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Teresa with the eyes of appetite which he ing her, with the most solemn protestations of
ple; and been well assured that, though he
He acknowledged the strength of her argue his behaviour, and keep him strictly to the letment, and that her condescension was greater ter of their contract. than his deserts, but objected against the pro- He could not help subscribing to the rightposal, as infinitely prejudicial to the fortunes of eousness of this proposal, which, nevertheless, them both. He represented the state of depen, he would have willingly waived, on the suppodance in which they mutually stood ; their ut- sition that they could not possibly be joined in ter incapacity to support one another under the the bands of wedlock with such secrecy as the consequences of a precipitate match, clandes nature of the case absolutely required. This tinely made, without the consent and concurs would have been a difficulty soon removed, had rence of their patrons: he displayed, with the scene of the transaction been laid in the great eloquence, all those gay expectations they metropolis of England, where passengers are had reason to entertain, from that eminent de plied in the streets by clergymen, who prostigree of favour which they had already secured tute their characters and consciences for hire, in the family; and set forth, in the most ale in defiance of all decency and law; but in the luring colours, those enchanting scenes of plea- kingdom of Hungary, ecclesiastics are more sure they might enjoy in each other, without scrupulous in the exercise of their function, that disagreeable consciousness of a nuptial and the objection was, or supposed to be, altochain, provided she would be his associate in gether insurmountable ; so that they were fain the execution of a plan which he had projected to have recourse to an expedient, with which, for their reciprocal convenience.
after some hesitation, our she-adventurer was Having thus inflamed her love of pleasure satisfied. They joined hands in the sight of and curiosity, he, with great caution, hinted his Heaven, which they called to witness, and to design upon the young lady's fortune, and, per- judge the sincerity of their vows, and engaged, ceiving her listening with the most greedy at- in a voluntary oath, to confirm their union by tention, and perfectly ripe for the conspiracy, the sanction of the church, whenever a convehe disclosed his intention at full length, assure nient opportunity for so doing should occur.
The scruples of Teresa being thus removed, fail of shooting up into such intemperate desires she admitted Ferdinand to the privileges of á as he wanted to produce, especially when culhusband, which he enjoyed in stolen interviews, tured and cherished in her unguarded hours, by and readily undertook to exert her whole power that stimulating discourse which familiarity ada in promoting his suit with her young mistress, mits, and the looser passions, ingrafted in every because she now considered his interest as in- breast, are apt to relish and excuse. separably connected with her own. Surely no- Fathom had previously reconnoitred the thing could be more absurd or preposterous ground, and discovered some marks of inflamthan the articles of this covenant, which she mability in Mademoiselle's constitution ; her insisted upon with such inflexibility. How beauty was not such as to engage her in those could she suppose that her pretended lover gaieties of amusement which could flatter her would be restrained by an oath, when the very vanity and dissipate her ideas; and she was of occasion of incurring it was an intention to act an age when the little loves and young desires in violation of all laws human and divine; and take possession of the fancy; he therefore conyet such ridiculous conjuration is commonly the cluded, that she had the more leisure to indulge ement of every conspiracy, how dark, how those enticing images of pleasure that youth treacherous, how impious soever it may be: a never fails to create, particularly in those who, certain sign that there are some remains of reli- like her, were addicted to solitude and study. gion left in the human mind, even after every Teresa, full fraught with the wily injunctions moral sentiment hath abandoned it; and that of her confederate, took the field, and opened the most execrable ruffian finds means to quiet the campaign with such remarkable sourness in the suggestions of his conscience, by some re- her aspect when Ferdinand appeared, that her Fersionary hope of Heaven's forgiveness. young lady could not help taking notice of her
affected chagrin, and asked the reason of such CHAP. VIII.
