« PreviousContinue »
Two foot soldiers, standing sentry near the all his education and amusements, as one whom door of the tent, were captivated with the the old gentleman was fully determined to quasight of some valuable moveables belonging to lify for the station of an officer in the service ; it; and supposing, in their great wisdom, that and if he did not eat with the Count, he was the city of Belgrade was too well fortified to be every day, regaled with choice bits from his taken during that campaign, they came to a re- table; holding, as it were, a middle place besolution of withdrawing themselves from the tween the rank of a relation and favourite dos severe service of the trenches, by deserting to mestic. Although his patron maintained a tuthe enemy, after they should have rifled Count tor in the house, to superintend the conduct of Melvil's tent of the furniture by which they his heir, he committed the charge of his learnwere so powerfully allured : the particulars of ing to the instructions of a public school ; this plan were concerted in the French lan- where, he imagined, the boy would imbibe a guage, which, they imagined, would screen laudable spirit of emulation among his fellows, them from all risk of being detected, in case which could not fail of turning out to the adthey should be overheard, though, as there was vantage of his education. Ferdinand was enterno living creature in sight, they had no reason ed in the same academy; and the two lads proto believe that any person was privy to their ceeded equally in the paths of erudition; a muconversation. Nevertheless, they were mistaken tual friendship and intimacy soon ensued, and, in both these conjectures. The conference notwithstanding the levity and caprice comreached the ears of Fathom, who was at the monly discernible in the behaviour of such boys, other end of the tent, and had perceived the very few or rather no quarrels happened in the eager looks with which they considered some course of their communication. Yet their disa parts of the furniture: he had penetration positions were altogether different, and their enough to suspect their desire, and, alarmed by talents unlike. Nay, this dissimilarity was that suspicion, listened attentively to their dise the very bond of their union; because it precourse, which, from a slender knowledge in the vented that jealousy and rivalship which often French tongue, he had the good fortune partly interrupts the harmony of two warm contemto understand.
poraries. This important piece of intelligence he com- The young Count made extraordinary promunicated to the Count at his return, and mea- gress in the exercises of the school, though he sures were immediately taken to defeat the seemed to take very little pains in the cultiva. design, and make an example of the authors, tion of his studies; and became a perfect hero who, being permitted to load themselves with in all the athletic diversions of his fellow-schothe booty, were apprehended in their retreat, lars; but, at the same time, exhibited such a and punished with death, according to their de- bashful appearance and uncouth address, that merits.
his mother despaired of ever seeing him improved into any degree of polite behaviour. On
the other hand, Fathom, who was in point of CHAP. V.
learning a mere dunce, became, even in his
childhood, remarkable among the ladies for his A brief detail of his Education. genteel deportment and vivacity; they ad
mired the proficiency he made under the diNOTHING could have more seasonably hap- rections of his dancing-master, the air with pened, to confirm the good opinion which the which he performed his obeisance at his enColonel entertained of Ferdinand's principles : trance and exit; and were charmed with the his intentions towards the boy grew every day agreeable assurance and lively sallies of his conmore and more warm; and immediately after versation; while they expressed the utmost conthe peace of Passarowitz, he retired to his own cern and disgust at the boorish demeanour of house at Presburg, and presented young Fa- his companion, whose extorted bows resembled thom to his lady, not only as the son of a per- the pawings of a mule, who hung his head in son to whom he owed his life, but also as a lad silence like a detected sheep-stealer, who sat in who merited his peculiar protection and regard company under the most awkward expressions by his own personal virtue. The Countess, who of constraint, and whose discourse never exo kas an Hungarian, received him with great ceeded the simple monosyllables of negation and kindness and affability, and her son was ravish- assent. ed with the prospect of enjoying such a come In vain did all the females of the family propanion : in short, fortune seemed to have pro- pose to him young Fathom as a pattern and revided for him an asylum, in which he might be proach : he remained unaltered by all their efsafely trained up, and suitably prepared for forts and expostulations, and allowed our admore important scenes of life than any of his venturer to enjoy the triumph of his praise, ancestors had ever known.
