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“ Fould enable me to endure the pangs of ing employed a few minutes in rummaging her eternal separation, in the confidence of being drawers, and disordering her moveables, utterendowed with the power of ending these tor- ed a loud shriek, that brought her father intures by the energy of my own hand; but the stantly into the apartment, where he found his prospect of Wilhelmina's death, and that too daughter tossing about her clothes and trinkets occasioned by my inflexibility, disarms my soul with violent demonstrations of disorder and of all her resolution, swallows up the dictates of affright, and heard her, in a lamentable strain, my jealous pride, and fills my bosom with such declare that she was robbed of her chain, and a gush of tenderness and sorrow, as overwhelms for ever undone. This was so far from being the whole economy of my purpose ! Yes, en- an agreeable intimation to the jeweller, that he chanting creature! I sacrifice my glory to that was struck dumb with astonishment and vexairresistible reflection ; and, rather than know tion, and it was not till after a long pause, myself the cruel instrument of robbing the that he pronounced the word Sacrament ! with world of such perfection, consent to retain the an emphasis denoting the most mortifying sure fatal testimony of your love."
prise. So saying, he pocketed the chain, with an Soon as that exclamation escaped from his air of ineffable mortification, and was rewarded lips, he flew to the scrutoire as if instinctively, for his compliance with the most endearing and, joining Wilhelmina in her occupation, caresses of his dulcinea, who, amidst the tu- tumbled its whole contents upon the floor in a mults of his joy, ejaculated a thousand acknow- trice. ledgments to Heaven, for having blessed her While he was thus employed, in the most with the affection of such a man, whose honour expressive silence, the wife of his bosom chanced was unrivalled by any thing but his love. to pass that way, and, seeing them both occu
pied with such violence and trepidation, believe CHAP. XVI.
ed at first that they were certainly actuated by the spirit of phrenzy ; but, when she interposed,
by asking, with great earnestness, the cause of His success begets a blind security, by which he such transports and distracted behaviour, and
is once again well nigh entrapped in his Dulci- heard her husband reply, with an accent of nea's apartment.
despair, “ The chain! the chain of my forefa
thers is no more!” she immediately justified In this manner did the crafty Fathom turn his emotion, by undergoing the same alarm, to account those ingratiating qualifications he and, without further hesitation, engaged herinherited from nature, and maintain, with in- self in the search, beginning with a song, credible assiduity and circumspection, an amor, which might be compared to the hymn of ous correspondence with two domestic rivals, battle among the Greeks, or, rather more aptly, who watched the conduct of each other with to that which the Spartan females sung round the most indefatigable virulence of envious the altar of Diana, surnamed Orthian; for, it suspicion, until an accident happened, which was attended with strange gesticulations, and, had well-nigh overturned the bark of his po- in the course of utterance, became so loud and licy, and induced him to alter the course, that shrill, that the guests, who were by this time he might not be shipwrecked on the rocks that partly assembled, being confounded at the clabegan to multiply in the prosecution of his pre- mour, rushed towards the place from whence it sent voyage.
seemed to proceed, and found their landlord, The jeweller, who, as a German, wanted with his wife and daughter, in the attitudes of neither pride nor ostentation, never failed to distraction and despair. celebrate the anniversary of his birth by an an- When they understood the nature of the case, Dual feast granted to his neighbours and friends; they condoled the family on their misfortune, and on these occasions was accustomed to wear and would have retired, on the supposition that that chain, which, though bequeathed to his it would defeat the mirthful intent of their daughter, he considered as an ornament apper- meeting; but the jeweller, mustering up his taining to the family, whereof he himself was whole temper and hospitality, entreated them head: accordingly, when the time of this fes- to excuse his disorder, and favour him with tival revolved, he, as usual, ordered Wilhelmina their company, which, he observed, was now to surrender it for the day. This injunction, more than ever wanted, to dispel the melanchothe reader will perceive, our young lady was in ly ideas inspired by his loss. Notwithstanding no condition to obey; she had, however, fore this apology, and the efforts he made in the seen the demand, and contriveil a scheme of sequel to entertain his friends with jollity and behaviour for the occasion, which she forth with good humour, his heart was so linked to the put in execution.
chain, that he could not detach himself from With an air of uncommon cheerfulness, pur- the thoughts of it, which invaded him at short posely assumed, she retired to her closet, on intervals, in such qualms as effectually spoiled pretence of complying with his desire, and have his appetite, and hindered his digestion.
