Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Memoirs of Casanova — Volume 17: Return to Italy
Author: Casanova, Giacomo, 1725-1798
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Memoirs of Casanova — Volume 17: Return to Italy" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA de SEINGALT 1725-1798

ADVENTURES IN THE SOUTH, Volume 4b--RETURN TO ITALY

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



RETURN TO ITALY

GENOA--TUSCANY--ROME



CHAPTER IV

The Play--The Russian--Petri--Rosalie at the Convent

When the marquis had gone, seeing Rosalie engaged with Veronique, I set
myself to translate the 'Ecossaise' for the actors at Genoa, who seemed
pretty good ones, to play.

I thought Rosalie looking sad at dinner, and said,

"What is the matter, dearest? You know I do not like to see you looking
melancholy."

"I am vexed at Veronique's being prettier than I."

"I see what you mean; I like that! But console your self, Veronique is
nothing compared to you, in my eyes at all events. You are my only
beauty; but to reassure you I will ask M. de Grimaldi to tell her mother
to come and fetch her away, and to get me another maid as ugly as
possible."

"Oh, no! pray do not do so; he will think I am jealous, and I wouldn't
have him think so for the world."

"Well, well, smile again if you do not wish to vex me."

"I shall soon do that, if, as you assure me, she will not make me lose
your love. But what made the old gentleman get me a girl like that? Do
you think he did it out of mischief?"

"No, I don't think so. I am sure, on the other hand, that he wanted to
let you know that you need not fear being compared with anybody. Are you
pleased with her in other respects?"

"She works well, and she is very respectful. She does not speak four
words without addressing me as signora, and she is careful to translate
what she says from Italian into French. I hope that in a month I shall
speak well enough for us to dispense with her services when we go to
Florence. I have ordered Le Duc to clear out the room I have chosen for
her, and I will send her her dinner from our own table. I will be kind to
her, but I hope you will not make me wretched."

"I could not do so; and I do not see what there can be in common between
the girl and myself."

"Then you will pardon my fears."

"The more readily as they shew your love."

"I thank you, but keep my secret."

I promised never to give a glance to Veronique, of whom I was already
afraid, but I loved Rosalie and would have done anything to save her the
least grief.

I set to at my translation after dinner; it was work I liked. I did not
go out that day, and I spent the whole of the next morning with M. de
Grimaldi.

I went to the banker Belloni and changed all my gold into gigliati
sequins. I made myself known after the money was changed, and the head
cashier treated me with great courtesy. I had bills on this banker for
forty thousand Roman crowns, and on Lepri bills for twenty thousand.

Rosalie did not want to go to the play again, so I got her a piece of
embroidery to amuse her in the evening. The theatre was a necessity for
me; I always went unless it interfered with some still sweeter pleasure.
I went by myself, and when I got home I found the marquis talking to my
mistress. I was pleased, and after I had embraced the worthy nobleman I
complimented Rosalie on having kept him till my arrival, adding gently
that she should have put down her work.

"Ask him," she replied, "if he did not make me keep on. He said he would
go if I didn't, so I gave in to keep him."

She then rose, stopped working, and in the course of an interesting
conversation she succeeded in making the marquis promise to stay to
supper, thus forestalling my intention. He was not accustomed to take
anything at that hour, and ate little; but I saw he was enchanted with my
treasure, and that pleased me, for I did not think I had anything to fear
from a man of sixty; besides, I was glad at the opportunity of
accustoming Rosalie to good society. I wanted her to be a little
coquettish, as a woman never pleases in society unless she shews a desire
to please.

Although the position was quite a strange one for her, she made me admire
the natural aptitude of women, which may be improved or spoiled by art
but which exists more or less in them all, from the throne to the
milk-pail. She talked to M. de Grimaldi in a way that seemed to hint she
was willing to give a little hope. As our guest did not eat, she said
graciously that he must come to dinner some day that she might have an
opportunity of seeing whether he really had any appetite.

When he had gone I took her on my knee, and covering her with kisses
asked her where she had learnt to talk to great people so well.

"It's an easy matter," she replied. "Your eyes speak to my soul, and tell
me what to do and what to say."

A professed rhetorician could not have answered more elegantly or more
flatteringly.

I finished the translation; I had it copied out by Costa and took it to
Rossi, the manager, who said he would put it on directly, when I told him
I was going to make him a present of the play. I named the actors of my
choice, and asked him to bring them to dine with me at my inn, that I
might read the play and distribute the parts.

As will be guessed, my invitation was accepted, and Rosalie enjoyed
dining with the actors and actresses, and especially hearing herself
called Madame Casanova every moment. Veronique explained everything she
did not understand.

When my actors were round me in a ring, they begged me to tell them their
parts, but I would not give in on this point.

"The first thing to be done," said I, "is for you to listen attentively
to the whole piece without minding about your parts. When you know the
whole play I will satisfy your curiosity."

I knew that careless or idle actors often pay no attention to anything
except their own parts, and thus a piece, though well played in its
parts, is badly rendered as a whole.

They submitted with a tolerably good grace, which the high and mighty
players of the Comedie Francaise would certainly not have done. Just as I
was beginning my heading the Marquis de Grimaldi and the banker Belloni
came in to call on me. I was glad for them to be present at the trial,
which only lasted an hour and a quarter.

After I had heard the opinion of the actors, who by their praise of
various situations shewed me that they had taken in the plot, I told
Costa to distribute the parts; but no sooner was this done than the first
actor and the first actress began to express their displeasure; she,
because I had given her the part of Lady Alton; he, because I had not
given him Murray's part; but they had to bear it as it was my will. I
pleased everybody by asking them all to dinner for the day after the
morrow, after dinner the piece to be rehearsed for the first time.

The banker Belloni asked me to dinner for the following day, including my
lady, who excused herself with great politeness, in the invitation; and
M. Grimaldi was glad to take my place at dinner at her request.

When I got to M. Belloni's, I was greatly surprised to see the impostor
Ivanoff, who instead of pretending not to know me, as he ought to have
done, came forward to embrace me. I stepped back and bowed, which might
be put down to a feeling of respect, although my coldness and scant
ceremony would have convinced any observant eye of the contrary. He was
well dressed, but seemed sad, though he talked a good deal, and to some
purpose, especially on politics. The conversation turned on the Court of
Russia, where Elizabeth Petrovna reigned; and he said nothing, but sighed
and turned away pretending to wipe the tears from his eyes. At dessert,
he asked me if I had heard anything of Madame Morin, adding, as if to
recall the circumstance to my memory, that we had supped together there:

"I believe she is quite well," I answered.

His servant, in yellow and red livery, waited on him at table. After
dinner he contrived to tell me that he had a matter of the greatest
importance he wanted to discuss with me.

"My only desire sir, is to avoid all appearance of knowing anything about
you."

"One word from you will gain me a hundred thousand crowns, and you shall
have half."

I turned my back on him, and saw him no more at Genoa.

When I got back to the inn I found M. de Grimaldi giving Rosalie a lesson
in Italian.

"She has given me an exquisite dinner," said he, "you must be very happy
with her."

In spite of his honest face, M. Grimaldi was in love with her, but I
thought I had nothing to fear. Before he went she invited him to come to
the rehearsal next day.

When the actors came I noticed amongst them a young man whose face I did
not know, and on my enquiring Rossi told me he was the prompter.

"I won't have any prompter; send him about his business."

"We can't get on without him."

"You'll have to; I will be the prompter."

The prompter was dismissed, but the three actresses began to complain.

"If we knew our parts as well as the 'pater noster' we should be certain
to come to a dead stop if the prompter isn't in his box."

"Very good," said I to the actress, who was to play Lindane, "I will
occupy the box myself, but I shall see your drawers."

"You would have some difficulty in doing that," said the first actor,
"she doesn't wear any."

"So much the better."

"You know nothing about it," said the actress.

These remarks put us all in high spirits, and the ministers of Thalia
ended by promising that they would dispense with a prompter. I was
pleased with the way the piece was read, and they said they would be
letter-perfect in three days. But something happened.

On the day fixed for the rehearsal they came without the Lindane and
Murray. They were not well, but Rossi said they would not fail us
eventually. I took the part of Murray, and asked Rosalie to be the
Lindane.

"I don't read Italian well enough," she whispered, "and I don't wish to
have the actors laughing at me; but Veronique could do it."

"Ask if she will read the part."

However, Veronique said that she could repeat it by heart.

"All the better," said I to her, laughing internally, as I thought of
Soleure, for I saw that I should thus be obliged to make love to the girl
to whom I had not spoken for the fortnight she had been with us. I had
not even had a good look at her face. I was so afraid of Rosalie (whom I
loved better every day) taking fright.

What I had feared happened. When I took Veronique's hand, and said, "Si,
bella Lindana, debbe adorarvi!" everybody clapped, because I gave the
words their proper expression; but glancing at Rosalie I saw a shadow on
her face, and I was angry at not having controlled myself better.
Nevertheless, I could not help feeling amazed at the way Veronique played
the part. When I told her that I adored her she blushed up to her eyes;
she could not have played the love-sick girl better.

We fixed a day for the dress-rehearsal at the theatre, and the company
announced the first night a week in advance to excite public curiosity.
The bills ran:

"We shall give Voltaire's Ecossaise, translated by an anonymous author:
no prompter will be present."

I cannot give the reader any idea of the trouble I had to quiet Rosalie.
She refused to be comforted; wept incessantly, and touched my heart by
gentle reproaches.

"You love Veronique," said she, "and you only translated that piece to
have an opportunity of declaring your love."

I succeeded in convincing her that she wronged me, and at last after I
had lavished caresses on her she suffered herself to be calmed. Next
morning she begged pardon for her jealousy, and to cure it insisted on my
speaking constantly to Veronique. Her heroism went farther. She got up
before me and sent me my coffee by Veronique, who was as astonished as I
was.

At heart Rosalie was a great creature, capable of noble resolves, but
like all women she gave way to sudden emotions. From that day she gave me
no more signs of jealousy, and treated her maid with more kindness than
ever. Veronique was an intelligent and well-mannered girl, and if my
heart had not been already occupied she would have reigned there.

The first night of the play I took Rosalie to a box, and she would have
Veronique with her. M. de Grimaldi did not leave her for a moment. The
play was praised to the skies; the large theatre was full of the best
people in Genoa. The actors surpassed themselves, though they had no
prompter, and were loudly applauded. The piece ran five nights and was
performed to full houses. Rossi, hoping perhaps that I would make him a
present of another play, asked my leave to give my lady a superb pelisse
of lynx-fur, which pleased her immensely.

I would have done anything to spare my sweetheart the least anxiety, and
yet from my want of thought I contrived to vex her. I should never have
forgiven myself if Providence had not ordained that I should be the cause
of her final happiness.

"I have reason to suspect," she said one day, "that I am with child, and
I am enchanted at the thought of giving you a dear pledge of my love."

"If it comes at such a time it will be mine, and I assure you I shall
love it dearly."

"And if it comes two or three weeks sooner you will not be sure that you
are the parent?"

"Not quite sure; but I shall love it just as well, and look upon it as my
child as well as yours."

"I am sure you must be the father. It is impossible the child can be
Petri's, who only knew me once, and then very imperfectly, whilst you and
I have lived in tender love for so long a time."

She wept hot tears.

"Calm yourself, dearest, I implore you! You are right; it cannot be
Petri's child. You know I love you, and I cannot doubt that you are with
child by me and by me alone. If you give me a baby as pretty as yourself,
it will be mine indeed. Calm yourself."

"How can I be calm when you can have such a suspicion?"

We said no more about it; but in spite of my tenderness, my caresses, and
all the trifling cares which bear witness to love, she was often sad and
thoughtful. How many times I reproached myself bitterly for having let
out my silly calculations.

A few days later she gave me a sealed letter, saying,--

"The servant has given me this letter when you were away. I am offended
by his doing so, and I want you to avenge me."

I called the man, and said,--

"Where did you get this letter?"

"From a young man, who is unknown to me. He gave me a crown, and begged
me to give the letter to the lady without your seeing me, and he promised
to give me two crowns more if I brought him a reply tomorrow. I did not
think I was doing wrong, sir, as the lady was at perfect liberty to tell
you."

"That's all very well, but you must go, as the lady, who gave me the
letter unopened, as you can see for yourself, is offended with you."

I called Le Duc, who paid the man and sent him away. I opened the letter,
and found it to be from Petri. Rosalie left my side, not wishing to read
the contents. The letter ran as follows:

"I have seen you, my dear Rosalie. It was just as you were coming out of
the theatre, escorted by the Marquis de Grimaldi, who is my godfather. I
have not deceived you; I was still intending to come and marry you at
Marseilles next spring, as I promised. I love you faithfully, and if you
are still my good Rosalie I am ready to marry you here in the presence of
my kinfolk. If you have done wrong I promise never to speak of it, for I
know that it was I who led you astray. Tell me, I entreat you, whether I
may speak to the Marquis de Grimaldi with regard to you. I am ready to
receive you from the hands of the gentleman with whom you are living,
provided you are not his wife. Be sure, if you are still free, that you
can only recover your honour by marrying your seducer."

"This letter comes from an honourable man who is worthy of Rosalie," I
thought to myself, "and that's more than I shall be, unless I marry her
myself. But Rosalie must decide."

I called her to me, gave her the letter, and begged her to read it
attentively. She did so, and gave it me back, asking me if I advised her
to accept Petri's offer.

"If you do dear Rosalie, I shall die of grief; but if I do not yield you,
my honour bids me marry you, and that I am quite ready to do."

At this the charming girl threw herself on my breast, crying in the voice
of true love, "I love you and you alone, darling; but it is not true that
your honour bids you marry me. Ours is a marriage of the heart; our love
is mutual, and that is enough for my happiness."

"Dear Rosalie, I adore you, but I am the best judge of my own honour. If
Petri is a well-to-do man and a man who would make you happy, I must
either give you up or take you myself."

"No, no; there is no hurry to decide. If you love me I am happy, for I
love you and none other. I shall not answer the letter, and I don't want
to hear anything more of Petri."

"You may be sure that I will say no more of him, but I am sure that the
marquis will have a hand in it."

"I daresay, but he won't speak to me twice on the subject."

After this treaty--a more sincere one than the Powers of Europe usually
make--I resolved to leave Genoa as soon as I got some letters for
Florence and Rome. In the meanwhile all was peace and love between myself
and Rosalie. She had not the slightest shadow of jealousy in her soul,
and M. de Grimaldi was the sole witness of our happiness.

Five or six days later I went to see the marquis at his casino at St.
Pierre d'Arena, and he accosted me by saying that he was happy to see me
as he had an important matter he wished to discuss with me. I guessed
what it would be, but begged him to explain himself. He then spoke as
follows:

"A worthy merchant of the town brought his nephew, a young man named
Petri, to see me two days ago. He told me that the young man is my
godson, and he asked me to protect him. I answered that as his godfather
I owed him my protection, and I promised to do what I could.

"He left my godson to talk it over with me, and he informed me that he
knew your mistress before you did at Marseilles, that he had promised to
marry her next spring, that he had seen her in my company, and that
having followed us he found out that she lived with you. He was told that
she was your wife, but not believing it, wrote her a letter saying that
he was ready to marry her; but this letter fell into your hands, and he
has had no reply to it.

"He could not make up his mind to lose a hope which made his happiness,
so he resolved to ascertain, through my good offices, whether Rosalie
would accept his proposition. He flatters himself that on his informing
me of his prosperous condition, I can tell you that he is a likely man to
make his wife happy. I told him that I knew you, and would speak to you
on the matter, and afterwards inform him of the result of our interview.

"I have made enquires into his condition, and find that he has already
amassed a considerable sum of money. His credit, morals, and reputation,
are all excellent; besides, he is his uncle's sole heir, and the uncle
passes for a man very comfortably off. And now, my dear M. Casanova, tell
me what answer I am to make."

"Tell him that Rosalie is much obliged to him, and begs him to forget
her. We are going away in three or four days. Rosalie loves me, and I
her, and I am ready to marry her whenever she likes."

"That's plain speaking; but I should have thought a man like you would
prefer freedom to a woman, however beautiful, to whom you would be bound
by indissoluble ties. Will you allow me to speak to Rosalie myself about
it?"

"You need not ask, my leave; speak to her, but in your own person and not
as representing my opinions. I adore her, and would not have her think
that I could cherish the thought of separating from her."

"If you don't want me to meddle in the matter, tell me so frankly."

"On the contrary, I wish you to see for yourself that I am not the tyrant
of the woman I adore."

"I will talk to her to-night."

I did not come home till supper-time, that the marquis might say what he
had to say in perfect freedom. The noble Genoese supped with us, and the
conversation turned on indifferent subjects. After he had gone, my
sweetheart told me what had passed between them. He had spoken to her in
almost the same words that he had addressed to me, and our replies were
nearly identical, though she had requested the marquis to say no more
about his godson, to which request he had assented.

