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Chapter 35 Summary

Jerry Barker

Jack has never met a better man than his new master, Jerry Barker. He stands strongly for the right things; he is good and kind, always good-tempered and merry. Any man would have a difficult time picking a quarrel with him. He creates little songs as he works, and his family joins him in caring for the horses and keeping the cab clean and polished. The one thing Jerry cannot bear is loitering and wasting time; it infuriates him when people are late and then want a cab horse to be driven hard to make up for their own idleness.

One day two young men, who seem rather wild, leave a tavern and call for Jerry’s cab. They tell him they are running late and need him to rush them to Victoria Station to catch the train; they will pay him an extra shilling to get them there on time. Jerry agrees to take them, but he tells them he will drive at the pace he always drives, for a shilling is not enough to warrant the stress on the horse. Another driver, Larry, accepts their offer, goading his already worn horse to go as fast as he can. Jerry pats Jack and says again a shilling is not worth the potential damage. Jerry always drives at a reasonable pace, not unwilling to “put on the steam” for a worthy cause.

One morning a young man carrying a heavy suitcase slips on an orange peel near the cab stand. When he seems a bit dazed and in pain, Jerry leads him into a shop. In about ten minutes, the same young man hires Jerry to take him to his twelve o’clock train, explaining it is imperative that he not miss it. He, too, offers Jerry extra money if he arrives in time. Jerry agrees to take him, noticing that the man looks “dreadfully white and ill.” Moving quickly through London is a difficult thing; only when horse and driver are in perfect communication and have perfect trust can it be done more easily. Jerry and Jack are able to get the man to the station with eight minutes to spare. They immediately pull over, out of traffic, to make way for other cabs carrying departing passengers.

When the gentleman gratefully thanks them and tries to give him extra fare, Jerry refuses and calls for a porter to help the man with his heavy suitcase. The cab driver is thankful they got the man to the station in time. When they return to the cab stand, his colleagues ask Jerry how much extra he received from the gentleman. Jerry slyly answers that what the man gave him will keep him "in little comforts for several days." They call him a “humbug” (a fake)...

(The entire section is 710 words.)