He revolved within himself the circumstances adventures ; and observing that it would be of his disaster, and, in canvassing all the pro- imprudent to intimate their design to Wilhelbable means by which the chain could be mina, lest, through the heedlessness and indise stolen, concluded that the deed must have cretion of youth, she might chance to divulge been done by some person in the family, who, the secret, so as to frustrate their aim. in consequence of having access to his daugh- A Swiss, in whose honesty the German ter's chamber, had either found the drawer left could confide, being hired for this purpose, was open by her carelessness and neglect, or found posted in a dark corner of the stair-case, within means to obtain a false key, by some waxen im- a few paces of the door, which he was directed pression : for the locks of the escritoir were to watch, and actually stood sentinel three safe and uninjured. His suspicion being thus nights, without perceiving the least object of confined within his own house, sometimes suspicion ; but, on the fourth, the evil stars of pitched upon his workmen, and sometimes' up- our adventurer conducted him to the spot, on on his wife, who, he thought, was the more his voyage to the apartment of his dulcinea, likely to practise such finesse, as she considere with whom he had preconcerted the assignaed Wilhelmina in the light of a daughter-in- tion. Having made the signal, which consisted law, whose interest interfered with her own, of two gentle taps on her door, he was imme. and who had often harangued to him in private diately admitted ; and the Swiss no sooner saw on the folly of leaving this very chain in the him fairly housed, than he crept softly to the young lady's possession.
other door, that was left open for the purpose, The more he considered this subject, he and gave immediate intimation of what he thought he saw the more reason to attribute had perceived. This intelligence, however, he the damage he had sustained to the machina- could not convey so secretly, but the lovers, tions of his spouse, who, he did not doubt, was who were always vigilant upon these occasions, disposed to feather her own nest, at the expense overheard a sort of commotion in the jeweller's of him and his heirs, and who, with the same chamber, the cause of which their apprehension honest intention, had already secreted, for her was ingenious enough to comprehend. private use, those inconsiderable jewels which We have formerly observed, that our advenof late had at different times been missing. turer could not make his retreat by the door, Aroused by these sentiments, he resolved to re- without running a very great risk of being detaliate her own schemes, by contriving means tected, and the expedient of the chimney he to visit her cabinet in secret, and, if possible, had no inclination to repeat; so that he found to rob the robber of the spoils she had gather himself in a very uncomfortable dilemma, and ed to his prejudice, without coming to any ex. was utterly abandoned by all his invention and planation, which might end in domestic tur- address, when his mistress, in a whisper, demoils and eternal disquiet.
sired him to begin a dialogue, aloud, in an While the husband exercised his reflection in apology, importing, that he had mistaken the this manner, his innocent mate did not allow door, and that his intention was to visit her the powers of her imagination to rest in idle father, touching a ring belonging to the young ness and sloth. Her observations touching the Count Melvil, which she knew Fathom bad loss of the chain were such as a suspicious wo. put into his hands, in order to be altered. man, biassed by hatred and envy, would na- Ferdinand, seizing the hint, availed himself turally make. To her it seemed highly impro- of it without delay, and, unbolting the door, bable, that a thing of such value, so carefully pronounced, in an audible voice, “Upon my deposited, should vanish without the connivance honour, Mademoiselle, you wrong my, intenof its keeper, and without much expense of tion, if you imagine I came hither with any conjecture, divined the true manner in which disrespectful or dishonourable motive: I have it was conveyed. The sole difficulty that oc- business with your father, which cannot be decurred in the researches of her sagacity, was layed till to-morrow, without manifest prejuto know the gallant who had been favoured dice to my friend and myself; therefore I took with such a pledge of Wilhelmina's affection; the liberty of visiting him at these untimely for, as the reader will easily imagine, she never hours, and it has been my misfortune to misdreamed of viewing Ferdinand in that odious take the door in the dark. I beg pardon for perspective. In order to satisfy her curiosity, my involuntary intrusion, and again assure you, discover this happy favourite, and be revenged that nothing was farther from my thoughts on her petulant rival, she prevailed upon the than any design to violate that respect which I jeweller to employ a scout, who should watch entertained for you and your father's family." all night upon the stair, without the knowledge To this remonstrance, which was distinctly of any other person in the family, alleging, that heard by the German and his wife, who by this in all likelihood the house-maid gave private time stood listening at the door, the young admittance to some lover who was the author of lady replied, in a shrill accent of displeasure, all the losses they had lately suffered, and that Sir, I am bound to believe that all your acthey might possibly detect him in his nocturnal tions are conducted by honour; but you must
give me leave to tell you, that your mistake is account the good lady took for an evasion, and a little extraordinary, and your visit, even to upon that supposition has again written to him, my father, at this time of the night, altogether in such a provoking style, that although the unseasonable, if not mysterious. As for the letter arrived but half an hour ago, he is interruption I have suffered in my repose, I determined to despatch a courier before mornimpute it to my own forgetfulness, in leaving ing with the mischievous ring, for which, in my door unlocked, and blame myself so severe- compliance with the impetuosity of his temper, ly for the omission, that I shall, to-morrow, put I have taken the freedom to disturb you at this it out of my own power to be guilty of the like unseasonable hour.” for the future, by ordering the passage to be The German paid implicit faith to every cire Dailed up; meanwhile, if you would persuade cumstance of this story, which indeed could me of your well-meaning, you will instantly not well be supposed to be invented extempore; withdraw, lest my reputation should suffer by the ring was immediately restored, and our your continuance in my apartment."
