At the age of seventeen, Miss Arzinoë left the convent to take her place in her father’s palaces.
His father had three palaces: one on the Chaussée d’Antinon, another in Nice, and a third in Biarritz.
Until the age of seventeen, Miss Arzinoë saw no man other than her father, who visited the convent for five minutes every birthday. His birthday fell intact on Christmas Saturday. And his first name was nowhere recorded on the calendar. – It is customary for another uri child to meet his father three times a year: on Jesus’ birthday, on his own birthday, and then on his name day. – The circumstances set aside justify the fact that these three encounters are the only ones that have been reduced.
Miss Arzinoë had always seen her father in a fur pelise. One year it was a sea otter fur, the other a black fox. And Arzinoë was convinced that that fur was just as an accessory part of the man’s neck as the mane of the lion, the fur of the condor vulture on the feather, and the fur collar of the pong monkey, which he could see painted in natural ornamental works.
That the men had a pope’s eye on their noses could not be doubted.
When he left the convent, he had to spend another year at home for practical re-education.
She received her own court: a woman of bent age, a British-born Mass, a Swiss butler from the most modest canton, a Swedish singer; riding was also taught:-92-according to the education of madame Ciniselli. It was a great concern that no man or any French woman should approach him — until he was eighteen years old. Not as if they wanted to instill in their hearts a dislike of men and the French: au contraire! so that as he then enters the world, at once, the real, real high company, hitherto unsuspecting, may magically appear before him. Even in a theater, he was only allowed to watch ballet. His novel, of course, was not given into his hands other than the Contes Bleues.
When Miss Arzinoë turned eighteen, monsieur Cascador bribed a calendar maker to jan. Put «Arzinoë» for 5, replacing «Telesphor». No one bears that name anyway; for if a man were to be baptized Telesphor, all men would necessarily be telescopes, and Telephon. And so Arzinoë, in his eighteenth year, got to celebrate his name day.
That night, the lord’s teeth stood on the macadam of the Chaussée D’Antin. Our only domestic and foreign celebrity was in Paris, it was all official at the Palace of Cascador.
Monsieur Cascador’s name sounded very good. Written with French orthography, it is even better: «Cascade d’or» (Golden Falls!). Just as the waterfall is inexhaustible, so are his millions.
Monsieur Cascador just laughed at the American petroleum kings and tolerated the Rothschilds. A stroke of a pen ensured the bright success of the Russian government loan and a gesture of the hand dampened the derout on the stock exchange. It is said to have had a great influence even on political movements.
On this day, Miss Arzinoë received her first cut-out dress and boutons in her ears. In Figaro there were two columns written about this evening, of which three-quarters of the column was occupied by the elog dedicated to the housewife herself.-93-To be believed by reporters: the new phenomenon has faded all the beauty so far with the hurricane-like power of its charms. If Goddess Aphrodite herself had been present at the evening, she could have done nothing but get out of her carriage hauled by pigeons and say to the star of the evening, “Let me sit in my place; I’m going to retire! » It caused a real starburst. By that were meant the diplomatic agents and attachments from all over the country in their breasts and buttonholes, all running after them. The angels had to leave their places in heaven to all move into the blue sky of Miss Arzinoë’s eyes for this special occasion.
It was a really bold idea, not everyone is allowed: to wear her hair with her hair down for a long time – (on the first night!) But success went out of her way. Before such undulating gold, all laws, even the law of fashion, must be silenced. Adding to that, this undulating gold even has a sequel: twelve million francs in dowry.
The seven days after the evening may have been the heat meter of the conquest.
Reconnaissance visits are (and should) be done during these days. Save the later day, the more elegant; but beyond the octave it is an inescapable etiquette violation.
After a short greeting and exchange of views, the visitors (of the male sex) also moved into the housekeeper’s apartment and spent a longer time there. Coming back, a certain emotion was found on them by the butler helping their coats. When the two met in the hall, they looked at each other with very angry eyes.
At the end of the seventh day, after the Cassiador Theater, Monsieur informed Miss Arzinoë that she wished to enjoy the tha in her boudoir; Arzinoë regained his delight.-94-
Mr. Cascador was seventy years old; but if he gathered himself well, in a black tailcoat, in a white vest, he looked no more than sixty-eight. Her fine, smooth manners made her age forgotten, and the ladies who spoke to her called her a true charmeur. His expression was made interesting by a certain world-famous, critical smile.
In the direction of her own daughter, too, she was in a manner that, compared to other ladies: tender, considerate, engaging.
– Dear Arzinoë. – Excuse me for this cigar? – If you can’t stand it: I’ll put it out. – Well, thank you very much. How did you like Mirczvinszky at today’s performance?
– Mirczvinszky? said Arzinoë. Did «the» sing?
