The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom HTML version

Chapter 18
Our Hero Departs From Vienna, And Quits The Domain Of Venus For The
Rough Field Of Mars.
Luckily for our adventurer, before she adhered to this determination, the young
Count de Melvil was summoned to Presburg by his father, who desired to see
him, before he should take the field, in consequence of a rupture between the
Emperor and the French King; and Fathom of course quitted Vienna, in order to
attend his patron, after he and Renaldo had resided two whole years in that
capital, where the former had made himself perfect in all the polite exercises,
become master of the French tongue, and learned to speak the Italian with great
facility; over and above those other accomplishments in which we have
represented him as an inimitable original.
As for the young Count, his exteriors were so much improved by the company to
which he had access, since his departure from his father's house, that his
parents were equally surprised and overjoyed at the alteration. All that
awkwardness and rusticity, which hung upon his deportment, was, like the rough
coat of a diamond, polished away; the connexion and disposition of his limbs
seemed to have been adjusted anew; his carriage was become easy, his air
perfectly genteel, and his conversation gay and unrestrained. The merit of this
reformation was in a great measure ascribed to the care and example of Mr.
Fathom, who was received by the old Count and his lady with marks of singular
friendship and esteem; nor was he overlooked by Mademoiselle, who still
remained in a state of celibacy, and seemed to have resigned all hope of altering
her condition; she expressed uncommon satisfaction at the return of her old
favourite, and readmitted him into the same degree of familiarity with which he
had been honoured before his departure.
The joy of Teresa was so excessive at his arrival, that she could scarce suppress
her raptures, so as to conceal them from the notice of the family; and our hero,
upon this occasion, performed the part of an exquisite actor, in dissembling those
transports which his bosom never knew. So well had this pupil retained the
lessons of her instructor, that, in the midst of those fraudulent appropriations,
which she still continued to make, she had found means to support her interest
and character with Mademoiselle, and even to acquire such influence in the
family, that no other servant, male or female, could pretend to live under the
same roof, without paying incessant homage to this artful waiting-woman, and
yielding the most abject submission to her will.
The young gentlemen having tarried at Presburg about six weeks, during which a
small field equipage was prepared for Renaldo, they repaired to the camp at
Heilbron, under the auspices of Count Melvil, in whose regiment they carried
arms as volunteers, with a view to merit promotion in the service by their own
personal behaviour. Our adventurer would have willingly dispensed with this
occasion of signalising himself, his talents being much better adapted to another
sphere of life; nevertheless, he affected uncommon alacrity at the prospect of
gathering laurels in the field, and subscribed to his fortune with a good grace;
foreseeing, that even in a campaign, a man of his art and ingenuity might find