while he himself was conscious of his own suHe was not, in all respects, entertained on the periority in those qualifications which seemed footing of his young master; yet he shared in of more real importance than the mere exteriors and forms of life. His present ambition looked into any of the rest, and could not help was not to make a figure at his father's table, bestowing upon it particular marks of approbabut to eclipse his rivals at school, and to acquire tion: the next that fell under his examination an influence and authority among these confe- was that of the young Count, when he immcderates. Nevertheless, Fathom might possibly diately perceived the sameness, and, far from have fallen under his displeasure or contempt, imputing it to the true cause, upbraided him had not that pliant genius found means to re- with having copied the exercise of our adventain his friendship by seasonable compliances turer, and insisted upon chastising him upon and submission ; for the sole study, or at least the spot for his want of application. the chief aim of Ferdinand, was to make him- Had not the young gentleman thought his self necessary and agreeable to those on whom honour was concerned, he would have submithis dependance was placed : his talent was in ted to the punishment without murmuring; but this particular suited to his inclination ; he he inherited, from his parents, the pride of two seemned to have inherited it from his mother's fierce nations, and being overwhelmed with rewomb; and, without all doubt, would have proaches for that which he imagined ought to raised upon it a most admirable superstructure have redounded to his glory, he could not of fortune and applause, had not it been inse- brook the indignity, and boldly affirmed, that parably yoked with a most insidious principle he himself was the original, to whom Ferdiof self-love, that grew up with him from the nand was beholden for his performance. The cradle, and left no room in his heart for the schoolmaster, nettled to find himself mistaken least particle of social virtue. This last, how- in his judgment, resolved that the Count should ever, he knew so well how to counterfeit, by have no cause to exult in the discovery he had means of a large share of ductility and dissi- made, and, like a true flogger, actually whipped mulation, that, surely, he was calculated by na- him for having allowed Fathom to copy his ture to dupe even the most cautious, and grati- exercise. Nay, in the hope of vindicating his fy his appetites, by levying contributions on all own penetration, he took an opportunity of mankind.
questioning Ferdinand in private concerning the So little are the common instructors of youth circumstances of the translation, and our hero, qualified to judge the capacities of those who perceiving his drift, gave him such artful and are under their tutelage and care, that Fathom, ambiguous answers, as persuaded him that the by dint of his insinuating arts, made shift to young Count had acted the part of a plagiary, pass upon the schoolmaster as a lad of quick and that the other had been restrained from do parts, in despite of a natural inaptitude to re- ing himself justice, by the consideration of his tain his lessons, which all his industry could own dependance. never overcome. In order to remedy, or rather This profound director did not fail, in hoto cloak, this defect in his understanding, he nour of his own discernment, to whisper about had always recourse to the friendship of the the misrepresentation, as an instance of the young count, who freely permitted him to young Count's insolence, and Fathom’s humi, transcribe his exercises, until a small accidentlity and good sense. The story was circulated happened, which had well-nigh put a stop to among the servants, especially the maids bethese instances of his generosity. --The adven- longing to the family, whose favour our hero ture, inconsiderable as it is, we shall record, as had acquired by his engaging behaviour; and at the first overt-act of Ferdinand's true character, length it reached the ears of his patron, who, inas well as an illustration of the opinion we have censed at his son's presumption and inhospitaadvanced touching the blind and injudicious lity, called him to a severe account, when the decisions of a right pedagogue.
young gentleman absolutely denied the truth of Among other tasks imposed by the pedant the allegation, and appealed to the evidence of upon the form to which our two companions Fathom himself. Our adventurer was accordbelonged, they were one evening ordered to ingly summoned by the father, and encouraged translate a chapter of Cæsar's Commentaries. to declare the truth, with an assurance of his Accordingly the young Count went to work, constant protection; upon which Ferdinand and performed the undertaking with great ele very wisely fell upon his knees, and, while the gance and despatch : Fathom, having spent the tears gushed from his eyes, acquitted the young night in more effeminate amusements, was next Count of the imputation, and expressed his apmorning so much hurried for want of time, that prehension, that the report had been spread by in his transcription he neglected to insert a few some of his enemies, who wanted to prejudice variations from the text, these being the terms him in the opinion of his patron. on which he was allowed to use it; so that it The old gentleman was not satisfied' of his was verbatim a copy of the original. As those son's integrity by this declaration; being naexercises were always delivered in a heap, sub- turally of a generous disposition, highly prescribed with the several names of the boys to possessed in favour of the poor orphan, and whom they belonged, the schoolmaster chanced chagrined at the unpromising appearance of to peruse the version of Ferdina nd before he his heir, he suspected that Fathom was over
awed by the fear of giving offence, and that, in short, he resembled those vagrant swallows notwithstanding what he had said, the case that skim along the level of some pool or river, really stood as it had been represented. In this without venturing to wet one feather in their persuasion, he earnestly exhorted his son to re- wings, except in the accidental pursuit of an insist and combat with any impulse he might feel considerable fly. Yet, though his capacity or within himself, tending to selfishness, fraud, or inclination was unsuited for studies of this imposition; to encourage every sentiment of kind, he did not fail to manifest a perfect gecandour and benevolence; and to behave with nius in the acquisition of other more profitable moderation and affability to all his fellow- arts. Over and above the accomplishments of creatures. He laid upon him strong injunc. address, for which he hath been already celetions, not without a mixture of threats, to con- brated, he excelled all his fellows in his dex. sider Fathom as the object of his peculiar re- terity at fives and billiards ; was altogether ungard ; to respect him as the son of the Count's rivalled in his skill at draughts and backgampreserver, as a Briton, a stranger, and, above all, mon; began, even at these years, to understand an helpless orphan, to whom the rights of hos- the moves and schemes of chess; and made pitality were doubly due.
