“Well, my lord, that thought occurred to both my father and myself. I reasoned it out in this way. These seven men had acquired the goldfields from a party of explorers, or from a single explorer, who had discovered it. They probably paid very little money to the discoverer, perhaps not buying it outright, but merely securing an option. Whoever had parted with his rights had evidently succeeded in convincing the syndicate that he spoke the truth. Whether the syndicate hadn’t sufficient capital to develop the property, or preferred to risk other people’s cash in opening the mine, I do not know, but they evidently thought it worth while to spend some of their own money and send me out there, that they might receive an independent and presumably honest opinion on its value. Be that as it may, there was no exposure forthcoming. The property proved even richer than they had stated. It so seldom happens in the city that anything offered for sale greatly exceeds in value the price asked for it, that the members of the syndicate were themselves surprised when they read my report. It had been arranged, and the document signed before I left England, that my father should get for them not less than fifty thousand pounds nor more than a hundred thousand, for working capital to send out an expedition, buy machinery, and so forth. Now, however, the syndicate proposed that the company should be formed for something like a million pounds. My father pointed out to them the impossibility of getting this sum, for the property was in a locality not hitherto known as a gold-bearing region. Then again, my own standing as a mining engineer carried no particular weight. Although my father believed implicitly in my reports, I was so lacking in celebrity in my profession, it would be folly to attempt to raise any considerable sum on my unsupported word, and rather unsafe to make this discovery public by sending out more eminent engineers. Besides, as I have said, the papers were all signed and stamped, and my father, having a good deal of northern stubbornness in his nature, insisted on the project being carried out as originally projected, so the syndicate was compelled to postpone its onslaught upon the purse of the public.