We thought the matter settled, and busied ourselves with preparations for
our departure; but three or four days after, the marquis (who we imagined
had forgotten all about his godson) came and asked us to dine with him at
St. Pierre d'Arena, where Rosalie had never been.

"I want you to see my beautiful garden before you go," said M. Grimaldi
to her; "it will be one more pleasant recollection of your stay for me."

We went to see him at noon the next day. He was with an elderly man and
woman, to whom he introduced us. He introduced me by name, and Rosalie as
a person who belonged to me.

We proceeded to walk in the garden, where the two old people got Rosalie
between them, and overwhelmed her with politeness and complimentary
remarks. She, who was happy and in high spirits, answered in Italian, and
delighted them by her intelligence, and the grace which she gave to her
mistakes in grammar.

The servants came to tell us that dinner was ready, and what was my
astonishment on entering the room to see the table laid for six. I did
not want much insight now to see through the marquis's trick, but it was
too late. We sat down, and just then a young man came in.

"You are a little late," said the marquis; and then, without waiting for
his apology, he introduced him to me as M. Petri, his godson, and nephew
to his other guests, and he made him sit down at his left hand, Rosalie
being on his right. I sat opposite to her, and seeing that she turned as
pale as death the blood rushed to my face; I was terribly enraged. This
small despot's plot seemed disgraceful to me; it was a scandalous insult
to Rosalie and myself--an insult which should be washed away in blood. I
was tempted to stab him at his table, but in spite of my agitation I
constrained myself. What could I do? Take Rosalie's arm, and leave the
room with her? I thought it over, but foreseeing the consequences I could
not summon up courage.

I have never spent so terrible an hour as at that fatal dinner. Neither
Rosalie nor myself ate a morsel, and the marquis who helped all the
guests was discreet enough not to see that we left one course after
another untouched. Throughout dinner he only spoke to Petri and his
uncle, giving them opportunities for saying how large a trade they did.
At dessert the marquis told the young man that he had better go and look
after his affairs, and after kissing his hand he withdrew with a bow to
which nobody replied.

Petri was about twenty-four, of a moderate height, with ordinary but yet
good-natured and honest features; respectful in his manner, and sensible
though not witty in what he said. After all was said and done, I thought
him worthy of Rosalie, but I shuddered at the thought that if she became
his wife she was lost to me forever. After he had gone, the marquis said
he was sorry he had not known him before as he might be of use to him in
his business.

"However, we will see to that in the future," said he, meaningly, "I mean
to make his fortune."

At this the uncle and aunt, who no doubt knew what to say, began to laud
and extol their nephew, and ended by saying that as they had no children
they were delighted that Petri, who would be their heir, was to have his
excellency's patronage.

"We are longing," they added, "to see the girl from Marseilles he is
going to marry. We should welcome her as a beloved daughter."

Rosalie whispered to me that she could bear it no longer, and begged me
to take her away. We rose, and after we had saluted the company with cold
dignity we left the room. The marquis was visibly disconcerted. As he
escorted us to the door he stammered out compliments, for the want of
something to say, telling Rosalie that he should not have the honour of
seeing her that evening, but that he hoped to call on her the next day.

When we were by ourselves we seemed to breathe again, and spoke to one
another to relieve ourselves of the oppression which weighed on our
minds.

Rosalie thought, as well as I, that the marquis had played us a shameful
trick, and she told me I ought to write him a note, begging him not to
give himself the trouble of calling on us again.

"I will find some means of vengeance," said I; "but I don't think it
would be a good plan to write to him. We will hasten our preparations for
leaving, and receive him to-morrow with that cold politeness which bears
witness to indignation. Above all, we will not make the slightest
reference to his godson."

"If Petri really loves me," said she, "I pity him. I think he is a good
fellow, and I don't feel angry with him for being present at dinner, as
he may possibly be unaware that leis presence was likely to give me
offence. But I still shudder when I think of it: I thought I should have
died when our eyes met! Throughout dinner he could not see my eyes, as I
kept them nearly shut, and indeed he could hardly see me. Did he look at
me while he was talking?"

"No, he only looked at me. I am as sorry for him as you are, for, as you
say, he looks an honest fellow."

"Well, it's over now, and I hope I shall make a good supper. Did you
notice what the aunt said? I am sure she was in the plot. She thought she
would gain me over by saying she was ready to treat me like her own
child. She was a decent-looking woman, too."

We made a good supper, and a pleasant night inclined us to forget the
insult the marquis had put upon us. When we woke up in the morning we
laughed at it. The marquis came to see us in the evening, and greeting me
with an air of mingled confusion and vexation, he said that he knew he
had done wrong in surprising me as he had, but that he was ready to do
anything in his power by way of atonement, and to give whatever
satisfaction I liked.

Rosalie did not give me time to answer. "If you really feel," said she,
"that you have insulted us, that is enough; we are amply avenged. But all
the same, sir, we shall be on our guard against you for the future,
though that will be for a short while, as we are just leaving."

With this proud reply she made him a low bow and left the room.

When he was left alone with me M. Grimaldi addressed me as follows:

"I take a great interest in your mistress's welfare; and as I feel sure
that she cannot long be happy in her present uncertain position, while I
am sure that she would make my godson an excellent wife, I was determined
that both of you should make his acquaintance, for Rosalie herself knows
very little of him. I confess that the means I employed were
dishonourable, but you will pardon the means for the sake of the
excellent end I had in view. I hope you will have a pleasant journey, and
that you may live for a long time in uninterrupted happiness with your
charming mistress. I hope you will write to me, and always reckon on my
standing your friend, and doing everything in my power for you. Before I
go, I will tell you something which will give you an idea of the
excellent disposition of young Petri, to whose happiness Rosalie seems
essential.

"He only told me the following, after I had absolutely refused to take
charge of a letter he had written to Rosalie, despairing of being able to
send it any other way. After assuring me that Rosalie had loved him, and
that consequently she could not have any fixed aversion for him, he added
that if the fear of being with child was the reason why she would not
marry him he would agree to put off the marriage till after the child was
born, provided that she would agree to stay in Genoa in hiding, her
presence to be unknown to all save himself. He offers to pay all the
expenses of her stay. He made a remarkably wise reflection when we were
talking it over.

"'If she gave birth to a child too soon after our marriage,' said he,
'both her honour and mine would suffer hurt; she might also lose the
liking of my relations, and if Rosalie is to be my wife I want her to be
happy in everything."'

At this Rosalie, who had no doubt been listening at the door after the
manner of her sex, burst into the room, and astonished me by the
following speech:

"If M. Petri chid not tell you that it was possible that I might be with
child by him, he is a right honest man, but now I tell you so myself. I
do not think it likely, but still it is possible. Tell him, sir, that I
will remain at Genoa until the child is born, in the case of my being
pregnant, of which I have no certain knowledge, or until I am quite sure
that I am not with child. If I do have a child the truth will be made
known. In the case of there being no doubt of M. Petri's being the
parent, I am ready to marry him; but if he sees for himself that the
child is not his I hope he will be reasonable enough to let me alone for
the future. As to the expenses and my lodging at Genoa, tell him that he
need not trouble himself about either."

I was petrified. I saw the consequence of my own imprudent words, and my
heart seemed broken. The marquis asked me if this decision was given with
my authority, and I replied that as my sweetheart's will was mine he
might take her words for law. He went away in high glee, for he foresaw
that all would go well with his plans when once he was able to exert his
influence on Rosalie. The absent always fare ill.

"You want to leave me, then, Rosalie?" said I, when we were alone.

"Yes, dearest, but it will not be for long."

"I think we shall never see each other again."

"Why not, dearest? You have only to remain faithful to me. Listen to me.
Your honour and my own make it imperative that I should convince Petri
that I am not with child by him, and you that I am with child by you."

"I never doubted it, dear Rosalie."

"Yes, dear, you doubted it once and that is enough. Our parting will cost
me many a bitter tear, but these pangs are necessary to my future
happiness. I hope you will write to me, and after the child is born it
will be for you to decide on how I shall rejoin you. If I am not pregnant
I will rejoin you in a couple of months at latest."

"Though I may grieve at your resolve I will not oppose it, for I promised
I would never cross you. I suppose you will go into a convent; and the
marquis must find you a suitable one, and protect you like a father.
Shall I speak to him on the subject? I will leave you as much money as
you will want."

"That will not be much. As for M. de Grimaldi, he is bound in honour to
procure me an asylum. I don't think it will be necessary for you to speak
to him about it."

She was right, and I could not help admiring the truly astonishing tact
of this girl.

In the morning I heard that the self-styled Ivanoff had made his escape
an hour before the police were to arrest him at the suit of the banker,
who had found out that one of the bills he had presented was forged. He
had escaped on foot, leaving all his baggage behind him.

Next day the marquis came to tell Rosalie that his godson had no
objection to make to her plan. He added that the young man hoped she
would become his wife, whether the child proved to be his or not.

"He may hope as much as he likes," said Rosalie, with a smile.

"He also hopes that you will allow him to call on you now and then. I
have spoken to my kinswoman, the mother-superior of convent. You are to
have two rooms, and a very good sort of woman is to keep you company,
wait on you, and nurse you when the time comes. I have paid the amount
you are to pay every month for your board. Every morning I will send you
a confidential man, who will see your companion and will bring me your
orders. And I myself will come and see you at the grating as often as you
please."

It was then my sad duty, which the laws of politeness enjoined, to thank
the marquis for his trouble.

"'Tis to you, my lord," said I, "I entrust Rosalie. I am placing her, I
am sure, in good hands. I will go on my way as soon as she is in the
convent; I hope you will write a letter to the mother-superior for her to
take."

"I will write it directly," said he.

And as Rosalie had told him before that she would pay for everything
herself, he gave her a written copy of the agreement he had made.

"I have resolved," said Rosalie to the marquis, "to go into the convent
to-morrow, and I shall be very glad to have a short visit from you the
day after."

"I will be there," said the marquis, "and you may be sure that I will do
all in my power to make your stay agreeable."

The night was a sad one for both of us. Love scarcely made a pause amidst
our alternate complaints and consolations. We swore to be faithful for
ever, and our oaths were sincere, as ardent lovers' oaths always are. But
they are as nought unless they are sealed by destiny, and that no mortal
mind may know.

Rosalie, whose eyes were red and wet with tears, spent most of the
morning in packing up with Veronique, who cried too. I could not look at
her, as I felt angry with myself for thinking how pretty she was. Rosalie
would only take two hundred sequins, telling me that if she wanted more
she could easily let me know.

She told Veronique to look after me well for the two or three days I
should spend at Genoa, made me a mute curtsy, and went out with Costa to
get a sedan-chair. Two hours after, a servant of the marquis's came to
fetch her belongings, and I was thus left alone and full of grief till
the marquis came and asked me to give him supper, advising that Veronique
should be asked in to keep us company.

"That's a rare girl," said he, "you really don't know her, and you ought
to know her better."

Although I was rather surprised, I did not stop to consider what the
motives of the crafty Genoese might be, and I went and asked Veronique to
come in. She replied politely that she would do so, adding that she knew
how great an honour I did her.

I should have been the blindest of men if I had not seen that the clever
marquis had succeeded in his well-laid plans, and that he had duped me as
if I had been the merest freshman. Although I hoped with all my heart
that I should get Rosalie back again, I had good reasons for suspecting
that all the marquis's wit would be employed to seduce her, and I could
not help thinking that he would succeed.

Nevertheless, in the position I was in, I could only keep my fears to
myself and let him do his utmost.

He was nearly sixty, a thorough disciple of Epicurus, a heavy player,
rich, eloquent, a master of state-craft, highly popular at Genoa, and
well acquainted with the hearts of men, and still more so with the hearts
of women. He had spent a good deal of time at Venice to be more at
liberty, and to enjoy the pleasures of life at his ease. He had never
married, and when asked the reason would reply that he knew too well that
women would be either tyrants or slaves, and that he did not want to be a
tyrant to any woman, nor to be under any woman's orders. He found some
way of returning to his beloved Venice, in spite of the law forbidding
any noble who has filled the office of doge to leave his native soil.
Though he behaved to me in a very friendly manner he knew how to maintain
an air of superiority which imposed on me. Nothing else could have given
him the courage to ask me to dinner when Petri was to be present. I felt
that I had been tricked, and I thought myself in duty bound to make him
esteem me by my behaviour for the future. It was gratitude on his part
which made him smooth the way to my conquest of Veronique, who doubtless
struck him as a fit and proper person to console me for the loss of
Rosalie.

I did not take any part in the conversation at supper, but the marquis
drew out Veronique, and she shone. It was easy for me to see that she had
more wit and knowledge of the world than Rosalie, but in my then state of
mind this grieved rather than rejoiced me. M. de Grimaldi seemed sorry to
see me melancholy, and forced me, as it were, to join in the
conversation. As he was reproaching me in a friendly manner for my
silence, Veronique said with a pleasing smile that I had a good reason to
be silent after the declaration of love I had made to her, and which she
had received so ill. I was astonished at this, and said that I did not
remember having ever made her such a declaration; but she made me laugh
in spite of myself, when she said that her name that day was Lindane.

"Ah, that's in a play," said I, "in real life the man who declares his
love in words is a simpleton; 'tis with deeds the true lover shews his
love."

"Very true, but your lady was frightened all the same."

"No, no, Veronique; she is very fond of you."

"I know she is; but I have seen her jealous of me."

"If so, she was quite wrong."

This dialogue, which pleased me little, fell sweetly on the marquis's
ears; he told me that he was going to call on Rosalie next morning, and
that if I liked to give him a supper, he would come and tell me about her
in the evening. Of course I told him that he would be welcome.

After Veronique had lighted me to my room, she asked me to let my
servants wait on me, as if she did so now that my lady was gone, people
might talk about her.

"You are right," said I, "kindly send Le Duc to me."

Next morning I had a letter from Geneva. It came from my Epicurean
syndic, who had presented M. de Voltaire with my translation of his play,
with an exceedingly polite letter from me, in which I begged his pardon
for having taken the liberty of travestying his fine French prose in
Italian. The syndic told me plainly that M. de Voltaire had pronounced my
translation to be a bad one.

My self-esteem was so wounded by this, and by his impoliteness in not
answering my letter, with which he could certainly find no fault,
whatever his criticism of my translation might be, that I became the
sworn enemy of the great Voltaire. I have censured him in all the works I
have published, thinking that in wronging him I was avenging myself, to
such an extent did passion blind me. At the present time I feel that even
if my works survive, these feeble stings of mine can hurt nobody but
myself. Posterity will class me amongst the Zoiluses whose own impotence
made them attack this great man to whom civilization and human happiness
owe so much. The only crime that can truthfully be alleged against
Voltaire is his attacks on religion. If he had been a true philosopher he
would never have spoken on such matters, for, even if his attacks were
based on truth, religion is necessary to morality, without which there
can be no happiness.



CHAPTER V

I Fall in Love With Veronique--Her Sister--Plot Against Plot--My
Victory--Mutual Disappointment

I have never liked eating by myself, and thus I have never turned hermit,
though I once thought of turning monk; but a monk without renouncing all
the pleasures of life lives well in a kind of holy idleness. This dislike
to loneliness made me give orders that the table should be laid for two,
and indeed, after supping with the marquis and myself, Veronique had some
right to expect as much, to say nothing of those rights which her wit and
beauty gave her.

I only saw Costa, and asked him what had become of Le Duc. He said he was
ill. "Then go behind the lady's chair," said I. He obeyed, but smiled as
he did so. Pride is a universal failing, and though a servant's pride is
the silliest of all it is often pushed to the greatest extremes.

I thought Veronique prettier than before. Her behaviour, now free and now
reserved, as the occasion demanded, shewed me that she was no new hand,
and that she could have played the part of a princess in the best
society. Nevertheless (so strange a thing is the heart of man), I was
sorry to find I liked her, and my only consolation was that her mother
would come and take her away before the day was over. I had adored
Rosalie, and my heart still bled at the thought of our parting.

The girl's mother came while we were still at table. She was astounded at
the honour I shewed her daughter, and she overwhelmed me with thanks.

"You owe me no gratitude," said I to her; "your daughter is clever, good,
and beautiful."

"Thank the gentleman for his compliment," said the mother, "for you are
really stupid, wanton, and ugly;" and then she added, "But how could you
have the face to sit at table with the gentleman in a dirty chemise?"

"I should blush, mother, if I thought you were right; but I put a clean
one on only two hours ago."

"Madam," said I to the mother, "the chemise cannot look white beside your
daughter's whiter skin."

