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Home -> P.G. Wodehouse -> Piccadilly Jim -> Chapter 6

Piccadilly Jim - Chapter 6

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


Jimmy removed himself sorrowfully from the doorstep of the Duke
of Devizes' house in Cleveland Row. His mission had been a
failure. In answer to his request to be permitted to see Lord
Percy Whipple, the butler had replied that Lord Percy was
confined to his bed and was seeing nobody. He eyed Jimmy, on
receiving his name, with an interest which he failed to conceal,
for he too, like Bayliss, had read and heartily enjoyed Bill
Blake's spirited version of the affair of last night which had
appeared in the _Daily Sun_. Indeed, he had clipped the report out
and had been engaged in pasting it in an album when the bell

In face of this repulse, Jimmy's campaign broke down. He was at a
loss to know what to do next. He ebbed away from the Duke's front
door like an army that has made an unsuccessful frontal attack on
an impregnable fortress. He could hardly force his way in and
search for Lord Percy.

He walked along Pall Mall, deep in thought. It was a beautiful
day. The rain which had fallen in the night and relieved Mr.
Crocker from the necessity of watching cricket had freshened
London up.

The sun was shining now from a turquoise sky. A gentle breeze
blew from the south. Jimmy made his way into Piccadilly, and
found that thoroughfare a-roar with happy automobilists and
cheery pedestrians. Their gaiety irritated him. He resented
their apparent enjoyment of life.

Jimmy's was not a nature that lent itself readily to
introspection, but he was putting himself now through a searching
self-examination which was revealing all kinds of unsuspected
flaws in his character. He had been having too good a time for
years past to have leisure to realise that he possessed any
responsibilities. He had lived each day as it came in the spirit
of the Monks of Thelema. But his father's reception of the news
of last night's escapade and the few words he had said had given
him pause. Life had taken on of a sudden a less simple aspect.
Dimly, for he was not accustomed to thinking along these lines,
he perceived the numbing truth that we human beings are merely as
many pieces in a jig-saw puzzle and that our every movement
affects the fortunes of some other piece. Just so, faintly at
first and taking shape by degrees, must the germ of civic spirit
have come to Prehistoric Man. We are all individualists till we
wake up.

The thought of having done anything to make his father unhappy
was bitter to Jimmy Crocker. They had always been more like
brothers than father and son. Hard thoughts about himself surged
through Jimmy's mind. With a dejectedness to which it is possible
that his headache contributed he put the matter squarely to
himself. His father was longing to return to America--he, Jimmy,
by his idiotic behaviour was putting obstacles in the way of that
return--what was the answer? The answer, to Jimmy's way of
thinking, was that all was not well with James Crocker, that,
when all the evidence was weighed, James Crocker would appear to
be a fool, a worm, a selfish waster, and a hopeless, low-down,

Having come to this conclusion, Jimmy found himself so low in
spirit that the cheerful bustle of Piccadilly was too much for
him. He turned, and began to retrace his steps. Arriving in due
course at the top of the Haymarket he hesitated, then turned down
it till he reached Cockspur Street. Here the Trans-Atlantic
steamship companies have their offices, and so it came about that
Jimmy, chancing to look up as he walked, perceived before him,
riding gallantly on a cardboard ocean behind a plate-glass
window, the model of a noble vessel. He stopped, conscious of a
curious thrill. There is a superstition in all of us. When an
accidental happening chances to fit smoothly in with a mood,
seeming to come as a direct commentary on that mood, we are apt
to accept it in defiance of our pure reason as an omen. Jimmy
strode to the window and inspected the model narrowly. The sight
of it had started a new train of thought. His heart began to
race. Hypnotic influences were at work on him.

Why not? Could there be a simpler solution of the whole trouble?

Inside the office he would see a man with whiskers buying a
ticket for New York. The simplicity of the process fascinated
him. All you had to do was to walk in, bend over the counter
while the clerk behind it made dabs with a pencil at the
illustrated plate of the ship's interior organs, and hand over
your money. A child could do it, if in funds. At this thought his
hand strayed to his trouser-pocket. A musical crackling of
bank-notes proceeded from the depths. His quarterly allowance had
been paid to him only a short while before, and, though a willing
spender, he still retained a goodly portion of it. He rustled the
notes again. There was enough in that pocket to buy three tickets
to New York. Should he? . . . Or, on the other hand--always look
on both sides of the question--should he not?

It would certainly seem to be the best thing for all parties if
he did follow the impulse. By rem

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