adventurer took his leave, congratulating him“ Madam (answered our hero) I will not self upon his signal deliverance from the snare give you an opportunity to repeat the com- in which he had
fallen. mand, which I shall forthwith obey, after having entreated you once more to forgive the disturbance I have given." So saying, he gently
CHAP. XVII. opened the door, and, at sight of the German and his wife, who, he well knew, waited for The Step-dame's suspicions being awakened, she his exit, started back, and gave tokens of con- lays å snare for our Adventurer, from which fusion, which was partly real and partly affect- he is delivered by the interposition of his good ed. The jeweller, fully satisfied with Fathom's genius. declaration to his daughter, received him with a complaisant look, and, in order to alleviate Though the husband swallowed the bait his concern, gave him to understand, that he without further inquiry, the penetration of the already knew the reason of his being in that wife was not so easily deceived. That same apartment, and desired to be informed of what dialogue in Wilhelmina’s apartment, far from had procured him the honour to see him at allaying, rather inflamed her suspicion ; besuch a juncture.
cause, in the like emergency, she herself had “ My dear friend (said our adventurer, pre- once profited by the same, or nearly the same, tending to recollect himself with difficulty) I contrivance. Without communicating her am utterly ashamed and confounded to be dis- doubts to the father, she resolved to double her covered in this situation ; but, as you have attention to the daughter's future conduct, overheard what passed between Mademoiselle and keep such a strict eye over the behaviour and me, I know you will do justice to my in- of our gallant, that he should find it very diffic tention, and forgive my mistake. After beg- cult, if not impossible, to elude her observaging pardon for having intruded upon your fa- tion. For this purpose she took into her pay mily at these hours, I must now tell you, that an old maiden, of the right sour disposition, my cousin, Count Melvil, was some time ago so who lived in an house posite to her own, and much misrepresented to his mother by certain directed her to follow the young lady in all her malicious informers, who delight in sowing outgoings, whenever she should receive from discord in private families, that she actually be the window a certain signal, which the motherlieved her son an extravagant spendthrift, who in-law agreed to make for the occasion. It had not only consumed his remittances, in the was not long before this scheme succeeded to most riotous scenes of disorder, but also in- her wish. The door of communication betwixt dulged a pernicious appetite for gaming, to Wilhelmina's apartment and the stair-case such a degree, that he had lost all his clothes being nailed up by the jeweller's express order, and jewels at play: In consequence of such our adventurer was altogether deprived of those false information, she expostulated with him in opportunities he had hitherto enjoyed, and was a severe letter, and desired he would transmit not at all mortified to find himself so restricted to her that ring which is in your custody, it in a correspondence which began to be tiresome being a family stone, for which she expressed and disagreeable: but the case was far othere an inestimable value. The young gentleman, wise with his dulcinea, whose passion, the more in his answer to her reproof, endeavoured to it was thwarted, raged with greater violence, vindicate himself from the aspersions which like a fire, that, from the attempts that are bad been cast upon his character, and, with re made to extinguish it, gathers greater force, gard to the ring, told her it was at present and flames with double fury. in the bands of a jeweller, in order to be new Upon the second day of her misfortune, she set according to her own directions, and that, had written a very tender billet, lamenting her whenever it should be altered, he would send unhappiness in being deprived of those meetit home to her by some safe conveyance. This ings which constituted the chief joy of her life, VOL. III,
and entreating him to contrive some means of nity could have inspired, in opposition to so renewing the delicious commerce in an unsus- many more weighty presumptions, she took pected place. This intimation she proposed to the resolution of bringing the affair to a fuller convey privately into the hand of her lover, explanation, before she would concert any meaduring his next visit to the family; but both sures to the prejudice of our adventurer, were so narrowly eyed by the mother, that she and forthwith despatched her spy back to his found the execution of her design impractica- lodgings, to solicit, on the part of Wilhelmina, ble; and, next forenoon, on pretence of going an immediate answer to the letter he had reto church, repaired to the house of a com- ceived. This was an expedition with which panion, who, being also her confidant, under the old maiden would have willingly dispensed, took to deliver the billet with her own hand. because it was founded upon an uncertainty,
