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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesPiccadilly Jim - Chapter VI - JIMMY ABANDONS PICCADILLY
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Piccadilly Jim - Chapter VI - JIMMY ABANDONS PICCADILLY Post by :amanda Category :Long Stories Author :P G Wodehouse Date :June 2011 Read :1948

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Piccadilly Jim - Chapter VI - JIMMY ABANDONS PICCADILLY

CHAPTER VI - JIMMY ABANDONS PICCADILLY


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
rang.

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,
skunk.

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 remaining in London he was injuring
everybody, himself included. . . . Well, there was no harm in
making enquiries. Probably the boat was full up anyway. . . . He
walked into the office.

"Have you anything left on the _Atlantic this trip?"

The clerk behind the counter was quite the wrong sort of person
for Jimmy to have had dealings with in his present mood. What
Jimmy needed was a grave, sensible man who would have laid a hand
on his shoulder and said "Do nothing rash, my boy!" The clerk
fell short of this ideal in practically every particular. He was
about twenty-two, and he seemed perfectly enthusiastic about the
idea of Jimmy going to America. He beamed at Jimmy.

"Plenty of room," he said. "Very few people crossing. Give you
excellent accommodation."

"When does the boat sail?"

"Eight to-morrow morning from Liverpool. Boat-train leaves
Paddington six to-night."

Prudence came at the eleventh hour to check Jimmy. This was not a
matter, he perceived, to be decided recklessly, on the spur of a
sudden impulse. Above all, it was not a matter to be decided
before lunch. An empty stomach breeds imagination. He had
ascertained that he could sail on the _Atlantic if he wished to.
The sensible thing to do now was to go and lunch and see how he
felt about it after that. He thanked the clerk, and started to
walk up the Haymarket, feeling hard-headed and practical, yet
with a strong premonition that he was going to make a fool of
himself just the same.

It was half-way up the Haymarket that he first became conscious
of the girl with the red hair.

Plunged in thought, he had not noticed her before. And yet she
had been walking a few paces in front of him most of the way. She
had come out of Panton Street, walking briskly, as one going to
keep a pleasant appointment. She carried herself admirably, with
a jaunty swing.

Having become conscious of this girl, Jimmy, ever a warm admirer
of the sex, began to feel a certain interest stealing over him.
With interest came speculation. He wondered who she was. He
wondered where she had bought that excellently fitting suit of
tailor-made grey. He admired her back, and wondered whether her
face, if seen, would prove a disappointment. Thus musing, he drew
near to the top of the Haymarket, where it ceases to be a street
and becomes a whirlpool of rushing traffic. And here the girl,
having paused and looked over her shoulder, stepped off the
sidewalk. As she did so a taxi-cab rounded the corner quickly
from the direction of Coventry Street.

The agreeable surprise of finding the girl's face fully as
attractive as her back had stimulated Jimmy, so that he was keyed
up for the exhibition of swift presence-of-mind. He jumped
forward and caught her arm, and swung her to one side as the cab
rattled past, its driver thinking hard thoughts to himself. The
whole episode was an affair of seconds.

"Thank you," said the girl.

She rubbed the arm which he had seized with rather a rueful
expression. She was a little white, and her breath came quickly.

"I hope I didn't hurt you," said Jimmy.

"You did. Very much. But the taxi would have hurt me more."

She laughed. She looked very attractive when she laughed. She had
a small, piquant, vivacious face. Jimmy, as he looked at it, had
an odd feeling that he had seen her before--when and where he did
not know. That mass of red-gold hair seemed curiously familiar.
Somewhere in the hinterland of his mind there lurked a memory,
but he could not bring it into the open. As for the girl, if she
had ever met him before, she showed no signs of recollecting it.
Jimmy decided that, if he had seen her, it must have been in his
reporter days. She was plainly an American, and he occasionally
had the feeling that he had seen every one in America when he had
worked for the _Chronicle_.

"That's right," he said approvingly. "Always look on the bright
side."

"I only arrived in London yesterday," said the girl, "and I
haven't got used to your keeping-to-the-left rules. I don't
suppose I shall ever get back to New York alive. Perhaps, as you
have saved my life, you wouldn't mind doing me another service.
Can you tell me which is the nearest and safest way to a
restaurant called the Regent Grill?"

"It's just over there, at the corner of Regent Street. As to the
safest way, if I were you I should cross over at the top of the
street there and then work round westward. Otherwise you will have
to cross Piccadilly Circus."

"I absolutely refuse even to try to cross Piccadilly Circus.
Thank you very much. I will follow your advice. I hope I shall
get there. It doesn't seem at all likely."

