Chapter 7


Though the pride of Partridge did not submit to acknowledge himself a servant, yet he condescended in most particulars to imitate the manners of that rank. One instance of this was, his greatly magnifying the fortune of his companion, as he called Jones: such is a general custom with all servants among strangers, as none of them would willingly be thought the attendant on a beggar: for, the higher the situation of the master is, the higher, consequently, is that of the man in his own opinion; the truth of which observation appears from the behaviour of all the footmen of the nobility.

But, though title and fortune communicate a splendor all around them, and the footmen of men of quality and of estate think themselves entitled to a part of that respect which is paid to the quality and estates of their masters, it is clearly otherwise with regard to virtue and understanding. These advantages are strictly personal, and swallow themselves all the respect which is paid to them. To say the truth, this is so very little, that they cannot well afford to let any others partake with them. As these therefore reflect no honour on the domestic, so neither is he at all dishonoured by the most deplorable want of both in his master. Indeed it is otherwise in the want of what is called virtue in a mistress, the consequence of which we have before seen: for in this dishonour there is a kind of contagion, which, like that of poverty, communicates itself to all who approach it.

Now for these reasons we are not to wonder that servants (I mean among the men only) should have no great regard for the reputation of the wealth of their masters, and little or none at all for their character in other points, and that, though they would be ashamed to be the footman of a beggar, they are not so to attend upon a rogue or a blockhead; and do consequently make no scruple to spread the fame of the iniquities and follies of their said masters as far as possible, and this often with great humour and merriment. In reality, a footman is often a wit as well as a beau, at the expence of the gentleman whose livery he wears.

After Partridge, therefore, had enlarged greatly on the vast fortune to which Mr. Jones was heir, he very freely communicated an apprehension, which he had begun to conceive the day before, and for which, as we hinted at that very time, the behaviour of Jones seemed to have furnished a sufficient foundation. In short, he was now pretty well confirmed in an opinion, that his master was out of his wits, with which opinion he very bluntly acquainted the good company round the fire.

With this sentiment the puppet-show man immediately coincided. “I own,” said he, “the gentleman surprized me very much, when he talked so absurdly about puppet-shows. It is indeed hardly to be conceived that any man in his senses should be so much mistaken; what you say now accounts very well for all his monstrous notions. Poor gentleman! I am heartily concerned for him; indeed he hath a strange wildness about his eyes which I took notice of before, though I did not mention it.”

The landlord agreed with this last assertion, and likewise claimed the sagacity of having observed it. “And certainly,” added he, “it must be so; for no one but a madman would have thought of leaving so good a house to ramble about the country at that time of night.”

The exciseman, pulling his pipe from his mouth, said, “He thought the gentleman looked and talked a little wildly;” and then turning to Partridge, “if he be a madman,” says he, “he should not be suffered to travel thus about the country; for possibly he may do some mischief. It is a pity he was not secured and sent home to his relations.”

Now some conceits of this kind were likewise lurking in the mind of Partridge; for, as he was now persuaded that Jones had run away from Mr. Allworthy, he promised himself the highest rewards if he could by any means convey him back. But fear of Jones, of whose fierceness and strength he had seen, and indeed felt, some instances, had however represented any such scheme as impossible to be executed, and had discouraged him from applying himself to form any regular plan for the purpose. But no sooner did

  By PanEris using Melati.

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