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HOME > Classical Novels > A Child of the Jago37 > CHAPTER 24
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 But indeed Josh Perrott's luck was worse than he thought. For the gross, pimply1 man was a High Mobsman—so very high a mobsman that it would have been slander2 and libel, and a very great expense, to write him down a mobsman at all. He paid a rent of a hundred and twenty pounds a year, and heavy rates, and put half-a-crown into the plate at a very respectable chapel3 every Sunday. He was, in fact, the King of High Mobsmen, spoken of among them as the Mogul. He did no vulgar thievery: he never screwed a chat, nor claimed a peter, nor worked the mace4. He sat easily at home, and financed (sometimes planned) promising5 speculations6: a large swindle requiring much ground-baiting and preliminary outlay7; or a robbery of specie from a mail train; or a bank fraud needing organization and funds. When the results of such speculations consisted of money he took the lion's share. When they were expressed in terms of imprisonment8 they fell to active and intelligent subordinates. So that for years the Mogul had lived an affluent9 and a blameless life, far removed from the necessity of injudicious bodily exercise, and characterised by every indulgence consistent with a proper suburban11 respectability. He had patronised, snubbed, or encouraged High Mobsmen of more temerarious habit, had profited by their exploits, and had read of their convictions and sentences with placid12 interest in the morning papers. And after all this, to be robbed in his own house and knocked downstairs by a casual buster was an outrage13 that afflicted14 the Mogul with wrath15 infuriate. Because that was a sort of trouble that had never seemed a possibility, to a person of his eminence16: and because the angriest victim of dishonesty is a thief.  
However, the burglar had got clean away, that was plain; and he had taken the best watch and chain in the house, with the Mogul's initials on the back. So that respectable sufferer sent for the police, and gave his attention to the the alleviation17 of bumps and the washing away of blood. In his bodily condition a light blow was enough to let a great deal of blood—no doubt with benefit; and Josh Perrott's blows were not light in any case.
So it came to pass that not only were the police on the look-out for a man with a large gold watch with the Mogul's monogram18 on the back; but also the word was passed as by telegraph through underground channels, till every fence in London was warned that the watch was the Mogul's; and ere noon next day there was not one but would as lief have put a scorpion19 in his pocket as that same toy and tackle that Josh Perrott was gloating over in his back room in Old Jago Street.
As for Josh, his ankle was bad in the morning, and swelled20. He dabbed21 at it perseveringly22 with wet rags, and rubbed it vigorously, so that by one o'clock he was able to lace up his boot and go out. He was anxious to fence his plunder23 without delay, and he made his way to Hoxton. The watch seemed to be something especially good, and he determined24 to stand out for a price well above the usual figure. For the swag of common thieves commanded no such prices as did that of the High Mob. All of it was bought and sold on the simple system first called into being seventy years back and more by the prince of fences, Ikey Solomons. A breast-pin brought a fixed25 sum, good or bad, and a roll of cloth brought the fixed price of a roll of cloth, regardless of quality. Thus a silver watch fetched six shillings, never more and never less; a gold watch was worth twice as much; an uncommonly26 good one—a rich man's watch—would bring as much as eighteen shillings, if the thief were judge enough of its quality to venture the demand. And as it commonly took three men to secure a single watch in the open street—one to 'front,' one to snatch, and a third to take from the snatcher—the gains of the toy-getting trade were poor, except to the fence. This time Josh resolved to put pressure on the fence, and to do his best to get something as near a sovereign as might be. And as to the chain, so thick and heavy, he would fight his best for the privilege of sale by weight. Thus turning the thing in his mind, he entered the familiar doorway27 of the old clothes shop.
'Vot is id?' asked the fence, holding out his hand with the customary air of contempt for what was coming, by way of discounting it in advance. This particular fence, by-the-bye, never bought anything himself. He inspected whatever was brought on behalf of an occult friend; and the transa............
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