Counter investment mobile phone online make money

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'Rue de la Harpe! Oh! I only lived there a week, at the time of my arrival in Paris, just long enough to look for rooms. Au revoir!'

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'Au revoir!' emphatically answered Busch, who deceived himself with the idea that Saccard's embarrassment implied confession, and who was already wondering how largely he might profit by the adventure.

On finding himself in the street, Saccard mechanically turned back towards the Place de la Bourse. He was trembling, and did not even look at little Madame Conin, whose[Pg 43] pretty blonde face was smiling in the doorway of the stationery shop. The agitation had increased on the Place; it was with uncurbed flood-tide violence that the clamour of the speculators swept across the roadway to the footwalks swarming with people. It was the last roar, the roar which bursts forth as soon as the clock points to a quarter to three, the battle of the last quotations, the rageful longing to know who will come away with his pockets full. And, standing at the corner of the Rue de la Bourse, opposite the peristyle, Saccard fancied that, amid all the confused jostling under the columns he could recognise 'bear' Moser and 'bull' Pillerault quarrelling, and that he could hear the shrill voice of broker Mazaud coming from the depths of the great hall, but drowned occasionally by the shouts of Nathansohn, sitting under the clock in the coulisse. However, a vehicle, fringing the gutter as it drove up, came near spattering him with mud. Massias leaped out, even before the driver had stopped, and darted up the steps at a bound, bringing, quite out of breath, some customer's last order.

And Saccard, still motionless and erect, with his eyes fixed on the mêlée above him, ruminated over his life, haunted by the memory of his beginnings, which Busch's question had just awakened. He recalled the Rue de la Harpe, and then the Rue Saint-Jacques, through which he had dragged his boots, worn down at heel, on arriving in Paris to subdue it like a conquering adventurer; and a fury seized him at the thought that he had not subdued it yet, that he was again upon the pavement, still watching for fortune, still unsatisfied, tortured by such an appetite for enjoyment that never had he suffered more. That mad fellow Sigismond was right: labour cannot give one life; merely wretches and fools labour, to fatten the others. There was only gambling that was worth anything—gambling which in one afternoon can at one stroke bring comfort, luxury, life, broad and entire. Even if this old social world were fated to crumble some day, could not a man like himself still find time and room to satisfy his desires before the Downfall?

But just then a passer-by jostled him without even turning[Pg 44] to apologise. He looked, and recognised Gundermann taking his little walk for his health, and saw him enter a confectioner's, whence this gold king sometimes brought a franc box of bonbons to his grand-daughters. And that elbow-thrust, at that minute, in the fit of fever that had been rising in him since he had begun the circuit of the Bourse, was like the whip-stroke, the last shove that determined him. He had completed his investment of the fortress, now he would make the assault. He swore to begin a merciless struggle; he would not leave France, he would defy his brother, he would play the final rubber, a battle of terrible audacity, which should either put Paris beneath his heels or throw him into the gutter with a broken back.

Until the moment when the Bourse closed Saccard obstinately lingered there, erect at his post of menace and observation. He watched the peristyle clearing, the steps blackening again as the whole fagged, heated crowd slowly scattered. Both on the foot and roadways around him the block continued—an endless flow of people, the eternal crowd of future victims, the investors of to-morrow, who could not pass that great lottery office of speculation without turning their heads, curious and fearful as to what might be going on there, as to all those mysterious financial operations which are the more attractive to French brains as they are penetrated by so few of them.

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When, after his last and disastrous land speculation, Saccard had been obliged to leave his palace in the Parc Monceau, which he abandoned to his creditors in order to avoid a yet greater catastrophe, his first idea had been to take refuge with his son Maxime. The latter, since the death of his wife, now sleeping in a little cemetery in Lombardy, had been living alone in a mansion in the Avenue de l'Impératrice, where he had planned out his life with a prudent and ferocious egoism. There he spent the fortune of the deceased, methodically, without ever overstepping the bounds, like a man in feeble health whom vice had prematurely ripened; and it was in a clear voice that he refused to lodge his father in his house, wishing, he explained with his smiling, prudent air, that they might continue on good terms together.

