'If we wish only to speculate, to make our profits by buying and selling, the rogues will, of course, serve our turn as well as the honest men, and probably more effectively.' I quote this previous remark of mine because it cannot be dismissed in this summary fashion without being misapprehended. Leaving such a thing as morality entirely out of view, and conscious only of our eagerness to make quick profits on speculation pure and simple, it little matters to us what shares we choose so long as they are the best for our purpose. We may, indeed, be fully conscious that we are subscribing to a rotten company, but if it is brought out by Mr. Rogue we have but few apprehensions, because we feel a confidence in that gentleman's astuteness, in the wonderful power he wields, in the great influence he commands in spite of his sullied reputation. This man has done wonderful, almost miraculous, things in the past. He has persuaded the public, mainly by those subtle gifts of his, to support all his schemes enthusiastically, to help him even with millions if he asked for them. And though there may not be a successful venture of his to which he can point, only a long list of disastrous failures, that does not in the least deter him from making further attempts, nor, marvellous to relate, has the least weight with the public to whom he has the audacity to appeal. Indeed, those very people whom he has reduced from comparative wealth to privation, instead of heaping curses on him for thus ruining them, only feel regret that they haven't a few more pounds to put into his latest project, so magnetic, so hypnotic, is this man's power over them, which seems to us, who look upon it with calmness and sadness, so incomprehensible. Nevertheless, experience teaches us that this is veritable human nature, not the puppets which novelists construct in human shape, but beings who have human blood flowing in their veins, who have brains, and who, in their intercourse with us, display evidence of reason and sanity.

But we, as speculators, must trade upon their shortcomings to our benefit, and thank the stars that there are such multitudes of people in the world whom we may use to our profit, or else we should come poorly off indeed. Mr. Rogue, therefore, conscious of his power over such people, brings out another of his wild schemes, and we who are discerning enough apply for shares in it. We do not intend to hold them, of course. We should not dream of buying them for that foolish purpose. We know, too, that Mr. Rogue has no intention of holding his own shares, but is merely-manufacturing worthless scrip to sell at a profit to those who will be only too eager to buy it, knowing that it will subsequently go to a premium. He would rather, indeed, that the public refrained from subscribing until they could get the shares only in the open market. And knowing that the shares will go to a premium, we also try to get them at par, and thus be a competitor with Mr. Rogue to sell them at a profit. We know that the latter can easily make a market in the shares, with the aid of the jobbers whom his company will employ. He can keep up the hopes of the shareholders and the public for a long time by means of cheerful reports, facile eloquence, and a subsidized press. Therefore such a man as that will serve our turn admirably, and though we may not have that esteem for him personally which would make us comfortable in his society, and though we may have that regard for our own characters that would make us mention his name with a blush, still, we can secretly use him as a means to our enrichment, and no one need be the wiser. Indeed, our personal friends, whose esteem we value, may be doing the very same, so that they could not conscientiously reprove us for our misdeeds.

But even then we may be the victims of our own cupidity and indiscretion. The shares may subsequently go to a premium, and we rejoice that we see a goodly profit held out to us and ready to be placed in our hands at our option. Still, however, we hesitate. We ask ourselves if we had better be content with the profit that is already assured to us, or hold on for a while longer in the hope - the almost certain hope - that they will go higher still. The fall is bound to come some day. But there our knowledge is limited. It is impossible to foresee when that day will come. It may even overtake Mr. Rogue himself before he is prepared for it. We know that there is an unsubsidized as well as a subsidized press, and there is no knowing what they may suddenly find out. There are a few honest journals and journalists in London, even though it may be difficult to find them, and out of these few there may actually be one courageous enough to expose the whole thing and precipitate the collapse. We never know, you see. And it is impossible to find out. And even the courageous man may not have the power we dread. He may cause a momentary fright, but he is immediately overwhelmed with the execrations and taunts of the subsidized press - who scruple not to attack his motives and character - whilst Mr. Rogue himself at once convenes a special meeting, or issues a pamphlet, in which he travesties this lugubrious writer in a facetious, kindly, genial way, looking on him more in sorrow than in anger, and thus he makes his listeners laugh and restores their confidence. It is only those newspaper-writers again - because they have a grudge against Mr. Rogue - and they go gaily forth to repurchase the shares that they had previously sold, and know not, simple, guileless creatures, that they are being furnished out of Mr. Rogue's own resources, who really now can afford to bless that financial writer for thus doing him a good turn.