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Title: Memoirs of Casanova — Volume 01: Childhood
Author: Casanova, Giacomo, 1725-1798
Language: English
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THE COMPLETE MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA de SEINGALT 1725-1798

THE RARE UNABRIDGED LONDON EDITION OF 1894 TRANSLATED BY ARTHUR MACHEN TO
WHICH HAS BEEN ADDED THE CHAPTERS DISCOVERED BY ARTHUR SYMONS.


[Etext Editors Note: These memoires were not written for children
and may outrage readers offended by Chaucer, La Fontaine, Rabelais
and The Old Testament.  D.W.]



MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA de SEINGALT 1725-1798

VENETIAN YEARS, Volume 1a--CHILDHOOD



CONTENTS:

     CASANOVA AT DUX
     TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE
     AUTHOR'S PREFACE
     CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE



CASANOVA AT DUX

An Unpublished Chapter of History, By Arthur Symons


I

The Memoirs of Casanova, though they have enjoyed the popularity of a bad
reputation, have never had justice done to them by serious students of
literature, of life, and of history. One English writer, indeed, Mr.
Havelock Ellis, has realised that 'there are few more delightful books in
the world,' and he has analysed them in an essay on Casanova, published
in Affirmations, with extreme care and remarkable subtlety. But this
essay stands alone, at all events in English, as an attempt to take
Casanova seriously, to show him in his relation to his time, and in his
relation to human problems. And yet these Memoirs are perhaps the most
valuable document which we possess on the society of the eighteenth
century; they are the history of a unique life, a unique personality, one
of the greatest of autobiographies; as a record of adventures, they are
more entertaining than Gil Blas, or Monte Cristo, or any of the imaginary
travels, and escapes, and masquerades in life, which have been written in
imitation of them. They tell the story of a man who loved life
passionately for its own sake: one to whom woman was, indeed, the most
important thing in the world, but to whom nothing in the world was
indifferent. The bust which gives us the most lively notion of him shows
us a great, vivid, intellectual face, full of fiery energy and calm
resource, the face of a thinker and a fighter in one. A scholar, an
adventurer, perhaps a Cabalist, a busy stirrer in politics, a gamester,
one 'born for the fairer sex,' as he tells us, and born also to be a
vagabond; this man, who is remembered now for his written account of his
own life, was that rarest kind of autobiographer, one who did not live to
write, but wrote because he had lived, and when he could live no longer.

And his Memoirs take one all over Europe, giving sidelights, all the more
valuable in being almost accidental, upon many of the affairs and people
most interesting to us during two-thirds of the eighteenth century.
Giacomo Casanova was born in Venice, of Spanish and Italian parentage, on
April 2, 1725; he died at the Chateau of Dux, in Bohemia, on June 4,
1798. In that lifetime of seventy-three years he travelled, as his
Memoirs show us, in Italy, France, Germany, Austria, England,
Switzerland, Belgium, Russia, Poland, Spain, Holland, Turkey; he met
Voltaire at Ferney, Rousseau at Montmorency, Fontenelle, d'Alembert and
Crebillon at Paris, George III. in London, Louis XV. at Fontainebleau,
Catherine the Great at St. Petersburg, Benedict XII. at Rome, Joseph II.
at Vienna, Frederick the Great at Sans-Souci. Imprisoned by the
Inquisitors of State in the Piombi at Venice, he made, in 1755, the most
famous escape in history. His Memoirs, as we have them, break off
abruptly at the moment when he is expecting a safe conduct, and the
permission to return to Venice after twenty years' wanderings. He did
return, as we know from documents in the Venetian archives; he returned
as secret agent of the Inquisitors, and remained in their service from
1774 until 1782. At the end of 1782 he left Venice; and next year we find
him in Paris, where, in 1784, he met Count Waldstein at the Venetian
Ambassador's, and was invited by him to become his librarian at Dux. He
accepted, and for the fourteen remaining years of his life lived at Dux,
where he wrote his Memoirs.

Casanova died in 1798, but nothing was heard of the Memoirs (which the
Prince de Ligne, in his own Memoirs, tells us that Casanova had read to
him, and in which he found 'du dyamatique, de la rapidite, du comique, de
la philosophie, des choses neuves, sublimes, inimitables meme') until the
year 1820, when a certain Carlo Angiolini brought to the publishing house
of Brockhaus, in Leipzig, a manuscript entitled Histoire de ma vie jusqu
a l'an 1797, in the handwriting of Casanova. This manuscript, which I
have examined at Leipzig, is written on foolscap paper, rather rough and
yellow; it is written on both sides of the page, and in sheets or quires;
here and there the paging shows that some pages have been omitted, and in
their place are smaller sheets of thinner and whiter paper, all in
Casanova's handsome, unmistakable handwriting. The manuscript is done up
in twelve bundles, corresponding with the twelve volumes of the original
edition; and only in one place is there a gap. The fourth and fifth
chapters of the twelfth volume are missing, as the editor of the original
edition points out, adding: 'It is not probable that these two chapters
have been withdrawn from the manuscript of Casanova by a strange hand;
everything leads us to believe that the author himself suppressed them,
in the intention, no doubt, of re-writing them, but without having found
time to do so.' The manuscript ends abruptly with the year 1774, and not
with the year 1797, as the title would lead us to suppose.

This manuscript, in its original state, has never been printed. Herr
Brockhaus, on obtaining possession of the manuscript, had it translated
into German by Wilhelm Schutz, but with many omissions and alterations,
and published this translation, volume by volume, from 1822 to 1828,
under the title, 'Aus den Memoiren des Venetianers Jacob Casanova de
Seingalt.' While the German edition was in course of publication, Herr
Brockhaus employed a certain Jean Laforgue, a professor of the French
language at Dresden, to revise the original manuscript, correcting
Casanova's vigorous, but at times incorrect, and often somewhat Italian,
French according to his own notions of elegant writing, suppressing
passages which seemed too free-spoken from the point of view of morals
and of politics, and altering the names of some of the persons referred
to, or replacing those names by initials. This revised text was published
in twelve volumes, the first two in 1826, the third and fourth in 1828,
the fifth to the eighth in 1832, and the ninth to the twelfth in 1837;
the first four bearing the imprint of Brockhaus at Leipzig and Ponthieu
et Cie at Paris; the next four the imprint of Heideloff et Campe at
Paris; and the last four nothing but 'A Bruxelles.' The volumes are all
uniform, and were all really printed for the firm of Brockhaus. This,
however far from representing the real text, is the only authoritative
edition, and my references throughout this article will always be to this
edition.

In turning over the manuscript at Leipzig, I read some of the suppressed
passages, and regretted their suppression; but Herr Brockhaus, the
present head of the firm, assured me that they are not really very
considerable in number. The damage, however, to the vivacity of the whole
narrative, by the persistent alterations of M. Laforgue, is incalculable.
I compared many passages, and found scarcely three consecutive sentences
untouched. Herr Brockhaus (whose courtesy I cannot sufficiently
acknowledge) was kind enough to have a passage copied out for me, which I
afterwards read over, and checked word by word. In this passage Casanova
says, for instance: 'Elle venoit presque tous les jours lui faire une
belle visite.' This is altered into: 'Cependant chaque jour Therese
venait lui faire une visite.' Casanova says that some one 'avoit, comme
de raison, forme le projet d'allier Dieu avec le diable.' This is made to
read: 'Qui, comme de raison, avait saintement forme le projet d'allier
les interets du ciel aux oeuvres de ce monde.' Casanova tells us that
Therese would not commit a mortal sin 'pour devenir reine du monde;' pour
une couronne,' corrects the indefatigable Laforgue. 'Il ne savoit que lui
dire' becomes 'Dans cet etat de perplexite;' and so forth. It must,
therefore, be realized that the Memoirs, as we have them, are only a kind
of pale tracing of the vivid colours of the original.

When Casanova's Memoirs were first published, doubts were expressed as to
their authenticity, first by Ugo Foscolo (in the Westminster Review,
1827), then by Querard, supposed to be an authority in regard to
anonymous and pseudonymous writings, finally by Paul Lacroix, 'le
bibliophile Jacob', who suggested, or rather expressed his 'certainty,'
that the real author of the Memoirs was Stendhal, whose 'mind, character,
ideas and style' he seemed to recognise on every page. This theory, as
foolish and as unsupported as the Baconian theory of Shakespeare, has
been carelessly accepted, or at all events accepted as possible, by many
good scholars who have never taken the trouble to look into the matter
for themselves. It was finally disproved by a series of articles of
Armand Baschet, entitled 'Preuves curieuses de l'authenticite des
Memoires de Jacques Casanova de Seingalt,' in 'Le Livre,' January,
February, April and May, 1881; and these proofs were further corroborated
by two articles of Alessandro d'Ancona, entitled 'Un Avventuriere del
Secolo XVIII., in the 'Nuovo Antologia,' February 1 and August 1, 1882.
Baschet had never himself seen the manuscript of the Memoirs, but he had
learnt all the facts about it from Messrs. Brockhaus, and he had himself
examined the numerous papers relating to Casanova in the Venetian
archives. A similar examination was made at the Frari at about the same
time by the Abbe Fulin; and I myself, in 1894, not knowing at the time
that the discovery had been already made, made it over again for myself.
There the arrest of Casanova, his imprisonment in the Piombi, the exact
date of his escape, the name of the monk who accompanied him, are all
authenticated by documents contained in the 'riferte' of the Inquisition
of State; there are the bills for the repairs of the roof and walls of
the cell from which he escaped; there are the reports of the spies on
whose information he was arrested, for his too dangerous free-spokenness
in matters of religion and morality. The same archives contain
forty-eight letters of Casanova to the Inquisitors of State, dating from
1763 to 1782, among the Riferte dei Confidenti, or reports of secret
agents; the earliest asking permission to return to Venice, the rest
giving information in regard to the immoralities of the city, after his
return there; all in the same handwriting as the Memoirs. Further proof
could scarcely be needed, but Baschet has done more than prove the
authenticity, he has proved the extraordinary veracity, of the Memoirs.
F. W. Barthold, in 'Die Geschichtlichen Personlichkeiten in J. Casanova's
Memoiren,' 2 vols., 1846, had already examined about a hundred of
Casanova's allusions to well known people, showing the perfect exactitude
of all but six or seven, and out of these six or seven inexactitudes
ascribing only a single one to the author's intention. Baschet and
d'Ancona both carry on what Barthold had begun; other investigators, in
France, Italy and Germany, have followed them; and two things are now
certain, first, that Casanova himself wrote the Memoirs published under
his name, though not textually in the precise form in which we have them;
and, second, that as their veracity becomes more and more evident as they
are confronted with more and more independent witnesses, it is only fair
to suppose that they are equally truthful where the facts are such as
could only have been known to Casanova himself.



II

For more than two-thirds of a century it has been known that Casanova
spent the last fourteen years of his life at Dux, that he wrote his
Memoirs there, and that he died there. During all this time people have
been discussing the authenticity and the truthfulness of the Memoirs,
they have been searching for information about Casanova in various
directions, and yet hardly any one has ever taken the trouble, or
obtained the permission, to make a careful examination in precisely the
one place where information was most likely to be found. The very
existence of the manuscripts at Dux was known only to a few, and to most
of these only on hearsay; and thus the singular good fortune was reserved
for me, on my visit to Count Waldstein in September 1899, to be the first
to discover the most interesting things contained in these manuscripts.
M. Octave Uzanne, though he had not himself visited Dux, had indeed
procured copies of some of the manuscripts, a few of which were published
by him in Le Livre, in 1887 and 1889. But with the death of Le Livre in
1889 the 'Casanova inedit' came to an end, and has never, so far as I
know, been continued elsewhere. Beyond the publication of these
fragments, nothing has been done with the manuscripts at Dux, nor has an
account of them ever been given by any one who has been allowed to
examine them.

For five years, ever since I had discovered the documents in the Venetian
archives, I had wanted to go to Dux; and in 1899, when I was staying with
Count Lutzow at Zampach, in Bohemia, I found the way kindly opened for
me. Count Waldstein, the present head of the family, with extreme
courtesy, put all his manuscripts at my disposal, and invited me to stay
with him. Unluckily, he was called away on the morning of the day that I
reached Dux. He had left everything ready for me, and I was shown over
the castle by a friend of his, Dr. Kittel, whose courtesy I should like
also to acknowledge. After a hurried visit to the castle we started on
the long drive to Oberleutensdorf, a smaller Schloss near Komotau, where
the Waldstein family was then staying. The air was sharp and bracing; the
two Russian horses flew like the wind; I was whirled along in an
unfamiliar darkness, through a strange country, black with coal mines,
through dark pine woods, where a wild peasantry dwelt in little mining
towns. Here and there, a few men and women passed us on the road, in
their Sunday finery; then a long space of silence, and we were in the
open country, galloping between broad fields; and always in a haze of
lovely hills, which I saw more distinctly as we drove back next morning.

The return to Dux was like a triumphal entry, as we dashed through the
market-place filled with people come for the Monday market, pots and pans
and vegetables strewn in heaps all over the ground, on the rough paving
stones, up to the great gateway of the castle, leaving but just room for
us to drive through their midst. I had the sensation of an enormous
building: all Bohemian castles are big, but this one was like a royal
palace. Set there in the midst of the town, after the Bohemian fashion,
it opens at the back upon great gardens, as if it were in the midst of
the country. I walked through room after room, along corridor after
corridor; everywhere there were pictures, everywhere portraits of
Wallenstein, and battle-scenes in which he led on his troops. The
library, which was formed, or at least arranged, by Casanova, and which
remains as he left it, contains some 25,000 volumes, some of them of
considerable value; one of the most famous books in Bohemian literature,
Skala's History of the Church, exists in manuscript at Dux, and it is
from this manuscript that the two published volumes of it were printed.
The library forms part of the Museum, which occupies a ground-floor wing
of the castle. The first room is an armoury, in which all kinds of arms
are arranged, in a decorative way, covering the ceiling and the walls
with strange patterns. The second room contains pottery, collected by
Casanova's Waldstein on his Eastern travels. The third room is full of
curious mechanical toys, and cabinets, and carvings in ivory. Finally, we
come to the library, contained in the two innermost rooms. The
book-shelves are painted white, and reach to the low-vaulted ceilings,
which are whitewashed. At the end of a bookcase, in the corner of one of
the windows, hangs a fine engraved portrait of Casanova.

After I had been all over the castle, so long Casanova's home, I was
taken to Count Waldstein's study, and left there with the manuscripts. I
found six huge cardboard cases, large enough to contain foolscap paper,
lettered on the back: 'Grafl. Waldstein-Wartenberg'sches Real
Fideicommiss. Dux-Oberleutensdorf: Handschriftlicher Nachlass Casanova.'
The cases were arranged so as to stand like books; they opened at the
side; and on opening them, one after another, I found series after series
of manuscripts roughly thrown together, after some pretence at
arrangement, and lettered with a very generalised description of
contents. The greater part of the manuscripts were in Casanova's
handwriting, which I could see gradually beginning to get shaky with
years. Most were written in French, a certain number in Italian. The
beginning of a catalogue in the library, though said to be by him, was
not in his handwriting. Perhaps it was taken down at his dictation. There
were also some copies of Italian and Latin poems not written by him. Then
there were many big bundles of letters addressed to him, dating over more
than thirty years. Almost all the rest was in his own handwriting.

I came first upon the smaller manuscripts, among which I, found, jumbled
together on the same and on separate scraps of paper, washing-bills,
accounts, hotel bills, lists of letters written, first drafts of letters
with many erasures, notes on books, theological and mathematical notes,
sums, Latin quotations, French and Italian verses, with variants, a long
list of classical names which have and have not been 'francises,' with
reasons for and against; 'what I must wear at Dresden'; headings without
anything to follow, such as: 'Reflexions on respiration, on the true
cause of youth-the crows'; a new method of winning the lottery at Rome;
recipes, among which is a long printed list of perfumes sold at Spa; a
newspaper cutting, dated Prague, 25th October 1790, on the thirty-seventh
balloon ascent of Blanchard; thanks to some 'noble donor' for the gift of
a dog called 'Finette'; a passport for 'Monsieur de Casanova, Venitien,
allant d'ici en Hollande, October 13, 1758 (Ce Passeport bon pour quinze
jours)', together with an order for post-horses, gratis, from Paris to
Bordeaux and Bayonne.'

Occasionally, one gets a glimpse into his daily life at Dux, as in this
note, scribbled on a fragment of paper (here and always I translate the
French literally): 'I beg you to tell my servant what the biscuits are
that I like to eat; dipped in wine, to fortify my stomach. I believe that
they can all be found at Roman's.' Usually, however, these notes, though
often suggested by something closely personal, branch off into more
general considerations; or else begin with general considerations, and
end with a case in point. Thus, for instance, a fragment of three pages
begins: 'A compliment which is only made to gild the pill is a positive
impertinence, and Monsieur Bailli is nothing but a charlatan; the monarch
ought to have spit in his face, but the monarch trembled with fear.' A
manuscript entitled 'Essai d'Egoisme,' dated, 'Dux, this 27th June,
1769,' contains, in the midst of various reflections, an offer to let his
'appartement' in return for enough money to 'tranquillise for six months
two Jew creditors at Prague.' Another manuscript is headed 'Pride and
Folly,' and begins with a long series of antitheses, such as: 'All fools
are not proud, and all proud men are fools. Many fools are happy, all
proud men are unhappy.' On the same sheet follows this instance or
application:

Whether it is possible to compose a Latin distich of the greatest beauty
without knowing either the Latin language or prosody. We must examine the
possibility and the impossibility, and afterwards see who is the man who
says he is the author of the distich, for there are extraordinary people
in the world. My brother, in short, ought to have composed the distich,
because he says so, and because he confided it to me tete-'a-tete. I had,
it is true, difficulty in believing him; but what is one to do! Either
one must believe, or suppose him capable of telling a lie which could
only be told by a fool; and that is impossible, for all Europe knows that
my brother is not a fool.

Here, as so often in these manuscripts, we seem to see Casanova thinking
on paper. He uses scraps of paper (sometimes the blank page of a letter,
on the other side of which we see the address) as a kind of informal
diary; and it is characteristic of him, of the man of infinitely curious
mind, which this adventurer really was, that there are so few merely
personal notes among these casual jottings. Often, they are purely
abstract; at times, metaphysical 'jeux d'esprit,' like the sheet of
fourteen 'Different Wagers,' which begins:

I wager that it is not true that a man who weighs a hundred pounds will
weigh more if you kill him. I wager that if there is any difference, he
will weigh less. I wager that diamond powder has not sufficient force to
kill a man.

Side by side with these fanciful excursions into science, come more
serious ones, as in the note on Algebra, which traces its progress since
the year 1494, before which 'it had only arrived at the solution of
problems of the second degree, inclusive.' A scrap of paper tells us that
Casanova 'did not like regular towns.' 'I like,' he says, 'Venice, Rome,
Florence, Milan, Constantinople, Genoa.' Then he becomes abstract and
inquisitive again, and writes two pages, full of curious, out-of-the-way
learning, on the name of Paradise:

The name of Paradise is a name in Genesis which indicates a place of
pleasure (lieu voluptueux): this term is Persian. This place of pleasure
was made by God before he had created man.

It may be remembered that Casanova quarrelled with Voltaire, because
Voltaire had told him frankly that his translation of L'Ecossaise was a
bad translation. It is piquant to read another note written in this style
of righteous indignation:

Voltaire, the hardy Voltaire, whose pen is without bit or bridle;
Voltaire, who devoured the Bible, and ridiculed our dogmas, doubts, and
after having made proselytes to impiety, is not ashamed, being reduced to
the extremity of life, to ask for the sacraments, and to cover his body
with more relics than St. Louis had at Amboise.

Here is an argument more in keeping with the tone of the Memoirs:

A girl who is pretty and good, and as virtuous as you please, ought not
to take it ill that a man, carried away by her charms, should set himself
to the task of making their conquest. If this man cannot please her by
any means, even if his passion be criminal, she ought never to take
offence at it, nor treat him unkindly; she ought to be gentle, and pity
him, if she does not love him, and think it enough to keep invincibly
hold upon her own duty.

Occasionally he touches upon aesthetical matters, as in a fragment which
begins with this liberal definition of beauty:

Harmony makes beauty, says M. de S. P. (Bernardin de St. Pierre), but the
definition is too short, if he thinks he has said everything. Here is
mine. Remember that the subject is metaphysical. An object really
beautiful ought to seem beautiful to all whose eyes fall upon it. That is
all; there is nothing more to be said.

At times we have an anecdote and its commentary, perhaps jotted down for
use in that latter part of the Memoirs which was never written, or which
has been lost. Here is a single sheet, dated 'this 2nd September, 1791,'
and headed Souvenir:

The Prince de Rosenberg said to me, as we went down stairs, that Madame
de Rosenberg was dead, and asked me if the Comte de Waldstein had in the
library the illustration of the Villa d'Altichiero, which the Emperor had
asked for in vain at the city library of Prague, and when I answered
'yes,' he gave an equivocal laugh. A moment afterwards, he asked me if he
might tell the Emperor. 'Why not, monseigneur? It is not a secret, 'Is
His Majesty coming to Dux?' 'If he goes to Oberlaitensdorf (sic) he will
go to Dux, too; and he may ask you for it, for there is a monument there
which relates to him when he was Grand Duke.' 'In that case, His Majesty
can also see my critical remarks on the Egyptian prints.'

The Emperor asked me this morning, 6th October, how I employed my time at
Dux, and I told him that I was making an Italian anthology. 'You have all
the Italians, then?' 'All, sire.' See what a lie leads to. If I had not
lied in saying that I was making an anthology, I should not have found
myself obliged to lie again in saying that we have all the Italian poets.
If the Emperor comes to Dux, I shall kill myself.

'They say that this Dux is a delightful spot,' says Casanova in one of
the most personal of his notes, 'and I see that it might be for many; but
not for me, for what delights me in my old age is independent of the
place which I inhabit. When I do not sleep I dream, and when I am tired
of dreaming I blacken paper, then I read, and most often reject all that
my pen has vomited.' Here we see him blackening paper, on every occasion,
and for every purpose. In one bundle I found an unfinished story about
Roland, and some adventure with women in a cave; then a 'Meditation on
arising from sleep, 19th May 1789'; then a 'Short Reflection of a
Philosopher who finds himself thinking of procuring his own death. At
Dux, on getting out of bed on 13th October 1793, day dedicated to St.
Lucy, memorable in my too long life.' A big budget, containing
cryptograms, is headed 'Grammatical Lottery'; and there is the title-page
of a treatise on The Duplication of the Hexahedron, demonstrated
geometrically to all the Universities and all the Academies of Europe.'
[See Charles Henry, Les Connaissances Mathimatiques de Casanova. Rome,
1883.] There are innumerable verses, French and Italian, in all stages,
occasionally attaining the finality of these lines, which appear in half
a dozen tentative forms:

  'Sans mystere point de plaisirs,
   Sans silence point de mystere.
   Charme divin de mes loisirs,
   Solitude! que tu mes chere!

Then there are a number of more or less complete manuscripts of some
extent. There is the manuscript of the translation of Homer's 'Iliad, in
ottava rima (published in Venice, 1775-8); of the 'Histoire de Venise,'
of the 'Icosameron,' a curious book published in 1787, purporting to be
'translated from English,' but really an original work of Casanova;
'Philocalies sur les Sottises des Mortels,' a long manuscript never
published; the sketch and beginning of 'Le Pollmarque, ou la Calomnie
demasquee par la presence d'esprit. Tragicomedie en trois actes, composed
a Dux dans le mois de Juin de l'Annee, 1791,' which recurs again under
the form of the 'Polemoscope: La Lorgnette menteuse ou la Calomnie
demasquge,' acted before the Princess de Ligne, at her chateau at
Teplitz, 1791. There is a treatise in Italian, 'Delle Passioni'; there
are long dialogues, such as 'Le Philosophe et le Theologien', and 'Reve':
'Dieu-Moi'; there is the 'Songe d'un Quart d'Heure', divided into
minutes; there is the very lengthy criticism of 'Bernardin de
Saint-Pierre'; there is the 'Confutation d'une Censure indiscrate qu'on
lit dans la Gazette de Iena, 19 Juin 1789'; with another large
manuscript, unfortunately imperfect, first called 'L'Insulte', and then
'Placet au Public', dated 'Dux, this 2nd March, 1790,' referring to the
same criticism on the 'Icosameron' and the 'Fuite des Prisons. L'Histoire
de ma Fuite des Prisons de la Republique de Venise, qu'on appelle les
Plombs', which is the first draft of the most famous part of the Memoirs,
was published at Leipzig in 1788; and, having read it in the Marcian
Library at Venice, I am not surprised to learn from this indignant
document that it was printed 'under the care of a young Swiss, who had
the talent to commit a hundred faults of orthography.'



III.

We come now to the documents directly relating to the Memoirs, and among
these are several attempts at a preface, in which we see the actual
preface coming gradually into form. One is entitled 'Casanova au
Lecteur', another 'Histoire de mon Existence', and a third Preface. There
is also a brief and characteristic 'Precis de ma vie', dated November 17,
1797. Some of these have been printed in Le Livre, 1887. But by far the
most important manuscript that I discovered, one which, apparently, I am
the first to discover, is a manuscript entitled 'Extrait du Chapitre 4 et
5. It is written on paper similar to that on which the Memoirs are
written; the pages are numbered 104-148; and though it is described as
Extrait, it seems to contain, at all events, the greater part of the
missing chapters to which I have already referred, Chapters IV. and V. of
the last volume of the Memoirs. In this manuscript we find Armeline and
Scolastica, whose story is interrupted by the abrupt ending of Chapter
III.; we find Mariuccia of Vol. VII, Chapter IX., who married a
hairdresser; and we find also Jaconine, whom Casanova recognises as his
daughter, 'much prettier than Sophia, the daughter of Therese Pompeati,
whom I had left at London.'  It is curious that this very important
manuscript, which supplies the one missing link in the Memoirs, should
never have been discovered by any of the few people who have had the
opportunity of looking over the Dux manuscripts. I am inclined to explain
it by the fact that the case in which I found this manuscript contains
some papers not relating to Casanova. Probably, those who looked into
this case looked no further. I have told Herr Brockhaus of my discovery,
and I hope to see Chapters IV. and V. in their places when the
long-looked-for edition of the complete text is at length given to the
world.

Another manuscript which I found tells with great piquancy the whole
story of the Abbe de Brosses' ointment, the curing of the Princess de
Conti's pimples, and the birth of the Duc de Montpensier, which is told
very briefly, and with much less point, in the Memoirs (vol. iii., p.
327). Readers of the Memoirs will remember the duel at Warsaw with Count
Branicki in 1766 (vol. X., pp. 274-320), an affair which attracted a good
deal of attention at the time, and of which there is an account in a
letter from the Abbe Taruffi to the dramatist, Francesco Albergati, dated
Warsaw, March 19, 1766, quoted in Ernesto Masi's Life of Albergati,
Bologna, 1878. A manuscript at Dux in Casanova's handwriting gives an
account of this duel in the third person; it is entitled, 'Description de
l'affaire arrivee a Varsovie le 5 Mars, 1766'. D'Ancona, in the Nuova
Antologia (vol. lxvii., p. 412), referring to the Abbe Taruffi's account,
mentions what he considers to be a slight discrepancy: that Taruffi
refers to the danseuse, about whom the duel was fought, as La Casacci,
while Casanova refers to her as La Catai. In this manuscript Casanova
always refers to her as La Casacci; La Catai is evidently one of M.
Laforgue's arbitrary alterations of the text.

In turning over another manuscript, I was caught by the name Charpillon,
which every reader of the Memoirs will remember as the name of the harpy
by whom Casanova suffered so much in London, in 1763-4. This manuscript
begins by saying: 'I have been in London for six months and have been to
see them (that is, the mother and daughter) in their own house,' where he
finds nothing but 'swindlers, who cause all who go there to lose their
money in gambling.' This manuscript adds some details to the story told
in the ninth and tenth volumes of the Memoirs, and refers to the meeting
with the Charpillons four and a half years before, described in Volume
V., pages 428-485. It is written in a tone of great indignation.
Elsewhere, I found a letter written by Casanova, but not signed,
referring to an anonymous letter which he had received in reference to
the Charpillons, and ending: 'My handwriting is known.' It was not until
the last that I came upon great bundles of letters addressed to Casanova,
and so carefully preserved that little scraps of paper, on which
postscripts are written, are still in their places. One still sees the
seals on the backs of many of the letters, on paper which has slightly
yellowed with age, leaving the ink, however, almost always fresh. They
come from Venice, Paris, Rome, Prague, Bayreuth, The Hague, Genoa, Fiume,
Trieste, etc., and are addressed to as many places, often poste restante.
Many are letters from women, some in beautiful handwriting, on thick
paper; others on scraps of paper, in painful hands, ill-spelt. A Countess
writes pitifully, imploring help; one protests her love, in spite of the
'many chagrins' he has caused her; another asks 'how they are to live
together'; another laments that a report has gone about that she is
secretly living with him, which may harm his reputation. Some are in
French, more in Italian. 'Mon cher Giacometto', writes one woman, in
French; 'Carissimo a Amatissimo', writes another, in Italian. These
letters from women are in some confusion, and are in need of a good deal
of sorting over and rearranging before their full extent can be realised.
Thus I found letters in the same handwriting separated by letters in
other handwritings; many are unsigned, or signed only by a single
initial; many are undated, or dated only with the day of the week or
month. There are a great many letters, dating from 1779 to 1786, signed
'Francesca Buschini,' a name which I cannot identify; they are written in
Italian, and one of them begins: 'Unico Mio vero Amico' ('my only true
friend'). Others are signed 'Virginia B.'; one of these is dated, 'Forli,
October 15, 1773.' There is also a 'Theresa B.,' who writes from Genoa. I
was at first unable to identify the writer of a whole series of letters
in French, very affectionate and intimate letters, usually unsigned,
occasionally signed 'B.' She calls herself votre petite amie; or she ends
with a half-smiling, half-reproachful 'goodnight, and sleep better than
I' In one letter, sent from Paris in 1759, she writes: 'Never believe me,
but when I tell you that I love you, and that I shall love you always: In
another letter, ill-spelt, as her letters often are, she writes: 'Be
assured that evil tongues, vapours, calumny, nothing can change my heart,
which is yours entirely, and has no will to change its master.' Now, it
seems to me that these letters must be from Manon Baletti, and that they
are the letters referred to in the sixth volume of the Memoirs. We read
there (page 60) how on Christmas Day, 1759, Casanova receives a letter
from Manon in Paris, announcing her marriage with 'M. Blondel, architect
to the King, and member of his Academy'; she returns him his letters, and
begs him to return hers, or burn them. Instead of doing so he allows
Esther to read them, intending to burn them afterwards. Esther begs to be
allowed to keep the letters, promising to 'preserve them religiously all
her life.' 'These letters,' he says, 'numbered more than two hundred, and
the shortest were of four pages: Certainly there are not two hundred of
them at Dux, but it seems to me highly probable that Casanova made a
final selection from Manon's letters, and that it is these which I have
found.

But, however this may be, I was fortunate enough to find the set of
letters which I was most anxious to find the letters from Henriette,
whose loss every writer on Casanova has lamented. Henriette, it will be
remembered, makes her first appearance at Cesena, in the year 1748; after
their meeting at Geneva, she reappears, romantically 'a propos',
twenty-two years later, at Aix in Provence; and she writes to Casanova
proposing 'un commerce epistolaire', asking him what he has done since
his escape from prison, and promising to do her best to tell him all that
has happened to her during the long interval. After quoting her letter,
he adds: 'I replied to her, accepting the correspondence that she offered
me, and telling her briefly all my vicissitudes. She related to me in
turn, in some forty letters, all the history of her life. If she dies
before me, I shall add these letters to these Memoirs; but to-day she is
still alive, and always happy, though now old.' It has never been known
what became of these letters, and why they were not added to the Memoirs.
I have found a great quantity of them, some signed with her married name
in full, 'Henriette de Schnetzmann,' and I am inclined to think that she
survived Casanova, for one of the letters is dated Bayreuth, 1798, the
year of Casanova's death. They are remarkably charming, written with a
mixture of piquancy and distinction; and I will quote the characteristic
beginning and end of the last letter I was able to find. It begins: 'No,
it is impossible to be sulky with you!' and ends: 'If I become vicious,
it is you, my Mentor, who make me so, and I cast my sins upon you. Even
if I were damned I should still be your most devoted friend, Henriette de
Schnetzmann.' Casanova was twenty-three when he met Henriette; now,
herself an old woman, she writes to him when he is seventy-three, as if
the fifty years that had passed were blotted out in the faithful
affection of her memory. How many more discreet and less changing lovers
have had the quality of constancy in change, to which this life-long
correspondence bears witness? Does it not suggest a view of Casanova not
quite the view of all the world? To me it shows the real man, who perhaps
of all others best understood what Shelley meant when he said:

     True love in this differs from gold or clay
     That to divide is not to take away.

But, though the letters from women naturally interested me the most, they
were only a certain proportion of the great mass of correspondence which
I turned over. There were letters from Carlo Angiolini, who was
afterwards to bring the manuscript of the Memoirs to Brockhaus; from
Balbi, the monk with whom Casanova escaped from the Piombi; from the
Marquis Albergati, playwright, actor, and eccentric, of whom there is
some account in the Memoirs; from the Marquis Mosca, 'a distinguished man
of letters whom I was anxious to see,' Casanova tells us in the same
volume in which he describes his visit to the Moscas at Pesaro; from
Zulian, brother of the Duchess of Fiano; from Richard Lorrain, 'bel
homme, ayant de l'esprit, le ton et le gout de la bonne societe', who
came to settle at Gorizia in 1773, while Casanova was there; from the
Procurator Morosini, whom he speaks of in the Memoirs as his 'protector,'
and as one of those through whom he obtained permission to return to
Venice. His other 'protector,' the 'avogador' Zaguri, had, says Casanova,
'since the affair of the Marquis Albergati, carried on a most interesting
correspondence with me'; and in fact I found a bundle of no less than a
hundred and thirty-eight letters from him, dating from 1784 to 1798.
Another bundle contains one hundred and seventy-two letters from Count
Lamberg. In the Memoirs Casanova says, referring to his visit to Augsburg
at the end of 1761:

I used to spend my evenings in a very agreeable manner at the house of
Count Max de Lamberg, who resided at the court of the Prince-Bishop with
the title of Grand Marshal. What particularly attached me to Count
Lamberg was his literary talent. A first-rate scholar, learned to a
degree, he has published several much esteemed works. I carried on an
exchange of letters with him which ended only with his death four years
ago in 1792.

Casanova tells us that, at his second visit to Augsburg in the early part
of 1767, he 'supped with Count Lamberg two or three times a week,' during
the four months he was there. It is with this year that the letters I
have found begin: they end with the year of his death, 1792. In his
'Memorial d'un Mondain' Lamberg refers to Casanova as 'a man known in
literature, a man of profound knowledge.' In the first edition of 1774,
he laments that 'a man such as M. de S. Galt' should not yet have been
taken back into favour by the Venetian government, and in the second
edition, 1775, rejoices over Casanova's return to Venice. Then there are
letters from Da Ponte, who tells the story of Casanova's curious
relations with Mme. d'Urfe, in his 'Memorie scritte da esso', 1829; from
Pittoni, Bono, and others mentioned in different parts of the Memoirs,
and from some dozen others who are not mentioned in them. The only
letters in the whole collection that have been published are those from
the Prince de Ligne and from Count Koenig.



IV.

Casanova tells us in his Memoirs that, during his later years at Dux, he
had only been able to 'hinder black melancholy from devouring his poor
existence, or sending him out of his mind,' by writing ten or twelve
hours a day. The copious manuscripts at Dux show us how persistently he
was at work on a singular variety of subjects, in addition to the
Memoirs, and to the various books which he published during those years.
We see him jotting down everything that comes into his head, for his own
amusement, and certainly without any thought of publication; engaging in
learned controversies, writing treatises on abstruse mathematical
problems, composing comedies to be acted before Count Waldstein's
neighbours, practising verse-writing in two languages, indeed with more
patience than success, writing philosophical dialogues in which God and
himself are the speakers, and keeping up an extensive correspondence,
both with distinguished men and with delightful women. His mental
activity, up to the age of seventy-three, is as prodigious as the
activity which he had expended in living a multiform and incalculable
life. As in life everything living had interested him so in his
retirement from life every idea makes its separate appeal to him; and he
welcomes ideas with the same impartiality with which he had welcomed
adventures. Passion has intellectualised itself, and remains not less
passionate. He wishes to do everything, to compete with every one; and it
is only after having spent seven years in heaping up miscellaneous
learning, and exercising his faculties in many directions, that he turns
to look back over his own past life, and to live it over again in memory,
as he writes down the narrative of what had interested him most in it. 'I
write in the hope that my history will never see the broad day light of
publication,' he tells us, scarcely meaning it, we may be sure, even in
the moment of hesitancy which may naturally come to him. But if ever a
book was written for the pleasure of writing it, it was this one; and an
autobiography written for oneself is not likely to be anything but frank.

'Truth is the only God I have ever adored,' he tells us: and we now know
how truthful he was in saying so. I have only summarised in this article
the most important confirmations of his exact accuracy in facts and
dates; the number could be extended indefinitely. In the manuscripts we
find innumerable further confirmations; and their chief value as
testimony is that they tell us nothing which we should not have already
known, if we had merely taken Casanova at his word. But it is not always
easy to take people at their own word, when they are writing about
themselves; and the world has been very loth to believe in Casanova as he
represents himself. It has been specially loth to believe that he is
telling the truth when he tells us about his adventures with women. But
the letters contained among these manuscripts shows us the women of
Casanova writing to him with all the fervour and all the fidelity which
he attributes to them; and they show him to us in the character of as
fervid and faithful a lover. In every fact, every detail, and in the
whole mental impression which they convey, these manuscripts bring before
us the Casanova of the Memoirs. As I seemed to come upon Casanova at
home, it was as if I came upon old friend, already perfectly known to me,
before I had made my pilgrimage to Dux.

1902



TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE

A series of adventures wilder and more fantastic than the wildest of
romances, written down with the exactitude of a business diary; a view of
men and cities from Naples to Berlin, from Madrid and London to
Constantinople and St. Petersburg; the 'vie intime' of the eighteenth
century depicted by a man, who to-day sat with cardinals and saluted
crowned heads, and to morrow lurked in dens of profligacy and crime; a
book of confessions penned without reticence and without penitence; a
record of forty years of "occult" charlatanism; a collection of tales of
successful imposture, of 'bonnes fortunes', of marvellous escapes, of
transcendent audacity, told with the humour of Smollett and the delicate
wit of Voltaire. Who is there interested in men and letters, and in the
life of the past, who would not cry, "Where can such a book as this be
found?"

Yet the above catalogue is but a brief outline, a bare and meagre
summary, of the book known as "THE MEMOIRS OF CASANOVA"; a work
absolutely unique in literature. He who opens these wonderful pages is as
one who sits in a theatre and looks across the gloom, not on a
stage-play, but on another and a vanished world. The curtain draws up,
and suddenly a hundred and fifty years are rolled away, and in bright
light stands out before us the whole life of the past; the gay dresses,
the polished wit, the careless morals, and all the revel and dancing of
those merry years before the mighty deluge of the Revolution. The palaces
and marble stairs of old Venice are no longer desolate, but thronged with
scarlet-robed senators, prisoners with the doom of the Ten upon their
heads cross the Bridge of Sighs, at dead of night the nun slips out of
the convent gate to the dark canal where a gondola is waiting, we assist
at the 'parties fines' of cardinals, and we see the bank made at faro.
Venice gives place to the assembly rooms of Mrs. Cornely and the fast
taverns of the London of 1760; we pass from Versailles to the Winter
Palace of St. Petersburg in the days of Catherine, from the policy of the
Great Frederick to the lewd mirth of strolling-players, and the
presence-chamber of the Vatican is succeeded by an intrigue in a garret.
It is indeed a new experience to read this history of a man who,
refraining from nothing, has concealed nothing; of one who stood in the
courts of Louis the Magnificent before Madame de Pompadour and the nobles
of the Ancien Regime, and had an affair with an adventuress of Denmark
Street, Soho; who was bound over to keep the peace by Fielding, and knew
Cagliostro. The friend of popes and kings and noblemen, and of all the
male and female ruffians and vagabonds of Europe, abbe, soldier,
charlatan, gamester, financier, diplomatist, viveur, philosopher,
virtuoso, "chemist, fiddler, and buffoon," each of these, and all of
these was Giacomo Casanova, Chevalier de Seingalt, Knight of the Golden
Spur.

