The Nabob eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 527 pages of information about The Nabob.
chance.  In a word, this is the situation:  Not only does the Bey mean to keep the money I lent him three months ago, but he has replied to my summons by a counter action for eighty millions, the sum out of which he says I cheated his brother.  It is a frightful theft, an audacious libel.  My fortune is mine, my own.  I made it by my trade as a merchant.  I had Ahmed’s favour; he gave me the opportunity of becoming rich.  It is possible I may have put on the screw a little tightly sometimes.  But one must not judge these things from a European standpoint.  Over there, the enormous profits the Levantines make is an accepted fact—­a known thing.  It is the ransom those savages pay for the western comfort we bring them.  That wretch Hemerlingue, who is suggesting all this persecution against me, has done just as much.  But what is the use of talking?  I am in the lion’s jaws.  While waiting for me to go to defend myself at his tribunals—­and how I know it, justice of the Orient!—­the Bey has begun by putting an embargo on all my goods, ships, and palaces, and what they contain.  The affair was conducted quite regularly by a decree of the Supreme Court.  Young Hemerlingue had a hand in that, you can see.  If I am made a deputy, it is only a joke.  The court takes back its decree and they give me back my treasure with every sort of excuse.  If I am not elected I lose everything, sixty, eighty millions, even the possibility of making another fortune.  It is ruin, disgrace, dishonour.  Are you going to abandon me in such a crisis?  Think—­I have only you in the whole world.  My wife—­you have seen her, you know what help, what support she is to her husband.  My children—­I might as well not have any.  I never see them; they would scarcely know me in the street.  My horrible wealth has killed all affection around me and has enveloped me with shameless self-seeking.  I have only my mother to love me, and she is far away, and you who came to me from my mother.  No, you will not leave me alone amid all the scandals that are creeping around me.  It is awful—­if you only knew!  At the club, at the play, wherever I go I seem to see the little viper’s head of the Baroness Hemerlingue, I hear the echo of her hiss, I feel the venom of her bite.  Everywhere mocking looks, conversation stopped when I appear, lying smiles, or kindness mixed with a little pity.  And then the deserters, and the people who keep out of the way as at the approach of a misfortune.  Look at Felicia Ruys:  just as she had finished my bust she pretends that some accident, I know not what, has happened to it, in order to avoid having to send it to the Salon.  I said nothing, I affected to believe her.  But I understood that there again was some new evil report.  And it is such a disappointment to me.  In a crisis as grave as this everything has its importance.  My bust in the exhibition, signed by that famous name, would have helped me greatly in Paris.  But no, everything falls away, every one fails me.  You see now that I cannot do without you.  You must not desert me.”

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The Nabob from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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