This made the mother laugh, and pleased the girl immensely. When the
mother told her that she was come to take her back, Veronique said, with
a sly smile,--

"Perhaps the gentleman won't be pleased at my leaving him twenty-four
hours before he goes away."

"On the contrary," said I, "I should be very vexed."

"Well; then, she can stay, sir," said the mother; "but for decency's sake
I must send her younger sister to sleep with her."

"If you please," I rejoined. And with that I left them.

The thought of Veronique troubled me, as I knew I was taken with her, and
what I had to dread was a calculated resistance.

The mother came into my room where I was writing, and wished me a
pleasant journey, telling me for the second time that she was going to
send her daughter Annette. The girl came in the evening, accompanied by a
servant, and after lowering her mezzaro, and kissing my hand
respectfully, she ran gaily to kiss her sister.

I wanted to see what she was like, and called for candles; and on their
being brought I found she was a blonde of a kind I had never before seen.
Her hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes were the colour of pale gold, fairer
almost than her skin, which was extremely delicate. She was very
short-sighted, but her large pale blue eyes were wonderfully beautiful.
She had the smallest mouth imaginable, but her teeth, though regular,
were not so white as her skin. But for this defect Annette might have
passed for a perfect beauty.

Her shortness of sight made too brilliant a light painful to her, but as
she stood before me she seemed to like me looking at her. My gaze fed
hungrily on the two little half-spheres, which were not yet ripe, but so
white as to make me guess how ravishing the rest of her body must be.
Veronique did not shew her breasts so freely. One could see that she was
superbly shaped, but everything was carefully hidden from the gaze. She
made her sister sit down beside her and work, but when I saw that she was
obliged to hold the stuff close to her face I told her that she should
spare her eyes, for that night at all events, and with that she
obediently put the work down.

The marquis came as usual, and like myself he thought Annette, whom he
had never seen before, an astonishing miniature beauty. Taking advantage
of his age and high rank, the voluptuous old man dared to pass his hand
over her breast, and she, who was too respectful to cross my lord, let
him do it without making the slightest objection. She was a compound of
innocence and coquetry.

The woman who shewing little succeeds in making a man want to see more,
has accomplished three-fourths of the task of making him fall in love
with her; for is love anything else than a kind of curiosity? I think
not; and what makes me certain is that when the curiosity is satisfied
the love disappears. Love, however, is the strongest kind of curiosity in
existence, and I was already curious about Annette.

M. Grimaldi told Veronique that Rosalie wished her to stay with me till I
left Genoa, and she was as much astonished at this as I was.

"Be kind enough to tell her," said I to the marquis, "that Veronique has
anticipated her wishes and has got her sister Annette to stay with her."

"Two are always better than one, my dear fellow," replied the crafty
Genoese.

After these remarks we left the two sisters together and went into my
room, where he said,--

"Your Rosalie is contented, and you ought to congratulate yourself on
having made her happy, as I am sure she will be. The only thing that
vexes me is that you can't go and see her yourself with any decency."

"You are in love with her, my lord."

"I confess that I am, but I am an old man, and it vexes me."

"That's no matter, she will love you tenderly; and if Petri ever becomes
her husband, I am sure she will never be anything more than a good friend
to him. Write to me at Florence and tell me how she receives him."

"Stay here for another three days; the two beauties there will make the
time seem short."

"It's exactly for that reason that I want to go tomorrow. I am afraid of
Veronique."

"I shouldn't have thought that you would have allowed any woman to
frighten you."

"I am afraid she has cast her fatal nets around me, and when the time
comes she will be strictly moral. Rosalie is my only love."

"Well, here's a letter from her."

I went apart to read the letter, the sight of which made my heart beat
violently; it ran as follows:

   "Dearest,--I see you have placed me in the hands of one who
   will care for me like a father. This is a new kindness which
   I owe to the goodness of your heart. I will write to you at
   whatever address you send me. If you like Veronique, my
   darling, do not fear any jealousy from me; I should be wrong
   to entertain such a feeling in my present position. I expect
   that if you make much of her she will not be able to resist,
   and I shall be glad to hear that she is lessening your
   sadness. I hope you will write me a few lines before you
   go."

I went up to the marquis and told him to read it. He seemed greatly
moved.

"Yes," said he, "the dear girl will find in me her friend and father, and
if she marries my godson and he does not treat her as he ought, he will
not possess her long. I shall remember her in my will, and thus when I am
dead my care will still continue. But what do you think of her advice as
to Veronique? I don't expect she is exactly a vestal virgin, though I
have never heard anything against her."

I had ordered that the table should be laid for four, so Annette sat down
without our having to ask her. Le Duc appeared on the scene, and I told
him that if he were ill he might go to bed.

"I am quite well," said he.

"I am glad to hear it; but don't trouble now, you shall wait on me when I
am at Leghorn."

I saw that Veronique was delighted at my sending him away, and I resolved
then and there to lay siege to her heart. I began by talking to her in a
very meaning manner all supper-time, while the marquis entertained
Annette. I asked him if he thought I could get a felucca next day to take
me to Lerici.

"Yes," said he, "whenever you like and with as many oarsmen as you
please; but I hope you will put off your departure for two or three
days."

"No," I replied, ogling Veronique, "the delay might cost me too dear."

The sly puss answered with a smile that shewed she understood my meaning.

When we rose from the table I amused myself with Annette, and the marquis
with Veronique. After a quarter of an hour he came and said to me,--

"Certain persons have asked me to beg you to stay a few days longer, or
at least to sup here to-morrow night."

"Very good. We will talk of the few days more at supper to-morrow."

"Victory!" said the marquis; and Veronique seemed very grateful to me for
granting her request. When our guest was gone, I asked my new housekeeper
if I might send Costa to bed.

"As my sister is with me, there can be no ground for any suspicion."

"I am delighted that you consent; now I am going to talk to you."

She proceeded to do my hair, but she gave no answer to my soft speeches.
When I was on the point of getting into bed she wished me good night, and
I tried to kiss her by way of return. She repulsed me and ran to the
door, much to my surprise. She was going to leave the room, when I
addressed her in a voice of grave politeness.

"I beg you will stay; I want to speak to you; come and sit by me. Why
should you refuse me a pleasure which after all is a mere mark of
friendship?"

"Because, things being as they are, we could not remain friends, neither
could we be lovers."

"Lovers! why not, we are perfectly free."

"I am not free; I am bound by certain prejudices which do not trouble
you."

"I should have thought you were superior to prejudices."

"There are some prejudices which a woman ought to respect. The
superiority you mention is a pitiful thing; always the dupe of itself.
What would become of me, I should like to know, if I abandoned myself to
the feelings I have for you?"

"I was waiting for you to say that, dear Veronique. What you feel for me
is not love. If it were so, you would feel as I do, and you would soon
break the bonds of prejudice."

"I confess that my head is not quite turned yet, but still I feel that I
shall grieve at your departure."

"If so, that is no fault of mine. But tell me what I can do for you
during my short stay here."

"Nothing; we do not know one another well enough."

"I understand you, but I would have you know that I do not intend to
marry any woman who is not my friend."

"You mean you will not marry her till you have ceased to be her lover?"

"Exactly."

"You would like to finish where I would begin."

"You may be happy some day, but you play for high stakes."

"Well, well, it's a case of win all or lose all."

"That's as may be. But without further argument it seems to me that we
could safely enjoy our love, and pass many happy moments undisturbed by
prejudice."

"Possibly, but one gets burnt fingers at that game, and I shudder at the
very thought of it. No, no; leave me alone, there is my sister who will
wonder why I am in your arms."

"Very good; I see I was mistaken, and Rosalie too."

"Why what did she think about me?"

"She wrote and told me that she thought you would be kind."

"I hope she' mayn't have to repent for having been too kind herself."

"Good bye, Veronique."

I felt vexed at having made the trial, for in these matters one always
feels angry at failure. I decided I would leave her and her precepts,
true or false, alone; but when I awoke in the morning and saw her coming
to my bed with a pleasant smile on her face, I suddenly changed my mind.
I had slept upon my anger and I was in love again. I thought she had
repented, and that I should be victorious when I attacked her again. I
put on a smile myself and breakfasted gaily with her and her sister. I
behaved in the same way at dinner; and the general high spirits which M.
de Grimaldi found prevailing in the evening, made him think, doubtless,
that we were getting on well, and he congratulated us. Veronique behaved
exactly as if the marquis had guessed the truth, and I felt sure of
having her after supper, and in the ecstasy of the thought I promised to
stay for four days longer.

"Bravo, Veronique!" said the marquis, "that's the way. You are intended
by nature to rule your lovers with an absolute sway."

I thought she would say something to diminish the marquis's certainty
that there was an agreement between us, but she did nothing of the sort,
seeming to enjoy her triumph which made her appear more beautiful than
ever; whilst I looked at her with the submissive gaze of a captive who
glories in, his chain. I took her behaviour as an omen of my approaching
conquest, and did not speak to M. de Grimaldi alone lest he might ask me
questions which I should not care to answer. He told us before he went
away that he was engaged on the morrow, and so could not come to see us
till the day after.

As soon as we were alone Veronique said to me, "You see how I let people
believe what they please; I had rather be thought kind, as you call it,
than ridiculous, as an honest girl is termed now-a-days. Is it not so?"

"No, dear Veronique, I will never call you ridiculous, but I shall think
you hate me if you make me pass another night in torture. You have
inflamed me."

"Oh, pray be quiet! For pity's sake leave me alone! I will not inflame
you any more. Oh! Oh!"

I had enraged her by thrusting a daring hand into the very door of the
sanctuary. She repulsed me and fled. Three or four minutes later her
sister came to undress me. I told her gently to go to bed as I had to
write for three or four hours; but not caring that she should come on a
bootless errand I opened a box and gave her a watch. She took it
modestly, saying,--

"This is for my sister, I suppose?"

"No, dear Annette, it's for you."

She gave a skip of delight, and I could not prevent her kissing my hand.

I proceeded to write Rosalie a letter of four pages. I felt worried and
displeased with myself and everyone else. I tore up my letter without
reading it over, and making an effort to calm myself I wrote her another
letter more subdued than the first, in which I said nothing of Veronique,
but informed my fair recluse that I was going on the day following.

I did not go to bed till very late, feeling out of temper with the world.
I considered that I had failed in my duty to Veronique, whether she loved
me or not, for I loved her and I was a man of honour. I had a bad night,
and when I awoke it was noon, and on ringing Costa and Annette appeared.
The absence of Veronique shewed how I had offended her. When Costa had
left the room I asked Annette after her sister, and she said that she was
working. I wrote her a note, in which I begged her pardon, promising that
I would never offend her again, and begging her to forget everything and
to be just the same as before. I was taking my coffee when she came into
my room with an expression of mortification which grieved me excessively.

"Forget everything, I beg, and I will trouble you no more. Give me my
buckles, as I am going for a country walk, and I shall not be in till
suppertime. I shall doubtless get an excellent appetite, and as you have
nothing more to fear you need not trouble to send me Annette again."

I dressed myself in haste, and left the town by the first road that came
in my way, and I walked fast for two hours with the intention of tiring
myself, and of thus readjusting the balance between mind and body. I have
always found that severe exercise and fresh air are the best cure for any
mental perturbation.

I had walked for more than three leagues when hunger and weariness made
me stop at a village inn, where I had an omelette cooked. I ate it
hungrily with brown bread and wine, which seemed to me delicious though
it was rather sharp.

I felt too tired to walk back to Genoa, so I asked for a carriage; but
there was no such thing to be had. The inn-keeper provided me with a
sorry nag and a man to guide me. Darkness was coming on, and we had more
than six miles to do. Fine rain began to fall when I started, and
continued all the way, so that I got home by eight o'clock wet to the
skin, shivering with cold, dead tired, and in a sore plight from the
rough saddle, against which my satin breeches were no protection. Costa
helped me to change my clothes, and as he went out Annette came in.

"Where is your sister?"

"She is in bed with a bad headache. She gave me a letter for you; here it
is."

"I have been obliged to go to bed on account of a severe headache to
which I am subject. I feel better already, and I shall be able to wait on
you to-morrow. I tell you as much, because I do not wish you to think
that my illness is feigned. I am sure that your repentance for having
humiliated me is sincere, and I hope in your turn that you will forgive
me or pity me, if my way of thinking prevents me from conforming to
yours."

"Annette dear, go and ask your sister if she would like us to sup in her
room."

She soon came back telling me that Veronique was obliged, but begged me
to let her sleep.

I supped with Annette, and was glad to see that, though she only drank
water, her appetite was better than mine. My passion for her sister
prevented me thinking of her, but I felt that Annette would otherwise
have taken my fancy. When we were taking dessert, I conceived the idea of
making her drunk to get her talk of her sister, so I gave her a glass of
Lunel muscat.

"I only drink water, sir."

"Don't you like wine?"

"Yes, but as I am not used to it I am afraid of its getting into my
head."

"Then you can go to bed; you will sleep all the better."

She drank the first glass, which she enjoyed immensely, then a second,
and then a third. Her little brains were in some confusion when she had
finished the third glass. I made her talk about her sister, and in
perfect faith she told me all the good imaginable.

"Then you are very fond of Veronique?" said I.

"Oh, yes! I love her with all my heart, but she will not let me caress
her."

"No doubt she is afraid of your ceasing to love her. But do you think she
ought to make me suffer so?"

"No, but if you love her you ought to forgive her."

Annette was still quite reasonable. I made her drink a fourth glass of
muscat, but an instant after she told me that she could not see anything,
and we rose from the table. Annette began to please me a little too much,
but I determined not to make any attempts upon her for fear of finding
her too submissive. A little resistance sharpens the appetite, while
favours granted with too much ease lose a great deal of their charm.
Annette was only fourteen, she had a soft heart, no knowledge of the
world or her own rights, and she would not have resisted my embraces for
fear of being rude. That sort of thing would only please a rich and
voluptuous Turk.

I begged her to do my hair, intending to dismiss her directly after, but
when she had finished I asked her to give me the ointment.

"What do you want it for?"

"For the blisters that cursed saddle on which I rode six miles gave me."

"Does the ointment do them good?"

"Certainly; it takes away the smart, and by to-morrow I shall be cured,
but you must send Costa to me, as I cannot put it on myself."

"Can't I do it?"

"Yes, but I am afraid that would be an abuse of your kindness."

"I guess why; but as I am short-sighted, how shall I see the blisters?"

"If you want to do it for me, I will place myself so that it will be
easier for you. Stay, put the candle on this table."

"There you are, but don't let Costa put it on again to-morrow, or he will
guess that I or my sister did it to-night."

"You will do me the same service, then, to-morrow?"

"I or my sister, for she will get up early."

"Your sister! No, my dear; she would be afraid of giving me too much
pleasure by touching me so near."

"And I am only afraid of hurting you. Is that right? Good heavens! what a
state your skin is in!"

"You have not finished yet."

"I am so short-sighted; turn round."

"With pleasure. Here I am."

The little wanton could not resist laughing at what she saw, doubtless,
for the first time. She was obliged to touch it to continue rubbing the
ointment in, and I saw that she liked it, as she touched it when she had
no need, and not being able to stand it any longer I took hold of her
hand and made her stop her work in favour of a pleasanter employment.

When she had finished I burst out laughing to hear her ask, in the most
serious way, the pot of ointment still in her left hand,

"Did I do it right!"

"Oh, admirably, dear Annette! You are an angel, and I am sure you know
what pleasure you gave me. Can you come and spend an hour with me?"

"Wait a bit."

She went out and shut the door, and I waited for her to return; but my
patience being exhausted I opened the door slightly, and saw her
undressing and getting into bed with her sister. I went back to my room
and to bed again, without losing all hope. I was not disappointed, for in
five minutes back she came, clad in her chemise and walking on tip-toe.

"Come to my arms, my love; it is very cold."

"Here I am. My sister is asleep and suspects nothing; and even if she
awoke the bed is so large that she would not notice my absence."

"You are a divine creature, and I love you with all my heart."

"So much the better. I give myself up to you; do what you like with me,
on the condition that you think of my sister no more."

"That will not cost me much. I promise that I will not think of her."

I found Annette a perfect neophyte, and though I saw no blood on the
altar of love next morning I did not suspect her on that account. I have
often seen such cases, and I know by experience that the effusion of
blood or its absence proves nothing. As a general rule a girl cannot be
convicted of having had a lover unless she be with child.

I spent two hours of delight with this pretty baby, for she was so small,
so delicate, and so daintily shaped all over, that I can find no better
name for her. Her docility did not detract from the piquancy of the
pleasure, for she was voluptuously inclined.

When I rose in the morning she came to my room with Veronique, and I was
glad to see that while the younger sister was radiant with happiness the
elder looked pleasant and as if she desired to make herself agreeable. I
asked her how she was, and she told me that diet and sleep had completely
cured her. "I have always found them the best remedy for a headache."
Annette had also cured me of the curiosity I had felt about her. I
congratulated myself on my achievement.

