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Title: Memoirs of Casanova — Volume 18: Return to Naples
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.

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MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA de SEINGALT 1725-1798

ADVENTURES IN THE SOUTH, Volume 4c--RETURN TO NAPLES

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



RETURN TO NAPLES

ROME--NAPLES--BOLOGNA



CHAPTER VIII

Cardinal Passianei--The Pope--Masiuccia--I Arrive At Naples

Cardinal Passionei received me in a large hall where he was writing. He
begged me to wait till he had finished, but he could not ask me to take a
seat as he occupied the only chair that his vast room contained.

When he had put down his pen, he rose, came to me, and after informing me
that he would tell the Holy Father of my visit, he added,--

"My brother Cornaro might have made a better choice, as he knows the Pope
does not like me."

"He thought it better to choose the man who is esteemed than the man who
is merely liked."

"I don't know whether the Pope esteems me, but I am sure he knows I don't
esteem him. I both liked and esteemed him before he was pope, and I
concurred in his election, but since he has worn the tiara it's a
different matter; he has shewn himself too much of a 'coglione'."

"The conclave ought to have chosen your eminence."

"No, no; I'm a root-and-branch reformer, and my hand would not have been
stayed for fear of the vengeance of the guilty, and God alone knows what
would have come of that. The only cardinal fit to be pope was Tamburini;
but it can't be helped now. I hear people coming; good-bye, come again
to-morrow."

What a delightful thing to have heard a cardinal call the Pope a fool,
and name Tamburini as a fit person. I did not lose a moment in noting
this pleasant circumstance down: it was too precious a morsel to let
slip. But who was Tamburini? I had never heard of him. I asked
Winckelmann, who dined with me.

"He's a man deserving of respect for his virtues, his character, his
firmness, and his farseeing intelligence. He has never disguised his
opinion of the Jesuits, whom he styles the fathers of deceits, intrigues,
and lies; and that's what made Passionei mention him. I think, with him,
that Tamburini would be a great and good pope."

I will here note down what I heard at Rome nine years later from the
mouth of a tool of the Jesuits. The Cardinal Tamburini was at the last
gasp, and the conversation turned upon him, when somebody else said,--

"This Benedictine cardinal is an impious fellow after all; he is on his
death-bed, and he has asked for the viaticum, without wishing to purify
his soul by confession."

I did not make any remark, but feeling as if I should like to know the
truth of the matter I asked somebody about it next day, my informant
being a person who must have known the truth, and could not have had any
motive for disguising the real facts of the case. He told me that the
cardinal had said mass three days before, and that if he had not asked
for a confessor it was doubtless because he had nothing to confess.

Unfortunate are they that love the truth, and do not seek it out at its
source. I hope the reader will pardon this digression, which is not
without interest.

Next day I went to see Cardinal Passionei, who told me I was quite right
to come early, as he wanted to learn all about my escape from The Leads,
of which he had heard some wonderful tales told.

"I shall be delighted to satisfy your eminence, but the story is a long
one."

"All the better; they say you tell it well."

"But, my lord, am I to sit down on the floor?"

"No, no; your dress is too good for that."

He rang his bell, and having told one of his gentlemen to send up a seat,
a servant brought in a stool. A seat without a back and without arms! It
made me quite angry. I cut my story short, told it badly, and had
finished in a quarter of an hour.

"I write better than you speak," said he.

"My lord, I never speak well except when I am at my ease."

"But you are not afraid of me?"

"No, my lord, a true man and a philosopher can never make me afraid; but
this stool of yours . . . ."

"You like to be at your ease, above all things."

"Take this, it is the funeral oration of Prince Eugene; I make you a
present of it. I hope you will approve of my Latinity. You can kiss the
Pope's feet tomorrow at ten o'clock."

When I got home, as I reflected on the character of this strange
cardinal--a wit, haughty, vain, and boastful, I resolved to make him a
fine present. It was the 'Pandectarum liber unicus' which M. de F. had
given me at Berne, and which I did not know what to do with. It was a
folio well printed on fine paper, choicely bound, and in perfect
preservation. As chief librarian the present should be a valuable one to
him, all the more as he had a large private library, of which my friend
the Abbe Winckelmann was librarian. I therefore wrote a short Latin
letter, which I enclosed in another to Winckelmann, whom I begged to
present my offering to his eminence.

