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A young Monte Cristo
Or, back to the world for vengeance

Jas C. Merritt

16 pages
Pluck and Luck n° 697 - 1911 - États-Unis
Roman

Intérêt: 0

 

Ce fascicule de la série Pluck and Luck porte le N° 697. Il a été publié à New York le 11 octobre 1911. Voir dans la même série A Monte Cristo at 18!.


Fred Howard n’a vraiment pas de chance. Cet adolescent de bonne famille a vu son père, homme d’affaires, ruiné par le banquier Ralph Pomeroy. Puis, un jour où il rentre chez lui, à New York, après sa journée de travail, il trouve ses parents assassinés et sa sœur disparue. Et le même jour, il est accusé d’avoir volé de l’argent au Pomeroy en question. Le voilà orphelin et jeté en prison.

Condamné à un an (!) de détention, il s’évade avec son vieux co-détenu juste avant d’être libéré… Le vieil homme meurt durant l’évasion. Mais il a eu le bon goût de révéler à Fred l’emplacement de l’épave d’un bateau chargé de lingots d’or, qui a coulé trente ans plus tôt. Le navire transportait toute la fortune d’une famille dont il ne reste a priori aucun héritier.

Fred s’évade et entreprend de récupérer le trésor. Il n’a pas trop de mal, le bateau a coulé dans la baie de New York, par 4 mètres de fond: Fred et un ami n’ont qu’à aller en barque et à plonger pour remonter les lingots à la main…

Un an plus tard, le banquier Pomeroy est très contrarié: toutes ses affaires tournent mal, car il se heurte sans cesse aux interventions d’un richissime et mystérieux britannique, du nom d’Hazelwood. Ce dernier n’est autre – attention à la surprise – que Fred lui-même, devenu méconnaissable depuis qu’il s’est laissé pousser la barbe (sic !).

Fred sauve de la noyade une jeune désespérée qui tentait de se suicider. Un beau geste dont il sera bien récompensé. Il apparaît en effet que la jeune fille est la seule héritière de la famille aux lingots d’or, et donc la légitime propriétaire de la fortune de Fred. Autre menue coïncidence: elle a aussi été victime des manigances de Pomeroy. Du coup, Fred l’épouse, récupérant ainsi sa fortune. Sa sœur disparue est retrouvée: devenue folle, elle était séquestrée par Pomeroy. Mais elle recouvre la raison d’un seul coup et accuse ce dernier de l’assassinat de ses parents, auquel elle a assisté.

Pomeroy est arrêté et exécuté. Fred vivra heureux avec sa femme et son or jusqu’à la fin de ses jours.


Il n’y a pas grand-chose à dire sur un texte aussi consternant, sinon qu’il est difficile d’imaginer lecture plus caricaturale du Comte de Monte-Cristo. On en arrive à se demander si l’auteur l’a fait exprès, mais non: le texte est désespérément écrit au premier degré.


Extrait du chapitre 8 Pomeroy & Co. receive a new depositor

The suddenness with which Pomeroy & Co. had blossomed into life had, in the business world which centers around Wall street, been for more than a year the one subject of conversation in every one’s mouth.

In 1881 Ralph Pomeroy was just nobody at all, being nothing more than a clerk for the then rich real-estate operator, Samuel Howard, whose brutal murder and that of his wife created such a stir at the time it had occurred, at a salary which, although perhaps liberal enough as far as it went, was by no means adequate to keep up the reckless style of living which the man maintained.

In 1882, by some unknown means, Pomeroy became possessed of all his former employer's real-estate, the family mansion in Fifth avenue, stores on Broadway, stores on Grand street, and other valuable buildings in various parts of the town, and establishing himself as a broker, had bought a seat upon the Stock Exchange, and began transacting business upon his own account.

Now all this caused sufficient talk, it is true, and there were many ugly rumors aficat as to the manner in which the broker come into possession of his newly-acquired wealth; but the interest felt in his affairs was as nothing to that displayed at the beginning of 1883, when the man established himself as a private banker in an elegant suite of offices upon Wall street, just below Broad, and displayed the sign "Pomeroy & Co., Bankers", above his door.

By what means Ralph Pomeroy had suddenly acquired wealth no one knew and, so long as the world could be actually assured he had it, no one cared.

A bold operator in stock and real estate, civil and polite in his address to those whom he chose to favor, the business of this newcomer in the banking world increased with the most extraordinary rapidity; every scheme in which he invested, every undertaking in which he embarked, seemingly yielded gold to his touch.

Now in this world it is common saying, and one likewise true, that "nothing succeeds like success".

Ralph Pomeroy had succeeded with a rapidity unparalled in the annals of the "street," and in less than a year's time Pomeroy & Co. had taken place among the leading bankers of New York.

Upon the morning of the 15th of August, 1884, Ralph Pomeroy was late in arriving at the bank.

It was fully noon when he entered its doors and passed haughtily through the elegantly fitted counting-room, with its mahogany desks, its carved partitions and solid brass railings, and entered his private office beyond.

From the expression of his face it was evident that the great banker was in no very pleasant mood.

He laid aside his hat, and seating himself at his desk with a dissatisfied air, began to open his morning mail.

"Confound it!" he muttered, as he tore open letter after letter and hastily scanned their contents. "I had set my heart upon that span of horses, Rarus and Lady Betty, and now here steps in this mysterious individual and snaps them up under my very nose at double the price I offered to pay. The horses are valuable, it is true, but they are not worth no twenty thousand apiece, and yet that is the sum given by this man, Hazelwood, whom nobody knows, or seems to have even heard of before. I wonder—Hello! what in the world is this? A written communication from Clemmans & Co. stating that the block of Elevated Railway stock upon which I expected to turn half a million has passed at a better price into other hands! Was there ever anything so confoundedly unlucky! The fates seem against me to-day!"

Dashing the letter angrily to the desk, the banker rose and entering the closet which contained his private telephone rung the bell with an angry jerk.

"Give me Clemmans & Co.," he shouted through the instrument in no pleasant tone.

A moment of silence followed.

Then the telephone bell tinkled again.

"Is this Clemmans & Co.?"

From over the wire came the distant reply:

"Yes. Who are you?"

"This is Pomeroy & Co. I am Mr. Pomeroy. I want to talk with Mr. Clemmans."

"All right; Mr. Clemmans is here."

"How about that Manhattan Elevated stock, Clemmans?"

"Sold, as I wrote you."

The reply that came over the wire was disgustingly plain.

"But you promised it to me."

"Can’t help it. Got a better offer. Had to let it go."

"Who is your purchaser?"

" ‘Tain’t business, but I don’t mind telling you. Name of Hazelwood. Rich young Englishman, just arrived in New York in his yacht, the Justice."


 

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