Then came the question of supporting the National Turkish Bank, concerning which the report supplied an abundance of technical particulars, fully demonstrating what a secure and substantial enterprise this would be. And the recital of the contemplated operations concluded with the announcement that the Universal would also give its patronage to the Carmel Silver Mining Company, which was to be established with a capital of twenty millions of francs. Specimens of ore, which chemists had analysed, had been found to contain a large proportion of silver. But, more even than science, the antique poesy clinging to the Holy Places summoned up a vision of silver pouring forth in a miraculous stream—a divine, dazzling vision which Saccard had alluded to at the end of a sentence with which he was very pleased.
Tips, opportunities to make money：Earn money from onlineFinally, after all these promises of a glorious future, the report concluded by recommending an increase of capital. It should be doubled, raised from five and twenty to fifty millions of francs. The suggested system of issue was of extreme simplicity, in order that everybody might understand it. Fifty thousand new shares would be created, and reserved[Pg 176] share by share for the holders of the original stock, so that there would not even be any public subscription. Only these new shares were to be issued at five hundred and twenty francs apiece, inclusive of a premium of twenty francs. This would yield a million, which could be carried to the reserve fund. It was reasonable and prudent that this little tax should be levied on the shareholders, since they would be favoured by the new issue. Moreover, only a fourth part of the value of the shares, plus the premium, was payable on allotment.
A hum of approval arose when Hamelin ceased reading. It was perfect; not the faintest objection could be raised. Throughout the perusal Daigremont, to all appearance very much interested in his finger-nails, had smiled at sundry vague thoughts that occurred to him; whilst deputy Huret, leaning back in his arm-chair with closed eyes, almost fell asleep under the impression that he was at the Chamber of Deputies. And meantime Kolb, the banker, quietly and openly devoted himself to making a long calculation on some of the sheets of paper which, like every director, he had before him.
However, Sédille, who was always anxious and distrustful, made up his mind to ask a few questions. What would become of those new shares which the shareholders, relinquishing their right, might not choose to take up? Would the bank keep them on its own account, and, if so, would this not be illegal, as the declaration of increase of capital, required by law, could not be made at the notary's until the entire additional capital had been subscribed? On the other hand, if the Bank meant to get rid of these shares, to whom and how did it expect to sell them? However, at the first words spoken by the silk manufacturer, the Marquis de Bohain, observing Saccard's impatience, intervened, and declared, with his grand aristocratic air, that the board left these matters of detail to its chairman and manager, who were both so devoted and so competent. And after this only congratulations were heard, and the meeting broke up with everybody in rapturous delight.
The shareholders' meeting on the morrow supplied occasion for some really touching demonstrations. It was again[Pg 177] held in that hall in the Rue Blanche where the proprietor of a public ball had gone bankrupt; and prior to the chairman's arrival the most favourable reports began to circulate among the crowd of shareholders. One rumour in particular was transmitted in whispers from ear to ear: Rougon, the minister, the manager's brother, whom the growing Opposition was now virulently attacking, was disposed to favour the Universal if the Bank's newspaper 'L'Espérance,' a former organ of the Catholic party, would only defend the Government. One of the deputies of the Left had lately raised that terrible cry 'The second of December is a crime!' which had resounded from one to the other end of France like an awakening of the public conscience. And it was necessary to answer it by great deeds—such as the launching of the approaching Universal Exhibition, which, it was expected, would increase business tenfold. Besides, people would make piles of money in Mexico and elsewhere now that the triumph of the Empire was at its zenith.
In one little group of shareholders, whom Jantrou and Sabatani were schooling, a good deal of laughter was indulged in at the expense of another deputy of the Left who, during the discussion of the army budget, had let his fancy run riot to the point of suggesting that the Prussian recruiting system should be adopted in France. The Chamber had been much amused by this. How the terror of Prussia had been troubling certain brains since that Denmark affair, under the influence of the secret resentment that Italy had harboured against France since Solferino! However, all the hubbub of private conversation, all the loud buzzing that prevailed in the hall, was suddenly hushed when Hamelin and the other officials entered. Displaying even more modesty than at the board meeting, Saccard had withdrawn from all prominence, hidden himself away among the throng; and he contented himself with giving the signal for applauding the report, which embodied the first balance-sheet, duly checked and approved by Lavignière and Rousseau the auditors, and finally proposed the doubling of the Bank's capital. The meeting alone had[Pg 178] power to authorise this increase, upon which it decided with enthusiasm, quite intoxicated as it was by the millions of the United Steam Navigation Company and the National Turkish Bank, and realising, moreover, that it was necessary to place the capital on a par with the importance which the Universal was now about to acquire. As for the Carmel silver mines, the announcement concerning them was greeted with a religious thrill. And when votes of thanks had been accorded to the chairman, directors, and manager, and the shareholders separated, they all began dreaming of Carmel and of that miraculous rain of silver which would pour down from the Holy Places amidst a halo of glory.
A couple of days later Hamelin and Saccard, on this occasion accompanied by the Viscount de Robin-Chagot, the vice-chairman, returned to Ma?tre Lelorrain's offices in the Rue Ste. Anne to make the needful declaration of the increase of capital, which, they alleged, had been entirely subscribed. But the truth was that some three thousand shares, declined by the original shareholders to whom by right they belonged, had been left on the Bank's hands and turned over to the Sabatani account by some jugglery in the book-keeping. It was the original irregular device, repeated and aggravated—the system of concealing a certain number of Universal shares in the Bank's own coffers, as a kind of reserve, which would enable it to speculate and throw itself into the thick of the fight at the Bourse so as to keep up prices should any coalition of 'bears' be formed to beat them down.
