Money and literature have an awkward relationship. Most authors are very human and like to be well paid. Yet authors also have a tendency to distinguish between literature as an art form and writing as a way of making a living, and they put literature on a higher plane of existence than the vulgar and repetitive accumulation of wealth. Despite the undoubted genuineness of their private efforts to improve their own fees and royalties, many authors in public deprecate the materialism of modern society. In October 2000, the Institute of Economic Affairs, a London-based think tank, published a book on The Representation of Business in English Literature. In a foreword, the institute’s director, John Blundell, asked, “Why does the novelist, the writer of fiction, spit at the market, despise its institutions such as private property and the rule of law, and try to bite off the hand that feeds him?” The book provoked some irritation in such publications as The New Statesman and Prospect.
But an argument could be made that the use of literature to attack market institutions was a twentieth-century mistake. There may be intellectual mopping-up still to do, but few now question the superiority of liberal democracy and the market economy to the totalitarian, planned, and state-owned alternatives. In this respect the twenty-first century is more like the nineteenth century than its immediate predecessor. Some literature of the nineteenth century may therefore seem closer to us than much that was written in the twentieth century. In trying to find a drama to comment on the bubble economy of 1999 and 2000, the British Broadcasting Corporation chose Trollope’s The Way We Live Now in preference to anything written in the previous hundred years. Trollope’s novel had originally been a response to the speculative excesses of the early 1870s, years when a burst of American railroad construction stimulated a boom in the trans-Atlantic economy of the day.
“Why does the novelist, the writer of fiction, spit at the market, despise its institutions such as private property and the rule of law, and try to bite off the hand that feeds him?”
Robert Surtees1 has much in common with two better-known Victorian novelists, Dickens and Trollope, and he may have had some influence on Dickens. (Surtees was born in 1805, Dickens in 1812. Surtees’s Jorrocks’ Jaunts and Jollities—a series of comical episodes loosely linked by a tour of parts of England—is said to have suggested the original plan of Pickwick Papers.) All three novelists lived in an individualistic society with low taxes and small government, akin to the self-image (although not entirely the reality) of modern America. They were not embarrassed by money, either their own or other people’s. Surtees and Trollope accepted the inequality of mid-Victorian England as part of the human condition, and in Surtees’s case he saw the inequality as the by-product of a game, the always entertaining moves and counter-moves of the market economy. If people want to return to equilibrium after the stock market nonsense of the late 1990s and its crazy redistributions, Surtees’s comments on the mid-Victorian economy will seem contemporary, as well as refreshingly funny and agreeably unsentimental. Surtees deserves to be remembered as England’s anticipation of Mark Twain.
Literary criticism is often rather snooty about Surtees. In the third edition of Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, his books are dismissed as “of minor literary value,” although they are acknowledged as preserving “the spirit of the old English sporting life.” Volume six of the Pelican Guide to English Literature, which covers the period from Dickens to Hardy, mentions him three times, but places his work in “the mounds of the talented, readable, amusing or historically interesting” novels, not with “the handful of ‘great’ novels.” In many surveys of Victorian literature he is not noticed at all. But it is undeniable that, in one respect, Surtees’s achievement matched that of the acknowledged leaders of Victorian fiction. Like them, he imagined a world—or, at any rate, he imagined an England—which was inhabited by people who are recognizably his characters and could not be the characters of any other novelist. So there is a Surteesian “England,” just as there is a Barsetshire and a Dickensian “England.”
Surtees’s England contained a large number of markets. There were markets in horses, markets in financial instruments, markets in stocks and shares, markets in houses, even markets in matrimony. It was in and through these markets that his characters not only bought and sold, but also lived and died, triumphed and failed, and cheated or were cheated. Indeed, the hallmark of Surtees’s England was that cheating was routine in transactions of all kinds. Surtees is usually seen as the definitive novelist of Victorian horses and hunting, but a case can be made that his writings are unrivaled in their candid, pitiless, and very amusing accounts of deception, fraud, and outright swindling. His distinctive subject was horse-trading, where “horse-trading” is to be understood in both the literal and metaphorical senses. Surtees was the greatest novelist of the fib and the whopper. To suggest that cheating was routine in Surtees is not to say that it was unconstrained. The extent of cheating was limited by law and custom, and—perhaps most important of all—by the sanction of social disgrace. But the markets of Surtees’s England were almost wholly unshackled by government regulation; they had few official or quasi-official organizations whose express task was to prevent certain types of behavior between otherwise free individuals.
