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Home -> P.G. Wodehouse -> Piccadilly Jim -> Chapter 24

Piccadilly Jim - Chapter 24

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


To this remarkable metamorphosis in Mr. Peter Pett several causes
had contributed. In the first place, the sudden dismissal of
Jerry Mitchell had obliged him to go two days without the
physical exercises to which his system had become accustomed, and
this had produced a heavy, irritable condition of body and mind.
He had brooded on the injustice of his lot until he had almost
worked himself up to rebellion. And then, as sometimes happened
with him when he was out of sorts, a touch of gout came to add to
his troubles. Being a patient man by nature, he might have borne
up against these trials, had he been granted an adequate night's
rest. But, just as he had dropped off after tossing restlessly
for two hours, things had begun to happen noisily in the library.
He awoke to a vague realisation of tumult below.

Such was the morose condition of his mind as the result of his
misfortune that at first not even the cries for help could
interest him sufficiently to induce him to leave his bed. He knew
that walking in his present state would be painful, and he
declined to submit to any more pain just because some party
unknown was apparently being murdered in his library. It was not
until the shrill barking of the dog Aida penetrated right in
among his nerve-centres and began to tie them into knots that he
found himself compelled to descend. Even when he did so, it was
in no spirit of kindness. He did not come to rescue anybody or to
interfere between any murderer and his victim. He came in a fever
of militant wrath to suppress Aida. On the threshold of the
library, however, the genius, by treading on his gouty foot, had
diverted his anger and caused it to become more general. He had
not ceased to concentrate his venom on Aida. He wanted to assail

"What's the matter here?" he demanded, red-eyed. "Isn't somebody
going to tell me? Have I got to stop here all night? Who on earth
is this?" He glared at Miss Trimble. "What's she doing with that
pistol?" He stamped incautiously with his bad foot, and emitted a
dry howl of anguish.

"She is a detective, Peter," said Mrs. Pett timidly.

"A detective? Why? Where did she come from?"

Miss Trimble took it upon herself to explain.

"Mister Pett, siz Pett sent f'r me t' watch out so's nobody
kidnapped her son."

"Oggie," explained Mrs. Pett. "Miss Trimble was guarding darling


"To--to prevent him being kidnapped, Peter."

Mr. Pett glowered at the stout boy. Then his eye was attracted by
the forlorn figure of Jerry Mitchell. He started.

"Was this fellow kidnapping the boy?" he asked.

"Sure," said Miss Trimble. "Caught h'm with th' goods. He w's
waiting outside there with a car. I held h'm and this other guy
up w'th a gun and brought 'em back!"

"Jerry," said Mr. Pett, "it wasn't your fault that you didn't
bring it off, and I'm going to treat you right. You'd have done
it if nobody had butted in to stop you. You'll get the money to
start that health-farm of yours all right. I'll see to that. Now
you run off to bed. There's nothing to keep you here."

"Say!" cried Miss Trimble, outraged. "D'ya mean t' say y' aren't
going t' pros'cute? Why, aren't I tell'ng y' I caught h'm
kidnapping th' boy?"

"I told him to kidnap the boy!" snarled Mr. Pett.


Mr. Pett looked like an under-sized lion as he faced his wife. He
bristled. The recollection of all that he had suffered from Ogden
came to strengthen his determination.

"I've tried for two years to get you to send that boy to a good
boarding-school, and you wouldn't do it. I couldn't stand having
him loafing around the house any longer, so I told Jerry Mitchell
to take him away to a friend of his who keeps a dogs' hospital on
Long Island and to tell his friend to hold him there till he got
some sense into him. Well, you've spoiled that for the moment
with your detectives, but it still looks good to me. I'll give
you a choice. You can either send that boy to a boarding-school
next week, or he goes to Jerry Mitchell's friend. I'm not going
to have him in the house any longer, loafing in my chair and
smoking my cigarettes. Which is it to be?"

"But, Peter!"


"If I send him to a school, he may be kidnapped."

