The 19th century French banker James Rothschild was called the second richest man in the country, his fortune was second only to the royal one. He financed major projects such as the construction of railways in France. European monarchs, as well as the National Bank of France, often resorted to his services.
James Rothschild was personally acquainted with influential French officials and did not skimp on bribes to get the opportunity to participate in any significant financial project. But Rothschild also had another passion - collecting paintings and other works of art.
A good friend of James was Ari Schaeffer, a French painter, from whom Rothschild not only acquired paintings, but sometimes even posed for the artist. During one of these sessions with Rothschild, a curious incident occurred, which one of the subscribers of this publication told about in a letter to the newspaper "Figaro". The letter was published in 1870.
The reader recalled how many years ago he went into the workshop of Schaeffer, who at that time was working on another of his paintings. There was a beggar in the studio, from whom the artist painted one of the characters in his picture. The poor man looked so pitiful that the compassionate visitor could not resist and handed him one louis.
Ten years have passed. The Parisian, probably, has long forgotten about this episode, but suddenly a strange letter came to his address with a check for 10, 000 francs in one of the French banks. A note was attached to the check: “Dear sir! You once gave the louis to Baron Rothschild in the workshop of Aria Schaeffer, he put it into circulation and sends you a small capital, which you have entrusted to him, with interest. A good deed always brings happiness. Baron James Rothschild. "
The owner of a rather large fortune that unexpectedly fell on him decided that it was a joke and personally went to Rothschild, whose fortune was approaching two billion francs. The billionaire confirmed the authenticity of this check, moreover, he showed from his records where he invested the alms received in Schaeffer's workshop, explaining how one louis could turn into 10, 000 francs in 10 years.