I was in such high spirits at supper that M. de Grimaldi thought I had
won everything from Veronique, and I let him think so. I promised to dine
with him the next day, and I kept my word. After dinner I gave him a long
letter for Rosalie, whom I did not expect to see again except as Madame
Petri, though I took care not to let the marquis know what I thought.

In the evening I supped with the two sisters, and I made myself equally
agreeable to both of them. When Veronique was alone with me, putting my
hair into curl-papers, she said that she loved me much more now that I
behaved discreetly.

"My discretion," I replied, "only means that I have given up the hope of
winning you. I know how to take my part."

"Your love was not very great, then?"

"It sprang up quickly, and you, Veronique, could have made it increase to
a gigantic size."

She said nothing, but bit her lip, wished me good night and left the
room. I went to bed expecting a visit from Annette, but I waited in vain.
When I rang the next morning the dear girl appeared looking rather sad. I
asked her the reason.

"Because my sister is ill, and spent the whole night in writing," said
she.

Thus I learnt the reason of her not having paid me a visit.

"Do you know what she was writing about?"

"Oh, no! She does not tell me that kind of thing, but here is a letter
for you."

I read through the long and well-composed letter, but as it bore marks of
craft and dissimulation it made me laugh. After several remarks of no
consequence she said that she had repulsed me because she loved me so
much and that she was afraid that if she satisfied my fancy she might
lose me.

"I will be wholly yours," she added, "if you will give me the position
which Rosalie enjoyed. I will travel in your company, but you must give
me a document, which M. de Grimaldi will sign as a witness, in which you
must engage to marry me in a year, and to give me a portion of fifty
thousand francs; and if at the end of a year you do not wish to marry me,
that sum to be at my absolute disposal."

She stipulated also that if she became a mother in the course of a year
the child should be hers in the event of our separating. On these
conditions she would become my mistress, and would have for me all
possible love and kindness.

This proposal, cleverly conceived, but foolishly communicated to me,
shewed me that Veronique had not the talent of duping others. I saw
directly that M. de Grimaldi had nothing to do with it, and I felt sure
that he would laugh when I told him the story.

Annette soon came back with the chocolate, and told me that her sister
hoped I would answer her letter.

"Yes, dear," said I, "I will answer her when I get up."

I took my chocolate, put on my dressing-gown, and went to Veronique's
room. I found her sitting up in bed in a negligent attire that might have
attracted me if her letter had not deprived her of my good opinion. I sat
on the bed, gave her back the letter, and said,--

"Why write, when we can talk the matter over?"

"Because one is often more at ease in writing than in speaking."

"In diplomacy and business that will pass, but not in love. Love makes no
conditions. Let us have no documents, no safeguards, but give yourself up
to me as Rosalie did, and begin to-night without my promising anything.
If you trust in love, you will make him your prisoner. That way will
honour us and our pleasures, and if you like I will consult M. de
Grimaldi on the subject. As to your plan, if it does not injure your
honour, it does small justice to your common sense, and no one but a fool
would agree to it. You could not possibly love the man to whom you make
such a proposal, and as to M. de Grimaldi, far from having anything to do
with it, I am sure he would be indignant at the very idea."

This discourse did not put Veronique out of countenance. She said she did
not love me well enough to give herself to me unconditionally; to which I
replied that I was not sufficiently taken with her charms to buy them at
the price she fixed, and so I left her.

I called Costa, and told him to go and warn the master of the felucca
that I was going the next day, and with this idea I went to bid good-bye
to the marquis, who informed me that he had just been taking Petri to see
Rosalie, who had received him well enough. I told him I was glad to hear
it, and said that I commended to him the care of her happiness, but such
commendations were thrown away.

It is one of the most curious circumstances of my history, that in one
year two women whom I sincerely loved and whom I might have married were
taken from me by two old men, whose affections I had fostered without
wishing to do so. Happily these gentlemen made my mistresses' fortunes,
but on the other hand they did me a still greater service in relieving me
of a tie which I should have found very troublesome in course of time. No
doubt they both saw that my fortune, though great in outward show, rested
on no solid basis, which, as the reader will see, was unhappily too true.
I should be happy if I thought that my errors or rather follies would
serve as a warning to the readers of these Memoirs.

I spent the day in watching the care with which Veronique and Annette
packed up my trunks, for I would not let my two servants help in any way.
Veronique was neither sad nor gay. She looked as if she had made up her
mind, and as if there had never been any differences between us. I was
very glad, for as I no longer cared for her I should have been annoyed to
find that she still cared for me.

We supped in our usual manner, discussing only commonplace topics, but
just as I was going to bed Annette shook my hand in a way that told me to
prepare for a visit from her. I admired the natural acuteness of young
girls, who take their degrees in the art of love with so much ease and at
such an early age. Annette, almost a child, knew more than a young man of
twenty. I decided on giving her fifty sequins without letting Veronique
see me, as I did not intend to be so liberal towards her. I took a roll
of ducats and gave them to her as soon as she came.

She lay down beside me, and after a moment devoted to love she said that
Veronique was asleep, adding,--

"I heard all you said to my sister, and I am sure you love her."

"If I did, dear Annette, I should not have made my proposal in such plain
terms."

"I should like to believe that, but what would you have done if she had
accepted your offer? You would be in one bed by this, I suppose?"

"I was more than certain, dearest, that her pride would hinder her
receiving me."

We had reached this point in our conversation when we were surprised by
the sudden appearance of Veronique with a lighted candle, and wearing
only her chemise. She laughed at her sister to encourage her, and I
joined in the laughter, keeping a firm hold on the little one for fear of
her escaping. Veronique looked ravishing in her scanty attire, and as she
laughed I could not be angry with her. However, I said,--

"You have interrupted our enjoyment, and hurt your sister's feelings;
perhaps you will despise her for the future?"

"On the contrary, I shall always love her."

"Her feelings overcame her, and she surrendered to me without making any
terms."

"She has more sense than I."

"Do you mean that?"

"I do, really."

"I am astonished and delighted to hear it; but as it is so, kiss your
sister."

At this invitation Veronique put down the candle, and covered Annette's
beautiful body with kisses. The scene made me feel very happy.

"Come, Veronique," said I, "you will die of cold; come and lie down."

I made room for her, and soon there were three of us under the same
sheet. I was in an ecstasy at this group, worthy of Aretin's pencil.

"Dearest ones," said I, "you have played me a pretty trick; was it
premeditated? And was Veronique false this morning, or is she false now?"

"We did not premeditate anything, I was true this morning, and I am true
now. I feel that I and my plan were very silly, and I hope you will
forgive me, since I have repented and have had my punishment. Now I think
I am in my right senses, as I have yielded to the feelings with which you
inspired me when I saw you first, and against which I have fought too
long."

"What you say pleases me extremely."

"Well, forgive me and finish my punishment by shewing that you are not
angry with me."

"How am I to do that?"

"By telling me that you are vexed no longer, and by continuing to give my
sister proofs of your love."

"I swear to you that so far from being angry with you I am very fond of
you; but would you like us to be fond in your presence?"

"Yes, if you don't mind me."

Feeling excited by voluptuous emotions, I saw that my part could no
longer be a passive one.

"What do you say," said I to my blonde, "will you allow your heroic
sister to remain a mere looker-on at our sweet struggles? Are you not
generous enough to let me make her an actress in the drama?"

"No; I confess I do not feel as if I could be so generous to-night, but
next night, if you will play the same part, we will change. Veronique
shall act and I will look on."

"That would do beautifully," said Veronique, with some vexation in her
manner, "if the gentleman was not going to-morrow morning."

"I will stay, dear Veronique, if only to prove how much I love you."

I could not have wished for plainer speech on her part, and I should have
liked to shew her how grateful I felt on the spot; but that would have
been at Annette's expense, as I had no right to make any alteration in
the piece of which she was the author and had a right to expect all the
profits. Whenever I recall this pleasant scene I feel my heart beat with
voluptuous pleasure, and even now, with the hand of old age upon me, I
can not recall it without delight.

Veronique resigned herself to the passive part which her younger sister
imposed on her, and turning aside she leant her head on her hand,
disclosing a breast which would have excited the coldest of men, and bade
me begin my attack on Annette. It was no hard task she laid upon me, for
I was all on fire, and I was certain of pleasing her as long as she
looked at me. As Annette was short-sighted, she could not distinguish in
the heat of the action which way I was looking, and I succeeded in
getting my right hand free, without her noticing me, and I was thus
enabled to communicate a pleasure as real though not as acute as that
enjoyed by her sister. When the coverlet was disarranged, Veronique took
the trouble to replace it, and thus offered me, as if by accident, a new
spectacle. She saw how I enjoyed the sight of her charms, and her eye
brightened. At last, full of unsatisfied desire, she shewed me all the
treasures which nature had given her, just as I had finished with Annette
for the fourth time. She might well think that I was only rehearsing for
the following night, and her fancy must have painted her coming joys in
the brightest colours. Such at all events were my thoughts, but the fates
determined otherwise. I was in the middle of the seventh act, always
slower and more pleasant for the actress than the first two or three,
when Costa came knocking loudly at my door, calling out that the felucca
was ready. I was vexed at this untoward incident, got up in a rage, and
after telling him to pay the master for the day, as I was not going till
the morrow, I went back to bed, no longer, however, in a state to
continue the work I begun. My two sweethearts were delighted with me, but
we all wanted rest, though the piece should not have finished with an
interruption. I wanted to get some amusement out of the interval, and
proposed an ablution, which made Annette laugh and which Veronique
pronounced to be absolutely necessary. I found it a delicious hors
d'oeuvre to the banquet I had enjoyed. The two sisters rendered each
other various services, standing in the most lascivious postures, and I
found my situation as looker-on an enviable one.

When the washing and the laughter it gave rise to were over, we returned
to the stage where the last act should have been performed. I longed to
begin again, and I am sure I should have succeeded if I had been well
backed up by my partner; but Annette, who was young and tired out with
the toils of the night, forgot her part, and yielded to sleep as she had
yielded to love. Veronique began to laugh when she saw her asleep, and I
had to do the same, when I saw that she was as still as a corpse.

"What a pity!" said Veronique's eyes; but she said it with her eyes
alone, while I was waiting for these words to issue from her lips. We
were both of us wrong: she for not speaking, and I for waiting for her to
speak. It was a favourable moment, but we let it pass by, and love
punished us. I had, it is true, another reason for abstaining. I wished
to reserve myself for the night. Veronique went to her own bed to quiet
her excited feelings, and I stayed in bed with my sleeping beauty till
noon, when I wished her good morning by a fresh assault which was
completed neither on her side nor on mine to the best of my belief.

The day was spent in talking about ourselves, and determined to eat only
one meal, we did not sit down to table till night began to fall. We spent
two hours in the consumption of delicate dishes, and in defying Bacchus
to make us feel his power. We rose as we saw Annette falling asleep, but
we were not much annoyed at the thought that she would not see the
pleasures we promised each other. I thought that I should have enough to
do to contemplate the charms of the one nymph without looking at
Annette's beauties. We went to bed, our arms interlaced, our bodies tight
together, and lip pressed on lip, but that was all. Veronique saw what
prevented me going any further, and she was too polite and modest to
complain. She dissembled her feelings and continued to caress me, while I
was in a frenzy of rage. I had never had such a misfortune, unless as the
result of complete exhaustion, or from a strong mental impression capable
of destroying my natural faculties. Let my readers imagine what I
suffered; in the flower of my age, with a strong constitution, holding
the body of a woman I had ardently desired in my arms, while she tenderly
caressed me, and yet I could do nothing for her. I was in despair; one
cannot offer a greater insult to a woman.

At last we had to accept the facts and speak reasonably, and I was the
first to bewail my misfortune.

"You tired yourself too much yesterday," said she, "and you were not
sufficiently temperate at supper. Do not let it trouble you, dearest, I
am sure you love me. Do not try to force nature, you will only weaken
yourself more. I think a gentle sleep would restore your manly powers
better than anything. I can't sleep myself, but don't mind me. Sleep, we
will make love together afterwards."

After those excellent and reasonable suggestions, Veronique turned her
back to me and I followed her example, but in vain did I endeavour to
obtain a refreshing slumber; nature which would not give me the power of
making her, the loveliest creature, happy, envied me the power of repose
as well. My amorous ardour and my rage forbade all thoughts of rest, and
my excited passions conspired against that which would enable them to
satisfy their desires. Nature punished me for having distrusted her, and
because I had taken stimulants fit only for the weak. If I had fasted, I
should have done great things, but now there was a conflict between the
stimulants and nature, and by my desire for enjoyment I had deprived
myself of the power to enjoy. Thus nature, wise like its Divine Author,
punishes the ignorance and presumption of poor weak mortals.

Throughout this terrible and sleepless night my mind roamed abroad, and
amidst the reproaches with which I overwhelmed myself I found a certain
satisfaction in the thought that they were not wholly undeserved. This is
the sole enjoyment I still have when I meditate on my past life and its
varied adventures. I feel that no misfortune has befallen me save by my
own fault, whilst I attribute to natural causes the blessings, of which I
have enjoyed many. I think I should go mad if in my soliloquies I came
across any misfortune which I could not trace to my own fault, for I
should not know where to place the reason, and that would degrade me to
the rank of creatures governed by instinct alone. I feel that I am
somewhat more than a beast. A beast, in truth, is a foolish neighbour of
mine, who tries to argue that the brutes reason better than we do.

"I will grant," I said, "that they reason better than you, but I can go
no farther; and I think every reasonable man would say as much."

This reply has made me an enemy, although he admits the first part of the
thesis.

Happier than I, Veronique slept for three hours; but she was disagreeably
surprised on my telling her that I had not been able to close an eye, and
on finding me in the same state of impotence as before. She began to get
angry when I tried to convince her rather too forcibly that my misfortune
was not due to my want of will, and then she blamed herself as the cause
of my impotence; and mortified by the idea, she endeavoured to destroy
the spell by all the means which passion suggested, and which I had
hitherto thought infallible; but her efforts and mine were all thrown
away. My despair was as great as hers when at last, wearied, ashamed, and
degraded in her own eyes, she discontinued her efforts, her eyes full of
tears. She went away without a word, and left me alone for the two or
three hours which had still to elapse before the dawn appeared.

At day-break Costa came and told me that the sea being rough and a
contrary wind blowing, the felucca would be in danger of perishing.

"We will go as soon as the weather improves," said I; "in the mean time
light me a fire."

I arose, and proceeded to write down the sad history of the night. This
occupation soothed me, and feeling inclined to sleep I lay down again and
slept for eight hours. When I awoke I felt better, but still rather sad.
The two sisters were delighted to see me in good health, but I thought I
saw on Veronique's features an unpleasant expression of contempt.
However, I had deserved it, and I did not take the trouble of changing
her opinion, though if she had been more caressing she might easily have
put me in a state to repair the involuntary wrongs I had done her in the
night. Before we sat down to table I gave her a present of a hundred
sequins, which made her look a little more cheerful. I gave an equal
present to my dear Annette, who had not expected anything, thinking
herself amply recompensed by my first gift and by the pleasure I had
afforded her.

At midnight the master of the felucca came to tell me that the wind had
changed, and I took leave of the sisters. Veronique shed tears, but I
knew to what to attribute them. Annette kissed me affectionately; thus
each played her own part. I sailed for Lerici, where I arrived the next
day, and then posted to Leghorn. Before I speak of this town I think I
shall interest my readers by narrating a circumstance not unworthy of
these Memoirs.



CHAPTER VI

A Clever Cheat--Passano--Pisa--Corilla--My Opinion of Squinting
Eyes--Florence--I See Therese Again--My Son--Corticelli

I was standing at some distance from my carriage into which they were
putting four horses, when a man accosted me and asked me if I would pay
in advance or at the next stage. Without troubling to look at him I said
I would pay in advance, and gave him a coin requesting him to bring me
the change.

"Directly, sir," said he, and with that he went into the inn.

A few minutes after, just as I was going to look after my change, the
post-master came up and asked me to pay for the stage.

"I have paid already, and I am waiting for my change. Did I not give the
money to you?"

"Certainly not, sir."

"Whom did I give it to, then?"

"I really can't say; but you will be able to recognize the man,
doubtless."

"It must have been you or one of your people."

I was speaking loud, and all the men came about me.

"These are all the men in my employ," said the master, and he asked if
any of them had received the money from me.

They all denied the fact with an air of sincerity which left no room for
suspicion. I cursed and swore, but they let me curse and swear as much as
I liked. At last I discovered that there was no help for it, and I paid a
second time, laughing at the clever rascal who had taken me in so
thoroughly. Such are the lessons of life; always full of new experiences,
and yet one never knows enough. From that day I have always taken care
not to pay for posting except to the proper persons.

