BOOK XII. CONTAINING THE SAME INDIVIDUAL TIME WITH THE FORMER.
7. Chapter vii. Containing a remark or two...
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
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
estate 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
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 expence of the gentleman
whose livery he wears.