with barely a thousand pounds' worth of stuff or credit all told—and that got by something perilously like snatching—to the days when my uncle went to the public on behalf of himself and me (one-tenth share) and our silent partners, the drug wholesalers and the printing people and the owner of that group of magazines and newspapers, to ask with honest confidence for £150,000. Those silent partners were remarkably sorry, I know, that they had not taken larger shares and given us longer credit when the subscriptions came pouring in. My uncle had a clear half to play with (including the one-tenth understood to be mine).
£150,000—think of it!—for the goodwill in a string of lies and a trade in bottles of mitigated water! Do you realize the madness of the world that sanctions such a thing? Perhaps you don't. At times use and wont certainly blinded me. If it had not been for Ewart, I don't think I should have had an inkling of the wonderfulness of this development of my fortunes; I should have grown accustomed to it, fallen in with all its delusions as completely as my uncle presently did. He was immensely proud of the flotation. "They've never been given such value," he said, "for a dozen years." But Ewart, with his gesticulating hairy hands and bony wrists, is single-handed chorus to all this as it plays itself over again in my memory, and he kept my fundamental absurdity illuminated for me during all this astonishing time.
"It's just on all fours with the rest of things," he remarked; "only more so. You needn't think you're anything out of the way."
I remember one disquisition very distinctly. It was just after Ewart had been to Paris on a mysterious expedition to "rough in" some work for a rising