The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom HTML version

Chapter 22
He Arrives At Paris, And Is Pleased With His Reception.
He was not so smitten with the delightful situation of this ancient town, but that he
abandoned it as soon as he could procure a post-chaise, in which he arrived at
Paris, without having been exposed to any other troublesome adventure upon
the road. He took lodgings at a certain hotel in the Fauxbourg de St. Germain,
which is the general rendezvous of all the strangers that resort to this capital; and
now sincerely congratulated himself upon his happy escape from his Hungarian
connexions, and from the snares of the banditti, as well as upon the spoils of the
dead body, and his arrival at Paris, from whence there was such a short
conveyance to England, whither he was attracted, by far other motives than that
of filial veneration for his native soil.
He suppressed all his letters of recommendation, which he justly concluded
would subject him to a tedious course of attendance upon the great, and lay him
under the necessity of soliciting preferment in the army, than which nothing was
farther from his inclination; and resolved to make his appearance in the character
of a private gentleman, which would supply him with opportunities of examining
the different scenes of life in such a gay metropolis, so as that he should be able
to choose that sphere in which he could move the most effectually to his own
advantage. He accordingly hired an occasional domestic, and under the
denomination of Count Fathom, which he had retained since his elopement from
Renaldo, repaired to dinner at an ordinary, to which he was directed as a
reputable place, frequented by fashionable strangers of all nations.
He found this piece of information perfectly just; for he no sooner entered the
apartment, than his ears were saluted with a strange confusion of sounds,
among which he at once distinguished the High and Low Dutch, barbarous
French, Italian, and English languages. He was rejoiced at this occasion of
displaying his own qualifications, took his place at one of the three long tables,
betwixt a Westphalian count and a Bolognian marquis, insinuated himself into the
conversation with his usual address, and in less than half an hour, found means
to accost a native of each different country in his own mother-tongue.
Such extensive knowledge did not pass unobserved. A French abbe, in a
provincial dialect, complimented him upon his retaining that purity in
pronunciation, which is not to be found in the speech of a Parisian. The
Bolognian, mistaking him for a Tuscan, "Sir," said he, "I presume you are from
Florence. I hope the illustrious house of Lorrain leaves you gentlemen of that
famous city no room to regret the loss of your own princes." The castle of
Versailles becoming the subject of conversation, Monsieur le Compte appealed
to him, as to a native German, whether it was not inferior in point of magnificence
to the chateau of Grubenhagen. The Dutch officer, addressing himself to Fathom,
drank to the prosperity of Faderland, and asked if he had not once served in
garrison at Shenkenschans; and an English knight swore, with great assurance,
that he had frequently rambled with him at midnight among the hundreds of