Tips, opportunities to make money：Online recruitment chat women make money?Hamelin, though he disapproved of these illegal tactics, had ended by completely trusting the management of financial operations to Saccard. There was a conversation between them and Madame Caroline on this subject, but in reference only to the shares which Saccard had compelled the Hamelins to take for themselves. Five hundred of the first issue and five hundred of the second had been allotted to them, a thousand shares in all, one-fourth of the value of which was demandable, together with the premium of twenty francs per share on the last five hundred. The brother and sister insisted on paying the amount in question, one hundred and thirty-five[Pg 179] thousand francs, out of an unexpected legacy of three hundred thousand francs which had come to them from an aunt, who had recently died, ten days after her only son, the same fever carrying them both off. Saccard allowed his friends to pay as they desired to do so; however, he did not explain in what manner he expected to release his own shares.
'Ah, this inheritance!' said Madame Caroline, laughing. 'It is the first piece of luck that has come to us. I really believe that you bring us luck. Why, what with my brother's salary of thirty thousand francs, his liberal allowance for travelling expenses, and all this gold that has just rained down upon us—probably because we no longer needed it—we are now quite rich!'
She looked at Saccard with hearty gratitude, henceforth vanquished, absolutely confident in him, each day losing some of her clear-sightedness amidst the growing affection with which he inspired her. Then, carried away by her gay frankness despite everything, she added: 'No matter. If I had earned this money, I shouldn't risk it in your enterprises, I assure you. But, you see, we scarcely ever knew that aunt of ours; we never gave a thought to her money. It's like money picked up in the street, something which seems to me not to be quite honestly come by, something which I feel a trifle ashamed about, and so, you understand, I don't set much store by it, and shan't be so sorry if it's lost.'
'Precisely!' exclaimed Saccard, jesting in his turn. 'It will increase and multiply and give you millions. There is nothing like stolen money to yield a profit. Within a week from now you'll see—you'll see what a rise there will be.'
And indeed Hamelin, having been compelled to delay his departure, witnessed with surprise a rapid rise in the price of Universal. At the settlement at the end of May they commanded more than seven hundred francs. This was the usual result which attends an augmentation of capital: the classic whip-stroke, the trick of stimulating success, of urging the quotations into a brisk canter whenever there is a new issue. But the rise was also in a measure due to the genuine importance of the enterprises which the Bank was about to launch. The[Pg 180] large yellow bills, placarded all over Paris, announcing the approaching opening of the Carmel silver mines, had ended by turning every head, kindling the first symptoms of a passionate intoxication which was destined to grow and sweep all common sense away. The ground was prepared; for there, all ready, was that compost of the Empire, compounded of fermenting remnants and heated by maddened appetites, a soil favourable to one of those wild growths of speculation which every ten or fifteen years block and poison the Bourse, leaving only ruin and blood behind them. Swindling financial concerns were already springing up like mushrooms; great companies, by the example they set, were urging people into risky speculative ventures; an intense gambling fever was breaking out amidst the uproarious prosperity of the reign, amidst all the dazzling whirl of pleasure and luxury, of which the approaching Exhibition promised to be the final splendour, the deceptive transformation scene, as at the close of some extravaganza. And amidst the vertigo that had seized upon the mob, amidst the scramble of all the fine chances that were freely offered, the Universal was at last setting in motion, like some powerful machine which was destined to infatuate and crush everybody, and which violent hands were heating incautiously, immoderately, to the point almost of explosion.
Tips, opportunities to make money：Online fruit make moneyWhen her brother had again started for the East, Madame Caroline once more found herself alone with Saccard, and they resumed their life of close, almost conjugal, intimacy. She obstinately continued to manage his household and effect economies like a faithful stewardess, albeit there was now a great change in his fortune, as in hers. And in the smiling peacefulness of her existence, her temper ever even, she experienced but one worry—her conscientious scruples with regard to Victor, her hesitating doubt as to whether she ought to conceal the child's existence from his father any longer. They were very dissatisfied with the boy at the Institute of Work, where he was ever committing depredations.[Pg 181] However, the six months' trial had now taken place, so ought she to produce the little monster, though he was not yet cleansed of his vices? At thought of him, she at times experienced genuine suffering.
One evening she was on the point of speaking. Saccard, ever dissatisfied with the petty quarters in which the Universal was lodged, had just prevailed on the board to rent the ground floor of a house next door, in order to enlarge the offices, pending the time when he might venture to propose the building of the palatial pile which he dreamt of. So it again became necessary to have doorways cut through the walls, partitions removed, and wickets set in place. And on the evening in question, when Madame Caroline returned from the Boulevard Bineau in despair over the abominable conduct of Victor, who had almost eaten the ear of one of his playmates, she requested Saccard to come up with her to their rooms.
'I have something to say to you,' she remarked.
But, once upstairs, when she saw him, one shoulder white with plaster, go into an ecstasy over a fresh idea of enlargement which had just occurred to him—that of covering the courtyard of the next house with glass, as he had done in the case of the Orviedo mansion—she lacked the courage to upset him, as she must do should she reveal her deplorable secret. No, she could continue waiting; that frightful little scapegrace must be reformed. The thought of the suffering of others took all strength away from her; and so she simply said: 'Well, my friend, it was precisely about that courtyard. The very same idea had occurred to me.'