Page images
PDF
EPUB

Count, in whose private opinion the character of ercises that were taught at the academy of Do person suffered so much as that of his own which he was pupil; his manners were so enson, whom he suspected of having embezzled gaging as to attract the acquaintance of his felthe jewels, for the use of a certain inamorata, low students, and his conversation being who, at that time, was said to have captivated sprightly and inoffensive, grew into very great his affections.

request ; in a word, he and the young Count The old gentleman felt upon this occasion formed a remarkable contrast, which, in the all that internal anguish which a man of ho- eye of the world, redounded to his advantage. nour may be supposed to suffer, on account of They were certainly, in all respects, the rea son's degeneracy; and, without divulging his verse of each other. Renaldo, under a total sentiments, or even hinting his suspicions to defect of exterior cultivation, possessed a most the youth himself, determined to detach him at excellent understanding, with every virtue that once from such dangerous connexions, by sende dignifies the human heart; while the other, ing him forth with to Vienna, on pretence of fic beneath a most agreeable outside, with an innishing his exercises at the academy, and usher- aptitude and aversion to letters, concealed an ing him into acquaintance with the great world. amazing fund of villainy and ingratitude. HiThough he would not be thought by the young therto his observation had been confined to a gentleman himself to harbour the least doubt narrow sphere, and his reflections, though surof his morals, he did not scruple to unbosom prisingly just and acute, had not attained to himself on that subject to Ferdinand, whose that maturity which age and experience give; sagacity and virtue he held in great veneration. but now, his perceptions began to be more disThis indulgent patron expressed himself in the tinct, and extended to a thousand objects most pathetic terms, on the untoward disposic which had never before come under his cogtion of his son; he told Fathom, that he should nizance. accompany Renaldo (that was the youth's He had formerly imagined, but was now name) not only as a companion, but a precep- fully persuaded, that the sons of men preyed tor and pattern ; conjured him to assist his tu- upon one another, and such was the end and tor in superintending his conduct, and to rein- condition of their being. Among the principal force the governor's precepts by his own exam. figures of life, he observed few or no characters ple; to inculcate upon him the most delicate that did not bear a strong analogy to the sapunctilios of honour, and decoy him into ex- vage tyrants of the wood. One resembled a travagance, rather than leave the least illiberal tiger in fury and rapaciousness; a second sentiment in his heart.

prowled about like an hungry wolf, seeking Our crafty adventurer, with demonstrations whom he might devour; a third acted the part of the utmost sensibility, acknowledged the of a jackall, in beating the bush for game to great goodness of the Count in reposing such his voracious employer ; and a fourth imitated confidence in his integrity; which, as he ob- the wily fox, in practising a thousand crafty served, none but the worst of villains could ambuscades for the destruction of the ignorant abuse; and fervently wished that he might no and unwary. This last was the department longer exist, than he should continue to re- of life for which he found himself best qualimember and resent the obligations he owed to fied by nature and inclination, and he accordhis kind benefactor. While preparations were ingly resolved that his talent should not rust in making for their departure, our hero held a his possession. He was already pretty well council with his associate, whom he enriched versed in all the sciences of play; but he had with many sage instructions touching her fu- every day occasion to see these arts carried to ture operations; he at the same time disbur- such a surprising pitch of finesse and dexterity, dened her of all or the greatest part of the spoils as discouraged him from building his schemes she had won, and after having received diverson that foundation. marks of bounty from the Count and his Lady, He therefore determined to fascinate the together with a purse from his young mistress, judgment, rather than the eyes of his fellowhe set out for Vienna in the eighteenth year of creatures, by a continual exercise of that gift his age, with Renaldo and his governor, who of deceiving, with which he knew himself enwere provided with letters of recommendation dued to an unrivalled degree ; and to acquire to some of the Count's friends belonging to the unbounded influence with those who might be imperial court.

subservient to his interest, by an assiduous apSuch a favourable introduction could not plication to their prevailing passions. Not that fail of being advantageous to a youth of Ferdie play was altogether left out in the projection nand's specious accomplishments; for he was of his economy :-though he engaged himself considered as the young Count's companion, very little in the executive part of gaming, he admitted into his parties, and included in alí had not been long in Vienna, when he entered the entertainments to which Renaldo was in- into league with a genius of that kind, whom vited. He soon distinguished himself by his he distinguished among the pupils of the acaactivity and address, in the course of those ex« demy, and who indeed had taken up his habis

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

tation in that place with a view to pillage the sword, the finesse you have practised upon the
provincials on their first arrival in town, before friend of
they could be armed with proper circumspec-

FERDINAND ve Fathom."
tion to preserve their money, or have time to
dispose of it in any other shape.

