“Let not the hard-working lawyer, the burdened and anxious merchant or the hardy sons of manual labour envy the gilded speculator,” wrote William Worthington Fowler in 1870, “though he recline on silken couches and dally with the daintiest of viands and sip wines of the vintage of Waterloo, out of Bohemian glass.

“And yet ... beneath his frontal sinuses, amid the convolutions of his brain, the vulture passions are at work, led on by their generals, ambition and avarice. Pining envy, fear of an evil which always impends, rage over injuries inflicted by others, or by his own weakness and incapacity, jealousy and hatred of successful rivals, all hold carnival in the space of an hour, and are kept active and sleepless by hope which quickens them with her enchanted wings...

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