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The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom

Chapter 13
He Is Exposed To A Most Perilous Incident In The Course Of His Intrigue With
The Daughter.
He was rejoiced to find her so easily satisfied in such a momentous concern, for
the principal aim of the intrigue was to make her necessary to his interested
views, and even, if possible, an associate in the fraudulent plans he had
projected upon her father; consequently he considered this relaxation in her
virtue as an happy omen of his future success. All the obstacles to their mutual
enjoyment being thus removed, our adventurer was by his mistress indulged with
an assignation in her own chamber, which, though contiguous to that of her
stepmother, was provided with a door that opened into a common staircase, to
which he had access at all hours of the night.
He did not neglect the rendezvous, but, presenting himself at the appointed time,
which was midnight, made the signal they had agreed upon, and was
immediately admitted by Wilhelmina, who waited for hire with a lover's
impatience. Fathom was not deficient in those expressions of rapture that are
current on those occasions; but, on the contrary, became so loud in the
transports of self-congratulation, that his voice reached the ears of the vigilant
stepmother, who wakening the jeweller from his first nap, gave him to understand
that some person was certainly in close conversation with his daughter; and
exhorted him to rise forthwith, and vindicate the honour of his family.
The German, who was naturally of a phlegmatic habit, and never went to bed
without a full dose of the creature, which added to his constitutional drowsiness,
gave no ear to his wife's intimation, until she had repeated it thrice, and used
other means to rouse him from the arms of slumber. Meanwhile Fathom and his
inamorata overheard her information, and our hero would have made his retreat
immediately, through the port by which he entered, had not his intention been
overruled by the remonstrances of the young lady, who observed that the door
was already fast bolted, and could not possibly be opened without creating a
noise that would confirm the suspicion of her parents; and that over and above
this objection he would, in sallying from that door, run the risk of being met by her
father, who in all probability would present himself before it, in order to hinder our
hero's escape. She therefore conveyed him softly into her closet, where she
assured him he might remain with great tranquillity, in full confidence that she
would take such measures as would effectually screen him from detection.
He was fain to depend upon her assurance, and accordingly ensconced himself
behind her dressing-table; but he could not help sweating with apprehension, and
praying fervently to God for his deliverance, when he heard the jeweller
thundering at the door, and calling to his daughter for admittance. Wilhelmina,
who was already undressed, and had purposely extinguished the light, pretended
to be suddenly waked from her sleep, and starting up, exclaimed in a tone of
surprise and affright, "Jesu, Maria! what is the matter?"--"Hussy!" replied the
German in a terrible accent, "open the door this instant; there is a man in your
bedchamber, and, by the lightning and thunder! I will wash away the stain he has
cast upon my honour with the schellum's heart's-blood."