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standing what he had thought, the young magistrate could not conceal his surprise, when M. de Loiselay, accosting him with that air of haste which the bearers of interesting intelligence usually wear, asked him:
"Do you know what is going on at D***. The little Bescherin has become a decided heiress. She has just buried her uncle, the grand vicar, who leaves her sixty thousand francs. My notary writes me this news, so it is certainly true. What do you say to it?"
"I say that Mad'lle Bescherin is right to become rich, since it is impossible she should ever be beautiful."
"Do you think her so very ugly, then?" asked the old gentleman, with an air of vexation.
"If I recollect rightly," replied the substitute, "I only follow your opinion, if I do."
"I assure you we were both too severe," resumed the emigrant, with an insinuating tone. "It cannot be said that she is pretty, but between remarkable beauty and revolting ugliness, there are many shades, and the face of Mad'lle Bescherin is certainly rather agreeable than otherwise. On the other hand, she has a fine figure; Hooked at her the other day, coming out of mass. She is of a very good height, and walks well. If she were only to pass three months here, to get some light on the science of the toilet, and manner, she would seem to you like a different woman. And then, what is a great consideration in a marriage affair, she has a very happy character. She is of a gay temper, gentle and equable, sufficiently intellectual, and as to principles, she has received one of those good provincial educations, more solid than brilliant, and which, after all, makes things better for the husband than all the fashionable nonsense with which they fill the heads of girls at the Paris boarding schools."
"Truly, sir," interrupted Deslandes, laughing ironically, "you could not speak to me otherwise, if you wanted to make me marry her."
"Who told you that I had no such desire?" responded the old gentleman, looking directly in the face of his companion, to see what effect this unexpected declaration might have upon him.
"It is impossible for me to believe that you are speaking seriously. Permit me to remind you of what you said to me in your parlor at D***, a few days before my departure."
"At that time," interrupted M. de Loiselay, "the grand vicar was still living; this is a point which should not be lost sight of. Circumstances having changed, why should not my views of them be modified. Counting what she may expect from her father, who will die of apoplexy one of these days, little Bescherin is at this moment worth not less than fifty thousand crowns, and such dowries are rare, even in Paris. I do not think that your fortune exceeds this."
"It scarcely amounts to so much," replied the substitute: "but you forget, sir, in this calculation, the spring that I may take forward in my career, the hopes I have a right to form.”
"The hopes," interrupted the old man, with a smile which seemed tinged with secret pity," these things do not count on the exchange.
Nothing is more hollow, fragile, and deceitful, than the hopes of people in office. Let us fix then on what is positive, instead of rocking ourselves in illusions."
For several days the substitute had racked his brain to discover the cause of the change which had been wrought in the opinions of his old friend. He was struck with the accent with which these last words were spoken, and he could not help thinking that the old gentleman must have some unknown, but serious motive, which led him to preach to him in this manner on the vanity of those good things which office-seekers sigh after. He bowed his head, reflected for a moment, and suddenly felt himself illuminated by one of those ideas, which flit across the clouds of the mind, as lightning pierces those of the sky.
Sir," said he to the old emigrant, while he fixed on him a piercing glance," permit me to ask you one question. Are the counsels which you are so kind as to give me to-day, and which differ so much from those which I received from you some months since, the result of any conversation which may have taken place between yourself and Mad. Piard, respecting me?"
M. de Loiselay appeared embarrassed; but the natural frankness of his character triumphed over the hesitation which for a moment checked his answer.
Oh—well—yes, my dear Deslandes," said he, with that accent of relief which a man uses, who feels himself freed from a burden, “ you have put your finger on the sore, why should I not tell you the whole naked truth, instead of playing the diplomatist with you? Diantreyou are no child, and the firmness of your character is known to me. Here is then in two words, the state of the case: In the first place, my illustrious son-in-law, M. Piard, will not hear you spoken of; what have you done to him? I am sure I do not know. It seems he has sworn to you a very particular hatred. This would be nothing, but the most troublesome part of the business is, that Isaura, on this point, and it is perhaps the only one at present, entirely agrees with her husband. All my observations have been vain, and my paternal authority suffered a complete check when I attempted to disarm the antipathy, of which, right or wrong, you have become the object. I shall never take a step in favor of M. Deslandes;' these were the words of Isaura herself, and I will not conceal from you, that when she has pronounced a thing in such an absolute manner, it is extremely difficult to compel her to reverse her decision."
"I shall try however," said the substitute, whose energy, instead of sinking, became more animated.
"I wish with all my soul you may succeed," replied M. de Loiselay : "but I think you might as well attempt to put the Pantheon on the towers of Notre Dame. In this state of things, and seeing your projects threatened with a complete wreck, was it not right for me, who had perhaps encouraged you a little too much-was it not right for me to seek to gather up again the threads of another affair, the advantages of which to you, seemed to me very evident. If you marry Mad'lle Bescherin-"
"Your pardon, sir! I am not yet condemned, and to the condemned they grant a reprieve sometimes. The name alone of Mad'lle Bescherin, throws my nerves into a dreadful state. It seems as if I were again losing my finger."
"I only look to your interest," replied M. de Loiselay, rising; "now you know what to depend upon; reflect then seriously on what I have said to you. If you want my assistance with President Bescherin, employ me, without scruple. Yon know my friends may depend on me on all occasions. I will serve you as a witness on your wedding day, with a still better heart than I did the other day in the Bois de Boulogne."
May the pestilence stifle you! thought the substitute, who felt a disagreeable sensation at any allusion to his duel.