And not only are the Memoirs a literary curiosity; they are almost
equally curious from a bibliographical point of view. The manuscript was
written in French and came into the possession of the publisher
Brockhaus, of Leipzig, who had it translated into German, and printed.
From this German edition, M. Aubert de Vitry re-translated the work into
French, but omitted about a fourth of the matter, and this mutilated and
worthless version is frequently purchased by unwary bibliophiles. In the
year 1826, however, Brockhaus, in order presumably to protect his
property, printed the entire text of the original MS. in French, for the
first time, and in this complete form, containing a large number of
anecdotes and incidents not to be found in the spurious version, the work
was not acceptable to the authorities, and was consequently rigorously
suppressed. Only a few copies sent out for presentation or for review are
known to have escaped, and from one of these rare copies the present
translation has been made and solely for private circulation.

In conclusion, both translator and 'editeur' have done their utmost to
present the English Casanova in a dress worthy of the wonderful and witty
original.



AUTHOR'S PREFACE

I will begin with this confession: whatever I have done in the course of
my life, whether it be good or evil, has been done freely; I am a free
agent.

The doctrine of the Stoics or of any other sect as to the force of
Destiny is a bubble engendered by the imagination of man, and is near
akin to Atheism. I not only believe in one God, but my faith as a
Christian is also grafted upon that tree of philosophy which has never
spoiled anything.

I believe in the existence of an immaterial God, the Author and Master of
all beings and all things, and I feel that I never had any doubt of His
existence, from the fact that I have always relied upon His providence,
prayed to Him in my distress, and that He has always granted my prayers.
Despair brings death, but prayer does away with despair; and when a man
has prayed he feels himself supported by new confidence and endowed with
power to act. As to the means employed by the Sovereign Master of human
beings to avert impending dangers from those who beseech His assistance,
I confess that the knowledge of them is above the intelligence of man,
who can but wonder and adore. Our ignorance becomes our only resource,
and happy, truly happy; are those who cherish their ignorance! Therefore
must we pray to God, and believe that He has granted the favour we have
been praying for, even when in appearance it seems the reverse. As to the
position which our body ought to assume when we address ourselves to the
Creator, a line of Petrarch settles it:

     'Con le ginocchia della mente inchine.'

Man is free, but his freedom ceases when he has no faith in it; and the
greater power he ascribes to faith, the more he deprives himself of that
power which God has given to him when He endowed him with the gift of
reason. Reason is a particle of the Creator's divinity. When we use it
with a spirit of humility and justice we are certain to please the Giver
of that precious gift. God ceases to be God only for those who can admit
the possibility of His non-existence, and that conception is in itself
the most severe punishment they can suffer.

Man is free; yet we must not suppose that he is at liberty to do
everything he pleases, for he becomes a slave the moment he allows his
actions to be ruled by passion. The man who has sufficient power over
himself to wait until his nature has recovered its even balance is the
truly wise man, but such beings are seldom met with.

The reader of these Memoirs will discover that I never had any fixed aim
before my eyes, and that my system, if it can be called a system, has
been to glide away unconcernedly on the stream of life, trusting to the
wind wherever it led. How many changes arise from such an independent
mode of life! My success and my misfortunes, the bright and the dark days
I have gone through, everything has proved to me that in this world,
either physical or moral, good comes out of evil just as well as evil
comes out of good. My errors will point to thinking men the various
roads, and will teach them the great art of treading on the brink of the
precipice without falling into it. It is only necessary to have courage,
for strength without self-confidence is useless. I have often met with
happiness after some imprudent step which ought to have brought ruin upon
me, and although passing a vote of censure upon myself I would thank God
for his mercy. But, by way of compensation, dire misfortune has befallen
me in consequence of actions prompted by the most cautious wisdom. This
would humble me; yet conscious that I had acted rightly I would easily
derive comfort from that conviction.

In spite of a good foundation of sound morals, the natural offspring of
the Divine principles which had been early rooted in my heart, I have
been throughout my life the victim of my senses; I have found delight in
losing the right path, I have constantly lived in the midst of error,
with no consolation but the consciousness of my being mistaken.
Therefore, dear reader, I trust that, far from attaching to my history
the character of impudent boasting, you will find in my Memoirs only the
characteristic proper to a general confession, and that my narratory
style will be the manner neither of a repenting sinner, nor of a man
ashamed to acknowledge his frolics. They are the follies inherent to
youth; I make sport of them, and, if you are kind, you will not yourself
refuse them a good-natured smile. You will be amused when you see that I
have more than once deceived without the slightest qualm of conscience,
both knaves and fools. As to the deceit perpetrated upon women, let it
pass, for, when love is in the way, men and women as a general rule dupe
each other. But on the score of fools it is a very different matter. I
always feel the greatest bliss when I recollect those I have caught in my
snares, for they generally are insolent, and so self-conceited that they
challenge wit. We avenge intellect when we dupe a fool, and it is a
victory not to be despised for a fool is covered with steel and it is
often very hard to find his vulnerable part. In fact, to gull a fool
seems to me an exploit worthy of a witty man. I have felt in my very
blood, ever since I was born, a most unconquerable hatred towards the
whole tribe of fools, and it arises from the fact that I feel myself a
blockhead whenever I am in their company. I am very far from placing them
in the same class with those men whom we call stupid, for the latter are
stupid only from deficient education, and I rather like them. I have met
with some of them--very honest fellows, who, with all their stupidity,
had a kind of intelligence and an upright good sense, which cannot be the
characteristics of fools. They are like eyes veiled with the cataract,
which, if the disease could be removed, would be very beautiful.

Dear reader, examine the spirit of this preface, and you will at once
guess at my purpose. I have written a preface because I wish you to know
me thoroughly before you begin the reading of my Memoirs. It is only in a
coffee-room or at a table d'hote that we like to converse with strangers.

I have written the history of my life, and I have a perfect right to do
so; but am I wise in throwing it before a public of which I know nothing
but evil? No, I am aware it is sheer folly, but I want to be busy, I want
to laugh, and why should I deny myself this gratification?

   'Expulit elleboro morbum bilemque mero.'

An ancient author tells us somewhere, with the tone of a pedagogue, if
you have not done anything worthy of being recorded, at least write
something worthy of being read. It is a precept as beautiful as a diamond
of the first water cut in England, but it cannot be applied to me,
because I have not written either a novel, or the life of an illustrious
character. Worthy or not, my life is my subject, and my subject is my
life. I have lived without dreaming that I should ever take a fancy to
write the history of my life, and, for that very reason, my Memoirs may
claim from the reader an interest and a sympathy which they would not
have obtained, had I always entertained the design to write them in my
old age, and, still more, to publish them.

I have reached, in 1797, the age of three-score years and twelve; I can
not say, Vixi, and I could not procure a more agreeable pastime than to
relate my own adventures, and to cause pleasant laughter amongst the good
company listening to me, from which I have received so many tokens of
friendship, and in the midst of which I have ever lived. To enable me to
write well, I have only to think that my readers will belong to that
polite society:

   'Quoecunque dixi, si placuerint, dictavit auditor.'

Should there be a few intruders whom I can not prevent from perusing my
Memoirs, I must find comfort in the idea that my history was not written
for them.

By recollecting the pleasures I have had formerly, I renew them, I enjoy
them a second time, while I laugh at the remembrance of troubles now
past, and which I no longer feel. A member of this great universe, I
speak to the air, and I fancy myself rendering an account of my
administration, as a steward is wont to do before leaving his situation.
For my future I have no concern, and as a true philosopher, I never would
have any, for I know not what it may be: as a Christian, on the other
hand, faith must believe without discussion, and the stronger it is, the
more it keeps silent. I know that I have lived because I have felt, and,
feeling giving me the knowledge of my existence, I know likewise that I
shall exist no more when I shall have ceased to feel.

Should I perchance still feel after my death, I would no longer have any
doubt, but I would most certainly give the lie to anyone asserting before
me that I was dead.

The history of my life must begin by the earliest circumstance which my
memory can evoke; it will therefore commence when I had attained the age
of eight years and four months. Before that time, if to think is to live
be a true axiom, I did not live, I could only lay claim to a state of
vegetation. The mind of a human being is formed only of comparisons made
in order to examine analogies, and therefore cannot precede the existence
of memory. The mnemonic organ was developed in my head only eight years
and four months after my birth; it is then that my soul began to be
susceptible of receiving impressions. How is it possible for an
immaterial substance, which can neither touch nor be touched to receive
impressions? It is a mystery which man cannot unravel.

A certain philosophy, full of consolation, and in perfect accord with
religion, pretends that the state of dependence in which the soul stands
in relation to the senses and to the organs, is only incidental and
transient, and that it will reach a condition of freedom and happiness
when the death of the body shall have delivered it from that state of
tyrannic subjection. This is very fine, but, apart from religion, where
is the proof of it all? Therefore, as I cannot, from my own information,
have a perfect certainty of my being immortal until the dissolution of my
body has actually taken place, people must kindly bear with me, if I am
in no hurry to obtain that certain knowledge, for, in my estimation, a
knowledge to be gained at the cost of life is a rather expensive piece of
information. In the mean time I worship God, laying every wrong action
under an interdict which I endeavour to respect, and I loathe the wicked
without doing them any injury. I only abstain from doing them any good,
in the full belief that we ought not to cherish serpents.

As I must likewise say a few words respecting my nature and my
temperament, I premise that the most indulgent of my readers is not
likely to be the most dishonest or the least gifted with intelligence.

I have had in turn every temperament; phlegmatic in my infancy; sanguine
in my youth; later on, bilious; and now I have a disposition which
engenders melancholy, and most likely will never change. I always made my
food congenial to my constitution, and my health was always excellent. I
learned very early that our health is always impaired by some excess
either of food or abstinence, and I never had any physician except
myself. I am bound to add that the excess in too little has ever proved
in me more dangerous than the excess in too much; the last may cause
indigestion, but the first causes death.

Now, old as I am, and although enjoying good digestive organs, I must
have only one meal every day; but I find a set-off to that privation in
my delightful sleep, and in the ease which I experience in writing down
my thoughts without having recourse to paradox or sophism, which would be
calculated to deceive myself even more than my readers, for I never could
make up my mind to palm counterfeit coin upon them if I knew it to be
such.

The sanguine temperament rendered me very sensible to the attractions of
voluptuousness: I was always cheerful and ever ready to pass from one
enjoyment to another, and I was at the same time very skillful in
inventing new pleasures. Thence, I suppose, my natural disposition to
make fresh acquaintances, and to break with them so readily, although
always for a good reason, and never through mere fickleness. The errors
caused by temperament are not to be corrected, because our temperament is
perfectly independent of our strength: it is not the case with our
character. Heart and head are the constituent parts of character;
temperament has almost nothing to do with it, and, therefore, character
is dependent upon education, and is susceptible of being corrected and
improved.

I leave to others the decision as to the good or evil tendencies of my
character, but such as it is it shines upon my countenance, and there it
can easily be detected by any physiognomist. It is only on the fact that
character can be read; there it lies exposed to the view. It is worthy of
remark that men who have no peculiar cast of countenance, and there are a
great many such men, are likewise totally deficient in peculiar
characteristics, and we may establish the rule that the varieties in
physiognomy are equal to the differences in character. I am aware that
throughout my life my actions have received their impulse more from the
force of feeling than from the wisdom of reason, and this has led me to
acknowledge that my conduct has been dependent upon my nature more than
upon my mind; both are generally at war, and in the midst of their
continual collisions I have never found in me sufficient mind to balance
my nature, or enough strength in my nature to counteract the power of my
mind. But enough of this, for there is truth in the old saying: 'Si
brevis esse volo, obscurus fio', and I believe that, without offending
against modesty, I can apply to myself the following words of my dear
Virgil:

  'Nec sum adeo informis: nuper me in littore vidi
   Cum placidum ventis staret mare.'

The chief business of my life has always been to indulge my senses; I
never knew anything of greater importance. I felt myself born for the
fair sex, I have ever loved it dearly, and I have been loved by it as
often and as much as I could. I have likewise always had a great weakness
for good living, and I ever felt passionately fond of every object which
excited my curiosity.

I have had friends who have acted kindly towards me, and it has been my
good fortune to have it in my power to give them substantial proofs of my
gratitude. I have had also bitter enemies who have persecuted me, and
whom I have not crushed simply because I could not do it. I never would
have forgiven them, had I not lost the memory of all the injuries they
had heaped upon me. The man who forgets does not forgive, he only loses
the remembrance of the harm inflicted on him; forgiveness is the
offspring of a feeling of heroism, of a noble heart, of a generous mind,
whilst forgetfulness is only the result of a weak memory, or of an easy
carelessness, and still oftener of a natural desire for calm and
quietness. Hatred, in the course of time, kills the unhappy wretch who
delights in nursing it in his bosom.

Should anyone bring against me an accusation of sensuality he would be
wrong, for all the fierceness of my senses never caused me to neglect any
of my duties. For the same excellent reason, the accusation of
drunkenness ought not to have been brought against Homer:

   'Laudibus arguitur vini vinosus Homerus.'

I have always been fond of highly-seasoned, rich dishes, such as macaroni
prepared by a skilful Neapolitan cook, the olla-podrida of the Spaniards,
the glutinous codfish from Newfoundland, game with a strong flavour, and
cheese the perfect state of which is attained when the tiny animaculae
formed from its very essence begin to shew signs of life. As for women, I
have always found the odour of my beloved ones exceeding pleasant.

What depraved tastes! some people will exclaim. Are you not ashamed to
confess such inclinations without blushing! Dear critics, you make me
laugh heartily. Thanks to my coarse tastes, I believe myself happier than
other men, because I am convinced that they enhance my enjoyment. Happy
are those who know how to obtain pleasures without injury to anyone;
insane are those who fancy that the Almighty can enjoy the sufferings,
the pains, the fasts and abstinences which they offer to Him as a
sacrifice, and that His love is granted only to those who tax themselves
so foolishly. God can only demand from His creatures the practice of
virtues the seed of which He has sown in their soul, and all He has given
unto us has been intended for our happiness; self-love, thirst for
praise, emulation, strength, courage, and a power of which nothing can
deprive us--the power of self-destruction, if, after due calculation,
whether false or just, we unfortunately reckon death to be advantageous.
This is the strongest proof of our moral freedom so much attacked by
sophists. Yet this power of self-destruction is repugnant to nature, and
has been rightly opposed by every religion.

A so-called free-thinker told me at one time that I could not consider
myself a philosopher if I placed any faith in revelation. But when we
accept it readily in physics, why should we reject it in religious
matters? The form alone is the point in question. The spirit speaks to
the spirit, and not to the ears. The principles of everything we are
acquainted with must necessarily have been revealed to those from whom we
have received them by the great, supreme principle, which contains them
all. The bee erecting its hive, the swallow building its nest, the ant
constructing its cave, and the spider warping its web, would never have
done anything but for a previous and everlasting revelation. We must
either believe that it is so, or admit that matter is endowed with
thought. But as we dare not pay such a compliment to matter, let us stand
by revelation.

The great philosopher, who having deeply studied nature, thought he had
found the truth because he acknowledged nature as God, died too soon. Had
he lived a little while longer, he would have gone much farther, and yet
his journey would have been but a short one, for finding himself in his
Author, he could not have denied Him: In Him we move and have our being.
He would have found Him inscrutable, and thus would have ended his
journey.

God, great principle of all minor principles, God, who is Himself without
a principle, could not conceive Himself, if, in order to do it, He
required to know His own principle.

Oh, blissful ignorance! Spinosa, the virtuous Spinosa, died before he
could possess it. He would have died a learned man and with a right to
the reward his virtue deserved, if he had only supposed his soul to be
immortal!

It is not true that a wish for reward is unworthy of real virtue, and
throws a blemish upon its purity. Such a pretension, on the contrary,
helps to sustain virtue, man being himself too weak to consent to be
virtuous only for his own 'gratification. I hold as a myth that
Amphiaraus who preferred to be good than to seem good. In fact, I do not
believe there is an honest man alive without some pretension, and here is
mine.

I pretend to the friendship, to the esteem, to the gratitude of my
readers. I claim their gratitude, if my Memoirs can give them instruction
and pleasure; I claim their esteem if, rendering me justice, they find
more good qualities in me than faults, and I claim their friendship as
soon as they deem me worthy of it by the candour and the good faith with
which I abandon myself to their judgment, without disguise and exactly as
I am in reality. They will find that I have always had such sincere love
for truth, that I have often begun by telling stories for the purpose of
getting truth to enter the heads of those who could not appreciate its
charms. They will not form a wrong opinion of me when they see one
emptying the purse of my friends to satisfy my fancies, for those friends
entertained idle schemes, and by giving them the hope of success I
trusted to disappointment to cure them. I would deceive them to make them
wiser, and I did not consider myself guilty, for I applied to my own
enjoyment sums of money which would have been lost in the vain pursuit of
possessions denied by nature; therefore I was not actuated by any
avaricious rapacity. I might think myself guilty if I were rich now, but
I have nothing. I have squandered everything; it is my comfort and my
justification. The money was intended for extravagant follies, and by
applying it to my own frolics I did not turn it into a very different,
channel.

If I were deceived in my hope to please, I candidly confess I would
regret it, but not sufficiently so to repent having written my Memoirs,
for, after all, writing them has given me pleasure. Oh, cruel ennui! It
must be by mistake that those who have invented the torments of hell have
forgotten to ascribe thee the first place among them. Yet I am bound to
own that I entertain a great fear of hisses; it is too natural a fear for
me to boast of being insensible to them, and I cannot find any solace in
the idea that, when these Memoirs are published, I shall be no more. I
cannot think without a shudder of contracting any obligation towards
death: I hate death; for, happy or miserable, life is the only blessing
which man possesses, and those who do not love it are unworthy of it. If
we prefer honour to life, it is because life is blighted by infamy; and
if, in the alternative, man sometimes throws away his life, philosophy
must remain silent.

Oh, death, cruel death! Fatal law which nature necessarily rejects
because thy very office is to destroy nature! Cicero says that death
frees us from all pains and sorrows, but this great philosopher books all
the expense without taking the receipts into account. I do not recollect
if, when he wrote his 'Tusculan Disputations', his own Tullia was dead.
Death is a monster which turns away from the great theatre an attentive
hearer before the end of the play which deeply interests him, and this is
reason enough to hate it.

All my adventures are not to be found in these Memoirs; I have left out
those which might have offended the persons who have played a sorry part
therein. In spite of this reserve, my readers will perhaps often think me
indiscreet, and I am sorry for it. Should I perchance become wiser before
I give up the ghost, I might burn every one of these sheets, but now I
have not courage enough to do it.

It may be that certain love scenes will be considered too explicit, but
let no one blame me, unless it be for lack of skill, for I ought not to
be scolded because, in my old age, I can find no other enjoyment but that
which recollections of the past afford to me. After all, virtuous and
prudish readers are at liberty to skip over any offensive pictures, and I
think it my duty to give them this piece of advice; so much the worse for
those who may not read my preface; it is no fault of mine if they do not,
for everyone ought to know that a preface is to a book what the play-bill
is to a comedy; both must be read.

My Memoirs are not written for young persons who, in order to avoid false
steps and slippery roads, ought to spend their youth in blissful
ignorance, but for those who, having thorough experience of life, are no
longer exposed to temptation, and who, having but too often gone through
the fire, are like salamanders, and can be scorched by it no more. True
virtue is but a habit, and I have no hesitation in saying that the really
virtuous are those persons who can practice virtue without the slightest
trouble; such persons are always full of toleration, and it is to them
that my Memoirs are addressed.

I have written in French, and not in Italian, because the French language
is more universal than mine, and the purists, who may criticise in my
style some Italian turns will be quite right, but only in case it should
prevent them from understanding me clearly. The Greeks admired
Theophrastus in spite of his Eresian style, and the Romans delighted in
their Livy in spite of his Patavinity. Provided I amuse my readers, it
seems to me that I can claim the same indulgence. After all, every
Italian reads Algarotti with pleasure, although his works are full of
French idioms.

There is one thing worthy of notice: of all the living languages
belonging to the republic of letters, the French tongue is the only one
which has been condemned by its masters never to borrow in order to
become richer, whilst all other languages, although richer in words than
the French, plunder from it words and constructions of sentences,
whenever they find that by such robbery they add something to their own
beauty. Yet those who borrow the most from the French, are the most
forward in trumpeting the poverty of that language, very likely thinking
that such an accusation justifies their depredations. It is said that the
French language has attained the apogee of its beauty, and that the
smallest foreign loan would spoil it, but I make bold to assert that this
is prejudice, for, although it certainly is the most clear, the most
logical of all languages, it would be great temerity to affirm that it
can never go farther or higher than it has gone. We all recollect that,
in the days of Lulli, there was but one opinion of his music, yet Rameau
came and everything was changed. The new impulse given to the French
nation may open new and unexpected horizons, and new beauties, fresh
perfections, may spring up from new combinations and from new wants.

The motto I have adopted justifies my digressions, and all the
commentaries, perhaps too numerous, in which I indulge upon my various
exploits: 'Nequidquam sapit qui sibi non sapit'. For the same reason I
have always felt a great desire to receive praise and applause from
polite society:

  'Excitat auditor stadium, laudataque virtus
   Crescit, et immensum gloria calcar habet.

I would willingly have displayed here the proud axiom: 'Nemo laeditur
nisi a se ipso', had I not feared to offend the immense number of persons
who, whenever anything goes wrong with them, are wont to exclaim, "It is
no fault of mine!" I cannot deprive them of that small particle of
comfort, for, were it not for it, they would soon feel hatred for
themselves, and self-hatred often leads to the fatal idea of
self-destruction.

As for myself I always willingly acknowledge my own self as the principal
cause of every good or of every evil which may befall me; therefore I
have always found myself capable of being my own pupil, and ready to love
my teacher.

             THE MEMOIRS OF
            JACQUES CASANOVA



CHAPTER I

My Family Pedigree--My Childhood

Don Jacob Casanova, the illegitimate son of Don Francisco Casanova, was a
native of Saragosa, the capital of Aragon, and in the year of 1428 he
carried off Dona Anna Palofax from her convent, on the day after she had
taken the veil. He was secretary to King Alfonso. He ran away with her to
Rome, where, after one year of imprisonment, the pope, Martin III.,
released Anna from her vows, and gave them the nuptial blessing at the
instance of Don Juan Casanova, majordomo of the Vatican, and uncle of Don
Jacob. All the children born from that marriage died in their infancy,
with the exception of Don Juan, who, in 1475, married Donna Eleonora
Albini, by whom he had a son, Marco Antonio.

In 1481, Don Juan, having killed an officer of the king of Naples, was
compelled to leave Rome, and escaped to Como with his wife and his son;
but having left that city to seek his fortune, he died while traveling
with Christopher Columbus in the year 1493.

Marco Antonio became a noted poet of the school of Martial, and was
secretary to Cardinal Pompeo Colonna.

The satire against Giulio de Medicis, which we find in his works, having
made it necessary for him to leave Rome, he returned to Como, where he
married Abondia Rezzonica. The same Giulio de Medicis, having become pope
under the name of Clement VII, pardoned him and called him back to Rome
with his wife. The city having been taken and ransacked by the
Imperialists in 1526, Marco Antonio died there from an attack of the
plague; otherwise he would have died of misery, the soldiers of Charles
V. having taken all he possessed. Pierre Valerien speaks of him in his
work 'de infelicitate litteratorum'.

Three months after his death, his wife gave birth to Jacques Casanova,
who died in France at a great age, colonel in the army commanded by
Farnese against Henri, king of Navarre, afterwards king of France. He had
left in the city of Parma a son who married Theresa Conti, from whom he
had Jacques, who, in the year 1681, married Anna Roli. Jacques had two
sons, Jean-Baptiste and Gaetan-Joseph-Jacques. The eldest left Parma in
1712, and was never heard of; the other also went away in 1715, being
only nineteen years old.

This is all I have found in my father's diary: from my mother's lips I
have heard the following particulars:

Gaetan-Joseph-Jacques left his family, madly in love with an actress
named Fragoletta, who performed the chambermaids. In his poverty, he
determined to earn a living by making the most of his own person. At
first he gave himself up to dancing, and five years afterwards became an
actor, making himself conspicuous by his conduct still more than by his
talent.

Whether from fickleness or from jealousy, he abandoned the Fragoletta,
and joined in Venice a troop of comedians then giving performances at the
Saint-Samuel Theatre. Opposite the house in which he had taken his
lodging resided a shoemaker, by name Jerome Farusi, with his wife Marzia,
and Zanetta, their only daughter--a perfect beauty sixteen years of age.
The young actor fell in love with this girl, succeeded in gaining her
affection, and in obtaining her consent to a runaway match. It was the
only way to win her, for, being an actor, he never could have had
Marzia's consent, still less Jerome's, as in their eyes a player was a
most awful individual. The young lovers, provided with the necessary
certificates and accompanied by two witnesses, presented themselves
before the Patriarch of Venice, who performed over them the marriage
ceremony. Marzia, Zanetta's mother, indulged in a good deal of
exclamation, and the father died broken-hearted.

I was born nine months afterwards, on the 2nd of April, 1725.

The following April my mother left me under the care of her own mother,
who had forgiven her as soon as she had heard that my father had promised
never to compel her to appear on the stage. This is a promise which all
actors make to the young girls they marry, and which they never fulfil,
simply because their wives never care much about claiming from them the
performance of it. Moreover, it turned out a very fortunate thing for my
mother that she had studied for the stage, for nine years later, having
been left a widow with six children, she could not have brought them up
if it had not been for the resources she found in that profession.

I was only one year old when my father left me to go to London, where he
had an engagement. It was in that great city that my mother made her
first appearance on the stage, and in that city likewise that she gave
birth to my brother Francois, a celebrated painter of battles, now
residing in Vienna, where he has followed his profession since 1783.

Towards the end of the year 1728 my mother returned to Venice with her
husband, and as she had become an actress she continued her artistic
life. In 1730 she was delivered of my brother Jean, who became Director
of the Academy of painting at Dresden, and died there in 1795; and during
the three following years she became the mother of two daughters, one of
whom died at an early age, while the other married in Dresden, where she
still lived in 1798. I had also a posthumous brother, who became a
priest; he died in Rome fifteen years ago.

Let us now come to the dawn of my existence in the character of a
thinking being.

The organ of memory began to develop itself in me at the beginning of
August, 1733. I had at that time reached the age of eight years and four
months. Of what may have happened to me before that period I have not the
faintest recollection. This is the circumstance.

I was standing in the corner of a room bending towards the wall,
supporting my head, and my eyes fixed upon a stream of blood flowing from
my nose to the ground. My grandmother, Marzia, whose pet I was, came to
me, bathed my face with cold water, and, unknown to everyone in the
house, took me with her in a gondola as far as Muran, a thickly-populated
island only half a league distant from Venice.

Alighting from the gondola, we enter a wretched hole, where we find an
old woman sitting on a rickety bed, holding a black cat in her arms, with
five or six more purring around her. The two old cronies held together a
long discourse of which, most likely, I was the subject. At the end of
the dialogue, which was carried on in the patois of Forli, the witch
having received a silver ducat from my grandmother, opened a box, took me
in her arms, placed me in the box and locked me in it, telling me not to
be frightened--a piece of advice which would certainly have had the
contrary effect, if I had had any wits about me, but I was stupefied. I
kept myself quiet in a corner of the box, holding a handkerchief to my
nose because it was still bleeding, and otherwise very indifferent to the
uproar going on outside. I could hear in turn, laughter, weeping,
singing, screams, shrieks, and knocking against the box, but for all that
I cared nought. At last I am taken out of the box; the blood stops
flowing. The wonderful old witch, after lavishing caresses upon me, takes
off my clothes, lays me on the bed, burns some drugs, gathers the smoke
in a sheet which she wraps around me, pronounces incantations, takes the
sheet off me, and gives me five sugar-plums of a very agreeable taste.
Then she immediately rubs my temples and the nape of my neck with an
ointment exhaling a delightful perfume, and puts my clothes on me again.
She told me that my haemorrhage would little by little leave me, provided
I should never disclose to any one what she had done to cure me, and she
threatened me, on the other hand, with the loss of all my blood and with
death, should I ever breathe a word concerning those mysteries. After
having thus taught me my lesson, she informed me that a beautiful lady
would pay me a visit during the following night, and that she would make
me happy, on condition that I should have sufficient control over myself
never to mention to anyone my having received such a visit. Upon this we
left and returned home.

I fell asleep almost as soon as I was in bed, without giving a thought to
the beautiful visitor I was to receive; but, waking up a few hours
afterwards, I saw, or fancied I saw, coming down the chimney, a dazzling
woman, with immense hoops, splendidly attired, and wearing on her head a
crown set with precious stones, which seemed to me sparkling with fire.
With slow steps, but with a majestic and sweet countenance, she came
forward and sat on my bed; then taking several small boxes from her
pocket, she emptied their contents over my head, softly whispering a few
words, and after giving utterance to a long speech, not a single word of
which I understood, she kissed me and disappeared the same way she had
come. I soon went again to sleep.

The next morning, my grandmother came to dress me, and the moment she was
near my bed, she cautioned me to be silent, threatening me with death if
I dared to say anything respecting my night's adventures. This command,
laid upon me by the only woman who had complete authority over me, and
whose orders I was accustomed to obey blindly, caused me to remember the
vision, and to store it, with the seal of secrecy, in the inmost corner
of my dawning memory. I had not, however, the slightest inclination to
mention the circumstances to anyone; in the first place, because I did
not suppose it would interest anybody, and in the second because I would
not have known whom to make a confidant of. My disease had rendered me
dull and retired; everybody pitied me and left me to myself; my life was
considered likely to be but a short one, and as to my parents, they never
spoke to me.

After the journey to Muran, and the nocturnal visit of the fairy, I
continued to have bleeding at the nose, but less from day to day, and my
memory slowly developed itself. I learned to read in less than a month.

It would be ridiculous, of course, to attribute this cure to such
follies, but at the same time I think it would be wrong to assert that
they did not in any way contribute to it. As far as the apparition of the
beautiful queen is concerned, I have always deemed it to be a dream,
unless it should have been some masquerade got up for the occasion, but
it is not always in the druggist's shop that are found the best remedies
for severe diseases. Our ignorance is every day proved by some wonderful
phenomenon, and I believe this to be the reason why it is so difficult to
meet with a learned man entirely untainted with superstition. We know, as
a matter of course, that there never have been any sorcerers in this
world, yet it is true that their power has always existed in the
estimation of those to whom crafty knaves have passed themselves off as
such. 'Somnio nocturnos lemures portentaque Thessalia vides'.

Many things become real which, at first, had no existence but in our
imagination, and, as a natural consequence, many facts which have been
attributed to Faith may not always have been miraculous, although they
are true miracles for those who lend to Faith a boundless power.

The next circumstance of any importance to myself which I recollect
happened three months after my trip to Muran, and six weeks before my
father's death. I give it to my readers only to convey some idea of the
manner in which my nature was expanding.

One day, about the middle of November, I was with my brother Francois,
two years younger than I, in my father's room, watching him attentively
as he was working at optics. A large lump of crystal, round and cut into
facets, attracted my attention. I took it up, and having brought it near
my eyes I was delighted to see that it multiplied objects. The wish to
possess myself of it at once got hold of me, and seeing myself unobserved
I took my opportunity and hid it in my pocket.

A few minutes after this my father looked about for his crystal, and
unable to find it, he concluded that one of us must have taken it. My
brother asserted that he had not touched it, and I, although guilty, said
the same; but my father, satisfied that he could not be mistaken,
threatened to search us and to thrash the one who had told him a story. I
pretended to look for the crystal in every corner of the room, and,
watching my opportunity I slyly slipped it in the pocket of my brother's
jacket. At first I was sorry for what I had done, for I might as well
have feigned to find the crystal somewhere about the room; but the evil
deed was past recall. My father, seeing that we were looking in vain,
lost patience, searched us, found the unlucky ball of crystal in the
pocket of the innocent boy, and inflicted upon him the promised
thrashing. Three or four years later I was foolish enough to boast before
my brother of the trick I had then played on him; he never forgave me,
and has never failed to take his revenge whenever the opportunity
offered.

However, having at a later period gone to confession, and accused myself
to the priest of the sin with every circumstance surrounding it, I gained
some knowledge which afforded me great satisfaction. My confessor, who
was a Jesuit, told me that by that deed I had verified the meaning of my
first name, Jacques, which, he said, meant, in Hebrew, "supplanter," and
that God had changed for that reason the name of the ancient patriarch
into that of Israel, which meant "knowing." He had deceived his brother
Esau.

Six weeks after the above adventure my father was attacked with an
abscess in the head which carried him off in a week. Dr. Zambelli first
gave him oppilative remedies, and, seeing his mistake, he tried to mend
it by administering castoreum, which sent his patient into convulsions
and killed him. The abscess broke out through the ear one minute after
his death, taking its leave after killing him, as if it had no longer any
business with him. My father departed this life in the very prime of his
manhood. He was only thirty-six years of age, but he was followed to his
grave by the regrets of the public, and more particularly of all the
patricians amongst whom he was held as above his profession, not less on
account of his gentlemanly behaviour than on account of his extensive
knowledge in mechanics.

Two days before his death, feeling that his end was at hand, my father
expressed a wish to see us all around his bed, in the presence of his
wife and of the Messieurs Grimani, three Venetian noblemen whose
protection he wished to entreat in our favour. After giving us his
blessing, he requested our mother, who was drowned in tears, to give her
sacred promise that she would not educate any of us for the stage, on
which he never would have appeared himself had he not been led to it by
an unfortunate attachment. My mother gave her promise, and the three
noblemen said that they would see to its being faithfully kept.
Circumstances helped our mother to fulfill her word.

At that time my mother had been pregnant for six months, and she was
allowed to remain away from the stage until after Easter. Beautiful and
young as she was, she declined all the offers of marriage which were made
to her, and, placing her trust in Providence, she courageously devoted
herself to the task of bringing up her young family.

She considered it a duty to think of me before the others, not so much
from a feeling of preference as in consequence of my disease, which had
such an effect upon me that it was difficult to know what to do with me.
I was very weak, without any appetite, unable to apply myself to
anything, and I had all the appearance of an idiot. Physicians disagreed
as to the cause of the disease. He loses, they would say, two pounds of
blood every week; yet there cannot be more than sixteen or eighteen
pounds in his body. What, then, can cause so abundant a bleeding? One
asserted that in me all the chyle turned into blood; another was of
opinion that the air I was breathing must, at each inhalation, increase
the quantity of blood in my lungs, and contended that this was the reason
for which I always kept my mouth open. I heard of it all six years
afterward from M. Baffo, a great friend of my late father.

This M. Baffo consulted the celebrated Doctor Macop, of Padua, who sent
him his opinion by writing. This consultation, which I have still in my
possession, says that our blood is an elastic fluid which is liable to
diminish or to increase in thickness, but never in quantity, and that my
haemorrhage could only proceed from the thickness of the mass of my
blood, which relieved itself in a natural way in order to facilitate
circulation. The doctor added that I would have died long before, had not
nature, in its wish for life, assisted itself, and he concluded by
stating that the cause of the thickness of my blood could only be
ascribed to the air I was breathing and that consequently I must have a
change of air, or every hope of cure be abandoned. He thought likewise,
that the stupidity so apparent on my countenance was caused by nothing
else but the thickness of my blood.

M. Baffo, a man of sublime genius, a most lascivious, yet a great and
original poet, was therefore instrumental in bringing about the decision
which was then taken to send me to Padua, and to him I am indebted for my
life. He died twenty years after, the last of his ancient patrician
family, but his poems, although obscene, will give everlasting fame to
his name. The state-inquisitors of Venice have contributed to his
celebrity by their mistaken strictness. Their persecutions caused his
manuscript works to become precious. They ought to have been aware that
despised things are forgotten.

As soon as the verdict given by Professor Macop had been approved of, the
Abbe Grimani undertook to find a good boarding-house in Padua for me,
through a chemist of his acquaintance who resided in that city. His name
was Ottaviani, and he was also an antiquarian of some repute. In a few
days the boarding-house was found, and on the 2nd day of April, 1734, on
the very day I had accomplished my ninth year, I was taken to Padua in a
'burchiello', along the Brenta Canal. We embarked at ten o'clock in the
evening, immediately after supper.

The 'burchiello' may be considered a small floating house. There is a
large saloon with a smaller cabin at each end, and rooms for servants
fore and aft. It is a long square with a roof, and cut on each side by
glazed windows with shutters. The voyage takes eight hours. M. Grimani,
M. Baffo, and my mother accompanied me. I slept with her in the saloon,
and the two friends passed the night in one of the cabins. My mother rose
at day break, opened one of the windows facing the bed, and the rays of
the rising sun, falling on my eyes, caused me to open them. The bed was
too low for me to see the land; I could see through the window only the
tops of the trees along the river. The boat was sailing with such an even
movement that I could not realize the fact of our moving, so that the
trees, which, one after the other, were rapidly disappearing from my
sight, caused me an extreme surprise. "Ah, dear mother!" I exclaimed,
"what is this? the trees are walking!" At that very moment the two
noblemen came in, and reading astonishment on my countenance, they asked
me what my thoughts were so busy about. "How is it," I answered, "that
the trees are walking."

They all laughed, but my mother, heaving a great sigh, told me, in a tone
of deep pity, "The boat is moving, the trees are not. Now dress
yourself."

I understood at once the reason of the phenomenon. "Then it may be," said
I, "that the sun does not move, and that we, on the contrary, are
revolving from west to east." At these words my good mother fairly
screamed. M. Grimani pitied my foolishness, and I remained dismayed,
grieved, and ready to cry. M. Baffo brought me life again. He rushed to
me, embraced me tenderly, and said, "Thou are right, my child. The sun
does not move; take courage, give heed to your reasoning powers and let
others laugh."

My mother, greatly surprised, asked him whether he had taken leave of his
senses to give me such lessons; but the philosopher, not even
condescending to answer her, went on sketching a theory in harmony with
my young and simple intelligence. This was the first real pleasure I
enjoyed in my life. Had it not been for M. Baffo, this circumstance might
have been enough to degrade my understanding; the weakness of credulity
would have become part of my mind. The ignorance of the two others would
certainly have blunted in me the edge of a faculty which, perhaps, has
not carried me very far in my after life, but to which alone I feel that
I am indebted for every particle of happiness I enjoy when I look into
myself.

We reached Padua at an early hour and went to Ottaviani's house; his wife
loaded me with caresses. I found there five or six children, amongst them
a girl of eight years, named Marie, and another of seven, Rose, beautiful
as a seraph. Ten years later Marie became the wife of the broker Colonda,
and Rose, a few years afterwards, married a nobleman, Pierre Marcello,
and had one son and two daughters, one of whom was wedded to M. Pierre
Moncenigo, and the other to a nobleman of the Carrero family. This last
marriage was afterwards nullified. I shall have, in the course of events,
to speak of all these persons, and that is my reason for mentioning their
names here.

