Japhet, in Search of a Father eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 546 pages of information about Japhet, in Search of a Father.
But there is a man coming this way (should he happen to pass through this town) who will surprise and frighten you.  No one knows who he is.  He is named the Great Aristodemus.  He knows the past, the present, and the future.  He never looks at people’s hands—­he only looks you in the face, and woe be to them who tell him a lie.  Otherwise, he is good-tempered and obliging, and will tell what will come to pass, and his predictions never have been known to fail.  They say that he is hundreds of years old, and his hair is white as silver.”  At this information many expressed their doubts, and many others vaunted the powers of the gipsy.  Melchior replied, “that all he knew was, that for the sum of two guineas paid down, he had told him of a legacy left him of six hundred pounds, which otherwise he would never have known of or received.”  All the town of ——­ being quite alive for fortune-telling, this new report gained wind, and after a week’s sojourn, Melchior thought that the attempt should be made.

Chapter XIII

     The seed having been carefully sown, we now reap a golden
     harvest—­We tell every body what they knew before, and we are
     looked upon as most marvellous by most marvellous fools.

We accordingly packed up, and departed to another market town.  Timothy, dressed in a sombre suit of black, very much like an undertaker, was provided with a horse, with the following directions:  to proceed leisurely until he was within half a mile of the town of ——­, and then to gallop in as fast as he could, stop at the best inn in the place, and order apartments for the Great Aristodemus, who might be expected in half an hour.  Every thing in this world depends upon appearances, that is, when you intend to gull it; and as every one in the town had heard of the Great Aristodemus, so every one was anxious to know something about him, and Timothy was pestered with all manner of questions; but he declared that he was only his courier, and could only tell what other people said; but then what other people said, by Timothy’s account, was very marvellous indeed.  Timothy had hardly time to secure the best rooms in the hotel, when Melchior, dressed in a long flowing silk gown, with a wig of long white hair, a square cap, and two or three gold chains hanging from his neck, certainly most admirably disguised, and attended by me in the dress of a German student, a wig of long brown locks hanging down my shoulders, made our appearance in a post-chaise and four, and drove up to the door of the inn, at a pace which shook every house in the street, and occasioned every window to be tenanted with one or more heads to ascertain the cause of this unusual occurrence, for it was not a very great town, although once of importance; but the manufactures had been removed, and it was occupied by those who had become independent by their own exertions, or by those of their forefathers.

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Japhet, in Search of a Father from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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