His master tried for the longest time to ignore Jem's antics, but he could ignore no longer after Jem dropped a live eel down the back of Chatham's mother's shirt as they were trying to eat supper. Chatham's mother howled, and lifted her great, bulky body to her feet and dashed around the room, crying “Ahh, ahh, my son! Help me!” And her son jumped to his feet and tried his best to help, but he had trouble catching her since fright added swiftness to her steps. His mother evaded capture for half an hour, and they chased her through a dozen rooms, nearly calming her down and catching her, only for the eel to bite her back or slither around again, and she was away like the wind.
After Chatham had seen off his mother, he turned angrily on Jem.
“What in God's name is wrong with you, droid? I paid good money for you, and I expect you to behave.”
“Your mother needed exercise, sir,” Jem said, “And I provided the impetus.”
“That's not your duty,” Chatham said, his face red and bulging. He twisted his hands through his long, curling mustaches, nearly tearing them out in his rage. “My poor dear mother could have suffered a heart attack. Do you understand that?”
“No, sir,” Jem said, glad that he had no facial muscles to betray his mirth. The flat metallic planes of his body concealed much in the way of human emotion, especially the fact that he should experience any such emotions so alien to his manufactured body.
“You're not even sorry, are you, you hunk of excrement. You're not even sorry, though I gather you're very pleased with yourself. Well. I have just the thing for you, then. Come, Jem. You have new assignments now.”
“Certainly, sir,” Jem said, inwardly joyful. He'd received a promotion to a better station. His happiness increased when his master led him into the lower levels of the house, where the kitchens and ovens and sewers were, and instructed him to take off his butler uniform. Jem did so, feeling no shame. What shame was there in the hard, flat planes of his body? Then Chatham gave him a jaunty black hat and shiny black rubber boots, and thick matching gloves for his hands.