A fine debating point is whether Surtees’s Englishmen and -women thought more about money than about horses. At any rate, the market in horses is the obvious starting point for a discussion of his attitude towards money. Before the appearance of any of his novels, Surtees had published The Horseman’s Manual in 1831. At that time, just before the coming of the railways, England’s bloodstock was a vital capital asset. Despite the rather general title, The Horseman’s Manual was a specialized monograph on the law relating to the buying and selling of horses. Its focus was the law of warranty, the law—in other words—of the representation by buyers to sellers of the attributes of the things—whether animal, vegetable, mineral, or financial—to be sold. The book referred to and analyzed forty-seven common law cases, and would presumably have helped Surtees in his career if he had remained a solicitor. In the event his brother died in 1831, and he became heir to the family estate, with the leisure to write novels for his own enjoyment, as well as that of his readers. The question of how horses are to be described before, during, and after transactions became a perennial theme in his fiction.
The character of Mr. Sponge was Surtees’s main fictional vehicle for displaying his knowledge of horse-dealing. Mr. Sponge’s Sporting Tour, published as a serial between 1849 and 1851,has been described as “his first real success.” In its early pages Surtees noted that “hunting men … are all supposed to be rich,” but Mr. Sponge most certainly was not. “That Mr. Sponge might have lost a trifle on the great races of the year, we don’t mean to deny, but that he lost such a sum as eighteen hundred on the Derby and seven on the Leger we are in a condition to contradict, for the best of all possible reasons, that he hadn’t it to lose.” In fact, Mr. Sponge makes a living, just about, by persuading other people to buy horses at prices well above their true value. As an excellent horseman, he is well-equipped to demonstrate a horse’s qualities and to conceal its faults.
In his first major transaction he does a deal with Mr. Buckram, the owner of a strong but vicious hack called Hercules (or “Ercles,” in the vernacular). Mr Sponge’s bargain with Buckram was a so-called “jobbing deal.” In detail, it was a rather complex rent-to-buy scheme, in which he has to pay an initial ten guineas a month for the use of Hercules, but is then confronted “with a sort of sliding scale of prices if he chose to buy.” The price of Ercles is “fixed at fifty [pounds], inclusive of hire at the end of the first month and gradually” rises “according to the length of time he kept him beyond that.”
Two chapters later Mr. Sponge has found his victim, Mr. Waffles of Laverick Wells, a young man about to inherit a large fortune who “had not the slightest idea of the value of money” or indeed of horses. After impressing Mr. Waffles at a meet of the Laverick Wells hunt, Mr. Sponge dupes Waffles’s agent, the hapless Caingey Thornton, into believing that he paid 250 guineas for Hercules. He offers to sell the horse for 300 guineas. Thornton accepts the price and proposes payment with a post-dated cheque signed by Mr. Waffles. Sponge prefers a “stiff,” which seems to have been a bill of exchange. Thornton agrees and tells Sponge “to draw at three months, and Mr. Waffles will accept, payable at Coutts.” The bill is handed over and Caingey Thornton takes possession of Hercules. The phrase “takes possession,” rather than “takes control,” is used deliberately, as the immediate results of the transaction are both highly dramatic and very destructive, and are excellently portrayed in one of the R. S. Surtees Society’s postcards. Hercules, for all his virtues, was not too much concerned about the legal niceties of ownership. After three “most desperate bounds” with Mr. Thornton in the saddle and two more for the hell of it, he “crashed right through Messrs Frippery and Flummery’s fine plate-glass window, to the terror and astonishment of their elegant young” customers, “who were busy arranging their ribbons and finery for the day.”
Surtees’s transactions in horses sometimes involved the exchange of hard cash and sometimes of cheques, but—as Mr. Sponge’s Sporting Tour shows—settlement was often in bills of exchange. Although the bill of exchange may be an exotic instrument at the start of the twenty-first century, it was a commonplace to the British upper and middle classes of the mid-nineteenth century. In essence, it was an IOU, with a promise to pay in legal tender (coin of the realm or Bank of England notes) at a future date. As long as the debtor had an undoubted ability to pay, the IOU could pass from hand to hand and be used to make payments several times before its ultimate redemption. Of course, someone taking a bill in payment would not be given full face value, partly because of the risk of default and partly to allow for interest costs. Bills three months, six months, or longer before redemption were “discounted,” at times very heavily.
