“Take that to the post office and they’ll give you the proper form; you can fill it up.”
Certainly some things go easily if the head of the state is your fellow-criminal.
“And now, Mr. Martin, it grows late. I have my securities; you have your bonds. We have won over Jones. All goes well. Aureataland is saved. You have made your fortune, for there lie your sixty-five thousand dollars. And, in fine, I am much obliged to you. I will not trouble you to attend me on my return. Good-night, Mr. Martin.”
He went out, and I threw myself down in my office chair, and sat gazing at the bonds he had left me. I wondered whether he had merely made a tool of me; whether I could trust him; whether I had done well to sacrifice my honesty, relying on his promises. And yet there lay my reward; and, as purely moral considerations did not trouble me, I soon arose, put the Government bonds and the sixty-five thousand dollars in securities in the safe, locked up everything, and went home to my lodgings. As I went in it was broad daylight, for the clock had gone five, and I met Father Jacques sallying forth. He had already breakfasted, and was on his way to administer early consolation to the flower-women in the Piazza. He stopped me with a grieved look, and said:
“Ah, my friend, these are untimely hours.”
I saw I was laboring under an unjust suspicion—a most revolting thing.
“I have only just come from the bank,” I said. “I had to dine at the Golden House and afterward returned to finish up a bit of work.”
“Ah! that is well,” he cried. “It is, then, the industrious and not the idle apprentice I meet?” referring to a series of famous prints with which my room was decorated, a gift from my father on my departure.
I nodded and passed on, saying to myself: “Deuced industrious, indeed. Not many men have done such a night’s work as I have.”
And that was how my fortunes became bound up with those of the Aureataland national debt.
Overtures from the opposition.
After the incidents above recorded, things went on quietly enough for some months. I had a serious talk with Jones, reproaching him gravely for his outrageous demeanor. He capitulated abjectly on being shown the cable, which was procured in the manner kindly indicated by the President. The latter had perhaps been in too great a hurry with his heavy guns, for his hint of violence had rather stirred than allayed Jones’ apprehensions. If there were nothing to conceal, why should his Excellency not stick at murder to hide it? However, I explained to him the considerations of high policy, dictating inviolable secrecy, and justifying a somewhat arbitrary way of dealing with a trusted official; and the marked graciousness with which Jones was received when he met the President at the ministry of finance on current business went far to obliterate his unpleasant recollections. I further bound him to my fortunes by obtaining for him a rise of salary from the directors, “in consequence of the favorable report of his conduct received from Mr. Martin.”