I have to tell you this story. It's just too good to keep.
A lanky young man invades the home of the general manager of some large company early in the morning, insists the master of the house be awoken and bribes the valet to bring in aspirin on his signal.
The master is awoken, and in a very bad humour learns that the young man would like a raise. He sends him off twice but on the thrid pass relents and doubles his salary, not on any other grounds than because being in love the young fellow couldn't possibly afford to propose otherwise. So the young fellow proposes. He would like to marry his boss' daughter.
This, of course, is out of the question. Nevertheless, it turns out that entreprising as he is (if a little shy), our fine young gentleman has not only gone to bed with the young miss, but also defrauded his generous employer - in all secrecy! - to the tune of 60 million ancien francsi. His lord and master would call the police immediately, but alas! such a proceeding would no doubt bring into question the books of the entire corporation, which as it may be the case are just a little cooked. What to do ? What to do ?
Meanwhile the daughter - which we'll call daughter-I for convenience - wanting to be a free and independent woman and at the advice of the soubrette tells her father she's pregnant, and her mother backs her up, on unclear grounds given that she isn't.
Even more meanwhile some girl - which we'll call daughter-B, also for convenience - arrives and explains to Monsieur that she has actually lied to his young and entreprising employee, telling him stories about her family in an attempt to keep up with his airs and pretenses as a (wholly imaginary) commercial director in a large corporation.
Genius strikes (#1) : daughter-B is hidden in a closet, young fellow signs paper admitting he is the father of his love's child, and a general agreement is reached that the jewels (into which the fraud has been transformed) will be kept by their... well, one of their... rightful owners for an interim until such a time as the marriage is consumated. At about this same time it is also revealed that the actual love interest of the actual daughter (-I) is in fact some kid who left on a Polar expedition, and will be missing for half a decade, and further that Monsieur's planned marriage for his actual daughter (-O) was some baron von Nosezit, whose face was full of zits.
The story continues : the soubrette marries the baron, and leaves, accidentally taking the jewels (which are conveniently placed inside a black suitcase, the exact sort and model that birthed the ernest Mr. Worthing) instead of her own bras and other soubrettish effects. Meanwhile Monsieur decides to marry his actual daugher to his masseur for unclear reasons, and promises him a suitcase full of jewels. Upon demonstration the bras etc are discovered. Without his knowledge, and while he is on the phone trying to arrange a suitcase exchange with the baron the soubrette returns and switches the cases for herself.
Meanwhile the young man manages to trick his rather aggitated boss into signing a number of papers including some blank sheets. He proceeds to use these to extract sixty million in cash from the company, which he offers his boss in exchange for freedom from his otherwise burdensome and onerous obligation to regognise a son he didn't father nor actually exists, and on top to marry some woman he's not particularly fond of in spite of her young age and universal inclinations, and "his" original jewels to top it all off. Thinking the worthless suitcase is still around, Monsieur acquiesces, and the change is made. Soon thereafter the baron's chauffeur appears and switches the suitcases yet again, taking the cash and leaving more womanly undergarments behind.
At this point the polar expedition kid returns, he and the masseur fight, for no clear reason outside of a little alcoholic intoxication perhaps. The girl (-I) becomes disinfatuated with her original love interest on the grounds of his absence subsequent being beaten up, but will soon regain her sentiments once the boy is present again. Talk about the puberal on/off switch.
Moving right along, the replacement for the soubrette arives, and turns out to have a recomendation written 24 years prior by the lord of the mansion's own mother. Because she was their soubrette as he was growing up, and her daughter is... their daughter. A touching scene emerges where the man with his two wives and their two daughters meet their two young lads. And there was much rejoicing. The various suitcases packed with various valuables are never found.
You have to see this thing, it's something else. Actually... you should probably see it before you read the entire story, but anyway.———
- Or 600`000 NF, if you prefer. At the time De Gaulle decided to reform the franc was a piece of shit, going for about 1.8 miligrams of gold - that'd be roughly speaking seven cents in today's dollars or as the Frenchies say oh la laa. [↩]