The gamester no sooner received this intimaSimilar characters naturally attract each tion, than, according to the plan which had other, and people of our hero's principles are, been preconcerted betwixt the author and him, of all others, the most apt to distinguish their he went to the apartment of Renaldo, and preown likeness wheresoever it occurs ; because senting the sum of money which he had dethey always keep the faculty of discerning in frauded him of the preceding night, told him, full exertion. It was in consequence of this with a stern countenance, that, though it was a mutual alertness, that Ferdinand and the just acquisition, he scorned to avail himself of stranger, who was a native of Tyrol, per- his good fortune against any person who enceived themselves reflected in the disposi- tertained the smallest doubt of his honour. tions of each other, and immediately entered The young Count, surprised at this address, into an offensive and defensive alliance ; our rejected his offer with disdain, and desired to adventurer undertaking for the articles of know the meaning of such an unexpected deintelligence, countenance, and counsel, and claration. Upon which, the other produced his associate charging himself with the risk of Ferdinand's billet, and threatened, in very high execution.

terms, to meet the stripling according to his

invitation, and chastise him severely for his
CHAP, XI.

presumption. The consequence of this ex-
planation is obvious. Renaldo, imputing the

officiousness of Fathom to the zeal of his Fathom makes various efforts in the world of friendship, interposed in the quarrel, which gallantry.

was amicably compromised, not a little to the

honour of our adventurer, who thus obtained Thus connected, they began to hunt in an opportunity of displaying his courage and couples ; and Fathom, in order to profit by the integrity, without the least hazard to his peralliance with a good grace, contrived a small son; while, at the same time, his confederate scheme that succeeded to his wish. Renaldo recommended himself to the esteem of the being one night intoxicated in the course of young Count, by his spirited behaviour on this a merry-making with his fellow-pupils, from occasion ; so that Renaldo being less shy of his which Fathom had purposely absented him- company for the future, the Tyroleze had the self, was by the Tyroleze so artfully pro- fairer opportunities to prosecute his designs voked to play, that he could not resist the upon the young gentleman's purse. temptation, but engaged at pass-dice with that It would be almost superfluous to say, that fell adversary, who, in less than an hour, strip- these were not neglected. The son of Count ped him of a pretty round sum. Next day, Melvil was not deficient in point of penetration ; when the young gentleman recovered the use but his whole study was at that time engrossed of his reflection, he was sensibly chagrined at by the care of his education, and he had somethe folly and precipitation of his own conduct, times recourse to play as to an amusement by an account of which he communicated in confi- which he sought to unbend the severity of his dence to our hero, with demonstrations of infi- attention : no wonder then that he fell a prey nite shame and concern.

to an artful gamester, who had been regularly Ferdinand, having moralized upon the sub- trained to the profession, and made it the sole ject with great sagacity, and sharply inveighed study of his life ; especially as the Hungarian against the Tyroleze, for the unfair advantage was remarkable for a warmth of temper, which he had taken, retired to his closet, and wrote a knight of the post always knows how to mathe following billet, which was immediately nage for his own advantage. sent to his ally:

In the course of these operations, Fathom was

a very useful correspondent: he instructed the The obligations I owe, and the attach- Tyroleze in the peculiarities of Renaldo's dis. ments I feel, to the Count de Melvil, will not position, and made him acquainted with the suffer me to be an idle spectator of the wrongs proper seasons for profiting by his dexterity.offered to his son, in the dishonourable use, I Ferdinand, for example, who, by the authority understand, you made last night of his un- derived to him from the injunctions of the old guarded hours: I therefore insist upon your Count, sometimes took upon himself the office making immediate restitution of the booty of an adviser, cunningly chose to counsel the which you so unjustly got; otherwise I expect son at those conjunctures when he knew him you will meet me upon the ramparts, near the least able to bear such expostulation. Advice bastion de la Port Neuve, to-morrow morning improperly administered generally acts in dia. at day-break, in order to justify, with your metrical opposition to the purpose for which it

is supposed to be given; at least, this was the longer opportunities of displaying in the world case with the young gentleman, who, inflamed of rank and fashion. by the reproof of such a tutor, used to obey the dictates of his resentment, in an immediate repetition of that conduct which our adventurer