In no country are knaves so cunning as in Italy, Greece ancient and
modern excepted.

When I got to the best inn at Leghorn they told me that there was a
theatre, and my luck made me go and see the play. I was recognized by an
actor who accosted me, and introduced me to one of his comrades, a
self-styled poet, and a great enemy of the Abbe Chiari, whom I did not
like, as he had written a biting satire against me, and I had never
succeeded in avenging myself on him. I asked them to come and sup with
me--a windfall which these people are not given to refusing. The
pretended poet was a Genoese, and called himself Giacomo Passano. He
informed me that he had written three hundred sonnets against the abbe,
who would burst with rage if they were ever printed. As I could not
restrain a smile at the good opinion the poet had of his works, he
offered to read me a few sonnets. He had the manuscript about him, and I
could not escape the penance. He read a dozen or so, which I thought
mediocre, and a mediocre sonnet is necessarily a bad sonnet, as this form
of poetry demands sublimity; and thus amongst the myriads of sonnets to
which Italy gives birth very few can be called good.

If I had given myself time to examine the man's features, I should, no
doubt, have found him to be a rogue; but I was blinded by passion, and
the idea of three hundred sonnets against the Abbe Chiari fascinated me.

I cast my eyes over the title of the manuscript, and read, "La Chiareide
di Ascanio Pogomas."

"That's an anagram of my Christian name and my surname; is it not a happy
combination?"

This folly made me smile again. Each of the sonnets was a dull diatribe
ending with "l'abbate Chiari e un coglione." He did not prove that he was
one, but he said so over and over again, making use of the poet's
privilege to exaggerate and lie. What he wanted to do was to annoy the
abbe, who was by no means what Passano called him, but on the contrary, a
wit and a poet; and if he had been acquainted with the requirements of
the stage he would have written better plays than Goldoni, as he had a
greater command of language.

I told Passano, for civility's sake, that he ought to get his Chiareide
printed.

"I would do so," said he, "if I could find a publisher, for I am not rich
enough to pay the expenses, and the publishers are a pack of ignorant
beggars. Besides, the press is not free, and the censor would not let the
epithet I give to my hero pass. If I could go to Switzerland I am sure it
could be managed; but I must have six sequins to walk to Switzerland, and
I have not got them."

"And when you got to Switzerland, where there are no theatres, what would
you do for a living?"

"I would paint in miniature. Look at those."

He gave me a number of small ivory tablets, representing obscene
subjects, badly drawn and badly painted.

"I will give you an introduction to a gentleman at Berne," I said; and
after supper I gave him a letter and six sequins. He wanted to force some
of his productions on me, but I would not have them.

I was foolish enough to give him a letter to pretty Sara's father, and I
told him to write to me at Rome, under cover of the banker Belloni.

I set out from Leghorn the next day and went to Pisa, where I stopped two
days. There I made the acquaintance of an Englishman, of whom I bought a
travelling carriage. He took me to see Corilla, the celebrated poetess.
She received me with great politeness, and was kind enough to improvise
on several subjects which I suggested. I was enchanted, not so much with
her grace and beauty, as by her wit and perfect elocution. How sweet a
language sounds when it is spoken well and the expressions are well
chosen. A language badly spoken is intolerable even from a pretty mouth,
and I have always admired the wisdom of the Greeks who made their nurses
teach the children from the cradle to speak correctly and pleasantly. We
are far from following their good example; witness the fearful accents
one hears in what is called, often incorrectly, good society.

Corilla was 'straba', like Venus as painted by the ancients--why, I
cannot think, for however fair a squint-eyed woman may be otherwise, I
always look upon her face as distorted. I am sure that if Venus had been
in truth a goddess, she would have made the eccentric Greek, who first
dared to paint her cross-eyed, feel the weight of her anger. I was told
that when Corilla sang, she had only to fix her squinting eyes on a man
and the conquest was complete; but, praised be God! she did not fix them
on me.

At Florence I lodged at the "Hotel Carrajo," kept by Dr. Vannini, who
delighted to confess himself an unworthy member of the Academy Della
Crusca. I took a suite of rooms which looked out on the bank of the Arno.
I also took a carriage and a footman, whom, as well as a coachman, I clad
in blue and red livery. This was M. de Bragadin's livery, and I thought I
might use his colours, not with the intention of deceiving anyone, but
merely to cut a dash.

The morning after my arrival I put on my great coat to escape
observation, and proceeded to walk about Florence. In the evening I went
to the theatre to see the famous harlequin, Rossi, but I considered his
reputation was greater than he deserved. I passed the same judgment on
the boasted Florentine elocution; I did not care for it at all. I enjoyed
seeing Pertici; having become old, and not being able to sing any more,
he acted, and, strange to say, acted well; for, as a rule, all singers,
men and women, trust to their voice and care nothing for acting, so that
an ordinary cold entirely disables them for the time being.

Next day I called on the banker, Sasso Sassi, on whom I had a good letter
of credit, and after an excellent dinner I dressed and went to the opera
an via della Pergola, taking a stage box, not so much for the music, of
which I was never much of an admirer, as because I wanted to look at the
actress.

The reader may guess my delight and surprise when I recognised in the
prima donna Therese, the false Bellino, whom I had left at Rimini in the
year 1744; that charming Therese whom I should certainly have married if
M. de Gages had not put me under arrest. I had not seen her for seventeen
years, but she looked as beautiful and ravishing as ever as she came
forward on the stage. It seemed impossible. I could not believe my eyes,
thinking the resemblance must be a coincidence, when, after singing an
air, she fixed her eyes on mine and kept them there. I could no longer
doubt that it was she; she plainly recognized me. As she left the stage
she stopped at the wings and made a sign to me with her fan to come and
speak to her.

I went out with a beating heart, though I could not explain my
perturbation, for I did not feel guilty in any way towards Therese, save
in that I had not answered the last letter she had written me from
Naples, thirteen years ago. I went round the theatre, feeling a greater
curiosity as to the results of our interview than to know what had
befallen her during the seventeen years which seemed an age to me.

I came to the stage-door, and I saw Therese standing at the top of the
stair. She told the door-keeper to let me pass; I went up and we stood
face to face. Dumb with surprise I took her hand and pressed it against
my heart.

"Know from that beating heart," said I, "all that I feel."

"I can't follow your example," said she, "but when I saw you I thought I
should have fainted. Unfortunately I am engaged to supper. I shall not
shut my eyes all night. I shall expect you at eight o'clock to-morrow
morning. Where are you staying?"

"At Dr. Vannini's."

"Under what name?"

"My own."

"How long have you been here?"

"Since yesterday."

"Are you stopping long in Florence?"

"As long as you like."

"Are you married?"

"No."

"Cursed be that supper! What an event! You must leave me now, I have to
go on. Good-bye till seven o'clock to-morrow."

She had said eight at first, but an hour sooner was no harm. I returned
to the theatre, and recollected that I had neither asked her name or
address, but I could find out all that easily. She was playing Mandane,
and her singing and acting were admirable. I asked a well-dressed young
man beside me what that admirable actress's name was.

"You have only come to Florence to-day, sir?"

"I arrived yesterday."

"Ah! well, then it's excusable. That actress has the same name as I have.
She is my wife, and I am Cirillo Palesi, at your service."

I bowed and was silent with surprise. I dared not ask where she lived,
lest he might think my curiosity impertinent. Therese married to this
handsome young man, of whom, of all others, I had made enquiries about
her! It was like a scene in a play.

I could bear it no longer. I longed to be alone and to ponder over this
strange adventure at my ease, and to think about my visit to Therese at
seven o'clock the next morning. I felt the most intense curiosity to see
what the husband would do when he recognized me, and he was certain to do
so, for he had looked at me attentively as he spoke. I felt that my old
flame for Therese was rekindled in my heart, and I did not know whether I
was glad or sorry at her being married.

I left the opera-house and told my footman to call my carriage.

"You can't have it till nine o'clock, sir; it was so cold the coachman
sent the horses back to the stable."

"We will return on foot, then."

"You will catch a cold."

"What is the prima donna's name?"

"When she came here, she called herself Lanti, but for the last two
months she has been Madame Palesi. She married a handsome young man with
no property and no profession, but she is rich, so he takes his ease and
does nothing."

"Where does she live?"

"At the end of this street. There's her house, sir; she lodges on the
first floor."

This was all I wanted to know, so I said no more, but took note of the
various turnings, that I might be able to find my way alone the next day.
I ate a light supper, and told Le Duc to call me at six o'clock.

"But it is not light till seven."

"I know that."

"Very good."

At the dawn of day, I was at the door of the woman I had loved so
passionately. I went to the first floor, rang the bell, and an old woman
came out and asked me if I were M. Casanova. I told her that I was,
whereupon she said that the lady had informed her I was not coming till
eight.

"She said seven."

"Well, well, it's of no consequence. Kindly walk in here. I will go and
awake her."

In five minutes, the young husband in his night-cap and dressing-gown
came in, and said that his wife would not be long. Then looking at me
attentively with an astounded stare, he said,

"Are you not the gentleman who asked me my wife's name last night?"

"You are right, I did. I have not seen your wife for many years, but I
thought I recognized her. My good fortune made me enquire of her husband,
and the friendship which formerly attached me to her will henceforth
attach me to you."

As I uttered this pretty compliment Therese, as fair as love, rushed into
the room with open arms. I took her to my bosom in a transport of
delight, and thus we remained for two minutes, two friends, two lovers,
happy to see one another after a long and sad parting. We kissed each
other again and again, and then bidding her husband sit down she drew me
to a couch and gave full course to her tears. I wept too, and my tears
were happy ones. At last we wiped our eyes, and glanced towards the
husband whom we had completely forgotten. He stood in an attitude of
complete astonishment, and we burst out laughing. There was something so
comic in his surprise that it would have taxed all the talents of the
poet and the caricaturist to depict his expression of amazement. Therese,
who knew how to manage him, cried in a pathetic an affectionate voice,--

"My dear Palesi, you see before you my father--nay, more than a father,
for this is my generous friend to whom I owe all. Oh, happy moment for
which my heart has longed for these ten years past."

At the word "father" the unhappy husband fixed his gaze on me, but I
restrained my laughter with considerable difficulty. Although Therese was
young for her age, she was only two years younger than I; but friendship
gives a new meaning to the sweet name of father.

"Yes, sir," said I, "your Therese is my daughter, my sister, my cherished
friend; she is an angel, and this treasure is your wife."

"I did not reply to your last letter," said I, not giving him time to
come to himself.

"I know all," she replied. "You fell in love with a nun. You were
imprisoned under the Leads, and I heard of your almost miraculous flight
at Vienna. I had a false presentiment that I should see you in that town.
Afterwards I heard of you in Paris and Holland, but after you left Paris
nobody could tell me any more about you. You will hear some fine tales
when I tell you all that has happened to me during the past ten years.
Now I am happy. I have my dear Palesi here, who comes from Rome. I
married him a couple of months ago. We are very fond of each other, and I
hope you will be as much his friend as mine."

At this I arose and embraced the husband, who cut such an extraordinary
figure. He met me with open arms, but in some confusion; he was, no
doubt, not yet quite satisfied as to the individual who was his wife's
father, brother, friend, and perhaps lover, all at once. Therese saw this
feeling in his eyes, and after I had done she came and kissed him most
affectionately, which confused me in my turn, for I felt all my old love
for her renewed, and as ardent as it was when Don Sancio Pico introduced
me to her at Ancona.

Reassured by my embrace and his wife's caress, M. Palesi asked me if I
would take a cup of chocolate with them, which he himself would make. I
answered that chocolate was my favourite breakfast-dish, and all the more
so when it was made by a friend. He went away to see to it. Our time had
come.

As soon as we were alone Therese threw herself into my arms, her face
shining with such love as no pen can describe.

"Oh, my love! whom I shall love all my life, clasp me to your breast! Let
us give each other a hundred embraces on this happy day, but not again,
since my fate has made me another's bride. To-morrow we will be like
brother and sister; to-day let us be lovers."

She had not finished this speech before my bliss was crowned. Our
transports were mutual, and we renewed them again and again during the
half hour in which we had no fear of an interruption. Her negligent
morning dress and my great coat were highly convenient under the
circumstances.

After we had satiated in part our amorous ardour we breathed again and
sat down. There was a short pause, and then she said,

"You must know that I am in love with my husband and determined not to
deceive him. What I have just done was a debt I had to pay to the
remembrance of my first love. I had to pay it to prove how much I love
you; but let us forget it now. You must be contented with the thought of
my great affection for you--of which you can have no doubt--and let me
still think that you love me; but henceforth do not let us be alone
together, as I should give way, and that would vex me. What makes you
look so sad?"

"I find you bound, while I am free. I thought we had met never to part
again; you had kindled the old fires. I am the same to you as I was at
Ancona. I have proved as much, and you can guess how sad I feel at your
decree that I am to enjoy you no more. I find that you are not only
married but in love with your husband. Alas! I have come too late, but if
I had not stayed at Genoa I should not have been more fortunate. You
shall know all in due time, and in the meanwhile I will be guided by you
in everything. I suppose your husband knows nothing of our connection,
and my best plan will be to be reserved, will it not?"

"Yes, dearest, for he knows nothing of my affairs, and I am glad to say
he shews no curiosity respecting them. Like everybody else, he knows I
made my fortune at Naples; I told him I went there when I was ten years
old. That was an innocent lie which hurts nobody; and in my position I
find that inconvenient truths have to give way to lies. I give myself out
as only twenty-four, how do you think I look?"

"You look as if you were telling the truth, though I know you must be
thirty-two."

"You mean thirty-one, for when I knew you I couldn't have been more than
fourteen."

"I thought you were fifteen at least."

"Well, I might admit that between ourselves; but tell me if I look more
than twenty-four."

"I swear to you you don't look as old, but at Naples . . . ."

"At Naples some people might be able to contradict me, but nobody would
mind them. But I am waiting for what ought to be the sweetest moment of
your life."

"What is that, pray?"

"Allow me to keep my own counsel, I want to enjoy your surprise. How are
you off? If you want money, I can give you back all you gave me, and with
compound interest. All I have belongs to me; my husband is not master of
anything. I have fifty thousand ducats at Naples, and an equal sum in
diamonds. Tell me how much you want--quick! the chocolate is coming."

Such a woman was Therese. I was deeply moved, and was about to throw my
arms about her neck without answering when the chocolate came. Her
husband was followed by a girl of exquisite beauty, who carried three
cups of chocolate on a silver-gilt dish. While we drank it Palesi amused
us by telling us with much humour how surprised he was when he recognized
the man who made him rise at such an early hour as the same who had asked
him his wife's name the night before. Therese and I laughed till our
sides ached, the story was told so wittily and pleasantly. This Roman
displeased me less than I expected; his jealousy seemed only put on for
form's sake.

"At ten o'clock," said Theresa, "I have a rehearsal here of the new
opera. You can stay and listen if you like. I hope you will dine with us
every day, and it will give me great pleasure if you will look upon my
house as yours."

"To-day," said I, "I will stay with you till after supper, and then I
will leave you with your fortunate husband."

As I pronounced these words M. Palesi embraced me with effusion, as if to
thank me for not objecting to his enjoying his rights as a husband.

He was between the ages of twenty and twenty-two, of a fair complexion,
and well-made, but too pretty for a man. I did not wonder at Therese
being in love with him, for I knew too well the power of a handsome face;
but I thought that she had made a mistake in marrying him, for a husband
acquires certain rights which may become troublesome.

Therese's pretty maid came to tell me that my carriage was at the door.

"Will you allow me," said I to her, "to have my footman in?"

"Rascal," said I, as soon as he came in, "who told you to come here with
my carriage?"

"Nobody, sir, but I know my duty."

"Who told you that I was here?"

"I guessed as much."

"Go and fetch Le Duc, and come back with him."

When they arrived I told Le Duc to pay the impertinent fellow three days'
wages, to strip him of his livery, and to ask Dr. Vannini to get me a
servant of the same build, not gifted with the faculty of divination, but
who knew how to obey his master's orders. The rascal was much perturbed
at the result of his officiousness, and asked Therese to plead for him;
but, like a sensible woman, she told him that his master was the best
judge of the value of his services.

At ten o'clock all the actors and actresses arrived, bringing with them a
mob of amateurs who crowded the hall. Therese received their greetings
graciously, and I could see she enjoyed a great reputation. The rehearsal
lasted three hours, and wearied me extremely. To relieve my boredom I
talked to Palesi, whom I liked for not asking me any particulars of my
acquaintance with his wife. I saw that he knew how to behave in the
position in which he was placed.