apparent alteration in her way of thinking. Prepared for this question, the other replied, in a
manner calculated for giving Mademoiselle to Their first attempt ; with a digression which understand, that, whatever impressions Ferdisome readers may think impertinent. nand might have formerly made on her heart,
they were now altogether effaced by the pride Be this as it will, our lovers, though real vo- and insolence with which he had received her luptuaries, amidst the first transports of their advances; and that her breast now glowed with enjoyment, did not neglect the great political all the revenge of a slighted lover. aim of their conjunction. Teresa's bed-cham- To evince the sincerity of this declaration, she ber, to which our hero constantly repaired at bitterly inveighed against him, and even affected midnight, was the scene of their deliberations, to depreciate those talents, in which she knew and there it was determined that the damsel, in his chief merit to consist; hoping, by these order to avoid suspicion, should feign herself means, to interest Mademoiselle’s candour in his irritated at the indifference of Ferdinand, her defence. So far the train succeeded : that passion for whom was by this time no secret in young lady's love for truth was offended at the the family ; and that, with a view to counte- calumnies that were vented against Ferdinand nance this affectation, he should upon all occa- in his absence. She chid her woman for the sions treat her with an air of loftiness and dis- rancour of her remarks, and undertook to refute dain.
the articles of his dispraise. Teresa supported So screened from all imputation of fraud, she her own assertions with great obstinacy, and a was furnished by him with artful instructions dispute ensued, in which her mistress was heathow to sound the inclinations of her young mis- ed into some extravagant commendations of our tress, how to recommend his person and quali- adventurer. fications by the sure methods of contradiction, His supposed enemy did not fail to make a comparisons, revilings, and reproach ; how to report of her success, and to magnify every adwatch the paroxysms of her disposition, inflame vantage they had gained; believing, in good her passions, and improve, for his advantage, earnest, that her lady's warmth was the effect of those moments of frailty, from which no woman a real passion for the fortunate Mr Fathom : is exempted. In short, this consummate politi- but he himself viewed the adventure in a differeian taught his agent to poison the young lady's ent light, and rightly imputed the violence of mind with insidious conversation, tending to Mademoiselle's behaviour to the contradiction inspire her with the love of guilty pleasure, to she had sustained from her maid, or to the fire debauch her sentiments, and confound her ideas of her natural generosity glowing in behalf of of dignity and virtue. After all, the task is not innocence traduced. Nevertheless, he was perdifficult to lead the unpractised heart astray, by fectly well pleased with the nature of the condint of those opportunities her seducer possessed. test; because, in the course of such debates, he The seeds of insinuation, seasonably sown upon foresaw that he should become habitually her the warm luxuriant soil of youth, could hardly hero, and that, in time, she would actually be
lieve those exaggerations of his merit, which being indulged in this request, he recommended she herself had feigned, for the honour of her it in terms of rapture to all his friends and deown arguments.
pendents, and, by dint of unwearied solicitaThis presage, founded upon that principle of tion, procured a very ample subscription for the self-respect, without which no individual ex. author. ists, may certainly be justified by manifold oc- But, to resume the thread of our story : Te currences in life: we ourselves have known a resa's practices were not confined to simple devery pregnant example, which we shall relate, famation : her reproaches were contrived so as for the emolument of the reader. A certain to imply some intelligence in favour of the perneedy author having found means to present a son she reviled. In exemplifying his pertness manuscript to one of those sons of fortune who and arrogance, she repeated his witty repartee ; are dignified with the appellation of patrons, on pretence of blaming his ferocity, she recountinstead of reaping that applause and advantage ed proofs of his spirit and prowess; and, in exwith which he had regaled his fancy, had the plaining the source of his vanity, gave her mismortification to find his performance treated tress to understand, that a certain young lady with infinite irreverence and contempt; and, in of fashion was said to be enamoured of his per-, high dudgeon and disappointment, appealed to Nor did this well-instructed understrapthe judgment of another critic, who, he knew, per omit those other parts of her cue which the had no veneration for the first.
