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Chapter 56

The French Coquette entraps the Heart of the Jew, against whom Pallet enters into a Conspiracy, by which Peregrine is again disappointed, and the Hebrew’s Incontinence exposed.

Meanwhile the French siren, balked in her design upon her English cully, who was so easily disheartened, and hung his ears in manifest despondence, rather than rather than run the risk of making a voyage that should be altogether unprofitable, resolved to practise her charms upon the Dutch merchant. She had already made such innovation upon his heart, that he cultivated her with peculiar complacency, gazed upon her with a most libidinous stare, and unbended his aspect into a grin that was truly Israelitish. The painter saw and was offended at this correspondence, which he considered as an insult upon his misfortune, as well as an evident preference of his rival; and, conscious of his own timidity, swallowed an extraordinary glass, that his invention might be stimulated, and his resolution raised to the contrivance and execution of some scheme of revenge. The wine failed in the expected effect, and, without inspiring him with the plan, served only to quicken his desire of vengeance; so that he communicated his purpose to his friend Peregrine, and begged his assistance; but our young gentleman was too intent upon his own affair to mind the concerns of any other person; and he declining to be engaged in the project, Pallet had recourse to the genius of Pickle’s valet-de-chambre, who readily embarked in the undertaking, and invented a plan, which was executed accordingly.

The evening being pretty far advanced, and the company separated into their respective apartments, Pickle repaired, in all the impatience of youth and desire, to the chamber of his charmer, and, finding the door unbolted, entered in a transport of joy. By the light of the room, which shone through the window, he was conducted to her bed, which he approached in the utmost agitation; and perceiving her to all appearance asleep, essayed to wake her with a gentle kiss; but this method proved ineffectual, because she was determined to save herself the confusion of being an accomplice in his guilt. He repeated the application, murmured a most passionate salutation in her ear, and took such other gentle methods of signifying his presence, as persuaded him that she was resolved to sleep, in spite of all his endeavours. Flushed with this supposition, he locked the door, in order to prevent interruption; and, stealing himself under the clothes, set fortune at defiance, while he held the fair creature circled in his arms.

Nevertheless, near as he seemed to be to the happy accomplishment of his desire, his hope was again frustrated with a fearful noise, which in a moment awaked his Amanda in a fright, and for the present engaged all his attention. His valet-de-chambre, whom Pallet had consulted as a confederate in his revenge against the lady of pleasure and her gallant, had hired of certain Bohemians, who chanced to lodge at the inn, a jackass adorned with bells, which, when everybody was retired to rest, and the Hebrew supposed to be bedded with his mistress, they led upstairs into a long thoroughfare, from which the chambers were detached on each side. The painter, perceiving the lady’s door ajar, according to his expectation, mounted this animal, with intention to ride into the room, and disturb the lovers in the midst of their mutual endearments; but the ass, true to its kind, finding himself bestrid by an unknown rider, instead of advancing in obedience to his conductor, retreated backward to the other end of the passage, in spite of all the efforts of the painter, who spurred, and kicked, and pummeled to no purpose. It was the noise of this contention between Pallet and the ass which invaded the ears of Peregrine and his mistress, neither of whom could form the least rational conjecture about the cause of such strange disturbance, which increased as the animal approached their apartment. At length the bourrique’s retrograde motion was obstructed by the door, which it forced open in a twinkling, with one kick, and entered with such complication of sound as terrified the lady almost into a fit, and threw her lover into the utmost perplexity and confusion.

The painter, finding himself thus violently intruded into the bed-chamber of he knew not whom, and dreading the resentment of the possessor, who might discharge a pistol at him as a robber who had broken into his apartment, was overwhelmed with consternation, and redoubled his exertion to accomplish a speedy retreat, sweating all the time with fear, and putting up petition to Heaven for his safety; but his obstinate companion, regardless of his situation, instead of submitting to his conduct, began to turn round like a millstone, the united sound of his feet and bells producing a most surprising concert. The unfortunate rider, whirling about in this manner,............

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