She gave him a little nod, and moved away. Jimmy turned into that
drug-store at the top of the Haymarket at which so many Londoners
have found healing and comfort on the morning after, and bought
the pink drink for which his system had been craving since he
rose from bed. He wondered why, as he drained it, he should feel
ashamed and guilty.

A few minutes later he found himself, with mild surprise, going
down the steps of the Regent Grill. It was the last place he had
had in his mind when he had left the steamship company's offices
in quest of lunch. He had intended to seek out some quiet,
restful nook where he could be alone with his thoughts. If
anybody had told him then that five minutes later he would be
placing himself of his own free will within the range of a
restaurant orchestra playing "My Little Grey Home in the
West"--and the orchestra at the Regent played little else--he
would not have believed him.

Restaurants in all large cities have their ups and downs. At this
time the Regent Grill was enjoying one of those bursts of
popularity for which restaurateurs pray to whatever strange gods
they worship. The more prosperous section of London's Bohemia
flocked to it daily. When Jimmy had deposited his hat with the
robber-band who had their cave just inside the main entrance and
had entered the grill-room, he found it congested. There did not
appear to be a single unoccupied table.

From where he stood he could see the girl of the red-gold hair.
Her back was towards him, and she was sitting at a table against
one of the pillars with a little man with eye-glasses, a handsome
woman in the forties, and a small stout boy who was skirmishing
with the olives. As Jimmy hesitated, the vigilant head-waiter,
who knew him well, perceived him, and hurried up.

"In one moment, Mister Crockaire!" he said, and began to scatter
commands among the underlings. "I will place a table for you in
the aisle."

"Next to that pillar, please," said Jimmy.

The underlings had produced a small table--apparently from up
their sleeves, and were draping it in a cloth. Jimmy sat down and
gave his order. Ordering was going on at the other table. The
little man seemed depressed at the discovery that corn on the cob
and soft-shelled crabs were not to be obtained, and his wife's
reception of the news that clams were not included in the
Regent's bill-of-fare was so indignant that one would have said
that she regarded the fact as evidence that Great Britain was
going to pieces and would shortly lose her place as a world
power.

A selection having finally been agreed upon, the orchestra struck
up "My Little Grey Home in the West," and no attempt was made to
compete with it. When the last lingering strains had died away
and the violinist-leader, having straightened out the kinks in
his person which the rendition of the melody never failed to
produce, had bowed for the last time, a clear, musical voice
spoke from the other side of the pillar.

"Jimmy Crocker is a WORM!"

Jimmy spilled his cocktail. It might have been the voice of
Conscience.

"I despise him more than any one on earth. I hate to think that
he's an American."

Jimmy drank the few drops that remained in his glass, partly to
make sure of them, partly as a restorative. It is an unnerving
thing to be despised by a red-haired girl whose life you have
just saved. To Jimmy it was not only unnerving; it was uncanny.
This girl had not known him when they met on the street a few
moments before. How then was she able to display such intimate
acquaintance with his character now as to describe him--justly
enough--as a worm? Mingled with the mystery of the thing was its
pathos. The thought that a girl could be as pretty as this one
and yet dislike him so much was one of the saddest things Jimmy
had ever come across. It was like one of those Things Which Make
Me Weep In This Great City so dear to the hearts of the
sob-writers of his late newspaper.

A waiter bustled up with a high-ball. Jimmy thanked him with his
eyes. He needed it. He raised it to his lips.

"He's always drinking--"

He set it down hurriedly.

"--and making a disgraceful exhibition of himself in public! I
always think Jimmy Crocker--"

Jimmy began to wish that somebody would stop this girl. Why
couldn't the little man change the subject to the weather, or
that stout child start prattling about some general topic? Surely
a boy of that age, newly arrived in London, must have all sorts
of things to prattle about? But the little man was dealing
strenuously with a breaded cutlet, while the stout boy, grimly
silent, surrounded fish-pie in the forthright manner of a
starving python. As for the elder woman, she seemed to be
wrestling with unpleasant thoughts, beyond speech.

"--I always think that Jimmy Crocker is the worst case I know of
the kind of American young man who spends all his time in Europe
and tries to become an imitation Englishman. Most of them are the
sort any country would be glad to get rid of, but he used to work
once, so you can't excuse him on the ground that he hasn't the
sense to know what he's doing. He's deliberately chosen to loaf
about London and make a pest of himself. He went to pieces with
his eyes open. He's a perfect, utter, hopeless WORM!"