principal judged necessary for the furtherance This common consolation, to which all baf- of his scheme. Her conversation became less fled authors have recourse, was productive of guarded, and took a freer turn than usual ; she very happy consequences to our bard ; for, seized all opportunities of introducing little though the opinions of both judges concerning ainorous stories, the greatest part of which were the piece were altogether the same, the latter, invented for the purposes of warming her paseither out of compassion to the appellant, or de- sions, and lowering the price of chastity in her sire of rendering his rival ridiculous in the eye esteem ; for she represented all the young lady's of taste, undertook to repair the misfortune, and contemporaries in point of age and situation, as in this manner executed the plan : in a meet- so many sensualists, who, without scruple, ining of literati, to which both these wits be- dulged themselves in the stolen pleasures of longed, he who had espoused the poet's cause, youth. having previously desired another member to Meanwhile Ferdinand seconded these endeabring his composition on the carpet, no sooner vours with his whole industry and address : he heard it mentioned, than he began to censure it redoubled, if possible, his deference and respect, with Aagrant marks of scorn, and, with an iro- whetting his assiduity to the keenest edge of nical air, looking at its first condemner, observed, attention; and, in short, regulated his dress, that he must be furiously infected with the rage conversation, and deportment, according to the of patronizing, who could take such a deplorable fancy, turn, and prevailing humour of his young performance into his protection. The sarcasm mistress. He moreover attempted to profit by took effect.
her curiosity, which he knew to be truly femiThe person against whom it was levelled, tak- nine, and having culled from the library of his ing umbrage at his presumption, assumed an patron certain dangerous books, calculated to aspect of disdain, and replied, with great ani- debauch the minds of young people, left them mosity, that nothing was more easily supported occasionally upon the table in his apartment, than the character of a Zoilus, because no pro- after having directed Teresa to pick them up, as duction was altogether free from blemishes, and if by accident, in his absence, and carry them any man might pronounce against any piece by off for the entertainment of Mademoiselle'; nay, the lump, without interesting his own discern- this crafty projector found means to furnish his ment;—but to perceive the beauties of a work, associate with some mischievous preparations, it was requisite to have learning, judgment, and which were mingled in her chocolate, tea, or taste; and therefore he did not wonder that the coffee, as provocations to warm her constitution; gentleman had overlooked a great many in the yet all these machinations, ingenious as they composition which he so contemptuously de- were, failed, not only in fulfilling their aim, but cried. A rejoindure succeeded this reply, and even in shaking the foundations of her virtue or produced a long train of altercation, in which pride, which stood their assaults unmoved, like the gentleman who had formerly treated the a strong tower built upon a rock, impregnable book with such disrespect, now professed him- to all the tempestuous blasts of heaven. self its passionate admirer, and held forth in Not but that the conspirators were more than praise of it with great warmth and elocution. once mistaken in the effects of their artifices,
Not contented with having exhibited this in- and disposed to applaud themselves on the prostance of regard, he next morning sent a mes- gress they had made.
When at any time she sage to the owner, importing, that he had but expressed a desire to examine those performsuperficially glanced over the manuscript, and ances which were laid before her as snares to desiring the favour of perusing it a second time; entrap her chastity, they attributed that, which
was no other than curiosity, to a looseness of to deliver her from the malicious observance of sentiment; and when she discovered no aver- such an antagonist: when he therefore saw her sion to hear those anecdotes concerning the approach, his heart throbbed with joyful expecfrailty of her neighbours, they imputed to abate- tations ; but, when she snatched up the purse, ment of chastity, that satisfaction which was the and thrust it in her bosom, with all the eagerresult of self-congratulation on her own supe- ness and confusion of one determined to approrior virtue.
priate the windfall to her own use, his transports So far did the treacherous accomplice of Fa- were altogether unspeakable. He traced her to thom presume upon these misconstructions, that her own apartment, whither she immediately she at length divested her tongue of all restraint, retreated with great trepidation, and then comand behaved in such a manner, that the young municated the discovery to Teresa, together with lady, confounded and incensed at her indecency instructions how to behave in the sequel. and impudence, rebuked her with great seve- In conformity with these lessons, she took rity, and commanded her to reform her dis- the first opportunity of going to Mademoiselle, course, on pain of being dismissed with disgrace and demanding money for some necessary exfrom her service.
