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The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom

Chapter 36
He Is Smitten With The Charms Of A Female Adventurer, Whose Allurements
Subject Him To A New Vicissitude Of Fortune.
Among those who were distinguished by his gallantry was the young wife of an
old citizen of London, who had granted her permission to reside at the hot well
for the benefit of her health, under the eye and inspection of his own sister, who
was a maiden of fifty years. The pupil, whose name was Mrs. Trapwell, though
low in stature, was finely shaped, her countenance engaging, though her
complexion was brown, her hair in colour rivalled the raven's back, and her eyes
emulated the lustre of the diamond. Fathom had been struck with her first
appearance; but found it impracticable to elude the vigilance of her duenna, so
as to make a declaration of his flame; until she herself, guessing the situation of
his thoughts, and not displeased with the discovery, thought proper to furnish him
with the opportunity he wanted, by counterfeiting an indisposition, for the cure of
which she knew his advice would be implored. This was the beginning of an
acquaintance, which was soon improved to his wish; and so well did she manage
her attractions, as in some measure to fix the inconstancy of his disposition; for,
at the end of the season, his passion was not sated; and they concerted the
means of continuing their commerce, even after their return to London.
This intercourse effectually answered the purpose of the husband, who had been
decoyed into matrimony by the cunning of his spouse, whom he had privately
kept as a concubine before marriage. Conscious of her own precarious situation,
she had resolved to impose upon the infirmities of Trapwell, and, feigning herself
pregnant, gave him to understand she could no longer conceal her condition from
the knowledge of her brother, who was an officer in the army, and of such violent
passions, that, should he once discover her backsliding, he would undoubtedly
wipe away the stains of his family dishonour with her own blood, as well as that
of her keeper. The citizen, to prevent such a catastrophe, took her to wife; but
soon after perceiving the trick which had been played upon him, set his invention
at work, and at length contrived a scheme which he thought would enable him,
not only to retrieve his liberty, but also indemnify himself for the mortification he
had undergone.
Far from creating any domestic disturbance, by upbraiding her with her finesse,
he seemed perfectly well pleased with his acquisition; and, as he knew her void
of any principle, and extremely addicted to pleasure, he chose proper occasions
to insinuate, that she might gratify her own inclination, and at the same time turn
her beauty to good account. She joyfully listened to these remonstrances, and, in
consequence of their mutual agreement, she repaired to Bristol Spring, on
pretence of an ill state of health, accompanied by her sister-in-law, whom they
did not think proper to intrust with the real motive of her journey. Fathom's person
was agreeable, and his finances supposed to be in flourishing order; therefore,
she selected him from the herd of gallants, as a proper sacrifice to the powers
which she adored; and, on her arrival in London, made her husband acquainted
with the importance of her conquest.