I thought it was as valuable as his funeral oration at any rate, and I
hoped that he would give me a more comfortable chair for the future.

Next morning, at the time appointed, I went to Monte Cavallo, which ought
to be called Monte Cavalli, as it gets its name from two fine statues of
horses standing on a pedestal in the midst of the square, where the Holy
Father's palace is situated.

I had no real need of being presented to the Pope by anyone, as any
Christian is at liberty to go in when he sees the door open. Besides I
had known His Holiness when he was Bishop of Padua; but I had preferred
to claim the honor of being introduced by a cardinal.

After saluting the Head of the Faithful, and kissing the holy cross
embroidered on his holy slipper, the Pope put his right hand on my left
shoulder, and said he remembered that I always forsook the assembly at
Padua, when he intoned the Rosary.

"Holy Father, I have much worse sins than that on my conscience, so I
come prostrate at your foot to receive your absolution."

He then gave me his benediction, and asked me very graciously what he
could do for me.

"I beg Your Holiness to plead for me, that I may be able to return to
Venice."

"We will speak of it to the ambassador, and then we will speak again to
you on the matter."

"Do you often go and see Cardinal Passionei?"

"I have been three times. He gave me his funeral oration on Prince
Eugene, and in return I sent him the 'Pandects'."

"Has he accepted them?"

"I think so, Holy Father."

"If he has, he will send Winckelmann to pay you for them."

"That would be treating me like a bookseller; I will not receive any
payment."

"Then he will return the volume of the 'Pandects'; we are sure of it, he
always does so."

"If his eminence returns me the 'Pandects', I will return him his funeral
oration."

At this the Pope laughed till his sides shook.

"We shall be pleased to hear the end of the story without anyone being
informed of our innocent curiosity."

With these words, a long benediction delivered with much unction informed
me that my audience was at an end.

As I was leaving His Holiness's palace, I was accosted by an old abbe,
who asked me respectfully if I were not the M. Casanova who had escaped
from The Leads.

"Yes," said I, "I am the man."

"Heaven be praised, worthy sir, that I see you again in such good
estate!"

"But whom have I the honour of addressing?"

"Don't you recollect me? I am Momolo, formerly gondolier at Venice."

"Have you entered holy orders, then?"

"Not at all, but here everyone wears the cassock. I am the first
scopatore (sweeper) of His Holiness the Pope."

"I congratulate you on your appointment, but you mustn't mind me
laughing."

"Laugh as much as you like. My wife and daughters laugh when I put on the
cassock and bands, and I laugh myself, but here the dress gains one
respect. Come and see us."

"Where do you live?"

"Behind the Trinity of Monti; here's my address."

"I will come to-night."

I went home delighted with this meeting, and determined to enjoy the
evening with my Venetian boatman. I got my brother to come with me, and I
told him how the Pope had received me.

The Abbe Winckelmann came in the afternoon and informed me that I was
fortunate enough to be high in favour with his cardinal, and that the
book I had sent him was very valuable; it was a rare work, and in much
better condition than the Vatican copy.

"I am commissioned to pay you for it."

"I have told his eminence that it was a present."

"He never accepts books as presents, and he wants yours for his own
library; and as he is librarian of the Vatican Library he is afraid lest
people might say unpleasant things."

"That's very well, but I am not a bookseller; and as this book only cost
me the trouble of accepting it, I am determined only to sell it at the
same price. Pray ask the cardinal to honour me by accepting it."

"He is sure to send it back to you."

"He can if he likes, but I will send back his funeral oration, as I am
not going to be under an obligation to anyone who refuses to take a
present from me."

Next morning the eccentric cardinal returned me my Pandects, and I
immediately returned his funeral oration, with a letter in which I
pronounced it a masterpiece of composition, though I laid barely glanced
over it in reality. My brother told me I was wrong, but I did not trouble
what he said, not caring to guide myself by his rulings.

In the evening my brother and I went to the 'scopatore santissimo', who
was expecting me, and had announced me to his family as a prodigy of a
man. I introduced my brother, and proceeded to a close scrutiny of the
family. I saw an elderly woman, four girls, of whom the eldest was
twenty-four, two small boys, and above all universal ugliness. It was not
inviting for a man of voluptuous tastes, but I was there, and the best
thing was to put a good face on it; so I stayed and enjoyed myself.
Besides the general ugliness, the household presented the picture of
misery, for the 'scopatore santissimo' and his numerous family were
obliged to live on two hundred Roman crowns a year, and as there are no
perquisites attached to the office of apostolic sweeper, he was compelled
to furnish all needs out of this slender sum. In spite of that Momolo was
a most generous man. As soon as he saw me seated he told me he should
have liked to give me a good supper, but there was only pork chops and a
polenta.