Ottaviani took us at once to the house where I was to board. It was only
a few yards from his own residence, at Sainte-Marie d'Advance, in the
parish of Saint-Michel, in the house of an old Sclavonian woman, who let
the first floor to Signora Mida, wife of a Sclavonian colonel. My small
trunk was laid open before the old woman, to whom was handed an inventory
of all its contents, together with six sequins for six months paid in
advance. For this small sum she undertook to feed me, to keep me clean,
and to send me to a day-school. Protesting that it was not enough, she
accepted these terms. I was kissed and strongly commanded to be always
obedient and docile, and I was left with her.

In this way did my family get rid of me.



CHAPTER II

My Grandmother Comes to Padua, and Takes Me to Dr. Gozzi's School--My
First Love Affair

As soon as I was left alone with the Sclavonian woman, she took me up to
the garret, where she pointed out my bed in a row with four others, three
of which belonged to three young boys of my age, who at that moment were
at school, and the fourth to a servant girl whose province it was to
watch us and to prevent the many peccadilloes in which school-boys are
wont to indulge. After this visit we came downstairs, and I was taken to
the garden with permission to walk about until dinner-time.

I felt neither happy nor unhappy; I had nothing to say. I had neither
fear nor hope, nor even a feeling of curiosity; I was neither cheerful
nor sad. The only thing which grated upon me was the face of the mistress
of the house. Although I had not the faintest idea either of beauty or of
ugliness, her face, her countenance, her tone of voice, her language,
everything in that woman was repulsive to me. Her masculine features
repelled me every time I lifted my eyes towards her face to listen to
what she said to me. She was tall and coarse like a trooper; her
complexion was yellow, her hair black, her eyebrows long and thick, and
her chin gloried in a respectable bristly beard: to complete the picture,
her hideous, half-naked bosom was hanging half-way down her long chest;
she may have been about fifty. The servant was a stout country girl, who
did all the work of the house; the garden was a square of some thirty
feet, which had no other beauty than its green appearance.

Towards noon my three companions came back from school, and they at once
spoke to me as if we had been old acquaintances, naturally giving me
credit for such intelligence as belonged to my age, but which I did not
possess. I did not answer them, but they were not baffled, and they at
last prevailed upon me to share their innocent pleasures. I had to run,
to carry and be carried, to turn head over heels, and I allowed myself to
be initiated into those arts with a pretty good grace until we were
summoned to dinner. I sat down to the table; but seeing before me a
wooden spoon, I pushed it back, asking for my silver spoon and fork to
which I was much attached, because they were a gift from my good old
granny. The servant answered that the mistress wished to maintain
equality between the boys, and I had to submit, much to my disgust.
Having thus learned that equality in everything was the rule of the
house, I went to work like the others and began to eat the soup out of
the common dish, and if I did not complain of the rapidity with which my
companions made it disappear, I could not help wondering at such
inequality being allowed. To follow this very poor soup, we had a small
portion of dried cod and one apple each, and dinner was over: it was in
Lent. We had neither glasses nor cups, and we all helped ourselves out of
the same earthen pitcher to a miserable drink called graspia, which is
made by boiling in water the stems of grapes stripped of their fruit.
From the following day I drank nothing but water. This way of living
surprised me, for I did not know whether I had a right to complain of it.
After dinner the servant took me to the school, kept by a young priest,
Doctor Gozzi, with whom the Sclavonian woman had bargained for my
schooling at the rate of forty sous a month, or the eleventh part of a
sequin.

The first thing to do was to teach me writing, and I was placed amongst
children of five and six years, who did not fail to turn me into ridicule
on account of my age.

On my return to the boarding-house I had my supper, which, as a matter of
course, was worse than the dinner, and I could not make out why the right
of complaint should be denied me. I was then put to bed, but there three
well-known species of vermin kept me awake all night, besides the rats,
which, running all over the garret, jumped on my bed and fairly made my
blood run cold with fright. This is the way in which I began to feel
misery, and to learn how to suffer it patiently. The vermin, which
feasted upon me, lessened my fear of the rats, and by a very lucky system
of compensation, the dread of the rats made me less sensitive to the
bites of the vermin. My mind was reaping benefit from the very struggle
fought between the evils which surrounded me. The servant was perfectly
deaf to my screaming.

As soon as it was daylight I ran out of the wretched garret, and, after
complaining to the girl of all I had endured during the night, I asked
her to give me a Clean shirt, the one I had on being disgusting to look
at, but she answered that I could only change my linen on a Sunday, and
laughed at me when I threatened to complain to the mistress. For the
first time in my life I shed tears of sorrow and of anger, when I heard
my companions scoffing at me. The poor wretches shared my unhappy
condition, but they were used to it, and that makes all the difference.

Sorely depressed, I went to school, but only to sleep soundly through the
morning. One of my comrades, in the hope of turning the affair into
ridicule at my expense, told the doctor the reason of my being so sleepy.
The good priest, however, to whom without doubt Providence had guided me,
called me into his private room, listened to all I had to say, saw with
his own eyes the proofs of my misery, and moved by the sight of the
blisters which disfigured my innocent skin, he took up his cloak, went
with me to my boarding-house, and shewed the woman the state I was in.
She put on a look of great astonishment, and threw all the blame upon the
servant. The doctor being curious to see my bed, I was, as much as he
was, surprised at the filthy state of the sheets in which I had passed
the night. The accursed woman went on blaming the servant, and said that
she would discharge her; but the girl, happening to be close by, and not
relishing the accusation, told her boldly that the fault was her own, and
she then threw open the beds of my companions to shew us that they did
not experience any better treatment. The mistress, raving, slapped her on
the face, and the servant, to be even with her, returned the compliment
and ran away. The doctor left me there, saying that I could not enter his
school unless I was sent to him as clean as the other boys. The result
for me was a very sharp rebuke, with the threat, as a finishing stroke,
that if I ever caused such a broil again, I would be ignominiously turned
out of the house.

I could not make it out; I had just entered life, and I had no knowledge
of any other place but the house in which I had been born, in which I had
been brought up, and in which I had always seen cleanliness and honest
comfort. Here I found myself ill-treated, scolded, although it did not
seem possible that any blame could be attached to me. At last the old
shrew tossed a shirt in my face, and an hour later I saw a new servant
changing the sheets, after which we had our dinner.

My schoolmaster took particular care in instructing me. He gave me a seat
at his own desk, and in order to shew my proper appreciation of such a
favour, I gave myself up to my studies; at the end of the first month I
could write so well that I was promoted to the grammar class.

The new life I was leading, the half-starvation system to which I was
condemned, and most likely more than everything else, the air of Padua,
brought me health such as I had never enjoyed before, but that very state
of blooming health made it still more difficult for me to bear the hunger
which I was compelled to endure; it became unbearable. I was growing
rapidly; I enjoyed nine hours of deep sleep, unbroken by any dreams, save
that I always fancied myself sitting at a well-spread table, and
gratifying my cruel appetite, but every morning I could realize in full
the vanity and the unpleasant disappointment of flattering dreams! This
ravenous appetite would at last have weakened me to death, had I not made
up my mind to pounce upon, and to swallow, every kind of eatables I could
find, whenever I was certain of not being seen.

Necessity begets ingenuity. I had spied in a cupboard of the kitchen some
fifty red herrings; I devoured them all one after the other, as well as
all the sausages which were hanging in the chimney to be smoked; and in
order to accomplish those feats without being detected, I was in the
habit of getting up at night and of undertaking my foraging expeditions
under the friendly veil of darkness. Every new-laid egg I could discover
in the poultry-yard, quite warm and scarcely dropped by the hen, was a
most delicious treat. I would even go as far as the kitchen of the
schoolmaster in the hope of pilfering something to eat.

The Sclavonian woman, in despair at being unable to catch the thieves,
turned away servant after servant. But, in spite of all my expeditions,
as I could not always find something to steal, I was as thin as a walking
skeleton.

My progress at school was so rapid during four or five months that the
master promoted me to the rank of dux. My province was to examine the
lessons of my thirty school-fellows, to correct their mistakes and report
to the master with whatever note of blame or of approval I thought they
deserved; but my strictness did not last long, for idle boys soon found
out the way to enlist my sympathy. When their Latin lesson was full of
mistakes, they would buy me off with cutlets and roast chickens; they
even gave me money. These proceedings excited my covetousness, or,
rather, my gluttony, and, not satisfied with levying a tax upon the
ignorant, I became a tyrant, and I refused well-merited approbation to
all those who declined paying the contribution I demanded. At last,
unable to bear my injustice any longer, the boys accused me, and the
master, seeing me convicted of extortion, removed me from my exalted
position. I would very likely have fared badly after my dismissal, had
not Fate decided to put an end to my cruel apprenticeship.

Doctor Gozzi, who was attached to me, called me privately one day into
his study, and asked me whether I would feel disposed to carry out the
advice he would give me in order to bring about my removal from the house
of the Sclavonian woman, and my admission in his own family. Finding me
delighted at such an offer, he caused me to copy three letters which I
sent, one to the Abbe Grimani, another to my friend Baffo, and the last
to my excellent grandam. The half-year was nearly out, and my mother not
being in Venice at that period there was no time to lose.

In my letters I gave a description of all my sufferings, and I
prognosticated my death were I not immediately removed from my
boarding-house and placed under the care of my school-master, who was
disposed to receive me; but he wanted two sequins a month.

M. Grimani did not answer me, and commissioned his friend Ottaviani to
scold me for allowing myself to be ensnared by the doctor; but M. Baffo
went to consult with my grandmother, who could not write, and in a letter
which he addressed to me he informed me that I would soon find myself in
a happier situation. And, truly, within a week the excellent old woman,
who loved me until her death, made her appearance as I was sitting down
to my dinner. She came in with the mistress of the house, and the moment
I saw her I threw my arms around her neck, crying bitterly, in which
luxury the old lady soon joined me. She sat down and took me on her
knees; my courage rose again. In the presence of the Sclavonian woman I
enumerated all my grievances, and after calling her attention to the
food, fit only for beggars, which I was compelled to swallow, I took her
upstairs to shew her my bed. I begged her to take me out and give me a
good dinner after six months of such starvation. The boarding-house
keeper boldly asserted that she could not afford better for the amount
she had received, and there was truth in that, but she had no business to
keep house and to become the tormentor of poor children who were thrown
on her hands by stinginess, and who required to be properly fed.

My grandmother very quietly intimated her intention to take me away
forthwith, and asked her to put all my things in my trunk. I cannot
express my joy during these preparations. For the first time I felt that
kind of happiness which makes forgiveness compulsory upon the being who
enjoys it, and causes him to forget all previous unpleasantness. My
grandmother took me to the inn, and dinner was served, but she could
hardly eat anything in her astonishment at the voracity with which I was
swallowing my food. In the meantime Doctor Gozzi, to whom she had sent
notice of her arrival, came in, and his appearance soon prepossessed her
in his favour. He was then a fine-looking priest, twenty-six years of
age, chubby, modest, and respectful. In less than a quarter of an hour
everything was satisfactorily arranged between them. The good old lady
counted out twenty-four sequins for one year of my schooling, and took a
receipt for the same, but she kept me with her for three days in order to
have me clothed like a priest, and to get me a wig, as the filthy state
of my hair made it necessary to have it all cut off.

At the end of the three days she took me to the doctor's house, so as to
see herself to my installation and to recommend me to the doctor's
mother, who desired her to send or to buy in Padua a bedstead and
bedding; but the doctor having remarked that, his own bed being very
wide, I might sleep with him, my grandmother expressed her gratitude for
all his kindness, and we accompanied her as far as the burchiello she had
engaged to return to Venice.

The family of Doctor Gozzi was composed of his mother, who had great
reverence for him, because, a peasant by birth, she did not think herself
worthy of having a son who was a priest, and still more a doctor in
divinity; she was plain, old, and cross; and of his father, a shoemaker
by trade, working all day long and never addressing a word to anyone, not
even during the meals. He only became a sociable being on holidays, on
which occasions he would spend his time with his friends in some tavern,
coming home at midnight as drunk as a lord and singing verses from Tasso.
When in this blissful state the good man could not make up his mind to go
to bed, and became violent if anyone attempted to compel him to lie down.
Wine alone gave him sense and spirit, for when sober he was incapable of
attending to the simplest family matter, and his wife often said that he
never would have married her had not his friends taken care to give him a
good breakfast before he went to the church.

But Doctor Gozzi had also a sister, called Bettina, who at the age of
thirteen was pretty, lively, and a great reader of romances. Her father
and mother scolded her constantly because she was too often looking out
of the window, and the doctor did the same on account of her love for
reading. This girl took at once my fancy without my knowing why, and
little by little she kindled in my heart the first spark of a passion
which, afterwards became in me the ruling one.

Six months after I had been an inmate in the house, the doctor found
himself without scholars; they all went away because I had become the
sole object of his affection. He then determined to establish a college,
and to receive young boys as boarders; but two years passed before he met
with any success. During that period he taught me everything he knew;
true, it was not much; yet it was enough to open to me the high road to
all sciences. He likewise taught me the violin, an accomplishment which
proved very useful to me in a peculiar circumstance, the particulars of
which I will give in good time. The excellent doctor, who was in no way a
philosopher, made me study the logic of the Peripatetics, and the
cosmography of the ancient system of Ptolemy, at which I would laugh,
teasing the poor doctor with theorems to which he could find no answer.
His habits, moreover, were irreproachable, and in all things connected
with religion, although no bigot, he was of the greatest strictness, and,
admitting everything as an article of faith, nothing appeared difficult
to his conception. He believed the deluge to have been universal, and he
thought that, before that great cataclysm, men lived a thousand years and
conversed with God, that Noah took one hundred years to build the ark,
and that the earth, suspended in the air, is firmly held in the very
centre of the universe which God had created from nothing. When I would
say and prove that it was absurd to believe in the existence of
nothingness, he would stop me short and call me a fool.

He could enjoy a good bed, a glass of wine, and cheerfulness at home. He
did not admire fine wits, good jests or criticism, because it easily
turns to slander, and he would laugh at the folly of men reading
newspapers which, in his opinion, always lied and constantly repeated the
same things. He asserted that nothing was more troublesome than
incertitude, and therefore he condemned thought because it gives birth to
doubt.

His ruling passion was preaching, for which his face and his voice
qualified him; his congregation was almost entirely composed of women of
whom, however, he was the sworn enemy; so much so, that he would not look
them in the face even when he spoke to them. Weakness of the flesh and
fornication appeared to him the most monstrous of sins, and he would be
very angry if I dared to assert that, in my estimation, they were the
most venial of faults. His sermons were crammed with passages from the
Greek authors, which he translated into Latin. One day I ventured to
remark that those passages ought to be translated into Italian because
women did not understand Latin any more than Greek, but he took offence,
and I never had afterwards the courage to allude any more to the matter.
Moreover he praised me to his friends as a wonder, because I had learned
to read Greek alone, without any assistance but a grammar.

During Lent, in the year 1736, my mother, wrote to the doctor; and, as
she was on the point of her departure for St. Petersburg, she wished to
see me, and requested him to accompany me to Venice for three or four
days. This invitation set him thinking, for he had never seen Venice,
never frequented good company, and yet he did not wish to appear a novice
in anything. We were soon ready to leave Padua, and all the family
escorted us to the 'burchiello'.

My mother received the doctor with a most friendly welcome; but she was
strikingly beautiful, and my poor master felt very uncomfortable, not
daring to look her in the face, and yet called upon to converse with her.
She saw the dilemma he was in, and thought she would have some amusing
sport about it should opportunity present itself. I, in the meantime,
drew the attention of everyone in her circle; everybody had known me as a
fool, and was amazed at my improvement in the short space of two years.
The doctor was overjoyed, because he saw that the full credit of my
transformation was given to him.

The first thing which struck my mother unpleasantly was my light-coloured
wig, which was not in harmony with my dark complexion, and contrasted
most woefully with my black eyes and eyebrows. She inquired from the
doctor why I did not wear my own hair, and he answered that, with a wig,
it was easier for his sister to keep me clean. Everyone smiled at the
simplicity of the answer, but the merriment increased when, to the
question made by my mother whether his sister was married, I took the
answer upon myself, and said that Bettina was the prettiest girl of
Padua, and was only fourteen years of age. My mother promised the doctor
a splendid present for his sister on condition that she would let me wear
my own hair, and he promised that her wishes would be complied with. The
peruke-maker was then called, and I had a wig which matched my
complexion.

Soon afterwards all the guests began to play cards, with the exception of
my master, and I went to see my brothers in my grandmother's room.
Francois shewed me some architectural designs which I pretended to
admire; Jean had nothing to skew me, and I thought him a rather
insignificant boy. The others were still very young.

At the supper-table, the doctor, seated next to my mother, was very
awkward. He would very likely not have said one word, had not an
Englishman, a writer of talent, addressed him in Latin; but the doctor,
being unable to make him out, modestly answered that he did not
understand English, which caused much hilarity. M. Baffo, however,
explained the puzzle by telling us that Englishmen read and pronounced
Latin in the same way that they read and spoke their own language, and I
remarked that Englishmen were wrong as much as we would be, if we
pretended to read and to pronounce their language according to Latin
rules. The Englishman, pleased with my reasoning, wrote down the
following old couplet, and gave it to me to read:

   'Dicite, grammatici, cur mascula nomina cunnus,
   Et cur femineum mentula nomen habet.'

After reading it aloud, I exclaimed, "This is Latin indeed."

"We know that," said my mother, "but can you explain it?"

"To explain it is not enough," I answered; "it is a question which is
worthy of an answer." And after considering for a moment, I wrote the
following pentameter:

   'Disce quod a domino nomina servus habet.'

This was my first literary exploit, and I may say that in that very
instant the seed of my love for literary fame was sown in my breast, for
the applause lavished upon me exalted me to the very pinnacle of
happiness. The Englishman, quite amazed at my answer, said that no boy of
eleven years had ever accomplished such a feat, embraced me repeatedly,
and presented me with his watch. My mother, inquisitive like a woman,
asked M. Grimani to tell her the meaning of the lines, but as the abbe
was not any wiser than she was M. Baffo translated it in a whisper.
Surprised at my knowledge, she rose from her chair to get a valuable gold
watch and presented to my master, who, not knowing how to express his
deep gratitude, treated us to the most comic scene. My mother, in order
to save him from the difficulty of paying her a compliment, offered him
her cheek. He had only to give her a couple of kisses, the easiest and
the most innocent thing in good company; but the poor man was on burning
coals, and so completely out of countenance that he would, I truly
believe, rather have died than give the kisses. He drew back with his
head down, and he was allowed to remain in peace until we retired for the
night.

When we found ourselves alone in our room, he poured out his heart, and
exclaimed that it was a pity he could not publish in Padua the distich
and my answer.

"And why not?" I said.

"Because both are obscene."

"But they are sublime."

"Let us go to bed and speak no more on the subject. Your answer was
wonderful, because you cannot possibly know anything of the subject in
question, or of the manner in which verses ought to be written."

As far as the subject was concerned, I knew it by theory; for, unknown to
the doctor, and because he had forbidden it, I had read Meursius, but it
was natural that he should be amazed at my being able to write verses,
when he, who had taught me prosody, never could compose a single line.
'Nemo dat quod non habet' is a false axiom when applied to mental
acquirements.

Four days afterwards, as we were preparing for our departure, my mother
gave me a parcel for Bettina, and M. Grimani presented me with four
sequins to buy books. A week later my mother left for St. Petersburg.

After our return to Padua, my good master for three or four months never
ceased to speak of my mother, and Bettina, having found in the parcel
five yards of black silk and twelve pairs of gloves, became singularly
attached to me, and took such good care of my hair that in less than six
months I was able to give up wearing the wig. She used to comb my hair
every morning, often before I was out of bed, saying that she had not
time to wait until I was dressed. She washed my face, my neck, my chest;
lavished on me childish caresses which I thought innocent, but which
caused me to, be angry with myself, because I felt that they excited me.
Three years younger than she was, it seemed to me that she could not love
me with any idea of mischief, and the consciousness of my own vicious
excitement put me out of temper with myself. When, seated on my bed, she
would say that I was getting stouter, and would have the proof of it with
her own hands, she caused me the most intense emotion; but I said
nothing, for fear she would remark my sensitiveness, and when she would
go on saying that my skin was soft, the tickling sensation made me draw
back, angry with myself that I did not dare to do the same to her, but
delighted at her not guessing how I longed to do it. When I was dressed,
she often gave me the sweetest kisses, calling me her darling child, but
whatever wish I had to follow her example, I was not yet bold enough.
After some time, however, Bettina laughing at my timidity, I became more
daring and returned her kisses with interest, but I always gave way the
moment I felt a wish to go further; I then would turn my head, pretending
to look for something, and she would go away. She was scarcely out of the
room before I was in despair at not having followed the inclination of my
nature, and, astonished at the fact that Bettina could do to me all she
was in the habit of doing without feeling any excitement from it, while I
could hardly refrain from pushing my attacks further, I would every day
determine to change my way of acting.

In the early part of autumn, the doctor received three new boarders; and
one of them, who was fifteen years old, appeared to me in less than a
month on very friendly terms with Bettina.

This circumstance caused me a feeling of which until then I had no idea,
and which I only analyzed a few years afterwards. It was neither jealousy
nor indignation, but a noble contempt which I thought ought not to be
repressed, because Cordiani, an ignorant, coarse boy, without talent or
polite education, the son of a simple farmer, and incapable of competing
with me in anything, having over me but the advantage of dawning manhood,
did not appear to me a fit person to be preferred to me; my young
self-esteem whispered that I was above him. I began to nurse a feeling of
pride mixed with contempt which told against Bettina, whom I loved
unknown to myself. She soon guessed it from the way I would receive her
caresses, when she came to comb my hair while I was in bed; I would
repulse her hands, and no longer return her kisses. One day, vexed at my
answering her question as to the reason of my change towards her by
stating that I had no cause for it, she, told me in a tone of
commiseration that I was jealous of Cordiani. This reproach sounded to me
like a debasing slander. I answered that Cordiani was, in my estimation,
as worthy of her as she was worthy of him. She went away smiling, but,
revolving in her mind the only way by which she could be revenged, she
thought herself bound to render me jealous. However, as she could not
attain such an end without making me fall in love with her, this is the
policy she adopted.

One morning she came to me as I was in bed and brought me a pair of white
stockings of her own knitting. After dressing my hair, she asked my
permission to try the stockings on herself, in order to correct any
deficiency in the other pairs she intended to knit for me. The doctor had
gone out to say his mass. As she was putting on the stocking, she
remarked that my legs were not clean, and without any more ado she
immediately began to wash them. I would have been ashamed to let her see
my bashfulness; I let her do as she liked, not foreseeing what would
happen. Bettina, seated on my bed, carried too far her love for
cleanliness, and her curiosity caused me such intense voluptuousness that
the feeling did not stop until it could be carried no further. Having
recovered my calm, I bethought myself that I was guilty and begged her
forgiveness. She did not expect this, and, after considering for a few
moments, she told me kindly that the fault was entirely her own, but that
she never would again be guilty of it. And she went out of the room,
leaving me to my own thoughts.

They were of a cruel character. It seemed to me that I had brought
dishonour upon Bettina, that I had betrayed the confidence of her family,
offended against the sacred laws of hospitality, that I was guilty of a
most wicked crime, which I could only atone for by marrying her, in case
Bettina could make up her mind to accept for her husband a wretch
unworthy of her.

These thoughts led to a deep melancholy which went on increasing from day
to day, Bettina having entirely ceased her morning visits by my bedside.
During the first week, I could easily account for the girl's reserve, and
my sadness would soon have taken the character of the warmest love, had
not her manner towards Cordiani inoculated in my veins the poison of
jealousy, although I never dreamed of accusing her of the same crime
towards him that she had committed upon me.

I felt convinced, after due consideration, that the act she had been
guilty of with me had been deliberately done, and that her feelings of
repentance kept her away from me. This conviction was rather flattering
to my vanity, as it gave me the hope of being loved, and the end of all
my communings was that I made up my mind to write to her, and thus to
give her courage.

I composed a letter, short but calculated to restore peace to her mind,
whether she thought herself guilty, or suspected me of feelings contrary
to those which her dignity might expect from me. My letter was, in my own
estimation, a perfect masterpiece, and just the kind of epistle by which
I was certain to conquer her very adoration, and to sink for ever the sun
of Cordiani, whom I could not accept as the sort of being likely to make
her hesitate for one instant in her choice between him and me.
Half-an-hour after the receipt of my letter, she told me herself that the
next morning she would pay me her usual visit, but I waited in vain. This
conduct provoked me almost to madness, but my surprise was indeed great
when, at the breakfast table, she asked me whether I would let her dress
me up as a girl to accompany her five or six days later to a ball for
which a neighbour of ours, Doctor Olivo, had sent letters of invitation.
Everybody having seconded the motion, I gave my consent. I thought this
arrangement would afford a favourable opportunity for an explanation, for
mutual vindication, and would open a door for the most complete
reconciliation, without fear of any surprise arising from the proverbial
weakness of the flesh. But a most unexpected circumstance prevented our
attending the ball, and brought forth a comedy with a truly tragic turn.

Doctor Gozzi's godfather, a man advanced in age, and in easy
circumstances, residing in the country, thought himself, after a severe
illness, very near his end, and sent to the doctor a carriage with a
request to come to him at once with his father, as he wished them to be
present at his death, and to pray for his departing soul. The old
shoemaker drained a bottle, donned his Sunday clothes, and went off with
his son.

I thought this a favourable opportunity and determined to improve it,
considering that the night of the ball was too remote to suit my
impatience. I therefore managed to tell Bettina that I would leave ajar
the door of my room, and that I would wait for her as soon as everyone in
the house had gone to bed. She promised to come. She slept on the ground
floor in a small closet divided only by a partition from her father's
chamber; the doctor being away, I was alone in the large room. The three
boarders had their apartment in a different part of the house, and I had
therefore no mishap to fear. I was delighted at the idea that I had at
last reached the moment so ardently desired.

The instant I was in my room I bolted my door and opened the one leading
to the passage, so that Bettina should have only to push it in order to
come in; I then put my light out, but did not undress. When we read of
such situations in a romance we think they are exaggerated; they are not
so, and the passage in which Ariosto represents Roger waiting for Alcine
is a beautiful picture painted from nature.

Until midnight I waited without feeling much anxiety; but I heard the
clock strike two, three, four o'clock in the morning without seeing
Bettina; my blood began to boil, and I was soon in a state of furious
rage. It was snowing hard, but I shook from passion more than from cold.
One hour before day-break, unable to master any longer my impatience, I
made up my mind to go downstairs with bare feet, so as not to wake the
dog, and to place myself at the bottom of the stairs within a yard of
Bettina's door, which ought to have been opened if she had gone out of
her room. I reached the door; it was closed, and as it could be locked
only from inside I imagined that Bettina had fallen asleep. I was on the
point of knocking at the door, but was prevented by fear of rousing the
dog, as from that door to that of her closet there was a distance of
three or four yards. Overwhelmed with grief, and unable to take a
decision, I sat down on the last step of the stairs; but at day-break,
chilled, benumbed, shivering with cold, afraid that the servant would see
me and would think I was mad, I determined to go back to my room. I
arise, but at that very moment I hear some noise in Bettina's room.
Certain that I am going to see her, and hope lending me new strength, I
draw nearer to the door. It opens; but instead of Bettina coming out I
see Cordiani, who gives me such a furious kick in the stomach that I am
thrown at a distance deep in the snow. Without stopping a single instant
Cordiani is off, and locks himself up in the room which he shared with
the brothers Feltrini.

I pick myself up quickly with the intention of taking my revenge upon
Bettina, whom nothing could have saved from the effects of my rage at
that moment. But I find her door locked; I kick vigorously against it,
the dog starts a loud barking, and I make a hurried retreat to my room,
in which I lock myself up, throwing myself in bed to compose and heal up
my mind and body, for I was half dead.

Deceived, humbled, ill-treated, an object of contempt to the happy and
triumphant Cordiani, I spent three hours ruminating the darkest schemes
of revenge. To poison them both seemed to me but a trifle in that
terrible moment of bitter misery. This project gave way to another as
extravagant, as cowardly-namely, to go at once to her brother and
disclose everything to him. I was twelve years of age, and my mind had
not yet acquired sufficient coolness to mature schemes of heroic revenge,
which are produced by false feelings of honour; this was only my
apprenticeship in such adventures.

I was in that state of mind when suddenly I heard outside of my door the
gruff voice of Bettina's mother, who begged me to come down, adding that
her daughter was dying. As I would have been very sorry if she had
departed this life before she could feel the effects of my revenge, I got
up hurriedly and went downstairs. I found Bettina lying in her father's
bed writhing with fearful convulsions, and surrounded by the whole
family. Half dressed, nearly bent in two, she was throwing her body now
to the right, now to the left, striking at random with her feet and with
her fists, and extricating herself by violent shaking from the hands of
those who endeavoured to keep her down.

With this sight before me, and the night's adventure still in my mind, I
hardly knew what to think. I had no knowledge of human nature, no
knowledge of artifice and tricks, and I could not understand how I found
myself coolly witnessing such a scene, and composedly calm in the
presence of two beings, one of whom I intended to kill and the other to
dishonour. At the end of an hour Bettina fell asleep.

A nurse and Doctor Olivo came soon after. The first said that the
convulsions were caused by hysterics, but the doctor said no, and
prescribed rest and cold baths. I said nothing, but I could not refrain
from laughing at them, for I knew, or rather guessed, that Bettina's
sickness was the result of her nocturnal employment, or of the fright
which she must have felt at my meeting with Cordiani. At all events, I
determined to postpone my revenge until the return of her brother,
although I had not the slightest suspicion that her illness was all sham,
for I did not give her credit for so much cleverness.

To return to my room I had to pass through Bettina's closet, and seeing
her dress handy on the bed I took it into my head to search her pockets.
I found a small note, and recognizing Cordiani's handwriting, I took
possession of it to read it in my room. I marvelled at the girl's
imprudence, for her mother might have discovered it, and being unable to
read would very likely have given it to the doctor, her son. I thought
she must have taken leave of her senses, but my feelings may be
appreciated when I read the following words: "As your father is away it
is not necessary to leave your door ajar as usual. When we leave the
supper-table I will go to your closet; you will find me there."

When I recovered from my stupor I gave way to an irresistible fit of
laughter, and seeing how completely I had been duped I thought I was
cured of my love. Cordiani appeared to me deserving of forgiveness, and
Bettina of contempt. I congratulated myself upon having received a lesson
of such importance for the remainder of my life. I even went so far as to
acknowledge to myself that Bettina had been quite right in giving the
preference to Cordiani, who was fifteen years old, while I was only a
child. Yet, in spite of my good disposition to forgiveness, the kick
administered by Cordiani was still heavy upon my memory, and I could not
help keeping a grudge against him.

At noon, as we were at dinner in the kitchen, where we took our meals on
account of the cold weather, Bettina began again to raise piercing
screams. Everybody rushed to her room, but I quietly kept my seat and
finished my dinner, after which I went to my studies. In the evening when
I came down to supper I found that Bettina's bed had been brought to the
kitchen close by her mother's; but it was no concern of mine, and I
remained likewise perfectly indifferent to the noise made during the
night, and to the confusion which took place in the morning, when she had
a fresh fit of convulsions.

Doctor Gozzi and his father returned in the evening. Cordiani, who felt
uneasy, came to inquire from me what my intentions were, but I rushed
towards him with an open penknife in my hand, and he beat a hasty
retreat. I had entirely abandoned the idea of relating the night's
scandalous adventure to the doctor, for such a project I could only
entertain in a moment of excitement and rage. The next day the mother
came in while we were at our lesson, and told the doctor, after a
lengthened preamble, that she had discovered the character of her
daughter's illness; that it was caused by a spell thrown over her by a
witch, and that she knew the witch well.

"It may be, my dear mother, but we must be careful not to make a mistake.
Who is the witch?"

"Our old servant, and I have just had a proof of it."

"How so?"

"I have barred the door of my room with two broomsticks placed in the
shape of a cross, which she must have undone to go in; but when she saw
them she drew back, and she went round by the other door. It is evident
that, were she not a witch, she would not be afraid of touching them."

"It is not complete evidence, dear mother; send the woman to me."

The servant made her appearance.

"Why," said the doctor, "did you not enter my mother's room this morning
through the usual door?"

"I do not know what you mean."

"Did you not see the St. Andrew's cross on the door?"

"What cross is that?"

"It is useless to plead ignorance," said the mother; "where did you sleep
last Thursday night?"

"At my niece's, who had just been confined."

"Nothing of the sort. You were at the witches' Sabbath; you are a witch,
and have bewitched my daughter."

The poor woman, indignant at such an accusation, spits at her mistress's
face; the mistress, enraged, gets hold of a stick to give the servant a
drubbing; the doctor endeavours to keep his mother back, but he is
compelled to let her loose and to run after the servant, who was hurrying
down the stairs, screaming and howling in order to rouse the neighbours;
he catches her, and finally succeeds in pacifying her with some money.

After this comical but rather scandalous exhibition, the doctor donned
his vestments for the purpose of exorcising his sister and of
ascertaining whether she was truly possessed of an unclean spirit. The
novelty of this mystery attracted the whole of my attention. All the
inmates of the house appeared to me either mad or stupid, for I could
not, for the life of me, imagine that diabolical spirits were dwelling in
Bettina's body. When we drew near her bed, her breathing had, to all
appearance, stopped, and the exorcisms of her brother did not restore it.
Doctor Olivo happened to come in at that moment, and inquired whether he
would be in the way; he was answered in the negative, provided he had
faith.

Upon which he left, saying that he had no faith in any miracles except in
those of the Gospel.

Soon after Doctor Gozzi went to his room, and finding myself alone with
Bettina I bent down over her bed and whispered in her ear.

"Take courage, get well again, and rely upon my discretion."

She turned her head towards the wall and did not answer me, but the day
passed off without any more convulsions. I thought I had cured her, but
on the following day the frenzy went up to the brain, and in her delirium
she pronounced at random Greek and Latin words without any meaning, and
then no doubt whatever was entertained of her being possessed of the evil
spirit. Her mother went out and returned soon, accompanied by the most
renowned exorcist of Padua, a very ill-featured Capuchin, called Friar
Prospero da Bovolenta.

The moment Bettina saw the exorcist, she burst into loud laughter, and
addressed to him the most offensive insults, which fairly delighted
everybody, as the devil alone could be bold enough to address a Capuchin
in such a manner; but the holy man, hearing himself called an obtrusive
ignoramus and a stinkard, went on striking Bettina with a heavy crucifix,
saying that he was beating the devil. He stopped only when he saw her on
the point of hurling at him the chamber utensil which she had just
seized. "If it is the devil who has offended thee with his words," she
said, "resent the insult with words likewise, jackass that thou art, but
if I have offended thee myself, learn, stupid booby, that thou must
respect me, and be off at once."

I could see poor Doctor Gozzi blushing; the friar, however, held his
ground, and, armed at all points, began to read a terrible exorcism, at
the end of which he commanded the devil to state his name.

"My name is Bettina."

"It cannot be, for it is the name of a baptized girl."

"Then thou art of opinion that a devil must rejoice in a masculine name?
Learn, ignorant friar, that a devil is a spirit, and does not belong to
either sex. But as thou believest that a devil is speaking to thee
through my lips, promise to answer me with truth, and I will engage to
give way before thy incantations."

"Very well, I agree to this."

"Tell me, then, art thou thinking that thy knowledge is greater than
mine?"

"No, but I believe myself more powerful in the name of the holy Trinity,
and by my sacred character."

"If thou art more powerful than I, then prevent me from telling thee
unpalatable truths. Thou art very vain of thy beard, thou art combing and
dressing it ten times a day, and thou would'st not shave half of it to
get me out of this body. Cut off thy beard, and I promise to come out."

"Father of lies, I will increase thy punishment a hundred fold."

"I dare thee to do it."

After saying these words, Bettina broke into such a loud peal of
laughter, that I could not refrain from joining in it. The Capuchin,
turning towards Doctor Gozzi, told him that I was wanting in faith, and
that I ought to leave the room; which I did, remarking that he had
guessed rightly. I was not yet out of the room when the friar offered his
hand to Bettina for her to kiss, and I had the pleasure of seeing her
spit upon it.

This strange girl, full of extraordinary talent, made rare sport of the
friar, without causing any surprise to anyone, as all her answers were
attributed to the devil. I could not conceive what her purpose was in
playing such a part.

The Capuchin dined with us, and during the meal he uttered a good deal of
nonsense. After dinner, he returned to Bettina's chamber, with the
intention of blessing her, but as soon as she caught sight of him, she
took up a glass full of some black mixture sent from the apothecary, and
threw it at his head. Cordiani, being close by the friar, came in for a
good share of the liquid-an accident which afforded me the greatest
delight. Bettina was quite right to improve her opportunity, as
everything she did was, of course, put to the account of the unfortunate
devil. Not overmuch pleased, Friar Prospero, as he left the house, told
the doctor that there was no doubt of the girl being possessed, but that
another exorcist must be sent for, since he had not, himself, obtained
God's grace to eject the evil spirit.

After he had gone, Bettina kept very calm for six hours, and in the
evening, to our great surprise, she joined us at the supper table. She
told her parents that she felt quite well, spoke to her brother, and
then, addressing me, she remarked that, the ball taking place on the
morrow, she would come to my room in the morning to dress my hair like a
girl's. I thanked her, and said that, as she had been so ill, she ought
to nurse herself. She soon retired to bed, and we remained at the table,
talking of her.

When I was undressing for the night, I took up my night-cap, and found in
it a small note with these words: "You must accompany me to the ball,
disguised as a girl, or I will give you a sight which will cause you to
weep."

I waited until the doctor was asleep, and I wrote the following answer:
"I cannot go to the ball, because I have fully made up my mind to avoid
every opportunity of being alone with you. As for the painful sight with
which you threaten to entertain me, I believe you capable of keeping your
word, but I entreat you to spare my heart, for I love you as if you were
my sister. I have forgiven you, dear Bettina, and I wish to forget
everything. I enclose a note which you must be delighted to have again in
your possession. You see what risk you were running when you left it in
your pocket. This restitution must convince you of my friendship."



CHAPTER III

Bettina Is Supposed to Go Mad--Father Mancia--The Small-pox--I Leave
Padua

Bettina must have been in despair, not knowing into whose hands her
letter had fallen; to return it to her and thus to allay her anxiety, was
therefore a great proof of friendship; but my generosity, at the same
time that it freed her from a keen sorrow, must have caused her another
quite as dreadful, for she knew that I was master of her secret.
Cordiani's letter was perfectly explicit; it gave the strongest evidence
that she was in the habit of receiving him every night, and therefore the
story she had prepared to deceive me was useless. I felt it was so, and,
being disposed to calm her anxiety as far as I could, I went to her
bedside in the morning, and I placed in her hands Cordiani's note and my
answer to her letter.

The girl's spirit and talent had won my esteem; I could no longer despise
her; I saw in her only a poor creature seduced by her natural
temperament. She loved man, and was to be pitied only on account of the
consequences. Believing that the view I took of the situation was a right
one, I had resigned myself like a reasonable being, and not like a
disappointed lover. The shame was for her and not for me. I had only one
wish, namely, to find out whether the two brothers Feltrini, Cordiani's
companions, had likewise shared Bettina's favours.

Bettina put on throughout the day a cheerful and happy look. In the
evening she dressed herself for the ball; but suddenly an attack of
sickness, whether feigned or real I did not know, compelled her to go to
bed, and frightened everybody in the house. As for myself, knowing the
whole affair, I was prepared for new scenes, and indeed for sad ones, for
I felt that I had obtained over her a power repugnant to her vanity and
self-love. I must, however, confess that, in spite of the excellent
school in which I found myself before I had attained manhood, and which
ought to have given me experience as a shield for the future, I have
through the whole of my life been the dupe of women. Twelve years ago, if
it had not been for my guardian angel, I would have foolishly married a
young, thoughtless girl, with whom I had fallen in love: Now that I am
seventy-two years old I believe myself no longer susceptible of such
follies; but, alas! that is the very thing which causes me to be
miserable.