Saccard thereupon thought of some other retreat, and was on the point of taking a little house at Passy, a retired merchant's bourgeois asylum, when he recollected that the first and second floors of the Orviedo mansion, in the Rue Saint-Lazare, were still unoccupied, with doors and windows closed. The Princess d'Orviedo, who had withdrawn into three rooms on the second floor since her husband's death, had not even put up any notice 'To Let' at the carriage entrance, where the weeds were growing. A low door at the other end of the fa?ade led to the second storey by a servants' staircase. And in the course of his business relations with the Princess, during the visits that he paid her, Saccard had often been astonished at the negligence which she showed in the matter of deriving some profit from her property. But she shook her[Pg 46] head in reply to his remarks; she had theories of her own as to money matters. However, when he applied in his own name, she consented at once, and for the ridiculous rent of ten thousand francs made over to him both the sumptuous ground and first floors, decorated in princely fashion, and worth certainly double the money.

The magnificence displayed by Prince d'Orviedo was well remembered. It was in the feverish flush of his immense financial fortune, when he had come from Spain to Paris amid a rain of millions, that he had bought and redecorated this mansion, pending the erection of the palace of marble and gold with which he dreamed of astonishing the world. The edifice dated from the last century; it had been one of those pleasure-houses built in the midst of vast gardens by noble gallants. Partially demolished, however, and re-erected in a severer style, it had of its park of former days merely retained a large court, bordered with stables and coach-houses, which the projected Rue du Cardinal-Fesch would surely sweep away. The Prince acquired the mansion from the heirs of a Mademoiselle Saint-Germain, whose property had formerly extended to the Rue des Trois-Frères, as the further end of the Rue Taitbout was once called. The entrance of the mansion was still in the Rue Saint-Lazare, adjoining a large building of the same period, the whilom Folie-Beauvilliers, which the Beauvilliers still occupied, after passing through a period of slow ruin; and they there possessed some remnants of an admirable garden, with magnificent trees, likewise condemned to disappear in the approaching transformation of the district.

In the midst of his disaster, Saccard still dragged about with him a number of servants, the débris of his over-numerous household, a valet, a chef, and his wife who had charge of the linen, another woman who had remained no one knew why, a coachman and two ostlers; and he filled up the stables and coach-houses, putting two horses and three carriages in them, and arranged a servants' dining-hall on the ground floor of the house. He had not five hundred francs in cash in his coffers, but lived at the rate of two or three hundred[Pg 47] thousand francs a year. And with his own person he managed to fill the vast first-floor apartments, the three drawing- and five bed-rooms, not to mention the immense dining-room, where covers could be laid for fifty persons. Here a door had formerly opened upon an inner staircase, leading to another and smaller dining-room on the second floor, and the Princess, who had recently let this part of the second floor to an engineer, M. Hamelin, a bachelor, living with his sister, had contented herself with closing the door by the aid of a couple of stout screws. She herself shared the old servants' staircase with the Hamelins, while Saccard had the main stairway at his own entire disposal. He partially furnished a few rooms with some remnants from his Parc Monceau establishment, and left the others empty, succeeding, nevertheless, in restoring some life to that series of bare, gloomy walls, whence an obstinate hand seemed to have torn even the smallest shreds of hangings on the very morrow of the Prince's death. And here then he was able to indulge afresh his dream of a great fortune.

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The Princess d'Orviedo was at that time one of the most curious notabilities of Paris. Fifteen years previously she had resignedly married the Prince, whom she did not love, in obedience to the formal command of her mother, the Duchess de Combeville. At that period this young girl of twenty had been famous for her beauty and exemplary conduct, being very religious, and perhaps a little too serious, although loving society passionately. She was ignorant of the singular stories current regarding the Prince, the sources of his regal fortune estimated at three hundred millions of francs—his whole life of frightful robberies, perpetrated, not on the skirts of a wood and weapon in hand, after the fashion of the noble adventurers of former days, but according to the system of the correct modern bandit, in the broad sunlight of the Bourse, where amidst death and ruin he had emptied the pockets of poor credulous folks. Over there in Spain, and here in France, the Prince for twenty years had appropriated the lion's share in every great legendary piece of rascality. Although suspecting nothing of the mire and blood in which he had just picked up[Pg 48] so many millions, his wife at their first meeting had felt a repugnance towards him, which even her religious sentiments were powerless to overcome; and to this antipathy was soon added a secret, growing rancour at having no child by this marriage, to which she had submitted for obedience' sake. Maternity would have sufficed her, for she adored children; and thus she came to hate this man, who, after taking from her all hope of love, had even been unable to satisfy her maternal longings. It was then that the Princess was seen to precipitate herself into a life of unheard-of luxury, dazzling Paris with the brilliancy of her fêtes, and displaying in all things such magnificence that even the Tuileries were said to be jealous. Then suddenly, on the day after the Prince died from a stroke of apoplexy, the mansion in the Rue Saint-Lazare fell into absolute silence, complete darkness. Not a light, not a sound; doors and windows alike remained closed; and the rumour spread that the Princess, after violently stripping the lower part of the house, had withdrawn, like a recluse, into three little rooms on the second floor, with old Sophie, her mother's former maid, who had brought her up. When she reappeared in public, she wore a simple black woollen dress, with a lace fichu concealing her hair. Short and still plump, with her narrow forehead and her pretty round face with pearly teeth hidden by tightly-set lips, she already had a yellow complexion, with the silent countenance of a woman who has but one desire, one purpose in life, like a nun long immured in the cloister. She had just reached thirty, and lived henceforth solely for deeds of charity on a colossal scale.

