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HOME > Classical Novels > A Child of the Jago37 > CHAPTER 23
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 For more than a week Josh Perrott could not walk about. And it was a bad week. For some little while his luck had been but poor, and now he found himself laid up with a total reserve fund of fourteenpence. A coat was pawned1 with old Poll Rann (who kept a leaving shop in a first floor back in Jago Row) for ninepence. Then Josh swore at Dicky for not being still at Grinder's, and told him to turn out and bring home some money. Dicky had risen almost too sore and stiff to stand, on the morning after the fight at the Feathers, and he was little better now. But he had to go, and he went, though he well knew that a click was out of the question, for his joints2 almost refused to bend. But he found that the fat's a-running boys were contemplating3 business, and he scouted4 for them with such success as to bring home sevenpence in the evening. Then Kiddo Cook, who had left Mother Gapp's with a double armful on the night of the sing-song, found himself rich enough, being a bachelor, to lend Josh eighteenpence. And a shawl of Hannah Perrott's was pawned. That, though, was redeemed5 the next day, together with the coat. For Dicky brought home a golden sovereign.  
It had been an easy click—scarce a click at all, perhaps, strictly6 speaking. Dicky had tramped into the city, and had found a crowd outside St Paul's—a well-dressed crowd, not being moved on: for something was going forward in the cathedral. He recognised one of the High Mob, a pogue-hunter—that is a pickpocket7 who deals in purses. Dicky watched this man's movements, by way of education; for he was an eminent8 practitioner9, and worked alone, with no assistant to cover him. Dicky saw him in the thick of the crowd, standing10 beside and behind one lady after another; but it was only when his elbow bent11 to slip something into his own pocket that Dicky knew he had 'touched.' Presently he moved to another part of the crowd, where mostly men were standing, and there he stealthily let drop a crumpled12 newspaper, and straightway left the crowd. He had 'worked' it as much as he judged safe. Dicky wriggled13 toward the crumpled paper, slipped it under his jacket, and cleared away also. He knew that there was something in the paper beside news: that, in fact, there were purses in it—purses emptied and shed as soon as might be, because nobody can swear to money, but strange purses lead to destruction. Dicky recked little of this danger, but made his best pace to a recess14 in a back street, there to examine his pogues; for though the uxter was gone from them, they might yet bring a few coppers15 from Mr Weech, if they were of good quality. They were a fairly sound lot. One had a large clasp that looked like silver, and another was quite new, and Dicky was observing with satisfaction the shop-shininess of the lining16, when he perceived a cunning pocket at the back, lying flat against the main integument—and in it was a sovereign! He gulped17 at the sight. Clearly the pogue-hunter, emptying the pogues in his pocket by sense of touch, had missed the flat pocket. Dicky was not yet able to run with freedom, but he never ceased from trotting18 till he reached his own staircase in Old Jago Street. And so the eight or nine days passed, and Josh went out into the Jago with no more than a tenderness about his ankle.
Now, he much desired a good click; so he went across High Street Shoreditch, to Kingsland Railway Station and bought a ticket for Canonbury.
Luck was against him, it was plain. He tramped the northern suburbs from three o'clock till dark, but touched for nothing. He spent money, indeed, for he feared to overwork his ankle, and for that reason rested in divers19 public-houses. He peeped in at the gates of quiet gardens, in the hope of garden-hose left unwatched, or tennis-rackets lying in a handy summer-house. But he saw none. He pried20 about the doors of private stable-yards, in case of absent grooms21 and unprotected bunches of harness; but in vain. He inspected quiet areas and kitchen entrances in search of unguarded spoons—even descended22 into one area, where he had to make an awkward excuse about buying old bottles, in consequence of meeting the cook at the door. He tramped one quiet road after another on the look out for a dead 'un—a house furnished, but untenanted. But there was never a dead 'un, it seemed, in all the northern district. So he grew tired and short-tempered, and cursed himself for that he had not driven off with a baker's horse and cart that had
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