The next day the whole family was deeply grieved because the devil of
whom Bettina was possessed had made himself master of her reason. Doctor
Gozzi told me that there could not be the shadow of a doubt that his
unfortunate sister was possessed, as, if she had only been mad, she never
would have so cruelly ill-treated the Capuchin, Prospero, and he
determined to place her under the care of Father Mancia.

This Mancia was a celebrated Jacobin (or Dominican) exorcist, who enjoyed
the reputation of never having failed to cure a girl possessed of the
demon.

Sunday had come; Bettina had made a good dinner, but she had been frantic
all through the day. Towards midnight her father came home, singing Tasso
as usual, and so drunk that he could not stand. He went up to Bettina's
bed, and after kissing her affectionately he said to her: "Thou art not
mad, my girl."

Her answer was that he was not drunk.

"Thou art possessed of the devil, my dear child."

"Yes, father, and you alone can cure me."

"Well, I am ready."

Upon this our shoemaker begins a theological discourse, expatiating upon
the power of faith and upon the virtue of the paternal blessing. He
throws off his cloak, takes a crucifix with one hand, places the other
over the head of his daughter, and addresses the devil in such an amusing
way that even his wife, always a stupid, dull, cross-grained old woman,
had to laugh till the tears came down her cheeks. The two performers in
the comedy alone were not laughing, and their serious countenance added
to the fun of the performance. I marvelled at Bettina (who was always
ready to enjoy a good laugh) having sufficient control over herself to
remain calm and grave. Doctor Gozzi had also given way to merriment; but
begged that the farce should come to an end, for he deemed that his
father's eccentricities were as many profanations against the sacredness
of exorcism. At last the exorcist, doubtless tired out, went to bed
saying that he was certain that the devil would not disturb his daughter
during the night.

On the morrow, just as we had finished our breakfast, Father Mancia made
his appearance. Doctor Gozzi, followed by the whole family, escorted him
to his sister's bedside. As for me, I was entirely taken up by the face
of the monk. Here is his portrait. His figure was tall and majestic, his
age about thirty; he had light hair and blue eyes; his features were
those of Apollo, but without his pride and assuming haughtiness; his
complexion, dazzling white, was pale, but that paleness seemed to have
been given for the very purpose of showing off the red coral of his lips,
through which could be seen, when they opened, two rows of pearls. He was
neither thin nor stout, and the habitual sadness of his countenance
enhanced its sweetness. His gait was slow, his air timid, an indication
of the great modesty of his mind.

When we entered the room Bettina was asleep, or pretended to be so.
Father Mancia took a sprinkler and threw over her a few drops of holy
water; she opened her eyes, looked at the monk, and closed them
immediately; a little while after she opened them again, had a better
look at him, laid herself on her back, let her arms droop down gently,
and with her head prettily bent on one side she fell into the sweetest of
slumbers.

The exorcist, standing by the bed, took out his pocket ritual and the
stole which he put round his neck, then a reliquary, which he placed on
the bosom of the sleeping girl, and with the air of a saint he begged all
of us to fall on our knees and to pray, so that God should let him know
whether the patient was possessed or only labouring under a natural
disease. He kept us kneeling for half an hour, reading all the time in a
low tone of voice. Bettina did not stir.

Tired, I suppose, of the performance, he desired to speak privately with
Doctor Gozzi. They passed into the next room, out of which they emerged
after a quarter of an hour, brought back by a loud peal of laughter from
the mad girl, who, when she saw them, turned her back on them. Father
Mancia smiled, dipped the sprinkler over and over in the holy water, gave
us all a generous shower, and took his leave.

Doctor Gozzi told us that the exorcist would come again on the morrow,
and that he had promised to deliver Bettina within three hours if she
were truly possessed of the demon, but that he made no promise if it
should turn out to be a case of madness. The mother exclaimed that he
would surely deliver her, and she poured out her thanks to God for having
allowed her the grace of beholding a saint before her death.

The following day Bettina was in a fine frenzy. She began to utter the
most extravagant speeches that a poet could imagine, and did not stop
when the charming exorcist came into her room; he seemed to enjoy her
foolish talk for a few minutes, after which, having armed himself
'cap-a-pie', he begged us to withdraw. His order was obeyed instantly; we
left the chamber, and the door remained open. But what did it matter? Who
would have been bold enough to go in?

During three long hours we heard nothing; the stillness was unbroken. At
noon the monk called us in. Bettina was there sad and very quiet while
the exorcist packed up his things. He took his departure, saying he had
very good hopes of the case, and requesting that the doctor would send
him news of the patient. Bettina partook of dinner in her bed, got up for
supper, and the next day behaved herself rationally; but the following
circumstance strengthened my opinion that she had been neither insane nor
possessed.

It was two days before the Purification of the Holy Virgin. Doctor Gozzi
was in the habit of giving us the sacrament in his own church, but he
always sent us for our confession to the church of Saint-Augustin, in
which the Jacobins of Padua officiated. At the supper table, he told us
to prepare ourselves for the next day, and his mother, addressing us,
said: "You ought, all of you, to confess to Father Mancia, so as to
obtain absolution from that holy man. I intend to go to him myself."
Cordiani and the two Feltrini agreed to the proposal; I remained silent,
but as the idea was unpleasant to me, I concealed the feeling, with a
full determination to prevent the execution of the project.

I had entire confidence in the secrecy of confession, and I was incapable
of making a false one, but knowing that I had a right to choose my
confessor, I most certainly never would have been so simple as to confess
to Father Mancia what had taken place between me and a girl, because he
would have easily guessed that the girl could be no other but Bettina.
Besides, I was satisfied that Cordiani would confess everything to the
monk, and I was deeply sorry.

Early the next morning, Bettina brought me a band for my neck, and gave
me the following letter: "Spurn me, but respect my honour and the shadow
of peace to which I aspire. No one from this house must confess to Father
Mancia; you alone can prevent the execution of that project, and I need
not suggest the way to succeed. It will prove whether you have some
friendship for me."

I could not express the pity I felt for the poor girl, as I read that
note. In spite of that feeling, this is what I answered: "I can well
understand that, notwithstanding the inviolability of confession, your
mother's proposal should cause you great anxiety; but I cannot see why,
in order to prevent its execution, you should depend upon me rather than
upon Cordiani who has expressed his acceptance of it. All I can promise
you is that I will not be one of those who may go to Father Mancia; but I
have no influence over your lover; you alone can speak to him."

She replied: "I have never addressed a word to Cordiani since the fatal
night which has sealed my misery, and I never will speak to him again,
even if I could by so doing recover my lost happiness. To you alone I
wish to be indebted for my life and for my honour."

This girl appeared to me more wonderful than all the heroines of whom I
had read in novels. It seemed to me that she was making sport of me with
the most barefaced effrontery. I thought she was trying to fetter me
again with her chains; and although I had no inclination for them, I made
up my mind to render her the service she claimed at my hands, and which
she believed I alone could compass. She felt certain of her success, but
in what school had she obtained her experience of the human heart? Was it
in reading novels? Most likely the reading of a certain class of novels
causes the ruin of a great many young girls, but I am of opinion that
from good romances they acquire graceful manners and a knowledge of
society.

Having made up my mind to shew her every kindness in my power, I took an
opportunity, as we were undressing for the night, of telling Doctor Gozzi
that, for conscientious motives, I could not confess to Father Mancia,
and yet that I did not wish to be an exception in that matter. He kindly
answered that he understood my reasons, and that he would take us all to
the church of Saint-Antoine. I kissed his hand in token of my gratitude.

On the following day, everything having gone according to her wishes, I
saw Bettina sit down to the table with a face beaming with satisfaction.
In the afternoon I had to go to bed in consequence of a wound in my foot;
the doctor accompanied his pupils to church; and Bettina being alone,
availed herself of the opportunity, came to my room and sat down on my
bed. I had expected her visit, and I received it with pleasure, as it
heralded an explanation for which I was positively longing.

She began by expressing a hope that I would not be angry with her for
seizing the first opportunity she had of some conversation with me.

"No," I answered, "for you thus afford me an occasion of assuring you
that, my feelings towards you being those of a friend only, you need not
have any fear of my causing you any anxiety or displeasure. Therefore
Bettina, you may do whatever suits you; my love is no more. You have at
one blow given the death-stroke to the intense passion which was
blossoming in my heart. When I reached my room, after the ill-treatment I
had experienced at Cordiani's hands, I felt for you nothing but hatred;
that feeling soon merged into utter contempt, but that sensation itself
was in time, when my mind recovered its balance, changed for a feeling of
the deepest indifference, which again has given way when I saw what power
there is in your mind. I have now become your friend; I have conceived
the greatest esteem for your cleverness. I have been the dupe of it, but
no matter; that talent of yours does exist, it is wonderful, divine, I
admire it, I love it, and the highest homage I can render to it is, in my
estimation, to foster for the possessor of it the purest feelings of
friendship. Reciprocate that friendship, be true, sincere, and plain
dealing. Give up all nonsense, for you have already obtained from me all
I can give you. The very thought of love is repugnant to me; I can bestow
my love only where I feel certain of being the only one loved. You are at
liberty to lay my foolish delicacy to the account of my youthful age, but
I feel so, and I cannot help it. You have written to me that you never
speak to Cordiani; if I am the cause of that rupture between you, I
regret it, and I think that, in the interest of your honour, you would do
well to make it up with him; for the future I must be careful never to
give him any grounds for umbrage or suspicion. Recollect also that, if
you have tempted him by the same manoeuvres which you have employed
towards me, you are doubly wrong, for it may be that, if he truly loves
you, you have caused him to be miserable."

"All you have just said to me," answered Bettina, "is grounded upon false
impressions and deceptive appearances. I do not love Cordiani, and I
never had any love for him; on the contrary, I have felt, and I do feel,
for him a hatred which he has richly deserved, and I hope to convince
you, in spite of every appearance which seems to convict me. As to the
reproach of seduction, I entreat you to spare me such an accusation. On
our side, consider that, if you had not yourself thrown temptation in my
way, I never would have committed towards you an action of which I have
deeply repented, for reasons which you do not know, but which you must
learn from me. The fault I have been guilty of is a serious one only
because I did not foresee the injury it would do me in the inexperienced
mind of the ingrate who dares to reproach me with it."

Bettina was shedding tears: all she had said was not unlikely and rather
complimentary to my vanity, but I had seen too much. Besides, I knew the
extent of her cleverness, and it was very natural to lend her a wish to
deceive me; how could I help thinking that her visit to me was prompted
only by her self-love being too deeply wounded to let me enjoy a victory
so humiliating to herself? Therefore, unshaken in my preconceived
opinion, I told her that I placed implicit confidence in all she had just
said respecting the state of her heart previous to the playful nonsense
which had been the origin of my love for her, and that I promised never
in the future to allude again to my accusation of seduction. "But," I
continued, "confess that the fire at that time burning in your bosom was
only of short duration, and that the slightest breath of wind had been
enough to extinguish it. Your virtue, which went astray for only one
instant, and which has so suddenly recovered its mastery over your
senses, deserves some praise. You, with all your deep adoring love for
me, became all at once blind to my sorrow, whatever care I took to make
it clear to your sight. It remains for me to learn how that virtue could
be so very dear to you, at the very time that Cordiani took care to wreck
it every night."

Bettina eyed me with the air of triumph which perfect confidence in
victory gives to a person, and said: "You have just reached the point
where I wished you to be. You shall now be made aware of things which I
could not explain before, owing to your refusing the appointment which I
then gave you for no other purpose than to tell you all the truth.
Cordiani declared his love for me a week after he became an inmate in our
house; he begged my consent to a marriage, if his father made the demand
of my hand as soon as he should have completed his studies. My answer was
that I did not know him sufficiently, that I could form no idea on the
subject, and I requested him not to allude to it any more. He appeared to
have quietly given up the matter, but soon after, I found out that it was
not the case; he begged me one day to come to his room now and then to
dress his hair; I told him I had no time to spare, and he remarked that
you were more fortunate. I laughed at this reproach, as everyone here
knew that I had the care of you. It was a fortnight after my refusal to
Cordiani, that I unfortunately spent an hour with you in that loving
nonsense which has naturally given you ideas until then unknown to your
senses. That hour made me very happy: I loved you, and having given way
to very natural desires, I revelled in my enjoyment without the slightest
remorse of conscience. I was longing to be again with you the next
morning, but after supper, misfortune laid for the first time its hand
upon me. Cordiani slipped in my hands this note and this letter which I
have since hidden in a hole in the wall, with the intention of shewing
them to you at the first opportunity."

Saying this, Bettina handed me the note and the letter; the first ran as
follows: "Admit me this evening in your closet, the door of which,
leading to the yard, can be left ajar, or prepare yourself to make the
best of it with the doctor, to whom I intend to deliver, if you should
refuse my request, the letter of which I enclose a copy."

The letter contained the statement of a cowardly and enraged informer,
and would certainly have caused the most unpleasant results. In that
letter Cordiani informed the doctor that his sister spent her mornings
with me in criminal connection while he was saying his mass, and he
pledged himself to enter into particulars which would leave him no doubt.

"After giving to the case the consideration it required," continued
Bettina, "I made up my mind to hear that monster; but my determination
being fixed, I put in my pocket my father's stilletto, and holding my
door ajar I waited for him there, unwilling to let him come in, as my
closet is divided only by a thin partition from the room of my father,
whom the slightest noise might have roused up. My first question to
Cordiani was in reference to the slander contained in the letter he
threatened to deliver to my brother: he answered that it was no slander,
for he had been a witness to everything that had taken place in the
morning through a hole he had bored in the garret just above your bed,
and to which he would apply his eye the moment he knew that I was in your
room. He wound up by threatening to discover everything to my brother and
to my mother, unless I granted him the same favours I had bestowed upon
you. In my just indignation I loaded him with the most bitter insults, I
called him a cowardly spy and slanderer, for he could not have seen
anything but childish playfulness, and I declared to him that he need not
flatter himself that any threat would compel me to give the slightest
compliance to his wishes. He then begged and begged my pardon a thousand
times, and went on assuring me that I must lay to my rigour the odium of
the step he had taken, the only excuse for it being in the fervent love I
had kindled in his heart, and which made him miserable. He acknowledged
that his letter might be a slander, that he had acted treacherously, and
he pledged his honour never to attempt obtaining from me by violence
favours which he desired to merit only by the constancy of his love. I
then thought myself to some extent compelled to say that I might love him
at some future time, and to promise that I would not again come near your
bed during the absence of my brother. In this way I dismissed him
satisfied, without his daring to beg for so much as a kiss, but with the
promise that we might now and then have some conversation in the same
place. As soon as he left me I went to bed, deeply grieved that I could
no longer see you in the absence of my brother, and that I was unable,
for fear of consequences, to let you know the reason of my change. Three
weeks passed off in that position, and I cannot express what have been my
sufferings, for you, of course, urged me to come, and I was always under
the painful necessity of disappointing you. I even feared to find myself
alone with you, for I felt certain that I could not have refrained from
telling you the cause of the change in my conduct. To crown my misery,
add that I found myself compelled, at least once a week, to receive the
vile Cordiani outside of my room, and to speak to him, in order to check
his impatience with a few words. At last, unable to bear up any longer
under such misery, threatened likewise by you, I determined to end my
agony. I wished to disclose to you all this intrigue, leaving to you the
care of bringing a change for the better, and for that purpose I proposed
that you should accompany me to the ball disguised as a girl, although I
knew it would enrage Cordiani; but my mind was made up. You know how my
scheme fell to the ground. The unexpected departure of my brother with my
father suggested to both of you the same idea, and it was before
receiving Cordiani's letter that I promised to come to you. Cordiani did
not ask for an appointment; he only stated that he would be waiting for
me in my closet, and I had no opportunity of telling him that I could not
allow him to come, any more than I could find time to let you know that I
would be with you only after midnight, as I intended to do, for I
reckoned that after an hour's talk I would dismiss the wretch to his
room. But my reckoning was wrong; Cordiani had conceived a scheme, and I
could not help listening to all he had to say about it. His whining and
exaggerated complaints had no end. He upbraided me for refusing to
further the plan he had concocted, and which he thought I would accept
with rapture if I loved him. The scheme was for me to elope with him
during holy week, and to run away to Ferrara, where he had an uncle who
would have given us a kind welcome, and would soon have brought his
father to forgive him and to insure our happiness for life. The
objections I made, his answers, the details to be entered into, the
explanations and the ways and means to be examined to obviate the
difficulties of the project, took up the whole night. My heart was
bleeding as I thought of you; but my conscience is at rest, and I did
nothing that could render me unworthy of your esteem. You cannot refuse
it to me, unless you believe that the confession I have just made is
untrue; but you would be both mistaken and unjust. Had I made up my mind
to sacrifice myself and to grant favours which love alone ought to
obtain, I might have got rid of the treacherous wretch within one hour,
but death seemed preferable to such a dreadful expedient. Could I in any
way suppose that you were outside of my door, exposed to the wind and to
the snow? Both of us were deserving of pity, but my misery was still
greater than yours. All these fearful circumstances were written in the
book of fate, to make me lose my reason, which now returns only at
intervals, and I am in constant dread of a fresh attack of those awful
convulsions. They say I am bewitched, and possessed of the demon; I do
not know anything about it, but if it should be true I am the most
miserable creature in existence." Bettina ceased speaking, and burst into
a violent storm of tears, sobs, and groans. I was deeply moved, although
I felt that all she had said might be true, and yet was scarcely worthy
of belief:

   'Forse era ver, ma non pero credibile
   A chi del senso suo fosse signor.'

But she was weeping, and her tears, which at all events were not
deceptive, took away from me the faculty of doubt. Yet I put her tears to
the account of her wounded self-love; to give way entirely I needed a
thorough conviction, and to obtain it evidence was necessary, probability
was not enough. I could not admit either Cordiani's moderation or
Bettina's patience, or the fact of seven hours employed in innocent
conversation. In spite of all these considerations, I felt a sort of
pleasure in accepting for ready cash all the counterfeit coins that she
had spread out before me.

After drying her tears, Bettina fixed her beautiful eyes upon mine,
thinking that she could discern in them evident signs of her victory; but
I surprised her much by alluding to one point which, with all her
cunning, she had neglected to mention in her defence. Rhetoric makes use
of nature's secrets in the same way as painters who try to imitate it:
their most beautiful work is false. This young girl, whose mind had not
been refined by study, aimed at being considered innocent and artless,
and she did her best to succeed, but I had seen too good a specimen of
her cleverness.

"Well, my dear Bettina," I said, "your story has affected me; but how do
you think I am going to accept your convulsions as natural, and to
believe in the demoniac symptoms which came on so seasonably during the
exorcisms, although you very properly expressed your doubts on the
matter?"

Hearing this, Bettina stared at me, remaining silent for a few minutes,
then casting her eyes down she gave way to fresh tears, exclaiming now
and then: "Poor me! oh, poor me!" This situation, however, becoming most
painful to me, I asked what I could do for her. She answered in a sad
tone that if my heart did not suggest to me what to do, she did not
herself see what she could demand of me.

"I thought," said she, "that I would reconquer my lost influence over
your heart, but, I see it too plainly, you no longer feel an interest in
me. Go on treating me harshly; go on taking for mere fictions sufferings
which are but too real, which you have caused, and which you will now
increase. Some day, but too late, you will be sorry, and your repentance
will be bitter indeed."

As she pronounced these words she rose to take her leave; but judging her
capable of anything I felt afraid, and I detained her to say that the
only way to regain my affection was to remain one month without
convulsions and without handsome Father Mancia's presence being required.

"I cannot help being convulsed," she answered, "but what do you mean by
applying to the Jacobin that epithet of handsome? Could you suppose--?"

"Not at all, not at all--I suppose nothing; to do so would be necessary
for me to be jealous. But I cannot help saying that the preference given
by your devils to the exorcism of that handsome monk over the
incantations of the ugly Capuchin is likely to give birth to remarks
rather detrimental to your honour. Moreover, you are free to do whatever
pleases you."

Thereupon she left my room, and a few minutes later everybody came home.

After supper the servant, without any question on my part, informed me
that Bettina had gone to bed with violent feverish chills, having
previously had her bed carried into the kitchen beside her mother's. This
attack of fever might be real, but I had my doubts. I felt certain that
she would never make up her mind to be well, for her good health would
have supplied me with too strong an argument against her pretended
innocence, even in the case of Cordiani; I likewise considered her idea
of having her bed placed near her mother's nothing but artful
contrivance.

The next day Doctor Olivo found her very feverish, and told her brother
that she would most likely be excited and delirious, but that it would be
the effect of the fever and not the work of the devil. And truly, Bettina
was raving all day, but Dr. Gozzi, placing implicit confidence in the
physician, would not listen to his mother, and did not send for the
Jacobin friar. The fever increased in violence, and on the fourth day the
small-pox broke out. Cordiani and the two brothers Feitrini, who had so
far escaped that disease, were immediately sent away, but as I had had it
before I remained at home.

The poor girl was so fearfully covered with the loathsome eruption, that
on the sixth day her skin could not be seen on any part of her body. Her
eyes closed, and her life was despaired of, when it was found that her
mouth and throat were obstructed to such a degree that she could swallow
nothing but a few drops of honey. She was perfectly motionless; she
breathed and that was all. Her mother never left her bedside, and I was
thought a saint when I carried my table and my books into the patient's
room. The unfortunate girl had become a fearful sight to look upon; her
head was dreadfully swollen, the nose could no longer be seen, and much
fear was entertained for her eyes, in case her life should be spared. The
odour of her perspiration was most offensive, but I persisted in keeping
my watch by her.

On the ninth day, the vicar gave her absolution, and after administering
extreme unction, he left her, as he said, in the hands of God. In the
midst of so much sadness, the conversation of the mother with her son,
would, in spite of myself, cause me some amount of merriment. The good
woman wanted to know whether the demon who was dwelling in her child
could still influence her to perform extravagant follies, and what would
become of the demon in the case of her daughter's death, for, as she
expressed it, she could not think of his being so stupid as to remain in
so loathsome a body. She particularly wanted to ascertain whether the
demon had power to carry off the soul of her child. Doctor Gozzi, who was
an ubiquitarian, made to all those questions answers which had not even
the shadow of good sense, and which of course had no other effect than to
increase a hundred-fold the perplexity of his poor mother.

During the tenth and eleventh days, Bettina was so bad that we thought
every moment likely to be her last. The disease had reached its worst
period; the smell was unbearable; I alone would not leave her, so sorely
did I pity her. The heart of man is indeed an unfathomable abyss, for,
however incredible it may appear, it was while in that fearful state that
Bettina inspired me with the fondness which I showed her after her
recovery.

On the thirteenth day the fever abated, but the patient began to
experience great irritation, owing to a dreadful itching, which no remedy
could have allayed as effectually as these powerful words which I kept
constantly pouring into her ear: "Bettina, you are getting better; but if
you dare to scratch yourself, you will become such a fright that nobody
will ever love you." All the physicians in the universe might be
challenged to prescribe a more potent remedy against itching for a girl
who, aware that she has been pretty, finds herself exposed to the loss of
her beauty through her own fault, if she scratches herself.

At last her fine eyes opened again to the light of heaven; she was moved
to her own room, but she had to keep her bed until Easter. She inoculated
me with a few pocks, three of which have left upon my face everlasting
marks; but in her eyes they gave me credit for great devotedness, for
they were a proof of my constant care, and she felt that I indeed
deserved her whole love. And she truly loved me, and I returned her love,
although I never plucked a flower which fate and prejudice kept in store
for a husband. But what a contemptible husband!

Two years later she married a shoemaker, by name Pigozzo--a base, arrant
knave who beggared and ill-treated her to such an extent that her brother
had to take her home and to provide for her. Fifteen years afterwards,
having been appointed arch-priest at Saint-George de la Vallee, he took
her there with him, and when I went to pay him a visit eighteen years
ago, I found Bettina old, ill, and dying. She breathed her last in my
arms in 1776, twenty-four hours after my arrival. I will speak of her
death in good time.

About that period, my mother returned from St. Petersburg, where the
Empress Anne Iwanowa had not approved of the Italian comedy. The whole of
the troop had already returned to Italy, and my mother had travelled with
Carlin Bertinazzi, the harlequin, who died in Paris in the year 1783. As
soon as she had reached Padua, she informed Doctor Gozzi of her arrival,
and he lost no time in accompanying me to the inn where she had put up.
We dined with her, and before bidding us adieu, she presented the doctor
with a splendid fur, and gave me the skin of a lynx for Bettina. Six
months afterwards she summoned me to Venice, as she wished to see me
before leaving for Dresden, where she had contracted an engagement for
life in the service of the Elector of Saxony, Augustus III., King of
Poland. She took with her my brother Jean, then eight years old, who was
weeping bitterly when he left; I thought him very foolish, for there was
nothing very tragic in that departure. He is the only one in the family
who was wholly indebted to our mother for his fortune, although he was
not her favourite child.

I spent another year in Padua, studying law in which I took the degree of
Doctor in my sixteenth year, the subject of my thesis being in the civil
law, 'de testamentis', and in the canon law, 'utrum Hebraei possint
construere novas synagogas'.

My vocation was to study medicine, and to practice it, for I felt a great
inclination for that profession, but no heed was given to my wishes, and
I was compelled to apply myself to the study of the law, for which I had
an invincible repugnance. My friends were of opinion that I could not
make my fortune in any profession but that of an advocate, and, what is
still worse, of an ecclesiastical advocate. If they had given the matter
proper consideration, they would have given me leave to follow my own
inclinations, and I would have been a physician--a profession in which
quackery is of still greater avail than in the legal business. I never
became either a physician or an advocate, and I never would apply to a
lawyer, when I had any legal business, nor call in a physician when I
happened to be ill. Lawsuits and pettifoggery may support a good many
families, but a greater proportion is ruined by them, and those who
perish in the hands, of physicians are more numerous by far than those
who get cured strong evidence in my opinion, that mankind would be much
less miserable without either lawyers or doctors.

To attend the lectures of the professors, I had to go to the university
called the Bo, and it became necessary for me to go out alone. This was a
matter of great wonder to me, for until then I had never considered
myself a free man; and in my wish to enjoy fully the liberty I thought I
had just conquered, it was not long before I had made the very worst
acquaintances amongst the most renowned students. As a matter of course,
the most renowned were the most worthless, dissolute fellows, gamblers,
frequenters of disorderly houses, hard drinkers, debauchees, tormentors
and suborners of honest girls, liars, and wholly incapable of any good or
virtuous feeling. In the company of such men did I begin my
apprenticeship of the world, learning my lesson from the book of
experience.

The theory of morals and its usefulness through the life of man can be
compared to the advantage derived by running over the index of a book
before reading it when we have perused that index we know nothing but the
subject of the work. This is like the school for morals offered by the
sermons, the precepts, and the tales which our instructors recite for our
especial benefit. We lend our whole attention to those lessons, but when
an opportunity offers of profiting by the advice thus bestowed upon us,
we feel inclined to ascertain for ourselves whether the result will turn
out as predicted; we give way to that very natural inclination, and
punishment speedily follows with concomitant repentance. Our only
consolation lies in the fact that in such moments we are conscious of our
own knowledge, and consider ourselves as having earned the right to
instruct others; but those to whom we wish to impart our experience act
exactly as we have acted before them, and, as a matter of course, the
world remains in statu quo, or grows worse and worse.

When Doctor Gozzi granted me the privilege of going out alone, he gave me
an opportunity for the discovery of several truths which, until then,
were not only unknown to me, but the very existence of which I had never
suspected. On my first appearance, the boldest scholars got hold of me
and sounded my depth. Finding that I was a thorough freshman, they
undertook my education, and with that worthy purpose in view they allowed
me to fall blindly into every trap. They taught me gambling, won the
little I possessed, and then they made me play upon trust, and put me up
to dishonest practices in order to procure the means of paying my
gambling debts; but I acquired at the same time the sad experience of
sorrow! Yet these hard lessons proved useful, for they taught me to
mistrust the impudent sycophants who openly flatter their dupes, and
never to rely upon the offers made by fawning flatterers. They taught me
likewise how to behave in the company of quarrelsome duellists, the
society of whom ought to be avoided, unless we make up our mind to be
constantly in the very teeth of danger. I was not caught in the snares of
professional lewd women, because not one of them was in my eyes as pretty
as Bettina, but I did not resist so well the desire for that species of
vain glory which is the reward of holding life at a cheap price.

In those days the students in Padua enjoyed very great privileges, which
were in reality abuses made legal through prescription, the primitive
characteristic of privileges, which differ essentially from prerogatives.
In fact, in order to maintain the legality of their privileges, the
students often committed crimes. The guilty were dealt with tenderly,
because the interest of the city demanded that severity should not
diminish the great influx of scholars who flocked to that renowned
university from every part of Europe. The practice of the Venetian
government was to secure at a high salary the most celebrated professors,
and to grant the utmost freedom to the young men attending their lessons.
The students acknowledged no authority but that of a chief, chosen among
themselves, and called syndic. He was usually a foreign nobleman, who
could keep a large establishment, and who was responsible to the
government for the behaviour of the scholars. It was his duty to give
them up to justice when they transgressed the laws, and the students
never disputed his sentence, because he always defended them to the
utmost, when they had the slightest shadow of right on their side.

The students, amongst other privileges, would not suffer their trunks to
be searched by customhouse authorities, and no ordinary policeman would
have dared to arrest one of them. They carried about them forbidden
weapons, seduced helpless girls, and often disturbed the public peace by
their nocturnal broils and impudent practical jokes; in one word, they
were a body of young fellows, whom nothing could restrain, who would
gratify every whim, and enjoy their sport without regard or consideration
for any human being.

It was about that time that a policeman entered a coffee-room, in which
were seated two students. One of them ordered him out, but the man taking
no notice of it, the student fired a pistol at him, and missed his aim.
The policeman returned the fire, wounded the aggressor, and ran away. The
students immediately mustered together at the Bo, divided into bands, and
went over the city, hunting the policemen to murder them, and avenge the
insult they had received. In one of the encounters two of the students
were killed, and all the others, assembling in one troop, swore never to
lay their arms down as long as there should be one policeman alive in
Padua. The authorities had to interfere, and the syndic of the students
undertook to put a stop to hostilities provided proper satisfaction was
given, as the police were in the wrong. The man who had shot the student
in the coffee-room was hanged, and peace was restored; but during the
eight days of agitation, as I was anxious not to appear less brave than
my comrades who were patrolling the city, I followed them in spite of
Doctor Gozzi's remonstrances. Armed with a carbine and a pair of pistols,
I ran about the town with the others, in quest of the enemy, and I
recollect how disappointed I was because the troop to which I belonged
did not meet one policeman. When the war was over, the doctor laughed at
me, but Bettina admired my valour. Unfortunately, I indulged in expenses
far above my means, owing to my unwillingness to seem poorer than my new
friends. I sold or pledged everything I possessed, and I contracted debts
which I could not possibly pay. This state of things caused my first
sorrows, and they are the most poignant sorrows under which a young man
can smart. Not knowing which way to turn, I wrote to my excellent
grandmother, begging her assistance, but instead of sending me some
money, she came to Padua on the 1st of October, 1739, and, after thanking
the doctor and Bettina for all their affectionate care, she bought me
back to Venice. As he took leave of me, the doctor, who was shedding
tears, gave me what he prized most on earth; a relic of some saint, which
perhaps I might have kept to this very day, had not the setting been of
gold. It performed only one miracle, that of being of service to me in a
moment of great need. Whenever I visited Padua, to complete my study of
the law, I stayed at the house of the kind doctor, but I was always
grieved at seeing near Bettina the brute to whom she was engaged, and who
did not appear to me deserving of such a wife. I have always regretted
that a prejudice, of which I soon got rid, should have made me preserve
for that man a flower which I could have plucked so easily.



CHAPTER IV

I receive the minor orders from the patriarch of Venice--I get acquainted
with Senator Malipiero, with Therese Imer, with the niece of the Curate,
with Madame Orio, with Nanette and Marton, and with the Cavamacchia--I
become a preacher--my adventure with Lucie at Pasean A rendezvous on the
third story.

"He comes from Padua, where he has completed his studies." Such were the
words by which I was everywhere introduced, and which, the moment they
were uttered, called upon me the silent observation of every young man of
my age and condition, the compliments of all fathers, and the caresses of
old women, as well as the kisses of a few who, although not old, were not
sorry to be considered so for the sake of embracing a young man without
impropriety. The curate of Saint-Samuel, the Abbe Josello, presented me
to Monsignor Correre, Patriarch of Venice, who gave me the tonsure, and
who, four months afterwards, by special favour, admitted me to the four
minor orders. No words could express the joy and the pride of my
grandmother. Excellent masters were given to me to continue my studies,
and M. Baffo chose the Abbe Schiavo to teach me a pure Italian style,
especially poetry, for which I had a decided talent. I was very
comfortably lodged with my brother Francois, who was studying theatrical
architecture. My sister and my youngest brother were living with our
grandam in a house of her own, in which it was her wish to die, because
her husband had there breathed his last. The house in which I dwelt was
the same in which my father had died, and the rent of which my mother
continued to pay. It was large and well furnished.

Although Abbe Grimani was my chief protector, I seldom saw him, and I
particularly attached myself to M. de Malipiero, to whom I had been
presented by the Curate Josello. M. de Malipiero was a senator, who was
unwilling at seventy years of age to attend any more to State affairs,
and enjoyed a happy, sumptuous life in his mansion, surrounded every
evening by a well-chosen party of ladies who had all known how to make
the best of their younger days, and of gentlemen who were always
acquainted with the news of the town. He was a bachelor and wealthy, but,
unfortunately, he had three or four times every year severe attacks of
gout, which always left him crippled in some part or other of his body,
so that all his person was disabled. His head, his lungs, and his stomach
had alone escaped this cruel havoc. He was still a fine man, a great
epicure, and a good judge of wine; his wit was keen, his knowledge of the
world extensive, his eloquence worthy of a son of Venice, and he had that
wisdom which must naturally belong to a senator who for forty years has
had the management of public affairs, and to a man who has bid farewell
to women after having possessed twenty mistresses, and only when he felt
himself compelled to acknowledge that he could no longer be accepted by
any woman. Although almost entirely crippled, he did not appear to be so
when he was seated, when he talked, or when he was at table. He had only
one meal a day, and always took it alone because, being toothless and
unable to eat otherwise than very slowly, he did not wish to hurry
himself out of compliment to his guests, and would have been sorry to see
them waiting for him. This feeling deprived him of the pleasure he would
have enjoyed in entertaining at his board friendly and agreeable guests,
and caused great sorrow to his excellent cook.

The first time I had the honour of being introduced to him by the curate,
I opposed earnestly the reason which made him eat his meals in solitude,
and I said that his excellency had only to invite guests whose appetite
was good enough to enable them to eat a double share.

"But where can I find such table companions?" he asked.

"It is rather a delicate matter," I answered; "but you must take your
guests on trial, and after they have been found such as you wish them to
be, the only difficulty will be to keep them as your guests without their
being aware of the real cause of your preference, for no respectable man
could acknowledge that he enjoys the honour of sitting at your
excellency's table only because he eats twice as much as any other man."

The senator understood the truth of my argument, and asked the curate to
bring me to dinner on the following day. He found my practice even better
than my theory, and I became his daily guest.

This man, who had given up everything in life except his own self,
fostered an amorous inclination, in spite of his age and of his gout. He
loved a young girl named Therese Imer, the daughter of an actor residing
near his mansion, her bedroom window being opposite to his own. This
young girl, then in her seventeenth year, was pretty, whimsical, and a
regular coquette. She was practising music with a view to entering the
theatrical profession, and by showing herself constantly at the window
she had intoxicated the old senator, and was playing with him cruelly.
She paid him a daily visit, but always escorted by her mother, a former
actress, who had retired from the stage in order to work out her
salvation, and who, as a matter of course, had made up her mind to
combine the interests of heaven with the works of this world. She took
her daughter to mass every day and compelled her to go to confession
every week; but every afternoon she accompanied her in a visit to the
amorous old man, the rage of whom frightened me when she refused him a
kiss under the plea that she had performed her devotions in the morning,
and that she could not reconcile herself to the idea of offending the God
who was still dwelling in her.

What a sight for a young man of fifteen like me, whom the old man
admitted as the only and silent witness of these erotic scenes! The
miserable mother applauded her daughter's reserve, and went so far as to
lecture the elderly lover, who, in his turn, dared not refute her maxims,
which savoured either too much or too little of Christianity, and
resisted a very strong inclination to hurl at her head any object he had
at hand. Anger would then take the place of lewd desires, and after they
had retired he would comfort himself by exchanging with me philosophical
considerations.

Compelled to answer him, and not knowing well what to say, I ventured one
day upon advising a marriage. He struck me with amazement when he
answered that she refused to marry him from fear of drawing upon herself
the hatred of his relatives.

"Then make her the offer of a large sum of money, or a position."

"She says that she would not, even for a crown, commit a deadly sin."

"In that case, you must either take her by storm, or banish her for ever
from your presence."

"I can do neither one nor the other; physical as well as moral strength
is deficient in me."

"Kill her, then."

"That will very likely be the case unless I die first."

"Indeed I pity your excellency."

"Do you sometimes visit her?"

"No, for I might fall in love with her, and I would be miserable."

"You are right."

Witnessing many such scenes, and taking part in many similar
conversations, I became an especial favourite with the old nobleman. I
was invited to his evening assemblies which were, as I have stated
before, frequented by superannuated women and witty men. He told me that
in this circle I would learn a science of greater import than Gassendi's
philosophy, which I was then studying by his advice instead of
Aristotle's, which he turned into ridicule. He laid down some precepts
for my conduct in those assemblies, explaining the necessity of my
observing them, as there would be some wonder at a young man of my age
being received at such parties. He ordered me never to open my lips
except to answer direct questions, and particularly enjoined me never to
pass an opinion on any subject, because at my age I could not be allowed
to have any opinions.

I faithfully followed his precepts, and obeyed his orders so well, that
in a few days I had gained his esteem, and become the child of the house,
as well as the favourite of all the ladies who visited him. In my
character of a young and innocent ecclesiastic, they would ask me to
accompany them in their visits to the convents where their daughters or
their nieces were educated; I was at all hours received at their houses
without even being announced; I was scolded if a week elapsed without my
calling upon them, and when I went to the apartments reserved for the
young ladies, they would run away, but the moment they saw that the
intruder was only I, they would return at once, and their confidence was
very charming to me.

Before dinner, M. de Malipiero would often inquire from me what
advantages were accruing to me from the welcome I received at the hands
of the respectable ladies I had become acquainted with at his house,
taking care to tell me, before I could have time to answer, that they
were all endowed with the greatest virtue, and that I would give
everybody a bad opinion of myself, if I ever breathed one word of
disparagement to the high reputation they all enjoyed. In this way he
would inculcate in me the wise precept of reserve and discretion.

It was at the senator's house that I made the acquaintance of Madame
Manzoni, the wife of a notary public, of whom I shall have to speak very
often. This worthy lady inspired me with the deepest attachment, and she
gave me the wisest advice. Had I followed it, and profited by it, my life
would not have been exposed to so many storms; it is true that in that
case, my life would not be worth writing.