The she-dragon employed by her mother, in which might be attended with troublesome obedience to the sign which was displayed from consequences; but, rather than be the means the window, immediately put on her veil, and of retarding a negotiation so productive of that followed Wilhelmina at a distance, until she sort of mischief which is particularly agreeable saw her fairly housed: she would not even to all of her tribe, she undertook to manage then return from her excursion, but hovered and effect the discovery, in full confidence of about in sight of the door, with a view of make her own talents and experience. ing further observations. In less than five With such a fund of self-sufficiency and inminutes after the young lady disappeared, the stigation, she repaired to the academy on the scout perceived her coming out, accompanied instant, and, inquiring for Mr Fathom, was by her comrade, from whom she instantly introduced to his apartment, where she found parted, and bent her way towards the church him in the very act of writing a billet to the in good carnest, while the other steered her jeweller's daughter. The artful agent having course in another direction. The duenna, after asked, with the mysterious air of an expert goa moment's suspense and consideration, divined between, if he had not lately received a message the true cause of this short visit, and resolved from a certain young lady; and, being answered to watch the motions of the confidant, whom in the affirmative, gave him to understand, that she traced to the academy in which our hero she herself was a person favoured with the friendlodged, and from which she saw her return, ship and confidence of Wilhelmina, whom she had after the supposed message was delivered. known from her cradle, and often dandled on her
Fraught with this intelligence, the rancorous knee; then, in the genuine style of a prattling understrapper hied her home to the jeweller's dry-nurse, she launched out into encomiums on wife, and made a faithful recital of what she his dulcinea's beauty and sweetness of temper, had seen, communicating, at the same time, her recounting many simple occurrences of her inown conjectures on the subject. Her employer fancy and childhood; and finally, desiring a was equally astonished and incensed at this in- more circumstantial answer to that which she formation : she was seized with all that phrenzy had sent to him by her friend Catherina. In which takes possession of a slighted woman, the course of her loquacity, she had also, acwhen she finds herself supplanted by a detested cording to her instructions, hinted at the misrival; and, in the first transports other indig- fortune of the door; and, on the whole, pernation, devoted them as sacrifices to her ven- formed her cue with such dexterity and disgeance. Nor was her surprise so much the ef- cretion, that our politician was actually overfect of his dissimulation as of his want of reached, and having finished his epistle, comtaste and discernment. She inveighed against mitted it to her care, with many verbal exhim, not as the most treacherous lover, but as the pressions of eternal love and fidelity to his most abject wretch, in courting the smiles of charming Wilhelmina. auch an awkward dowdy, while he enjoyed the The messenger, doubly rejoiced at her a. favours of a woman who had numbered princeschievement, which not only recommended her in the train of her admirers. For the brilliancy ministry, but also gratified her malice, returned of her attractions, such as they at present to her principal with great exultation, and deshone, she appealed to the decision of her mi, livering the letter, the reader will easily connister, who consulted her own satisfaction and ceive the transports of that lady when she read interest, by flattering the other's vanity and the contents of it in these words: resentment; and so unaccountable did the depravity of our hero's judgment appear to this Angelic WILHELMINA! conceited dame, that she began to believe there To forget those ecstatic scenes we have enwas some mistake in the person, and to hope joyed together, or even live without the con. that Wilhelmina's gallant was not in reality tinuation of that mutual bliss, were to quit all her professed admirer, Mr Fathom, but rather title to perception, and resign every hope of one of his fellow-lodgers, whose passion he fa- future happiness. No! my charmer, while my voured with his mediation and assistance. head retains the least spark of invention, and
On this notion, which nothing but mere van my hcart glows with the resolution of a man, our correspondence shall not be cut off by the adjusted, it was his good fortune to meet his machinations of an envious stepmother, who dulcinea in the street, and, in the midst of their never had attractions to inspire a generous pas- mutual condolence on the interruption they had şion; and, now that age and wrinkles have suffered in their correspondence, he assured her, destroyed what little share of beauty she once that he would never give his invention respite, possessed, endeavours, like the fiend in para- until he should have verified the protestations dise, to blast those joys in others, from which contained in the letter he had delivered to her she is herself eternally excluded. Doubt not, discreet agent. This allusion to a billet she had dear sovereign of my soul! that I will study, never received, did not fail to alarm her fears, with all the eagerness of desiring love, how to and introduce a very mortifying explanation, frustrate her malicious intention, and renew in which he so accurately described the person those transporting moments, the remembrance of the messenger, that she forth with compreof which now warms the breast of your ever hended the plot, and communicated to our hero constant
FAтном.” her sentiments on that subject.