"They are very nice," said I; "but will you allow me to send for half a
dozen flasks of Orvieto from my lodging?"

"You are master here."

I wrote a note to Costa, telling him to bring the six flasks directly,
with a cooked ham. He came in half an hour, and the four girls cried when
they saw him, "What a fine fellow!" I saw Costa was delighted with this
reception, and said to Momolo,

"If you like him as well as your girls I will let him stay."

Costa was charmed with such honour being shewn him, and after thanking me
went into the kitchen to help the mother with the polenta.

The large table was covered with a clean cloth, and soon after they
brought in two huge dishes of polenta and an enormous pan full of chops.
We were just going to begin when a knocking on the street door was heard.

"'Tis Signora Maria and her mother," said one of the boys.

At this announcement I saw the four girls pulling a wry face. "Who asked
them?" said one. "What do they want?" said another. "What troublesome
people they are!" said a third. "They might have stayed at home," said
the fourth. But the good, kindly father said, "My children, they are
hungry, and they shall share what Providence has given us."

I was deeply touched with the worthy man's kindness. I saw that true
Christian charity is more often to be found in the breasts of the poor
than the rich, who are so well provided for that they cannot feel for the
wants of others.

While I was making these wholesome reflections the two hungry ones came
in. One was a young woman of a modest and pleasant aspect, and the other
her mother, who seemed very humble and as if ashamed of their poverty.
The daughter saluted the company with that natural grace which is a gift
of nature, apologizing in some confusion for her presence, and saying
that she would not have taken the liberty to come if she had known there
was company. The worthy Momolo was the only one who answered her, and he
said, kindly, that she had done quite right to come, and put her a chair
between my brother and myself. I looked at her and thought her a perfect
beauty.

Then the eating began and there was no more talking. The polenta was
excellent, the chops delicious, and the ham perfect, and in less than an
hour the board was as bare as if there had been nothing on it; but the
Orvieto kept the company in good spirts. They began to talk of the
lottery which was to be drawn the day after next, and all the girls
mentioned the numbers on which they had risked a few bajocchi.

"If I could be sure of one number," said I, "I would stake something on
it."

Mariuccia told me that if I wanted a number she could give me one. I
laughed at this offer, but in the gravest way she named me the number 27.

"Is the lottery still open?" I asked the Abbe Momolo.

"Till midnight," he replied, "and if you like I will go and get the
number for you."

"Here are fifty crowns," said I, "put twenty-five crowns on 27-this for
these five young ladies; and the other twenty-five on 27 coming out the
fifth number, and this I will keep for myself."

He went out directly and returned with the two tickets.

My pretty neighbour thanked me and said she was sure of winning, but that
she did not think I should succeed as it was not probable that 27 would
come out fifth.

"I am sure of it," I answered, "for you are the fifth young lady I saw in
this house." This made everybody laugh. Momolo's wife told me I would
have done much better if I had given the money to the poor, but her
husband told her to be quiet, as she did not know my intent. My brother
laughed, and told me I had done a foolish thing. "I do, sometimes," said
I, "but we shall see how it turns out, and when one plays one is obliged
either to win or lose."

I managed to squeeze my fair neighbour's hand, and she returned the
pressure with all her strength. From that time I knew that my fate with
Mariuccia was sealed. I left them at midnight, begging the worthy Momolo
to ask me again in two days' time, that we might rejoice together over
our gains. On our way home my brother said I had either become as rich as
Croesus or had gone mad. I told him that both suppositions were
incorrect, but that Mariuccia was as handsome as an angel, and he agreed.

Next day Mengs returned to Rome, and I supped with him and his family. He
had an exceedingly ugly sister, who for all that, was a good and talented
woman. She had fallen deeply in love with my brother, and it was easy to
see that the flame was not yet extinguished, but whenever she spoke to
him, which she did whenever she could get an opportunity, he looked
another way.

