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Home -> P.G. Wodehouse -> Piccadilly Jim -> Chapter 20

Piccadilly Jim - Chapter 20

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


Plit is only as strong as its weakest link. The best-laid schemes
of mice and men gang agley if one of the mice is a mental
defective or if one of the men is a Jerry Mitchell. . . .

Celestine, Mrs. Pett's maid--she who was really Maggie O'Toole
and whom Jerry loved with a strength which deprived him of even
that small amount of intelligence which had been bestowed upon
him by Nature--came into the house-keeper's room at about ten
o'clock that night. The domestic staff had gone in a body to the
moving-pictures, and the only occupant of the room was the new
parlourmaid, who was sitting in a hard chair, reading

Celestine's face was flushed, her dark hair was ruffled, and her
eyes were shining. She breathed a little quickly, and her left
hand was out of sight behind her back. She eyed the new
parlour-maid doubtfully for a moment. The latter was a woman of
somewhat unencouraging exterior, not the kind that invites
confidences. But Celestine had confidences to bestow, and the
exodus to the movies had left her in a position where she could
not pick and choose. She was faced with the alternative of
locking her secret in her palpitating bosom or of revealing it to
this one auditor. The choice was one which no impulsive damsel in
like circumstances would have hesitated to make.

"Say!" said Celestine.

A face rose reluctantly from behind Schopenhauer. A gleaming eye
met Celestine's. A second eye no less gleaming glared at the

"Say, I just been talking to my feller outside," said Celestine
with a coy simper. "Say, he's a grand man!"

A snort of uncompromising disapproval proceeded from the
thin-lipped mouth beneath the eyes. But Celestine was too full of
her news to be discouraged.

"I'm strong fer Jer!" she said.

"Huh?" said the student of Schopenhauer.

"Jerry Mitchell, you know. You ain't never met him, have you?
Say, he's a grand man!"

For the first time she had the other's undivided attention. The
new parlour-maid placed her book upon the table.

"Uh?" she said.

Celestine could hold back her dramatic surprise no longer. Her
concealed left hand flashed into view. On the third finger
glittered a ring. She gazed at it with awed affection.

"Ain't it a beaut!"

She contemplated its sparkling perfection for a moment in
rapturous silence.

"Say, you could have knocked me down with a feather!" she
resumed. "He telephones me awhile ago and says to be outside the
back door at ten to-night, because he'd something he wanted to
tell me. Of course he couldn't come in and tell it me here,
because he'd been fired and everything. So I goes out, and there
he is. 'Hello, kid!' he says to me. 'Fresh!' I says to him.
'Say, I got something to be fresh about!' he says to me. And then
he reaches into his jeans and hauls out the sparkler. 'What's
that?' I says to him. 'It's an engagement ring,' he says to me.
'For you, if you'll wear it!' I came over so weak, I could have
fell! And the next thing I know he's got it on my finger and--"
Celestine broke off modestly. "Say, ain't it a beaut, honest!"
She gave herself over to contemplation once more. "He says to me
how he's on Easy Street now, or will be pretty soon. I says to
him 'Have you got a job, then?' He says to me 'Now, I ain't got a
job, but I'm going to pull off a stunt to-night that's going to
mean enough to me to start that health-farm I've told you about.'
Say, he's always had a line of talk about starting a health-farm
down on Long Island, he knowing all about training and health and
everything through having been one of them fighters. I asks him
what the stunt is, but he won't tell me yet. He says he'll tell
me after we're married, but he says it's sure-fire and he's going
to buy the license tomorrow."

She paused for comment and congratulations, eyeing her companion

"Huh!" said the new parlour-maid briefly, and resumed her
Schopenhauer. Decidedly hers was not a winning personality.

"Ain't it a beaut?" demanded Celestine, damped.

The new parlour-maid uttered a curious sound at the back of her

"He's a beaut!" she said cryptically.

She added another remark in a lower tone, too low for Celestine's
ears. It could hardly have been that, but it sounded to Celestine

"I'll fix 'm!"

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