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"Certainly; you have fifty, at four hundred
and fifty florins profit: that will bring you in
about sixty thousand francs."

"Without any calls to pay?"

"None whatever."

"That seems strange; but you are no doubt
well informed. I should like to find a secure
investment for those sums; would you have
the goodness to tell me what would be the

"You cannot have anything better than our
own five per cents. I know of nothing more
secure; at the present price of that stock, you
get six per cent, for your money. I can
easily understand that you should be worried
by such trifling details as these: you will
soon have more considerable sums to look

"Then, if I invest the combined produce
of the German and Spanish stocks in the five
per cents., what should I get a year?"

"Let me see. Three hundred thousand
francsfunds at eightyeighteentwenty
yes, twenty thousand francs a year."

"Ah! twenty thousand francs a year! And
when can the investment be made?"

"To-morrow morning; that is, if you will
allow our firm to conduct the transaction."

"Certainly; in whom could my confidence
be better placed?"

The banker made a polite bow.

"And now," I continued, "I should feel
obliged if you would have the goodness to
advance me a few louis, as I am rather short
of cash."

'My dear sir, all the cash I possess is at
your service. How much do you wanttwo
hundred?—four hundred?"

"Thank you, fifty will be quite sufficient."

"May I hope," added the banker, when I
rose to take leave, "that our firm may be
favoured with the continuance of your

"Certainly," I replied.

There are few moments of my life on which
I look back with more satisfaction than on
those occupied in my interview with M.
Bergeret. I doubt if I should have believed in
the twenty thousand francs a-year, if it had
not been for the fifty napoleons.

In the meantime, my two friends were
shocked at the success of their story, and were
not a little alarmed at my sudden journey
to Paris; which was attributed by others to
legal business. George and Albert then began
to fear that I really believed in the authenticity
of the invention they had concocted.

Three days after my return, they came to
see me with long faces.

"My dear Louis," said George, "you know
your cousin is not dead?"

"I cannot be sure of that," I replied, "for
I am by no means convinced of his existence."

"Well; but you know that this inheritance
is only a hoax?"

"To tell you the truth, I think we are the
only people who are of that opinion."

"We have been very wrong to originate
such a foolish invention; for which we are
sincerely sorry."

"On the contrary, I am much obliged to

"But it is our duty to contradict it, and to
confess how foolish we have been."

Truth cannot remain long concealed;
people began to wonder that no news came
from Martinique; the wise and prudent shook
their heads ominously when my name was

"The most ludicrous feature in the case
is," said one, "that he has ended by believing
in the truth of his own invention. For my
part, I must say that I was always rather
sceptical about that inheritance."

"And I also," said M. Felix, "though it
has cost me fifteen thousand francs."

On seeing a dozen letters on my table one
morning, I guessed that the bubble had burst.
Their contents were much alike; for instance

"Mr. Mayer's respects to Mr. Méran, and
having heavy payments to meet, will feel
obliged by a cheque for the amount of the

My replies disarmed all doubts of my
perfect solvency.

"Mr. Méran thanks Mr. Mayer for having
at last sent in his account, and encloses a
cheque for the amount."

My cool and unconcerned demeanour kept
curiosity alive for a few days longer.

"What a lucky fellow!" said one.

"Luck has nothing to do with it," rejoined
another; "he has played his cards well, and
has won."

Once or twice, I confess, I felt compunction
of conscience; but a moment's reflection
convinced me that my own exertions had
no share in my good fortune, and that I
owed it all to a universal public worship of
the Golden Calf, and to the truth of Albert's
axiom, "the next best thing to capital is


ONCE upon a time, it was considered rather
mean in any man to alter his opinions. Consistency
was the great moral card played
in politics; and even nowadays there are a
few people wedded for better for worsewe
should say very much for the worseto anything
that brings a testimonial from our
ancestors. Lately, however, the great changes
that have taken place in the conditions of our
social life, have decidedly tended to stagger
some of us. It often becomes horribly obvious
that what looked quite right (and we think
really was quite right) thirty years ago, looks
now as if it were quite wrong.

A very good example of the way in which
the march of civilisation turns sense into
nonsense, is supplied by the Furlough Regulations
of the Services of the East India Company.
At least to all the Europeans in its