“My neighbour’s!” replied he, with a vacant stare. “Well, so it is, I see now—I thought it was my own.”
I released his hand; he immediately put it into his own pocket, and drew out his handkerchief, if the rag deserved the appellation. “There,” said he, “I told you I put it in that pocket—I always do.”
“And pray who are you?” said I, as I looked at his dress, which was a pair of loose white Turkish trousers, and an old spangled jacket.
“Me! why, I’m the fool.”
“More knave than fool, I expect,” replied I, still much puzzled with his strange appearance and dress.
“Nay, there you mistake,” said the voice of last night. “He is not only a fool by profession, but one by nature. It is a half-witted creature, who serves me when I would attract the people. Strange in this world, that wisdom may cry in the streets without being noticed, yet folly will always command a crowd.”
During this address I turned my eyes upon the speaker. He was an elderly-looking person, with white hair, dressed in a suit of black, ruffles and frill. His eyes were brilliant, but the remainder of his face it was difficult to decipher, as it was evidently painted, and the night’s jumbling in the wagon had so smeared it, that it appeared of almost every colour in the rainbow. On one side of him lay a large three-cornered cocked hat, on the other, a little lump of a boy, rolled up in the straw like a marmot, and still sound asleep. Timothy looked at me, and when he caught my eye, burst out into a laugh.
“You laugh at my appearance, I presume,” said the old man, mildly.
“I do in truth,” replied Timothy. “I never saw one like you before, and I dare say never shall again.”
“That is possible; yet probably if you meet me again, you would not know me.”
“Among a hundred thousand,” replied Timothy, with increased mirth.
“We shall see, perhaps,” replied the quack doctor, for such the reader must have already ascertained to be his profession; “but the wagon has stopped, and the driver will bait his horses. If inclined to eat, now is your time. Come, Jumbo, get up; Philotas, waken him, and follow me.”
Philotas, for so was the fool styled by his master, twisted up some straw, and stuffed the end of it into Jumbo’s mouth. “Now, Jumbo will think he has got something to eat. I always wake him that way,” observed the fool, grinning at us.
It certainly, as might be expected, did waken Jumbo, who uncoiled himself, rubbed his eyes, stared at the tilt of the wagon, then at us, and without saying a word, rolled himself out after the fool. Timothy and I followed. We found the doctor bargaining for some bread and bacon, his strange appearance exciting much amusement, and inducing the people to let him have a better bargain than perhaps otherwise they would have done. He gave a part of the refreshment to the boy and the fool, and walked out of the tap-room