She was an exquisite painter of miniatures, and a capital hand at
catching a likeness. To the best of my belief she is still living at Rome
with Maroni her husband. She often used to speak of my brother to me, and
one day she said that he must be the most thankless of men or he would
not despise her so. I was not curious enough to enquire what claim she
had to his gratitude.

Mengs's wife was a good and pretty woman, attentive to her household
duties and very submissive to her husband, though she could not have
loved him, for he was anything but amiable. He was obstinate and fierce
in his manner, and when he dined at home he made a point of not leaving
the table before he was drunk; out of his own house he was temperate to
the extent of not drinking anything but water. His wife carried her
obedience so far as to serve as his model for all the nude figures he
painted. I spoke to her one day about this unpleasant obligation, and she
said that her confessor had charged her to fulfil it, "for," said he, "if
your husband has another woman for a model he will be sure to enjoy her
before painting her, and that sin would be laid to your charge."

After supper, Winckelmann, who was as far gone as all the other male
guests, played with Mengs's children. There was nothing of the pedant
about this philosopher; he loved children and young people, and his
cheerful disposition made him delight in all kinds of enjoyment.

Next day, as I was going to pay my court to the Pope, I saw Momolo in the
first ante-chamber, and I took care to remind him of the polenta for the
evening.

As soon as the Pope saw me, he said,--

"The Venetian ambassador has informed us that if you wish to return to
your native land, you must go and present yourself before the secretary
of the Tribunal."

"Most Holy Father, I am quite ready to take this step, if Your Holiness
will grant me a letter of commendation written with your own hand.
Without this powerful protection I should never dream of exposing myself
to the risk of being again shut up in a place from which I escaped by a
miracle and the help of the Almighty."

"You are gaily dressed; you do not look as if you were going to church."

"True, most Holy Father, but neither am I going to a ball."

"We have heard all about the presents being sent back. Confess that you
did so to gratify your pride."

"Yes, but also to lower a pride greater than mine."

The Pope smiled at this reply, and I knelt down and begged him to permit
me to present the volume of Pandects to the Vatican Library. By way of
reply he gave me his blessing, which signifies, in papal language, "Rise;
your request is granted."

"We will send you," said he, "a mark of our singular affection for you
without your having to pay any fees."

A second blessing bid me begone. I have often felt what a good thing it
would be if this kind of dismissal could be employed in general society
to send away importunate petitioners, to whom one does not dare say,
"Begone."

I was extremely curious to know what the Pope had meant by "a mark of our
singular affection." I was afraid that it would be a blessed rosary, with
which I should not have known what to do.

When I got home I sent the book by Costa to the Vatican, and then I went
to dine with Mengs. While we were eating the soup the winning numbers
from the lottery were brought in. My brother glanced at them and looked
at me with astonishment. I was not thinking of the subject at that
moment, and his gaze surprised me.

"Twenty-seven," he cried, "came out fifth."

"All the better," said I, "we shall have some amusement out of it."

I told the story to Mengs, who said,--

"It's a lucky folly for you this time; but it always is a folly."

He was quite right, and I told him that I agreed with him; but I added
that to make a worthy use of the fifteen hundred roman crowns which
fortune had given me, I should go and spend fifteen days at Naples.

"I will come too," said the Abbe Alfani. "I will pass for your
secretary."

"With all my heart," I answered, "I shall keep you to your word."

I asked Winckelmann to come and eat polenta with the scopatore
santissimo, and told my brother to shew him the way; and I then called on
the Marquis Belloni, my banker, to look into my accounts, and to get a
letter of credit on the firm at Naples, who were his agents. I still had
two hundred thousand francs: I had jewellery worth thirty thousand
francs, and fifty thousand florins at Amsterdam.

I got to Momolo's in the dusk of the evening, and I found Winckelmann and
my brother already there; but instead of mirth reigning round the board I
saw sad faces on all sides.

"What's the matter with the girls?" I asked Momolo.

"They are vexed that you did not stake for them in the same way as you
did for yourself."

"People are never satisfied. If I had staked for them as I did for
myself, and the number had come out first instead of fifth, they would
have got nothing, and they would have been vexed then. Two days ago they
had nothing, and now that they have twenty-seven pounds apiece they ought
to be contented."

"That's just what I tell them, but all women are the same."

"And men too, dear countryman, unless they are philosophers. Gold does
not spell happiness, and mirth can only be found in hearts devoid of
care. Let us say no more about it, but be happy."