Bankers in mid-Victorian England could take deposits and make loans in the same way as their modern counterparts, but many of them were in a rather different business. They bought bills at a discount and made their profit when the bill was delivered for full value as it fell due. These bill specialists operated in the City of London, particularly in Lombard Street, where they were known as “discount houses.” In some instances they carried out an extensive banking business, taking deposits from other banks and maintaining close links with the Bank of England. But often the bill specialists were quite small, having only one banking parlor which was in their homes. Two examples in Surtees are Mr. Hall in Young Tom Hall and Old Goldspink in Plain or Ringlets?. Surtees’s views on the ethnic origins of this sort of banker were openly prejudiced and, to the modern liberal mind, highly unattractive. Of course, many of them were Jewish, but the Jews were not Surtees’s only target. Old Goldspink is characterized as “one of the cautious money-scraping order of bankers, as distinguished to [sic] the go-ahead Scotch school, who run a-muck at everything.”
Obviously, the activity of bill discounting required a robust preparedness to say “no,” as well as a good understanding of interest-rate trends and an intimate knowledge of the credit-worthiness of particular individuals. Surtees assures his readers that Jorrocks’s bills “were as good as his bank notes,” but—in saying this—he implies that the generality of bills were inferior to bank notes. The uncertainties of bill finance made it an excellent subject for fiction. As the bill could pass through several hands in successive chapters, it was an ideal topic to sustain the reader’s attention in the serialized novels of mid-Victorian England.
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Chapter XXIX of Plain or Ringlets? describes “a quiet, innocent evening” in which Old Goldspink’s son, Jasper, is fleeced by a gang of professional card-sharpers, led by the loathsome Mr. O’Dicey. After a few hours of very one-sided play, Mr. O’Dicey remarks, “Credit is the soul of commerce, and why not of cards? let us see how each of us stands, and then we can talk about settling.” The card-players then resolve themselves “into a finance committee, and the process of IOU-ing and UOMe-ing” commence. At this stage Jasper’s losses amounted to £4,000.
Mr. O’Dicey proposes—since he protests himself sorry to win money off young men—that “we all join in a double or quits toss.” After various coughs and murmurs the cards are played. “Jasper turned up the Queen of Hearts, which O’Dicey immediately capped with the King of Spades, and, of course, the debt was doubled.” O’Dicey’s accomplices quickly find the stamps and other requirements to make the document legal and extract Jasper’s signature for £8,000, even though his father had “charged him never to put his name to anything.” So Jasper has written a bill of exchange, effectively against his father’s firm, to the tune of £8,000—about half a million pounds (or almost $750,000) in terms of the money of 2000—after a quiet, innocent, and very expensive evening of cards.
Given the scale of the transaction and the audacity of the fraud, the reader might expect Surtees to discuss the bill’s final destination in the next chapter. But he leaves the matter alone for several chapters, just as with a typical bill the debtor would postpone payment for a number of months. In fact, it is only twenty chapters later that the bill is presented to Goldspink’s institution, the Mayfield Bank. Old Goldspink quickly understands what has happened and considers taking the card-sharpers to court, but he fears that the magnitude of the sum and the attendant publicity might precipitate a run on the bank. “At last he made up his mind to pay and be done with it.” Ironically, a run on the bank occurs much later in the book and the bank goes under, ostensibly for a different reason. Nevertheless, the damage from his son’s gambling debts must have severely undermined the bank’s solvency.
Gambling makes an appearance in several of Surtees’s novels, even if the fate of the Goldspinks and the Mayfield Bank was perhaps the most poignant. One of Surtees’s more appealing characters is Mamma in Ask Mamma. Readers familiar with the novel will know that Mamma started life as Miss Emma Willing, a humble seamstress, who made a good first marriage to a wealthy merchant and became Mrs. Pringle, and was then widowed and made an even better second marriage to the Earl of Ladythorne. As a servant early in her career she found that “though fine ladies like to be cheated, it must be done in style.” She also found that in dire circumstances—for example, after their husbands had gambled nearly all the money away—fine ladies might indulge in a little cheating themselves. After she joined “the Hon. Mrs. Cavesson’s service late in the day, when all the preliminaries for a smash had been perfected, her fine sensibilities and discrimination enabled her to anticipate the coming evil and to deposit her mistress’s jewellery in a place of safety three quarters of an hour before the bailiffs entered.”