A girl from Parma, named Redegonde, who played a man's part and sang very
well, stayed to dinner. Therese had also asked a young Bolognese, named
Corticelli. I was struck with the budding charms of this pretty dancer,
but as I was just then full of Therese, I did not pay much attention to
her. Soon after we sat down I saw a plump abbe coming in with measured
steps. He looked to me a regular Tartuffe, after nothing but Therese. He
came up to her as soon as he saw her, and going on one knee in the
Portuguese fashion, kissed her hand tenderly and respectfully. Therese
received him with smiling courtesy and put him at her right hand; I was
at their left. His voice, manner, and all about him told me that I had
known him, and in fact I soon recognized him as the Abbe Gama, whom I had
left at Rome seventeen years before with Cardinal Acquaviva; but I
pretended not to recognize him, and indeed he had aged greatly. This
gallant priest had eyes for no one but Therese, and he was too busy with
saying a thousand soft nothings to her to take notice of anybody else in
the company. I hoped that in his turn he would either not recognize me or
pretend not to do so, so I was continuing my trifling talk with the
Corticelli, when Therese told me that the abbe wanted to know whether I
did not recollect him. I looked at his face attentively, and with the air
of a man who is trying to recollect something, and then I rose and asked
if he were not the Abbe Gama, with whose acquaintance I was honoured.

"The same," said he, rising, and placing his arms round my neck he kissed
me again and again. This was in perfect agreement with his crafty
character; the reader will not have forgotten the portrait of him
contained in the first volume of these Memoirs.

After the ice had been thus broken it will be imagined that we had a long
conversation. He spoke of Barbaruccia, of the fair Marchioness G----, of
Cardinal S---- C----, and told me how he had passed from the Spanish to
the Portuguese service, in which he still continued. I was enjoying his
talk about numerous subjects which had interested me in my early youth,
when an unexpected sight absorbed all my thinking faculties. A young man
of fifteen or sixteen, as well grown as Italians usually are at that age,
came into the room, saluted the company with easy grace, and kissed
Therese. I was the only person who did not know him, but I was not the
only one who looked surprised. The daring Therese introduced him to me
with perfect coolness with the words:--

"That is my brother."

I greeted him as warmly as I could, but my manner was slightly confused,
as I had not had time to recover my composure. This so-called brother of
Therese was my living image, though his complexion was rather clearer
than mine. I saw at once that he was my son; nature had never been so
indiscreet as in the amazing likeness between us. This, then, was the
surprise of which Therese had spoken; she had devised the pleasure of
seeing me at once astounded and delighted, for she knew that my heart
would be touched at the thought of having left her such a pledge of our
mutual love. I had not the slightest foreknowledge in the matter, for
Therese had never alluded to her being with child in her letters. I
thought, however, that she should not have brought about this meeting in
the presence of a third party, for everyone has eyes in their head, and
anyone with eyes must have seen that the young man was either my son or
my brother. I glanced at her, but she avoided meeting my eye, while the
pretended brother was looking at me so attentively that he did not hear
what was said to him. As to the others, they did nothing but look first
at me and then at him, and if they came to the conclusion that he was my
son they would be obliged to suppose that I had been the lover of
Therese's mother, if she were really his sister, for taking into
consideration the age she looked and gave herself out to be she could not
possibly be his mother. It was equally impossible that I could be
Therese's father, as I did not look any older than she did.

My son spoke the Neapolitan dialect perfectly, but he also spoke Italian
very well, and in whatever he said I was glad to recognize taste, good
sense, and intelligence. He was well-informed, though he had been brought
up at Naples, and his manners were very distinguished. His mother made
him sit between us at table.

"His favourite amusement," she said to me, "is music. You must hear him
on the clavier, and though I am eight years older I shall not be
surprised if you pronounce him the better performer."

Only a woman's delicate instinct could have suggested this remark; men
hardly ever approach women in this respect.

Whether from natural impulses or self-esteem, I rose from the table so
delighted with my son that I embraced him with the utmost tenderness, and
was applauded by the company. I asked everybody to dine with me the next
day, and my invitation was joyfully accepted; but the Corticelli said,
with the utmost simplicity,

"May I come, too?"

"Certainty; you too."

After dinner the Abbe Gama asked me to breakfast with him, or to have him
to breakfast the next morning, as he was longing for a good talk with me.

"Come and breakfast with me," said I, "I shall be delighted to see you."

When the guests had gone Don Cesarino, as the pretended brother of
Therese was called, asked me if I would walk with him. I kissed him, and
replied that my carriage was at his service, and that he and his
brother-in-law could drive in it, but that I had resolved not to leave
his sister that day. Palesi seemed quite satisfied with the arrangement,
and they both went away.

When we were alone, I gave Therese an ardent embrace, and congratulated
her on having such a brother.

"My dear, he is the fruit of our amours; he is your son. He makes me
happy, and is happy himself, and indeed he has everything to make him
so."

"And I, too, am happy, dear Therese. You must have seen that I recognized
him at once."

"But do you want to give him a brother? How ardent you are!"

"Remember, beloved one, that to-morrow we are to be friends, and nothing
more."

By this my efforts were crowned with success, but the thought that it was
the last time was a bitter drop in the cup of happiness.

When we had regained our composure, Therese said,--

"The duke who took me from Rimini brought up our child; as soon as I knew
that I was pregnant I confided my secret to him. No one knew of my
delivery, and the child was sent to nurse at Sorrento, and the duke had
him baptized under the name of Caesar Philip Land. He remained at
Sorrento till he was nine, and then he was boarded with a worthy man, who
superintended his education and taught him music. From his earliest
childhood he has known me as his sister, and you cannot think how happy I
was when I saw him growing so like you. I have always considered him as a
sure pledge of our final union. I was ever thinking what would happen
when we met, for I knew that he would have the same influence over you as
he has over me. I was sure you would marry me and make him legitimate."

"And you have rendered all this, which would have made me happy, an
impossibility."

"The fates decided so; we will say no more about it. On the death of the
duke I left Naples, leaving Cesarino at the same boarding school, under
the protection of the Prince de la Riccia, who has always looked upon him
as a brother. Your son, though he does not know it, possesses the sum of
twenty thousand ducats, of which I receive the interest, but you may
imagine that I let him want for nothing. My only regret is that I cannot
tell him I am his mother, as I think he would love me still more if he
knew that he owed his being to me. You cannot think how glad I was to see
your surprise to-day, and how soon you got to love him."

"He is wonderfully like me."

"That delights me. People must think that you were my mother's lover. My
husband thinks that our friendship is due to the connection between you
and my mother. He told me yesterday that Cesarino might be my brother on
the mother's side, but not on my father's; as he had seen his father in
the theatre, but that he could not possibly be my father, too. If I have
children by Palesi all I have will go to them, but if not Cesarino will
be my heir. My property is well secured, even if the Prince de Riccia
were to die."

"Come," said she, drawing me in the direction of her bed-room. She opened
a large box which contained her jewels and diamonds, and shares to the
amount of fifty thousand ducats. Besides that she had a large amount of
plate, and her talents which assured her the first place in all the
Italian theatres.

"Do you know whether our dear Cesarino has been in love yet?" said I.

"I don't think so, but I fancy my pretty maid is in love with him. I
shall keep my eyes open."

"You mustn't be too strict."

"No, but it isn't a good thing for a young man to engage too soon in that
pleasure which makes one neglect everything else."

"Let me have him, I will teach him how to live."

"Ask all, but leave me my son. You must know that I never kiss him for
fear of my giving way to excessive emotion. I wish you knew how good and
pure he is, and how well he loves me, I could not refuse him anything."

"What will people say in Venice when they see Casanova again, who escaped
from The Leads and has become twenty years younger?"

"You are going to Venice, then, for the Ascensa?"

"Yes, and you are going to Rome?"

"And to Naples, to see my friend the Duke de Matalone."

"I know him well. He has already had a son by the daughter of the Duke de
Bovino, whom he married. She must be a charming woman to have made a man
of him, for all Naples knew that he was impotent."

"Probably, she only knew the secret of making him a father."

"Well, it is possible."

We spent the time by talking with interest on various topics till
Cesarino and the husband came back. The dear child finished his conquest
of me at supper; he had a merry random wit, and all the Neapolitan
vivacity. He sat down at the clavier, and after playing several pieces
with the utmost skill he began to sing Neapolitan songs which made us all
laugh. Therese only looked at him and me, but now and again she embraced
her husband, saying, that in love alone lies happiness.

I thought then, and I think now, that this day was one of the happiest I
have ever spent.



CHAPTER VII

The Corticelli--The Jew Manager Beaten--The False Charles Ivanoff and the
Trick He Played Me--I Am Ordered to Leave Tuscany--I Arrive at Rome--My
Brother Jean

At nine o'clock the next morning, the Abbe Gama was announced. The first
thing he did was to shed tears of joy (as he said) at seeing me so well
and prosperous after so many years. The reader will guess that the abbe
addressed me in the most flattering terms, and perhaps he may know that
one may be clever, experienced in the ways of the world, and even
distrustful of flattery, but yet one's self-love, ever on the watch,
listens to the flatterer, and thinks him pleasant. This polite and
pleasant abbe, who had become extremely crafty from having lived all his
days amongst the high dignitaries at the court of the 'Servus Servorum
Dei' (the best school of strategy), was not altogether an ill-disposed
man, but both his disposition and his profession conspired to make him
inquisitive; in fine, such as I have depicted him in the first volume of
these Memoirs. He wanted to hear my adventures, and did not wait for me
to ask him to tell his story. He told me at great length the various
incidents in his life for the seventeen years in which we had not seen
one another. He had left the service of the King of Spain for that of the
King of Portugal, he was secretary of embassy to the Commander Almada,
and he had been obliged to leave Rome because the Pope Rezzonico would
not allow the King of Portugal to punish certain worthy Jesuit assassins,
who had only broken his arm as it happened, but who had none the less
meant to take his life. Thus, Gama was staying in Italy corresponding
with Almada and the famous Carvalho, waiting for the dispute to be
finished before he returned to Rome. In point of fact this was the only
substantial incident in the abbe's story, but he worked in so many
episodes of no consequence that it lasted for an hour. No doubt he wished
me to shew my gratitude by telling him all my adventures without reserve;
but the upshot of it was that we both shewed ourselves true diplomatists,
he in lengthening his story, I in shortening mine, while I could not help
feeling some enjoyment in baulking the curiosity of my cassocked friend.

"What are you going to do in Rome?" said he, indifferently.

"I am going to beg the Pope to use his influence in my favour with the
State Inquisitors at Venice."

It was not the truth, but one lie is as good as another, and if I had
said I was only going for amusement's sake he would not have believed me.
To tell the truth to an unbelieving man is to prostitute, to murder it.
He then begged me to enter into a correspondence with him, and as that
bound me to nothing I agreed to do so.

"I can give you a mark of my friendship," said he, "by introducing you to
the Marquis de Botta-Adamo, Governor of Tuscany; he is supposed to be a
friend of the regent's."

I accepted his offer gratefully, and he began to sound me about Therese,
but found my lips as tightly closed as the lid of a miser's coffer. I
told him she was a child when I made the acquaintance of her family at
Bologna, and that the resemblance between her brother and myself was a
mere accident--a freak of nature. He happened to catch sight of a
well-written manuscript on the table, and asked me if that superb writing
was my secretary's. Costa, who was present, answered in Spanish that he
wrote it. Gama overwhelmed him with compliments, and begged me to send
Costa to him to copy some letters. I guessed that he wanted to pump him
about me, and said that I needed his services all the day.

"Well, well," said the abbe, "another time will do." I gave him no
answer. Such is the character of the curious.

I am not referring to that curiosity which depends on the occult
sciences, and endeavours to pry into the future--the daughter of
ignorance and superstition, its victims are either foolish or ignorant.
But the Abbe Gama was neither; he was naturally curious, and his
employment made him still more so, for he was paid to find out
everything. He was a diplomatist; if he had been a little lower down in
the social scale he would have been treated as a spy.

He left me to pay some calls, promising to be back by dinner-time.

Dr. Vannini brought me another servant, of the same height as the first,
and engaged that he should obey orders and guess nothing. I thanked the
academician and inn-keeper, and ordered him to get me a sumptuous dinner.

The Corticelli was the first to arrive, bringing with her her brother, an
effeminate-looking young man, who played the violin moderately well, and
her mother, who informed me that she never allowed her daughter to dine
out without herself and her son.

"Then you can take her back again this instant," said I, "or take this
ducat to dine somewhere else, as I don't want your company or your
son's."

She took the ducat, saying that she was sure she was leaving her daughter
in good hands.

"You may be sure of that," said I, "so be off."

The daughter made such witty observations on the above dialogue that I
could not help laughing, and I began to be in love with her. She was only
thirteen, and was so small that she looked ten. She was well-made,
lively, witty, and fairer than is usual with Italian women, but to this
day I cannot conceive how I fell in love with her.

The young wanton begged me to protect her against the manager of the
opera, who was a Jew. In the agreement she had made with him he had
engaged to let her dance a 'pas de deux' in the second opera, and he had
not kept his word. She begged me to compel the Jew to fulfil his
engagement, and I promised to do so.

The next guest was Redegonde, who came from Parma. She was a tall,
handsome woman, and Costa told me she was the sister of my new footman.
After I had talked with her for two or three minutes I found her remarks
well worthy of attention.

Then came the Abbe Gama, who congratulated me on being seated between two
pretty girls. I made him take my place, and he began to entertain them as
if to the manner born; and though the girls were laughing at him, he was
not in the least disconcerted. He thought he was amusing them, and on
watching his expression I saw that his self-esteem prevented him seeing
that he was making a fool of himself; but I did not guess that I might
make the same mistake at his age.

Wretched is the old man who will not recognize his old age; wretched
unless he learn that the sex whom he seduced so often when he was young
will despise him now if he still attempts to gain their favour.

My fair Therese, with her husband and my son, was the last to arrive. I
kissed Therese and then my son, and sat down between them, whispering to
Therese that such a dear mysterious trinity must not be parted; at which
Therese smiled sweetly. The abbe sat down between Redegonde and the
Corticelli, and amused us all the time by his agreeable conversation.

I laughed internally when I observed how respectfully my new footman
changed his sister's plate, who appeared vain of honours to which her
brother could lay no claim. She was not kind; she whispered to me, so
that he could not hear,--

"He is a good fellow, but unfortunately he is rather stupid."

I had put in my pocket a superb gold snuff-box, richly enamelled and
adorned with a perfect likeness of myself. I had had it made at Paris,
with the intention of giving it to Madame d'Urfe, and I had not done so
because the painter had made me too young. I had filled it with some
excellent Havana snuff which M. de Chavigny had given me, and of which
Therese was very fond; I was waiting for her to ask me for a pinch before
I drew it out of my pocket.

The Abbe Gama, who had some exceedingly good snuff in an Origonela box,
sent a pinch to Therese, and she sent him her snuff in a tortoise-shell
box encrusted with gold in arabesques--an exquisite piece of workmanship.
Gama criticised Therese's snuff, while I said that I found it delicious
but that I thought I had some better myself. I took out my snuff-box, and
opening it offered her a pinch. She did not notice the portrait, but she
agreed that my snuff was vastly superior to hers.

"Well, would you like to make an exchange?" said I. "Certainly, give me
some paper."

"That is not requisite; we will exchange the snuff and the snuff-boxes."

So saying, I put Therese's box in my pocket and gave her mine shut. When
she saw the portrait, she gave a cry which puzzled everybody, and her
first motion was to kiss the portrait.

"Look," said she to Cesarino, "here is your portrait."

Cesarino looked at it in astonishment, and the box passed from hand to
hand. Everybody said that it was my portrait, taken ten years ago, and
that it might pass for a likeness of Cesarino. Therese got quite excited,
and swearing that she would never let the box out of her hands again, she
went up to her son and kissed him several times. While this was going on
I watched the Abbe Gama, and I could see that he was making internal
comments of his own on this affecting scene.

The worthy abbe went away towards the evening, telling me that he would
expect me to breakfast next morning.

I spent the rest of the day in making love to Redegonde, and Therese, who
saw that I was pleased with the girl, advised me to declare myself, and
promised that she would ask her to the house as often as I liked. But
Therese did not know her.

Next morning Gama told me that he had informed Marshal Botta that I would
come and see him, and he would present me at four o'clock. Then the
worthy abbe, always the slave of his curiosity, reproached me in a
friendly manner for not having told him anything about my fortune.

"I did not think it was worth mentioning, but as you are interested in
the subject I may tell you that my means are small, but that I have
friends whose purses are always open to me."

"If you have true friends you are a rich man, but true friends are
scarce."

