The Way We Live Now HTML version

Miles Grendall's Triumph
Sir Felix as he walked down to his club felt that he had been checkmated and was at the
same time full of wrath at the insolence of the man who had so easily beaten him out of
the field. As far as he could see, the game was over. No doubt he might marry Marie
Melmotte. The father had told him so much himself, and he perfectly believed the truth of
that oath which Marie had sworn. He did not doubt but that she'd stick to him close
enough. She was in love with him, which was natural; and was a fool which was perhaps
also natural. But romance was not the game which he was playing. People told him that
when girls succeeded in marrying without their parents' consent, fathers were always
constrained to forgive them at last. That might be the case with ordinary fathers. But
Melmotte was decidedly not an ordinary father. He was so Sir Felix declared to himself
perhaps the greatest brute ever created. Sir Felix could not but remember that elevation of
the eyebrows, and the brazen forehead, and the hard mouth. He had found himself quite
unable to stand up against Melmotte, and now he cursed and swore at the man as he was
carried down to the Beargarden in a cab.
But what should he do? Should he abandon Marie Melmotte altogether, never go to
Grosvenor Square again, and drop the whole family, including the Great Mexican
Railway? Then an idea occurred to him. Nidderdale had explained to him the result of his
application for shares. 'You see we haven't bought any and therefore can't sell any. There
seems to be something in that. I shall explain it all to my governor, and get him to go a
thou' or two. If he sees his way to get the money back, he'd do that and let me have the
difference.' On that Sunday afternoon Sir Felix thought over all this. 'Why shouldn't he
"go a thou," and get the difference?' He made a mental calculation. L12 10s per L100!
L125 for a thousand! and all paid in ready money. As far as Sir Felix could understand,
directly the one operation had been perfected the thousand pounds would be available for
another. As he looked into it with all his intelligence he thought that he began to perceive
that that was the way in which the Melmottes of the world made their money. There was
but one objection. He had not got the entire thousand pounds. But luck had been on the
whole very good to him. He had more than the half of it in real money, lying at a bank in
the city at which he had opened an account. And he had very much more than the
remainder in I.O.U.'s from Dolly Longestaffe and Miles Grendall. In fact if every man
had his own and his bosom glowed with indignation as he reflected on the injustice with
which he was kept out of his own he could go into the city and take up his shares
tomorrow, and still have ready money at his command. If he could do this, would not
such conduct on his part be the best refutation of that charge of not having any fortune
which Melmotte had brought against him? He would endeavour to work the money out of
Dolly Longestaffe and he entertained an idea that though it would be impossible to get
cash from Miles Grendall, he might use his claim against Miles in the city. Miles was
Secretary to the Board, and might perhaps contrive that the money required for the shares
should not be all ready money. Sir Felix was not very clear about it, but thought that he
might possibly in this way use the indebtedness of Miles Grendall. 'How I do hate a
fellow who does not pay up,' he said to himself as he sat alone in his club, waiting for
some friend to come in. And he formed in his head Draconic laws which he would fain