Jimmy had never been very fond of the orchestra at the Regent
Grill, holding the view that it interfered with conversation and
made for an unhygienic rapidity of mastication; but he was
profoundly grateful to it now for bursting suddenly into _La
Boheme_, the loudest item in its repertory. Under cover of that
protective din he was able to toy with a steaming dish which his
waiter had brought. Probably that girl was saying all sorts of
things about him still but he could not hear them.

The music died away. For a moment the tortured air quivered in
comparative silence; then the girl's voice spoke again. She had,
however, selected another topic of conversation.

"I've seen all I want to of England," she said, "I've seen
Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament and His Majesty's
Theatre and the Savoy and the Cheshire Cheese, and I've developed
a frightful home-sickness. Why shouldn't we go back to-morrow?"

For the first time in the proceedings the elder woman spoke. She
cast aside her mantle of gloom long enough to say "Yes," then
wrapped it round her again. The little man, who had apparently
been waiting for her vote before giving his own, said that the
sooner he was on board a New York-bound boat the better he would
be pleased. The stout boy said nothing. He had finished his
fish-pie, and was now attacking jam roll with a sort of morose
resolution.

"There's certain to be a boat," said the girl. "There always is.
You've got to say that for England--it's an easy place to get back
to America from." She paused. "What I can't understand is how,
after having been in America and knowing what it was like, Jimmy
Crocker could stand living . . ."

The waiter had come to Jimmy's side, bearing cheese; but Jimmy
looked at it with dislike and shook his head in silent negation.
He was about to depart from this place. His capacity for
absorbing home-truths about himself was exhausted. He placed a
noiseless sovereign on the table, caught the waiter's eye,
registered renunciation, and departed soft-footed down the aisle.
The waiter, a man who had never been able to bring himself to
believe in miracles, revised the views of a life-time. He looked
at the sovereign, then at Jimmy, then at the sovereign again.
Then he took up the coin and bit it furtively.

A few minutes later, a hat-check boy, untipped for the first time
in his predatory career, was staring at Jimmy with equal
intensity, but with far different feelings. Speechless concern
was limned on his young face.

The commissionaire at the Piccadilly entrance of the restaurant
touched his hat ingratiatingly, with the smug confidence of a man
who is accustomed to getting sixpence a time for doing it.

"Taxi, Mr. Crocker?"

"A worm," said Jimmy.

"Beg pardon, sir?"

"Always drinking," explained Jimmy, "and making a pest of
himself."

He passed on. The commissionaire stared after him as intently as
the waiter and the hat-check boy. He had sometimes known Mr.
Crocker like this after supper, but never before during the
luncheon hour.

Jimmy made his way to his club in Northumberland Avenue. For
perhaps half an hour he sat in a condition of coma in the
smoking-room; then, his mind made up, he went to one of the
writing-tables. He sat awaiting inspiration for some minutes,
then began to write.

The letter he wrote was to his father:


Dear Dad:

I have been thinking over what we talked about this
morning, and it seems to me the best thing I can do is to
drop out of sight for a brief space. If I stay on in
London, I am likely at any moment to pull some boner like
last night's which will spill the beans for you once more.
The least I can do for you is to give you a clear field
and not interfere, so I am off to New York by to-night's
boat.

I went round to Percy's to try to grovel in the dust
before him, but he wouldn't see me. It's no good
grovelling in the dust of the front steps for the benefit
of a man who's in bed on the second floor, so I withdrew
in more or less good order. I then got the present idea.
Mark how all things work together for good. When they come
to you and say "No title for you. Your son slugged our pal
Percy," all you have to do is to come back at them with "I
know my son slugged Percy, and believe me I didn't do a
thing to him! I packed him off to America within
twenty-four hours. Get me right, boys! I'm anti-Jimmy and
pro-Percy." To which their reply will be "Oh, well, in
that case arise, Lord Crocker!" or whatever they say when
slipping a title to a deserving guy. So you will see that
by making this getaway I am doing the best I can to put
things straight. I shall give this to Bayliss to give to
you. I am going to call him up on the phone in a minute to
have him pack a few simple tooth-brushes and so on for me.
On landing in New York, I shall instantly proceed to the
Polo Grounds to watch a game of Rounders, and will cable
you the full score. Well. I think that's about all. So
good-bye--or even farewell--for the present.

J.

P.S. I know you'll understand, dad. I'm doing what seems
to me the only possible thing. Don't worry about me. I
shall be all right. I'll get back my old job and be a
terrific success all round. You go ahead and get that
title and then meet me at the entrance of the Polo
Grounds. I'll be looking for you.

P.P.S. I'm a worm.


