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Wolf Larsen is a man who is arrogant and materialistic. He believes that if someone steals his profit, or his money then they have done as much damage as if they steal his life. To Wolf profit is his life. He tells Maud and Hump that he envies their non-intellectual sided. He is in someways saying he envies their ideals and the ability to be joyous over what he considers to be trivial things in life. Wolf tells them that his intellect envies this but not his heart. He compares the envy to a sober man seeing a drunk man and wishing he could let go of himself enough to get drunk.
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