« PreviousContinue »
tempt a third, which was to prevail with Jones to take up a lodging that evening in the house where he then was. He introduced this with an affected surprise at the intention which Mr. Jones de. clared of removing; and after urging many excellent arguments against it, he at last insisted strongly, that it could be to no manner of purpose whatever: for that unless Jones knew which way the lady was gone, every step he took might very possibly lead him the farther from her; for you find, Sir,' said he, by all the people in the house, that she is ‘not gone this way. How much better therefore, ' would it be to stay till the morning, when we may expect to meet with somebody to inquire of:
This last argument had indeed some effect on Jones, and while he was weighing it, the landlord threw all the rhetoric of which he was master, into the same scale. “Sure, Sir,' said he, ‘your servant
gives you most excellent advice: for who would • travel by night at this time of the year?' He then began in the usual style to trumpet forth the exs cellent accommodation which his house afforded; and my landlady likewise opened on the occasion
But not to detain the reader with what is common to every host and hostess, it is sufficient to tell him, Jones was at last prevailed on to stay and refresh himself with a few hours rest, which indeed he very much wanted; for he had hardly shut his eyes since he had left the inn where the accident of the broken head had happened.
As soon as Jones had taken a resolution to proceed no farther that night, he presently retired to rest, with his two bed-fellows, the pocket-book, and the muff; but Partridge, who at several times had refreshed himself with several naps, was more inclined to eating than to sleeping, and more to drinking than to either.
And now the storm which Grace had raised being at an end, and my landlady being again reconciled to the puppet-man, who on his side forgave the indecent reflections which the good woman in her passion had cast on his performances, a face of perfect peace and tranquillity reigned in the kitchen; where sat assembled round the fire, the landlord and landlady of the house, the master of the puppet-show, the attorney's clerk, the exciseman, and the ingenious Mr. Partridge; in which company past the agreeable conversation which will be found in the next chapter.
CHAP. VII. Containing a Remark or two of our own, and many
more of the good Company assembled in the
Kitchen. THOUGH the pride of Partridge did not submit to acknowledge himself a gervant; 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 so 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 expense of the gentleman whose livery he wears.
After Partridge, therefore, had enlarged greatly on the vast furtune 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 gen“tleman surprised me very much, when he talked * so absurdly about puppet-shows. It is indeed I hardly to be conceived that any man in his senses should be so much misikiken; 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 leav
ing 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 Partiidge, * if he be a madmau,' says he, he should not be • suffered to travel thus about the country; for pos
sibly he may do some mischief. It is 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 he hear the sentimients of the exciseman, than he embraced that opportunity of declaring his own, and expressed a hearty wish that such a matter could be brought about.
· Could be brought about !' says the exciseman; 'why there is nothing easier.'
* Ah! Sir,' answered Partridge ; you don't • know what a devil of a fellow he is. He can take
with one hand, and throw me out at a win'dow; and he would too; if he did but imagine--? Pogh !' says the exciseman, “I believe I am as
! 'good a man as he. Besides, here are five of us.'
I don't know what five,' cries the landlady, my
husband shall have nothing to do in it. Nor • shall any violent hands be laid upon any body in
house. The young gentleman is as pretty a young geutleman as ever I saw in my life, and I
* bclicve he is no more mad than any of us. What
do you tell of his having a wild look with his 'eyes: they are the prettiest eyes I ever saw, and
he hath the prettiest look with them; and a very 'modest civil young man he is. I am sure I have ' bepitied him heartily ever since the gentleman • there in the corner told us he was crost in love. . Certainly that is enough to make any man, espe
cially such a sweet young gentleman as he is, to ' look a little otherwise than he did before. Lady, 'indeed! what the devil would the lady have bet
ter than such a handsome man with a great • * estate ? I suppose she is one of your quality folks, 'one of your Townly ladies that we saw last night ' in the puppet-show, who don't know what they ' would be at.'
The attorney's clerk likewise declared he would have no concern in the business, without the advice of counsel. ‘Suppose,' says he, an action of · false imprisonment should be brought against us, what defence could we make? Who knows what may be sufficient evidence of madness to a jury? • But I only speak upon my own account; for it * don't look well for a lawyer to be concerned in 'these matters, unless it be as a lawyer. Juries are
always less favourable to us than to other people. • I don't therefore dissuade you, Mr. Thomson' (to the exciseman), ‘nor the gentleman, nor any body else.'
The exciseman shook his head at this speech, and the puppet-show man said, “Madness was some' times a difficult matter for a jury to decide: for 'I remember,' says he, I was once present at a 'trial of madness, where twenty witnesses swore ' that the person was as mad as a March hare; and twenty others, that he was as much in his senses as any man in England. - And indeed it was the opinion of most people, that it was only a trick of ' his relations to rob the poor man of his right.'
*Very likely!' cries the landlady. I myself