Read THE BIG FINE of Mr. Dooley Says, free online book, by Finley Dunne, on ReadCentral.com.

“That was a splendid fine they soaked Jawn D. with,” said Mr. Dooley.

“What did they give him?” asked Mr. Hennessy.

“Twinty-nine millyon dollars,” said Mr. Dooley.

“Oh, great!” said Mr. Hennessy. “That’s a grand fine. It’s a gorjous fine. I can’t hardly believe it.”

“It’s thrue, though,” said Mr. Dooley. “Twinty-nine millyon dollars. Divvle th’ cent less. I can’t exactly make out what th’ charge was that they arrested him on, but th’ gin’ral idée is that Jawn D. was goin’ around loaded up to th’ guards with Standard Île, exceedin’ th’ speed limit in acquirin’ money, an’ singin’ ‘A charge to keep I have’ till th’ neighbors cud stand it no longer. The judge says: ’Ye’re an old offender an’ I’ll have to make an example iv ye. Twinty-nine millyon dollars or fifty-eight millyon days. Call th’ next case, Misther Clerk.

“Did he pay th’ fine? He did not. Iv coorse he cud if he wanted to. He wuddent have to pawn annything to get th’ money, ye can bet on that. All he’d have to do would be to put his hand down in his pocket, skin twinty-nine millyon dollar bills off iv his roll an’ hurl thim at th’ clerk. But he refused to pay as a matter iv principle. ’Twas not that he needed th’ money. He don’t care f’r money in th’ passionate way that you an’ me do, Hinnissy. Th’ likes iv us are as crazy about a dollar as a man is about his child whin he has on’y wan. Th’ chances are we’ll spoil it. But Jawn D., havin’ a large an’ growin’ fam’ly iv dollars, takes on’y a kind iv gin’ral inthrest in thim. He’s issued a statement sayin’ that he’s a custojeen iv money appinted be himsilf. He looks afther his own money an’ th’ money iv other people. He takes it an’ puts it where it won’t hurt thim an’ they won’t spoil it. He’s a kind iv a society f’r th’ previntion of croolty to money. If he finds a man misusing his money he takes it away fr’m him an’ adopts it. Ivry Saturdah night he lets th’ man see it fr a few hours. An’ he says he’s surprised to find that whin, with th’ purest intintions in th’ wurruld, he is found thryin’ to coax our little money to his home where it’ll find conjanial surroundings an’ have other money to play with, th’ people thry to lynch him an’ th’ polis arrest him f’r abduction.

“So as a matther iv principle he appealed th’ case. An appeal, Hinnissy, is where ye ask wan coort to show it’s contempt f’r another coort. ’Tis sthrange that all th’ pathrites that have wanted to hang Willum Jennings Bryan an’ mesilf f’r not showin’ proper respect f’r th’ joodicyary, are now showin’ their respect f’r th’ joodicyary be appealin’ fr’m their decisions. Ye’d think Jawn D. wud bow his head reverentially in th’ awful presence iv Kenesaw Mt. Landis an’ sob out: ’Thank ye’er honor. This here noble fine fills me with joy. But d’ye think ye give me enough? If agreeable I’d like to make it an even thirty millyons.’ But he doesn’t. He’s like mesilf. Him an’ me bows to th’ decisions iv th’ coorts on’y if they bow first.

“I have gr-reat respect f’r th’ joodicyary, as fine a lot iv cross an’ indignant men as ye’ll find annywhere. I have th’ same respect f’r thim as they have f’r each other. But I niver bow to a decision iv a judge onless, first, it’s pleasant to me, an’, second, other judges bow to it. Ye can’t be too careful about what decisions ye bow to. A decision that seems agreeable may turn out like an acquaintance ye scrape up at a picnic. Ye may be ashamed iv it to-morrah. Manny’s th’ time I’ve bowed to a decree iv a coort on’y to see it go up gayly to th’ supreem coort, knock at th’ dure an’ be kicked down stairs be an angry old gintleman in a black silk petticoat. A decree iv th’ coort has got to be pretty vinrable befure I do more thin greet it with a pleasant smile.

Me idée was whin I read about Jawn D’s fine that he’d settle at wanst, payin’ twinty-eight millyon dollars in millyon dollar bills an’ th’ other millyon in chicken-feed like ten thousand dollar bills just to annoy th’ clerk. But I ought to’ve known betther. Manny’s th’ time I’ve bent me proud neck to a decision iv a coort that lasted no longer thin it took th’ lawyer f’r th’ definse to call up another judge on th’ tillyphone. A judge listens to a case f’r days an’ hears, while he’s figurín’ a possible goluf score on his blotting pad, th’ argymints iv two or three lawyers that no wan wud dare to offer a judgeship to. Gin’rally speakin’, judges are lawyers. They get to be judges because they have what Hogan calls th’ joodicyal timp’ramint, which is why annybody gets a job. Th’ other kind people won’t take a job. They’d rather take a chance. Th’ judge listens to a case f’r days an’ decides it th’ way he intinded to. D’ye find th’ larned counsel that’s just been beat climbin’ up on th’ bench an’ throwin’ his arms around th’ judge? Ye bet ye don’t. He gathers his law books into his arms, gives th’ magistrate a look that means, ‘There’s an eliction next year’, an’ runs down th’ hall to another judge. Th’ other judge hears his kick an’ says he: ’I don’t know annything about this here case except what ye’ve whispered to me, but I know me larned collague an’ I wuddent thrust him to referee a roller-skatin’ contest. Don’t pay th’ fine till ye hear fr’m me.’ Th’ on’y wan that bows to th’ decision is th’ fellow that won, an’ pretty soon he sees he’s made a mistake, f’r wan day th’ other coort comes out an’ declares that th’ decision of th’ lower coort is another argymint in favor iv abolishing night law schools.

