The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom HTML version

Chapter 25
He Bears His Fate Like A Philosopher; And Contracts Acquaintance With A Very
Remarkable Personage.
This was a proper subject for our hero to moralise upon; and accordingly it did
not pass without his remarks; he found himself fairly foiled at his own weapons,
reduced to indigence in a foreign land, and, what he chiefly regretted, robbed of
all those gay expectations he had indulged from his own supposed excellence in
the wiles of fraud; for, upon a little recollection, he plainly perceived he had fallen
a sacrifice to the confederacy he had refused to join; and did not at all doubt that
the dice were loaded for his destruction. But, instead of beating his head against
the wall, tearing his hair, imprecating vain curses upon himself, or betraying other
frantic symptoms of despair, he resolved to accommodate himself to his fate, and
profit by the lesson he had so dearly bought.
With this intention, he immediately dismissed his valet, quitted his lodgings,
retired to an obscure street on the other side of the river, and, covering one eye
with a large patch of black silk, presented himself in quality of a musician to the
director of the opera, who, upon hearing a trial of his skill, received him into the
band without further question. While he continued in this situation, he not only
improved his taste and execution in music, but likewise found frequent
opportunities to extend his knowledge of mankind; for, besides the employment
he exercised in public, he was often concerned in private concerts that were
given in the hotels of noblemen; by which means he became more and more
acquainted with the persons, manners, and characters of high life, which he
contemplated with the most industrious attention, as a spectator, who, being
altogether unconcerned in the performance, is at more liberty to observe and
enjoy the particulars of the entertainment.
It was in one of those assemblies he had the pleasure of seeing his friend Sir
Stentor, dressed in the most fashionable manner, and behaving with all the
overstrained politesse of a native Frenchman. He was accompanied by his
brother knight and the abbe; and this triumvirate, even in Fathom's hearing, gave
a most ludicrous detail of the finesse they had practised upon the Polish Count,
to their entertainer, who was ambassador from a certain court, and made himself
extremely merry with the particulars of the relation. Indeed, they made shift to
describe some of the circumstances in such a ridiculous light, that our adventurer
himself, smarting as he was with the disgrace, could not help laughing in secret
at the account. He afterwards made it his business to inquire into the characters
of the two British knights, and understood they were notorious sharpers, who had
come abroad for the good of their country, and now hunted in couple among a
French pack, that dispersed themselves through the public ordinaries, walks, and
spectacles, in order to make a prey of incautious strangers.
The pride of Ferdinand was piqued at this information; and he was even
animated with the desire of making reprisals upon this fraternity, from which he
ardently longed to retrieve his honour and effects. But the issue of his last
adventure had reinforced his caution; and, for the present, he found means to
suppress the dictates of his avarice and ambition; resolving to employ his whole