– I really like that you listened to the performance without noticing that the world-famous Polish artist sang. Your attention was tied elsewhere.
Miss Arzinoë blushed: she was defenseless.
– It’s all right. All the binoculars were facing you. No wonder in this crossfire you didn’t notice what was happening on stage. Have you seen Lord Girlsby? He was there in the parquett lodge. What about Prince Taskendievic? In the aliens’ lodge? – With that big round beard? My friend Chassepoul (sitting there between two ladies) did not put the binoculars out of his hand for a minute: he elbowed himself on the butt so that his two ladies were forced to chat with each other through his back. He could notice from the bald head: he was shining like the moon. Our general also kept pounding up the tip of his mustache, stroking the passers-by, who aroused him from his place and disturbed him in his stare. Little Nerion wanted to get your attention by talking loudly and sniffing at the audience.
– But yes: all five.-95-
– At once? This is inappropriate. I had them separately.
“They all brought me a bouquet of lilies of the valley.”
“They left me with something too;” but not lily of the valley. All five made marriage offers.
– How? Did all five ask me? That’s a lot.
“Well, not to marry all five;” but choose only one of them.
– How do they call them?
– I have on my list: Lord Henry Girlsby, Prince Sergius Taskendievics, – Banker Alfonz Chassepoule, – Colonel Le Rongeur Achille, – and little Jules Nerion, the good boy. I know some very well.
– I have notes about them too.
– Are they already?
– Not! I’ve met them all three times. Once at our evening, the second time during their visit, the third time at the lodge. Are three encounters just enough to get to know someone?
– Perfectly. Well, and what are your notes on all these racing gentlemen? (Then I said paripas.) I’m just curious about this so that I can then supplement my own perceptions of grace with my own data so that, by comparing them, your grace can then choose the most favorable one for his future life. Well, let’s start with the lord: Girlsby Henry.
– A real gentleman. His fine upscale manners are equally engaging towards everyone. But there is, through his whole conversation, an irony of something that never offends, only warns; it is only when it comes to itself that it sharpens into a sharp self-mockery. Its seriousness is impressive. He chats a little with ordinary utterances; but if it warms up into an object, poetic enthusiasm will gather its face and become eloquent. I would like to hear him once as a parliamentary speaker.-96-
– Well, I don’t advise that one. The ordinary thing is that the most educated people, when discouraged in parliament, will be as rude as the rhinoczeros. Believe me, dear Arzinoë, that the hottest gentlemen would be thrown out of their last innate if they wore there the way they used to in parliament. Besides, the mylord has a little reason not to find the air in the parliament house healthy.
– Ah, is there a reason for that? This makes it even more interesting. What is that?
“I’ll introduce you to him later.” Now let’s count only the records of your grace.
– I’m ready.
“Well, I might add that Lord Girlsby Henry is indeed a very noble aristocratic who, if he has burdened his fortune a little with the debts demanded by play, horse racing, and other noble passions, he can easily fix them.” I also know that he kept his word – against men – with fanatical precision.
– And against women?
– We’ll talk about that later. Now let’s move on to the second number. What have you recorded about Prince Taskendievic?
– The Russian knight is especially mesmerized by a certain gloom, a melancholy gaze that only allows certain flashes to the world of mood at the age; and these are interrupted at the same time. And you have to have a very good heart next to it. Not long ago, our common good friend, Marquise De Saulne, took me with her as a «queteuse». We went to the familiar world for donations, I think saving Chinese children was a commendable goal. When we also knocked on Duke Taskendievic: he read the call of our collector-drink with the usual melancholy gaze, and sighed: “poor children!” Then he grabbed his iron-handed iron, added up the numerical results of our collection so far, and then he himself paid the same amount.-97-signed like the other companies combined. Then he handed us a voucher for his banker; and he did not even expect our gratitude, so he fled from us.
“I can add my own perception to that.” The only luxury of the prince is charity. He doesn’t play cards, he doesn’t race horse. He gets nothing pleasure for himself, it costs our disproportionately great sacrifice. Only that great gloom is astounding.
– Maybe a secret nihilist.
– No! No. Do not attach this dream to the figure of a prince. He is a true thoroughbred Russian nobleman with prejudices associated with all his ranks. And every one that stretcheth out his hand to him for that which he seeketh to receive, let him not see it; recorded on the family tree?
“How many ancestors do I have on my family tree?”
Mr Cascador laughed heavily at this apt remark.
– Dear Arzinoë: At the girl’s request, the man’s hand is palm up.
“But are you waiting for alms or a handshake?”