CHAP. XII. had taken the liberty to disapprove ; and the gamester was always at hand, to minister unto He effects a lodgement in the house of a rich his indignation. By these means he was disen

Jeweller. cumbered of divers considerable remittances, with which his father cheerfully supplied him, In consequence of this determination, lie to on the supposition that they were spent with the uttermost exerted his good humour among taste and liberality, under the direction of our the few friends of consequence his fortune had adventurer.

left, and even carried his complaisance so far, as But Ferdinand's views were not confined to to become the humble servant of their pleasures, the narrow field of this alliance : he attempted while he attempted to extend his acquaintance divers enterprizes in the world of gallantry, con- in an inferior path of life, where he thought his scious of his own personal qualifications, and talents would shine more conspicuous than at never doubting that he could insinuate himself the assemblies of the great, and conduce more into the good graces of some married lady about effectually to the interest of all his designs.court, or lay an opulent dowager under contri- Nor did he find himself disappointed in that bution. But he met with an obstacle in his en- expectation, sanguine as it was. He soon found deavours of this kind, which all his art was un- means to be introduced to the house of a wealthy able to surmount. This was no other than the bourgeois, where every individual was charmed obscurity of his birth, and the want of a title, with his easy air and extraordinary qualificawithout which no person in that country lays tions. He accommodated himself surprisingly claim to the privileges of a gentleman. Had he to the humours of the whole family ; smoked foreseen this inconvenience, he might have made tobacco, swallowed wine, and discoursed of stones shift to obviate the consequences, by obtaining with the husband, who was a rich jeweller ; permission to appear in the character of the sacrificed himself to the pride and loquacity of Count's kinsman: though, in all probability, the wife ; and played upon the violin, and sung such an expedient would not have been ex- alternately, for the amusement of his only tremely agreeable to the old gentleman, who daughter, a buxom lass, nearly of his own age, was very tenacious of the honour of his family; the fruit of a former marriage. nevertheless, his generosity might have been It was not long before Ferdinand had reason prevailed upon to indulge Fathom with such a to congratulate himself on the footing he had pretext, in consideration of the youth's suppos- gained in this society. He had expected to find, ed attachment, and the obligations for which and in a little time actually discovered, that he deemed himself indebted to his deceased mutual jealousy and rancour which almost alInother.

ways subsist between a daughter and her stepTrue it is, Ferdinand, upon his first arrival dame, inflamed with all the virulence of female at Vienna, had been admitted into fashionable emulation ; for the disparity in their ages served company, on the footing of Renaldo's compa- only to render them the more inveterate rivals nion, because no body suspected the defect of in the desire of captivating the other sex. Our his pedigree; and even after a report had been adventurer, having deliberated upon the means circulated to the prejudice of his extraction, by of converting this animosity to his own advanthe industry of a lacquey who attended the tage, saw no method for this purpose so feasible, young Count, there were not wanting many as that of making his approaches to the hearts young people of distinction who still favoured of both, by ministering to each in private, food him with their countenance and correspondence; for their reciprocal envy and malevolence ; bebut he was no longer invited to private families, cause he well knew, that no road lies so direct in which only he could expect to profit by his and open to a woman's heart, as that of gratifyaddress among the ladies, and had the morti, ing her passions of vanity and resentment. fication of finding himself frequently excepted When he had an opportunity of being parfrom parties which were expressly calculated for ticular with the mother, he expressed his conthe entertainment of the young Count. Luckily, cern for having unwittingly incurred the dishis spirit was so pliant as to sustain these slights pleasure of Mademoiselle, which, he observed, without being much dejected ; instead of repin- was obvious in every circumstance of her bea ing at the loss of that respect which had been haviour towards him; protesting he was utterly paid to him at first, he endeavoured, with all innocent of all intention of offending her; and his might, to preserve the little that still re- that he could not account for his disgrace any mained, and resolved to translate into an hum- other way, than by supposing she took umbrage bler sphere that gallantry which he had no at the direction of his chief regards towards her

7

mother-in-law, which, he owned, was altogether enchanting, the colour deepened on her cheeks, involuntary, being wholly influenced by that her breast began to heave, and her whole frame lady's superior charms and politeness.