The alternations of fortune in Surtees’s England could be drastic but should not be exaggerated. The mid-Victorians were not always losing money by being cheated, by having feckless children, or by gambling. They could in fact hold their wealth in a wide variety of forms, some of them very safe. Surtees’s novels have an abundance of references to assets and to the problems of “investment management,” as it would be called nowadays. As Britain’s economy became richer, more cosmopolitan, and more complex, it became host to a remarkably wide assortment of financial securities and tangible possessions. In his imaginings of great wealth, Facey Romford conjectures that his uncle’s fortune contains “bills, bonds, post obits, IOUs.” The abolition of the Corn Laws in 1846 and the embrace of free trade led to the influx of an exotic range of consumer durables, some of which have retained value and over 150 years later are still being bought and sold as antiques. Mr. Jorrocks’ villa in Handley Cross had a “Honduran Mahogany table” and a Turkey carpet, while its stock of provisions included “Copenhagen cherry-brandy” as well as the more familiar “Dundee marmalade.”
Surtees’s views on portfolio selection are occasionally made explicit. It seems he was a cautious investor, with a deeply ingrained scepticism about the latest money-making fad. The most fundamental choice in mid-Victorian England was among the safety of “the funds” (i.e., government debt, particularly Consolidated stock or “Consols”), the relative safety of land and mortgages on land, and the riskiness of equities and other asset types. Broadly speaking, the yield on Consols was a stable, predictable, and reliable three percent. This was not much, but—in a society where long-run price stability was an established fact—it was a real return. Facey Romford sought his first employment as master of fox hounds in the Heaviside Hunt country. It had little industry or enterprise, but the people enjoyed a solid rural prosperity. In Surtees’s words, “they might be called a three percent sort of people in contradistinction to the raving capacity of modern cupidity.”
Surtees gave many examples of such “modern cupidity,” before his investors retreated to the safety of government debt or property. In the new speculatively built spa town of Handley Cross, the self-appointed “Master of Ceremonies” Captain Doleful has tried his hand at being a coal merchant, which was judged by Surtees to be “an unprofitable speculation.” Doleful sold up when it did not work and “sunk his money in an annuity.” (The annuity would have been paid by an insurance company, holding mortgages and government debt to meet the liability.) In Mr. Sponge’s Sporting Tour, the Jawleyfords were embittered by their investments in railways, “at whose bright lights” the family “had burnt its fingers.” In order to retain Jawleyford Court, they have to curb their expenses and keep them in line with their fairly secure rental income. On the whole, the 1840s and 1850s were years of considerable agricultural prosperity and rising rents, and investment in land generally gave better returns than investment in gilt-edged securities. Nevertheless, at one point in Ask Mamma Surtees opines “a man who has no taste for land or horses should have nothing do with either. He should put his money in the funds.”
Surtees was a significant landowner himself. It was very understandable that in the early 1840s he should be opposed to the abolition of the Corn Laws. Hillingdon Hall is full of entertaining characters and events, and remains a viable read at the start of the twenty-first century. It appeared in serial form in 1844, and was intended as a satire on the Anti-Corn Law League. The aristocracy feared that the influx of cheap corn would cut farm incomes, and so lead to a reduction in rents and the value of land. As agricultural improvement was one way to anticipate the evil, the novel pokes much fun at Jorrocks’ efforts in this direction. Jorrocks had made his fortune as a London-based merchant in tea and groceries, but in advanced middle age his love of hunting tempted him to set himself up as a country gentleman. He bought Hillingdon Hall, described as “quite a specimen of the old-fashioned manor-house.” When told of his rural neighbors’ wish to elect him as Member of Parliament, Jorrocks protests at the cost of living in London and asked them to consider “’ow ’appy I am in the country, tendin’ my flocks and ’erds, guanoin’ and nitrate o’ soberin’ my land, and all that sort of thing.” He nevertheless lets his name go forward as a candidate against the Marquis of Bray, who represents the Duke of Donkeytown’s interests. The reader is led to assume that successive Dukes of Donkeytown have regarded the seat as a pocket borough for several generations.
