Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Pillar of Society

Nathan Rothschild was a formidable presence in London.

Frederick Morton says, "Napoleon on the battlefield was clad in no more dread mystery than Nathan Rothschild on the Royal 'Change. Like Napoleon, he always materialized in the same pose: he leaned against the 'Rothschild pillar' (the first one on the right as one entered from the Cornhill entrance), hung his heavy hands into his pockets, and began to release silent motionless, implacable cunning."

His calm never left him. "It was his armor against the high world over which he was ruler without ever having been its equal.

The story goes that one day there swept through Nathan's offices in London an august ducal personage. He wore a visage of such fury that no clerk dared to stay him. He broke into Nathan's private chamber and shouted his grievance. Nathan, not lifting an eye from his ledger said, 'Take a chair.' The personage roared his ancient lineage, his illustrious connection, slapped down a crested card before the banker's nose. Nathan glanced at the card for a fraction of a second.
'Take two chairs,' and he continued writing.

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