– The first one by no means. The prince is so rich that he lets himself steal half of his income. Luck seems to be chasing him. His uncles die, who leave plenty of their possessions upon him; the government carries railways through its forests, which have so far been unprofitable and at the same time become a treasure trove. German tenants are building sugar factories on its steppes, and next time a petroleum spring has been opened on its estate by the Black Sea, which has since been making triumphant competition for American petroleum. And all the income of the duke is so certain that it will not be affected by political shocks, harsh weather, financial crisis, crashes or other such influences.
– And yet so melancholy.-98-
– That’s it. I’ll tell you the reason later. Now let’s get to the third contestant. How about my dear friend, banker Chassepoule? How bald the top of your head is is no secret. If you wanted to disguise it, you could wear a wig. But baldness betrays a certain open character. I’m bald too. This shows that one can live. The gypsy in the tent never loses his hair. By the way, what kind of person do you find my friend?
“My dear friend Chassepoule is a very different guy.” Its not plowed furrow on its face of troubles and troubles.
– It is true that when you speak, you are so cheerful that you completely forget
– That his forehead is visible from under the back of his hat.
“He flies with the edge like a fireworker.”
“Even if you understood those headlines?”
– Does the edge make any sense?
– There is. This is the «spirit».
– When do I understand that?
– Once she’s a woman.
“But they still understand that Mr. Chassepoule is accustomed to great conquests of the ladies.”
– All the way to the goddess Fortuna.
– And he has a good heart next to him. He likes to help the giants.
– And endow the badly dressed. I add that he is rich enough to satisfy this noble passion. He has even better advantages than distributing the qualities in the salons: but he pays for them very expensive on the stock exchange.
– I don’t understand that anymore.
– Although I wouldn’t understand.
“I admire you haven’t been married yet.”
– I’ve encouraged you many times to do it. She said she would get married when my daughter got married.-99-
– Ah! So you’re “speculating” here too? Well, the ladies who were there with him in the lodge might be relatives. I thought he was one of his wives.
– Well, he’s just a “stepmother” wife.
– What is it again?
“How do I explain this to you, little girl?” Well, these are varieties of ladies who represent reverse infidelity.
– Reverse infidelity? How is this understood?
– Wow! Little forgetful! Weren’t you taught theses, syntheses and antitheses in the educational institution?
– But yes.
– Well, the thesis: “what is infidelity?”
“Infidelity is when someone doesn’t like who they owe it to.”
– So the antithesis: the inverse infidelity…?
– If someone loves it, who doesn’t owe it.
– The solution is correct.
“But I don’t understand that.”
– You will have the opportunity to empyrice to understand if your friend finds a woman to go to. Well, there are even more. What do you say to the general?
– That’s the real man! His whole appearance is impressive. All the words of a declaration of strength.
“And so do your actions.” Hirt, he made a name for himself in Tonking when he fought against the «black ensigns». Then the public shouted to the praesumtiv general commander of the future campaign. Not a rich man: his salary is not more than sixteen thousand francs; but he can spend eighty thousand of it.
– How? Just not playing cards maybe?
– They say he’s poached by some political party. A great future awaits him. If a certain party joins the government, it will become a minister of war; and when their bed thundereth, there will be a rain of gold. An unworthy prospect: to be the spouse of a man with a historical name.-100-
“I still find little Nerion the nicest figure of all.”
– Well, see! We are quite in agreement. This is the gentlest young man in the world. Full of cheerfulness. He allows everyone to joke at his expense and is not angry at anything. This is really the man to whom women say a man can wrap around his finger.
– I like that it’s quite idealistic. And that he is in one view with me in everything. While others dance, have fun, she sits down next to me and talks about art, literature, her travels.
– Until midnight.
– Yes. Then he bids farewell and disappears. He tells you honestly that he is no longer in company after midnight. He lives a very normal life.
– He’s a really young man. Can I ask you for another cup of tea?
While Arzinoë fulfilled this wish: Mr. Cascador played the musician’s burner box on the table, from which, pressing a spring, a magnificent little hummingbird jumped out and chirped, feathering, rubbing the whole rib from «Borgia Lucrecia». Arzinoë really admired the little clown bird: the masterpiece of the Droz brothers.
– If you like, I’ll give it to you. Mr Cascador said.
– Why? Believe in yours, it’s mine too.
– That’s right. Well, let’s get back to our topic. Did you find any choice among the contestant’s applicants?
– It’s really hard to decide.
“Well, I’ll help you make it easier.” Let’s see the eagle side of the coin. It is known that the image is on one side of the man’s medallion and the eagle on the other.
We all have an eagle like that. Some have one-101-head, the other two-headed; but in any case a bird of prey. So let’s line them up.
“I’m most curious about little Nerion: what kind of eagle might be on its back?”
“But just keep order: how the horsemen start.” First in line, Lord Girlsby. On its paripá, like multi-winning thoroughbreds, most loads can be loaded. Last summer, the name of this gentleman was very often read in the newspapers.