underwent a most agreeable confusion. Such a declaration was perfectly well calcu- Ferdinand was not a man to let such a falated for the meridian of a dame like her, who, vourable conjuncture pass unregarded. “Yes, with all the intoxications of unenlightened pride, charming Wilhelmina! (exclaimed the politician and an increased appetite for pleasure, had be in an affected rapture), the cause is as conspicugun to find herself neglected, and even to be- ous as your attractions. She hath, in spite of lieve that her attractions were actually on the all my circumspection, perceived that passion wane. She very graciously consoled our gallant which it is not in my power to conceal, and in for the mishap of which he complained, repre- consequence of which I now declare myself your senting Wilhelmina (that was the daughter's devoted adorer ; or, conscious of your superior name) as a pert, illiterate, envious baggage, of excellence, her jealousy hath taken the alarm, whose disgust he ought to make no considera- and, though stung with conjecture only, repines tion; then she recounted many instances of her at the triumph of your perfections. How far own generosity to that young lady, with the re- this spirit of malignity may be inflamed to my turns of malice and ingratitude she had made; prejudice, I know not: perhaps, as this is the and lastly, enumerated all the imperfections of first, it may be also the last opportunity I shall her person, education, and behaviour; that he have of avowing the dearest sentiments of my might see with what justice the gypsy pretende heart to the fair object that inspired them ; in ed to vie with those who had been distinguish- a word, I may be for ever excluded from your ed by the approbation and even gallantry of the presence. Excuse me then, divine creature ! best people in Vienna.

from the practice of those unnecessary forms, Having thus established himself her confidant which I should take pride in observing, were I and gossip, he knew his next step of promotion indulged with the ordinary privileges of an would necessarily be to the degree of her lover; honourable lover; and, once for all, accept the and in that belief resolved to play the same homage of an heart overflowing with love and game with Mademoiselle Wilhelmina, whose admiration. Yes, adorable Wilhelmina ! I am complexion was very much akin to that of her dazzled with your supernatural beauty ; your step-mother : indeed they resembled each other other accomplishments strike me with wonder too much to live upon any terms of friendship and awe. I am enchanted by the graces of your or even decorum. Fathom, in order to enjoy a deportment, ravished with the charms of your private conversation with the young lady, never conversation ; and there is a certain tenderness failed to repeat his visit every afternoon, till at of benevolence in that endearing aspect, which, length he had the pleasure of finding her dis- I trust, will not fail to melt with sympathy at engaged, the jeweller being occupied among the emotions of a faithful slave like me." his workmen, and his wife gone to assist at a So saying, he threw himself upon his knees, lying-in.

and, seizing her plump hand, pressed it to his Our adventurer and the daughter had already lips with all the violence of real transport. The exchanged their vows, by the expressive lan- nymph, whose passions nature had filled to the guage of the eyes; he had even declared him- brim, could not hear such a rhapsody unmoved : self in some tender ejaculations which had been being an utter stranger to addresses of this softly whispered in her ear, when he could kind, she understood every word of it in the snatch an opportunity of venting them unpere literal acceptation; she believed implicitly in ceived ; nay, he had upon divers occasions gently the truth of the encomiums he had bestowed, squeezed her fair hand, on pretence of tuning her and thought it reasonable he should be reward harpsichord, and been favoured with returns of ed for the justice he had done to her qualificathe same cordial pressure : so that, instead of tions, which had hitherto been almost altogether accosting her with the fearful hesitation and re- overlooked: in short, her heart began to thaw, serve of a timid swain, he told her, after the and her face to hang out the flag of capitulation; exercise of the doux-yeux, that he was come to which was no sooner perceived by our hero, confer with her upon a subject that nearly con- than he renewed his attack with redoubled fercerned her peace; and asked if she had not ob- vour, pronouncing, in a most vehement tone, served of late an evident abatement of friendship “ Light of my eyes, and empress of my soul ! in her mother's behaviour to him, whom she behold me prostrate at your feet, waiting with had formerly treated with such marks of favour the most pious resignation, for that sentence and respect. Mademoiselle would not pay so from your lips, on which my future happiness ill a compliment to her own discernment as to and misery must altogether depend. Not with say she had not perceived the alteration, which, more reverence does the unhappy bashaw kiss on the contrary, she owned was extremely pal- the sultan's letter that contains his doom, than pable ; nor was it difficult to divine the cause I will submit to your fatal determination. Speak of such estranged looks. This remark was ac- then, angelic sweetness ! for never, ah! never companied with an irresistible glance, she smiled will I rise from this suppliant posture, until I am encouraged to live and hope. No! if you

CHAP. XIII. refuse to smile upon my passion, here shall I breathe the last sighs of a despairing lover; He is exposed to a most perilous incident in the here shall this faithful sword do the last office course of his intrigue with the Daughter. to its unfortunate master, and shed the blood of the truest heart that ever felt the cruel pangs He was rejoiced to find her so easily satisof disappointed love."

