Nine at the beginning means:

He lends grace to his toes, leaves the carriage, and walks.

A beginner in subordinate place must take upon himself the labor of advancing. There might be an opportunity of surreptitiously easing the way-symbolized by the carriage-but a self-contained man scorns help gained in a dubious fashion. He thinks it more graceful to go on foot than to drive in a carriage under false pretenses.