“It could have been when the princess of the foster care properly cut something out of the newspapers (even though there are very gracious pages) with scissors before handing it to us.
– He did it very right. Did you learn Greek mythology at your mercy?
– How much is compatible with the education system.
– Do you know the novel of the «minotaur»?
– That’s fine. The minotaur was an ox-headed monster locked by King Minos in the labyrinth built by Daedalus, and to whom the Atheneans were to send twelve virgins a year to be sacrificed; while Theseus, with the help of Ariadne’s spool of thread, approached and killed the monster in the labyrinth.
“Well, it was about this minotaur in the broken columns of the papers.”
“Who lived in the Cretan labyrinth?”
– No. This signaled his cruelty in the labyrinth of London; but on an even greater scale than the Cretans: for this required a new sacrifice every week; thus, fifty-two virgins a year.
“But you just didn’t eat them?”
– Au contraire! Rather, he treated them with champagne and goose liver pate.
– Well, that’s not such a big sin.
“Nothing sins until some journalist finds out.” But then such a modern Theseus followed these secret villains and then a horrible noise-102-he slammed for the virgin sacrifices in London against the new minotaur, who is none other than our lovable lord. The matter was last brought before parliament, where it also pounded a great deal of dust; even after that, parliament was forced to pass a new bill stating that London girls should not be seduced from the age of eighteen.
“Is he free for eighteen years?”
“It’s not allowed either, except that the fact doesn’t come under the criminal codex, but only under the civil codex.”
“Is that why the lord had to leave England?”
– That’s why.
“Well, it’s a big mistake to have a man’s willingness change every week.”
“But there’s an even bigger mistake.”
– I think this is the biggest. If someone is unable to be steadfast.
– And there’s an even bigger mistake. If one is very steadfast in a love that is forbidden by all divine and human laws. In addition to these popularly infamous outbursts, there is a much more sinful passion of our young lord, whispered only in the noble circles. He has had a forbidden relationship with his uncle for years: his brother’s wife. His brother is an anti-admiral. It was therefore banned by the Queen from all British territories.
“Then let’s have one more British territory for him in our house.”
“Now comes the Russian prince.” Taskendievic is a widow. What the world knows about it is all recommended for the whole character. There is only a small black dot in his life. This is the way his wife dies. They traveled to Schweicz together. They made daily day trips to the mountains: alone, unaccompanied. One evening the prince returned home alone. He said his wife wanted it like a noble flower-103- torn from the rock, he was suddenly dizzy and fell to a depth of a thousand feet. The crushed woman was invented in the gorge. Taskendievic sent the corpse home to Russia in a balsamic lead coffin: it was buried in the family graveyard with great splendor. However, there were also accidental witnesses to this accident: a goat shepherd lying on the hillside and a German tourist escorting the walking party with binoculars from a remote hilltop. The prince is said to have pushed his wife off the slope himself.
“Then it’s a Daemon character.”
“There are witnesses against him who have heard that he has had a heated brawl with his wife in the days before.” On the day of the accident, he removed the usual mountain driver from himself under false excuses. The most serious thing about him is the testimony of the two eyewitnesses. The Russian authorities have launched an investigation against him. And now the only question is, is the prince’s money pushing down the pan, or is it the truth? If he fails to fire the goat herder to persuade an idiot and a German tourist to withdraw his confession, our beautiful prince will hardly walk to Lake Kolivan, mining lead.
“Is that the basis of his gloom?” Well, whoever is burdened with such self-awareness, I don’t want to be his second wife.
“I can no longer say of our banker friend Chassepoule that his dream would be greatly disturbed by the haunting spirits of his victims.
– Do you have any victims like that?
– You don’t know your number either. His craft allows for that. A stock market deroute, brought about by his genius head, usually has tragic consequences. But he treats human life as easily as a playwright. In this respect, he is greater than Shakespeare. Then he is not very picky in the tools either. It is so easy to “salt” diamonds and kerosene so easily-104-he goes with him like to subvert the business world with «Tartar ducks» – with false telegrams, or to take the bite out of the mouths of the poor of an entire part of the world with artificial «Rings»; bribing government officials, stealing state secrets is one of his special virtues.
– Then it’s a villain!
– How about a villain? After all, he always wins.
“Is it just the villain who loses?”
– Always in the game. Then the same tools can be used by someone else. If he is allowed to cheat, someone else has the same joke at his fingertips. He also plays with his life. It has twenty million; but it is at stake every day. Either six or blind! Once he finds a dice to show a blind, he has no choice but to reach into his pocket, not the one in which he has his wallet: others will swallow it; but to where the cyankali is. He always carries it with him, ready for any eventuality. Once a good friend was on the verge of ruin, he went to beg him to help her, otherwise he would be forced to commit suicide.
