Does a tradesman, on the eve of declaring himself bankrupt, wishto defraud his creditors of a part of his assets, to concealexcessive expenses, or cover up some embezzlement, at once he goesto the Rue Joquelet, procures a select assortment of " CantonalCredit," "Rossdorif Mines," or "Maumusson Salt Works," and putsthem carefully away in his safe.
And, when the receiver arrives,"There are my assets," he says. "I have there some twenty, fifty,or a hundred thousand francs of stocks, the whole of which is notworth five francs to-day; but it isn't my fault. I thought it agood investment; and I didn't sell, because I always thought theprice would come up again."And he gets his discharge, because it would really be too cruel topunish a man because he has made unfortunate investments.
Better than any one, M. Latterman knows for what purpose arepurchased the valueless securities which he sells; and he actuallyadvises his customers which to take in preference, in order thattheir purchase at the time of their issue may appear more natural,and more likely. Nevertheless, he claims to be a perfectly honestman, and declares that he is no more responsible for the swindlesthat are committed by means of his stocks than a gunsmith for amurder committed with a gun that he has sold.
"But he will surely be able to tell us all about the Mutual Credit,"repeated Maxence to M. de Traggers.
Four o'clock struck when the carriage stopped in the Rue Joquelet.
Tips, opportunities to make money：How to sell a mobile phone with something to make money onlineThe bourse had just closed; and a few groups were still standing inthe square, or along the railings.
Tips, opportunities to make money：How to make money online through the instrument"I hope we shall find this Latterman at home," said Maxence.
They started up the stairs (for it is up on the second floor thatthis worthy operator has his offices) ; and, having inquired,"M. Latterman is engaged with a customer," answered a clerk.
" Please sit down and wait."M. Latterman's office was like all other caverns of the same kind.
A very narrow space was reserved to the public; and all around,behind a heavy wire screen, the clerks could be seen busy withfigures, or handling coupons. On the right, over a small window,appeared the word, "CASHIER." A small door on the left led tothe private office.
M. de Tregars and Maxence had patiently taken a seat on a hardleather bench, once red; and they were listening and looking on.
There was considerable animation about the place. Every fewminutes, well-dressed young men came in with a hurried andimportant look, and, taking out of their pocket a memorandum-book,they would speak a few sentences of that peculiar dialect,bristling with figures, which is the language of the bourse. Atthe end of fifteen or twenty minutes,"Will M. Latterman be engaged much longer?" inquired M. de Traggers.
"I do not know," replied a clerk.
At that very moment, the little door on the left opened, and thecustomer came out who had detained M. Latterman so long. Thiscustomer was no other than M. Costeclar. Noticing M. de Traggersand Maxence, who had risen at the noise of the door, he appearedmost disagreeably surprised. He even turned slightly pale, andtook a step backwards, as if intending to return precipitatelyinto the room that he was leaving; for M. Latterman's office,like that of all other large operators, had several doors, withoutcounting the one that leads to the police-court. But M. deTraggers gave him no time to effect this retreat. Stepping suddenlyforward,"Well?" he asked him in a tone that was almost threatening.
The brilliant financier had condescended to take off his hat,usually riveted upon his head, and, with the smile of a knave caughtin the act,"I did not expect to meet you here, my lord-marquis," he said.
At the title of "marquis," everybody looked up. "I believe you,indeed," said M. de Traggers. "But what I want to know is, howis the matter progressing?""The plot is thickening. Justice is acting."Indeed!""It is a fact. Jules Jottras, of the house of Jottras and Brother,was arrested this morning, just as he arrived at the bourse.""Why?""Because, it seems, he was an accomplice of Favoral; and it washe who sold the bonds stolen from the Mutual Credit."Maxence had started at the mention of his father's name but, witha significant glance, M. de Traggers bid him remain silent, and,in a sarcastic tone,"Famous capture!" he murmured. "And which proves theclear-sightedness of justice.""But this is not all," resumed M. Costeclar. "Saint Pavin, theeditor of 'The Financial Pilot,' you know, is thought to be seriouslycompromised. There was a rumor, at the close of the market, that awarrant either had been, or was about to be, issued against him.""And the Baron de Thaller?"The employes of the office could not help admiring M. Costeclar'sextraordinary amount of patience.
"The baron," he replied, "made his appearance at the bourse thisafternoon, and was the object of a veritable ovation..""That is admirable! And what did he say?""That the damage was already repaired.""Then the shares of the Mutual Credit must have advanced.""Unfortunately, not. They did not go above one hundred and tenfrancs.""Were you not astonished at that?""Not much, because, you see, I am a business-man, I am; and I knowpretty well how things work. When they left M. de Thaller thismorning, the stockholders of the Mutual Credit had a meeting; andthey pledged themselves, upon honor, not to sell, so as not to breakthe market. As soon as they had separated, each one said to himself,'Since the others are going to keep their stock, like fools, I amgoing to sell mine.' Now, as there were three or four hundred ofthem who argued the same way, the market was flooded with shares."Looking the brilliant financier straight in the eyes,"And yourself?" interrupted M. de Traggers.
"I!" stammered M. Costeclar, so visibly agitated, that the clerkscould not help laughing.