“And a very rich diet too, Partridge,” answered Jones. “But did not fortune send me an excellent dainty yesterday? Dost thou imagine I cannot live more than twenty-four hours on this dear pocket-book?”

“Undoubtedly,” cries Partridge, “there is enough in that pocket-book to purchase many a good meal. Fortune sent it to your honour very opportunely for present use, as your honour’s money must be almost out by this time.”

“What do you mean?” answered Jones; “I hope you don’t imagine that I should be dishonest enough, even if it belonged to any other person, besides Miss Western—”

“Dishonest!” replied Partridge, “heaven forbid I should wrong your honour so much! but where’s the dishonesty in borrowing a little for present spending, since you will be so well able to pay the lady hereafter? No, indeed, I would have your honour pay it again, as soon as it is convenient, by all means; but where can be the harm in making use of it now you want it? Indeed, if it belonged to a poor body, it would be another thing; but so great a lady, to be sure, can never want it, especially now as she is along with a lord, who, it can’t be doubted, will let her have whatever she hath need of. Besides, if she should want a little, she can’t want the whole, therefore I would give her a little; but I would be hanged before I mentioned the having found it at first, and before I got some money of my own; for London, I have heard, is the very worst of places to be in without money. Indeed, if I had not known to whom it belonged, I might have thought it was the devil’s money, and have been afraid to use it; but as you know otherwise, and came honestly by it, it would be an affront to fortune to part with it all again, at the very time when you want it most; you can hardly expect she should ever do you such another good turn; for fortuna nunquam perpetuo est bona. You will do as you please, notwithstanding all I say; but for my part, I would be hanged before I mentioned a word of the matter.”

“By what I can see, Partridge,” cries Jones, “hanging is a matter non longe alienum à Scævolæ studiis.” “You should say alienus,” says Partridge.—“I remember the passage; it is an example under communis, alienus, immunis, variis casibus serviunt.” “It you do remember it,” cries Jones, “I find you don’t understand it; but I tell thee, friend, in plain English, that he who finds another’s property, and willfully detains it from the known owner, deserves, in foro conscientiæ, to be hanged no less than if he had stolen it. And as for this very identical bill, which is the property of my angel, and was once in her dear possession, I will not deliver it into any hands but her own, upon any consideration whatever, no, though I was as hungry as thou art, and had no other means to satisfy my craving appetite; this I hope to do before I sleep; but if it should happen otherwise, I charge thee, if thou would’st not incur my displeasure for ever, not to shock me any more by the bare mention of such detestable baseness.”

“I should not have mentioned it now,” cries Partridge, “if it had appeared so to me; for I’m sure I scorn any wickedness as much as another; but perhaps you know better; and yet I might have imagined that I should not have lived so many years, and have taught school so long, without being able to distinguish between fas et nefas: but it seems we are all to live and learn. I remember my old schoolmaster, who was a prodigious great scholar, used often to say, Polly matete cry town is my daskalon. The English of which, he told us, was, That a child may sometimes teach his grandmother to suck eggs. I have lived to a fine purpose, truly, if I am to be taught my grammar at this time of day. Perhaps, young gentleman, you may change your opinion, if you live to my years: for I remember I thought myself as wise when I was a stripling of one or two and twenty as I am now. I am sure I always taught alienus, and my master read it so before me.”

There were not many instances in which Partridge could provoke Jones, nor were there many in which Partridge himself could have been hurried out of his respect. Unluckily, however, they had both hit on one of these. We have already seen Partridge could not bear to have his learning attacked, nor could Jones bear some passage or other in the foregoing speech. And now, looking upon his companion with a contemptuous and disdainful air (a thing not usual with him), he cried, “Partridge, I see thou art a conceited old fool, and I wish thou art not likewise an old rogue. Indeed, if I was as well convinced of the latter as I am of the former, thou should’st travel no farther in my company.”

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