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The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom

Chapter 7
Engages In Partnership With A Female Associate, In Order To Put His Talents In
Action.
While he displayed his qualifications in order to entrap the heart of his young
mistress, he had unwittingly enslaved the affections of her maid. This attendant
was also a favourite of the young lady, and, though her senior by two or three
good years at least, unquestionably her superior in point of personal beauty; she
moreover possessed a good stock of cunning and discernment, and was
furnished by nature with a very amorous complexion. These circumstances being
premised, the reader will not be surprised to find her smitten by those uncommon
qualifications which we have celebrated in young Fathom. She had in good sooth
long sighed in secret, under the powerful influence of his charms, and practised
upon him all those little arts, by which a woman strives to attract the admiration,
and ensnare the heart of a man she loves; but all his faculties were employed
upon the plan which he had already projected; that was the goal of his whole
attention, to which all his measures tended; and whether or not he perceived the
impression he had made upon Teresa, he never gave her the least reason to
believe he was conscious of his victory, until he found himself baffled in his
design upon the heart of her mistress.--She therefore persevered in her distant
attempts to allure him, with the usual coquetries of dress and address, and, in the
sweet hope of profiting by his susceptibility, made shift to suppress her feelings,
and keep her passion within bounds, until his supposed danger alarmed her
fears, and raised such a tumult within her breast, that she could no longer
conceal her love, but gave a loose to her sorrow in the most immoderate
expressions of anguish and affliction, and, while his delirium lasted, behaved with
all the agitation of a despairing shepherdess.
Ferdinand was, or pretended to be, the last person in the family who understood
the situation of her thoughts; when he perceived her passion, he entered into
deliberation with himself, and tasked his reflection and foresight, in order to
discover how best he might convert this conquest to his own advantage. Here,
then, that we may neglect no opportunity of doing justice to our hero, it will be
proper to observe, that, howsoever unapt his understanding might be to receive
and retain the usual culture of the schools, he was naturally a genius self-taught,
in point of sagacity and invention.--He dived into the characters of mankind, with
a penetration peculiar to himself, and, had he been admitted as a pupil in any
political academy, would have certainly become one of the ablest statesmen in
Europe.
Having revolved all the probable consequences of such a connexion, he
determined to prosecute an amour with the lady whose affection he had
subdued; because he hoped to interest her as an auxiliary in his grand scheme
upon Mademoiselle, which he did not as yet think proper to lay aside; for he was
not more ambitious in the plan, than indefatigable in the prosecution of it. He
knew it would be impossible to execute his aims upon the Count's daughter
under the eye of Teresa, whose natural discernment would be whetted with
jealousy, and who would watch his conduct, and thwart his progress with all the
 
 
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