"Kidnapping can't hurt him. It's what he needs. And, anyway, if
he is I'll pay the bill and be glad to do it. Take him off to bed
now. To-morrow you can start looking up schools. Great Godfrey!"
He hopped to the writing-desk and glared disgustedly at the
_debris_ on it. "Who's been making this mess on my desk? It's hard!
It's darned hard! The only room in the house that I ask to have
for my own, where I can get a little peace, and I find it turned
into a beer-garden, and coffee or some damned thing spilled all
over my writing-desk!"

"That isn't coffee, Peter," said Mrs. Pett mildly. This cave-man
whom she had married under the impression that he was a gentle
domestic pet had taken all the spirit out of her. "It's Willie's

"Willie's explosive?"

"Lord Wisbeach--I mean the man who pretended to be Lord
Wisbeach--dropped it there."

"Dropped it there? Well, why didn't it explode and blow the place
to Hoboken, then?"

Mrs. Pett looked helplessly at Willie, who thrust his fingers
into his mop of hair and rolled his eyes.

"There was fortunately some slight miscalculation in my formula,
uncle Peter," he said. "I shall have to look into it to-morrow.
Whether the trinitrotoluol--"

Mr. Pett uttered a sharp howl. He beat the air with his clenched
fists. He seemed to be having a brain-storm.

"Has this--this _fish_ been living on me all this time--have I been
supporting this--this _buzzard_ in luxury all these years while he
fooled about with an explosive that won't explode! He pointed an
accusing finger at the inventor. Look into it tomorrow, will you?
Yes, you can look into it to-morrow after six o'clock! Until then
you'll be working--for the first time in your life--working in my
office, where you ought to have been all along." He surveyed the
crowded room belligerently. "Now perhaps you will all go back to
bed and let people get a little sleep. Go home!" he said to the

Miss Trimble stood her ground. She watched Mrs. Pett pass away
with Ogden, and Willie Partridge head a stampede of geniuses, but
she declined to move.

"Y' gotta cut th' rough stuff, 'ster Pett," she said calmly. "I
need my sleep, j'st 's much 's everyb'dy else, but I gotta stay
here. There's a lady c'ming right up in a taxi fr'm th' Astorbilt
to identify this gook. She's after'm f'r something."

"What! Skinner?"

"'s what he calls h'mself."

"What's he done?"

"I d'no. Th' lady'll tell us that."

There was a violent ringing at the front door bell.

"I guess that's her," said Miss Trimble. "Who's going to let 'r
in? I can't go."

"I will," said Ann.

Mr. Pett regarded Mr. Crocker with affectionate encouragement.

"I don't know what you've done, Skinner," he said, "but I'll
stand by you. You're the best fan I ever met, and if I can keep
you out of the penitentiary, I will."

"It isn't the penitentiary!" said Mr. Crocker unhappily.

A tall, handsome, and determined-looking woman came into the
room. She stood in the doorway, looking about her. Then her eyes
rested on Mr. Crocker. For a moment she gazed incredulously at
his discoloured face. She drew a little nearer, peering.

"D'yo 'dentify 'm, ma'am?" said Miss Trimble.


"Is 't th' guy y' wanted?"

"It's my husband!" said Mrs. Crocker.

"Y' can't arrest 'm f'r _that!_" said Miss Trimble disgustedly.

She thrust her revolver back into the hinterland of her costume.

"Guess I'll be beatin' it," she said with a sombre frown. She was
plainly in no sunny mood. "'f all th' hunk jobs I was ever on,
this is th' hunkest. I'm told off 't watch a gang of crooks, and
after I've lost a night's sleep doing it, it turns out 't's a
nice, jolly fam'ly party!" She jerked her thumb towards Jimmy.
"Say, this guy says he's that guy's son. I s'pose it's all

"That is my step-son, James Crocker."

Ann uttered a little cry, but it was lost in Miss Trimble's
stupendous snort. The detective turned to the window.

"I guess I'll beat 't," she observed caustically, "before it
turns out that I'm y'r l'il daughter Genevieve."

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