pense, that the loss might be known before the finder could have leisure to make any fresh con
veyance of the prize; and, in the mean time, CHAP. IX
Ferdinand kept a strict eye upon the motions of the chambermaid. The young lady, having
rummaged her pockets in vain, expressed some The Confederates change their battery; and surprise at the loss of her purse, upon which achieve a remarkable Adventure. her attendant gave indications of extreme amaze
ment and concern: she said, it could not posTHUNDERSTRUCK at this disappointment, the sibly be lost; entreated her to search her escriconfederates held a council, in order to delib- toir, while she herself ran about the room, pryerate upon the next measures that should be ing into every corner, with all the symptoms of taken; and Ferdinand, for the present, despair- fear and distraction. Having made this unsucing of accomplishing his grand aim, resolved to cessful inquiry, she pretended to shed a flood of profit in another manner, by the conveniency of tears, bewailing her own fate, in being near the his situation. He represented to his help-mate, person of any lady who met with such a misforthat it would be prudent for them to make hay tune, by which, she observed, her character while the sun shone, as their connexion might might be called in question : she produced her be sooner or later discovered, and an end put to own keys, and begged upon her knees, that her all those opportunities which they now so hap- chamber and boxes might be searched without pily enjoyed. All principles of morality had delay. been already excluded from their former plan; In a word, she demeaned herself so artfully consequently he found it an easy task to interest upon this occasion, that her mistress, who never Teresa in any other scheme tending to their mu- entertained the least doubt of her integrity, now tual advantage, howsoever wicked and perfidious looked upon her as a miracle of fidelity and atit might be. He therefore persuaded her to be tachment, and was at infinite pains to console bis auxiliary in defrauding Mademoiselle at play, her for the accident which had happened ; proand gave her suitable directions for that pur- testing that, for her own part, the loss of the pose, and even tutored her how to abuse the money should never affect her with a moment's trust reposed in her, by embezzling the young uneasiness, if she could retrieve a certain medal lady's effects, without incurring the suspicion of which she had long kept in her purse, as a redishonesty.
membrance of her deceased aunt, from whom On the supposition that every servant in the she received it in a present. house was not able to resist such temptation, the Fathom entered accidentally in the midst of purse of her mistress (to which the maid had this well-acted scene, and, perceiving the agitaalways access) was dropped in a passage which tion of the maid, and the concern of the misthe domestics had occasion to frequent, and Fa- tress, desired, in a respectful manner, to know thom posted himself in a convenient place, in the cause of their disorder. Before the young order to observe the effect of his stratagem. lady had time to make him acquainted with the Here he was not disappointed in his conjecture. circumstances of the case, his accomplice exThe first person who chanced to pass that way claimed, in an affected passion, “Mr Fathom, was one of the chambermaids, with whom Te my lady has lost her purse ; and as no persons resa had lived for some time in a state of inve- in the family are so much about her as you and terate enmity, because the wench had failed in you must give me leave, in my own justifithat homage and respect which was paid to her cation, to insist upon Mademoiselle's ordering by the rest of the servants.
the apartments of us both to be searched with Ferdinand had in his heart espoused the quare out loss of time: here are my pockets and my rel of his associate, and longed for an occasion keys, and you cannot scruple to give her the same satisfaction ; for innocence has nothing to generosity, joined in the request, and the offear.”