All these fine acquaintances amongst women who enjoyed the reputation of
being high-bred ladies, gave me a very natural desire to shine by my good
looks and by the elegance of my dress; but my father confessor, as well
as my grandmother, objected very strongly to this feeling of vanity. On
one occasion, taking me apart, the curate told me, with honeyed words,
that in the profession to which I had devoted myself my thoughts ought to
dwell upon the best means of being agreeable to God, and not on pleasing
the world by my fine appearance. He condemned my elaborate curls, and the
exquisite perfume of my pomatum. He said that the devil had got hold of
me by the hair, that I would be excommunicated if I continued to take
such care of it, and concluded by quoting for my benefit these words from
an oecumenical council: 'clericus qui nutrit coman, anathema sit'. I
answered him with the names of several fashionable perfumed abbots, who
were not threatened with excommunication, who were not interfered with,
although they wore four times as much powder as I did--for I only used a
slight sprinkling--who perfumed their hair with a certain amber-scented
pomatum which brought women to the very point of fainting, while mine, a
jessamine pomade, called forth the compliment of every circle in which I
was received. I added that I could not, much to my regret, obey him, and
that if I had meant to live in slovenliness, I would have become a
Capuchin and not an abbe.

My answer made him so angry that, three or four days afterwards, he
contrived to obtain leave from my grandmother to enter my chamber early
in the morning, before I was awake, and, approaching my bed on tiptoe
with a sharp pair of scissors, he cut off unmercifully all my front hair,
from one ear to the other. My brother Francois was in the adjoining room
and saw him, but he did not interfere as he was delighted at my
misfortune. He wore a wig, and was very jealous of my beautiful head of
hair. Francois was envious through the whole of his life; yet he combined
this feeling of envy with friendship; I never could understand him; but
this vice of his, like my own vices, must by this time have died of old
age.

After his great operation, the abbe left my room quietly, but when I woke
up shortly afterwards, and realized all the horror of this unheard-of
execution, my rage and indignation were indeed wrought to the highest
pitch.

What wild schemes of revenge my brain engendered while, with a
looking-glass in my hand, I was groaning over the shameful havoc
performed by this audacious priest! At the noise I made my grandmother
hastened to my room, and amidst my brother's laughter the kind old woman
assured me that the priest would never have been allowed to enter my room
if she could have foreseen his intention, and she managed to soothe my
passion to some extent by confessing that he had over-stepped the limits
of his right to administer a reproof.

But I was determined upon revenge, and I went on dressing myself and
revolving in my mind the darkest plots. It seemed to me that I was
entitled to the most cruel revenge, without having anything to dread from
the terrors of the law. The theatres being open at that time I put on a
mask to go out, and I, went to the advocate Carrare, with whom I had
become acquainted at the senator's house, to inquire from him whether I
could bring a suit against the priest. He told me that, but a short time
since, a family had been ruined for having sheared the moustache of a
Sclavonian--a crime not nearly so atrocious as the shearing of all my
front locks, and that I had only to give him my instructions to begin a
criminal suit against the abbe, which would make him tremble. I gave my
consent, and begged that he would tell M. de Malipiero in the evening the
reason for which I could not go to his house, for I did not feel any
inclination to show myself anywhere until my hair had grown again.

I went home and partook with my brother of a repast which appeared rather
scanty in comparison to the dinners I had with the old senator. The
privation of the delicate and plentiful fare to which his excellency had
accustomed me was most painful, besides all the enjoyments from which I
was excluded through the atrocious conduct of the virulent priest, who
was my godfather. I wept from sheer vexation; and my rage was increased
by the consciousness that there was in this insult a certain dash of
comical fun which threw over me a ridicule more disgraceful in my
estimation than the greatest crime.

I went to bed early, and, refreshed by ten hours of profound slumber, I
felt in the morning somewhat less angry, but quite as determined to
summon the priest before a court. I dressed myself with the intention of
calling upon my advocate, when I received the visit of a skilful
hair-dresser whom I had seen at Madame Cantarini's house. He told me that
he was sent by M. de Malipiero to arrange my hair so that I could go out,
as the senator wished me to dine with him on that very day. He examined
the damage done to my head, and said, with a smile, that if I would trust
to his art, he would undertake to send me out with an appearance of even
greater elegance than I could boast of before; and truly, when he had
done, I found myself so good-looking that I considered my thirst for
revenge entirely satisfied.

Having thus forgotten the injury, I called upon the lawyer to tell him to
stay all proceedings, and I hastened to M. de Malipiero's palace, where,
as chance would have it, I met the abbe. Notwithstanding all my joy, I
could not help casting upon him rather unfriendly looks, but not a word
was said about what had taken place. The senator noticed everything, and
the priest took his leave, most likely with feelings of mortified
repentance, for this time I most verily deserved excommunication by the
extreme studied elegance of my curling hair.

When my cruel godfather had left us, I did not dissemble with M. de
Malipiero; I candidly told him that I would look out for another church,
and that nothing would induce me to remain under a priest who, in his
wrath, could go the length of such proceedings. The wise old man agreed
with me, and said that I was quite right: it was the best way to make me
do ultimately whatever he liked. In the evening everyone in our circle,
being well aware of what had happened, complimented me, and assured me
that nothing could be handsomer than my new head-dress. I was delighted,
and was still more gratified when, after a fortnight had elapsed, I found
that M. de Malipiero did not broach the subject of my returning to my
godfather's church. My grandmother alone constantly urged me to return.
But this calm was the harbinger of a storm. When my mind was thoroughly
at rest on that subject, M. de Malipiero threw me into the greatest
astonishment by suddenly telling me that an excellent opportunity offered
itself for me to reappear in the church and to secure ample satisfaction
from the abbe.

"It is my province," added the senator, "as president of the
Confraternity of the Holy Sacrament, to choose the preacher who is to
deliver the sermon on the fourth Sunday of this month, which happens to
be the second Christmas holiday. I mean to appoint you, and I am certain
that the abbe will not dare to reject my choice. What say you to such a
triumphant reappearance? Does it satisfy you?"

This offer caused me the greatest surprise, for I had never dreamt of
becoming a preacher, and I had never been vain enough to suppose that I
could write a sermon and deliver it in the church. I told M. de Malipiero
that he must surely be enjoying a joke at my expense, but he answered
that he had spoken in earnest, and he soon contrived to persuade me and
to make me believe that I was born to become the most renowned preacher
of our age as soon as I should have grown fat--a quality which I
certainly could not boast of, for at that time I was extremely thin. I
had not the shadow of a fear as to my voice or to my elocution, and for
the matter of composing my sermon I felt myself equal to the production
of a masterpiece.

I told M. de Malipiero that I was ready, and anxious to be at home in
order to go to work; that, although no theologian, I was acquainted with
my subject, and would compose a sermon which would take everyone by
surprise on account of its novelty.

On the following day, when I called upon him, he informed me that the
abbe had expressed unqualified delight at the choice made by him, and at
my readiness in accepting the appointment; but he likewise desired that I
should submit my sermon to him as soon as it was written, because the
subject belonging to the most sublime theology he could not allow me to
enter the pulpit without being satisfied that I would not utter any
heresies. I agreed to this demand, and during the week I gave birth to my
masterpiece. I have now that first sermon in my possession, and I cannot
help saying that, considering my tender years, I think it a very good
one.

I could not give an idea of my grandmother's joy; she wept tears of
happiness at having a grandson who had become an apostle. She insisted
upon my reading my sermon to her, listened to it with her beads in her
hands, and pronounced it very beautiful. M. de Malipiero, who had no
rosary when I read it to him, was of opinion that it would not prove
acceptable to the parson. My text was from Horace: 'Ploravere suis non
respondere favorem sperdtum meritis'; and I deplored the wickedness and
ingratitude of men, through which had failed the design adopted by Divine
wisdom for the redemption of humankind. But M. de Malipiero was sorry
that I had taken my text from any heretical poet, although he was pleased
that my sermon was not interlarded with Latin quotations.

I called upon the priest to read my production; but as he was out I had
to wait for his return, and during that time I fell in love with his
niece, Angela. She was busy upon some tambour work; I sat down close by
her, and telling me that she had long desired to make my acquaintance,
she begged me to relate the history of the locks of hair sheared by her
venerable uncle.

My love for Angela proved fatal to me, because from it sprang two other
love affairs which, in their turn, gave birth to a great many others, and
caused me finally to renounce the Church as a profession. But let us
proceed quietly, and not encroach upon future events.

On his return home the abbe found me with his niece, who was about my
age, and he did not appear to be angry. I gave him my sermon: he read it
over, and told me that it was a beautiful academical dissertation, but
unfit for a sermon from the pulpit, and he added,

"I will give you a sermon written by myself, which I have never
delivered; you will commit it to memory, and I promise to let everybody
suppose that it is of your own composition."

"I thank you, very reverend father, but I will preach my own sermon, or
none at all."

"At all events, you shall not preach such a sermon as this in my church."

"You can talk the matter over with M. de Malipiero. In the meantime I
will take my work to the censorship, and to His Eminence the Patriarch,
and if it is not accepted I shall have it printed."

"All very well, young man. The patriarch will coincide with me."

In the evening I related my discussion with the parson before all the
guests of M. de Malipiero. The reading of my sermon was called for, and
it was praised by all. They lauded me for having with proper modesty
refrained from quoting the holy fathers of the Church, whom at my age I
could not be supposed to have sufficiently studied, and the ladies
particularly admired me because there was no Latin in it but the Text
from Horace, who, although a great libertine himself, has written very
good things. A niece of the patriarch, who was present that evening,
promised to prepare her uncle in my favour, as I had expressed my
intention to appeal to him; but M. de Malipiero desired me not to take
any steps in the matter until I had seen him on the following day, and I
submissively bowed to his wishes.

When I called at his mansion the next day he sent for the priest, who
soon made his appearance. As he knew well what he had been sent for, he
immediately launched out into a very long discourse, which I did not
interrupt, but the moment he had concluded his list of objections I told
him that there could not be two ways to decide the question; that the
patriarch would either approve or disapprove my sermon.

"In the first case," I added, "I can pronounce it in your church, and no
responsibility can possibly fall upon your shoulders; in the second, I
must, of course, give way."

The abbe was struck by my determination and he said,

"Do not go to the patriarch; I accept your sermon; I only request you to
change your text. Horace was a villain."

"Why do you quote Seneca, Tertullian, Origen, and Boethius? They were all
heretics, and must, consequently, be considered by you as worse wretches
than Horace, who, after all, never had the chance of becoming a
Christian!"

However, as I saw it would please M. de Malipiero, I finally consented to
accept, as a substitute for mine, a text offered by the abbe, although it
did not suit in any way the spirit of my production; and in order to get
an opportunity for a visit to his niece, I gave him my manuscript, saying
that I would call for it the next day. My vanity prompted me to send a
copy to Doctor Gozzi, but the good man caused me much amusement by
returning it and writing that I must have gone mad, and that if I were
allowed to deliver such a sermon from the pulpit I would bring dishonour
upon myself as well as upon the man who had educated me.

I cared but little for his opinion, and on the appointed day I delivered
my sermon in the Church of the Holy Sacrament in the presence of the best
society of Venice. I received much applause, and every one predicted that
I would certainly become the first preacher of our century, as no young
ecclesiastic of fifteen had ever been known to preach as well as I had
done. It is customary for the faithful to deposit their offerings for the
preacher in a purse which is handed to them for that purpose.

The sexton who emptied it of its contents found in it more than fifty
sequins, and several billets-doux, to the great scandal of the weaker
brethren. An anonymous note amongst them, the writer of which I thought I
had guessed, let me into a mistake which I think better not to relate.
This rich harvest, in my great penury, caused me to entertain serious
thoughts of becoming a preacher, and I confided my intention to the
parson, requesting his assistance to carry it into execution. This gave
me the privilege of visiting at his house every day, and I improved the
opportunity of conversing with Angela, for whom my love was daily
increasing. But Angela was virtuous. She did not object to my love, but
she wished me to renounce the Church and to marry her. In spite of my
infatuation for her, I could not make up my mind to such a step, and I
went on seeing her and courting her in the hope that she would alter her
decision.

The priest, who had at last confessed his admiration for my first sermon,
asked me, some time afterwards, to prepare another for St. Joseph's Day,
with an invitation to deliver it on the 19th of March, 1741. I composed
it, and the abbe spoke of it with enthusiasm, but fate had decided that I
should never preach but once in my life. It is a sad tale, unfortunately
for me very true, which some persons are cruel enough to consider very
amusing.

Young and rather self-conceited, I fancied that it was not necessary for
me to spend much time in committing my sermon to memory. Being the
author, I had all the ideas contained in my work classified in my mind,
and it did not seem to me within the range of possibilities that I could
forget what I had written. Perhaps I might not remember the exact words
of a sentence, but I was at liberty to replace them by other expressions
as good, and as I never happened to be at a loss, or to be struck dumb,
when I spoke in society, it was not likely that such an untoward accident
would befall me before an audience amongst whom I did not know anyone who
could intimidate me and cause me suddenly to lose the faculty of reason
or of speech. I therefore took my pleasure as usual, being satisfied with
reading my sermon morning and evening, in order to impress it upon my
memory which until then had never betrayed me.

The 19th of March came, and on that eventful day at four o'clock in the
afternoon I was to ascend the pulpit; but, believing myself quite secure
and thoroughly master of my subject, I had not the moral courage to deny
myself the pleasure of dining with Count Mont-Real, who was then residing
with me, and who had invited the patrician Barozzi, engaged to be married
to his daughter after the Easter holidays.

I was still enjoying myself with my fine company, when the sexton of the
church came in to tell me that they were waiting for me in the vestry.
With a full stomach and my head rather heated, I took my leave, ran to
the church, and entered the pulpit. I went through the exordium with
credit to myself, and I took breathing time; but scarcely had I
pronounced the first sentences of the narration, before I forgot what I
was saying, what I had to say, and in my endeavours to proceed, I fairly
wandered from my subject and I lost myself entirely. I was still more
discomforted by a half-repressed murmur of the audience, as my deficiency
appeared evident. Several persons left the church, others began to smile,
I lost all presence of mind and every hope of getting out of the scrape.

I could not say whether I feigned a fainting fit, or whether I truly
swooned; all I know is that I fell down on the floor of the pulpit,
striking my head against the wall, with an inward prayer for
annihilation.

Two of the parish clerks carried me to the vestry, and after a few
moments, without addressing a word to anyone, I took my cloak and my hat,
and went home to lock myself in my room. I immediately dressed myself in
a short coat, after the fashion of travelling priests, I packed a few
things in a trunk, obtained some money from my grandmother, and took my
departure for Padua, where I intended to pass my third examination. I
reached Padua at midnight, and went to Doctor Gozzi's house, but I did
not feel the slightest temptation to mention to him my unlucky adventure.

I remained in Padua long enough to prepare myself for the doctor's
degree, which I intended to take the following year, and after Easter I
returned to Venice, where my misfortune was already forgotten; but
preaching was out of the question, and when any attempt was made to
induce me to renew my efforts, I manfully kept to my determination never
to ascend the pulpit again.

On the eve of Ascension Day M. Manzoni introduced me to a young
courtesan, who was at that time in great repute at Venice, and was
nick-named Cavamacchia, because her father had been a scourer. This named
vexed her a great deal, she wished to be called Preati, which was her
family name, but it was all in vain, and the only concession her friends
would make was to call her by her Christian name of Juliette. She had
been introduced to fashionable notice by the Marquis de Sanvitali, a
nobleman from Parma, who had given her one hundred thousand ducats for
her favours. Her beauty was then the talk of everybody in Venice, and it
was fashionable to call upon her. To converse with her, and especially to
be admitted into her circle, was considered a great boon.

As I shall have to mention her several times in the course of my history,
my readers will, I trust, allow me to enter into some particulars about
her previous life.

Juliette was only fourteen years of age when her father sent her one day
to the house of a Venetian nobleman, Marco Muazzo, with a coat which he
had cleaned for him. He thought her very beautiful in spite of the dirty
rags in which she was dressed, and he called to see her at her father's
shop, with a friend of his, the celebrated advocate, Bastien Uccelli,
who; struck by the romantic and cheerful nature of Juliette still more
than by her beauty and fine figure, gave her an apartment, made her study
music, and kept her as his mistress. At the time of the fair, Bastien
took her with him to various public places of resort; everywhere she
attracted general attention, and secured the admiration of every lover of
the sex. She made rapid progress in music, and at the end of six months
she felt sufficient confidence in herself to sign an engagement with a
theatrical manager who took her to Vienna to give her a 'castrato' part
in one of Metastasio's operas.

The advocate had previously ceded her to a wealthy Jew who, after giving
her splendid diamonds, left her also.

In Vienna, Juliette appeared on the stage, and her beauty gained for her
an admiration which she would never have conquered by her very inferior
talent. But the constant crowd of adorers who went to worship the
goddess, having sounded her exploits rather too loudly, the august
Maria-Theresa objected to this new creed being sanctioned in her capital,
and the beautiful actress received an order to quit Vienna forthwith.

Count Spada offered her his protection, and brought her back to Venice,
but she soon left for Padua where she had an engagement. In that city she
kindled the fire of love in the breast of Marquis Sanvitali, but the
marchioness having caught her once in her own box, and Juliette having
acted disrespectfully to her, she slapped her face, and the affair having
caused a good deal of noise, Juliette gave up the stage altogether. She
came back to Venice, where, made conspicuous by her banishment from
Vienna, she could not fail to make her fortune. Expulsion from Vienna,
for this class of women, had become a title to fashionable favour, and
when there was a wish to depreciate a singer or a dancer, it was said of
her that she had not been sufficiently prized to be expelled from Vienna.

After her return, her first lover was Steffano Querini de Papozzes, but
in the spring of 1740, the Marquis de Sanvitali came to Venice and soon
carried her off. It was indeed difficult to resist this delightful
marquis! His first present to the fair lady was a sum of one hundred
thousand ducats, and, to prevent his being accused of weakness or of
lavish prodigality, he loudly proclaimed that the present could scarcely
make up for the insult Juliette had received from his wife--an insult,
however, which the courtesan never admitted, as she felt that there would
be humiliation in such an acknowledgment, and she always professed to
admire with gratitude her lover's generosity. She was right; the
admission of the blow received would have left a stain upon her charms,
and how much more to her taste to allow those charms to be prized at such
a high figure!

It was in the year 1741 that M. Manzoni introduced me to this new Phryne
as a young ecclesiastic who was beginning to make a reputation. I found
her surrounded by seven or eight well-seasoned admirers, who were burning
at her feet the incense of their flattery. She was carelessly reclining
on a sofa near Querini. I was much struck with her appearance. She eyed
me from head to foot, as if I had been exposed for sale, and telling me,
with the air of a princess, that she was not sorry to make my
acquaintance, she invited me to take a seat. I began then, in my turn, to
examine her closely and deliberately, and it was an easy matter, as the
room, although small, was lighted with at least twenty wax candles.

Juliette was then in her eighteenth year; the freshness of her complexion
was dazzling, but the carnation tint of her cheeks, the vermilion of her
lips, and the dark, very narrow curve of her eyebrows, impressed me as
being produced by art rather than nature. Her teeth--two rows of
magnificent pearls--made one overlook the fact that her mouth was
somewhat too large, and whether from habit, or because she could not help
it, she seemed to be ever smiling. Her bosom, hid under a light gauze,
invited the desires of love; yet I did not surrender to her charms. Her
bracelets and the rings which covered her fingers did not prevent me from
noticing that her hand was too large and too fleshy, and in spite of her
carefully hiding her feet, I judged, by a telltale slipper lying close by
her dress, that they were well proportioned to the height of her
figure--a proportion which is unpleasant not only to the Chinese and
Spaniards, but likewise to every man of refined taste. We want a tall
women to have a small foot, and certainly it is not a modern taste, for
Holofernes of old was of the same opinion; otherwise he would not have
thought Judith so charming: 'et sandalid ejus rapuerunt oculos ejus'.
Altogether I found her beautiful, but when I compared her beauty and the
price of one hundred thousand ducats paid for it, I marvelled at my
remaining so cold, and at my not being tempted to give even one sequin
for the privilege of making from nature a study of the charms which her
dress concealed from my eyes.

I had scarcely been there a quarter of an hour when the noise made by the
oars of a gondola striking the water heralded the prodigal marquis. We
all rose from our seats, and M. Querini hastened, somewhat blushing, to
quit his place on the sofa. M. de Sanvitali, a man of middle age, who had
travelled much, took a seat near Juliette, but not on the sofa, so she
was compelled to turn round. It gave me the opportunity of seeing her
full front, while I had before only a side view of her face.

After my introduction to Juliette, I paid her four or five visits, and I
thought myself justified, by the care I had given to the examination of
her beauty, in saying in M. de Malipiero's draw-room, one evening, when
my opinion about her was asked, that she could please only a glutton with
depraved tastes; that she had neither the fascination of simple nature
nor any knowledge of society, that she was deficient in well-bred, easy
manners as well as in striking talents and that those were the qualities
which a thorough gentleman liked to find in a woman. This opinion met the
general approbation of his friends, but M. de Malipiero kindly whispered
to me that Juliette would certainly be informed of the portrait I had
drawn of her, and that she would become my sworn enemy. He had guessed
rightly.

I thought Juliette very singular, for she seldom spoke to me, and
whenever she looked at me she made use of an eye-glass, or she contracted
her eye-lids, as if she wished to deny me the honour of seeing her eyes,
which were beyond all dispute very beautiful. They were blue, wondrously
large and full, and tinted with that unfathomable variegated iris which
nature only gives to youth, and which generally disappears, after having
worked miracles, when the owner reaches the shady side of forty.
Frederick the Great preserved it until his death.

Juliette was informed of the portrait I had given of her to M. de
Malipiero's friends by the indiscreet pensioner, Xavier Cortantini. One
evening I called upon her with M. Manzoni, and she told him that a
wonderful judge of beauty had found flaws in hers, but she took good care
not to specify them. It was not difficult to make out that she was
indirectly firing at me, and I prepared myself for the ostracism which I
was expecting, but which, however, she kept in abeyance fully for an
hour. At last, our conversation falling upon a concert given a few days
before by Imer, the actor, and in which his daughter, Therese, had taken
a brilliant part, Juliette turned round to me and inquired what M. de
Malipiero did for Therese. I said that he was educating her. "He can well
do it," she answered, "for he is a man of talent; but I should like to
know what he can do with you?"

"Whatever he can."

"I am told that he thinks you rather stupid."

As a matter of course, she had the laugh on her side, and I, confused,
uncomfortable and not knowing what to say, took leave after having cut a
very sorry figure, and determined never again to darken her door. The
next day at dinner the account of my adventure caused much amusement to
the old senator.

Throughout the summer, I carried on a course of Platonic love with my
charming Angela at the house of her teacher of embroidery, but her
extreme reserve excited me, and my love had almost become a torment to
myself. With my ardent nature, I required a mistress like Bettina, who
knew how to satisfy my love without wearing it out. I still retained some
feelings of purity, and I entertained the deepest veneration for Angela.
She was in my eyes the very palladium of Cecrops. Still very innocent, I
felt some disinclination towards women, and I was simple enough to be
jealous of even their husbands.

Angela would not grant me the slightest favour, yet she was no flirt; but
the fire beginning in me parched and withered me. The pathetic entreaties
which I poured out of my heart had less effect upon her than upon two
young sisters, her companions and friends: had I not concentrated every
look of mine upon the heartless girl, I might have discovered that her
friends excelled her in beauty and in feeling, but my prejudiced eyes saw
no one but Angela. To every outpouring of my love she answered that she
was quite ready to become my wife, and that such was to be the limit of
my wishes; when she condescended to add that she suffered as much as I
did myself, she thought she had bestowed upon me the greatest of favours.

Such was the state of my mind, when, in the first days of autumn, I
received a letter from the Countess de Mont-Real with an invitation to
spend some time at her beautiful estate at Pasean. She expected many
guests, and among them her own daughter, who had married a Venetian
nobleman, and who had a great reputation for wit and beauty, although she
had but one eye; but it was so beautiful that it made up for the loss of
the other. I accepted the invitation, and Pasean offering me a constant
round of pleasures, it was easy enough for me to enjoy myself, and to
forget for the time the rigours of the cruel Angela.

I was given a pretty room on the ground floor, opening upon the gardens
of Pasean, and I enjoyed its comforts without caring to know who my
neighbours were.

The morning after my arrival, at the very moment I awoke, my eyes were
delighted with the sight of the charming creature who brought me my
coffee. She was a very young girl, but as well formed as a young person
of seventeen; yet she had scarcely completed her fourteenth year. The
snow of her complexion, her hair as dark as the raven's wing, her black
eyes beaming with fire and innocence, her dress composed only of a
chemise and a short petticoat which exposed a well-turned leg and the
prettiest tiny foot, every detail I gathered in one instant presented to
my looks the most original and the most perfect beauty I had ever beheld.
I looked at her with the greatest pleasure, and her eyes rested upon me
as if we had been old acquaintances.

"How did you find your bed?" she asked.

"Very comfortable; I am sure you made it. Pray, who are you?"

"I am Lucie, the daughter of the gate-keeper: I have neither brothers nor
sisters, and I am fourteen years old. I am very glad you have no servant
with you; I will be your little maid, and I am sure you will be pleased
with me."

Delighted at this beginning, I sat up in my bed and she helped me to put
on my dressing-gown, saying a hundred things which I did not understand.
I began to drink my coffee, quite amazed at her easy freedom, and struck
with her beauty, to which it would have been impossible to remain
indifferent. She had seated herself on my bed, giving no other apology
for that liberty than the most delightful smile.

I was still sipping my coffee, when Lucie's parents came into my room.
She did not move from her place on the bed, but she looked at them,
appearing very proud of such a seat. The good people kindly scolded her,
begged my forgiveness in her favour, and Lucie left the room to attend to
her other duties. The moment she had gone her father and mother began to
praise their daughter.

"She is," they said, "our only child, our darling pet, the hope of our
old age. She loves and obeys us, and fears God; she is as clean as a new
pin, and has but one fault."

"What is that?"

"She is too young."

"That is a charming fault which time will mend."

I was not long in ascertaining that they were living specimens of
honesty, of truth, of homely virtues, and of real happiness. I was
delighted at this discovery, when Lucie returned as gay as a lark,
prettily dressed, her hair done in a peculiar way of her own, and with
well-fitting shoes. She dropped a simple courtesy before me, gave a
couple of hearty kisses to both her parents, and jumped on her father
knees. I asked her to come and sit on my bed, but she answered that she
could not take such a liberty now that she was dressed, The simplicity,
artlessness, and innocence of the answer seemed to me very enchanting,
and brought a smile on my lips. I examined her to see whether she was
prettier in her new dress or in the morning's negligee, and I decided in
favour of the latter. To speak the truth, Lucie was, I thought, superior
in everything, not only to Angela, but even to Bettina.

The hair-dresser made his appearance, and the honest family left my room.
When I was dressed I went to meet the countess and her amiable daughter.
The day passed off very pleasantly, as is generally the case in the
country, when you are amongst agreeable people.

In the morning, the moment my eyes were opened,

I rang the bell, and pretty Lucie came in, simple and natural as before,
with her easy manners and wonderful remarks. Her candour, her innocence
shone brilliantly all over her person. I could not conceive how, with her
goodness, her virtue and her intelligence, she could run the risk of
exciting me by coming into my room alone, and with so much familiarity. I
fancied that she would not attach much importance to certain slight
liberties, and would not prove over-scrupulous, and with that idea I made
up my mind to shew her that I fully understood her. I felt no remorse of
conscience on the score of her parents, who, in my estimation, were as
careless as herself; I had no dread of being the first to give the alarm
to her innocence, or to enlighten her mind with the gloomy light of
malice, but, unwilling either to be the dupe of feeling or to act against
it, I resolved to reconnoitre the ground. I extend a daring hand towards
her person, and by an involuntary movement she withdraws, blushes, her
cheerfulness disappears, and, turning her head aside as if she were in
search of something, she waits until her agitation has subsided. The
whole affair had not lasted one minute. She came back, abashed at the
idea that she had proved herself rather knowing, and at the dread of
having perhaps given a wrong interpretation to an action which might have
been, on my part, perfectly innocent, or the result of politeness. Her
natural laugh soon returned, and, having rapidly read in her mind all I
have just described, I lost no time in restoring her confidence, and,
judging that I would venture too much by active operations, I resolved to
employ the following morning in a friendly chat during which I could make
her out better.

In pursuance of that plan, the next morning, as we were talking, I told
her that it was cold, but that she would not feel it if she would lie
down near me.

"Shall I disturb you?" she said.

"No; but I am thinking that if your mother happened to come in, she would
be angry."

"Mother would not think of any harm."

"Come, then. But Lucie, do you know what danger you are exposing yourself
to?"

"Certainly I do; but you are good, and, what is more, you are a priest."

"Come; only lock the door."

"No, no, for people might think.... I do not know what." She laid down
close by me, and kept on her chatting, although I did not understand a
word of what she said, for in that singular position, and unwilling to
give way to my ardent desires, I remained as still as a log.

Her confidence in her safety, confidence which was certainly not feigned,
worked upon my feelings to such an extent that I would have been ashamed
to take any advantage of it. At last she told me that nine o'clock had
struck, and that if old Count Antonio found us as we were, he would tease
her with his jokes. "When I see that man," she said, "I am afraid and I
run away." Saying these words, she rose from the bed and left the room.

I remained motionless for a long while, stupefied, benumbed, and mastered
by the agitation of my excited senses as well as by my thoughts. The next
morning, as I wished to keep calm, I only let her sit down on my bed, and
the conversation I had with her proved without the shadow of a doubt that
her parents had every reason to idolize her, and that the easy freedom of
her mind as well as of her behaviour with me was entirely owing to her
innocence and to her purity. Her artlessness, her vivacity, her eager
curiosity, and the bashful blushes which spread over her face whenever
her innocent or jesting remarks caused me to laugh, everything, in fact,
convinced me that she was an angel destined to become the victim of the
first libertine who would undertake to seduce her. I felt sufficient
control over my own feelings to resist any attempt against her virtue
which my conscience might afterwards reproach me with. The mere thought
of taking advantage of her innocence made me shudder, and my self-esteem
was a guarantee to her parents, who abandoned her to me on the strength
of the good opinion they entertained of me, that Lucie's honour was safe
in my hands. I thought I would have despised myself if I had betrayed the
trust they reposed in me. I therefore determined to conquer my feelings,
and, with perfect confidence in the victory, I made up my mind to wage
war against myself, and to be satisfied with her presence as the only
reward of my heroic efforts. I was not yet acquainted with the axiom that
"as long as the fighting lasts, victory remains uncertain."

As I enjoyed her conversation much, a natural instinct prompted me to
tell her that she would afford me great pleasure if she could come
earlier in the morning, and even wake me up if I happened to be asleep,
adding, in order to give more weight to my request, that the less I slept
the better I felt in health. In this manner I contrived to spend three
hours instead of two in her society, although this cunning contrivance of
mine did not prevent the hours flying, at least in my opinion, as swift
as lightning.

Her mother would often come in as we were talking, and when the good
woman found her sitting on my bed she would say nothing, only wondering
at my kindness. Lucie would then cover her with kisses, and the kind old
soul would entreat me to give her child lessons of goodness, and to
cultivate her mind; but when she had left us Lucie did not think herself
more unrestrained, and whether in or out of her mother's presence, she
was always the same without the slightest change.

If the society of this angelic child afforded me the sweetest delight, it
also caused me the most cruel suffering. Often, very often, when her face
was close to my lips, I felt the most ardent temptation to smother her
with kisses, and my blood was at fever heat when she wished that she had
been a sister of mine. But I kept sufficient command over myself to avoid
the slightest contact, for I was conscious that even one kiss would have
been the spark which would have blown up all the edifice of my reserve.
Every time she left me I remained astounded at my own victory, but,
always eager to win fresh laurels, I longed for the following morning,
panting for a renewal of this sweet yet very dangerous contest.

At the end of ten or twelve days, I felt that there was no alternative
but to put a stop to this state of things, or to become a monster in my
own eyes; and I decided for the moral side of the question all the more
easily that nothing insured me success, if I chose the second
alternative. The moment I placed her under the obligation to defend
herself Lucie would become a heroine, and the door of my room being open,
I might have been exposed to shame and to a very useless repentance. This
rather frightened me. Yet, to put an end to my torture, I did not know
what to decide. I could no longer resist the effect made upon my senses
by this beautiful girl, who, at the break of day and scarcely dressed,
ran gaily into my room, came to my bed enquiring how I had slept, bent
familiarly her head towards me, and, so to speak, dropped her words on my
lips. In those dangerous moments I would turn my head aside; but in her
innocence she would reproach me for being afraid when she felt herself so
safe, and if I answered that I could not possibly fear a child, she would
reply that a difference of two years was of no account.

Standing at bay, exhausted, conscious that every instant increased the
ardour which was devouring me, I resolved to entreat from herself the
discontinuance of her visits, and this resolution appeared to me sublime
and infallible; but having postponed its execution until the following
morning, I passed a dreadful night, tortured by the image of Lucie, and
by the idea that I would see her in the morning for the last time. I
fancied that Lucie would not only grant my prayer, but that she would
conceive for me the highest esteem. In the morning, it was barely
day-light, Lucie beaming, radiant with beauty, a happy smile brightening
her pretty mouth, and her splendid hair in the most fascinating disorder,
bursts into my room, and rushes with open arms towards my bed; but when
she sees my pale, dejected, and unhappy countenance, she stops short, and
her beautiful face taking an expression of sadness and anxiety:

"What ails you?" she asks, with deep sympathy.

"I have had no sleep through the night:"

"And why?"

"Because I have made up my mind to impart to you a project which,
although fraught with misery to myself, will at least secure me your
esteem."

"But if your project is to insure my esteem it ought to make you very
cheerful. Only tell me, reverend sir, why, after calling me 'thou'
yesterday, you treat me today respectfully, like a lady? What have I
done? I will get your coffee, and you must tell me everything after you
have drunk it; I long to hear you."

She goes and returns, I drink the coffee, and seeing that my countenance
remains grave she tries to enliven me, contrives to make me smile, and
claps her hands for joy. After putting everything in order, she closes
the door because the wind is high, and in her anxiety not to lose one
word of what I have to say, she entreats artlessly a little place near
me. I cannot refuse her, for I feel almost lifeless.

I then begin a faithful recital of the fearful state in which her beauty
has thrown me, and a vivid picture of all the suffering I have
experienced in trying to master my ardent wish to give her some proof of
my love; I explain to her that, unable to endure such torture any longer,
I see no other safety but in entreating her not to see me any more. The
importance of the subject, the truth of my love, my wish to present my
expedient in the light of the heroic effort of a deep and virtuous
passion, lend me a peculiar eloquence. I endeavour above all to make her
realize the fearful consequences which might follow a course different to
the one I was proposing, and how miserable we might be.

At the close of my long discourse Lucie, seeing my eyes wet with tears,
throws off the bed-clothes to wipe them, without thinking that in so
doing she uncovers two globes, the beauty of which might have caused the
wreck of the most experienced pilot. After a short silence, the charming
child tells me that my tears make her very unhappy, and that she had
never supposed that she could cause them.

"All you have just told me," she added, "proves the sincerity of your
great love for me, but I cannot imagine why you should be in such dread
of a feeling which affords me the most intense pleasure. You wish to
banish me from your presence because you stand in fear of your love, but
what would you do if you hated me? Am I guilty because I have pleased
you? If it is a crime to have won your affection, I can assure you that I
did not think I was committing a criminal action, and therefore you
cannot conscientiously punish me. Yet I cannot conceal the truth; I am
very happy to be loved by you. As for the danger we run, when we love,
danger which I can understand, we can set it at defiance, if we choose,
and I wonder at my not fearing it, ignorant as I am, while you, a learned
man, think it so terrible. I am astonished that love, which is not a
disease, should have made you ill, and that it should have exactly the
opposite effect upon me. Is it possible that I am mistaken, and that my
feeling towards you should not be love? You saw me very cheerful when I
came in this morning; it is because I have been dreaming all night, but
my dreams did not keep me awake; only several times I woke up to
ascertain whether my dream was true, for I thought I was near you; and
every time, finding that it was not so, I quickly went to sleep again in
the hope of continuing my happy dream, and every time I succeeded. After
such a night, was it not natural for me to be cheerful this morning? My
dear abbe, if love is a torment for you I am very sorry, but would it be
possible for you to live without love? I will do anything you order me to
do, but, even if your cure depended upon it, I would not cease to love
you, for that would be impossible. Yet if to heal your sufferings it
should be necessary for you to love me no more, you must do your utmost
to succeed, for I would much rather see you alive without love, than dead
for having loved too much. Only try to find some other plan, for the one
you have proposed makes me very miserable. Think of it, there may be some
other way which will be less painful. Suggest one more practicable, and
depend upon Lucie's obedience."

These words, so true, so artless, so innocent, made me realize the
immense superiority of nature's eloquence over that of philosophical
intellect. For the first time I folded this angelic being in my arms,
exclaiming, "Yes, dearest Lucie, yes, thou hast it in thy power to afford
the sweetest relief to my devouring pain; abandon to my ardent kisses thy
divine lips which have just assured me of thy love."

An hour passed in the most delightful silence, which nothing interrupted
except these words murmured now and then by Lucie, "Oh, God! is it true?
is it not a dream?" Yet I respected her innocence, and the more readily
that she abandoned herself entirely and without the slightest resistance.
At last, extricating herself gently from my arms, she said, with some
uneasiness, "My heart begins to speak, I must go;" and she instantly
rose. Having somewhat rearranged her dress she sat down, and her mother,
coming in at that moment, complimented me upon my good looks and my
bright countenance, and told Lucie to dress herself to attend mass. Lucie
came back an hour later, and expressed her joy and her pride at the
wonderful cure she thought she had performed upon me, for the healthy
appearance I was then shewing convinced her of my love much better than
the pitiful state in which she had found me in the morning. "If your
complete happiness," she said, "rests in my power, be happy; there is
nothing that I can refuse you."

The moment she left me, still wavering between happiness and fear, I
understood that I was standing on the very brink of the abyss, and that
nothing but a most extraordinary determination could prevent me from
falling headlong into it.

I remained at Pasean until the end of September, and the last eleven
nights of my stay were passed in the undisturbed possession of Lucie,
who, secure in her mother's profound sleep, came to my room to enjoy in
my arms the most delicious hours. The burning ardour of my love was
increased by the abstinence to which I condemned myself, although Lucie
did everything in her power to make me break through my determination.
She could not fully enjoy the sweetness of the forbidden fruit unless I
plucked it without reserve, and the effect produced by our constantly
lying in each other's arms was too strong for a young girl to resist. She
tried everything she could to deceive me, and to make me believe that I
had already, and in reality, gathered the whole flower, but Bettina's
lessons had been too efficient to allow me to go on a wrong scent, and I
reached the end of my stay without yielding entirely to the temptation
she so fondly threw in my way. I promised her to return in the spring;
our farewell was tender and very sad, and I left her in a state of mind
and of body which must have been the cause of her misfortunes, which,
twenty years after, I had occasion to reproach myself with in Holland,
and which will ever remain upon my conscience.

A few days after my return to Venice, I had fallen back into all my old
habits, and resumed my courtship of Angela in the hope that I would
obtain from her, at least, as much as Lucie had granted to me. A certain
dread which to-day I can no longer trace in my nature, a sort of terror
of the consequences which might have a blighting influence upon my
future, prevented me from giving myself up to complete enjoyment. I do
not know whether I have ever been a truly honest man, but I am fully
aware that the feelings I fostered in my youth were by far more upright
than those I have, as I lived on, forced myself to accept. A wicked
philosophy throws down too many of these barriers which we call
prejudices.

The two sisters who were sharing Angela's embroidery lessons were her
intimate friends and the confidantes of all her secrets. I made their
acquaintance, and found that they disapproved of her extreme reserve
towards me. As I usually saw them with Angela and knew their intimacy
with her, I would, when I happened to meet them alone, tell them all my
sorrows, and, thinking only of my cruel sweetheart, I never was conceited
enough to propose that these young girls might fall in love with me; but
I often ventured to speak to them with all the blazing inspiration which
was burning in me--a liberty I would not have dared to take in the
presence of her whom I loved. True love always begets reserve; we fear to
be accused of exaggeration if we should give utterance to feelings
inspired, by passion, and the modest lover, in his dread of saying too
much, very often says too little.

