Friday, April 15, 2011

Actual Value

Roman coin showing Emperor Caligula (ruled AD 37 -- AD 41) on face with figure of Vesta on reverse.

        ‘They are still selling.’

        ‘Then we must go on buying.’

         ‘There’s a limit, Mr Krogh.’

          ‘No limit.’

          ‘Where’s the money to come from?’

           ‘I’ve arranged that.  The A.C.U. will lend the money.’

Frozen Stockholm

          ‘We shall need every penny they’ve got.’

           ‘You can have it.’

          “But the A.C.U.  They’ll have to pass their dividend.  It’ll start a panic.  This won’t be a single break.  It’ll be like a sieve.  You’ll have holes sprung in Berlin, Warsaw, Paris, everywhere.’

          ‘No, no,’ Krogh said, ‘you exaggerate.  You live too much in the centre of things, Hall.  I’m right out of it here.  When once we’ve started the American company next week, we can do what we like with the market.’

          ‘But the A.C.U.?”

Earliest existing stock certificate, Sweden, 1288 

          ‘We’re selling it.  Batterson’s are buying.  A million pounds down.  That will fill any holes for a week, Hall.  You’ve just got to go on buying.’

           ‘But the A.C.U. won’t have a farthing.’  He could hear the thin whistle of Hall’s breath far away in his room in Amsterdam.

          ‘They’ll be exactly what they are worth now.  Only it’ll be in the form of shares in the Amsterdam company.’

The 28th page of Patrick Breen's diary (Donner Party member; departed Illinois for California, April 14, 1846), recording his observations in late February 1847, including 'Mrs Murphy said here yesterday that thought she would Commence on Milt & eat him.  I dont that she has done so yet, it is distressing.'

          ‘But you know we aren’t worth the money we’re spending.’  Krogh had no need of television when he spoke to Hall;  they had been together so long he could associate every inflection with its accompanying action; the reproachful swinging leg, the doubting dangle of watch chain.

          ‘Yes, you are, Fred,’ Krogh said.  He was quite happy again because he was dealing with figures, there was nothing he couldn’t do with them, there was nothing human about them.  ‘You are worth everything.  Our credit’s bound up with you.  The A.C.U. is nothing.  It has nothing to do with the main business. It’s an investment we are willing to sell.  If you go, the I.G.S. goes.’

          ‘Yes, but in actual value…’

Frozen Amsterdam

          'Three minutes are up,’ a voice said in German.

          'There is no such thing,’ Krogh said, 'as actual value.’  He took up an ashtray and put it down again: E.K.

          ‘There’s only the price people are willing to pay.’

Francisco Goya, "The Shootings of May 3, 1808," 1814, Oil on canvas, Museo del Prado, Madrid 

Text excerpted from Graham Greene, England Made Me. London, William Heinemann Ltd., 1935

No comments:

Post a Comment