The Sellborough election in Hillingdon Hall has not made such an impression on English-speaking culture as the Eatanswill election in Pickwick Papers, perhaps because Surtees took the satire too far. Agricultural improvement was a more straightforward theme in Ask Mamma, where Major Yammerton turns round an over-mortgaged estate by draining the land with the proceeds of a government loan and greatly increasing its productivity. (Ask Mamma was published in 1858, after more than a decade in which the free import of food had been reconciled with high agricultural incomes.) But—in both Hillingdon Hall and Ask Mamma—Surtees was frank about the ethical standards of the English farming community. In Hillingdon Hall, Jorrocks is cheated by Joshua Sneakington, his estate manager, and so brought to “the unpleasant conviction that there were as big thieves in the country as in London,” including the City of London. In Ask Mamma, Surtees was more general in his comments, averring that the occasional difficulties caused by the repeal of the Corn Laws led tenants to renege on their obligations. In his words, the “probing of pockets showed that in too many cases the reputed honesty of the British farmer was … mere fiction; for some who were thought to be well-off now declared that their capital was their aunt’s, their uncle’s, or their grandmother’s, or someone else’s.”
The discussion of farming in Hillingdon Hall and Ask Mamma reflected Surtees’s own experience. According to Norman Gash, author of a 1993 study of “Robert Surtees and Early Victorian Society,” Surtees took his place “among the more active and sensible landlords of his day.” The references to tiles in the Sellborough election speeches were not rhetorical. The 1840s and 1850s saw extensive drainage work, often financed—like Major Yammerton’s—by government loans made possible by the Public Money Drainage Act of 1846. The loans were available at 3.5 percent, less than the commercial rate. An evident implication is that the typical return on farming was well above the three percent received on government securities, but both land-owning and the pursuit of farming itself (as a tenant) were quite risky, although not as risky as railway or coal-mining investments. Land had to give a higher return than government securities and other investments a yet higher return still, if they were to find a permanent place in investors’ portfolios. Part of the explanation for the excess return on these other assets was the risk of being cheated. There was an obvious need for lawyers to define and protect property rights, although Surtees was as cynical about their ethical standards as he was about other professions.’
In one respect the prominence of money and matrimony in mid-Victorian fiction reflects social mobility. The Victorians were fascinated by good and bad marriages, because they did lead to large changes in personal fortunes and position.
Plain or Ringlets? and Ask Mamma are Surtees’s most extended treatments of the marriage market. The central theme of Ask Mamma is—in effect—the choice of strategies for making a “good” marriage, where the excellence of the marriage is to be judged largely by the financial uplift enjoyed by the schemer. In Surtees’s novels the female philosophy of matrimony is simple and unsentimental: women marry in order to maximize their living standards. One chapter in Ask Mamma has the brazen title “Money and matrimony.” As already noted, Miss Willing (later Lady Ladythorne and the Mamma of the novel’s title) had a good first marriage which took her from the position of servant into that of the merchant middle class and an even better second marriage which advanced her into the aristocracy. The son by the first marriage—Fine Billy—goes to stay at the Earl of Ladythorne’s castle to learn about hunting in the county of Featherbedfordshire. Fine Billy is introduced to the dashing “equestrian coquette” Miss de Glancey as “the richest commoner in England,” but Mamma writes to her son, “Beware Miss de Glancey… . She hasn’t a halfpenny.”
In fact, at this stage in the novel the Earl of Ladythorne is still unmarried, and Miss de Glancey has eyes for him as well as for Fine Billy. Surtees does not give precise contractual details, but hints that some investors have even put up money in a scheme to promote a match between de Glancey and Ladythorne. Presumably the most important projected expenditure in this example of venture capital is a horse and fine clothes. “Miss de Glancey of Half-the- watering - places - in - England - and - some - on- the-Continent … had induced a part of England’s enterprizing sons to fit her out for an expedition against the gallant Earl of Ladythorne under the Limited Liability Act.” The reference to the Limited Liability Act may seem gratuitous, but it again reflects Surtees’s interest in contemporary political and financial developments. Of course, the marriage market—unlike other markets—was a parasitic zero-sum game. To the extent that one party gained, another party lost.