The teacher of embroidery, an old bigot, who at first appeared not to
mind the attachment I skewed for Angela, got tired at last of my too
frequent visits, and mentioned them to the abbe, the uncle of my fair
lady. He told me kindly one day that I ought not to call at that house so
often, as my constant visits might be wrongly construed, and prove
detrimental to the reputation of his niece. His words fell upon me like a
thunder-bolt, but I mastered my feelings sufficiently to leave him
without incurring any suspicion, and I promised to follow his good
advice.

Three or four days afterwards, I paid a visit to the teacher of
embroidery, and, to make her believe that my visit was only intended for
her, I did not stop one instant near the young girls; yet I contrived to
slip in the hand of the eldest of the two sisters a note enclosing
another for my dear Angela, in which I explained why I had been compelled
to discontinue my visits, entreating her to devise some means by which I
could enjoy the happiness of seeing her and of conversing with her. In my
note to Nanette, I only begged her to give my letter to her friend,
adding that I would see them again the day after the morrow, and that I
trusted to her to find an opportunity for delivering me the answer. She
managed it all very cleverly, and, when I renewed my visit two days
afterwards, she gave me a letter without attracting the attention of
anyone. Nanette's letter enclosed a very short note from Angela, who,
disliking letter-writing, merely advised me to follow, if I could, the
plan proposed by her friend. Here is the copy of the letter written by
Nanette, which I have always kept, as well as all other letters which I
give in these Memoirs:

"There is nothing in the world, reverend sir, that I would not readily do
for my friend. She visits at our house every holiday, has supper with us,
and sleeps under our roof. I will suggest the best way for you to make
the acquaintance of Madame Orio, our aunt; but, if you obtain an
introduction to her, you must be very careful not to let her suspect your
preference for Angela, for our aunt would certainly object to her house
being made a place of rendezvous to facilitate your interviews with a
stranger to her family. Now for the plan I propose, and in the execution
of which I will give you every assistance in my power. Madame Orio,
although a woman of good station in life, is not wealthy, and she wishes
to have her name entered on the list of noble widows who receive the
bounties bestowed by the Confraternity of the Holy Sacrament, of which M.
de Malipiero is president. Last Sunday, Angela mentioned that you are in
the good graces of that nobleman, and that the best way to obtain his
patronage would be to ask you to entreat it in her behalf. The foolish
girl added that you were smitten with me, that all your visits to our
mistress of embroidery were made for my special benefit and for the sake
of entertaining me, and that I would find it a very easy task to interest
you in her favour. My aunt answered that, as you are a priest, there was
no fear of any harm, and she told me to write to you with an invitation
to call on her; I refused. The procurator Rosa, who is a great favourite
of my aunt's, was present; he approved of my refusal, saying that the
letter ought to be written by her and not by me, that it was for my aunt
to beg the honour of your visit on business of real importance, and that,
if there was any truth in the report of your love for me, you would not
fail to come. My aunt, by his advice, has therefore written the letter
which you will find at your house. If you wish to meet Angela, postpone
your visit to us until next Sunday. Should you succeed in obtaining M. de
Malipiero's good will in favour of my aunt, you will become the pet of
the household, but you must forgive me if I appear to treat you with
coolness, for I have said that I do not like you. I would advise you to
make love to my aunt, who is sixty years of age; M. Rosa will not be
jealous, and you will become dear to everyone. For my part, I will manage
for you an opportunity for some private conversation with Angela, and I
will do anything to convince you of my friendship. Adieu."

This plan appeared to me very well conceived, and, having the same
evening received Madame Orio's letter, I called upon her on the following
day, Sunday. I was welcomed in a very friendly manner, and the lady,
entreating me to exert in her behalf my influence with M. de Malipiero,
entrusted me with all the papers which I might require to succeed. I
undertook to do my utmost, and I took care to address only a few words to
Angela, but I directed all my gallant attentions to Nanette, who treated
me as coolly as could be. Finally, I won the friendship of the old
procurator Rosa, who, in after years, was of some service to me.

I had so much at stake in the success of Madame Orio's petition, that I
thought of nothing else, and knowing all the power of the beautiful
Therese Imer over our amorous senator, who would be but too happy to
please her in anything, I determined to call upon her the next day, and I
went straight to her room without being announced. I found her alone with
the physician Doro, who, feigning to be on a professional visit, wrote a
prescription, felt her pulse, and went off. This Doro was suspected of
being in love with Therese; M. de Malipiero, who was jealous, had
forbidden Therese to receive his visits, and she had promised to obey
him. She knew that I was acquainted with those circumstances, and my
presence was evidently unpleasant to her, for she had certainly no wish
that the old man should hear how she kept her promise. I thought that no
better opportunity could be found of obtaining from her everything I
wished.

I told her in a few words the object of my visit, and I took care to add
that she could rely upon my discretion, and that I would not for the
world do her any injury. Therese, grateful for this assurance, answered
that she rejoiced at finding an occasion to oblige me, and, asking me to
give her the papers of my protege, she shewed me the certificates and
testimonials of another lady in favour of whom she had undertaken to
speak, and whom, she said, she would sacrifice to the person in whose
behalf I felt interested. She kept her word, for the very next day she
placed in my hands the brevet, signed by his excellency as president of
the confraternity. For the present, and with the expectation of further
favours, Madame Orio's name was put down to share the bounties which were
distributed twice a year.

Nanette and her sister Marton were the orphan daughters of a sister of
Madame Orio. All the fortune of the good lady consisted in the house
which was her dwelling, the first floor being let, and in a pension given
to her by her brother, member of the council of ten. She lived alone with
her two charming nieces, the eldest sixteen, and the youngest fifteen
years of age. She kept no servant, and only employed an old woman, who,
for one crown a month, fetched water, and did the rough work. Her only
friend was the procurator Rosa; he had, like her, reached his sixtieth
year, and expected to marry her as soon as he should become a widower.

The two sisters slept together on the third floor in a large bed, which
was likewise shared by Angela every Sunday.

As soon as I found myself in possession of the deed for Madame Orio, I
hastened to pay a visit to the mistress of embroidery, in order to find
an opportunity of acquainting Nanette with my success, and in a short
note which I prepared, I informed her that in two days I would call to
give the brevet to Madame Orio, and I begged her earnestly not to forget
her promise to contrive a private interview with my dear Angela.

When I arrived, on the appointed day, at Madame Orio's house, Nanette,
who had watched for my coming, dexterously conveyed to my hand a billet,
requesting me to find a moment to read it before leaving the house. I
found Madame Orio, Angela, the old procurator, and Marton in the room.
Longing to read the note, I refused the seat offered to me, and
presenting to Madame Orio the deed she had so long desired, I asked, as
my only reward, the pleasure of kissing her hand, giving her to
understand that I wanted to leave the room immediately.

"Oh, my dear abbe!" said the lady, "you shall have a kiss, but not on my
hand, and no one can object to it, as I am thirty years older than you."

She might have said forty-five without going much astray. I gave her two
kisses, which evidently satisfied her, for she desired me to perform the
same ceremony with her nieces, but they both ran away, and Angela alone
stood the brunt of my hardihood. After this the widow asked me to sit
down.

"I cannot, Madame."

"Why, I beg?"

"I have--."

"I understand. Nanette, shew the way."

"Dear aunt, excuse me."

"Well, then, Marton."

"Oh! dear aunt, why do you not insist upon my sister obeying your
orders?"

"Alas! madame, these young ladies are quite right. Allow me to retire."

"No, my dear abbe, my nieces are very foolish; M. Rosa, I am sure, will
kindly."

The good procurator takes me affectionately by the hand, and leads me to
the third story, where he leaves me. The moment I am alone I open my
letter, and I read the following:

"My aunt will invite you to supper; do not accept. Go away as soon as we
sit down to table, and Marton will escort you as far as the street door,
but do not leave the house. When the street door is closed again,
everyone thinking you are gone, go upstairs in the dark as far as the
third floor, where you must wait for us. We will come up the moment M.
Rosa has left the house, and our aunt has gone to bed. Angela will be at
liberty to grant you throughout the night a tete-a-tete which, I trust,
will prove a happy one."

Oh! what joy-what gratitude for the lucky chance which allowed me to read
this letter on the very spot where I was to expect the dear abject of my
love! Certain of finding my way without the slightest difficulty, I
returned to Madame Orio's sitting-room, overwhelmed with happiness.



CHAPTER V

An Unlucky Night I Fall in Love with the Two Sisters, and Forget
Angela--A Ball at My House--Juliette's Humiliation--My Return to
Pasian--Lucie's Misfortune--A Propitious Storm

On my reappearance, Madame Orio told me, with many heart-felt thanks,
that I must for the future consider myself as a privileged and welcome
friend, and the evening passed off very pleasantly. As the hour for
supper drew near, I excused myself so well that Madame Orio could not
insist upon my accepting her invitation to stay. Marton rose to light me
out of the room, but her aunt, believing Nanette to be my favourite, gave
her such an imperative order to accompany me that she was compelled to
obey. She went down the stairs rapidly, opened and closed the street door
very noisily, and putting her light out, she reentered the sitting room,
leaving me in darkness. I went upstairs softly: when I reached the third
landing I found the chamber of the two sisters, and, throwing myself upon
a sofa, I waited patiently for the rising of the star of my happiness. An
hour passed amidst the sweetest dreams of my imagination; at last I hear
the noise of the street door opening and closing, and, a few minutes
after, the two sisters come in with my Angela. I draw her towards me, and
caring for nobody else, I keep up for two full hours my conversation with
her. The clock strikes midnight; I am pitied for having gone so late
supperless, but I am shocked at such an idea; I answer that, with such
happiness as I am enjoying, I can suffer from no human want. I am told
that I am a prisoner, that the key of the house door is under the aunt's
pillow, and that it is opened only by herself as she goes in the morning
to the first mass. I wonder at my young friends imagining that such news
can be anything but delightful to me. I express all my joy at the
certainty of passing the next five hours with the beloved mistress of my
heart. Another hour is spent, when suddenly Nanette begins to laugh,
Angela wants to know the reason, and Marton whispering a few words to
her, they both laugh likewise. This puzzles me. In my turn, I want to
know what causes this general laughter, and at last Nanette, putting on
an air of anxiety, tells me that they have no more candle, and that in a
few minutes we shall be in the dark. This is a piece of news particularly
agreeable to me, but I do not let my satisfaction appear on my
countenance, and saying how truly I am sorry for their sake, I propose
that they should go to bed and sleep quietly under my respectful
guardianship. My proposal increases their merriment.

"What can we do in the dark?"

"We can talk."

We were four; for the last three hours we had been talking, and I was the
hero of the romance. Love is a great poet, its resources are
inexhaustible, but if the end it has in view is not obtained, it feels
weary and remains silent. My Angela listened willingly, but little
disposed to talk herself, she seldom answered, and she displayed good
sense rather than wit. To weaken the force of my arguments, she was often
satisfied with hurling at me a proverb, somewhat in the fashion of the
Romans throwing the catapult. Every time that my poor hands came to the
assistance of love, she drew herself back or repulsed me. Yet, in spite
of all, I went on talking and using my hands without losing courage, but
I gave myself up to despair when I found that my rather artful arguing
astounded her without bringing conviction to her heart, which was only
disquieted, never softened. On the other hand, I could see with
astonishment upon their countenances the impression made upon the two
sisters by the ardent speeches I poured out to Angela. This metaphysical
curve struck me as unnatural, it ought to have been an angle; I was then,
unhappily for myself, studying geometry. I was in such a state that,
notwithstanding the cold, I was perspiring profusely. At last the light
was nearly out, and Nanette took it away.

The moment we were in the dark, I very naturally extended my arms to
seize her whom I loved; but I only met with empty space, and I could not
help laughing at the rapidity with which Angela had availed herself of
the opportunity of escaping me. For one full hour I poured out all the
tender, cheerful words that love inspired me with, to persuade her to
come back to me; I could only suppose that it was a joke to tease me. But
I became impatient.

"The joke," I said, "has lasted long enough; it is foolish, as I could
not run after you, and I am surprised to hear you laugh, for your strange
conduct leads me to suppose that you are making fun of me. Come and take
your seat near me, and if I must speak to you without seeing you let my
hands assure me that I am not addressing my words to the empty air. To
continue this game would be an insult to me, and my love does not deserve
such a return."

"Well, be calm. I will listen to every word you may say, but you must
feel that it would not be decent for me to place myself near you in this
dark room."

"Do you want me to stand where I am until morning?"

"Lie down on the bed, and go to sleep."

"In wonder, indeed, at your thinking me capable of doing so in the state
I am in. Well, I suppose we must play at blind man's buff."

Thereupon, I began to feel right and left, everywhere, but in vain.
Whenever I caught anyone it always turned out to be Nanette or Marton,
who at once discovered themselves, and I, stupid Don Quixote, instantly
would let them go! Love and prejudice blinded me, I could not see how
ridiculous I was with my respectful reserve. I had not yet read the
anecdotes of Louis XIII, king of France, but I had read Boccacio. I kept
on seeking in vain, reproaching her with her cruelty, and entreating her
to let me catch her; but she would only answer that the difficulty of
meeting each other was mutual. The room was not large, and I was enraged
at my want of success.

Tired and still more vexed, I sat down, and for the next hour I told the
history of Roger, when Angelica disappears through the power of the magic
ring which the loving knight had so imprudently given her:

   'Cosi dicendo, intorno a la fortuna
   Brancolando n'andava come cieco.
   O quante volte abbraccio l'aria vana
   Speyando la donzella abbracciar seco'.

Angela had not read Ariosto, but Nanette had done so several times. She
undertook the defence of Angelica, and blamed the simplicity of Roger,
who, if he had been wise, would never have trusted the ring to a
coquette. I was delighted with Nanette, but I was yet too much of a
novice to apply her remarks to myself.

Only one more hour remained, and I was to leave before the break of day,
for Madame Orio would have died rather than give way to the temptation of
missing the early mass. During that hour I spoke to Angela, trying to
convince her that she ought to come and sit by me. My soul went through
every gradation of hope and despair, and the reader cannot possibly
realize it unless he has been placed in a similar position. I exhausted
the most convincing arguments; then I had recourse to prayers, and even
to tears; but, seeing all was useless, I gave way to that feeling of
noble indignation which lends dignity to anger. Had I not been in the
dark, I might, I truly believe, have struck the proud monster, the cruel
girl, who had thus for five hours condemned me to the most distressing
suffering. I poured out all the abuse, all the insulting words that
despised love can suggest to an infuriated mind; I loaded her with the
deepest curses; I swore that my love had entirely turned into hatred,
and, as a finale, I advised her to be careful, as I would kill her the
moment I would set my eyes on her.

My invectives came to an end with the darkness. At the first break of
day, and as soon as I heard the noise made by the bolt and the key of the
street door, which Madame Orio was opening to let herself out, that she
might seek in the church the repose of which her pious soul was in need,
I got myself ready and looked for my cloak and for my hat. But how can I
ever portray the consternation in which I was thrown when, casting a sly
glance upon the young friends, I found the three bathed in tears! In my
shame and despair I thought of committing suicide, and sitting down
again, I recollected my brutal speeches, and upbraided myself for having
wantonly caused them to weep. I could not say one word; I felt choking;
at last tears came to my assistance, and I gave way to a fit of crying
which relieved me. Nanette then remarked that her aunt would soon return
home; I dried my eyes, and, not venturing another look at Angela or at
her friends, I ran away without uttering a word, and threw myself on my
bed, where sleep would not visit my troubled mind.

At noon, M. de Malipiero, noticing the change in my countenance, enquired
what ailed me, and longing to unburden my heart, I told him all that had
happened. The wise old man did not laugh at my sorrow, but by his
sensible advice he managed to console me and to give me courage. He was
in the same predicament with the beautiful Therese. Yet he could not help
giving way to his merriment when at dinner he saw me, in spite of my
grief, eat with increased appetite; I had gone without my supper the
night before; he complimented me upon my happy constitution.

I was determined never to visit Madame Orio's house, and on that very day
I held an argument in metaphysics, in which I contended that any being of
whom we had only an abstract idea, could only exist abstractedly, and I
was right; but it was a very easy task to give to my thesis an
irreligious turn, and I was obliged to recant. A few days afterwards I
went to Padua, where I took my degree of doctor 'utroque jure'.

When I returned to Venice, I received a note from M. Rosa, who entreated
me to call upon Madame Orio; she wished to see me, and, feeling certain
of not meeting Angela, I paid her a visit the same evening. The two
graceful sisters were so kind, so pleasant, that they scattered to the
winds the shame I felt at seeing them after the fearful night I had
passed in their room two months before. The labours of writing my thesis
and passing my examination were of course sufficient excuses for Madame
Orio, who only wanted to reproach me for having remained so long away
from her house.

As I left, Nanette gave me a letter containing a note from Angela, the
contents of which ran as follows:

"If you are not afraid of passing another night with me you shall have no
reason to complain of me, for I love you, and I wish to hear from your
own lips whether you would still have loved me if I had consented to
become contemptible in your eyes."

This is the letter of Nanette, who alone had her wits about her:

"M. Rosa having undertaken to bring you back to our house, I prepare
these few lines to let you know that Angela is in despair at having lost
you. I confess that the night you spent with us was a cruel one, but I do
not think that you did rightly in giving up your visits to Madame Orio.
If you still feel any love for Angela, I advise you to take your chances
once more. Accept a rendezvous for another night; she may vindicate
herself, and you will be happy. Believe me; come. Farewell!"

Those two letters afforded me much gratification, for I had it in my
power to enjoy my revenge by shewing to Angela the coldest contempt.
Therefore, on the following Sunday I went to Madame Orio's house, having
provided myself with a smoked tongue and a couple of bottles of Cyprus
wine; but to my great surprise my cruel mistress was not there. Nanette
told me that she had met her at church in the morning, and that she would
not be able to come before supper-time. Trusting to that promise I
declined Madam Orio's invitation, and before the family sat down to
supper I left the room as I had done on the former occasion, and slipped
upstairs. I longed to represent the character I had prepared myself for,
and feeling assured that Angela, even if she should prove less cruel,
would only grant me insignificant favours, I despised them in
anticipation, and resolved to be avenged.

After waiting three quarters of an hour the street door was locked, and a
moment later Nanette and Marton entered the room.

"Where is Angela?" I enquired.

"She must have been unable to come, or to send a message. Yet she knows
you are here."

"She thinks she has made a fool of me; but I suspected she would act in
this way. You know her now. She is trifling with me, and very likely she
is now revelling in her triumph. She has made use of you to allure me in
the snare, and it is all the better for her; had she come, I meant to
have had my turn, and to have laughed at her."

"Ah! you must allow me to have my doubts as to that."

"Doubt me not, beautiful Nanette; the pleasant night we are going to
spend without her must convince you."

"That is to say that, as a man of sense, you can accept us as a
makeshift; but you can sleep here, and my sister can lie with me on the
sofa in the next room."

"I cannot hinder you, but it would be great unkindness on your part. At
all events, I do not intend to go to bed."

"What! you would have the courage to spend seven hours alone with us?
Why, I am certain that in a short time you will be at a loss what to say,
and you will fall asleep."

"Well, we shall see. In the mean-time here are provisions. You will not
be so cruel as to let me eat alone? Can you get any bread?"

"Yes, and to please you we must have a second supper."

"I ought to be in love with you. Tell me, beautiful Nanette, if I were as
much attached to you as I was to Angela, would you follow her example and
make me unhappy?"

"How can you ask such a question? It is worthy of a conceited man. All I
can answer is, that I do not know what I would do."

They laid the cloth, brought some bread, some Parmesan cheese and water,
laughing all the while, and then we went to work. The wine, to which they
were not accustomed, went to their heads, and their gaiety was soon
delightful. I wondered, as I looked at them, at my having been blind
enough not to see their merit.

After our supper, which was delicious, I sat between them, holding their
hands, which I pressed to my lips, asking them whether they were truly my
friends, and whether they approved of Angela's conduct towards me. They
both answered that it had made them shed many tears. "Then let me," I
said, "have for you the tender feelings of a brother, and share those
feelings yourselves as if you were my sisters; let us exchange, in all
innocence, proofs of our mutual affection, and swear to each other an
eternal fidelity."

The first kiss I gave them was prompted by entirely harmless motives, and
they returned the kiss, as they assured me a few days afterwards only to
prove to me that they reciprocated my brotherly feelings; but those
innocent kisses, as we repeated them, very soon became ardent ones, and
kindled a flame which certainly took us by surprise, for we stopped, as
by common consent, after a short time, looking at each other very much
astonished and rather serious. They both left me without affectation, and
I remained alone with my thoughts. Indeed, it was natural that the
burning kisses I had given and received should have sent through me the
fire of passion, and that I should suddenly have fallen madly in love
with the two amiable sisters. Both were handsomer than Angela, and they
were superior to her--Nanette by her charming wit, Marton by her sweet
and simple nature; I could not understand how I had been so long in
rendering them the justice they deserved, but they were the innocent
daughters of a noble family, and the lucky chance which had thrown them
in my way ought not to prove a calamity for them. I was not vain enough
to suppose that they loved me, but I could well enough admit that my
kisses had influenced them in the same manner that their kisses had
influenced me, and, believing this to be the case, it was evident that,
with a little cunning on my part, and of sly practices of which they were
ignorant, I could easily, during the long night I was going to spend with
them, obtain favours, the consequences of which might be very positive.
The very thought made me shudder, and I firmly resolved to respect their
virtue, never dreaming that circumstances might prove too strong for me.

When they returned, I read upon their countenances perfect security and
satisfaction, and I quickly put on the same appearance, with a full
determination not to expose myself again to the danger of their kisses.

For one hour we spoke of Angela, and I expressed my determination never
to see her again, as I had every proof that she did not care for me. "She
loves you," said the artless Marton; "I know she does, but if you do not
mean to marry her, you will do well to give up all intercourse with her,
for she is quite determined not to grant you even a kiss as long as you
are not her acknowledged suitor. You must therefore either give up the
acquaintance altogether, or make up your mind that she will refuse you
everything."

"You argue very well, but how do you know that she loves me?"

"I am quite sure of it, and as you have promised to be our brother, I can
tell you why I have that conviction. When Angela is in bed with me, she
embraces me lovingly and calls me her dear abbe."

The words were scarcely spoken when Nanette, laughing heartily, placed
her hand on her sister's lips, but the innocent confession had such an
effect upon me that I could hardly control myself.

Marton told Nanette that I could not possibly be ignorant of what takes
place between young girls sleeping together.

"There is no doubt," I said, "that everybody knows those trifles, and I
do not think, dear Nanette, that you ought to reproach your sister with
indiscretion for her friendly confidence."

"It cannot be helped now, but such things ought not to be mentioned. If
Angela knew it!"

"She would be vexed, of course; but Marton has given me a mark of her
friendship which I never can forget. But it is all over; I hate Angela,
and I do not mean to speak to her any more! she is false, and she wishes
my ruin."

"Yet, loving you, is she wrong to think of having you for her husband?"

"Granted that she is not; but she thinks only of her own self, for she
knows what I suffer, and her conduct would be very different if she loved
me. In the mean time, thanks to her imagination, she finds the means of
satisfying her senses with the charming Marton who kindly performs the
part of her husband."

Nanette laughed louder, but I kept very serious, and I went on talking to
her sister, and praising her sincerity. I said that very likely, and to
reciprocate her kindness, Angela must likewise have been her husband, but
she answered, with a smile, that Angela played husband only to Nanette,
and Nanette could not deny it.

"But," said I, "what name did Nanette, in her rapture, give to her
husband?"

"Nobody knows."

"Do you love anyone, Nanette?"

"I do; but my secret is my own."

This reserve gave me the suspicion that I had something to do with her
secret, and that Nanette was the rival of Angela. Such a delightful
conversation caused me to lose the wish of passing an idle night with two
girls so well made for love.

"It is very lucky," I exclaimed, "that I have for you only feelings of
friendship; otherwise it would be very hard to pass the night without
giving way to the temptation of bestowing upon you proofs of my
affection, for you are both so lovely, so bewitching, that you would turn
the brains of any man."

As I went on talking, I pretended to be somewhat sleepy; Nanette being
the first to notice it, said, "Go to bed without any ceremony, we will
lie down on the sofa in the adjoining room."

"I would be a very poor-spirited fellow indeed, if I agreed to this; let
us talk; my sleepiness will soon pass off, but I am anxious about you. Go
to bed yourselves, my charming friends, and I will go into the next room.
If you are afraid of me, lock the door, but you would do me an injustice,
for I feel only a brother's yearnings towards you."

"We cannot accept such an arrangement," said Nanette, "but let me
persuade you; take this bed."

"I cannot sleep with my clothes on."

"Undress yourself; we will not look at you."

"I have no fear of it, but how could I find the heart to sleep, while on
my account you are compelled to sit up?"

"Well," said Marton, "we can lie down, too, without undressing."

"If you shew me such distrust, you will offend me. Tell me, Nanette, do
you think I am an honest man?"

"Most certainly."

"Well, then, give me a proof of your good opinion; lie down near me in
the bed, undressed, and rely on my word of honour that I will not even
lay a finger upon you. Besides, you are two against one, what can you
fear? Will you not be free to get out of the bed in case I should not
keep quiet? In short, unless you consent to give me this mark of your
confidence in me, at least when I have fallen asleep, I cannot go to
bed."

I said no more, and pretended to be very sleepy. They exchanged a few
words, whispering to each other, and Marton told me to go to bed, that
they would follow me as soon as I was asleep. Nanette made me the same
promise, I turned my back to them, undressed myself quickly, and wishing
them good night, I went to bed. I immediately pretended to fall asleep,
but soon I dozed in good earnest, and only woke when they came to bed.
Then, turning round as if I wished to resume my slumbers, I remained very
quiet until I could suppose them fast asleep; at all events, if they did
not sleep, they were at liberty to pretend to do so. Their backs were
towards me, and the light was out; therefore I could only act at random,
and I paid my first compliments to the one who was lying on my right, not
knowing whether she was Nanette or Marton. I find her bent in two, and
wrapped up in the only garment she had kept on. Taking my time, and
sparing her modesty, I compel her by degrees to acknowledge her defeat,
and convince her that it is better to feign sleep and to let me proceed.
Her natural instincts soon working in concert with mine, I reach the
goal; and my efforts, crowned with the most complete success, leave me
not the shadow of a doubt that I have gathered those first-fruits to
which our prejudice makes us attach so great an importance. Enraptured at
having enjoyed my manhood completely and for the first time, I quietly
leave my beauty in order to do homage to the other sister. I find her
motionless, lying on her back like a person wrapped in profound and
undisturbed slumber. Carefully managing my advance, as if I were afraid
of waking her up, I begin by gently gratifying her senses, and I
ascertain the delightful fact that, like her sister, she is still in
possession of her maidenhood. As soon as a natural movement proves to me
that love accepts the offering, I take my measures to consummate the
sacrifice. At that moment, giving way suddenly to the violence of her
feelings, and tired of her assumed dissimulation, she warmly locks me in
her arms at the very instant of the voluptuous crisis, smothers me with
kisses, shares my raptures, and love blends our souls in the most
ecstatic enjoyment.

Guessing her to be Nanette, I whisper her name.

"Yes, I am Nanette," she answers; "and I declare myself happy, as well as
my sister, if you prove yourself true and faithful."

"Until death, my beloved ones, and as everything we have done is the work
of love, do not let us ever mention the name of Angela."

After this, I begged that she would give us a light; but Marton, always
kind and obliging, got out of bed leaving us alone. When I saw Nanette in
my arms, beaming with love, and Marton near the bed, holding a candle,
with her eyes reproaching us with ingratitude because we did not speak to
her, who, by accepting my first caresses, had encouraged her sister to
follow her example, I realized all my happiness.

"Let us get up, my darlings," said I, "and swear to each other eternal
affection."

When we had risen we performed, all three together, ablutions which made
them laugh a good deal, and which gave a new impetus to the ardour of our
feelings. Sitting up in the simple costume of nature, we ate the remains
of our supper, exchanging those thousand trifling words which love alone
can understand, and we again retired to our bed, where we spent a most
delightful night giving each other mutual and oft-repeated proofs of our
passionate ardour. Nanette was the recipient of my last bounties, for
Madame Orio having left the house to go to church, I had to hasten my
departure, after assuring the two lovely sisters that they had
effectually extinguished whatever flame might still have flickered in my
heart for Angela. I went home and slept soundly until dinner-time.

M. de Malipiero passed a remark upon my cheerful looks and the dark
circles around my eyes, but I kept my own counsel, and I allowed him to
think whatever he pleased. On the following day I paid a visit to Madame
Orio, and Angela not being of the party, I remained to supper and retired
with M. Rosa. During the evening Nanette contrived to give me a letter
and a small parcel. The parcel contained a small lump of wax with the
stamp of a key, and the letter told me to have a key made, and to use it
to enter the house whenever I wished to spend the night with them. She
informed me at the same time that Angela had slept with them the night
following our adventures, and that, thanks to their mutual and usual
practices, she had guessed the real state of things, that they had not
denied it, adding that it was all her fault, and that Angela, after
abusing them most vehemently, had sworn never again to darken their
doors; but they did not care a jot.

A few days afterwards our good fortune delivered us from Angela; she was
taken to Vicenza by her father, who had removed there for a couple of
years, having been engaged to paint frescoes in some houses in that city.
Thanks to her absence, I found myself undisturbed possessor of the two
charming sisters, with whom I spent at least two nights every week,
finding no difficulty in entering the house with the key which I had
speedily procured.

Carnival was nearly over, when M. Manzoni informed me one day that the
celebrated Juliette wished to see me, and regretted much that I had
ceased to visit her. I felt curious as to what she had to say to me, and
accompanied him to her house. She received me very politely, and
remarking that she had heard of a large hall I had in my house, she said
she would like to give a ball there, if I would give her the use of it. I
readily consented, and she handed me twenty-four sequins for the supper
and for the band, undertaking to send people to place chandeliers in the
hall and in my other rooms.

M. de Sanvitali had left Venice, and the Parmesan government had placed
his estates in chancery in consequence of his extravagant expenditure. I
met him at Versailles ten years afterwards. He wore the insignia of the
king's order of knighthood, and was grand equerry to the eldest daughter
of Louis XV., Duchess of Parma, who, like all the French princesses,
could not be reconciled to the climate of Italy.

The ball took place, and went off splendidly. All the guests belonged to
Juliette's set, with the exception of Madame Orio, her nieces, and the
procurator Rosa, who sat together in the room adjoining the hall, and
whom I had been permitted to introduce as persons of no consequence
whatever.

While the after-supper minuets were being danced Juliette took me apart,
and said, "Take me to your bedroom; I have just got an amusing idea."

My room was on the third story; I shewed her the way. The moment we
entered she bolted the door, much to my surprise. "I wish you," she said,
"to dress me up in your ecclesiastical clothes, and I will disguise you
as a woman with my own things. We will go down and dance together. Come,
let us first dress our hair."

Feeling sure of something pleasant to come, and delighted with such an
unusual adventure, I lose no time in arranging her hair, and I let her
afterwards dress mine. She applies rouge and a few beauty spots to my
face; I humour her in everything, and to prove her satisfaction, she
gives me with the best of grace a very loving kiss, on condition that I
do not ask for anything else.

"As you please, beautiful Juliette, but I give you due notice that I
adore you!"

I place upon my bed a shirt, an abbe's neckband, a pair of drawers, black
silk stockings--in fact, a complete fit-out. Coming near the bed,
Juliette drops her skirt, and cleverly gets into the drawers, which were
not a bad fit, but when she comes to the breeches there is some
difficulty; the waistband is too narrow, and the only remedy is to rip it
behind or to cut it, if necessary. I undertake to make everything right,
and, as I sit on the foot of my bed, she places herself in front of me,
with her back towards me. I begin my work, but she thinks that I want to
see too much, that I am not skilful enough, and that my fingers wander in
unnecessary places; she gets fidgety, leaves me, tears the breeches, and
manages in her own way. Then I help her to put her shoes on, and I pass
the shirt over her head, but as I am disposing the ruffle and the
neck-band, she complains of my hands being too curious; and in truth, her
bosom was rather scanty. She calls me a knave and rascal, but I take no
notice of her. I was not going to be duped, and I thought that a woman
who had been paid one hundred thousand ducats was well worth some study.
At last, her toilet being completed, my turn comes. In spite of her
objections I quickly get rid of my breeches, and she must put on me the
chemise, then a skirt, in a word she has to dress me up. But all at once,
playing the coquette, she gets angry because I do not conceal from her
looks the very apparent proof that her charms have some effect on a
particular part of my being, and she refuses to grant me the favour which
would soon afford both relief and calm. I try to kiss her, and she
repulses me, whereupon I lose patience, and in spite of herself she has
to witness the last stage of my excitement. At the sight of this, she
pours out every insulting word she can think of; I endeavour to prove
that she is to blame, but it is all in vain.

However, she is compelled to complete my disguise. There is no doubt that
an honest woman would not have exposed herself to such an adventure,
unless she had intended to prove her tender feelings, and that she would
not have drawn back at the very moment she saw them shared by her
companion; but women like Juliette are often guided by a spirit of
contradiction which causes them to act against their own interests.
Besides, she felt disappointed when she found out that I was not timid,
and my want of restraint appeared to her a want of respect. She would not
have objected to my stealing a few light favours which she would have
allowed me to take, as being of no importance, but, by doing that, I
should have flattered her vanity too highly.

Our disguise being complete, we went together to the dancing-hall, where
the enthusiastic applause of the guests soon restored our good temper.
Everybody gave me credit for a piece of fortune which I had not enjoyed,
but I was not ill-pleased with the rumour, and went on dancing with the
false abbe, who was only too charming. Juliette treated me so well during
the night that I construed her manners towards me into some sort of
repentance, and I almost regretted what had taken place between us; it
was a momentary weakness for which I was sorely punished.

At the end of the quadrille all the men thought they had a right to take
liberties with the abbe, and I became myself rather free with the young
girls, who would have been afraid of exposing themselves to ridicule had
they offered any opposition to my caresses.

M. Querini was foolish enough to enquire from me whether I had kept on my
breeches, and as I answered that I had been compelled to lend them to
Juliette, he looked very unhappy, sat down in a corner of the room, and
refused to dance.

Every one of the guests soon remarked that I had on a woman's chemise,
and nobody entertained a doubt of the sacrifice having been consummated,
with the exception of Nanette and Marton, who could not imagine the
possibility of my being unfaithful to them. Juliette perceived that she
had been guilty of great imprudence, but it was too late to remedy the
evil.

When we returned to my chamber upstairs, thinking that she had repented
of her previous behaviour, and feeling some desire to possess her, I
thought I would kiss her, and I took hold of her hand, saying I was
disposed to give her every satisfaction, but she quickly slapped my face
in so violent a manner that, in my indignation, I was very near returning
the compliment. I undressed myself rapidly without looking at her, she
did the same, and we came downstairs; but, in spite of the cold water I
had applied to my cheek, everyone could easily see the stamp of the large
hand which had come in contact with my face.

Before leaving the house, Juliette took me apart, and told me, in the
most decided and impressive manner, that if I had any fancy for being
thrown out of the window, I could enjoy that pleasure whenever I liked to
enter her dwelling, and that she would have me murdered if this night's
adventure ever became publicly known. I took care not to give her any
cause for the execution of either of her threats, but I could not prevent
the fact of our having exchanged shirts being rather notorious. As I was
not seen at her house, it was generally supposed that she had been
compelled by M. Querini to keep me at a distance. The reader will see
how, six years later, this extraordinary woman thought proper to feign
entire forgetfulness of this adventure.

I passed Lent, partly in the company of my loved ones, partly in the
study of experimental physics at the Convent of the Salutation. My
evenings were always given to M. de Malipiero's assemblies. At Easter, in
order to keep the promise I had made to the Countess of Mont-Real, and
longing to see again my beautiful Lucie, I went to Pasean. I found the
guests entirely different to the set I had met the previous autumn. Count
Daniel, the eldest of the family, had married a Countess Gozzi, and a
young and wealthy government official, who had married a god-daughter of
the old countess, was there with his wife and his sister-in-law. I
thought the supper very long. The same room had been given to me, and I
was burning to see Lucie, whom I did not intend to treat any more like a
child. I did not see her before going to bed, but I expected her early
the next morning, when lo! instead of her pretty face brightening my
eyes, I see standing before me a fat, ugly servant-girl! I enquire after
the gatekeeper's family, but her answer is given in the peculiar dialect
of the place, and is, of course, unintelligible to me.

I wonder what has become of Lucie; I fancy that our intimacy has been
found out, I fancy that she is ill--dead, perhaps. I dress myself with
the intention of looking for her. If she has been forbidden to see me, I
think to myself, I will be even with them all, for somehow or other I
will contrive the means of speaking to her, and out of spite I will do
with her that which honour prevented love from accomplishing. As I was
revolving such thoughts, the gate-keeper comes in with a sorrowful
countenance. I enquire after his wife's health, and after his daughter,
but at the name of Lucie his eyes are filled with tears.

"What! is she dead?"

"Would to God she were!"

"What has she done?"

"She has run away with Count Daniel's courier, and we have been unable to
trace her anywhere."

His wife comes in at the moment he replies, and at these words, which
renewed her grief, the poor woman faints away. The keeper, seeing how
sincerely I felt for his misery, tells me that this great misfortune
befell them only a week before my arrival.

"I know that man l'Aigle," I say; "he is a scoundrel. Did he ask to marry
Lucie?"

"No; he knew well enough that our consent would have been refused!"

"I wonder at Lucie acting in such a way."

"He seduced her, and her running away made us suspect the truth, for she
had become very stout."

"Had he known her long?"

"About a month after your last visit she saw him for the first time. He
must have thrown a spell over her, for our Lucie was as pure as a dove,
and you can, I believe, bear testimony to her goodness."

"And no one knows where they are?"

"No one. God alone knows what this villain will do with her."

I grieved as much as the unfortunate parents; I went out and took a long
ramble in the woods to give way to my sad feelings. During two hours I
cogitated over considerations, some true, some false, which were all
prefaced by an if. If I had paid this visit, as I might have done, a week
sooner, loving Lucie would have confided in me, and I would have
prevented that self-murder. If I had acted with her as with Nanette and
Marton, she would not have been left by me in that state of ardent
excitement which must have proved the principal cause of her fault, and
she would not have fallen a prey to that scoundrel. If she had not known
me before meeting the courier, her innocent soul would never have
listened to such a man. I was in despair, for in my conscience I
acknowledged myself the primary agent of this infamous seduction; I had
prepared the way for the villain.

Had I known where to find Lucie, I would certainly have gone forth on the
instant to seek for her, but no trace whatever of her whereabouts had
been discovered.

Before I had been made acquainted with Lucie's misfortune I felt great
pride at having had sufficient power over myself to respect her
innocence; but after hearing what had happened I was ashamed of my own
reserve, and I promised myself that for the future I would on that score
act more wisely. I felt truly miserable when my imagination painted the
probability of the unfortunate girl being left to poverty and shame,
cursing the remembrance of me, and hating me as the first cause of her
misery. This fatal event caused me to adopt a new system, which in after
years I carried sometimes rather too far.

I joined the cheerful guests of the countess in the gardens, and received
such a welcome that I was soon again in my usual spirits, and at dinner I
delighted everyone.

My sorrow was so great that it was necessary either to drive it away at
once or to leave Pasean. But a new life crept into my being as I examined
the face and the disposition of the newly-married lady. Her sister was
prettier, but I was beginning to feel afraid of a novice; I thought the
work too great.

