The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom HTML version

Chapter 27
A Flagrant Instance Of Fathom's Virtue, In The Manner Of His Retreat To
Fathom, who had lent an attentive ear to every circumstance of this disastrous
story, no sooner heard it concluded, than, with an aspect of generous and cordial
compassion, not even unattended with tears, he condoled the lamentable fate of
Don Diego de Zelos, deplored the untimely death of the gentle Antonia and the
fair Serafina, and undertook the interest of the wretched Castilian with such
warmth of sympathising zeal, as drew a flood from his eyes, while he wrung his
benefactor's hand in a transport of gratitude. Those were literally tears of joy, or
at least of satisfaction, on both sides; as our hero wept with affection and
attachment to the jewels that were to be committed to his care; but, far from
discovering the true source of his tenderness, he affected to dissuade the
Spaniard from parting with the diamonds, which he counselled him to reserve for
a more pressing occasion; and, in the meantime, earnestly entreated him to
depend upon his friendship for present relief.
This generous proffer served only to confirm Don Diego's resolution, which he
forthwith executed, by putting into the hands of Ferdinand jewels to the value of a
thousand crowns, and desiring him to detain for his own use any part of the sum
they would raise. Our adventurer thanked him for the good opinion he
entertained of his integrity, an opinion fully manifested in honouring him with such
important confidence, and assured him he would transact his affairs with the
utmost diligence, caution, and despatch. The evening being by this time almost
consumed, these new allies retired separately to rest; though each passed the
night without repose, in very different reflections, the Castilian being, as usual,
agitated with the unceasing pangs of his unalterable misery, interspersed with
gleaming hopes of revenge; and Fathom being kept awake with revolving plans
for turning his fellow-lodger's credulity to his own advantage. From the nature of
the Spaniard's situation, he might have appropriated the jewels to himself, and
remained in Paris without fear of a prosecution, because the injured party had, by
the above narrative, left his life and liberty at discretion.--But he did not think
himself secure from the personal resentment of an enraged desperate Castilian;
and therefore determined to withdraw himself privately into that country where he
had all along proposed to fix the standard of his finesse, which fortune had now
empowered him to exercise according to his wish.
Bent upon this retreat, he went abroad in the morning, on pretence of acting in
the concerns of his friend Don Diego, and having hired a post-chaise to be ready
at the dawning of next day, returned to his lodgings, where he cajoled the
Spaniard with a feigned report of his negotiation; then, securing his most
valuable effects about his person, arose with the cock, repaired to the place at
which he had appointed to meet the postillion with the carriage, and set out for
England without further delay, leaving the unhappy Zelos to the horrors of
indigence, and the additional agony of this fresh disappointment. Yet he was not
the only person affected by the abrupt departure of Fathom, which was hastened
by the importunities, threats, and reproaches of his landlord's daughter, whom he