But something had to be done.
“You’ll sleep in this room,” said Edward Henry, indicating the door. “I may want you in the night.”
“Yes, sir,” said Joseph.
“I presume you’ll dine up here, sir,” said Joseph, glancing at the lounge-suit.
His father had informed him of his new master’s predicament.
“I shall,” said Edward Henry. “You might get the menu.”
He had a very bad night indeed—owing, no doubt, partly to a general uneasiness in his unusual surroundings, and partly also to a special uneasiness caused by the propinquity of a sleeping valet; but the main origin of it was certainly his dreadful anxiety about the question of a first-class tailor. In the organization of his new life a first-class tailor was essential, and he was not acquainted with a first-class London tailor. He did not know a great deal concerning clothes, though quite passably well dressed for a provincial, but he knew enough to be sure that it was impossible to judge the merits of a tailor by his signboard, and therefore that if, wandering in the precincts of Bond Street, he entered the first establishment that “looked likely,” he would have a good chance of being “done in the eye.” So he phrased it to himself as he lay in bed. He wanted a definite and utterly reliable address.
He rang the bell. Only, as it happened to be the wrong bell, he obtained the presence of Joseph in a roundabout way, through the agency of a gentleman-in-waiting. Such, however, is the human faculty of adaptation to environment that he was merely amused in the morning by an error which, on the previous night, would have put him into a sweat.
“Good morning, sir,” said Joseph.
Edward Henry nodded, his hands under his head as he lay on his back. He decided to leave all initiative to Joseph. The man drew up the blinds, and closing the double windows at the top opened them very wide at the bottom.
“It is a rainy morning, sir,” said Joseph, letting in vast quantities of air from Devonshire Square.
Clearly, Sir Nicholas Winkworth had been a breezy master.
“Oh!” murmured Edward Henry.
He felt a careless contempt for Joseph’s flunkeyism. Hitherto he had had the theory that footmen, valets and all male personal attendants were an inexcusable excrescence on the social fabric. The mere sight of them often angered him, though for some reason he had no objection whatever to servility in a nice-looking maid—indeed, rather enjoyed it. But now, in the person of Joseph, he saw that there were human or half-human beings born to self-abasement, and that, if their destiny was to be fulfilled, valetry was a necessary institution. He had no pity for Joseph, no shame in employing him. He scorned Joseph; and yet his desire, as a man-about-town, to keep Joseph’s esteem, was in no way diminished!