This newly-married lady, who was between nineteen and twenty years of
age, drew upon herself everybody's attention by her over-strained and
unnatural manners. A great talker, with a memory crammed with maxims and
precepts often without sense, but of which she loved to make a show, very
devout, and so jealous of her husband that she did not conceal her
vexation when he expressed his satisfaction at being seated at table
opposite her sister, she laid herself open to much ridicule. Her husband
was a giddy young fellow, who perhaps felt very deep affection for his
wife, but who imagined that, through good breeding, he ought to appear
very indifferent, and whose vanity found pleasure in giving her constant
causes for jealousy. She, in her turn, had a great dread of passing for
an idiot if she did not shew her appreciation of, and her resentment for,
his conduct. She felt uneasy in the midst of good company, precisely
because she wished to appear thoroughly at home. If I prattled away with
some of my trilling nonsense, she would stare at me, and in her anxiety
not to be thought stupid, she would laugh out of season. Her oddity, her
awkwardness, and her self-conceit gave me the desire to know her better,
and I began to dance attendance upon her.

My attentions, important and unimportant, my constant care, ever my
fopperies, let everybody know that I meditated conquest. The husband was
duly warned, but, with a great show of intrepidity, he answered with a
joke every time he was told that I was a formidable rival. On my side I
assumed a modest, and even sometimes a careless appearance, when, to shew
his freedom from jealousy, he excited me to make love to his wife, who,
on her part, understood but little how to perform the part of fancy free.

I had been paying my address to her for five or six days with great
constancy, when, taking a walk with her in the garden, she imprudently
confided to me the reason of her anxiety respecting her husband, and how
wrong he was to give her any cause for jealousy. I told her, speaking as
an old friend, that the best way to punish him would be to take no
apparent notice of her, husband's preference for her sister, and to feign
to be herself in love with me. In order to entice her more easily to
follow my advice, I added that I was well aware of my plan being a very
difficult one to carry out, and that to play successfully such a
character a woman must be particularly witty. I had touched her weak
point, and she exclaimed that she would play the part to perfection; but
in spite of her self-confidence she acquitted herself so badly that
everybody understood that the plan was of my own scheming.

If I happened to be alone with her in the dark paths of the garden, and
tried to make her play her part in real earnest, she would take the
dangerous step of running away, and rejoining the other guests; the
result being that, on my reappearance, I was called a bad sportsman who
frightened the bird away. I would not fail at the first opportunity to
reproach her for her flight, and to represent the triumph she had thus
prepared for her spouse. I praised her mind, but lamented over the
shortcomings of her education; I said that the tone, the manners I
adopted towards her, were those of good society, and proved the great
esteem I entertained for her intelligence, but in the middle of all my
fine speeches, towards the eleventh or twelfth day of my courtship, she
suddenly put me out of all conceit by telling me that, being a priest, I
ought to know that every amorous connection was a deadly sin, that God
could see every action of His creatures, and that she would neither damn
her soul nor place herself under the necessity of saying to her confessor
that she had so far forgotten herself as to commit such a sin with a
priest. I objected that I was not yet a priest, but she foiled me by
enquiring point-blank whether or not the act I had in view was to be
numbered amongst the cardinal sins, for, not feeling the courage to deny
it, I felt that I must give up the argument and put an end to the
adventure.

A little consideration having considerably calmed my feelings, everybody
remarked my new countenance during dinner; and the old count, who was
very fond of a joke, expressed loudly his opinion that such quiet
demeanour on my part announced the complete success of my campaign.
Considering such a remark to be favourable to me, I took care to spew my
cruel devotee that such was the way the world would judge, but all this
was lost labour. Luck, however, stood me in good stead, and my efforts
were crowned with success in the following manner.

On Ascension Day, we all went to pay a visit to Madame Bergali, a
celebrated Italian poetess. On my return to Pasean the same evening, my
pretty mistress wished to get into a carriage for four persons in which
her husband and sister were already seated, while I was alone in a
two-wheeled chaise. I exclaimed at this, saying that such a mark of
distrust was indeed too pointed, and everybody remonstrated with her,
saying that she ought not to insult me so cruelly. She was compelled to
come with me, and having told the postillion that I wanted to go by the
nearest road, he left the other carriages, and took the way through the
forest of Cequini. The sky was clear and cloudless when we left, but in
less than half-an-hour we were visited by one of those storms so frequent
in the south, which appear likely to overthrow heaven and earth, and
which end rapidly, leaving behind them a bright sky and a cool
atmosphere, so that they do more good than harm.

"Oh, heavens!" exclaimed my companion, "we shall have a storm."

"Yes," I say, "and although the chaise is covered, the rain will spoil
your pretty dress. I am very sorry."

"I do not mind the dress; but the thunder frightens me so!"

"Close your ears."

"And the lightning?"

"Postillion, let us go somewhere for shelter."

"There is not a house, sir, for a league, and before we come to it, the
storm will have passed off."

He quietly keeps on his way, and the lightning flashes, the thunder sends
forth its mighty voice, and the lady shudders with fright. The rain comes
down in torrents, I take off my cloak to shelter us in front, at the same
moment we are blinded by a flash of lightning, and the electric fluid
strikes the earth within one hundred yards of us. The horses plunge and
prance with fear, and my companion falls in spasmodic convulsions. She
throws herself upon me, and folds me in her arms. The cloak had gone
down, I stoop to place it around us, and improving my opportunity I take
up her clothes. She tries to pull them down, but another clap of thunder
deprives her of every particle of strength. Covering her with the cloak,
I draw her towards me, and the motion of the chaise coming to my
assistance, she falls over me in the most favourable position. I lose no
time, and under pretence of arranging my watch in my fob, I prepare
myself for the assault. On her side, conscious that, unless she stops me
at once, all is lost, she makes a great effort; but I hold her tightly,
saying that if she does not feign a fainting fit, the post-boy will turn
round and see everything; I let her enjoy the pleasure of calling me an
infidel, a monster, anything she likes, but my victory is the most
complete that ever a champion achieved.

The rain, however, was falling, the wind, which was very high, blew in
our faces, and, compelled to stay where she was, she said I would ruin
her reputation, as the postillion could see everything.

"I keep my eye upon him," I answered, "he is not thinking of us, and even
if he should turn his head, the cloak shelters us from him. Be quiet, and
pretend to have fainted, for I will not let you go."

She seems resigned, and asks how I can thus set the storm at defiance.

"The storm, dear one, is my best friend to-day."

She almost seems to believe me, her fear vanishes, and feeling my
rapture, she enquires whether I have done. I smile and answer in the
negative, stating that I cannot let her go till the storm is over.
"Consent to everything, or I let the cloak drop," I say to her.

"Well, you dreadful man, are you satisfied, now that you have insured my
misery for the remainder of my life?"

"No, not yet."

"What more do you want?"

"A shower of kisses."

"How unhappy I am! Well! here they are."

"Tell me you forgive me, and confess that you have shared all my
pleasure."

"You know I did. Yes, I forgive you."

Then I give her her liberty, and treating her to some very pleasant
caresses, I ask her to have the same kindness for me, and she goes to
work with a smile on her pretty lips.

"Tell me you love me," I say to her.

"No, I do not, for you are an atheist, and hell awaits you."

The weather was fine again, and the elements calm; I kissed her hands and
told her that the postillion had certainly not seen anything, and that I
was sure I had cured her of her dread of thunder, but that she was not
likely to reveal the secret of my remedy. She answered that one thing at
least was certain, namely that no other woman had ever been cured by the
same prescription.

"Why," I said, "the same remedy has very likely been applied a million of
times within the last thousand years. To tell you the truth, I had
somewhat depended upon it, when we entered the chaise together, for I did
not know any other way of obtaining the happiness of possessing you. But
console yourself with the belief that, placed in the same position, no
frightened woman could have resisted."

"I believe you; but for the future I will travel only with my husband."

"You would be wrong, for your husband would not have been clever enough
to cure your fright in the way I have done."

"True, again. One learns some curious things in your company; but we
shall not travel tete-a-tete again."

We reached Pasean an hour before our friends. We get out of the chaise,
and my fair mistress ran off to her chamber, while I was looking for a
crown for the postillion. I saw that he was grinning.

"What are you laughing at?"

"Oh! you know."

"Here, take this ducat and keep a quiet tongue in your head."



CHAPTER VI

My Grandmother's Death and Its Consequences I Lose M. de Malipiero's
Friendship--I Have No Longer a Home--La Tintoretta--I Am Sent to a
Clerical Seminary--I Am Expelled From It, and Confined in a Fortress

During supper the conversation turned altogether upon the storm, and the
official, who knew the weakness of his wife, told me that he was quite
certain I would never travel with her again. "Nor I with him," his wife
remarked, "for, in his fearful impiety, he exorcised the lightning with
jokes."

Henceforth she avoided me so skilfully that I never could contrive
another interview with her.

When I returned to Venice I found my grandmother ill, and I had to change
all my habits, for I loved her too dearly not to surround her with every
care and attention; I never left her until she had breathed her last. She
was unable to leave me anything, for during her life she had given me all
she could, and her death compelled me to adopt an entirely different mode
of life.

A month after her death, I received a letter from my mother informing me
that, as there was no probability of her return to Venice, she had
determined to give up the house, the rent of which she was still paying,
that she had communicated her intention to the Abbe Grimani, and that I
was to be guided entirely by his advice.

He was instructed to sell the furniture, and to place me, as well as my
brothers and my sister, in a good boarding-house. I called upon Grimani
to assure him of my perfect disposition to obey his commands.

The rent of the house had been paid until the end of the year; but, as I
was aware that the furniture would be sold on the expiration of the term,
I placed my wants under no restraint. I had already sold some linen, most
of the china, and several tapestries; I now began to dispose of the
mirrors, beds, etc. I had no doubt that my conduct would be severely
blamed, but I knew likewise that it was my father's inheritance, to which
my mother had no claim whatever, and, as to my brothers, there was plenty
of time before any explanation could take place between us.

Four months afterwards I had a second letter from my mother, dated from
Warsaw, and enclosing another. Here is the translation of my mother's
letter:

"My dear son, I have made here the acquaintance of a learned Minim friar,
a Calabrian by birth, whose great qualities have made me think of you
every time he has honoured me with a visit. A year ago I told him that I
had a son who was preparing himself for the Church, but that I had not
the means of keeping him during his studies, and he promised that my son
would become his own child, if I could obtain for him from the queen a
bishopric in his native country, and he added that it would be very easy
to succeed if I could induce the sovereign to recommend him to her
daughter, the queen of Naples.

"Full of trust in the Almighty, I threw myself at the feet of her
majesty, who granted me her gracious protection. She wrote to her
daughter, and the worthy friar has been appointed by the Pope to the
bishopric of Monterano. Faithful to his promise, the good bishop will
take you with him about the middle of next year, as he passes through
Venice to reach Calabria. He informs you himself of his intentions in the
enclosed letter. Answer him immediately, my dear son, and forward your
letter to me; I will deliver it to the bishop. He will pave your way to
the highest dignities of the Church, and you may imagine my consolation
if, in some twenty or thirty years, I had the happiness of seeing you a
bishop, at least! Until his arrival, M. Grimani will take care of you. I
give you my blessing, and I am, my dear child, etc., etc."

The bishop's letter was written in Latin, and was only a repetition of my
mother's. It was full of unction, and informed me that he would tarry but
three days in Venice.

I answered according to my mother's wishes, but those two letters had
turned my brain. I looked upon my fortune as made. I longed to enter the
road which was to lead me to it, and I congratulated myself that I could
leave my country without any regret. Farewell, Venice, I exclaimed; the
days for vanity are gone by, and in the future I will only think of a
great, of a substantial career! M. Grimani congratulated me warmly on my
good luck, and promised all his friendly care to secure a good
boarding-house, to which I would go at the beginning of the year, and
where I would wait for the bishop's arrival.

M. de Malipiero, who in his own way had great wisdom, and who saw that in
Venice I was plunging headlong into pleasures and dissipation, and was
only wasting a precious time, was delighted to see me on the eve of going
somewhere else to fulfil my destiny, and much pleased with my ready
acceptance of those new circumstances in my life. He read me a lesson
which I have never forgotten. "The famous precept of the Stoic
philosophers," he said to me, "'Sequere Deum', can be perfectly explained
by these words: 'Give yourself up to whatever fate offers to you,
provided you do not feel an invincible repugnance to accept it.'" He
added that it was the genius of Socrates, 'saepe revocans, raro
impellens'; and that it was the origin of the 'fata viam inveniunt' of
the same philosophers.

M. de Malipiero's science was embodied in that very lesson, for he had
obtained his knowledge by the study of only one book--the book of man.
However, as if it were to give me the proof that perfection does not
exist, and that there is a bad side as well as a good one to everything,
a certain adventure happened to me a month afterwards which, although I
was following his own maxims, cost me the loss of his friendship, and
which certainly did not teach me anything.

The senator fancied that he could trace upon the physiognomy of young
people certain signs which marked them out as the special favourites of
fortune. When he imagined that he had discovered those signs upon any
individual, he would take him in hand and instruct him how to assist
fortune by good and wise principles; and he used to say, with a great
deal of truth, that a good remedy would turn into poison in the hands of
a fool, but that poison is a good remedy when administered by a learned
man. He had, in my time, three favourites in whose education he took
great pains. They were, besides myself, Therese Imer, with whom the
reader has a slight acquaintance already, and the third was the daughter
of the boatman Gardela, a girl three years younger than I, who had the
prettiest and most fascinating countenance. The speculative old man, in
order to assist fortune in her particular case, made her learn dancing,
for, he would say, the ball cannot reach the pocket unless someone pushes
it. This girl made a great reputation at Stuttgard under the name of
Augusta. She was the favourite mistress of the Duke of Wurtemburg in
1757. She was a most charming woman. The last time I saw her she was in
Venice, and she died two years afterwards. Her husband, Michel de
l'Agata, poisoned himself a short time after her death.

One day we had all three dined with him, and after dinner the senator
left us, as was his wont, to enjoy his siesta; the little Gardela, having
a dancing lesson to take, went away soon after him, and I found myself
alone with Therese, whom I rather admired, although I had never made love
to her. We were sitting down at a table very near each other, with our
backs to the door of the room in which we thought our patron fast asleep,
and somehow or other we took a fancy to examine into the difference of
conformation between a girl and a boy; but at the most interesting part
of our study a violent blow on my shoulders from a stick, followed by
another, and which would have been itself followed by many more if I had
not ran away, compelled us to abandon our interesting investigation
unfinished. I got off without hat or cloak, and went home; but in less
than a quarter of an hour the old housekeeper of the senator brought my
clothes with a letter which contained a command never to present myself
again at the mansion of his excellency. I immediately wrote him an answer
in the following terms: "You have struck me while you were the slave of
your anger; you cannot therefore boast of having given me a lesson, and I
have not learned anything. To forgive you I must forget that you are a
man of great wisdom, and I can never forget it."

This nobleman was perhaps quite right not to be pleased with the sight we
gave him; yet, with all his prudence, he proved himself very unwise, for
all the servants were acquainted with the cause of my exile, and, of
course, the adventure was soon known through the city, and was received
with great merriment. He dared not address any reproaches to Therese, as
I heard from her soon after, but she could not venture to entreat him to
pardon me.

The time to leave my father's house was drawing near, and one fine
morning I received the visit of a man about forty years old, with a black
wig, a scarlet cloak, and a very swarthy complexion, who handed me a
letter from M. Grimani, ordering me to consign to the bearer all the
furniture of the house according to the inventory, a copy of which was in
my possession. Taking the inventory in my hand, I pointed out every
article marked down, except when the said article, having through my
instrumentality taken an airing out of the house, happened to be missing,
and whenever any article was absent I said that I had not the slightest
idea where it might be. But the uncouth fellow, taking a very high tone,
said loudly that he must know what I had done with the furniture. His
manner being very disagreeable to me, I answered that I had nothing to do
with him, and as he still raised his voice I advised him to take himself
off as quickly as possible, and I gave him that piece of advice in such a
way as to prove to him that, at home, I knew I was the more powerful of
the two.

Feeling it my duty to give information to M. Grimani of what had just
taken place, I called upon him as soon as he was up, but I found that my
man was already there, and that he had given his own account of the
affair. The abbe, after a very severe lecture to which I had to listen in
silence, ordered me to render an account of all the missing articles. I
answered that I had found myself under the necessity of selling them to
avoid running into debt. This confession threw him in a violent passion;
he called me a rascal, said that those things did not belong to me, that
he knew what he had to do, and he commanded me to leave his house on the
very instant.

Mad with rage, I ran for a Jew, to whom I wanted to sell what remained of
the furniture, but when I returned to my house I found a bailiff waiting
at the door, and he handed me a summons. I looked over it and perceived
that it was issued at the instance of Antonio Razetta. It was the name of
the fellow with the swarthy countenance. The seals were already affixed
on all the doors, and I was not even allowed to go to my room, for a
keeper had been left there by the bailiff. I lost no time, and called
upon M. Rosa, to whom I related all the circumstances. After reading the
summons he said,

"The seals shall be removed to-morrow morning, and in the meantime I
shall summon Razetta before the avogador. But to-night, my dear friend,"
he added, "you must beg the hospitality of some one of your
acquaintances. It has been a violent proceeding, but you shall be paid
handsomely for it; the man is evidently acting under M. Grimani's
orders."

"Well, that is their business."

I spent the night with Nanette and Marton, and on the following morning,
the seals having been taken off, I took possession of my dwelling.
Razetta did not appear before the 'avogador', and M. Rosa summoned him in
my name before the criminal court, and obtained against him a writ of
'capias' in case he should not obey the second summons. On the third day
M. Grimani wrote to me, commanding me to call upon him. I went
immediately. As soon as I was in his presence he enquired abruptly what
my intentions were.

"I intend to shield myself from your violent proceedings under the
protection of the law, and to defend myself against a man with whom I
ought never to have had any connection, and who has compelled me to pass
the night in a disreputable place."

"In a disreputable place?"

"Of course. Why was I, against all right and justice, prevented from
entering my own dwelling?"

"You have possession of it now. But you must go to your lawyer and tell
him to suspend all proceedings against Razetta, who has done nothing but
under my instructions. I suspected that your intention was to sell the
rest of the furniture; I have prevented it. There is a room at your
disposal at St. Chrysostom's, in a house of mine, the first floor of
which is occupied by La Tintoretta, our first opera dancer. Send all your
things there, and come and dine with me every day. Your sister and your
brothers have been provided with a comfortable home; therefore,
everything is now arranged for the best."

I called at once upon M. Rosa, to whom I explained all that had taken
place, and his advice being to give way to M. Grimani's wishes, I
determined to follow it. Besides, the arrangement offered the best
satisfaction I could obtain, as to be a guest at his dinner table was an
honour for me. I was likewise full of curiosity respecting my new lodging
under the same roof with La Tintoretta, who was much talked of, owing to
a certain Prince of Waldeck who was extravagantly generous with her.

The bishop was expected in the course of the summer; I had, therefore,
only six months more to wait in Venice before taking the road which would
lead me, perhaps, to the throne of Saint Peter: everything in the future
assumed in my eyes the brightest hue, and my imagination revelled amongst
the most radiant beams of sunshine; my castles in the air were indeed
most beautiful.

I dined the same day with M. Grimani, and I found myself seated next to
Razetta--an unpleasant neighbour, but I took no notice of him. When the
meal was over, I paid a last visit to my beautiful house in
Saint-Samuel's parish, and sent all I possessed in a gondola to my new
lodging.

I did not know Signora Tintoretta, but I was well acquainted with her
reputation, character and manners. She was but a poor dancer, neither
handsome nor plain, but a woman of wit and intellect. Prince Waldeck
spent a great deal for her, and yet he did not prevent her from retaining
the titulary protection of a noble Venetian of the Lin family, now
extinct, a man about sixty years of age, who was her visitor at every
hour of the day. This nobleman, who knew me, came to my room towards the
evening, with the compliments of the lady, who, he added, was delighted
to have me in her house, and would be pleased to receive me in her
intimate circle.

To excuse myself for not having been the first to pay my respects to the
signora, I told M. Lin that I did not know she was my neighbour, that M.
Grimani had not mentioned the circumstance, otherwise I would have paid
my duties to her before taking possession of my lodging. After this
apology I followed the ambassador, he presented me to his mistress, and
the acquaintance was made.

She received me like a princess, took off her glove before giving me her
hand to kiss, mentioned my name before five or six strangers who were
present, and whose names she gave me, and invited me to take a seat near
her. As she was a native of Venice, I thought it was absurd for her to
speak French to me, and I told her that I was not acquainted with that
language, and would feel grateful if she would converse in Italian. She
was surprised at my not speaking French, and said I would cut but a poor
figure in her drawing-room, as they seldom spoke any other language
there, because she received a great many foreigners. I promised to learn
French. Prince Waldeck came in during the evening; I was introduced to
him, and he gave me a very friendly welcome. He could speak Italian very
well, and during the carnival he chewed me great kindness. He presented
me with a gold snuffbox as a reward for a very poor sonnet which I had
written for his dear Grizellini. This was her family name; she was called
Tintoretta because her father had been a dyer.

The Tintoretta had greater claims than Juliette to the admiration of
sensible men. She loved poetry, and if it had not been that I was
expecting the bishop, I would have fallen in love with her. She was
herself smitten with a young physician of great merit, named Righelini,
who died in the prime of life, and whom I still regret. I shall have to
mention him in another part of my Memoirs.

Towards the end of the carnival, my mother wrote to M. Grimani that it
would be a great shame if the bishop found me under the roof of an opera
dancer, and he made up his mind to lodge me in a respectable and decent
place. He took the Abbe Tosello into consultation, and the two gentlemen
thought that the best thing they could do for me would be to send me to a
clerical seminary. They arranged everything unknown to me, and the abbe
undertook to inform me of their plan and to obtain from me a gracious
consent. But when I heard him speak with beautiful flowers of rhetoric
for the purpose of gilding the bitter pill, I could not help bursting
into a joyous laughter, and I astounded his reverence when I expressed my
readiness to go anywhere he might think right to send me.

The plan of the two worthy gentlemen was absurd, for at the age of
seventeen, and with a nature like mine, the idea of placing me in a
seminary ought never to have been entertained, but ever a faithful
disciple of Socrates, feeling no unconquerable reluctance, and the plan,
on the contrary, appearing to me rather a good joke, I not only gave a
ready consent, but I even longed to enter the seminary. I told M. Grimani
I was prepared to accept anything, provided Razetta had nothing to do
with it. He gave me his promise, but he did not keep it when I left the
seminary. I have never been able to decide whether this Grimani was kind
because he was a fool, or whether his stupidity was the result of his
kindness, but all his brothers were the same. The worst trick that Dame
Fortune can play upon an intelligent young man is to place him under the
dependence of a fool. A few days afterwards, having been dressed as a
pupil of a clerical seminary by the care of the abbe, I was taken to
Saint-Cyprian de Muran and introduced to the rector.

The patriarchal church of Saint-Cyprian is served by an order of the
monks, founded by the blessed Jerome Miani, a nobleman of Venice. The
rector received me with tender affection and great kindness. But in his
address (which was full of unction) I thought I could perceive a
suspicion on his part that my being sent to the seminary was a
punishment, or at least a way to put a stop to an irregular life, and,
feeling hurt in my dignity, I told him at once, "Reverend father, I do
not think that any one has the right of punishing me."

"No, no, my son," he answered, "I only meant that you would be very happy
with us."

We were then shewn three halls, in which we found at least one hundred
and fifty seminarists, ten or twelve schoolrooms, the refectory, the
dormitory, the gardens for play hours, and every pain was taken to make
me imagine life in such a place the happiest that could fall to the lot
of a young man, and to make me suppose that I would even regret the
arrival of the bishop. Yet they all tried to cheer me up by saying that I
would only remain there five or six months. Their eloquence amused me
greatly.

I entered the seminary at the beginning of March, and prepared myself for
my new life by passing the night between my two young friends, Nanette
and Marton, who bathed their pillows with tears; they could not
understand, and this was likewise the feeling of their aunt and of the
good M. Rosa, how a young man like myself could shew such obedience.

The day before going to the seminary, I had taken care to entrust all my
papers to Madame Manzoni. They made a large parcel, and I left it in her
hands for fifteen years. The worthy old lady is still alive, and with her
ninety years she enjoys good health and a cheerful temper. She received
me with a smile, and told me that I would not remain one month in the
seminary.

"I beg your pardon, madam, but I am very glad to go there, and intend to
remain until the arrival of the bishop."

"You do not know your own nature, and you do not know your bishop, with
whom you will not remain very long either."

The abbe accompanied me to the seminary in a gondola, but at Saint-Michel
he had to stop in consequence of a violent attack of vomiting which
seized me suddenly; the apothecary cured me with some mint-water.

I was indebted for this attack to the too frequent sacrifices which I had
been offering on the altar of love. Any lover who knows what his feelings
were when he found himself with the woman he adored and with the fear
that it was for the last time, will easily imagine my feelings during the
last hours that I expected ever to spend with my two charming mistresses.
I could not be induced to let the last offering be the last, and I went
on offering until there was no more incense left.

The priest committed me to the care of the rector, and my luggage was
carried to the dormitory, where I went myself to deposit my cloak and my
hat. I was not placed amongst the adults, because, notwithstanding my
size, I was not old enough. Besides, I would not shave myself, through
vanity, because I thought that the down on my face left no doubt of my
youth. It was ridiculous, of course; but when does man cease to be so? We
get rid of our vices more easily than of our follies. Tyranny has not had
sufficient power over me to compel me to shave myself; it is only in that
respect that I have found tyranny to be tolerant.

"To which school do you wish to belong?" asked the rector.

"To the dogmatic, reverend father; I wish to study the history of the
Church."

"I will introduce you to the father examiner."

"I am doctor in divinity, most reverend father, and do not want to be
examined."

"It is necessary, my dear son; come with me."

This necessity appeared to me an insult, and I felt very angry; but a
spirit of revenge quickly whispered to me the best way to mystify them,
and the idea made me very joyful. I answered so badly all the questions
propounded in Latin by the examiner, I made so many solecisms, that he
felt it his duty to send me to an inferior class of grammar, in which, to
my great delight, I found myself the companion of some twenty young
urchins of about ten years, who, hearing that I was doctor in divinity,
kept on saying: 'Accipiamus pecuniam, et mittamus asinum in patriam
suam'.

Our play hours afforded me great amusement; my companions of the
dormitory, who were all in the class of philosophy at least, looked down
upon me with great contempt, and when they spoke of their own sublime
discourses, they laughed if I appeared to be listening attentively to
their discussions which, as they thought, must have been perfect enigmas
to me. I did not intend to betray myself, but an accident, which I could
not avoid, forced me to throw off the mask.

Father Barbarigo, belonging to the Convent of the Salutation at Venice,
whose pupil I had been in physics, came to pay a visit to the rector, and
seeing me as we were coming from mass paid me his friendly compliments.
His first question was to enquire what science I was studying, and he
thought I was joking when I answered that I was learning the grammar. The
rector having joined us, I left them together, and went to my class. An
our later, the rector sent for me.

"Why did you feign such ignorance at the examination?" he asked.

"Why," I answered, "were you unjust enough to compel me to the
degradation of an examination?"

He looked annoyed, and escorted me to the dogmatic school, where my
comrades of the dormitory received me with great astonishment, and in the
afternoon, at play time, they gathered around me and made me very happy
with their professions of friendship.

One of them, about fifteen years old, and who at the present time must,
if still alive, be a bishop, attracted my notice by his features as much
as by his talents. He inspired me with a very warm friendship, and during
recess, instead of playing skittles with the others, we always walked
together. We conversed upon poetry, and we both delighted in the
beautiful odes of Horace. We liked Ariosto better than Tasso, and
Petrarch had our whole admiration, while Tassoni and Muratori, who had
been his critics, were the special objects of our contempt. We were such
fast friends, after four days of acquaintance, that we were actually
jealous of each other, and to such an extent that if either of us walked
about with any seminarist, the other would be angry and sulk like a
disappointed lover.

The dormitory was placed under the supervision of a lay friar, and it was
his province to keep us in good order. After supper, accompanied by this
lay friar, who had the title of prefect, we all proceeded to the
dormitory. There, everyone had to go to his own bed, and to undress
quietly after having said his prayers in a low voice. When all the pupils
were in bed, the prefect would go to his own. A large lantern lighted up
the dormitory, which had the shape of a parallelogram eighty yards by
ten. The beds were placed at equal distances, and to each bed there were
a fold-stool, a chair, and room for the trunk of the Seminarist. At one
end was the washing place, and at the other the bed of the prefect. The
bed of my friend was opposite mine, and the lantern was between us.

The principal duty of the prefect was to take care that no pupil should
go and sleep with one of his comrades, for such a visit was never
supposed an innocent one. It was a cardinal sin, and, bed being accounted
the place for sleep and not for conversation, it was admitted that a
pupil who slept out of his own bed, did so only for immoral purposes. So
long as he stopped in his own bed, he could do what he liked; so much the
worse for him if he gave himself up to bad practices. It has been
remarked in Germany that it is precisely in those institutions for young
men in which the directors have taken most pains to prevent onanism that
this vice is most prevalent.

Those who had framed the regulations in our seminary were stupid fools,
who had not the slightest knowledge of either morals or human nature.
Nature has wants which must be administered to, and Tissot is right only
as far as the abuse of nature is concerned, but this abuse would very
seldom occur if the directors exercised proper wisdom and prudence, and
if they did not make a point of forbidding it in a special and peculiar
manner; young people give way to dangerous excesses from a sheer delight
in disobedience,--a disposition very natural to humankind, since it began
with Adam and Eve.

I had been in the seminary for nine or ten days, when one night I felt
someone stealing very quietly in my bed; my hand was at once clutched,
and my name whispered. I could hardly restrain my laughter. It was my
friend, who, having chanced to wake up and finding that the lantern was
out, had taken a sudden fancy to pay me a visit. I very soon begged him
to go away for fear the prefect should be awake, for in such a case we
should have found ourselves in a very unpleasant dilemma, and most likely
would have been accused of some abominable offence. As I was giving him
that good advice we heard someone moving, and my friend made his escape;
but immediately after he had left me I heard the fall of some person, and
at the same time the hoarse voice of the prefect exclaiming:

"Ah, villain! wait until to-morrow--until to-morrow!"

After which threat he lighted the lantern and retired to his couch.

The next morning, before the ringing of the bell for rising, the rector,
followed by the prefect, entered the dormitory, and said to us:

"Listen to me, all of you. You are aware of what has taken place this
last night. Two amongst you must be guilty; but I wish to forgive them,
and to save their honour I promise that their names shall not be made
public. I expect every one of you to come to me for confession before
recess."

He left the dormitory, and we dressed ourselves. In the afternoon, in
obedience to his orders, we all went to him and confessed, after which
ceremony we repaired to the garden, where my friend told me that, having
unfortunately met the prefect after he left me, he had thought that the
best way was to knock him down, in order to get time to reach his own bed
without being known.

"And now," I said, "you are certain of being forgiven, for, of course,
you have wisely confessed your error?"

"You are joking," answered my friend; "why, the good rector would not
have known any more than he knows at present, even if my visit to you had
been paid with a criminal intent."

"Then you must have made a false confession: you are at all events guilty
of disobedience?"

"That may be, but the rector is responsible for the guilt, as he used
compulsion."

"My dear friend, you argue in a very forcible way, and the very reverend
rector must by this time be satisfied that the inmates of our dormitory
are more learned than he is himself."

No more would have been said about the adventure if, a few nights after,
I had not in my turn taken a fancy to return the visit paid by my friend.
Towards midnight, having had occasion to get out of bed, and hearing the
loud snoring of the prefect, I quickly put out the lantern and went to
lie beside my friend. He knew me at once, and gladly received me; but we
both listened attentively to the snoring of our keeper, and when it
ceased, understanding our danger, I got up and reached my own bed without
losing a second, but the moment I got to it I had a double surprise. In
the first place I felt somebody lying in my bed, and in the second I saw
the prefect, with a candle in his hand, coming along slowly and taking a
survey of all the beds right and left. I could understand the prefect
suddenly lighting a candle, but how could I realize what I saw--namely,
one of my comrades sleeping soundly in my bed, with his back turned to
me? I immediately made up my mind to feign sleep. After two or three
shakings given by the prefect, I pretended to wake up, and my
bed-companion woke up in earnest. Astonished at finding himself in my
bed, he offered me an apology:

"I have made a mistake," he said, "as I returned from a certain place in
the dark, I found your bed empty, and mistook it for mine."

"Very likely," I answered; "I had to get up, too."

"Yes," remarked the prefect; "but how does it happen that you went to bed
without making any remark when, on your return, you found your bed
already tenanted? And how is it that, being in the dark, you did not
suppose that you were mistaken yourself?"

"I could not be mistaken, for I felt the pedestal of this crucifix of
mine, and I knew I was right; as to my companion here, I did not feel
him."

"It is all very unlikely," answered our Argus; and he went to the
lantern, the wick of which he found crushed down.

"The wick has been forced into the oil, gentlemen; it has not gone out of
itself; it has been the handiwork of one of you, but it will be seen to
in the morning."

My stupid companion went to his own bed, the prefect lighted the lamp and
retired to his rest, and after this scene, which had broken the repose of
every pupil, I quietly slept until the appearance of the rector, who, at
the dawn of day, came in great fury, escorted by his satellite, the
prefect.

The rector, after examining the localities and submitting to a lengthy
interrogatory first my accomplice, who very naturally was considered as
the most guilty, and then myself, whom nothing could convict of the
offence, ordered us to get up and go to church to attend mass. As soon as
we were dressed, he came back, and addressing us both, he said, kindly:

"You stand both convicted of a scandalous connivance, and it is proved by
the fact of the lantern having been wilfully extinguished. I am disposed
to believe that the cause of all this disorder is, if not entirely
innocent, at least due only to extreme thoughtlessness; but the scandal
given to all your comrades, the outrage offered to the discipline and to
the established rules of the seminary, call loudly for punishment. Leave
the room."

We obeyed; but hardly were we between the double doors of the dormitory
than we were seized by four servants, who tied our hands behind us, and
led us to the class room, where they compelled us to kneel down before
the great crucifix. The rector told them to execute his orders, and, as
we were in that position, the wretches administered to each of us seven
or eight blows with a stick, or with a rope, which I received, as well as
my companion, without a murmur. But the moment my hands were free, I
asked the rector whether I could write two lines at the very foot of the
cross. He gave orders to bring ink and paper, and I traced the following
words:

"I solemnly swear by this God that I have never spoken to the seminarist
who was found in my bed. As an innocent person I must protest against
this shameful violence. I shall appeal to the justice of his lordship the
patriarch."

My comrade in misery signed this protest with me; after which, addressing
myself to all the pupils, I read it aloud, calling upon them to speak the
truth if any one could say the contrary of what I had written. They, with
one voice, immediately declared that we had never been seen conversing
together, and that no one knew who had put the lamp out. The rector left
the room in the midst of hisses and curses, but he sent us to prison all
the same at the top of the house and in separate cells. An hour
afterwards, I had my bed, my trunk and all my things, and my meals were
brought to me every day. On the fourth day, the Abbe Tosello came for me
with instructions to bring me to Venice. I asked him whether he had
sifted this unpleasant affair; he told me that he had enquired into it,
that he had seen the other seminarist, and that he believed we were both
innocent; but the rector would not confess himself in the wrong, and he
did not see what could be done.

I threw off my seminarist's habit, and dressed myself in the clothes I
used to wear in Venice, and, while my luggage was carried to a boat, I
accompanied the abbe to M. Grimani's gondola in which he had come, and we
took our departure. On our way, the abbe ordered the boatman to leave my
things at the Palace Grimani, adding that he was instructed by M. Grimani
to tell me that, if I had the audacity to present myself at his mansion,
his servants had received orders to turn me away.

He landed me near the convent of the Jesuits, without any money, and with
nothing but what I had on my back.

I went to beg a dinner from Madame Manzoni, who laughed heartily at the
realization of her prediction. After dinner I called upon M. Rosa to see
whether the law could protect me against the tyranny of my enemies, and
after he had been made acquainted with the circumstances of the case, he
promised to bring me the same evening, at Madame Orio's house, an
extra-judicial act. I repaired to the place of appointment to wait for
him, and to enjoy the pleasure of my two charming friends at my sudden
reappearance. It was indeed very great, and the recital of my adventures
did not astonish them less than my unexpected presence. M. Rosa came and
made me read the act which he had prepared; he had not had time to have
it engrossed by the notary, but he undertook to have it ready the next
day.

I left Madame Orio to take supper with my brother Francois, who resided
with a painter called Guardi; he was, like me, much oppressed by the
tyranny of Grimani, and I promised to deliver him. Towards midnight I
returned to the two amiable sisters who were expecting me with their
usual loving impatience, but, I am bound to confess it with all humility,
my sorrows were prejudicial to love in spite of the fortnight of absence
and of abstinence. They were themselves deeply affected to see me so
unhappy, and pitied me with all their hearts. I endeavoured to console
them, and assured them that all my misery would soon come to an end, and
that we would make up for lost time.

In the morning, having no money, and not knowing where to go, I went to
St. Mark's Library, where I remained until noon. I left it with the
intention of dining with Madame Manzoni, but I was suddenly accosted by a
soldier who informed me that someone wanted to speak to me in a gondola
to which he pointed. I answered that the person might as well come out,
but he quietly remarked that he had a friend at hand to conduct me
forcibly to the gondola, if necessary, and without any more hesitation I
went towards it. I had a great dislike to noise or to anything like a
public exhibition. I might have resisted, for the soldiers were unarmed,
and I would not have been taken up, this sort of arrest not being legal
in Venice, but I did not think of it. The 'sequere deum' was playing its
part; I felt no reluctance. Besides, there are moments in which a
courageous man has no courage, or disdains to shew it.

I enter the gondola, the curtain is drawn aside, and I see my evil
genius, Razetta, with an officer. The two soldiers sit down at the prow;
I recognize M. Grimani's own gondola, it leaves the landing and takes the
direction of the Lido. No one spoke to me, and I remained silent. After
half-an-hour's sailing, the gondola stopped before the small entrance of
the Fortress St. Andre, at the mouth of the Adriatic, on the very spot
where the Bucentaur stands, when, on Ascension Day, the doge comes to
espouse the sea.

The sentinel calls the corporal; we alight, the officer who accompanied
me introduces me to the major, and presents a letter to him. The major,
after reading its contents, gives orders to M. Zen, his adjutant, to
consign me to the guard-house. In another quarter of an hour my
conductors take their departure, and M. Zen brings me three livres and a
half, stating that I would receive the same amount every week. It was
exactly the pay of a private.

I did not give way to any burst of passion, but I felt the most intense
indignation. Late in the evening I expressed a wish to have some food
bought, for I could not starve; then, stretching myself upon a hard camp
bed, I passed the night amongst the soldiers without closing my eyes, for
these Sclavonians were singing, eating garlic, smoking a bad tobacco
which was most noxious, and drinking a wine of their own country, as
black as ink, which nobody else could swallow.

Early next morning Major Pelodoro (the governor of the fortress) called
me up to his room, and told me that, in compelling me to spend the night
in the guard-house, he had only obeyed the orders he had received from
Venice from the secretary of war. "Now, reverend sir," he added, "my
further orders are only to keep you a prisoner in the fort, and I am
responsible for your remaining here. I give you the whole of the fortress
for your prison. You shall have a good room in which you will find your
bed and all your luggage. Walk anywhere you please; but recollect that,
if you should escape, you would cause my ruin. I am sorry that my
instructions are to give you only ten sous a day, but if you have any
friends in Venice able to send you some money, write to them, and trust
to me for the security of your letters. Now you may go to bed, if you
need rest."