The young clerk at the steamship offices appeared rejoiced to see
Jimmy once more. With a sunny smile he snatched a pencil from his
ear and plunged it into the vitals of the Atlantic.

"How about E. a hundred and eight?"

"Suits me."

"You're too late to go in the passenger-list, of course."

Jimmy did not reply. He was gazing rigidly at a girl who had just
come in, a girl with red hair and a friendly smile.

"So you're sailing on the _Atlantic_, too!" she said, with a glance
at the chart on the counter. "How odd! We have just decided to go
back on her too. There's nothing to keep us here and we're all
homesick. Well, you see I wasn't run over after I left you."

A delicious understanding relieved Jimmy's swimming brain, as
thunder relieves the tense and straining air. The feeling that he
was going mad left him, as the simple solution of his mystery
came to him. This girl must have heard of him in New
York--perhaps she knew people whom he knew and it was on hearsay,
not on personal acquaintance, that she based that dislike of him
which she had expressed with such freedom and conviction so short
a while before at the Regent Grill. She did not know who he was!

Into this soothing stream of thought cut the voice of the clerk.

"What name, please?"

Jimmy's mind rocked again. Why were these things happening to him
to-day of all days, when he needed the tenderest treatment, when
he had a headache already?

The clerk was eyeing him expectantly. He had laid down his pencil
and was holding aloft a pen. Jimmy gulped. Every name in the
English language had passed from his mind. And then from out of
the dark came inspiration.

"Bayliss," he croaked.

The girl held out her hand.

"Then we can introduce ourselves at last. My name is Ann Chester.
How do you do, Mr. Bayliss?"

"How do you do, Miss Chester?"

The clerk had finished writing the ticket, and was pressing
labels and a pink paper on him. The paper, he gathered dully, was
a form and had to be filled up. He examined it, and found it to
be a searching document. Some of its questions could be answered
off-hand, others required thought.

"Height?" Simple. Five foot eleven.

"Hair?" Simple. Brown.

"Eyes?" Simple again. Blue.

Next, queries of a more offensive kind.

"Are you a polygamist?"

He could answer that. Decidedly no. One wife would be
ample--provided she had red-gold hair, brown-gold eyes, the right
kind of mouth, and a dimple. Whatever doubts there might be in
his mind on other points, on that one he had none whatever.

"Have you ever been in prison?"

Not yet.

And then a very difficult one. "Are you a lunatic?"

Jimmy hesitated. The ink dried on his pen. He was wondering.


* * *


In the dim cavern of Paddington Station the boat-train snorted
impatiently, varying the process with an occasional sharp shriek.
The hands of the station clock pointed to ten minutes to six. The
platform was a confused mass of travellers, porters, baggage,
trucks, boys with buns and fruits, boys with magazines, friends,
relatives, and Bayliss the butler, standing like a faithful
watchdog beside a large suitcase. To the human surf that broke
and swirled about him he paid no attention. He was looking for
the young master.

Jimmy clove the crowd like a one-man flying-wedge. Two fruit and
bun boys who impeded his passage drifted away like leaves on an
Autumn gale.

"Good man!" He possessed himself of the suitcase. "I was afraid
you might not be able to get here."

"The mistress is dining out, Mr. James. I was able to leave the
house."

"Have you packed everything I shall want?"

"Within the scope of a suitcase, yes, sir."

"Splendid! Oh, by the way, give this letter to my father, will
you?"

"Very good, sir."

"I'm glad you were able to manage. I thought your voice sounded
doubtful over the phone."

"I was a good deal taken aback, Mr. James. Your decision to leave
was so extremely sudden."

"So was Columbus'. You know about him? He saw an egg standing on
its head and whizzed off like a jack-rabbit."

"If you will pardon the liberty, Mr. James, is it not a little
rash--?"

"Don't take the joy out of life, Bayliss. I may be a chump, but
try to forget it. Use your willpower."

"Good evening, Mr. Bayliss," said a voice behind them. They both
turned. The butler was gazing rather coyly at a vision in a grey
tailor-made suit.

"Good evening, miss," he said doubtfully.

Ann looked at him in astonishment, then broke into a smile.

"How stupid of me! I meant this Mr. Bayliss. Your son! We met at
the steamship offices. And before that he saved my life. So we
are old friends."

Bayliss, gaping perplexedly and feeling unequal to the
intellectual pressure of the conversation, was surprised further
to perceive a warning scowl on the face of his Mr. James. Jimmy
had not foreseen this thing, but he had a quick mind and was
equal to it.

