The Jungle eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 445 pages of information about The Jungle.

“What for?” he cried; and then understanding that the fellow proposed to search him, he answered, “I’ll see you in hell first.”

“Do you want to go to jail?” demanded the butler, menacingly.  “I’ll have the police—­”

“Have ’em!” roared Jurgis, with fierce passion.  “But you won’t put your hands on me till you do!  I haven’t touched anything in your damned house, and I’ll not have you touch me!”

So the butler, who was terrified lest his young master should waken, stepped suddenly to the door, and opened it.  “Get out of here!” he said; and then as Jurgis passed through the opening, he gave him a ferocious kick that sent him down the great stone steps at a run, and landed him sprawling in the snow at the bottom.

Chapter 25

Jurgis got up, wild with rage, but the door was shut and the great castle was dark and impregnable.  Then the icy teeth of the blast bit into him, and he turned and went away at a run.

When he stopped again it was because he was coming to frequented streets and did not wish to attract attention.  In spite of that last humiliation, his heart was thumping fast with triumph.  He had come out ahead on that deal!  He put his hand into his trousers’ pocket every now and then, to make sure that the precious hundred-dollar bill was still there.

Yet he was in a plight—­a curious and even dreadful plight, when he came to realize it.  He had not a single cent but that one bill!  And he had to find some shelter that night he had to change it!

Jurgis spent half an hour walking and debating the problem.  There was no one he could go to for help—­he had to manage it all alone.  To get it changed in a lodging-house would be to take his life in his hands—­he would almost certainly be robbed, and perhaps murdered, before morning.  He might go to some hotel or railroad depot and ask to have it changed; but what would they think, seeing a “bum” like him with a hundred dollars?  He would probably be arrested if he tried it; and what story could he tell?  On the morrow Freddie Jones would discover his loss, and there would be a hunt for him, and he would lose his money.  The only other plan he could think of was to try in a saloon.  He might pay them to change it, if it could not be done otherwise.

He began peering into places as he walked; he passed several as being too crowded—­then finally, chancing upon one where the bartender was all alone, he gripped his hands in sudden resolution and went in.

“Can you change me a hundred-dollar bill?” he demanded.

The bartender was a big, husky fellow, with the jaw of a prize fighter, and a three weeks’ stubble of hair upon it.  He stared at Jurgis.  “What’s that youse say?” he demanded.

“I said, could you change me a hundred-dollar bill?”

“Where’d youse get it?” he inquired incredulously.

“Never mind,” said Jurgis; “I’ve got it, and I want it changed.  I’ll pay you if you’ll do it.”

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Project Gutenberg
The Jungle from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.