Costa placed a basket containing ten packets of sweets, upon the table.

"I will distribute them," said I, "when everybody is here."

On this, Momolo's second daughter told me that Mariuccia and her mother
were not coming, but that they would send them the sweets.

"Why are they not coming?"

"They had a quarrel yesterday," said the father, "and Mariuccia, who was
in the right, went away saying that she would never come here again."

"You ungrateful girls!" said I, to my host's daughters, "don't you know
that it is to her that you owe your winnings, for she gave me the number
twenty-seven, which I should never have thought of. Quick! think of some
way to make her come, or I will go away and take all the sweets with me."

"You are quite right," said Momolo.

The mortified girls looked at one another and begged their father to
fetch her.

"Ira," said he, "that won't do; you made her say that she would never
come here again, and you must make up the quarrel."

They held a short consultation, and then, asking Costa to go with them,
they went to fetch her.

In half an hour they returned in triumph, and Costa was quite proud of
the part he had taken in the reconciliation. I then distributed the
sweets, taking care to give the two best packets to the fair Mary.

A noble polenta was placed upon the board, flanked by two large dishes of
pork chops. But Momolo, who knew my tastes, and whom I had made rich in
the person of his daughters, added to the feast some delicate dishes and
some excellent wine. Mariuccia was simply dressed, but her elegance and
beauty and the modesty of her demeanour completely seduced me.

We could only express our mutual flames by squeezing each other's hands;
and she did this so feelingly that I could not doubt her love. As we were
going out I took care to go downstairs beside her and asked if I could
not meet her by herself, to which she replied by making an appointment
with me far the next day at eight o'clock at the Trinity of Monti.

Mariuccia was tall and shapely, a perfect picture, as fair as a white
rose, and calculated to inspire voluptuous desires. She had beautiful
light brown hair, dark blue eyes, and exquisitely arched eyelids. Her
mouth, the vermilion of her lips, and her ivory teeth were all perfect.
Her well-shaped forehead gave her an air approaching the majestic.
Kindness and gaiety sparkled in her eyes; while her plump white hands,
her rounded finger-tips, her pink nails, her breast, which the corset
seemed scarcely able to restrain, her dainty feet, and her prominent
hips, made her worthy of the chisel of Praxiteles. She was just on her
eighteenth year, and so far had escaped the connoisseurs. By a lucky
chance I came across her in a poor and wretched street, and I was
fortunate enough to insure her happiness.

It may easily be believed that I did not fail to keep the appointment,
and when she was sure I had seen her she went out of the church. I
followed her at a considerable distance: she entered a ruined building,
and I after her. She climbed a flight of steps which seemed to be built
in air, and when she had reached the top she turned.

"No one will come and look for me here," said she, "so we can talk freely
together."

I sat beside her on a stone, and I then declared my passionate love for
her.

"Tell me," I added, "what I can do to make you happy; for I wish to
possess you, but first to shew my deserts."

"Make me happy, and I will yield to your desires, for I love you."

"Tell me what I can do."

"You can draw me out of the poverty and misery which overwhelm me. I live
with my mother, who is a good woman, but devout to the point of
superstition; she will damn my soul in her efforts to save it. She finds
fault with my keeping myself clean, because I have to touch myself when I
wash, and that might give rise to evil desires.

"If you had given me the money you made me win in the lottery as a simple
alms she would have made me refuse it, because you might have had
intentions. She allows me to go by myself to mass because our confessor
told her she might do so; but I dare not stay away a minute beyond the
time, except on feast days, when I am allowed to pray in the church for
two or three hours. We can only meet here, but if you wish to soften my
lot in life you can do so as follows:

"A fine young man, who is a hairdresser, and bears an excellent
character, saw me at Momolo's a fortnight ago, and met me at the church
door next day and gave me a letter. He declared himself my lover, and
said that if I could bring him a dowry of four hundred crowns, he could
open a shop, furnish it, and marry me.

"'I am poor,' I answered, 'and I have only a hundred crowns in charity
tickets, which my confessor keeps for me.' Now I have two hundred crowns,
for if I marry, my mother will willingly give me her share of the money
you made us gain. You can therefore make me happy by getting me tickets
to the amount of two hundred crowns more. Take the tickets to my
confessor, who is a very good man and fond of me; he will not say
anything to my mother about it."