Though he expressed infinite anxiety and Had our hero murdered her father, or left chagrin at this misfortune, which could not fail her a disconsolate widow, by effecting the death to raise new obstacles to their love, his heart of her dear husband, there might have been a was a stranger to the uneasiness he affected ; possibility of her exerting the Christian virtues and rather pleased with the occasion, which of resignation and forgiveness ; but such a pere would furnish him with pretences to withdraw sonal outrage as that contained in this epistle himself gradually from an intercourse by this precluded all hope of pardon, and rendered pe- time become equally cloying and unprofitable. nitence of no signification. His atrocious crime Being well acquainted with the mother's tembeing now fully ascertained, this virago gave a perament, he guessed the present situation of loose to her resentment, which became so loud her thoughts, and, concluding she would make and tempestuous, that her informer shuddered the jeweller a party in her revenge, he resolved at the storm she had raised, and began to re- from that moment to discontinue his visits, and pent of having communicated the intelligence cautiously guard against any future interview which seemed to have such a violent effect upon with the lady whom he had rendered so imher brain.
placable. She endeavoured, however, to allay the agi- It was well for our adventurer that his good tation, by flattering her fancy with the pros fortune so seasonably interposed ; for that same pect of revenge, and gradually soothed her into day, in the afternoon, he was favoured with a a state of deliberate ire ; during which she de- billet from the jeweller's wife, couched in the termined to take ample vengeance on the de- same tender style she had formerly used, and linquent. In the zenith of her rage, she would importing an earnest desire of seeing him next have had immediate recourse to poison or steel, day at the wonted rendezvous. Although his had she not been diverted from her mortal pur- penetration was sufficient to perceive the drift pose by her counsellor, who represented the of this message, or at least to discern the risk danger of engaging in such violent measures, he should run in complying with her request, and proposed a more secure scheme, in the exe- yet he was willing to be more fully certified of cution of which she would see the perfidious the truth of his suspicion, and wrote an answer wretch sufficiently punished, without any ha- to the billet, in which he assured her, that he zard to her own person or reputation. She ad- would repair to the place of appointment with vised her to inform the jeweller of Fathom's all the punctuality of an impatient lover. Neefforts to seduce her conjugal fidelity, and im- vertheless, instead of performing this promise, part to him a plan, by which he would have it he, in the morning, took post in a public-house in his power to detect our adventurer in the opposite to the place of assignation, in order to very act of practising upon her virtue.
reconnoitre the ground, and about noon had the The lady relished her proposal, and actually pleasure of seeing the German, wrapped in a resolved to make an assignation with Ferdinand, cloak, enter the door of his wife's she-friend, as usual, and give notice of the appointment to though the appointment was fixed at five in the her husband, that he might personally discover evening. Fathom blessed his good angel for the treachery of his pretended friend, and in- having conducted him clear of this conspiracy, flict upon him such chastisement as the Ger- and kept his station with great tranquillity till man's brutal disposition should suggest, when the hour of meeting, when he beheld his enrage inflamed by that species of provocation. Had ed Thalestris take the same route, and enjoyed this project been brought to bear, Ferdinand, her disappointment with ineffable satisfaction. in all likelihood, would have been disqualified Thus favoured with a pretext, he took his from engaging in any future intrigue ; but fate leave of her, in a letter, giving her to underordained that the design should bedefeated, in or- stand, that he was no stranger to the barbarous der to reserve him for more important occasions. snare she had laid for him ; and upbraiding her
Before the circumstances of ihe plan could be with having made such an ungrateful return for