The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom HTML version

Chapter 3
He Is Initiated In A Military Life, And Has The Good Fortune To Acquire A
Generous Patron.
While she wearied Heaven with these petitions, the flame of war broke out
betwixt the houses of Ottoman and Austria, and the Emperor sent forth an army
into Hungary, under the auspices of the renowned Prince Eugene. On account of
this expedition, the mother of our hero gave up housekeeping, and cheerfully
followed her customers and husband into the field; having first provided herself
with store of those commodities in which she had formerly merchandised.
Although the hope of profit might in some measure affect her determination, one
of the chief motives for her visiting the frontiers of Turkey, was the desire of
initiating her son in the rudiments of his education, which she now thought high
time to inculcate, he being, at this period, in the sixth year of his age; he was
accordingly conducted to the camp, which she considered as the most
consummate school of life, and proposed for the scene of his instruction; and in
this academy he had not continued many weeks, when he was an eye-witness of
that famous victory, which, with sixty thousand men, the Imperial general
obtained over an army of one hundred and fifty thousand Turks.
His father-in-law was engaged, and his mother would not be idle on this
occasion. She was a perfect mistress of all the camp qualifications, and thought it
a duty incumbent on her to contribute all that lay in her power towards distressing
the enemy. With these sentiments she hovered about the skirts of the army, and
the troops were no sooner employed in the pursuit, than she began to traverse
the field of battle with a poignard and a bag, in order to consult her own interest,
annoy the foe, and exercise her humanity at the same time. In short, she had,
with amazing prowess, delivered some fifty or threescore disabled Mussulmen of
the pain under which they groaned, and made a comfortable booty of the spoils
of the slain, when her eyes were attracted by the rich attire of an Imperial officer,
who lay bleeding on the plain, to all appearance in the agonies of death.
She could not in her heart refuse that favour to a friend and Christian she had so
compassionately bestowed upon so many enemies and infidels, and therefore
drew near with the sovereign remedy, which she had already administered with
such success. As she approached this deplorable object of pity, her ears were
surprised with an ejaculation in the English tongue, which he fervently
pronounced, though with a weak and languid voice, recommending his soul to
God, and his family to the protection of Heaven. Our Amazon's purpose was
staggered by this providential incident; the sound of her native language, so
unexpectedly heard, and so pathetically delivered, had a surprising effect upon
her imagination; and the faculty of reflection did not forsake her in such
emergency. Though she could not recollect the features of this unhappy officer,
she concluded, from his appearance, that he was some person of distinction in
the service, and foresaw greater advantage to herself in attempting to preserve
his life, than she could possibly reap from the execution of her first resolve. "If,"
said she to herself, "I can find means of conveying him to his tent alive, he
cannot but in conscience acknowledge my humanity with some considerable