"I needn't go about seeking for charity tickets, my angel. I will take
two hundred piastres to your confessor to-morrow, and you must manage the
rest yourself. Tell me his name, and to-morrow I will tell you what I
have done, but not here, as the wind and the cold would be the death of
me. You can leave me to find out a room where we shall be at our ease,
and without any danger of people suspecting that we have spent an hour
together. I will meet you at the church to-morrow at the same hour and
when you see me follow me."

Mariuccia told me her confessor's name, and allowed me all the caresses
possible in our uncomfortable position. The kisses she gave me in return
for mine left no doubt in my mind, as to her love for me. As nine o'clock
struck I left her, perishing with cold, but burning with desire; my only
thought being where to find a room in which I might possess myself of the
treasure the next day.

On leaving the ruined palace, instead of returning to the Piazza di
Spagna I turned to the left and passed along a narrow and dirty street
only inhabited by people of the lowest sort. As I slowly walked along, a
woman came out of her house and asked me politely if I were looking for
anybody.

"I am looking for a room to let."

"There are none here, sir, but, you will find a hundred in the square."

"I know it, but I want the room to be here, not for the sake of the
expense, but that I may be sure of being able to spend an hour or so of a
morning with a person in whom I am interested. I am ready to pay
anything."

"I understand what you mean, and you should have a room in my house if I
had one to spare, but a neighbour of mine has one on the ground floor,
and if you will wait a moment I will go and speak to her."

"You will oblige me very much."

"Kindly step in here."

I entered a poor room, where all seemed wretchedness, and I saw two
children doing their lessons. Soon after, the good woman came back and
asked me to follow her. I took several pieces of money from my pocket,
and put them down on the only table which this poor place contained. I
must have seemed very generous, for the poor mother came and kissed my
hand with the utmost gratitude. So pleasant is it to do good, that now
when I have nothing left the remembrance of the happiness I have given to
others at small cost is almost the only pleasure I enjoy.

I went to a neighbouring house where a woman received me in an empty
room, which she told me she would let cheaply if I would pay three months
in advance, and bring in my own furniture.

"What do you ask for the three months' rent?"

"Three Roman crowns."

"If you will see to the furnishing of the room this very day I will give
you twelve crowns."

"Twelve crowns! What furniture do you want?"

"A good clean bed, a small table covered with a clean cloth, four good
chairs, and a large brazier with plenty of fire in it, for I am nearly
perishing of cold here. I shall only come occasionally in the morning,
and I shall leave by noon at the latest."

"Come at three o'clock, then, to-day, and you will find everything to
your satisfaction."

From there I went to the confessor. He was a French monk, about sixty, a
fine and benevolent-looking man, who won one's respect and confidence.

"Reverend father," I began, "I saw at the house of Abbe Momolo, 'scoptore
santissimo', a young girl named Mary, whose confessor you are. I fell in
love with her, and offered her money to try and seduce her. She replied
that instead of trying to lead her into sin I would do better to get her
some charity tickets that she might be able to marry a young man who
loved her, and would make her happy. I was touched by what she said, but
my passion still remained. I spoke to her again, and said that I would
give her two hundred crowns for nothing, and that her mother should keep
them.

"'That would be my ruin,' said she; 'my mother would think the money was
the price of sin, and would not accept it. If you are really going to be
so generous, take the money to my confessor, and ask him to do what he
can for my marriage.'"

"Here, then, reverend father, is the sum of money for the good girl; be
kind enough to take charge of it, and I will trouble her no more. I am
going to Naples the day after to-morrow, and I hope when I come back she
will be married."

The good confessor took the hundred sequins and gave me a receipt,
telling me that in interesting myself on behalf of Mariuccia I was making
happy a most pure and innocent dove, whom he had confessed since she was
five years old, and that he had often told her that she might communicate
without making her confession because he knew she was incapable of mortal
sin.

"Her mother," he added, "is a sainted woman, and as soon as I have
enquired into the character of the future husband I will soon bring the
marriage about. No one shall ever know from whom this generous gift
comes."

After putting this matter in order I dined with the Chevalier Mengs, and
I willingly consented to go with the whole family to the Aliberti Theatre
that evening. I did not forget, however, to go and inspect the room I had
taken. I found all my orders executed, and I gave twelve crowns to the
landlady and took the key, telling her to light the fire at seven every
morning.

So impatient did I feel for the next day to come that I thought the opera
detestable, and the night for me was a sleepless one.