The surprise of Paris was very great, and all sorts of extraordinary stories began to circulate. The Princess had inherited her husband's entire fortune, the famous three hundred millions of francs,[10] which the newspapers were always talking about. And the legend which finally sprang up was a romantic one. A man, a mysterious stranger dressed in black, it was said, had suddenly appeared one evening in the Princess's chamber just as she was going to[Pg 49] bed, without her ever understanding by what secret door he had gained admission; and what this man had told her no one in the world knew; but he must have revealed to her the abominable origin of those three hundred millions, and perhaps have exacted from her an oath to offer reparation for so many iniquities, if she wished to avoid the most frightful catastrophes. Then the man had disappeared; and now during the five years that she had been a widow, either in obedience to an order received from the realms beyond, or through a simple revolt of honesty when the record of her fortune had fallen into her hands, she had lived in a burning fever of renunciation and reparation. All the pent-up feelings of this woman, who had not known love, and who had not succeeded in becoming a mother, and especially her unsatisfied affection for children, blossomed forth in a veritable passion for the poor, the weak, the disinherited, the suffering, from whom she believed the stolen millions to be withheld, to whom she swore to restore them royally in a rain of alms. A fixed idea took possession of her, a thought she could not get rid of had been driven into her brain; she henceforth simply looked upon herself as a banker with whom the poor had deposited those millions, in order that they might be employed for their benefit in the most advantageous way. She herself was but an accountant, a business agent, living in a realm to figures, amidst a population of notaries, architects, and workmen. She had established a vast office in town, where a score of employees worked. In her three small rooms at home she only received four or five intermediaries, her lieutenants; and there she passed her days, at a desk, like the director of some great enterprise, cloistered far away from the importunate among a growing heap of papers spread out all around her. It was a dream to relieve every misery, from that of the child who suffers from being born, to that of the old man who cannot die without suffering. During those five years, scattering gold by the handful, she had founded the St. Mary's Infant Asylum at La Villette—an asylum with white cradles for the very little and blue beds for the bigger ones—a vast, well-lighted establishment, already occupied by three hundred[Pg 50] children; then had come the St. Joseph's Orphan Asylum at Saint Mandé, where a hundred boys and a hundred girls received such education and training as are given in bourgeois families; next an asylum for the aged at Chatillon, capable of accommodating fifty men and fifty women, and finally a hospital—the St. Marceau Hospital it was called—in one of the suburbs of Paris. Here the wards, containing a couple of hundred beds, had only just been opened. But her favourite foundation, that which at this moment absorbed her whole heart, was the Institute of Work,[11] a creation of her own, which was to take the place of the House of Correction, and where three hundred children, one hundred and fifty girls and one hundred and fifty boys, rescued from crime and debauchery on the pavements of Paris, were to be regenerated by good care and apprenticeship at a trade. These various foundations, with large donations to public establishments and a reckless prodigality in private charity, had in five years devoured almost a hundred millions of francs. At this rate, in a few years more she would be ruined, without having reserved even a small income to buy the bread and milk upon which she now lived. When her old servant Sophie, breaking her accustomed silence, scolded her with a harsh word, prophesying that she would die a beggar, she gave a feeble smile, now the only one that ever appeared on her colourless lips, a divine smile of hope.