I left the Abbe Gama, my head full of Redegonde, whom I preferred to the
young Corticelli, and I went to pay her a visit; but what a reception!
She received me in a room in which were present her mother, her uncle,
and three or four dirty, untidy little monkeys: these were her brothers.'

"Haven't you a better room to receive your friends in?" said I.

"I have no friends, so I don't want a room."

"Get it, my dear, and you will find the friends come fast enough. This is
all very well for you to welcome your relations in, but not persons like
myself who come to do homage to your charms and your talents."

"Sir," said the mother, "my daughter has but few talents, and thinks
nothing of her charms, which are small."

"You are extremely modest, and I appreciate your feelings; but everybody
does not see your daughter with the same eyes, and she pleased me
greatly."

"That is an honour for her, and we are duly sensible of it, but not so as
to be over-proud. My daughter will see you as often as you please, but
here, and in no other place."

"But I am afraid of being in the way here."

"An honest man is never in the way."

I felt ashamed, for nothing so confounds a libertine as modesty in the
mouth of poverty; and not knowing what to answer I took my leave.

I told Therese of my unfortunate visit, and we both, laughed at it; it
was the best thing we could do.

"I shall be glad to see you at the opera," said she, "and you can get
into my dressing-room if you give the door-keeper a small piece of
money."

The Abbe Gama came as he promised, to take me to Marshal Botta, a man of
high talents whom the affair of Genoa had already rendered famous. He was
in command of the Austrian army when the people, growing angry at the
sight of the foreigners, who had only come to put them under the Austrian
yoke, rose in revolt and made them leave the town. This patriotic riot
saved the Republic. I found him in the midst of a crowd of ladies and
gentlemen, whom he left to welcome me. He talked about Venice in a way
that shewed he understood the country thoroughly, and I conversed to him
on France, and, I believe, satisfied him. In his turn he spoke of the
Court of Russia, at which he was staying when Elizabeth Petrovna, who was
still reigning at the period in question, so easily mounted the throne of
her father, Peter the Great. "It is only in Russia," said he, "that
poison enters into politics."

At the time when the opera began the marshal left the room, and everybody
went away. On my way the abbe assured me, as a matter of course, that I
had pleased the governor, and I afterwards went to the theatre, and
obtained admission to Therese's dressing-room for a tester. I found her
in the hands of her pretty chamber-maid, and she advised me to go to
Redegonde's dressing-room, as she played a man's part, and might,
perhaps, allow me to assist in her toilette.

I followed her advice, but the mother would not let me come in, as her
daughter was just going to dress. I assured her that I would turn my back
all the time she was dressing, and on this condition she let me in, and
made me sit down at a table on which stood a mirror, which enabled me to
see all Redegonde's most secret parts to advantage; above all, when she
lifted her legs to put on her breeches, either most awkwardly or most
cleverly, according to her intentions. She did not lose anything by what
she shewed, however, for I was so pleased, that to possess her charms I
would have signed any conditions she cared to impose upon me.

"Redegonde must know," I said to myself, "that I could see everything in
the glass;" and the idea inflamed me. I did not turn round till the
mother gave me leave, and I then admired my charmer as a young man of
five feet one, whose shape left nothing to be desired.

Redegonde went out, and I followed her to the wings.

"My dear," said I, "I am going to talk plainly to you. You have inflamed
my passions and I shall die if you do not make me happy."

"You do not say that you will die if you chance to make me unhappy."

"I could not say so, because I cannot conceive such a thing as possible.
Do not trifle with me, dear Redegonde, you must be aware that I saw all
in the mirror, and I cannot think that you are so cruel as to arouse my
passions and then leave me to despair."

"What could you have seen? I don't know what you are talking about."

"May be, but know that I have seen all your charms. What shall I do to
possess you?"

"To possess me? I don't understand you, sir; I'm an honest girl."

"I dare say; but you wouldn't be any less honest after making me happy.
Dear Redegonde, do not let me languish for you, but tell me my fate now
this instant."

"I do not know what to tell you, but you can come and see me whenever you
like."

"When shall I find you alone?"

"Alone! I am never alone."

"Well, well, that's of no consequence; if only your mother is present,
that comes to the same thing. If she is sensible, she will pretend not to
see anything, and I will give you a hundred ducats each time."

"You are either a madman, or you do not know what sort of people we are."

With these words she went on, and I proceeded to tell Therese what had
passed.

"Begin," said she, "by offering the hundred ducats to the mother, and if
she refuses, have no more to do with them, and go elsewhere."

I returned to the dressing-room, where I found the mother alone, and
without any ceremony spoke as follows:--

"Good evening, madam, I am a stranger here; I am only staying a week, and
I am in love with your daughter. If you like to be obliging, bring her to
sup with me. I will give you a hundred sequins each time, so you see my
purse is in your power."

"Whom do you think you are talking to, sir? I am astonished at your
impudence. Ask the townsfolk what sort of character I bear, and whether
my daughter is an honest girl or not! and you will not make such
proposals again."

"Good-bye, madam."

"Good-bye, sir."

As I went out I met Redegonde, and I told her word for word the
conversation I had had with her mother. She burst out laughing.

"Have I done well or ill?" said I.

"Well enough, but if you love me come and see me."

"See you after what your mother said?"

"Well, why not, who knows of it?"

"Who knows? You don't know me, Redegonde. I do not care to indulge myself
in idle hopes, and I thought I had spoken to you plainly enough."

Feeling angry, and vowing to have no more to do with this strange girl, I
supped with Therese, and spent three delightful hours with her. I had a
great deal of writing to do the next day and kept in doors, and in the
evening I had a visit from the young Corticelli, her mother and brother.
She begged me to keep my promise regarding the manager of the theatre,
who would not let her dance the 'pas de deux' stipulated for in the
agreement.

"Come and breakfast with me to-morrow morning," said I, "and I will speak
to the Israelite in your presence--at least I will do so if he comes."

"I love you very much," said the young wanton, "can't I stop a little
longer here."

"You may stop as long as you like, but as I have got some letters to
finish, I must ask you to excuse my entertaining you."

"Oh! just as you please."

I told Costa to give her some supper.

I finished my letters and felt inclined for a little amusement, so I made
the girl sit by me and proceeded to toy with her, but in such a way that
her mother could make no objection. All at once the brother came up and
tried to join in the sport, much to my astonishment.

"Get along with you," said I, "you are not a girl."

At this the young scoundrel proceeded to shew me his sex, but in such an
indecent fashion that his sister, who was sitting on my knee, burst out
laughing and took refuge with her mother, who was sitting at the other
end of the room in gratitude for the good supper I had given her. I rose
from my chair, and after giving the impudent pederast a box on the ear I
asked the mother with what intentions she had brought the young rascal to
my house. By way of reply the infamous woman said,--

"He's a pretty lad, isn't he?"

I gave him a ducat for the blow I had given him, and told the mother to
begone, as she disgusted me. The pathic took my ducat, kissed my hand,
and they all departed.

I went to bed feeling amused at the incident, and wondering at the
wickedness of a mother who would prostitute her own son to the basest of
vices.

Next morning I sent and asked the Jew to call on me. The Corticelli came
with her mother, and the Jew soon after, just as we were going to
breakfast.

I proceeded to explain the grievance of the young dancer, and I read the
agreement he had made with her, telling him politely that I could easily
force him to fulfil it. The Jew put in several excuses, of which the
Corticelli demonstrated the futility. At last the son of Judah was forced
to give in, and promised to speak to the ballet-master the same day, in
order that she might dance the 'pas' with the actor she named.

"And that, I hope, will please your excellency," he added, with a low
bow, which is not often a proof of sincerity, especially among Jews.

When my guests had taken leave I went to the Abbe Gama, to dine with
Marshal Botta who had asked us to dinner. I made the acquaintance there
of Sir Mann, the English ambassador, who was the idol of Florence, very
rich, of the most pleasing manners although an Englishman; full of wit,
taste, and a great lover of the fine arts. He invited me to come next day
and see his house and garden. In this home he had made--furniture,
pictures, choice books--all shewed the man of genius. He called on me,
asked me to dinner, and had the politeness to include Therese, her
husband, and Cesarino in the invitation. After dinner my son sat down at
the clavier and delighted the company by his exquisite playing. While we
were talking of likenesses, Sir Mann shewed us some miniatures of great
beauty.

Before leaving, Therese told me that she had been thinking seriously of
me.

"In what respect?" I asked.

"I have told Redegonde that I am going to call for her, that I will keep
her to supper, and have her taken home. You must see that this last
condition is properly carried out. Come to supper too, and have your
carriage in waiting. I leave the rest to you. You will only be a few
minutes with her, but that's something; and the first step leads far."

"An excellent plan. I will sup with you, and my carriage shall be ready.
I will tell you all about it to-morrow."

I went to the house at nine o'clock, and was welcomed as an unexpected
guest. I told Redegonde that I was glad to meet her, and she replied that
she had not hoped to have the pleasure of seeing me. Redegonde was the
only one who had any appetite; she ate capitally, and laughed merrily at
the stories I told her.

After supper Therese asked her if she would like to have a sedan-chair
sent for, or if she would prefer to be taken back in my carriage.

"If the gentleman will be so kind," said she, "I need not send for a
chair."

I thought this reply of such favourable omen that I no longer doubted of
my success. After she had wished the others good night, she took my arm,
pressing it as she did so; we went down the stairs, and she got into the
carriage. I got in after her, and on attempting to sit down I found the
place taken.

"Who is that?" I cried.

Redegonde burst out laughing, and informed me it was her mother.

I was done; I could not summon up courage to pass it off as a jest. Such
a shock makes a man stupid; for a moment it numbs all the mental
faculties, and wounded self-esteem only gives place to anger.

I sat down on the front seat and coldly asked the mother why she had not
come up to supper with us. When the carriage stopped at their door, she
asked me to come in, but I told her I would rather not. I felt that for a
little more I would have boxed her ears, and the man at the house door
looked very like a cut-throat.

I felt enraged and excited physically as well as mentally, and though I
had never been to see the Corticelli, told the coachman to drive there
immediately, as I felt sure of finding her well disposed. Everybody was
gone to bed. I knocked at the door till I got an answer, I gave my name,
and I was let in, everything being in total darkness. The mother told me
she would light a candle, and that if she had expected me she would have
waited up in spite of the cold. I felt as if I were in the middle of an
iceberg. I heard the girl laughing, and going up to the bed and passing
my hand over it I came across some plain tokens of the masculine gender.
I had got hold of her brother. In the meanwhile the mother had got a
candle, and I saw the girl with the bedclothes up to her chin, for, like
her brother, she was as naked as my hand. Although no Puritan, I was
shocked.

"Why do you allow this horrible union?" I said to the mother.

"What harm is there? They are brother and sister."

"That's just what makes it a criminal matter."

"Everything is perfectly innocent."

"Possibly; but it's not a good plan."

The pathic escaped from the bed and crept into his mother's, while the
little wanton told me there was really no harm, as they only loved each
other as brother and sister, and that if I wanted her to sleep by herself
all I had to do was to get her a new bed. This speech, delivered with
arch simplicity, in her Bolognese jargon, made me laugh with all my
heart, for in the violence of her gesticulations she had disclosed half
her charms, and I saw nothing worth looking at. In spite of that, it was
doubtless decreed that I should fall in love with her skin, for that was
all she had.

If I had been alone I should have brought matters to a crisis on the
spot, but I had a distaste to the presence of her mother and her
scoundrelly brother. I was afraid lest some unpleasant scenes might
follow. I gave her ten ducats to buy a bed, said good night, and left the
house. I returned to my lodging, cursing the too scrupulous mothers of
the opera girls.

I passed the whole of the next morning with Sir Mann, in his gallery,
which contained some exquisite paintings, sculptures, mosaics, and
engraved gems. On leaving him, I called on Therese and informed her of my
misadventure of the night before. She laughed heartily at my story, and I
laughed too, in spite of a feeling of anger due to my wounded
self-esteem.

"You must console yourself," said she; "you will not find much difficulty
in filling the place in your affections."

"Ah! why are you married?"

"Well, it's done; and there's no helping it. But listen to me. As you
can't do without someone, take up with the Corticelli; she's as good as
any other woman, and won't keep you waiting long."

On my return to my lodging, I found the Abbe Gama, whom I had invited to
dinner, and he asked me if I would accept a post to represent Portugal at
the approaching European Congress at Augsburg. He told me that if I did
the work well, I could get anything I liked at Lisbon.

"I am ready to do my best," said I; "you have only to write to me, and I
will tell you where to direct your letters." This proposal made me long
to become a diplomatist.

In the evening I went to the opera-house and spoke to the ballet-master,
the dancer who was to take part in the 'pas de deux', and to the Jew, who
told me that my protegee should be satisfied in two or three days, and
that she should perform her favourite 'pas' for the rest of the carnival.
I saw the Corticelli, who told me she had got her bed, and asked me to
come to supper. I accepted the invitation, and when the opera was over I
went to her house.

Her mother, feeling sure that I would pay the bill, had ordered an
excellent supper for four, and several flasks of the best Florence wine.
Besides that, she gave me a bottle of the wine called Oleatico, which I
found excellent. The three Corticellis unaccustomed to good fare and
wine, ate like a troop, and began to get intoxicated. The mother and son
went to bed without ceremony, and the little wanton invited me to follow
their example. I should have liked to do so, but I did not dare. It was
very cold and there was no fire in the room, there was only one blanket
on the bed, and I might have caught a bad cold, and I was too fond of my
good health to expose myself to such a danger. I therefore satisfied
myself by taking her on my knee, and after a few preliminaries she
abandoned herself to my transports, endeavouring to persuade me that I
had got her maidenhead. I pretended to believe her, though I cared very
little whether it were so or not.

I left her after I had repeated the dose three or four times, and gave
her fifty sequins, telling her to get a good wadded coverlet and a large
brazier, as I wanted to sleep with her the next night.

Next morning I received an extremely interesting letter from Grenoble. M.
de Valenglard informed me that the fair Mdlle. Roman, feeling convinced
that her horoscope would never come true unless she went to Paris, had
gone to the capital with her aunt.

Her destiny was a strange one; it depended on the liking I had taken to
her and my aversion to marriage, for it lay in my power to have married
the handsomest woman in France, and in that case it is not likely that
she would have become the mistress of Louis XV. What strange whim could
have made me indicate in her horoscope the necessity of her journeying to
Paris; for even if there were such a science as astrology I was no
astrologer; in fine, her destiny depended on my absurd fancy. And in
history, what a number of extraordinary events would never have happened
if they had not been predicted!

In the evening I went to the theatre, and found my Corticelli clad in a
pretty cloak, while the other girls looked at me contemptuously, for they
were enraged at the place being taken; while the proud favourite caressed
me with an air of triumph which became her to admiration.

In the evening I found a good supper awaiting me, a large brazier on the
hearth, and a warm coverlet on the bed. The mother shewed me all the
things her daughter had bought, and complained that she had not got any
clothes for her brother. I made her happy by giving her a few louis.

When I went to bed I did not find my mistress in any amorous transports,
but in a wanton and merry mood. She made me laugh, and as she let me do
as I liked I was satisfied. I gave her a watch when I left her, and
promised to sup with her on the following night. She was to have danced
the pas de deux, and I went to see her do it, but to my astonishment she
only danced with the other girls.

When I went to supper I found her in despair. She wept and said that I
must avenge her on the Jew, who had excused himself by putting the fault
on somebody else, but that he was a liar. I promised everything to quiet
her, and after spending several hours in her company I returned home,
determined to give the Jew a bad quarter of an hour. Next morning I sent
Costa to ask him to call on me, but the rascal sent back word that he was
not coming, and if the Corticelli did not like his theatre she might try
another.

I was indignant, but I knew that I must dissemble, so I only laughed.
Nevertheless, I had pronounced his doom, for an Italian never forgets to
avenge himself on his enemy; he knows it is the pleasure of the gods.

As soon as Costa had left the room, I called Le Duc and told him the
story, saying that if I did not take vengeance I should be dishonoured,
and that it was only he who could procure the scoundrel a good thrashing
for daring to insult me.

"But you know, Le Duc, the affair must be kept secret."

"I only want twenty-four hours to give you an answer."

I knew what he meant, and I was satisfied.

Next morning Le Duc told me he had spent the previous day in learning the
Jew's abode and habits, without asking anybody any questions.

"To-day I will not let him go out of my sight. I shall find out at what
hour he returns home, and to-morrow you shall know the results."

"Be discreet," said I, "and don't let anybody into your plans."

"Not I!"

Next day, he told me that if the Jew came home at the same time and by
the same way as before, he would have a thrashing before he got to bed.

"Whom have you chosen for this expedition?"

"Myself. These affairs ought to be kept secret, and a secret oughtn't to
be known to more than two people. I am sure that everything will turn out
well, but when you are satisfied that the ass's hide has been well
tanned, will there be anything to be picked up?"