himself a mere adept in the mystery of cards, Such admonitions were not lost upon the which he learned in the course of his assiduities youth, who, under the rough husk of his pere and attention to the females of the house. sonal exhibition, possessed a large share of generous sensibility: without any formal professions to his father, he resolved to govern
CHAP. VI. himself according to his remonstrances; and, far froin conceiving the least spark of animosity
He meditates Schemes of Importance. against Fathom, he looked upon the poor boy as the innocent cause of his disgrace, and ree It was in these parties that he attracted the doubled his kindness towards him, that his ho- notice and friendship of his patron's daughter, nour might never again be called in question a girl by two years older than himself, who upon the same subject. Nothing is more liable was not insensible to his qualifications, and to misconstruction than an act of uncommon looked upon him with the most favourable generosity; one half of the world mistake the eyes of prepossession. Whether or not he at motive, from want of ideas to conceive an in- this period of his life began to project plans for stance of beneficence that soars so high above availing himself of her susceptibility is uncer. the level of their own sentiments; and the rest tain ; but, without all doubt, he cultivated her suspect it of something sinister or selfish, from esteem with as obsequious and submissive ate the suggestions of their own sordid and vicious tention as if he had already formed the design, inclinations The young Count subjected him- which, in his advanced age, he attempted to put self to such misinterpretation, among those in execution. who observed the increased warmth of civility Divers circumstances conspired to promote and complaisance in his behaviour to Ferdie him in the favour of this young lady; the greennand: they ascribed it to his desire of still pro- ness of his years secured him from any fiting by our adventurer's superior talents, by appearance of fallacious aim; so that he which alone they supposed him enabled to was indulged in frequent opportunities of maintain any degree of reputation at school ; or conversing with his young mistress, whose to the fear of being convicted by him of some parents encouraged this communication, by misdemeanour of which he knew himself guilty. which they hoped she would improve in speaks These suspicions were not effaced by the con- ing the language of her father. Such connexduet of Ferdinand, who, when examined on the ions naturally produce intimacy and friends subject, managed his answers in such a manner, ship. Fathom's person was agreeable, his taas confirmed
their conjectures, while he pre- lents calculated for the meridian of those pare tended to refute them, and at the same time ties, and his manners so engaging, that there acquired to himself credit for his extraordinary would have been no just subject for wonder, discretion and self-denial.
had he made an impression upon the tender unIf he exhibited such a proof of sagacity in experienced heart of Mademoiselle de Melvil, the twelfth year of his age, what might not be whose beauty was not so attractive as to extinexpected from his finesse in the maturity of his guish his hope, in raising up a number of fore faculties and experience? Thus secured in the midable rivals; though her expectations of forgood graces of the whole family, he saw the tune were such as commonly lend additional days of his puerility glide along in the most lustre to personal merit. agreeable elapse of caresses and amusement. All these considerations were so many steps He never fairly plunged into the stream of towards the success of Ferdinand's pretensions ; school-education, but, by floating on the sure and though he cannot be supposed to have pero face, imbibed a small tincture of those different ceived them at first, he in the sequel seemed sciences which his master pretended to teach : perfectly well apprized of his advantages, and
used them to the full extent of his faculties. pronounced with too much ease and good huObserving that she delighted in music, he be- mour to be agreeable to our hero, who desired took himself to the study of that art, and, by to see her ruffled and chagrined at his absence, dint of application and a tolerable ear, learned and to hear himself rebuked with an angry afof himself to accompany her with a German fectation of disdain. This effort, therefore, he flute, while she sung and played upon the harp- reinforced with the most captivating carriage he sichord. The Count, seeing his inclination, could assume, in those hours which he now so and the progress he had made, resolved that his sparingly bestowed upon his mistress : he recapacity should not be lost for want of cultiva- galed her with all the entertaining stories he tion; and accordingly provided him with a master, could learn or invent, particularly such as he by whom he was instructed in the principles of thought would justify and recommend the levels the art, and soon became a proficient in playing ling power of love, that knows no distinctions upon the violin.
