a great deal

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It seems as if a great deal were attainable in a world where there are so many marriages an decisive battles, and where we all, at certan hours of the day, and with great gusto and despatch, stow a portion of victuals finally and irretrievably into the bag which contains us. And it would seem also, on a hasty view, that the attainment of as much as possible was the one goal of man's contentious life. And yet, as regards the spirit, this is but a semblance. We live in an ascending scale where we live happily, one thing leading to another in a endless series.(EL Dorado by Robert L. Stevenson)m

Hi, everyone!

I am reading an article, and I meet a problem. Please help me.

In the first sentence, a great deal means a lot of fortune? If not, what does it mean?

Thanks very much!
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