Madoff Prequel

madoff_trollope1

Regarding a certain Augustus Melmotte, a fictional character:

… And yet these leaders of the fashion know,–at any rate they believe,–that he is what he is because he has been a swindler greater than other swindlers. What follows as a natural consequence? Men reconcile themselves to swindling. Though they themselves mean to be honest, dishonesty of itself is no longer odious to them. Then there comes the jealousy that others should be growing rich with the approval of all the world,–and the natural aptitude to do what all the world approves. It seems to me that the existence of a Melmotte is not compatible with a wholesome state of things in general.’

Roger dined with the Bishop of Elmham that evening, and the same hero was discussed under a different heading. ‘He has given £200,’ said the Bishop, ‘to the Curates’ Aid Society. I don’t know that a man could spend his money much better than that.’

‘Clap-trap!’ said Roger, who in his present mood was very bitter.

from Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now, Chapter 55 – “Clerical Charities,” 1875

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