The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom HTML version

Chapter 39
Our Adventurer Is Made Acquainted With A New Scene Of Life.
Just as he entered these mansions of misery, his ears were invaded with a
hoarse and dreadful voice, exclaiming, "You, Bess Beetle, score a couple of
fresh eggs, a pennyworth of butter, and half a pint of mountain to the king; and
stop credit till the bill is paid:--He is now debtor for fifteen shillings and sixpence,
and d--n me if I trust him one farthing more, if he was the best king in
Christendom. And, d'ye hear, send Ragged-head with five pounds of potatoes for
Major Macleaver's supper, and let him have what drink he wants; the fat widow
gentlewoman from Pimlico has promised to quit his score. Sir Mungo Barebones
may have some hasty pudding and small beer, though I don't expect to see his
coin, no more than to receive the eighteen pence I laid out for a pair of breeches
to his backside--what then? he's a quiet sort of a body, and a great scholar, and it
was a scandal to the place to see him going about in that naked condition. As for
the mad Frenchman with the beard, if you give him so much as a cheese-paring,
you b--ch, I'll send you back to the hole, among your old companions; an
impudent dog! I'll teach him to draw his sword upon the governor of an English
county jail. What! I suppose he thought he had to do with a French hang-tang-
dang, rabbit him! he shall eat his white feather, before I give him credit for a
morsel of bread."
Although our adventurer was very little disposed, at this juncture, to make
observations foreign to his own affairs, he could not help taking notice of these
extraordinary injunctions; especially those concerning the person who was
entitled king, whom, however, he supposed to be some prisoner elected as the
magistrate by the joint suffrage of his fellows. Having taken possession of his
chamber, which he rented at five shillings a week, and being ill at ease in his own
thoughts, he forthwith secured his door, undressed, and went to bed, in which,
though it was none of the most elegant or inviting couches, he enjoyed profound
repose after the accumulated fatigues and mortifications of the day. Next
morning, after breakfast, the keeper entered his apartment, and gave him to
understand, that the gentlemen under his care, having heard of the Count's
arrival, had deputed one of their number to wait upon him with the compliments
of condolence suitable to the occasion, and invite him to become a member of
their society. Our hero could not politely dispense with this instance of civility,
and their ambassador being instantly introduced by the name of Captain Minikin,
saluted him with great solemnity.
This was a person equally remarkable for his extraordinary figure and address;
his age seemed to border upon forty, his stature amounted to five feet, his visage
was long, meagre, and weather-beaten, and his aspect, though not quite rueful,
exhibited a certain formality, which was the result of care and conscious
importance. He was very little encumbered with flesh and blood; yet what body
he had was well proportioned, his limbs were elegantly turned, and by his
carriage he was well entitled to that compliment which we pay to any person
when we say he has very much the air of a gentleman. There was also an
evident singularity in his dress, which, though intended as an improvement,