«- – – My friend, said Chassepoule; I can’t give money; but here in my pocket is the cyankali: I can share this with you. ”
– Almost unbelievable! After all, the banker is listed as a benefactor at every charity.
– Hja: it’s an advertisement for him.
– I don’t think about it anymore. What about the general?
“It’s only one mistake that he really likes to fight.”
– Well, he believes it’s a virtue for a soldier.
– That’s it. But he doesn’t like to fight the Prussians; but with young petit creves who are jealous of him.
– Are you jealous?
– Terribly! Othello is real compared to him-105- Methodist preacher. If his beloved dares to take a side look at some pretty dandy: that gavaller is a dead man the next day. The general stabs his rivals on the tip of the sword like a butterfly collecting student with butterflies on a pin. It could be a whole collection of it. However, it may happen that one day he will find a man who will speculate on him.
– Well, don’t kill anyone for me; don’t die yourself. And so we were lucky to get to the last one: my favorite, the little Nerion. This good, gentle, ordinary boy just has no sin at all.
– It really isn’t. This is not a sin for anyone: except yourself. As you may experience: he normally disappears from company at midnight. And then he goes home normally. She is left alone, locked in her room. And then you start drinking alone. Every morning, the door is stretched out by his ducklings and found under the bed, drunk dead under the table. The doctors gave it up. You will receive delirium training shortly.
– What is delirium tremens?
– Literally «shaky onion glaze», otherwise «drunken rage». The raging man always craves thirsty, always more intoxicating drinks: after wine he wants to drink cognac, absinthe, Siberian galactic brandy, last time only aether satisfies his desires. If he can’t drink, he’s in a bad mood, he’s whimsical, he can’t bang his head, all his members are trembling, he suffers from a mania for persecution, he can’t sleep; as soon as you go to bed, you see mice, rats running around you, you get angry after them; if he then got the thirsty poison drink again, he will be funny, cheerful, speak clowns and act; he lies down for the last time like a piece of wood and looks up with bright eyes high and talks about visions; what will be terrifying and then sensual heaters and this is his dream. When you stop drinking all at once, you are a very kind person; but will soon fall back again.-106-
– And these are my beggars?
– But there are more: they are just the chosen ones. I didn’t even introduce you to the others: they just have flaws, with no compensatory benefits. Now you can choose from these five, whichever you like best. All I can say for sure is that this is the whole society that I know.
Arzinoë got up from the frame and walked over to Mr. Cascador, asking him:
“Do you say: why did you enlighten me about these circumstances?” For if such is the whole of society; if among the men to be married the five you have chosen from the gang are still among the specimens, it would have been impossible for a single marriage to take place in the civilized world. I think the girls to marry reach out with their eyes blindfolded. No one speaks to them of the dark sides of the character of their fiancées: they may never even know them; they remain happy in ignorance. Or even if they find out about mistakes like women, they already have a duty to put up with them: maybe it’s their job to fix them. Is it perhaps customary for other parents to introduce the petitioners in such a manner to their daughter to be married?
– It’s not anyone’s habit. At least I don’t know about an analog case.
“Then why did I have to have the exceptional fortune to get to know those who compete for my hand from their darkest dark sides?” Did you want me not to marry any of you?
“Will you allow me to guess the reason for this special care of you?”
– He’s free.
“Do you seem to hate the company of higher circles?”-107-
– No better than the rest.
“Perhaps you want to pay attention to the world where people spend their lives working?”
“I can certainly tell you that so far all the so-called hard-working people who have at once gained great lordship through some rich marriage have been able to commit even more sin and folly than those who were born into it.
“Isn’t there a case for the reverse idea that the rich girl shared poverty with the one she loved?”
– Oh, there are a lot of cases. I could tell you a hundred. Misses of Herczeg, daughters of myladys, bankers, the «stars» of the noble world obtained such surprises for their families; one traveled with his father’s groom, the other with a circus clown connected his life; I know one who chose the tent of a gypsy as his home, and there was one who went to a poet-carver as a woman (a gypsy without a tent!) but it all ended in misery. Poverty is not a good companion. In ninety-nine of a hundred cases, the himes butterfly transforms into a ugly caterpillar: the husband tortured to death the woman who had descended from her height.
– And in the century?
– She killed her husband. He was acquitted by the jury.
“So I have no choice but to go back to the convent and put on the veil.”
“You still have a petitioner worthy of giving him his hand and heart.”
– A suitor I don’t know?
– You know him very well.
Arzinoë stared hard at the word. He had seen many men ever since he was introduced into the world: he also memorized the faces of one or two; but it cannot be called acquaintance. He searched uselessly, found nothing.-108-
– Does it belong to our department? You asked Mr. Cascador.
– The best known name in the country and abroad; the legion d’honneur, and the holder of many foreign orders; member of the Senate.