Ask Mamma is cynical and materialistic about marriage, but at least Surtees did not mention specific amounts of money in the Miss de Glancey enterprises. In his search for a bride in Plain or Ringlets? Mr. Bunting does not take such a relaxed view of matters. After his unsuccessful pursuit of Miss Wingfield “somewhere in Cumberland,” Mr. Bunting is sent a lawyer’s bill, “made out in a rather vindictive acrimonious way,” for £43.13s.4d. “So what with a twenty guinea diamond ring that the young lady had forgotten to return along with his letters and poetical effusions, together with the seven pound odd he had spent in equestrian exercise, he had got a long way into a three-figure note.”
In one respect the prominence of money and matrimony in mid-Victorian fiction reflects social mobility. The Victorians were fascinated by good and bad marriages, because they did lead to large changes in personal fortunes and position. The triumph of Miss Willing in Ask Mamma may have been exceptional, but Surtees’s novels are crowded with characters who leap or plunge several ranks in the social hierarchy because of the marriages they make. The theme of marriage between aristocrat husband and commoner wife appears in Hillingdon Hall as well as Ask Mamma and demonstrates the flexibility and openness of Victorian society. Big differences in investment returns are part of the reason for the changing distribution of income and wealth, but stake-holding and position-taking in the marriage market also play a role.
Nevertheless, the zero-sum character of the marriage market restricted the potential gains. From the point of view of society as a whole, the considerable effort devoted to it was unproductive and wasteful. Mrs. Thomas Trattles in Roseberry Rocks, the locale for the pursuit of Miss McDermott in Plain or Ringlets?, makes a living from taking commissions on introductions between possible marriage partners, “and was always ready in the mediating way, … to adjust differences, recommend houses, engage musicians or attend dinner parties on the shortest notice.” No doubt the Mrs. Trattles of this world served a useful function, but there were limits to the demand for the services provided by such people. Surtees had no illusions about the ultimate worth of matrimonial intermediaries. Mrs. Trattles was “truly invaluable” for “fanning a flirtation” and “was frequently retained on both sides.”
Mid-Victorian Englishmen and -women were well aware of the riskiness of their lives. Chapter XV of Handley Cross features a conversation between Jorrocks’ servants and the staff of the Dragon Inn. They know that their employment prospects are unpredictable, their pay is likely to be late, and the probability of being cheated in everyday purchases is high. While conditions were therefore uncertain for those without property, enough has already been said about the investment risks facing the propertied Victorian middle class. England in the middle of the nineteenth century lacked social security to comfort the working class and financial regulation to protect the middle-class saver. People had to look after themselves, and they knew it. In Jorrocks’ words to the Handley Cross hunt ball, “Honesty is of no use to licensed ’oss dealers. Every man supposes they are rogues and treats them accordingly.”
To the modern reader, Surtees’s England may seem tough, harsh, and unfair, but it has an important economic advantage over the industrial societies of the early twenty-first century. The lightness of regulation saved on two kinds of cost. First, it allowed society to dispense with regulatory bureaucracy. Relatively few people were involved in preventing other people from doing things which, left to themselves, they genuinely wanted to do. Relatively more people could therefore get on with doing what they wanted to do or—in other words—with actual productive work. Secondly, the costs of complying with regulation were negligible. Of course, dealing in second- or third-hand horses, like that in second-hand cars today, was intrin- sically difficult to regulate. But—in the modern world with vast cross-border capital flows—so also are transactions in financial securities, but that does not prevent governments and official agencies introducing a vast apparatus of rules, rule-makers, and rule-enforcers to supervise such transactions.
The mid-Victorian age is commonly represented as the heyday of laissez-faire. The characters in Surtees’s novels are indeed mostly self-reliant, self-starting, and self-made, however indifferent their standards of financial probity. They knew that they might be cheated every day of their lives, and that they had to be alert and careful. To that extent the need for government and regulation was less than in the twentieth century. No one living in early and mid-Victorian England could have any doubts that financial success—in the zero-sum games of marriage and gambling, and in the risky games of investing—was largely a matter of luck; the distribution of income and wealth was not equitable or fair in some abstract sense, and it most certainly was not a reflection of “social justice.” But that did not stop the Victorians playing the exciting money-making games of a dynamic and growing economy. Whether they ended as winners and losers, they provided Surtees with the vast amount of source material he assembled in his wonderful novels.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 20 Number 10, on page 33
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