-fied in such a momentous concern: for the The young lady, well nigh overcome by this principal aim of the intrigue was to make her effusion, which brought the tears into her eyes, necessary to his interested views, and even, if “ Enough, enough," cried she, interrupting possible, an associate in the fraudulent plans he him, “sure you men were created for the ruin had projected upon her father ; consequently he of our sex.” • Ruin !" re-echoed Fathom, “talk considered this relaxation in her virtue as an not of ruin and Wilhelmina ! let these terms be happy omen of his future success. All the ob for ever parted, far as the east and west asunder! stacles to their mutual enjoyment being thus let ever smiling peace attend her steps, and love removed, our adventurer was by his mistress and joy still wanton in her train! Ruin, in- indulged with an assignation in her own chamdeed, shall wait upon her enemies, if such there ber, which, though contiguous to that of her be, and those love-lorn wretches who pine with step-mother, was provided with a door that anguish under her disdain : grant me, kind opened into a common stair-case, to which he Heaven, a more propitious boon : direct her had access at all hours of the night. genial regards to one whose love is without ex- He did not neglect the rendezvous, but, preample, and whose constancy is unparalleled : senting himself at the appointed time, which bear witness to my constancy and faith, ye ver- was midnight, made the signal they had agreed dant hills, ye fertile plains, ye shady groves, ye upon, and was immediately admitted by Wilpurling streams; and if I prove untrue, ah ! lethelmina, who waited for him with a lover's imme never find a solitary willow or a bubbling patience. Fathom was not deficient in those brook, by help of which I may be enabled to expressions of rapture that are current on such put a period to my wretched life.”

occasions ; but, on the contrary, became so loud Here this excellent actor began to sob most in the transports of self-congratulation, that his piteously, and the tender-hearted Wilhelmina, voice reached the ears of the vigilant step-mounable longer to withstand bis moving tale, ther, who, wakening the jeweller from his first with a repetition of the interjection ah! gently nap, gave him to understand that some person dropped into his arms. This was the beginning was certainly in close conversation with his of a correspondence that soon rose to a very in daughter ; and exhorted him to rise forthwith, teresting pitch ; and they forthwith concerted and vindicate the honour of his family. measures for carrying on without the know- The German, who was naturally of a phlegledge or suspicion of her mother-in-law. Never- matic habit, and never went to bed without a theless, the young lady, vanquished as she was, full dose of the creature, which added to his and unskilled in the ways of men, would not all at constitutional drowsiness, gave no ear to his once yield at discretion ; but insisted upon those wife's intimation, until she had repeated it terms, without which no woman's reputation thrice, and used other means to rouse him from can be secured. Our lover, far from seeking the arms of slumber. Meanwhile Fathom and to evade the proposal, assented to it in terms of his inamorata overheard her information, and uncommon satisfaction, and promised to use his our hero would have made his retreat imwhole industry in finding a priest upon whose mediately, through the port by which he enterdiscretion they could rely ; nay, he certainly re- ed, had not his intention been over-ruled by solved to comply with her request in good ear- the remonstrances of the young lady, who obnest, rather than forfeit the advantages which served that the door was already fast bolted, he foresaw in their union. His good fortune, and could not possibly be opened without creathowever, exempted him from the necessity of ing a noise that would confirm the suspicion of taking such a step, which at best must have her parents; and that, over and above this obbeen disagreeable : for so many difficulties oc- jection, he would, in sallying from that door, curred in the inquiry which was set on foot, run the risk of being met by her father, who in and so artfully did Fathom in the mean time all probability would present himself before it, manage the influence he had already gained in order to hinder our hero's escape: she thereorer her heart, that, before her passion could fore conveyed him softly into her closet, where obtain a legal gratification, she surrendered to she assured him he might remain with great his wish, without any other assurance, than his tranquillity, in full confidence that she would solemn profession of sincerity and truth, on take such measures as would effectually screen which she reposed herself with the most impli- him from detection. cit confidence and faith.

He was fain to depend upon her assurance,

« PreviousContinue »