"Twenty-five sequins."

"That will do nicely. When I have done the trick I shall put on my great
coat again and return by the back door. If necessary Costa himself will
be able to swear that I did not leave the house, and that therefore I
cannot have committed the assault. However, I shall put my pistols in my
pocket in case of accidents, and if anybody tries to arrest me I shall
know how to defend myself."

Next morning he came coolly into my room while Costa was putting on my
dressing-gown, and when we were alone he said,--

"The thing's done. Instead of the Jew's running away when he received the
first blow he threw himself on to the ground. Then I tanned his skin for
him nicely, but on hearing some people coming up I ran off. I don't know
whether I did for him, but I gave him two sturdy blows on the head. I
should be sorry if he were killed, as then he could not see about the
dance."

This jest did not arouse my mirth; the matter promised to be too serious.

Therese had asked me to dine with the Abbe Gama and M. Sassi, a worthy
man, if one may prostitute the name of man to describe a being whom
cruelty has separated from the rest of humanity; he was the first
castrato of the opera. Of course the Jew's mishap was discussed.

"I am sorry for him," said I, "though he is a rascally fellow."

"I am not at all sorry for him myself," said Sassi, "he's a knave."

"I daresay that everybody will be putting down his wooden baptism to my
account."

"No," said the abbe, "people say that M. Casanova did the deed for good
reasons of his own."

"It will be difficult to pitch on the right man," I answered, "the rascal
has pushed so many worthy people to extremities that he must have a great
many thrashings owing him."

The conversation then passed to other topics, and we had a very pleasant
dinner.

In a few days the Jew left his bed with a large plaster on his nose, and
although I was generally regarded as the author of his misfortune the
matter was gradually allowed to drop, as there were only vague suspicions
to go upon. But the Corticelli, in an ecstasy of joy, was stupid enough
to talk as if she were sure it was I who had avenged her, and she got
into a rage when I would not admit the deed; but, as may be guessed, I
was not foolish enough to do so, as her imprudence might have been a
hanging matter for me.

I was well enough amused at Florence, and had no thoughts of leaving,
when one day Vannini gave me a letter which someone had left for me. I
opened it in his presence, and found it contained a bill of exchange for
two hundred Florentine crowns on Sasso Sassi. Vannini looked at it and
told me it was a good one. I went into my room to read the letter, and I
was astonished to find it signed "Charles Ivanoff." He dated it from
Pistoia, and told me that in his poverty and misfortune he had appealed
to an Englishman who was leaving Florence for Lucca, and had generously
given him a bill of exchange for two hundred crowns, which he had written
in his presence. It was made payable to bearer.

"I daren't cash it in Florence," said he, "as I am afraid of being
arrested for my unfortunate affair at Genoa. I entreat you, then, to have
pity on me, to get the bill cashed, and to bring me the money here, that
I may pay my landlord and go."

It looked like a very simple matter, but I might get into trouble, for
the note might be forged; and even if it were not I should be declaring
myself a friend or a correspondent, at all events, of a man who had been
posted. In this dilemma I took the part of taking the bill of exchange to
him in person. I went to the posting establishment, hired two horses, and
drove to Pistoia. The landlord himself took me to the rascal's room, and
left me alone with him.

I did not stay more than three minutes, and all I said was that as Sassi
knew me I did not wish him to think that there was any kind of connection
between us.

"I advise you," I said, "to give the bill to your landlord, who will cash
it at M. Sassi's and bring you your change."

"I will follow your advice," he said, and I therewith returned to
Florence.

I thought no more of it, but in two days' time I received a visit from M.
Sassi and the landlord of the inn at Pistoia. The banker shewed me the
bill of exchange, and said that the person who had given it me had
deceived me, as it was not in the writing of the Englishman whose name it
bore, and that even if it were, the Englishman not having any money with
Sassi could not draw a bill of exchange.

"The inn-keeper here," said he, "discounted the bill, the Russian has
gone off, and when I told him that it was a forgery he said that he knew
Charles Ivanoff had it of you, and that thus he had made no difficulty in
cashing it; but now he wants you to return him two hundred crowns."

"Then he will be disappointed!"

I told all the circumstances of the affair to Sassi; I shewed him the
rascal's letter; I made Dr. Vannini, who had given it me, come up, and he
said he was ready to swear that he had seen me take the bill of exchange
out of the letter, that he had examined it, and had thought it good.

On this the banker told the inn-keeper that he had no business to ask me
to pay him the money; but he persisted in his demand, and dared to say
that I was an accomplice of the Russian's.

In my indignation I ran for my cane, but the banker held me by the arm,
and the impertinent fellow made his escape without a thrashing.

"You had a right to be angry," said M. Sassi, "but you must not take any
notice of what the poor fellow says in his blind rage."

He shook me by the hand and went out.

Next day the chief of police, called the auditor at Florence, sent me a
note begging me to call on him. There was no room for hesitation, for as
a stranger I felt that I might look on this invitation as an intimation.
He received me very politely, but he said I should have to repay the
landlord his two hundred crowns, as he would not have discounted the bill
if he had not seen me bring it. I replied that as a judge he could not
condemn me unless he thought me the Russian's accomplice, but instead of
answering he repeated that I would have to pay.

"Sir," I replied, "I will not pay."

He rang the bell and bowed, and I left him, walking towards the banker's,
to whom I imparted the conversation I had had from the auditor. He was
extremely astonished, and at my request called on him to try and make him
listen to reason. As we parted I told him that I was dining with the Abbe
Gama.

When I saw the abbe I told him what had happened, and he uttered a loud
exclamation of astonishment.

"I foresee," he said, "that the auditor will not let go his hold, and if
M. Sassi does not succeed with him I advise you to speak to Marshal
Botta."

"I don't think that will be necessary; the auditor can't force me to
pay."

"He can do worse."

"What can he do?".

"He can make you leave Florence."

"Well, I shall be astonished if he uses his power in this case, but
rather than pay I will leave the town. Let us go to the marshal."

We called on him at four o'clock, and we found the banker there, who had
told him the whole story.

"I am sorry to tell you," said M. Sassi, "that I could do nothing with
the auditor, and if you want to remain in Florence you will have to pay."

"I will leave as soon as I receive the order," said I; "and as soon as I
reach another state I will print the history of this shameful perversion
of justice."

"It's an incredible, a monstrous sentence," said the marshal, "and I am
sorry I cannot interfere. You are quite right," he added, "to leave the
place rather than pay."

Early the next morning a police official brought me a letter from the
auditor, informing me that as he could not, from the nature of the case,
oblige me to pay, he was forced to warn me to leave Florence in three
days, and Tuscany in seven. This, he added, he did in virtue of his
office; but whenever the Grand Duke, to whom I might appeal, had quashed
his judgment I might return.

I took a piece of paper and wrote upon it, "Your judgment is an
iniquitous one, but it shall be obeyed to the letter."

At that moment I gave orders to pack up and have all in readiness for my
departure. I spent three days of respite in amusing myself with Therese.
I also saw the worthy Sir Mann, and I promised the Corticelli to fetch
her in Lent, and spend some time with her in Bologna. The Abbe Gama did
not leave my side for three days, and shewed himself my true friend. It
was a kind of triumph for me; on every side I heard regrets at my
departure, and curses of the auditor. The Marquis Botta seemed to approve
my conduct by giving me a dinner, the table being laid for thirty, and
the company being composed of the most distinguished people in Florence.
This was a delicate attention on his part, of which I was very sensible.

I consecrated the last day to Therese, but I could not find any
opportunity to ask her for a last consoling embrace, which she would not
have refused me under the circumstances, and which I should still fondly
remember. We promised to write often to one another, and we embraced each
other in a way to make her husband's heart ache. Next day I started on my
journey, and got to Rome in thirty-six hours.

It was midnight when I passed under the Porta del Popolo, for one may
enter the Eternal City at any time. I was then taken to the custom-house,
which is always open, and my mails were examined. The only thing they are
strict about at Rome is books, as if they feared the light. I had about
thirty volumes, all more or less against the Papacy, religion, or the
virtues inculcated thereby. I had resolved to surrender them without any
dispute, as I felt tired and wanted to go to bed, but the clerk told me
politely to count them and leave them in his charge for the night, and he
would bring them to my hotel in the morning. I did so, and he kept his
word. He was well enough pleased when he touched the two sequins with
which I rewarded him.

I put up at the Ville de Paris, in the Piazza di Spagna. It is the best
inn in the town. All the world, I found, was drowned in sleep, but when
they let me in they asked me to wait on the ground floor while a fire was
lighted in my room. All the seats were covered with dresses, petticoats,
and chemises, and I heard a small feminine voice begging me to sit on her
bed. I approached and saw a laughing mouth, and two black eyes shining
like carbuncles.

"What splendid eyes!" said I, "let me kiss them."

By way of reply she hid her head under the coverlet, and I slid a hasty
hand under the sheets; but finding her quite naked, I drew it back and
begged pardon. She put out her head again, and I thought I read gratitude
for my moderation in her eyes.

"Who are you, my angel?"

"I am Therese, the inn-keeper's daughter, and this is my sister." There
was another girl beside her, whom I had not seen, as her head was under
the bolster.

"How old are you?"

"Nearly seventeen."

"I hope I shall see you in my room to-morrow morning."

"Have you any ladies with you?"

"No."

"That's a pity, as we never go to the gentlemen's rooms."

"Lower the coverlet a little; I can't hear what you say."

"It's too cold."

"Dear Therese, your eyes make me feel as if I were in flames."

She put back her head at this, and I grew daring, and after sundry
experiments I was more than ever charmed with her. I caressed her in a
somewhat lively manner, and drew back my hand, again apologizing for my
daring, and when she let me see her face I thought I saw delight rather
than anger in her eyes and on her cheeks, and I felt hopeful with regard
to her. I was just going to begin again, for I felt on fire; when a
handsome chambermaid came to tell me that my room was ready and my fire
lighted.

"Farewell till to-morrow," said I to Therese, but she only answered by
turning on her side to go to sleep.

I went to bed after ordering dinner for one o'clock, and I slept till
noon, dreaming of Therese. When I woke up, Costa told me that he had
found out where my brother lived, and had left a note at the house. This
was my brother Jean, then about thirty, and a pupil of the famous Raphael
Mengs. This painter was then deprived of his pension on account of a war
which obliged the King of Poland to live at Warsaw, as the Prussians
occupied the whole electorate of Saxe. I had not seen my brother for ten
years, and I kept our meeting as a holiday. I was sitting down to table
when he came, and we embraced each other with transport. We spent an hour
in telling, he his small adventures, and I my grand ones, and he told me
that I should not stay at the hotel, which was too dear, but come and
live at the Chevalier Mengs's house, which contained an empty room, where
I could stay at a much cheaper rate.

"As to your table, there is a restaurant in the house where one can get a
capital meal."

"Your advice is excellent," said I, "but I have not the courage to follow
it, as I am in love with my landlord's daughter;" and I told him what had
happened the night before.

"That's a mere nothing," said he, laughing; "you can cultivate her
acquaintance without staying in the house."

I let myself be persuaded, and I promised to come to him the following
day; and then we proceeded to take a walk about Rome.

I had many interesting memories of my last visit, and I wanted to renew
my acquaintance with those who had interested me at that happy age when
such impressions are so durable because they touch the heart rather than
the mind; but I had to make up my mind to a good many disappointments,
considering the space of time that had elapsed since I had been in Rome.

I went to the Minerva to find Donna Cecilia; she was no more in this
world. I found out where her daughter Angelica lived, and I went to see
her, but she gave me a poor reception, and said that she really scarcely
remembered me.

"I can say the same," I replied, "for you are not the Angelica I used to
know. Good-bye, madam!"

The lapse of time had not improved her personal appearance. I found out
also where the printer's son, who had married Barbaruccia, lived, but--I
put off the pleasure of seeing him till another time, and also my visit
to the Reverend Father Georgi, who was a man of great repute in Rome.
Gaspar Vivaldi had gone into the country.

My brother took me to Madame Cherubini. I found her mansion to be a
splendid one, and the lady welcomed me in the Roman manner. I thought her
pleasant and her daughters still more so, but I thought the crowd of
lovers too large and too miscellaneous. There was too much luxury and
ceremony, and the girls, one of whom was as fair as Love himself, were
too polite to everybody. An interesting question was put to me, to which
I answered in such a manner as to elicit another question, but to no
purpose. I saw that the rank of my brother, who had introduced me,
prevented my being thought a person of any consequence, and on hearing an
abbe say, "He's Casanova's brother," I turned to him and said,--

"That's not correct; you should say Casanova's my brother."

"That comes to the same thing."

"Not at all, my dear abbe."

I said these words in a tone which commanded attention, and another abbe
said,--

"The gentleman is quite right; it does not come to the same thing."

The first abbe made no reply to this. The one who had taken my part, and
was my friend from that moment, was the famous Winckelmann, who was
unhappily assassinated at Trieste twelve years afterwards.

While I was talking to him, Cardinal Alexander Albani arrived.
Winckelmann presented me to his eminence, who was nearly blind. He talked
to me a great deal, without saying anything worth listening to. As soon
as he heard that I was the Casanova who had escaped from The Leads, he
said in a somewhat rude tone that he wondered I had the hardihood to come
to Rome, where on the slightest hint from the State Inquisitors at Venice
an 'ordine sanctissimo' would re-consign me to my prison. I was annoyed
by this unseemly remark, and replied in a dignified voice,--

"It is not my hardihood in coming to Rome that your eminence should
wonder at, but a man of any sense would wonder at the Inquisitors if they
had the hardihood to issue an 'ordine sanctissimo' against me; for they
would be perplexed to allege any crime in me as a pretext for thus
infamously depriving me of my liberty."

This reply silenced his eminence. He was ashamed at having taken me for a
fool, and to see that I thought him one. Shortly after I left and never
set foot in that house again.

The Abbe Winckelmann went out with my brother and myself, and as he came
with me to my hotel he did me the honour of staying to supper.
Winckelmann was the second volume of the celebrated Abbe de Voisenon. He
called for me next day, and we went to Villa Albani to see the Chevalier
Mengs, who was then living there and painting a ceiling.

My landlord Roland (who knew my brother) paid me a visit at supper.
Roland came from Avignon and was fond of good living. I told him I was
sorry to be leaving him to stay with my brother, because I had fallen in
love with his daughter Therese, although I had only spoken to her for a
few minutes, and had only seen her head.

"You saw her in bed, I will bet!"

"Exactly, and I should very much like to see the rest of her. Would you
be so kind as to ask her to step up for a few minutes?"

"With all my heart."

She came upstairs, seeming only too glad to obey her father's summons.
She had a lithe, graceful figure, her eyes were of surpassing brilliancy,
her features exquisite, her mouth charming; but taken altogether I did
not like her so well as before. In return, my poor brother became
enamoured of her to such an extent that he ended by becoming her slave.
He married her next year, and two years afterwards he took her to
Dresden. I saw her five years later with a pretty baby; but after ten
years of married life she died of consumption.

I found Mengs at the Villa Albani; he was an indefatigable worker, and
extremely original in his conceptions. He welcomed me, and said he was
glad to be able to lodge me at his house in Rome, and that he hoped to
return home himself in a few days, with his whole family.

I was astonished with the Villa Albani. It had been built by Cardinal
Alexander, and had been wholly constructed from antique materials to
satisfy the cardinal's love for classic art; not only the statues and the
vases, but the columns, the pedestals--in fact, everything was Greek. He
was a Greek himself, and had a perfect knowledge of antique work, and had
contrived to spend comparatively little money compared with the
masterpiece he had produced. If a sovereign monarch had had a villa like
the cardinal's built, it would have cost him fifty million francs, but
the cardinal made a much cheaper bargain.

As he could not get any ancient ceilings, he was obliged to have them
painted, and Mengs was undoubtedly the greatest and the most laborious
painter of his age. It is a great pity that death carried him off in the
midst of his career, as otherwise he would have enriched the stores of
art with numerous masterpieces. My brother never did anything to justify
his title of pupil of this great artist. When I come to my visit to Spain
in 1767, I shall have some more to say about Mengs.

As soon as I was settled with my brother I hired a carriage, a coachman,
and a footman, whom I put into fancy livery, and I called on Monsignor
Cornaro, auditor of the 'rota', with the intention of making my way into
good society, but fearing lest he as a Venetian might get compromised, he
introduced me to Cardinal Passionei, who spoke of me to the sovereign
pontiff.

Before I pass on to anything else, I will inform my readers of what took
place on the occasion of my second visit to this old cardinal, a great
enemy of the Jesuits, a wit, and man of letters.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Memoirs of Casanova — Volume 17: Return to Italy" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home