fender was pardoned after having restored the Miss Melvil reprimanded her sharply for her purse, and promised in the sight of Heaven, unmannerly zeal; and Ferdinand, eyeing her that the devil should never again entice her to with a look of disdain, “Madam (said he), I the commission of such a crime. This advenapprove of your proposal; but, before I undergo ture fully answered all the purposes of our posuch mortification, I would advise Mademoiselle litician ; it established the opinion of his felto subject the two chambermaids to such in- low-labourer's virtue, beyond the power of acquiry; as they also have access to the apart- cident or information to shake, and set up a ments, and are, I apprehend, as likely as you or false beacon to mislead the sentiments of MaI to behave in such a scandalous manner. demoiselle, in case she should for the future
The young lady declared that she was too meet with the like misfortune. well satisfied of Teresa's honesty and Ferdinand's honour, to harbour the least suspicion of either, and that she would sooner die than dis
CHAP. X. grace them so far as to comply with the proposal the former had made ; but as she saw no They proceed to levy contributions with great reason for exempting the inferior servants from success,
until our Hero sets out with the young that examination which Fathom advised, she Count for Vienna, where he enters into league would forthwith put it in execution. The with another Adventurer. chambermaids being accordingly summoned, she calmly asked if either of them had accidentally Under this secure cover, Teresa levied confound the purse she had dropped ; and both retributions upon her mistress with great success. plying in the negative, she assumed an air of Some trinket was missing every day; the young severity and determination, and, demanding lady's patience began to fail; the faithful attheir keys, threatened to examine their trunks tendant was overwhelmed with consternation, on the instant.
and, with the appearance of extreme chagrin, The guilty Abigail, who, though an Hunga- demanded her dismission, affirming that these rian, was not inferior, in point of effrontery, to things were certainly effected by some person any one of the sisterhood in England, no sooner in the family, with a view of murdering her heard this menace, than she affected an air of precious reputation. Miss Melvil, not without affronted innocence, thanked God she had lived difficulty, quieted her vexation with assurances in many reputable families, and been trusted of inviolable confidence and esteem, until a with untold gold, but was never before sus- pair of diamond ear-rings vanished, when Tepected of theft; that the other maid might do resa could no longer keep her affliction within as she should think proper, and be mean-spirited bounds. Indeed this was an event of more enough to let her things be tumbled topsy- consequence than all the rest which had hapturvy and exposed; but, for her own part, if pened, for the jewels were valued at five hunshe should be used in that inhuman and dis- dred fiorins. graceful manner, she would not stay another Mademoiselle was accordingly alarmed to' hour in the house; and in conclusion said, that such a degree, that she made her mother aeMademoiselle had more reason to look sharp af- quainted with her loss, and that good lady, ter those who enjoyed the greatest share of her who was an excellent economist, did not fail to favour, than believe their malicious insinuations give indications of extraordinary concern. She against innocent people whom they were well asked, if her daughter had reason to suspect known to hate and defame.
any individual in the family, and if she was This declaration, implying an hint to the perfectly confident of her own woman's intege prejudice of Teresa, far from diverting Miss rity: upon which Mademoiselle, with many Melvil from her purpose, served only to enhance encomiums on the fidelity and attachment of the character of the accused in her opinion, and Teresa, recounted the adventure of the chamto confirm her suspicion of the accuser, of whom bermaid, who immediately underwent a strict she again demanded her keys, protesting that, inquiry, and was even committed to prison, on should she prove refractory, the Count himself the strength of her former misdemeanour. Our should take cognizance of the affair, whereas, if adventurer's mate insisted upon undergoing the she would deal ingenuously, she should have no same trial with the rest of the domestics, and, cause to repent of her confession. So saying, as usual, comprehended Fathom in her insinu. she desired our adventurer to take the trouble ations; while he seconded the proposal, and of calling up some of the men servants; upon privately counselled the old lady to introduce which the conscious criminal began to tremble, Teresa to the magistrate of the place. By these and, falling upon her knees, acknowledged her preconcerted recriminations, they escaped all guilt, and implored the forgiveness of her young suspicion of collusion. After a fruitless inquiry, mistress.
the prisoner was discharged from her conTeresa, seizing this occasion to signalize her finement, and turned out of the service of the