of fortune. He sung nothing but tender airs In the practice of these improvements and and passionate complaints, composed by deavocations, and in attendance upon his young sponding or despairing swains; and, to render inaster, whom he took care never to disoblige his performances of this kind the more pathetic, or neglect, he attained to the age of sixteen, interlarded them with some seasonable sighs, without feeling the least abatement in the while the tears, which he had ever at command, friendship and generosity of those upon whom stood collected in either eye. he depended; but, on the contrary, receiving It was impossible for her to overlook such every day fresh marks of their bounty and re- studied emotions; she in a jocose manner taxed gard. He had before this time been smit with him with having lost his heart, rallied the exthe ambition of making a conquest of the young cess of his passion, and in a merry strain underlady's heart, and foresaw manifold advantages to took to be an advocate for his love. Her behimself in becoming son-in-law to Count Mel- haviour was still wide of his wish and expectavil, who, he never doubted, would soon be re- tion: he thought she would, in consequence of conciled to the match, if once it could be effecte her discovery, have betrayed some interested uated without his knowledge. Although he symptom ; that her face would have undergone thought he had great reason to believe that Ma- some favourable suffusion; that her tongue would demoiselle looked upon him with an eye of pe have faltered, her breast heaved, and her whole culiar favour, his disposition was happily tem- deportment betokened internal agitation and disa pered with an ingredient of caution, that hinc order ; in which case, he meant to profit by the dered him from acting with precipitation ; and happy impression, and declare himself, before he had discerned in the young lady's deport- she could possibly recollect the dictates of her ment certain indications of loftiness and pride, pride.-Baffled however in his endeavours, by which kept him in the utmost vigilance and the serenity of the young lady, which he still circumspection ; for he knew, that, by a pre- deemed equivocal, he had recourse to another mature declaration, he should run the risk of experiment, by which he believed he should forfeiting all the advantages he had gained, and make a discovery of her sentiments beyond all blasting those expectations that now blossomed possibility of doubt. One day, while he accomso gaily in his heart.
panied Mademoiselle in her exercises of music, Restricted by these reflections, he acted at a he pretended all of a sudden to be taken ill, and wary distance, and determined to proceed by the counterfeited a swoon in her apartment. Surmethod of sap, and, summoning all his artifice prised at this accident, she screamed aloud, but and attractions to his aid, employed them under far from running to his assistance, with the the insidious cover of profound respect, in order transports and distraction of a lover, she orderto undermine those bulwarks of haughtiness or ed her maid, who was present, to support his discretion, which otherwise might have render- head, and went in person to call for more help: ed his approaches to her impracticable. With a he was accordingly removed to his own chamview to enhance the value of his company, and ber, where, willing to be still more certified of sound her sentiments at the same time, he be- her inclinations, he prolonged the farce, and lay came more reserved than usual, and seldomer groaning under the pretence of a severe fever. engaged in her parties of music and cards ; yet, The whole family was alarmed upon this ocin the midst of his reserve, he never failed in casion ; for, as we have already observed, he those demonstrations of reverence and regard, was an universal favourite. He was immedia which he knew perfectly well how to express, ately visited by the old Count and his Lady, who but devised such excuses for his absence, as she expressed the utmost concern at his distemper, could not help admitting. In consequence of ordered him to be carefully attended, and sent this affected shyness, she more than once gently for a physician without loss of time. The young chid him for his neglect and indifference, ob- gentleman would scarce stir from his bed-side, serving, with an ironical air, that he was now where he ministered unto him with all the dee too much of a man to be entertained with such monstrations of brotherly affection ; and Miss effeminate diversions ; but her reproofs were exhorted him to keep up his spirits, with many
expressions of unreserved sympathy and regard: of a man she loves; but all his faculties were nevertheless, he saw nothing in her behaviour employed upon the plan which he had already but what might be naturally expected from projected; that was the goal of his whole atcommon friendship, and a compassionate dis- tention, to which all his measures tended; and position, and was very much mortified at his whether or not he perceived the impression he disappointment.