– And rich?
“It is so rich that you can get all the splendor and comfort you are used to at home.” Who does not need your dowry: you alone.
– Do you like it so much?
– And a long time ago. I can say for sure that he does not like anyone other than you. He will be a faithful slave to you, who will put away his whims: what will happen to you as soon as you get married.
– And what’s wrong?
“There’s only one mistake: he’s not young anymore.” But she is married, more than many twenty-four-year-olds who are in a hurry to live, and what our “golden youth” is like. A widow man, also his first wife, as a model for husbands, preached to his acquaintances, and to whom any of the infamous beauties of Paris would hurry if he extended his hand to him; but who, since the death of his wife, hath not begun to lie with any man, because he hath kept thee in mind.
– Who could this rare waist man be? Have I ever talked to this?
-… You’re still talking to him…
– Your grace? Mr. Cascador? Because your grace is my father.
“I am not the father of mercy, and my dead wife was not the mother of mercy.” My wife was unhappy at the coming of her highest female vocation: her child was born dead. The doctor found a lot of chloroform to be absorbed with it. While the accoucheur was busy bringing the undead mother to life: I talked to the sage femmeal – at the same hour an unnecessary child came into the world whose mother was a waitress in a café chantant. It sold-109-maternity rights for a thousand francs. By the time my wife came to life, a beautiful little alive girl was crying beside her in the ivory cradle, tapping into Valencian laces. He never found out about the gracious deception. He lived and died in the belief that the beautiful child who grows up under his care was born of him. However, I have seen it develop year by year, and I am determined to reach the age of marriage, to discover the secret of your birth, and to put your destiny in your own hands.
Arzinoë thought he was dreaming.
Mr Cascador did everything he could to convince him that he was awake.
“Here, my dear, are all sorts of certificates for your business.” First, the medical report that my wife had a dead child: this is No. 1. Then No. 2 is the midwife’s testimony that mademoiselle Sally Japan’s newborn daughter was smuggled into my house. Under 3, you will find the acknowledgment of her real mother, Miss Sally Japon, according to which she will hand over her newborn daughter to me for a thousand francs and waive her parental rights. There is even a fourth document. And this is the official scheme of the caretaker of Salpêtriere, duly provoked: with the content that Sally, who had been treated there two years ago, died of diphteritis. It is recorded on the back of the scheda how many plates, rows and numbers of the Montmartre cemetery have been buried. From all this they can be convinced of your grace, that by your grace I am a perfectly foreign man. I have the right to approach your grace with the same question as the others: “do you want to be my partner?” If you want, yours is my millions, my palaces, my estates, all the way to my music box, everything. The documents presented are disclosed. The registry data are adjusted and there are no obstacles-110-between us. I do not use any rape to decide you. I gave you his certificates: if you like, you can throw it into the fire. Then I will not be able to prove that you are not my daughter. You can see that I am not threatening to expose you to the street in case of a negative answer. You can decide as you please, either to throw the names of your five suitors in a hat and pull out which one, to give them your hand, or to stay here at my house and live with me, knowing that you are no one else here, as Sally Japan’s beautiful single daughter. You will not argue with anyone other than yourself, I assure you of this one.
With that, Mr Cascador left Arzinoë alone.
The girl took it in turn, re-reading the documents left in her hands over and over again. He could be convinced that what Mr Cascador had said was true.
Then he thought through all that he had heard from the sixth of the five beggars — and at the end he was convinced that this sixth was the most fearful: the one who was above the others.
Above the gate of the palace opposite the «Hôtel de Ville» is a three-colored flag with the inscription «Bureau du Paradis» on the white stripe.
“The office of paradise!” That’s just an interesting enough address to have someone in your eye stop in front of a prospectus printed in huge letters on either side of the gate and read what is being sold in paradise and at what price?
“Under the protection of the republic!”
This line is printed in czinoberveres.
“Under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense.”
It’s set with ultramarine blue.
Followed by white letters on a black background.
Then on all four edges of the placard in gold letters:
“500 francs cloth!”-111-
Lines printed in smaller letters then tell the terms.
The chamber authorized the Minister of Defense to recruit an indefinite number of ladies suitable for marriage for male members of the French colony in New Caledonia and to transport them to their destination at public expense.
The following is the natural rationale for why New Caledonia should be a paradise?
I grow coconut, seafood and tobacco. Sport for sea dogs. Monetary value: one coconut = ten sea dog teeth; – ten sea dog teeth = one bar of tobacco; ten bars of tobacco = one «father» (ideal money) ten isa = one quality woman; – prices gradually increase in quality, up to a hundred. Taking this as an average harm, it can be said that the value of a lady to marry in the new paradise is: = 50 isa; = 500 bars of tobacco; = 5,000 sea dog teeth = 50,000 coconuts: our unworthy equivalent.
