Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/36

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an off-shoot. For his ambition was as large as his fist and as aggressive as his jaw. He had entered the force with the single idea of becoming rich, and had set about achieving his object with a strenuous vigor that was as irresistible as his mighty locust-stick. Some policemen are born |grafters, some achieve graft, and some have graft thrust upon them. Mr. McEachern had begun by being the first, had risen to the second, and for some years now had been a prominent member of the small and hugely prosperous third class, the class that does not go out seeking graft, but sits at home and lets graft come to it.

In his search for wealth, he had been content to abide his time. He did not want the trifling sum that every New York policeman acquires. His object was something bigger, and he was prepared to wait for it. He knew that small beginnings were an annoying but unavoidable preliminary to all great fortunes. Probably, Captain Kidd had started in a small way. Certainly, Mr. Rockefeller had. He was content to follow in the footsteps of the masters.

A patrolman's opportunities of amassing wealth are not great. Mr. McEachern had made the best of a bad job. He had not disdained the dollars that came as single spies rather than in battalions. Until the time should arrive when he might angle for whales, he was prepared to catch sprats.

Much may be done, even on a small scale, by perseverance. In those early days, Mr. McEachern's observant eye had not failed to notice certain peddlers