It was precisely in connection with the Institute of Work that Saccard made Princess d'Orviedo's acquaintance. He was one of the owners of the land which she bought for this institution, an old garden planted with beautiful trees reaching to the Park of Neuilly, and skirting the Boulevard Bineau. He had attracted her by his brisk way of doing business; and, certain difficulties arising with her contractors, she wished to see him again. He himself had become greatly interested in what she was doing—struck, charmed by the grand plan which she had imposed upon the architect: two monumental wings, one for the boys, the other for the girls, connected with each other by a main building containing the chapel, the[Pg 51] common departments, the offices, and various services; and each wing with its spacious yard, its workshops, its outbuildings of all sorts. But what particularly fired his enthusiasm, given his own taste for the grand and the gorgeous, was the luxury displayed, the very vastness of the edifice, the materials employed in building it—materials which would defy the centuries—the marble lavished upon all sides, the kitchen walled and floored with fa?ence, and with sufficient accommodation for the roasting of an ox, the gigantic dining-halls with rich oak panellings and ceilings, the dormitories flooded with light and enlivened with bright paintings, the linen room, the bath room, and the infirmary, where all the appointments bespoke extreme refinement; and on all sides there were broad entrances, stairways, corridors, ventilated in summer and heated in winter; and the entire house, bathed in the sunlight, had the gaiety of youth, the complete comfort which only immense wealth can procure. When the anxious architect, considering all this magnificence useless, spoke to the Princess of the expense, she stopped him with a word: she had enjoyed luxury; she wished to give it to the poor, that they might enjoy it in their turn—they who create the luxury of the rich. Her fixed idea centred in this dream; to gratify every desire of the wretched, to provide them with the same beds, the same fare, as the fortunate ones of this world.

There was to be no question of a crust of bread, or a chance pallet by way of alms; but life on a large scale within this palace, where they would be at home, taking their revenge, tasting the enjoyment of conquerors. Only, amidst all this squandering, all these enormous estimates, she was abominably robbed; a swarm of contractors lived upon her, to say nothing of the losses due to inadequate superintendence; the property of the poor was being wasted. And it was Saccard who opened her eyes to this, begging her to let him set her accounts straight. And he did this in a thoroughly disinterested way, solely for the pleasure of regulating this mad dance of millions which aroused his enthusiasm. Never before had he shown himself so scrupulously honest. In this colossal, complicated affair he proved the most active, most upright of[Pg 52] helpers, giving his time and even his money, taking his reward simply in the delight which he felt at such large sums passing through his hands. Scarcely anyone but himself was known at the Institute of Work, whither the Princess never went, any more than she visited her other establishments, preferring to remain hidden within her three little rooms, like some invisible good fairy, whilst he was adored, blessed, overwhelmed with all the gratitude which she did not seem to desire.

It was at this time undoubtedly that Saccard began nursing the indefinite project, which, when once he was installed as a tenant in the Orviedo mansion, became transformed into a sharp, well-defined desire. Why should he not devote himself entirely to the management of the Princess's charitable enterprises? In the period of doubt in which he found himself, vanquished on the field of speculation, not knowing how to rebuild his fortune, this course appeared to him like a new incarnation, a sudden deifical ascent. To become the dispenser of that royal charity, the channel through which would roll that flood of gold that was pouring upon Paris! There were two hundred millions left; what works might still be created, what a city of miracle might be made to spring from the soil! To say nothing of the fact that he would make those millions fruitful, double, triple them, know so well how to employ them that he would make them yield a world. Then, in his passionate fever, his ideas broadened; he lived in this one intoxicating thought of scattering those millions broadcast in endless alms, of drowning all happy France with them; and he grew sentimental, for his probity was without a reproach—not a sou stuck to his fingers. In his brain—the brain of a visionary—a giant idyl took shape, the idyl of one free from all self-consciousness, an idyl in no wise due to any desire to atone for his old financial brigandage. There was the less cause for any such desire, as at the end there still lay the dream of his entire life, the conquest of Paris. To be the king of charity, the adored God of the multitude of the poor, to become unique and popular, to occupy the attention of the world—it even surpassed his ambition. What prodigies[Pg 53] could he not realize, should he employ in goodness his business faculties, his strategy, obstinacy, and utter freedom from prejudice! And he would have the irresistible power which wins battles, money, coffers full of money, which often does so much harm, and which would do so much good as soon as it should be used to satisfy his pride and pleasure.