had made upon Teresa, he never gave her the Whether the miscarriage actually affected least reason to believe he was conscious of his his constitution, or the doctor happened to be victory, until he found himself baffled in his mistaken in his diagnostics, we shall not pre- design upon the heart of her mistress. She tend to determine, but the patient was cer- therefore persevered in her distant attempts to tainly treated secundem artem, and all his com- allure him, with the usual coquetries of dress plaints in a little time realized ; for the physie and, address, and in the sweet hope of profiting cian, like a true graduate, had an eye to the by his susceptibility, made shift to suppress her apothecary in his prescriptions; and such was feelings, and keep her passion within bounds, the concern and scrupulous care with which until his supposed danger alarmed her fears, our hero was attended, that the orders of the and raised such a tumult within her breast, faculty were performed with the utmost punc- that she could no longer conceal her love, but tuality. He was blooded, vomited, purged, gave a loose to her sorrow in the most ima and blistered, in the usual forins (for the phy- moderate expressions of anguish and affliction, sicians of Hungary are generally as well skilled and, while his delirium lasted, behaved with in the arts of their occupation, as any other all the agitation of a despairing shepherdess. leeches under the sun), and swallowed a whole Ferdinand was, or pretended to be, the last dispensary of bolusses, draughts, and apozems, person in the family who understood the situaby which means he became fairly delirious in tion of her thoughts; when he perceived her three days, and so untractable, that he could be passion, he entered into deliberation with himno longer managed according to rule ; othera self
, and tasked his reflection and foresight, in wise, in all likelihood, the world would never order to discover how best he might convert have enjoyed the benefit of these adventures. this conquest to his own advantage. Here, In short, his constitution, though unable to then, that we may neglect no opportunity of cope with two such formidable antagonists as doing justice to our hero, it will be proper to the doctor and the disease he had conjured up, observe, that, howsoever unapt his understandwas no sooner rid of the one, than it easily got ing might be to receive and retain the usual the better of the other; and though Ferdinand, culture of the schools, he was naturally a genius after all, found his grand aim unaccomplished, self-taught, in point of sagacity and invention. his malady was productive of a consequence, He dived into the characters of mankind, with which, though he had not foreseen it, he did a penetration peculiar to himself, and had he not fail to convert to his own use and advan- been admitted as a pupil in any political acatage.
demy, would have certainly become one of the
ablest statesmen in Europe. CHAP. VII.
Having revolved all the probable consequena ces of such a connexion, he determined to proa
secute an amour with the lady whose affection Engages in partnership with a Female Associate, he had subdued ; because he hoped to interest in order to put his talents in action. her as an auxiliary in his grand scheme upon
Mademoiselle, which he did not as yet think While he displayed his qualifications in ore proper to lay aside ; for he was not more amder to entrap the heart of his young mistress, bitious in the plan than indefatigable in the he had unwittingly enslaved the affections of prosecution of it. He knew it would be imposher maid. This attendant was also a favourite sible to execute his aims upon the count's of the young lady, and, though her senior by daughter under the eye of Teresa, whose natutwo or three good years at least, unquestionably ral discernment would be whetted with jealousy, her superior in point of personal beauty ; she and who would watch his conduct, and thwart moreover possessed a good stock of cunning his progress with all the vigilance and spite of and discernment, and was furnished by nature a slighted maiden. On the other hand, he did with a very amorous complexion. These cir- not doubt of being able to bring her over to his cumstances being premised, the reader will not interest, by the influence he had already gainbe surprised to find her smitten by those un- ed, or might afterwards acquire, over her pascommon qualifications which we have celebrat- sions ; in which case, she would effectually esed in young Fathom. She had in good sooth pouse his cause, and employ her good offices long sighed in secret, under the powerful in- with her mistress in his behalf; besides, he was fuence of his charms, and practised upon him induced by another motive, which, though seall those little arts, by which a woman strives condary, did not fail in this case to have an efto attract the admiration, and ensnare the hcart fect upon his determination. He looked