Groom is enough. More are coming. New Caledonia is a prisoner of war colony in France. They transport there a selection of criminals who have earned merit for life-long deportation: including the communard gentlemen convicted of arson.
However, as in New Caledonia such exorbitans come at a high price for members of the beautiful sex: the French government is ready to hand over the surplus found at home to the new part of the world. Entrepreneurs receive free transportation and board, and when they land, they receive five hundred francs in eviction.
For the sake of greater encouragement, nailed to the front with fingertip markings, you can read this reassuring clause:
Ladies who have something to do with it: when they sign the contract, they are granted a full amnesty.
During these days, these bright announcements are read in large groups; and whoever then made them his own-112-joking remark, goes further: no one enters the bureau door. At seven o’clock in the evening, they light the lanterns that illuminate the two large placards with their beam light: until midnight. Then more people will read, even bigger ones will laugh at them; but no one squeaks the door of the bureau even then. After midnight, the lights are turned off; the bottom of the gate will be dark; then the door of the bureau du paradis opens; and there is no shortage of the figures that fall upon it: some have silk robes. The one who went in does not come back: they are still transported in a dark car to Toulon in the dark to the ship.
The boss of the bureau was a waist, honest servant sailor who had made his way to New Caledonia several times until his eyes deteriorated and he was not forced to replace the wheelhouse with the bureaupad. A straight-hearted pious man who does not sell a cat in a sack. Can you tell the entrepreneur quite honestly what kind of conditions await her in paradise, and since her eyes are bad, it is a perfectly indifferent case to see if the lady in love is beautiful or less beautiful? and that his age did not really exceed 29 years; how much is usually declared officially.
“May you ask your name, madame?”
(Entrepreneurs, without exception, are usually called “madame.”)
– My name is Arsino in Japan.
– Ar-si-noë? Are you sure this is really your first name?
– Here is my baptismal certificate.
– Very strange. But it’s quite okay. According to his baptismal letter, he is 18 years old. First quality. It is worth five thousand sea dog teeth. Are you blonde or brunette? I don’t see very well.
– My hair is a golden blonde playing red.
– Golden blonde playing in red! And you haven’t found a job in Paris? Well. Not my task. Do you have anything to do?-113-
– For example.
“I stole my guardian’s burno box with a musical hummingbird on top and pawned it for 500 francs.
– Stolen. He pawned. At night?
– During the time he slept.
– Domestic theft. His sentence is one and a half years. When did this happen?
– And the money that came from this business?
– It’s gone.
– Don’t you have it anymore? Where did you put it?
“I ordered a tombstone for my mother.” My mother’s name is Sally Japon. He died two years ago at Salpetrier; is buried in Montmartre.
“And you have no one over your destiny?”
– I don’t have a father. I never knew that. A guardian was not appointed for me by the legal authority. My adopted father, whose name I will not say, discovered before me today that he was not my true father, and as my petitioner he appeared sixth in a row of five other petitioners, one of whom was a lust, the other a thief, the third a murderer, the fourth is a spadassin, the fifth is a drunk; I read in the newspaper announcements that the French government is recruiting brides for convicted evildoers, I give priority to these: I am going to New Caledonia.
– Madame. I’m telling you the truth. New Caledonian grooms are very homely ficcats compared to Hungarians. Be reassured about the amnesty. The stolen golden hummingbird, and the box, go after the others. The guardian should sniff from another pixel.
“By the way, as soon as I arrive in New Caledonia, I will immediately send the five hundred francs due to me to -114-To Mont de Piete to return the stolen box to my guardian.
– That is a very commendable intention.
“Wouldn’t Monsieur take this assignment on my part?”
– Yes, welcome; but then you must tell the name of the stolen lord.
“Have you heard of Banker Cascador?”
“Oh, have I heard of Banker Cascador?” It is even known in New Caledonia. There are a large number of fiddlers out there who owe it to them to get to paradise. I like to know: some rebel mining workers who destroyed the waterworks. Have you read our prospectus?
– I studied it very carefully.
“And so your grace is at the height of the situation?” Do you know very well that the grooms competing in the new paradise are one-on-one squid escaped from the gallows one by one?
– I know.
“Do you also suspect that where the coconut room is hunted and where the sea dogs are hunted, the palaces are made of hedges and topped with palm leaves?”
“But there are also kiosks made of corn stalks, covered in sealskin.”
– Ah, this is a construction from the Renaissance. Then do you get the grace for some chores? Do I put it up for cooking?
– I learned something in the convent.
– In the convent? Well, that’s extraordinary.
“There was a young Oláh in the nursery, taught to make popcorn.
– I do not understand. What could it be?
