‘There’s not one in the two counties I’d trust so soon,’ said the old man.
‘But you’ll let us know the very truth,’ said John Crumb. Roger Carbury made him an indiscreet promise that he would let him know the truth. So the matter was settled, and the grandfather and lover returned together to Bungay.
Augustus Melmotte was becoming greater and greater in every direction,— mightier and mightier every day. He was learning to despise mere lords, and to feel that he might almost domineer over a duke. In truth he did recognize it as a fact that he must either domineer over dukes, or else go to the wall. It can hardly be said of him that he had intended to play so high a game, but the game that he had intended to play had become thus high of its own accord. A man cannot always restrain his own doings and keep them within the limits which he had himself planned for them. They will very often fall short of the magnitude to which his ambition has aspired. They will sometimes soar higher than his own imagination. So it had now been with Mr Melmotte. He had contemplated great things; but the things which he was achieving were beyond his contemplation.
The reader will not have thought much of Fisker on his arrival in England. Fisker was, perhaps, not a man worthy of much thought. He had never read a book. He had never written a line worth reading. He had never said a prayer. He cared nothing for humanity. He had sprung out of some Californian gully, was perhaps ignorant of his own father and mother, and had tumbled up in the world on the strength of his own audacity. But, such as he was, he had sufficed to give the necessary impetus for rolling Augustus Melmotte onwards into almost unprecedented commercial greatness. When Mr Melmotte took his offices in Abchurch Lane, he was undoubtedly a great man, but nothing so great as when the South Central Pacific and Mexican Railway had become not only an established fact, but a fact established in Abchurch Lane. The great company indeed had an office of its own, where the Board was held; but everything was really managed in Mr Melmotte’s own commercial sanctum. Obeying, no doubt, some inscrutable law of commerce, the grand enterprise,—’perhaps the grandest when you consider the amount of territory