After the departure of M. de Loiselay, Deslandes dressed himself as rapidly as the state of his wounded hand would permit.
The doctor may say what he pleases, thought he the fresh air and exercise cannot be worse for me than the anxiety 1 feel. I must see Mad. Piard this very day. I have a decisive battle to fight-what is to be the result of it, victory or defeat, I will find it out before this evening.
THE BANK OF FRANCE.
Report presented to the Annual Meeting of the Proprietors, by Count d'Argout, Governor of the Bank.
In a commercial point of view, the year 1840 was not free from vicissitudes. During the last six months, some uneasiness prevailed; the transactions became less active, the discount on commercial effects diminished, but other operations assumed a greater extension. Taken together, however, the years 1839 and 1840 present nearly the same results.
In 1839, the mass of operations realized by the central bank and its branches amounted to
In 1840, they were
Total of the two years,
The dividend paid in 1839, was 144f., and in 1840, 139f.
In 1840, the advances on canal shares, loans on rents, the discount on Mint bonds, and the advances on ingots, exhibit a more or less considerable increase.
The discount on commercial paper, obligations of the city of Paris, and bonds secured by the produce of forests, underwent, on the other hand, some diminution. These fluctuations will be seen by the annexed comparative returns:
The advances on canal shares rose from 13,227,000 to
Loans on rents, from
Discount of Mint bonds, from
Advance on ingots, from
19,850,000 to 32,826,000 to 45,130,000 195,975,000 to 241,786,000
261,878,000 to 349,667,000
Those united augmentations form a sum of 87,789,000f.
The discount on treasury bills and obliga- Francs. tions of the city of Paris fell from
The discount on Forest securities from And finally, the discount on commercial paper, from
1,047,054,000 to 928,534,000
1,053,697,000 to 932,280,000
Those reductions amounted together to 121,417,000f., which exhibit a falling off in the operations of the central bank, in 1840, of 33,634,000f.
The greatest amount of bills en porte feuille was 201,000,000f, on the 31st of January, and the minimum 130,000,000f. on the 8th of June; on the 31st of December it again rose to 154,000,000f.
610,600 commercial effects were discounted in 1840 by the Central Bank-that is, 27,800 less than in 1839. Their average amount declined from 1,639f. to 1,517f.; and the average of the periods at which they became due from 57 days two-thirds to 56 days four-fifths. In this number 266,024 bills of from 1,000f. to 200f., and 63,247 of 199f. and under, were admitted.
The bills due at the end of the different months varied from 34,200f. to 40,600f. Those payable on demand amounted to 891,000,000f., or 16,000,000f. more than in 1839.
The various current accounts underwent great fluctuations From the month of January to that of October, they rose from 54,000,000f. to 90,000,000f. In December, they had fallen to 61,000,000.
On the 6th of January, 1840, the Treasury was creditor to the amount of 170,000,000f., and on the 21st of March of 193,000,000f. From March to the 6th of November, this account progressively decreased to 105,000,000f. On the 30th of December it again rose to 114,000,000f.
The 6th of January, 1840, was the date of the minimum of the reserve, which was then 206,000,000f.; on the 21st of March it had
reached 248,000,000f.; on the 17th of April, 249,600,000f.; on the 6th of November it still offered the sum of 237,000,000f.; and on the 30th of December it had fallen to 225,000,000f.
In comparing the movements of the reserve with those of the Treasury account, it will be found that between the 6th of January and the 21st of March, the Treasury account increased by 23,000,000f., and the reserves augmented in a nearly double proportion, having risen to 42,000,000f.; that between the 21st of March and the 6th of November, the Treasury withdrew 88,000,000f., and the reserves declined only 11,000,000f.; that, finally, on the 30th of December, the cash on hand exceeded nearly by 20,000,000f. that existing on the 6th of January, 1840, although at the first of those periods the Treasury was creditor of 170,000,000f., and at the second its credit only amounted to 114,000,000f.
The average of the reserve of the year was 258,900,000f., and that of the circulation 221,900,000f. The circulation of 1840 exceeded by 9,000,000f. that of 1839. From the 19th of March to the 31st of October, it fluctuated between a minimum of 201,000,000f. and a maximum of 251,000,000f.
The commercial bills unpaid in 1840, amounted to 48,493f.; 32,707 were reimbursed in the course of the year, and on the 1st of January last there remained due 15,785f.
The movement of the shares was more considerable than during the previous years. In 1839, 6,454 shares changed masters. In 1840, the number transferred to new owners was 16,805.
The ordinary administrative expenditure in 1839 rose to 1,020,000f. ; in 840, they were reduced to 971,000f. The diminution was 48,500f.; but, on the other hand, the administration in 1840 had to support an extraordinary expense of 101,800f., owing principally to the licenseduty, which the Bank had to pay for the first time; to the stamp duty, imposed on the circulation of bills by the law of the 30th of June last; and some indispensable repairs.
The branch banks in the departments were progressing satisfactorily. The operations of those established at Rheims, St. Etienne, St. Quentin, and Montpelier, had amounted, in 1838, to 83,000,000f., and to 138,000,000 in 1839. They reached 179,000,000f. in 1840, having more than doubled in the space of three years. The gross produce of those four branches was 1,099,000f.; their expenses amounted to 253,009f.. including 112,000f. for the cost of carriage of specie. The net produce was 836,000f., representing a dividend of 12f. 30c. per share.
Two other branch banks were opened in 1840, at Grenoble and Angouleme, but having commenced at a late period of the year, their operations had not covered the expenses of their establishment, the total loss having been 44,936f.