home | authors | books | about

Home -> P.G. Wodehouse -> The Intrusion of Jimmy -> Chapter 3

The Intrusion of Jimmy - Chapter 3

1. Chapter 1

2. Chapter 2

3. Chapter 3

4. Chapter 4

5. Chapter 5

6. Chapter 6

7. Chapter 7

8. Chapter 8

9. Chapter 9

10. Chapter 10

11. Chapter 11

12. Chapter 12

13. Chapter 13

14. Chapter 14

15. Chapter 15

16. Chapter 16

17. Chapter 17

18. Chapter 18

19. Chapter 19

20. Chapter 20

21. Chapter 21

22. Chapter 22

23. Chapter 23

24. Chapter 24

25. Chapter 25

26. Chapter 26

27. Chapter 27

28. Chapter 28

29. Chapter 29

30. Chapter 30



At about the time when Jimmy's meditations finally merged themselves
in dreams, a certain Mr. John McEachern, Captain of Police, was
seated in the parlor of his up-town villa, reading. He was a man
built on a large scale. Everything about him was large--his hands,
his feet, his shoulders, his chest, and particularly his jaw, which
even in his moments of calm was aggressive, and which stood out,
when anything happened to ruffle him, like the ram of a battle-ship.
In his patrolman days, which had been passed mainly on the East
side, this jaw of his had acquired a reputation from Park Row to
Fourteenth Street. No gang-fight, however absorbing, could retain
the undivided attention of the young blood of the Bowery when Mr.
McEachern's jaw hove in sight with the rest of his massive person in
close attendance. He was a man who knew no fear, and he had gone
through disorderly mobs like an east wind.

But there was another side to his character. In fact, that other
side was so large that the rest of him, his readiness in combat and
his zeal in breaking up public disturbances, might be said to have
been only an off-shoot. For his ambition was as large as his fist
and as aggressive as his jaw. He had entered the force with the
single idea of becoming rich, and had set about achieving his object
with a strenuous vigor that was as irresistible as his mighty
locust-stick. Some policemen are born grafters, some achieve graft,
and some have graft thrust upon them. Mr. McEachern had begun by
being the first, had risen to the second, and for some years now had
been a prominent member of the small and hugely prosperous third
class, the class that does not go out seeking graft, but sits at
home and lets graft come to it.

In his search for wealth, he had been content to abide his time. He
did not want the trifling sum that every New York policeman
acquires. His object was something bigger, and he was prepared to
wait for it. He knew that small beginnings were an annoying but
unavoidable preliminary to all great fortunes. Probably, Captain
Kidd had started in a small way. Certainly, Mr. Rockefeller had. He
was content to follow in the footsteps of the masters.

A patrolman's opportunities of amassing wealth are not great. Mr.
McEachern had made the best of a bad job. He had not disdained the
dollars that came as single spies rather than in battalions. Until
the time should arrive when he might angle for whales, he was
prepared to catch sprats.

Much may be done, even on a small scale, by perseverance. In those
early days, Mr. McEachern's observant eye had not failed to notice
certain peddlers who obstructed the traffic, divers tradesmen who
did the same by the side-walk, and of restaurant keepers not a few
with a distaste for closing at one o'clock in the morning. His
researches in this field were not unprofitable. In a reasonably
short space of time, he had put by the three thousand dollars that
were the price of his promotion to detective-sergeant. He did not
like paying three thousand dollars for promotion, but there must be
sinking of capital if an investment is to prosper. Mr. McEachern
"came across," and climbed one more step up the ladder.

As detective-sergeant, he found his horizon enlarged. There was more
scope for a man of parts. Things moved more rapidly. The world
seemed full of philanthropists, anxious to "dress his front" and do
him other little kindnesses. Mr. McEachern was no churl. He let them
dress his front. He accepted the little kindnesses. Presently, he
found that he had fifteen thousand dollars to spare for any small
flutter that might take his fancy. Singularly enough, this was the
precise sum necessary to make him a captain.

He became a captain. And it was then that he discovered that El
Dorado was no mere poet's dream, and that Tom Tiddler's Ground,
where one might stand picking up gold and silver, was as definite a
locality as Brooklyn or the Bronx. At last, after years of patient
waiting, he stood like Moses on the mountain, looking down into the
Promised Land. He had come to where the Big Money was.

The captain was now reading the little note-book wherein he kept a
record of his investments, which were numerous and varied. That the
contents were satisfactory was obvious at a glance. The smile on his
face and the reposeful position of his jaw were proof enough of
that. There were notes relating to house-property, railroad shares,
and a dozen other profitable things. He was a rich man.

This was a fact that was entirely unsuspected by his neighbors, with
whom he maintained somewhat distant relations, accepting no
invitations and giving none. For Mr. McEachern was playing a big
game. Other eminent buccaneers in his walk of life had been content
to be rich men in a community where moderate means were the rule.
But about Mr. McEachern there was a touch of the Napoleonic. He
meant to get into society--and the society he had selected was that
of England. Other people have noted the fact--which had impressed
itself very firmly on the policeman's mind--that between England and
the United States there are three thousand miles of deep water. In
the United States, he would be a retired police-captain; in England,
an American gentleman of large and independent means with a
beautiful daughter.

That was the ruling impulse in his life--his daughter Molly. Though,
if he had been a bachelor, he certainly would not have been
satisfied to pursue a humble career aloof from graft, on the other
hand, if it had not been for Molly, he would not have felt, as he
gathered in his dishonest wealth, that he was conducting a sort of
holy war. Ever since his wife had died, in his detective-sergeant
days, leaving him with a year-old daughter, his ambitions had been
inseparably connected with Molly.

All his thoughts were on the future. This New York life was only a
preparation for the splendors to come. He spent not a dollar
unnecessarily. When Molly was home from school, they lived together
simply and quietly in the small house which Molly's taste made so
comfortable. The neighbors, knowing his profession and seeing the
modest scale on which he lived, told one another that here at any
rate was a policeman whose hands were clean of graft. They did not
know of the stream that poured week by week and year by year into
his bank, to be diverted at intervals into the most profitable
channels. Until the time should come for the great change, economy
was his motto. The expenses of his home were kept within the bounds
of his official salary. All extras went to swell his savings.

He closed his book with a contented sigh, and lighted another cigar.
Cigars were his only personal luxury. He drank nothing, ate the
simplest food, and made a suit of clothes last for quite an unusual
length of time; but no passion for economy could make him deny
himself smoke.

He sat on, thinking. It was very late, but he did not feel ready for
bed. A great moment had arrived in his affairs. For days, Wall
Street had been undergoing one of its periodical fits of jumpiness.
There had been rumors and counter-rumors, until finally from the
confusion there had soared up like a rocket the one particular stock
in which he was most largely interested. He had unloaded that
morning, and the result had left him slightly dizzy. The main point
to which his mind clung was that the time had come at last. He could
make the great change now at any moment that suited him.

He was blowing clouds of smoke and gloating over this fact when the
door opened, admitting a bull-terrier, a bull-dog, and in the wake
of the procession a girl in a kimono and red slippers.

© Art Branch Inc. | English Dictionary