"How are you, Miss Chester? My father has come down to see me
off. This is Miss Chester, dad."

A British butler is not easily robbed of his poise, but Bayliss
was frankly unequal to the sudden demand on his presence of mind.
He lowered his jaw an inch or two, but spoke no word.

"Dad's a little upset at my going," whispered Jimmy
confidentially. "He's not quite himself."

Ann was a girl possessed not only of ready tact but of a kind
heart. She had summed up Mr. Bayliss at a glance. Every line of
him proclaimed him a respectable upper servant. No girl on earth
could have been freer than she of snobbish prejudice, but she
could not check a slight thrill of surprise and disappointment at
the discovery of Jimmy's humble origin. She understood everything,
and there were tears in her eyes as she turned away to avoid
intruding on the last moments of the parting of father and son.

"I'll see you on the boat, Mr. Bayliss," she said.

"Eh?" said Bayliss.

"Yes, yes," said Jimmy. "Good-bye till then."

Ann walked on to her compartment. She felt as if she had just read
a whole long novel, one of those chunky younger-English-novelist
things. She knew the whole story as well as if it had been told
to her in detail. She could see the father, the honest steady
butler, living his life with but one aim, to make a gentleman of
his beloved only son. Year by year he had saved. Probably he had
sent the son to college. And now, with a father's blessing and
the remains of a father's savings, the boy was setting out for
the New World, where dollar-bills grew on trees and no one asked
or cared who any one else's father might be.

There was a lump in her throat. Bayliss would have been amazed if
he could have known what a figure of pathetic fineness he seemed
to her. And then her thoughts turned to Jimmy, and she was aware
of a glow of kindliness towards him. His father had succeeded in
his life's ambition. He had produced a gentleman! How easily and
simply, without a trace of snobbish shame, the young man had
introduced his father. There was the right stuff in him. He was
not ashamed of the humble man who had given him his chance in
life. She found herself liking Jimmy amazingly . . .

The hands of the clock pointed to three minutes to the hour.
Porters skimmed to and fro like water-beetles.

"I can't explain," said Jimmy. "It wasn't temporary insanity; it
was necessity."

"Very good, Mr. James. I think you had better be taking your seat
now."

"Quite right, I had. It would spoil the whole thing if they left
me behind. Bayliss, did you ever see such eyes? Such hair! Look
after my father while I am away. Don't let the dukes worry him.
Oh, and, Bayliss"--Jimmy drew his hand from his pocket--"as one
pal to another--"

Bayliss looked at the crackling piece of paper.

"I couldn't, Mr. James, I really couldn't! A five-pound note! I
couldn't!"

"Nonsense! Be a sport!"

"Begging your pardon, Mr. James, I really couldn't. You cannot
afford to throw away your money like this. You cannot have a
great deal of it, if you will excuse me for saying so."

"I won't do anything of the sort. Grab it! Oh, Lord, the train's
starting! Good-bye, Bayliss!"

The engine gave a final shriek of farewell. The train began to
slide along the platform, pursued to the last by optimistic boys
offering buns for sale. It gathered speed. Jimmy, leaning out the
window, was amazed at a spectacle so unusual as practically to
amount to a modern miracle--the spectacled Bayliss running. The
butler was not in the pink of condition, but he was striding out
gallantly. He reached the door of Jimmy's compartment, and raised
his hand.

"Begging your pardon, Mr. James," he panted, "for taking the
liberty, but I really couldn't!"

He reached up and thrust something into Jimmy's hand, something
crisp and crackling. Then, his mission performed, fell back and
stood waving a snowy handkerchief. The train plunged into the
tunnel.

Jimmy stared at the five-pound note. He was aware, like Ann
farther along the train, of a lump in his throat. He put the note
slowly into his pocket.

The train moved on.

Content of CHAPTER VI - JIMMY ABANDONS PICCADILLY (P G Wodehouse's novel: Piccadilly Jim)

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CHAPTER V - THE MORNING AFTERBayliss took a spectacle-case from the recesses of his costume,opened it, took out a pair of gold-rimmed glasses, dived into thejungle again, came out with a handkerchief, polished thespectacles, put them on his nose, closed the case, restored it toits original position, replaced the handkerchief, and took up thepaper."Why the hesitation, Bayliss? Why the coyness?" enquired Jimmy,lying with closed eyes. "Begin!""I was adjusting my glasses, sir.""All set now?""Yes, sir. Shall I read the headlines first?""Read everything."The butler cleared his throat."Good Heavens, Bayliss," moaned Jimmy, starting, "don't gargle.Have a heart! Go on!"Bayliss began to read.
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