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The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom

Chapter 9
The Confederates Change Their Battery, And Achieve A Remarkable Adventure.
Thunderstruck at this disappointment, the confederates held a council, in order to
deliberate upon the next measures that should be taken; and Ferdinand, for the
present, despairing of accomplishing his grand aim, resolved to profit in another
manner, by the conveniency of his situation. He represented to his helpmate, that
it would be prudent for them to make hay while the sun shone, as their connexion
might be sooner or later discovered, and an end put to all those opportunities
which they now so happily enjoyed. All principles of morality had been already
excluded from their former plan; consequently he found it an easy task to interest
Teresa in any other scheme tending to their mutual advantage, howsoever
wicked and perfidious it might be. He therefore persuaded her to be his auxiliary
in defrauding Mademoiselle at play, and gave her suitable directions for that
purpose; and even tutored her how to abuse the trust reposed in her, by
embezzling the young lady's effects, without incurring the suspicion of
dishonesty.
On the supposition that every servant in the house was not able to resist such
temptation, the purse of her mistress, to which the maid had always access, was
dropped in a passage which the domestics had occasion to frequent; and
Fathom posted himself in a convenient place, in order to observe the effect of his
stratagem. Here he was not disappointed in his conjecture. The first person who
chanced to pass that way, was one of the chambermaids, with whom Teresa had
lived for some time in a state of inveterate enmity, because the wench had failed
in that homage and respect which was paid to her by the rest of the servants.
Ferdinand had, in his heart, espoused the quarrel of his associate, and longed for
an occasion to deliver her from the malicious observance of such an antagonist.
When he, therefore, saw her approach, his heart throbbed with joyful
expectations; but, when she snatched up the purse, and thrust it in her bosom,
with all the eagerness and confusion of one determined to appropriate the
windfall to her own use, his transports were altogether unspeakable. He traced
her to her own apartment, whither she immediately retreated with great
trepidation, and then communicated the discovery to Teresa, together with
instructions how to behave in the sequel.
In conformity with these lessons, she took the first opportunity of going to
Mademoiselle, and demanding money for some necessary expense, that the loss
might be known before the finder could have leisure to make any fresh
conveyance of the prize; and, in the meantime, Ferdinand kept a strict eye upon
the motions of the chambermaid. The young lady, having rummaged her pockets
in vain, expressed some surprise at the loss of her purse; upon which her
attendant gave indications of extreme amazement and concern. She said, it
could not possibly be lost; entreated her to search her escritoir, while she herself
ran about the room, prying into every corner, with all the symptoms of fear and
distraction. Having made this unsuccessful inquiry, she pretended to shed a flood
of tears, bewailing her own fate, in being near the person of any lady who met
with such a misfortune, by which, she observed, her character might be called in
 
 
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