I was taken to my room; it was large and on the first story, with two
windows from which I had a very fine view. I found my bed, and I
ascertained with great satisfaction that my trunk, of which I had the
keys, had not been forced open. The major had kindly supplied my table
with all the implements necessary for writing. A Sclavonian soldier
informed me very politely that he would attend upon me, and that I would
pay him for his services whenever I could, for everyone knew that I had
only ten sous a day. I began by ordering some soup, and, when I had
dispatched it, I went to bed and slept for nine hours. When I woke, I
received an invitation to supper from the major, and I began to imagine
that things, after all, would not be so very bad.

I went to the honest governor, whom I found in numerous company. He
presented me to his wife and to every person present. I met there several
officers, the chaplain of the fortress, a certain Paoli Vida, one of the
singers of St. Mark's Church, and his wife, a pretty woman, sister-in-law
of the major, whom the husband chose to confine in the fort because he
was very jealous (jealous men are not comfortable at Venice), together
with several other ladies, not very young, but whom I thought very
agreeable, owing to their kind welcome.

Cheerful as I was by nature, those pleasant guests easily managed to put
me in the best of humours. Everyone expressed a wish to know the reasons
which could have induced M. Grimani to send me to the fortress, so I gave
a faithful account of all my adventures since my grandmother's death. I
spoke for three hours without any bitterness, and even in a pleasant
tone, upon things which, said in a different manner, might have
displeased my audience; all expressed their satisfaction, and shewed so
much sympathy that, as we parted for the night, I received from all an
assurance of friendship and the offer of their services. This is a piece
of good fortune which has never failed me whenever I have been the victim
of oppression, until I reached the age of fifty. Whenever I met with
honest persons expressing a curiosity to know the history of the
misfortune under which I was labouring, and whenever I satisfied their
curiosity, I have inspired them with friendship, and with that sympathy
which was necessary to render them favourable and useful to me.

That success was owing to a very simple artifice; it was only to tell my
story in a quiet and truthful manner, without even avoiding the facts
which told against me. It is simple secret that many men do not know,
because the larger portion of humankind is composed of cowards; a man who
always tells the truth must be possessed of great moral courage.
Experience has taught me that truth is a talisman, the charm of which
never fails in its effect, provided it is not wasted upon unworthy
people, and I believe that a guilty man, who candidly speaks the truth to
his judge, has a better chance of being acquitted, than the innocent man
who hesitates and evades true statements. Of course the speaker must be
young, or at least in the prime of manhood; for an old man finds the
whole of nature combined against him.

The major had his joke respecting the visit paid and returned to the
seminarist's bed, but the chaplain and the ladies scolded him. The major
advised me to write out my story and send it to the secretary of war,
undertaking that he should receive it, and he assured me that he would
become my protector. All the ladies tried to induce me to follow the
major's advice.



CHAPTER VII

My Short Stay in Fort St. Andre--My First Repentance in Love Affairs I
Enjoy the Sweets of Revenge, and Prove a Clever Alibi--Arrest of Count
Bonafede--My Release--Arrival of the Bishop--Farewell to Venice

The fort, in which the Republic usually kept only a garrison of one
hundred half-pay Sclavonians, happened to contain at that time two
thousand Albanian soldiers, who were called Cimariotes.

The secretary of war, who was generally known under the title of 'sage a
l'ecriture', had summoned these men from the East in consequence of some
impending promotion, as he wanted the officers to be on the spot in order
to prove their merits before being rewarded. They all came from the part
of Epirus called Albania, which belongs to the Republic of Venice, and
they had distinguished themselves in the last war against the Turks. It
was for me a new and extraordinary sight to examine some eighteen or
twenty officers, all of an advanced age, yet strong and healthy, shewing
the scars which covered their face and their chest, the last naked and
entirely exposed through military pride. The lieutenant-colonel was
particularly conspicuous by his wounds, for, without exaggeration, he had
lost one-fourth of his head. He had but one eye, but one ear, and no jaw
to speak of. Yet he could eat very well, speak without difficulty, and
was very cheerful. He had with him all his family, composed of two pretty
daughters, who looked all the prettier in their national costume, and of
seven sons, every one of them a soldier. This lieutenant-colonel stood
six feet high, and his figure was magnificent, but his scars so
completely deformed his features that his face was truly horrid to look
at. Yet I found so much attraction in him that I liked him the moment I
saw him, and I would have been much pleased to converse with him if his
breath had not sent forth such a strong smell of garlic. All the
Albanians had their pockets full of it, and they enjoyed a piece of
garlic with as much relish as we do a sugar-plum. After this none can
maintain it to be a poison, though the only medicinal virtue it possesses
is to excite the appetite, because it acts like a tonic upon a weak
stomach.

The lieutenant-colonel could not read, but he was not ashamed of his
ignorance, because not one amongst his men, except the priest and the
surgeon, could boast greater learning. Every man, officer or private, had
his purse full of gold; half of them, at least, were married, and we had
in the fortress a colony of five or six hundred women, with God knows how
many children! I felt greatly interested in them all. Happy idleness! I
often regret thee because thou hast often offered me new sights, and for
the same reason I hate old age which never offers but what I know
already, unless I should take up a gazette, but I cared nothing for them
in my young days.

Alone in my room I made an inventory of my trunk, and having put aside
everything of an ecclesiastical character, I sent for a Jew, and sold the
whole parcel unmercifully. Then I wrote to M. Rosa, enclosing all the
tickets of the articles I had pledged, requesting him to have them sold
without any exception, and to forward me the surplus raised by the sale.
Thanks to that double operation, I was enabled to give my Sclavonian
servant the ten sous allowed to me every day. Another soldier, who had
been a hair-dresser, took care of my hair which I had been compelled to
neglect, in consequence of the rules of the seminary. I spent my time in
walking about the fort and through the barracks, and my two places of
resort were the major's apartment for some intellectual enjoyment, and
the rooms of the Albanian lieutenant-colonel for a sprinkling of love.
The Albanian feeling certain that his colonel would be appointed
brigadier, solicited the command of the regiment, but he had a rival and
he feared his success. I wrote him a petition, short, but so well
composed that the secretary of war, having enquired the name of the
author, gave the Albanian his colonelcy. On his return to the fort, the
brave fellow, overjoyed at his success, hugged me in his arms, saying
that he owed it all to me; he invited me to a family dinner, in which my
very soul was parched by his garlic, and he presented me with twelve
botargoes and two pounds of excellent Turkish tobacco.

The result of my petition made all the other officers think that they
could not succeed without the assistance of my pen, and I willingly gave
it to everybody; this entailed many quarrels upon me, for I served all
interests, but, finding myself the lucky possessor of some forty sequins,
I was no longer in dread of poverty, and laughed at everything. However,
I met with an accident which made me pass six weeks in a very unpleasant
condition.

On the 2nd of April, the fatal anniversary of my first appearance in this
world, as I was getting up in the morning, I received in my room the
visit of a very handsome Greek woman, who told me that her husband, then
ensign in the regiment, had every right to claim the rank of lieutenant,
and that he would certainly be appointed, if it were not for the
opposition of his captain who was against him, because she had refused
him certain favours which she could bestow only upon her husband. She
handed me some certificates, and begged me to write a petition which she
would present herself to the secretary of war, adding that she could only
offer me her heart in payment. I answered that her heart ought not to go
alone; I acted as I had spoken, and I met with no other resistance than
the objection which a pretty woman is always sure to feign for the sake
of appearance. After that, I told her to come back at noon, and that the
petition would be ready. She was exact to the appointment, and very
kindly rewarded me a second time; and in the evening, under pretence of
some alterations to be made in the petition, she afforded an excellent
opportunity of reaping a third recompense.

But, alas! the path of pleasure is not strewn only with roses! On the
third day, I found out, much to my dismay, that a serpent had been hid
under the flowers. Six weeks of care and of rigid diet re-established my
health.

When I met the handsome Greek again, I was foolish enough to reproach her
for the present she had bestowed upon me, but she baffled me by laughing,
and saying that she had only offered me what she possessed, and that it
was my own fault if I had not been sufficiently careful. The reader
cannot imagine how much this first misfortune grieved me, and what deep
shame I felt. I looked upon myself as a dishonoured man, and while I am
on that subject I may as well relate an incident which will give some
idea of my thoughtlessness.

Madame Vida, the major's sister-in-law, being alone with me one morning,
confided in me in a moment of unreserved confidence what she had to
suffer from the jealous disposition of her husband, and his cruelty in
having allowed her to sleep alone for the last four years, when she was
in the very flower of her age.

"I trust to God," she added, "that my husband will not find out that you
have spent an hour alone with me, for I should never hear the end of it."

Feeling deeply for her grief, and confidence begetting confidence, I was
stupid enough to tell her the sad state to which I had been reduced by
the cruel Greek woman, assuring her that I felt my misery all the more
deeply, because I should have been delighted to console her, and to give
her the opportunity of a revenge for her jealous husband's coldness. At
this speech, in which my simplicity and good faith could easily be
traced, she rose from her chair, and upbraided me with every insult which
an outraged honest woman might hurl at the head of a bold libertine who
has presumed too far. Astounded, but understanding perfectly well the
nature of my crime, I bowed myself out of her room; but as I was leaving
it she told me in the same angry tone that my visits would not be welcome
for the future, as I was a conceited puppy, unworthy of the society of
good and respectable women. I took care to answer that a respectable
woman would have been rather more reserved than she had been in her
confidences. On reflection I felt pretty sure that, if I had been in good
health, or had said nothing about my mishap, she would have been but too
happy to receive my consolations.

A few days after that incident I had a much greater cause to regret my
acquaintance with the Greek woman. On Ascension Day, as the ceremony of
the Bucentaur was celebrated near the fort, M. Rosa brought Madame Orio
and her two nieces to witness it, and I had the pleasure of treating them
all to a good dinner in my room. I found myself, during the day, alone
with my young friends in one of the casements, and they both loaded me
with the most loving caresses and kisses. I felt that they expected some
substantial proof of my love; but, to conceal the real state, of things,
I pretended to be afraid of being surprised, and they had to be satisfied
with my shallow excuse.

I had informed my mother by letter of all I had suffered from Grimani's
treatment; she answered that she had written to him on the subject, that
she had no doubt he would immediately set me at liberty, and that an
arrangement had been entered into by which M. Grimani would devote the
money raised by Razetta from the sale of the furniture to the settlement
of a small patrimony on my youngest brother. But in this matter Grimani
did not act honestly, for the patrimony was only settled thirteen years
afterwards, and even then only in a fictitious manner. I shall have an
opportunity later on of mentioning this unfortunate brother, who died
very poor in Rome twenty years ago.

Towards the middle of June the Cimariotes were sent back to the East, and
after their departure the garrison of the fort was reduced to its usual
number. I began to feel weary in this comparative solitude, and I gave
way to terrible fits of passion.

The heat was intense, and so disagreeable to me that I wrote to M.
Grimani, asking for two summer suits of clothes, and telling him where
they would be found, if Razetta had not sold them. A week afterwards I
was in the major's apartment when I saw the wretch Razetta come in,
accompanied by a man whom he introduced as Petrillo, the celebrated
favourite of the Empress of Russia, just arrived from St. Petersburg. He
ought to have said infamous instead of celebrated, and clown instead of
favourite.

The major invited them to take a seat, and Razetta, receiving a parcel
from Grimani's gondolier, handed it to me, saying,

"I have brought you your rags; take them."

I answered:

"Some day I will bring you a 'rigano':"

At these words the scoundrel dared to raise his cane, but the indignant
major compelled him to lower his tone by asking him whether he had any
wish to pass the night in the guard-house. Petrillo, who had not yet
opened his lips, told me then that he was sorry not to have found me in
Venice, as I might have shewn him round certain places which must be well
known to me.

"Very likely we should have met your wife in such places," I answered.

"I am a good judge of faces," he said, "and I can see that you are a true
gallows-bird."

I was trembling with rage, and the major, who shared my utter disgust,
told them that he had business to transact, and they took their leave.
The major assured me that on the following day he would go to the war
office to complain of Razetta, and that he would have him punished for
his insolence.

I remained alone, a prey to feelings of the deepest indignation, and to a
most ardent thirst for revenge.

The fortress was entirely surrounded by water, and my windows were not
overlooked by any of the sentinels. A boat coming under my windows could
therefore easily take me to Venice during the night and bring me back to
the fortress before day-break. All that was necessary was to find a
boatman who, for a certain amount, would risk the galleys in case of
discovery. Amongst several who brought provisions to the fort, I chose a
boatman whose countenance pleased me, and I offered him one sequin; he
promised to let me know his decision on the following day. He was true to
his time, and declared himself ready to take me. He informed me that,
before deciding to serve me, he had wished to know whether I was kept in
the fort for any great crime, but as the wife of the major had told him
that my imprisonment had been caused by very trifling frolics, I could
rely upon him. We arranged that he should be under my window at the
beginning of the night, and that his boat should be provided with a mast
long enough to enable me to slide along it from the window to the boat.

The appointed hour came, and everything being ready I got safely into the
boat, landed at the Sclavonian quay, ordered the boatman to wait for me,
and wrapped up in a mariner's cloak I took my way straight to the gate of
Saint-Sauveur, and engaged the waiter of a coffee-room to take me to
Razetta's house.

Being quite certain that he would not be at home at that time, I rang the
bell, and I heard my sister's voice telling me that if I wanted to see
him I must call in the morning. Satisfied with this, I went to the foot
of the bridge and sat down, waiting there to see which way he would come,
and a few minutes before midnight I saw him advancing from the square of
Saint-Paul. It was all I wanted to know; I went back to my boat and
returned to the fort without any difficulty. At five o'clock in the
morning everyone in the garrison could see me enjoying my walk on the
platform.

Taking all the time necessary to mature my plans, I made the following
arrangements to secure my revenge with perfect safety, and to prove an
alibi in case I should kill my rascally enemy, as it was my intention to
do. The day preceding the night fixed for my expedition, I walked about
with the son of the Adjutant Zen, who was only twelve years old, but who
amused me much by his shrewdness. The reader will meet him again in the
year 1771. As I was walking with him, I jumped down from one of the
bastions, and feigned to sprain my ankle. Two soldiers carried me to my
room, and the surgeon of the fort, thinking that I was suffering from a
luxation, ordered me to keep to bed, and wrapped up the ankle in towels
saturated with camphorated spirits of wine. Everybody came to see me, and
I requested the soldier who served me to remain and to sleep in my room.
I knew that a glass of brandy was enough to stupefy the man, and to make
him sleep soundly. As soon as I saw him fast asleep, I begged the surgeon
and the chaplain, who had his room over mine, to leave me, and at
half-past ten I lowered myself in the boat.

As soon as I reached Venice, I bought a stout cudgel, and I sat myself
down on a door-step, at the corner of the street near Saint-Paul's
Square. A narrow canal at the end of the street, was, I thought, the very
place to throw my enemy in. That canal has now disappeared.

At a quarter before twelve I see Razetta, walking along leisurely. I come
out of the street with rapid strides, keeping near the wall to compel him
to make room for me, and I strike a first blow on the head, and a second
on his arm; the third blow sends him tumbling in the canal, howling and
screaming my name. At the same instant a Forlan, or citizen of Forli,
comes out of a house on my left side with a lantern in his hand. A blow
from my cudgel knocks the lantern out of his grasp, and the man,
frightened out of his wits, takes to his heels. I throw away my stick, I
run at full speed through the square and over the bridge, and while
people are hastening towards the spot where the disturbance had taken
place, I jump into the boat, and, thanks to a strong breeze swelling our
sail, I get back to the fortress. Twelve o'clock was striking as I
re-entered my room through the window. I quickly undress myself, and the
moment I am in my bed I wake up the soldier by my loud screams, telling
him to go for the surgeon, as I am dying of the colic.

The chaplain, roused by my screaming, comes down and finds me in
convulsions. In the hope that some diascordium would relieve me, the good
old man runs to his room and brings it, but while he has gone for some
water I hide the medicine. After half an hour of wry faces, I say that I
feel much better, and thanking all my friends, I beg them to retire,
which everyone does, wishing me a quiet sleep.

The next morning I could not get up in consequence of my sprained ankle,
although I had slept very well; the major was kind enough to call upon me
before going to Venice, and he said that very likely my colic had been
caused by the melon I had eaten for my dinner the day before.

The major returned at one o'clock in the afternoon. "I have good news to
give you," he said to me, with a joyful laugh. "Razetta was soundly
cudgelled last night and thrown into a canal."

"Has he been killed?"

"No; but I am glad of it for your sake, for his death would make your
position much more serious. You are accused of having done it."

"I am very glad people think me guilty; it is something of a revenge, but
it will be rather difficult to bring it home to me."

"Very difficult! All the same, Razetta swears he recognized you, and the
same declaration is made by the Forlan who says that you struck his hand
to make him drop his lantern. Razetta's nose is broken, three of his
teeth are gone, and his right arm is severely hurt. You have been accused
before the avogador, and M. Grimani has written to the war office to
complain of your release from the fortress without his knowledge. I
arrived at the office just in time. The secretary was reading Grimani's
letter, and I assured his excellency that it was a false report, for I
left you in bed this morning, suffering from a sprained ankle. I told him
likewise that at twelve o'clock last night you were very near death from
a severe attack of colic."

"Was it at midnight that Razetta was so well treated?"

"So says the official report. The war secretary wrote at once to M.
Grimani and informed him that you have not left the fort, and that you
are even now detained in it, and that the plaintiff is at liberty, if he
chooses, to send commissaries to ascertain the fact. Therefore, my dear
abbe, you must prepare yourself for an interrogatory."

"I expect it, and I will answer that I am very sorry to be innocent."

Three days afterwards, a commissary came to the fort with a clerk of the
court, and the proceedings were soon over. Everybody knew that I had
sprained my ankle; the chaplain, the surgeon, my body-servant, and
several others swore that at midnight I was in bed suffering from colic.
My alibi being thoroughly proved, the avogador sentenced Razetta and the
Forlan to pay all expenses without prejudice to my rights of action.

After this judgment, the major advised me to address to the secretary of
war a petition which he undertook to deliver himself, and to claim my
release from the fort. I gave notice of my proceedings to M. Grimani, and
a week afterwards the major told me that I was free, and that he would
himself take me to the abbe. It was at dinnertime, and in the middle of
some amusing conversation, that he imparted that piece of information.
Not supposing him to be in earnest, and in order to keep up the joke, I
told him very politely that I preferred his house to Venice, and that, to
prove it, I would be happy to remain a week longer, if he would grant me
permission to do so. I was taken at my word, and everybody seemed very
pleased. But when, two hours later, the news was confirmed, and I could
no longer doubt the truth of my release, I repented the week which I had
so foolishly thrown away as a present to the major; yet I had not the
courage to break my word, for everybody, and particularly his wife, had
shown such unaffected pleasure, it would have been contemptible of me to
change my mind. The good woman knew that I owed her every kindness which
I had enjoyed, and she might have thought me ungrateful.

But I met in the fort with a last adventure, which I must not forget to
relate.

On the following day, an officer dressed in the national uniform called
upon the major, accompanied by an elderly man of about sixty years of
age, wearing a sword, and, presenting to the major a dispatch with the
seal of the war office, he waited for an answer, and went away as soon as
he had received one from the governor.

After the officer had taken leave, the major, addressing himself to the
elderly gentleman, to whom he gave the title of count, told him that his
orders were to keep him a prisoner, and that he gave him the whole of the
fort for his prison. The count offered him his sword, but the major nobly
refused to take it, and escorted him to the room he was to occupy. Soon
after, a servant in livery brought a bed and a trunk, and the next
morning the same servant, knocking at my door, told me that his master
begged the honour of my company to breakfast. I accepted the invitation,
and he received me with these words:

"Dear sir, there has been so much talk in Venice about the skill with
which you proved your incredible alibi, that I could not help asking for
the honour of your acquaintance."

"But, count, the alibi being a true one, there can be no skill required
to prove it. Allow me to say that those who doubt its truth are paying me
a very poor compliment, for--"

"Never mind; do not let us talk any more of that, and forgive me. But as
we happen to be companions in misfortune, I trust you will not refuse me
your friendship. Now for breakfast."

After our meal, the count, who had heard from me some portion of my
history, thought that my confidence called for a return on his part, and
he began: "I am the Count de Bonafede. In my early days I served under
Prince Eugene, but I gave up the army, and entered on a civil career in
Austria. I had to fly from Austria and take refuge in Bavaria in
consequence of an unfortunate duel. In Munich I made the acquaintance of
a young lady belonging to a noble family; I eloped with her and brought
her to Venice, where we were married. I have now been twenty years in
Venice. I have six children, and everybody knows me. About a week ago I
sent my servant to the postoffice for my letters, but they were refused
him because he had not any money to pay the postage. I went myself, but
the clerk would not deliver me my letters, although I assured him that I
would pay for them the next time. This made me angry, and I called upon
the Baron de Taxis, the postmaster, and complained of the clerk, but he
answered very rudely that the clerk had simply obeyed his orders, and
that my letters would only be delivered on payment of the postage. I felt
very indignant, but as I was in his house I controlled my anger, went
home, and wrote a note to him asking him to give me satisfaction for his
rudeness, telling him that I would never go out without my sword, and
that I would force him to fight whenever and wherever I should meet him.
I never came across him, but yesterday I was accosted by the secretary of
the inquisitors, who told me that I must forget the baron's rude conduct,
and go under the guidance of an officer whom he pointed out to me, to
imprison myself for a week in this fortress. I shall thus have the
pleasure of spending that time with you."

I told him that I had been free for the last twenty-four hours, but that
to shew my gratitude for his friendly confidence I would feel honoured if
he would allow me to keep him company. As I had already engaged myself
with the major, this was only a polite falsehood.

In the afternoon I happened to be with him on the tower of the fort, and
pointed out a gondola advancing towards the lower gate; he took his
spy-glass and told me that it was his wife and daughter coming to see
him. We went to meet the ladies, one of whom might once have been worth
the trouble of an elopement; the other, a young person between fourteen
and sixteen, struck me as a beauty of a new style. Her hair was of a
beautiful light auburn, her eyes were blue and very fine, her nose a
Roman, and her pretty mouth, half-open and laughing, exposed a set of
teeth as white as her complexion, although a beautiful rosy tint somewhat
veiled the whiteness of the last. Her figure was so slight that it seemed
out of nature, but her perfectly-formed breast appeared an altar on which
the god of love would have delighted to breathe the sweetest incense.
This splendid chest was, however, not yet well furnished, but in my
imagination I gave her all the embonpoint which might have been desired,
and I was so pleased that I could not take my looks from her. I met her
eyes, and her laughing countenance seemed to say to me: "Only wait for
two years, at the utmost, and all that your imagination is now creating
will then exist in reality."

She was elegantly dressed in the prevalent fashion, with large hoops, and
like the daughters of the nobility who have not yet attained the age of
puberty, although the young countess was marriageable. I had never dared
to stare so openly at the bosom of a young lady of quality, but I thought
there was no harm in fixing my eyes on a spot where there was nothing yet
but in expectation.

The count, after having exchanged a few words in German with his wife,
presented me in the most flattering manner, and I was received with great
politeness. The major joined us, deeming it his duty to escort the
countess all over the fortress, and I improved the excellent opportunity
thrown in my way by the inferiority of my position; I offered my arm to
the young lady, and the count left us to go to his room.

I was still an adept in the old Venetian fashion of attending upon
ladies, and the young countess thought me rather awkward, though I
believed myself very fashionable when I placed my hand under her arm, but
she drew it back in high merriment. Her mother turned round to enquire
what she was laughing at, and I was terribly confused when I heard her
answer that I had tickled her.

"This is the way to offer your arm to a lady," she said, and she passed
her hand through my arm, which I rounded in the most clumsy manner,
feeling it a very difficult task to resume a dignified countenance.
Thinking me a novice of the most innocent species, she very likely
determined to make sport of me. She began by remarking that by rounding
my arm as I had done I placed it too far from her waist, and that I was
consequently out of drawing. I told her I did not know how to draw, and
inquired whether it was one of her accomplishments.

"I am learning," she answered, "and when you call upon us I will shew you
Adam and Eve, after the Chevalier Liberi; I have made a copy which has
been found very fine by some professors, although they did not know it
was my work."

"Why did you not tell them?"

"Because those two figures are too naked."

"I am not curious to see your Adam, but I will look at your Eve with
pleasure, and keep your secret."

This answer made her laugh again, and again her mother turned round. I
put on the look of a simpleton, for, seeing the advantage I could derive
from her opinion of me, I had formed my plan at the very moment she tried
to teach me how to offer my arm to a lady.

She was so convinced of my simplicity that she ventured to say that she
considered her Adam by far more beautiful than her Eve, because in her
drawing of the man she had omitted nothing, every muscle being visible,
while there was none conspicuous in Eve. "It is," she added, "a figure
with nothing in it."

"Yet it is the one which I shall like best."

"No; believe me, Adam will please you most."

This conversation had greatly excited me. I had on a pair of linen
breeches, the weather being very warm.... I was afraid of the major and
the countess, who were a few yards in front of us, turning round .... I
was on thorns. To make matters worse, the young lady stumbled, one of her
shoes slipped off, and presenting me her pretty foot she asked me to put
the shoe right. I knelt on the ground, and, very likely without thinking,
she lifted up her skirt.... she had very wide hoops and no petticoat....
what I saw was enough to strike me dead on the spot.... When I rose, she
asked if anything was the matter with me.

A moment after, coming out of one of the casemates, her head-dress got
slightly out of order, and she begged that I would remedy the accident,
but, having to bend her head down, the state in which I was could no
longer remain a secret for her. In order to avoid greater confusion to
both of us, she enquired who had made my watch ribbon; I told her it was
a present from my sister, and she desired to examine it, but when I
answered her that it was fastened to the fob-pocket, and found that she
disbelieved me, I added that she could see for herself. She put her hand
to it, and a natural but involuntary excitement caused me to be very
indiscreet. She must have felt vexed, for she saw that she had made a
mistake in her estimate of my character; she became more timid, she would
not laugh any more, and we joined her mother and the major who was
shewing her, in a sentry-box, the body of Marshal de Schulenburg which
had been deposited there until the mausoleum erected for him was
completed. As for myself, I felt deeply ashamed. I thought myself the
first man who had alarmed her innocence, and I felt ready to do anything
to atone for the insult.

Such was my delicacy of feeling in those days. I used to credit people
with exalted sentiments, which often existed only in my imagination. I
must confess that time has entirely destroyed that delicacy; yet I do not
believe myself worse than other men, my equals in age and inexperience.

We returned to the count's apartment, and the day passed off rather
gloomily. Towards evening the ladies went away, but the countess gave me
a pressing invitation to call upon them in Venice.

The young lady, whom I thought I had insulted, had made such a deep
impression upon me that the seven following days seemed very long; yet I
was impatient to see her again only that I might entreat her forgiveness,
and convince her of my repentance.

The following day the count was visited by his son; he was
plain-featured, but a thorough gentleman, and modest withal. Twenty-five
years afterwards I met him in Spain, a cadet in the king's body-guard. He
had served as a private twenty years before obtaining this poor
promotion. The reader will hear of him in good time; I will only mention
here that when I met him in Spain, he stood me out that I had never known
him; his self-love prompted this very contemptible lie.

Early on the eighth day the count left the fortress, and I took my
departure the same evening, having made an appointment at a coffee-house
in St. Mark's Square with the major who was to accompany me to M.
Grimani's house. I took leave of his wife, whose memory will always be
dear to me, and she said, "I thank you for your skill in proving your
alibi, but you have also to thank me for having understood you so well.
My husband never heard anything about it until it was all over."

As soon as I reached Venice, I went to pay a visit to Madame Orio, where
I was made welcome. I remained to supper, and my two charming sweethearts
who were praying for the death of the bishop, gave me the most delightful
hospitality for the night.

At noon the next day I met the major according to our appointment, and we
called upon the Abbe Grimani. He received me with the air of a guilty man
begging for mercy, and I was astounded at his stupidity when he entreated
me to forgive Razetta and his companion. He told me that the bishop was
expected very soon, and that he had ordered a room to be ready for me,
and that I could take my meals with him. Then he introduced me to M.
Valavero, a man of talent, who had just left the ministry of war, his
term of office having lasted the usual six months. I paid my duty to him,
and we kept up a kind of desultory conversation until the departure of
the major. When he had left us M. Valavero entreated me to confess that I
had been the guilty party in the attack upon Razetta. I candidly told him
that the thrashing had been my handiwork, and I gave him all the
particulars, which amused him immensely. He remarked that, as I had
perpetrated the affair before midnight, the fools had made a mistake in
their accusation; but that, after all, the mistake had not materially
helped me in proving the alibi, because my sprained ankle, which
everybody had supposed a real accident, would of itself have been
sufficient.

But I trust that my kind reader has not forgotten that I had a very heavy
weight upon my conscience, of which I longed to get rid. I had to see the
goddess of my fancy, to obtain my pardon, or die at her feet.

I found the house without difficulty; the count was not at home. The
countess received me very kindly, but her appearance caused me so great a
surprise that I did not know what to say to her. I had fancied that I was
going to visit an angel, that I would find her in a lovely paradise, and
I found myself in a large sitting-room furnished with four rickety chairs
and a dirty old table. There was hardly any light in the room because the
shutters were nearly closed. It might have been a precaution against the
heat, but I judged that it was more probably for the purpose of
concealing the windows, the glass of which was all broken. But this
visible darkness did not prevent me from remarking that the countess was
wrapped up in an old tattered gown, and that her chemise did not shine by
its cleanliness. Seeing that I was ill at ease, she left the room, saying
that she would send her daughter, who, a few minutes afterwards, came in
with an easy and noble appearance, and told me that she had expected me
with great impatience, but that I had surprised her at a time at which
she was not in the habit of receiving any visits.

I did not know what to answer, for she did not seem to me to be the same
person. Her miserable dishabille made her look almost ugly, and I
wondered at the impression she had produced upon me at the fortress. She
saw my surprise, and partly guessed my thoughts, for she put on a look,
not of vexation, but of sorrow which called forth all my pity. If she had
been a philosopher she might have rightly despised me as a man whose
sympathy was enlisted only by her fine dress, her nobility, or her
apparent wealth; but she endeavoured to bring me round by her sincerity.
She felt that if she could call a little sentiment into play, it would
certainly plead in her favour.

"I see that you are astonished, reverend sir, and I know the reason of
your surprise. You expected to see great splendour here, and you find
only misery. The government allows my father but a small salary, and
there are nine of us. As we must attend church on Sundays and holidays in
a style proper to our condition, we are often compelled to go without our
dinner, in order to get out of pledge the clothes which urgent need too
often obliges us to part with, and which we pledge anew on the following
day. If we did not attend mass, the curate would strike our names off the
list of those who share the alms of the Confraternity of the Poor, and
those alms alone keep us afloat."

What a sad tale! She had guessed rightly. I was touched, but rather with
shame than true emotion. I was not rich myself, and, as I was no longer
in love, I only heaved a deep sigh, and remained as cold as ice.
Nevertheless, her position was painful, and I answered politely, speaking
with kindness and assuring her of my sympathy. "Were I wealthy," I said,
"I would soon shew you that your tale of woe has not fallen on unfeeling
ears; but I am poor, and, being at the eve of my departure from Venice,
even my friendship would be useless to you." Then, after some desultory
talk, I expressed a hope that her beauty would yet win happiness for her.
She seemed to consider for a few minutes, and said, "That may happen some
day, provided that the man who feels the power of my charms understands
that they can be bestowed only with my heart, and is willing to render me
the justice I deserve; I am only looking for a lawful marriage, without
dreaming of rank or fortune; I no longer believe in the first, and I know
how to live without the second; for I have been accustomed to poverty,
and even to abject need; but you cannot realize that. Come and see my
drawings."

"You are very good, mademoiselle."

Alas! I was not thinking of her drawings, and I could no longer feel
interested in her Eve, but I followed her.

We came to a chamber in which I saw a table, a chair, a small
toilet-glass and a bed with the straw palliasse turned over, very likely
for the purpose of allowing the looker-on to suppose that there were
sheets underneath, but I was particularly disgusted by a certain smell,
the cause of which was recent; I was thunderstruck, and if I had been
still in love, this antidote would have been sufficiently powerful to
cure me instanter. I wished for nothing but to make my escape, never to
return, and I regretted that I could not throw on the table a handful of
ducats, which I should have considered the price of my ransom.

The poor girl shewed me her drawings; they were fine, and I praised
them, without alluding particularly to Eve, and without venturing a joke
upon Adam. I asked her, for the sake of saying something, why she did not
try to render her talent remunerative by learning pastel drawing.

"I wish I could," she answered, "but the box of chalks alone costs two
sequins."

"Will you forgive me if I am bold enough to offer you six?"

"Alas! I accept them gratefully, and to be indebted to you for such a
service makes me truly happy."

Unable to keep back her tears, she turned her head round to conceal them
from me, and I took that opportunity of laying the money on the table,
and out of politeness, wishing to spare her every unnecessary
humiliation, I saluted her lips with a kiss which she was at liberty to
consider a loving one, as I wanted her to ascribe my reserve to the
respect I felt for her. I then left her with a promise to call another
day to see her father. I never kept my promise. The reader will see how I
met her again after ten years.

How many thoughts crowded upon my mind as I left that house! What a
lesson! I compared reality with the imagination, and I had to give the
preference to the last, as reality is always dependent on it. I then
began to forsee a truth which has been clearly proved to me in my after
life, namely, that love is only a feeling of curiosity more or less
intense, grafted upon the inclination placed in us by nature that the
species may be preserved. And truly, woman is like a book, which, good or
bad, must at first please us by the frontispiece. If this is not
interesting, we do not feel any wish to read the book, and our wish is in
direct proportion to the interest we feel. The frontispiece of woman runs
from top to bottom like that of a book, and her feet, which are most
important to every man who shares my taste, offer the same interest as
the edition of the work. If it is true that most amateurs bestow little
or no attention upon the feet of a woman, it is likewise a fact that most
readers care little or nothing whether a book is of the first edition or
the tenth. At all events, women are quite right to take the greatest care
of their face, of their dress, of their general appearance; for it is
only by that part of the frontispiece that they can call forth a wish to
read them in those men who have not been endowed by nature with the
privilege of blindness. And just in the same manner that men, who have
read a great many books, are certain to feel at last a desire for
perusing new works even if they are bad, a man who has known many women,
and all handsome women, feels at last a curiosity for ugly specimens when
he meets with entirely new ones. It is all very well for his eye to
discover the paint which conceals the reality, but his passion has become
a vice, and suggests some argument in favour of the lying frontispiece.
It is possible, at least he thinks so, that the work may prove better
than the title-page, and the reality more acceptable than the paint which
hides it. He then tries to peruse the book, but the leaves have not been
opened; he meets with some resistance, the living book must be read
according to established rules, and the book-worm falls a victim to a
coquetry, the monster which persecutes all those who make a business of
love. As for thee, intelligent man, who hast read the few preceding
lines, let me tell thee that, if they do not assist in opening thy eyes,
thou art lost; I mean that thou art certain of being a victim to the fair
sex to the very last moment of thy life. If my candour does not displease
thee, accept my congratulations. In the evening I called upon Madame
Orio, as I wanted to inform her charming nieces that, being an inmate of
Grimani's house, I could not sleep out for the first night. I found there
the faithful Rosa, who told me that the affair of the alibi was in every
mouth, and that, as such celebrity was evidently caused by a very decided
belief in the untruth of the alibi itself, I ought to fear a retaliation
of the same sort on the part of Razetta, and to keep on my guard,
particularly at night. I felt all the importance of this advice, and I
took care never to go out in the evening otherwise than in a gondola, or
accompanied by some friends. Madame Manzoni told me that I was acting
wisely, because, although the judges could not do otherwise than acquit
me, everybody knew the real truth of the matter, and Razetta could not
fail to be my deadly foe.

Three or four days afterwards M. Grimani announced the arrival of the
bishop, who had put up at the convent of his order, at Saint-Francois de
Paul. He presented me himself to the prelate as a jewel highly prized by
himself, and as if he had been the only person worthy of descanting upon
its beauty.

I saw a fine monk wearing his pectoral cross. He would have reminded me
of Father Mancia if he had not looked stouter and less reserved. He was
about thirty-four, and had been made a bishop by the grace of God, the
Holy See, and my mother. After pronouncing over me a blessing, which I
received kneeling, and giving me his hand to kiss, he embraced me warmly,
calling me his dear son in the Latin language, in which he continued to
address me. I thought that, being a Calabrian, he might feel ashamed of
his Italian, but he undeceived me by speaking in that language to M.
Grimani. He told me that, as he could not take me with him from Venice, I
should have to proceed to Rome, where Grimani would take care to send me,
and that I would procure his address at Ancona from one of his friends,
called Lazari, a Minim monk, who would likewise supply me with the means
of continuing my journey.

"When we meet in Rome," he added, "we can go together to Martorano by way
of Naples. Call upon me to-morrow morning, and have your breakfast with
me. I intend to leave the day after."

As we were on our way back to his house, M. Grimani treated me to a long
lecture on morals, which nearly caused me to burst into loud laughter.
Amongst other things, he informed me that I ought not to study too hard,
because the air in Calabria was very heavy, and I might become
consumptive from too close application to my books.

The next morning at day-break I went to the bishop. After saying his
mass, we took some chocolate, and for three hours he laid me under
examination. I saw clearly that he was not pleased with me, but I was
well enough pleased with him. He seemed to me a worthy man, and as he was
to lead me along the great highway of the Church, I felt attracted
towards him, for, at the time, although I entertained a good opinion of
my personal appearance, I had no confidence whatever in my talents.

After the departure of the good bishop, M. Grimani gave me a letter left
by him, which I was to deliver to Father Lazari, at the Convent of the
Minims, in Ancona. M. Grimani informed me that he would send me to that
city with the ambassador from Venice, who was on the point of sailing. I
had therefore to keep myself in readiness, and, as I was anxious to be
out of his hands, I approved all his arrangements. As soon as I had
notice of the day on which the suite of the ambassador would embark, I
went to pay my last farewell to all my acquaintances. I left my brother
Francois in the school of M. Joli, a celebrated decorative painter. As
the peotta in which I was to sail would not leave before daybreak, I
spent the short night in the arms of the two sisters, who, this time,
entertained no hope of ever seeing me again. On my side I could not
forsee what would happen, for I was abandoning myself to fate, and I
thought it would be useless to think of the future. The night was
therefore spent between joy and sadness, between pleasures and tears. As
I bade them adieu, I returned the key which had opened so often for me
the road to happiness.

This, my first love affair, did not give me any experience of the world,
for our intercourse was always a happy one, and was never disturbed by
any quarrel or stained by any interested motive. We often felt, all three
of us, as if we must raise our souls towards the eternal Providence of
God, to thank Him for having, by His particular protection, kept from us
all the accidents which might have disturbed the sweet peace we were
enjoying.

I left in the hands of Madame Manzoni all my papers, and all the
forbidden books I possessed. The good woman, who was twenty years older
than I, and who, believing in an immutable destiny, took pleasure in
turning the leaves of the great book of fate, told me that she was
certain of restoring to me all I left with her, before the end of the
following year, at the latest. Her prediction caused me both surprise and
pleasure, and feeling deep reverence for her, I thought myself bound to
assist the realization of her foresight. After all, if she predicted the
future, it was not through superstition, or in consequence of some vain
foreboding which reason must condemn, but through her knowledge of the
world, and of the nature of the person she was addressing. She used to
laugh because she never made a mistake.

I embarked from St: Mark's landing. M. Grimani had given me ten sequins,
which he thought would keep me during my stay in the lazzaretto of Ancona
for the necessary quarantine, after which it was not to be supposed that
I could want any money. I shared Grimani's certainty on the subject, and
with my natural thoughtlessness I cared nothing about it. Yet I must say
that, unknown to everybody, I had in my purse forty bright sequins, which
powerfully contributed to increase my cheerfulness, and I left Venice
full of joy and without one regret.





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