– Simple craft; all you have to do is add a sieve fire to a sieve, and in five minutes, the males become a delicious delicacy that you can take with you in your cradle and never spoil.-115-
– Understand! This is a notable invention. With this, your grace will inaugurate another new era in New Caledonia! The trouble with the residents there is that they don’t know what to do with their corn. If ground, it will be bitter; if they get a doh, they get rashes from it on their skin. Your grace there will be the welfare of a country. How do they say? “Popcorn!” Enough! You don’t need more. I will book you as a praeferentissime. He will be the first to be removed from the ship. Can you grasp the meaning of this?
– Not me.
“The bride who is the first to be deported will receive the oldest groom.” I bet you’ll get a sevenfold killer!
– I’ll really like that.
– I believe it! The one who killed most people is the greatest authority there. That dictator! There is the real world! Republic without parliament. “He that beareth the morsel!” This is the whole «Code Napoleon». Tigers also live on the island. Then find wild people. They all live on meat; and they give particular priority to human flesh. In an environment like this, a man whose hand is faster than his opponent is worth a lot.
“I will be able to estimate who fate assigns to me.”
– One more. Can you have the grace to swim?
– I studied last year. In Trouville, my dexterity was a general marvel.
– That is very good. For it is even my duty to inform you by grace that the engagement of the brides of the new paradise involves some formalities, the qualities of which are not known in the ethnography of our continent.
“Is the engagement between the waves?”
– Amazing ingenuity! I like to know that New Caledonian ports are all closed by coral reefs that run in long lines, sometimes semicircles.-116- they stumble in front of the bays. Because of this, ships are forced to anchor on the high seas. Moreover, the reeds themselves can only penetrate the reefs and maneuver there, while the settlers wander through the reef gorges to the reefs, bringing on their heads the packages containing the tobacco they produce and the prey’s dog teeth, which in turn send kidneys. over what they need. Well, if you know this, you will find it very natural that with the live shipment, I put up with the brides, we will not carry out this lengthy procedure: we will simply throw them from the ship into the sea. The competent grooms stand in line on the coral reef: they swim in for them and catch them. Whoever fished it is his. They can’t drown in water, because they get a lifebelt around their waist. However, he who can swim among them has the advantage of being free to choose: swimming towards the man by whom he wants to fish. Do you like this engagement method?
“Better than any marriage practice known so far.”
– Then we can sign the contract.
Six weeks later, the «Formidable» war steamer arrived in front of the port of St. Vincent. The new tomato falls a little far from Paris. The people there stand with us on their feet. Luckily, the ground is not made of glass.
The arrival of the large warship awaited the entire population of the French settlement on the shore.
There is an optical telegraph and observatory on the island. The ship’s telegraph device announced in advance what a sweet burden it would bring. Brides from the blessed Europe! The youth to marry stood both on the edge of the reefs, in a swimsuit: tucked next to his belt — not the groom’s bush, but a meter-long hard tree, with a pointed tip at each end; the -117-and in his mouth, clenched between his teeth, each held an old knife.
When the very first bride was thrown into the sea from the ledge, a huge athletic figure from a corps of men standing on a coral rock made her way with her fists and jumped into the sea on her head.
However, it was not only the Caledonian grooms who waited with great gall for the brides; but also the sea angels: because they are called sharks because of their long wings.
A decorative copy of this man-eating monsters also headed for the bride.
The floating lady could see both of her suitors standing towards her under the deep blue water. They were both beautiful animals. Terribly beautiful. They both had big stiff hoops.
When a shark wants to catch its prey, it turns backwards at once; as it is above his belly with his large mouth with three rows of teeth. In that dangerous moment, when the sea monster’s lower body flashed, the man pushed himself under it under the water, thrusting the sharp stumps he had left to his throat. The terrible jaws collapsing stuck in the double-pointed stick, and slamming into the harpoon, they could no longer open. And the man, drooping with his left hand on the strongly held arm, took the large sharp knife to his right, and pushed it into the shark’s belly, slitting its lower body all the way to his mouth. The death-wounded, helpless monster swam away, painting the waves around him bloody, and the man fell to the surface, shook his head, and laughed. He was only an arm’s length from his bride. He didn’t even court him much; he got it by his belt and lifted it high out of the water, taking it with him so as not to injure his feet on the coral cores. He arrived with him, along with the compliments of his companions. Then he took the old knife out of his teeth.
“Do you like me, baby?”-118-
– Very much.
– You too! To my honor! What’s your name?
– Long name. Mine is just «Tom». Let’s go to maire: enter our names. Herringbone! I shot a kangaroo today; we have a gorgeous wedding.
And that name inscription consists of embossing the names of the groom and bride into the left arm of both with needle sticks. Then you can’t lose it.
What a happy life they lived? we’ll find out maybe even with the weather.