The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom HTML version

Chapter 32
He Appears In The Great World With Universal Applause And Admiration.
Meanwhile, Fathom and his engine were busied in completing his equipage, so
that in a few days he had procured a very gay chariot, adorned with painting,
gilding, and a coat of arms, according to his own fancy and direction. The first
use he made of this vehicle was that of visiting the young nobleman from whom
he had received such important civilities on the road, in consequence of an
invitation at parting, by which he learned his title and the place of his abode in
His lordship was not only pleased, but proud to see such a stranger at his gate,
and entertained him with excess of complaisance and hospitality; insomuch that,
by his means, our hero soon became acquainted with the whole circle of polite
company, by whom he was caressed for his insinuating manners and agreeable
conversation. He had thought proper to tell the nobleman, at their first interview
in town, that his reasons for concealing his knowledge of the English tongue
were now removed, and that he would no longer deny himself the pleasure of
speaking a language which had been always music to his ear. He had also
thanked his lordship for his generous interposition at the inn, which was an
instance of that generosity and true politeness which are engrossed by the
English people, who leave nought to other nations but the mere shadow of these
A testimony like this, from the mouth of such a noble stranger, won the heart of
the peer, who professed a friendship for him on the spot, and undertook to see
justice done to his lacquey, who in a short time was gratified with a share of the
seizure which had been made upon his information, amounting to fifty or sixty
Ferdinand put not forth the whole strength of his accomplishments at once, but
contrived to spring a new mine of qualification every day, to the surprise and
admiration of all his acquaintance. He was gifted with a sort of elocution, much
more specious than solid, and spoke on every subject that occurred in
conversation with that familiarity and ease, which, one would think, could only be
acquired by long study and application. This plausibility and confidence are
faculties really inherited from nature, and effectually serve the possessor, in lieu
of that learning which is not to be obtained without infinite toil and perseverance.
The most superficial tincture of the arts and sciences in such a juggler, is
sufficient to dazzle the understanding of half mankind; and, if managed with
circumspection, will enable him even to spend his life among the literati, without
once forfeiting the character of a connoisseur.
Our hero was perfectly master of this legerdemain, which he carried to such a
pitch of assurance, as to declare, in the midst of a mathematical assembly, that
he intended to gratify the public with a full confutation of Sir Isaac Newton's
philosophy, to the nature of which he was as much a stranger as the most
savage Hottentot in Africa. His pretensions to profound and universal knowledge
were supported not only by this kind of presumption, but also by the facility with