“Sold to —— two leather trunks with safety locks at 220 francs each; say, francs 440.”
M. de Tregars started.
“At last,” he said, “here is doubtless one end of the thread which will guide us to the truth through this labyrinth of iniquities.”
And, tapping gently on Maxence’s shoulders,
“We must talk,” he said, “and at length. To-morrow, before you go to M. de Thaller’s with his fifteen thousand francs, call and see me: I shall expect you. We are now engaged upon a common work; and something tells me, that, before long, we shall know what has become of the Mutual Credit’s millions.”
FISHING IN TROUBLED WATERS.
“When I think,” said Coleridge, “that every morning, in Paris alone, thirty thousand fellows wake up, and rise with the fixed and settled idea of appropriating other people’s money, it is with renewed wonder that every night, when I go home, I find my purse still in my pocket.”
And yet it is not those who simply aim to steal your portemonnaie who are either the most dishonest or the most formidable.
To stand at the corner of some dark street, and rush upon the first man that comes along, demanding, “Your money or your life,” is but a poor business, devoid of all prestige, and long since given up to chivalrous natures.
A man must be something worse than a simpleton to still ply his trade on the high-roads, exposed to all sorts of annoyances on the part of the gendarmes, when manufacturing and financial enterprises offer such a magnificently fertile field to the activity of imaginative people.
And, in order to thoroughly understand the mode of proceeding in this particular field, it is sufficient to open from time to time a copy of “The Police Gazette,” and to read some trial, like that, for instance, of one Lefurteux, ex-president of the Company for the Drainage and Improvement of the Orne Swamps.
This took place less than a month ago in one of the police-courts.
The Judge to the Accused—Your profession?
M. Lefurteux—President of the company.
Question—Before that what were you doing?
Answer—I speculated at the bourse.
Q—You had no means?
A—I beg your pardon: I was making money.
Q—And it was under such circumstances that you had the audacity to organize a company with a capital stock of three million of francs, divided in shares of five hundred francs?
A—Having discovered an idea, I did not suppose that I was forbidden to work it up.
Q—What do you call an idea?
A—The idea of draining swamps, and making them productive.
Q—What swamps? Yours never had any existence, except in your prospectus.
A—I expected to buy them as soon as my capital was paid in.