The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom HTML version

Chapter 10
They Proceed To Levy Contributions With Great Success, Until Our Hero Sets
Out With The Young Count For Vienna, Where He Enters Into League With
Another Adventurer.
Under this secure cover, Teresa levied contributions upon her mistress with great
success. Some trinket was missing every day; the young lady's patience began
to fail; the faithful attendant was overwhelmed with consternation, and, with the
appearance of extreme chagrin, demanded her dismission, affirming that these
things were certainly effected by some person in the family, with a view of
murdering her precious reputation. Miss Melvil, not without difficulty, quieted her
vexation with assurances of inviolable confidence and esteem, until a pair of
diamond earrings vanished, when Teresa could no longer keep her affliction
within bounds. Indeed, this was an event of more consequence than all the rest
which had happened, for the jewels were valued at five hundred florins.
Mademoiselle was accordingly alarmed to such a degree, that she made her
mother acquainted with her loss, and that good lady, who was an excellent
economist, did not fail to give indications of extraordinary concern. She asked, if
her daughter had reason to suspect any individual in the family, and if she was
perfectly confident of her own woman's integrity? Upon which Mademoiselle, with
many encomiums on the fidelity and attachment of Teresa, recounted the
adventure of the chambermaid, who immediately underwent a strict inquiry, and
was even committed to prison, on the strength of her former misdemeanour. Our
adventurer's mate insisted upon undergoing the same trial with the rest of the
domestics, and, as usual, comprehended Fathom in her insinuations; while he
seconded the proposal, and privately counselled the old lady to introduce Teresa
to the magistrate of the place. By these preconcerted recriminations, they
escaped all suspicion of collusion. After a fruitless inquiry, the prisoner was
discharged from her confinement, and turned out of the service of the Count, in
whose private opinion the character of no person suffered so much, as that of his
own son, whom he suspected of having embezzled the jewels, for the use of a
certain inamorata, who, at that time, was said to have captivated his affections.
The old gentleman felt upon this occasion all that internal anguish which a man
of honour may be supposed to suffer, on account of a son's degeneracy; and,
without divulging his sentiments, or even hinting his suspicions to the youth
himself, determined to detach him at once from such dangerous connexions, by
sending him forthwith to Vienna, on pretence of finishing his exercises at the
academy, and ushering him into acquaintance with the great world. Though he
would not be thought by the young gentleman himself to harbour the least doubt
of his morals, he did not scruple to unbosom himself on that subject to
Ferdinand, whose sagacity and virtue he held in great veneration. This indulgent
patron expressed himself in the most pathetic terms, on the untoward disposition
of his son; he told Fathom, that he should accompany Renaldo (that was the
youth's name) not only as a companion, but a preceptor and pattern; conjured
him to assist his tutor in superintending his conduct, and to reinforce the
governor's precepts by his own example; to inculcate upon him the most delicate