“That’s th’ way Jawn D. felt about it an’ he didn’t settle. I wondher will they put him away if he don’t pay ivinchooly? ’Twill be a long sentence. A frind iv mine wanst got full iv kerosene an’ attempted to juggle a polisman. They thried him whin he come out iv th’ emergency hospital an’ fined him a hundhred dollars. He didn’t happen to have that amount with him at th’ moment or at anny moment since th’ day he was born. But the judge was very lenient with him. He said he needn’t pay it if he cuddent. Th’ coort wud give him a letther of inthroduction to th’ bridewell an’ he cud stay there f’r two hundhred days. At that rate it’ll be a long time befure Jawn D. an’ me meet again on the goluf-links. Hogan has it figured out that if Jawn D. refuses to go back on his Puritan principles an’ separate himsilf fr’m his money he’ll be wan hundhred an’ fifty-eight thousand years in cold storage. A man ought to be pretty good at th’ lock step in a hundhred an’ fifty-eight thousand years.

“Well, sir, glory be but times has changed whin they land me gr-reat an’ good frind with a fine that’s about akel to three millyon dhrunk an’ disorderly cases. ’Twud’ve been cheaper if he’d took to dhrink arly in life. I’ve made a vow, Hinnissy, niver to be very rich. I’d like to be a little rich, but not rich enough f’r anny wan to notice that me pockets bulged. Time was whin I dhreamed iv havin’ money an’ lots iv it. ‘Tis thrue I begun me dhreams at th’ wrong end, spent th’ money befure I got it. I was always clear about th’ way to spend it but oncertain about th’ way to get it. If th’ Lord had intinded me to be a rich man He’d’ve turned me dhreams around an’ made me clear about makin’ th’ money but very awkward an’ shy about gettin’ rid iv it. There are two halves to ivry dollar. Wan is knowin’ how to make it an’ th’ other is not knowin’ how to spend it comfortably. Whin I hear iv a man with gr-reat business capacity I know he’s got an akel amount iv spending incapacity. No matter how much he knew about business he wuddent be rich if he wasn’t totally ignorant iv a science that we have developed as far as our means will allow. But now, I tell ye, I don’t dhream iv bein’ rich. I’m afraid iv it. In th’ good old days th’ polis coorts were crowded with th’ poor. They weren’t charged with poverty, iv coorse, but with the results iv poverty, d’ye mind. Now, be Hivens, th’ rich have invaded even th’ coorts an’ the bridewell. Manny a face wearin’ side whiskers an’ gold rimmed specs peers fr’m th’ windows iv th’ black Maria. ’What’s this man charged with?’ says th’ coort. ’He was found in possession iv tin millyon dollars,’ says th’ polisman. An’ th’ judge puts on th’ black cap.”

“Well,” said Mr. Hennessy, “‘tis time they got what was comin’ to thim.”

“I’ll not say ye’re wrong,” said Mr. Dooley. “I see th’ way me frind Jawn D. feels about it. He thinks he’s doin’ a great sarvice to th’ worruld collectin’ all th’ money in sight. It might remain in incompetint hands if he didn’t get it. ’Twud be a shame to lave it where it’d be misthreated. But th’ on’y throuble with Jawn is that he don’t see how th’ other fellow feels about it. As a father iv about thirty dollars I want to bring thim up mesilf in me own foolish way. I may not do what’s right be thim. I may be too indulgent with thim. Their home life may not be happy. Perhaps ‘tis clear that if they wint to th’ Rockyfellar institution f’r th’ care iv money they’d be in betther surroundings, but whin Jawn thries to carry thim off I raise a cry iv ‘Polis,’ a mob iv people that niver had a dollar iv their own an’ niver will have wan, pounce on th’ misguided man, th’ polis pinch him, an’ th’ governmint condemns th’ institution an’ lets out th’ inmates an’ a good manny iv thim go to th’bad.”

“D’ye think he’ll iver sarve out his fine?” asked Mr. Hennessy.

“I don’t know,” said Mr. Dooley. “But if he does, whin he comes out at the end iv a hundhred an fifty-eight thousand years he’ll find a great manny changes in men’s hats an’ th’ means iv transportation but not much in annything else. He may find flyin’ machines, though it’ll be arly f’r thim, but he’ll see a good manny people still walkin’ to their wurruk.”