the great man did as he was bound to do. He answered me, "Let my brother succeed!"'
Daigremont was in an ecstasy, so charming did he find the phrase 'Let him succeed!' It implied everything: 'If he is so stupid as not to succeed, I shall drop him; but let him succeed, and I will assist him.' Really it was quite exquisite!
'And, my dear Saccard, we shall succeed,' said Daigremont.[Pg 109] 'Be easy on that point. We are going to do everything that is necessary to that end.'
Then, the three men having sat down, in order to decide upon the principal points, Daigremont rose up and went to close the window; for his wife's voice, gradually swelling in volume, was giving vent to a sob of infinite despair, which prevented them from hearing one another. And even with the window closed, the stifled lamentation resounded like an accompaniment while they decided upon founding a financial establishment to be called the Universal Bank, with a capital of twenty-five millions of francs, divided into fifty thousand shares of five hundred francs each. It was further agreed that Daigremont, Huret, Sédille, the Marquis de Bohain, and a few of their friends, should form a syndicate to take four-fifths of the stock in advance, and divide it among themselves, so that in the first place the success of the issue would be assured, whilst later on, keeping the shares in their possession, they would be able to create a scarcity in the market, and send the price up at will. However, everything nearly fell through when Daigremont demanded a premium of four hundred thousand francs to be divided among the forty thousand shares of the syndicate, at the rate of ten francs a share. Saccard protested, declaring that it was not reasonable to make the cow bellow before milking her. Matters were bound to be difficult at the outset; why make the situation any worse? Nevertheless he had to yield, in view of the attitude of Huret, who quietly regarded the matter as quite natural, saying that it was always done.
They were separating, having fixed an appointment for the next day, an appointment at which Hamelin the engineer was to be present, when Daigremont suddenly clapped his hand to his forehead with an air of despair. 'And Kolb, whom I was forgetting!' he said. 'Oh! he would never forgive me; he must be one of us. My little Saccard, if you want to oblige me, you will go to his place directly. It isn't six o'clock yet; you will still find him there. Yes, go yourself and not to-morrow, but to-night, because that will have an effect on him, and he may be useful to us.'
Tips, opportunities to make money：gold money clipWith all docility Saccard started off again, knowing that lucky days do not come twice over. But he had again dismissed his cab, having hoped to go home—a distance of a few steps—on leaving Daigremont's; and so, as the rain seemed to have stopped at last, he descended the street on foot, happy to feel under his heels the pavement of Paris, which he was reconquering. In the Faubourg Montmartre a few drops of rain made him take to the covered passages, the Passage Verdeau, the Passage Jouffroy and the Passage des Panoramas, which last brought him out again into the Rue Vivienne.
Here at the moment when he was about to enter Kolb's he once more started and stopped. A soft, crystalline music, coming as it were from the bowels of the earth, like the voices of legendary fairies, enveloped him; and he recognised the musical voice of gold, the continual jingle which pervaded this neighbourhood of trade and speculation, and which he had already heard in the morning. The end of the day was like its beginning; and the caressing sound of this voice made him radiant, it seemed like the confirmation of a good omen.
Tips, opportunities to make money：easy passive incomeKolb happened to be downstairs in the casting shop, and, as a friend of the house, Saccard went down to join him there. In the bare basement, ever lighted by large flaming gas-jets, the two founders were emptying by the shovelful several zinc lined boxes, filled that day with Spanish coins which they threw into the melting-pot on the great square furnace. The beat was intense; they had to shout to make themselves heard amid this harmonica-like music vibrating under the low vaulted ceiling. Freshly cast ingots, golden paving-stones, having all the glittering brilliancy of new metal, stood in rows upon the table of the assayer, who determined the standard. And since morning more than six millions of francs had passed through the founders' hands, assuring the banker a profit of no more than three or four hundred francs; for the difference realised, between two quotations is of the smallest, being measured by thousandths, so that in gold arbitrage, as the traffic is called, a profit only accrues when large quantities of metal are dealt with. Hence this tinkling of gold, this streaming of gold,[Pg 111] from morning till night, from year's end to year's end, in the depths of that cellar, whither the gold came in coins, and whence it went away in ingots, to come back again in coins and go away again in ingots indefinitely, with the sole object of leaving in the trader's hands a few particles of the precious metal.
As soon as Kolb—a little man with a very dark complexion, whose nose, shaped like an eagle's beak, and emerging from a thick beard, proclaimed his Jewish origin—had understood Saccard's offer, which the gold almost drowned with a sound of hail, he accepted it. 'Certainly,' he cried. 'I am very glad to be in it, if Daigremont is! And thank you for having put yourself out on my account.'
However, they scarcely heard each other, and relapsed into silence, lingering there a moment longer, deafened, but experiencing a sensation of beatitude amid that clear provoking jingling, which made their flesh quiver, like some altissimo note prolonged upon the strings of violins to the point of provoking spasm.
Outside, although the fine weather had returned, although it was now a clear May evening, Saccard, worn out with fatigue, once more took a cab to go home. It had been a hard, but a well-filled day.
Difficulties arose, the affair dragged along, and in fact five months rolled by without anything being settled. The latter days of September had already been reached, and it enraged Saccard to find fresh obstacles continually arising, a whole series of secondary questions, which it was necessary to solve beforehand, if they wished to establish anything serious and substantial. His impatience became so great, that at one moment he was on the point of renouncing the idea of a syndicate, haunted and seduced by the sudden thought of carrying out the affair with the Princess d'Orviedo alone. She had the millions necessary for the first launching; why should she not put them into this superb affair, leaving the smaller investors to come in later on, at the time of the future increase of capital which he had already in view? He thought of this in all good faith, convinced that he was offering her an investment in which she could increase her fortune tenfold—that fortune of the poor, which she was scattering in charities ever on a more extensive scale.
So one morning he went up to the Princess's rooms, and, like a friend who is also a man of business, he explained to her the motive and the mechanism of the bank which he dreamed of. He told her everything, spread the contents of Hamelin's portfolio before her, did not omit one of the many Oriental enterprises. Yielding to the faculty he possessed of becoming intoxicated by his own enthusiasm, and of acquiring faith by his burning desire to succeed, he even revealed the mad dream of the Papacy established at Jerusalem, spoke of the final triumph of Catholicism, the Pope enthroning himself in the[Pg 113] Holy Land, dominating the world, and assured of a royal budget, thanks to the creation of the Treasury of the Holy Sepulchre.