Next morning I went to the church before the time, and when Mariuccia
came, feeling sure that she had seen me, I went out. She followed me at a
distance, and when I got to the door of the lodging I turned for her to
be sure that it was I, and then went in and found the room well warmed.
Soon after Mariuccia came in, looking timid, confused, and as if she were
doubtful of the path she was treading. I clasped her to my arms, and
reassured her by my tender embraces; and her courage rose when I shewed
her the confessor's receipt, and told her that the worthy man had
promised to care for her marriage. She kissed my hand in a transport of
delight, assuring me that she would never forget my kindness. Then, as I
urged her to make me a happy man, she said,--

"We have three hours before us, as I told my mother I was going to give
thanks to God for having made me a winner in the lottery."

This reassured me, and I took my time, undressing her by degrees, and
unveiling her charms one by one, to my delight, without the slightest
attempt at resistance on her part. All the time she kept her eyes fixed
on mine, as if to soothe her modesty; but when I beheld and felt all her
charms I was in an ecstasy. What a body; what beauties! Nowhere was there
the slightest imperfection. She was like Venus rising from the foam of
the sea. I carried her gently to the bed, and while she strove to hide
her alabaster breasts and the soft hair which marked the entrance to the
sanctuary, I undressed in haste, and consummated the sweetest of
sacrifices, without there being the slightest doubt in my mind of the
purity of the victim. In the first sacrifice no doubt the young priestess
felt some pain, but she assured me out of delicacy that she had not been
hurt, and at the second assault she shewed that she shared my flames. I
was going to immolate the victim for the third time when the clock struck
ten. She began to be restless, and hurriedly put on our clothes. I had to
go to Naples, but I assured her that the desire of embracing her once
more before her marriage would hasten my return to Rome. I promised to
take another hundred crowns to her confessor, advising her to spend the
money she had won in the lottery on her trousseau.

"I shall be at Monolo's to-night, dearest, and you must come, too; but we
must appear indifferent to each other, though our hearts be full of joy,
lest those malicious girls suspect our mutual understanding."

"It is all the more necessary to be cautious," she replied, "as I have
noticed that they suspect that we love each other."

Before we parted she thanked me for what I had done for her, and begged
me to believe that, her poverty notwithstanding, she had given herself
for love alone.

I was the last to leave the house, and I told my landlady that I should
be away for ten or twelve days. I then went to the confessor to give him
the hundred crowns I had promised my mistress. When the good old
Frenchman heard that I had made this fresh sacrifice that Mariuccia might
be able to spend her lottery winnings on her clothes, he told me that he
would call on the mother that very day and urge her to consent to her
daughter's marriage, and also learn where the young man lived. On my
return from Naples I heard that he had faithfully carried out his
promise.

I was sitting at table with Mengs when a chamberlain of the Holy Father
called. When he came in he asked M. Mengs if I lived there, and on that
gentleman pointing me out, he gave me, from his holy master, the Cross of
the Order of the Golden Spur with the diploma, and a patent under the
pontifical seal, which, in my quality as doctor of laws, made me a
prothonotary-apostolic 'extra urbem'.

I felt that I had been highly honoured, and told the bearer that I would
go and thank my new sovereign and ask his blessing the next day. The
Chevalier Mengs embraced me as a brother, but I had the advantage over
him in not being obliged to pay anything, whereas the great artist had to
disburse twenty-five Roman crowns to have his diploma made out. There is
a saying at Rome, 'Sine efusione sanguinis non fit remissio', which may
be interpreted, Nothing without money; and as a matter of fact, one can
do anything with money in the Holy City.

Feeling highly flattered at the favour the Holy Father had shewn me, I
put on the cross which depended from a broad red ribbon-red being the
colour worn by the Knights of St. John of the Lateran, the companions of
the palace, 'comites palatini', or count-palatins. About the same time
poor Cahusac, author of the opera of Zoroaster, went mad for joy on the
receipt of the same order. I was not so bad as that, but I confess, to my
shame, that I was so proud of my decoration that I asked Winckelmann
whether I should be allowed to have the cross set with diamonds and
rubies. He said I could if I liked, and if I wanted such a cross he could
get me one cheap. I was delighted, and bought it to make a show at
Naples, but I had not the face to wear it in Rome. When I went to thank
the Pope I wore the cross in my button-hole out of modesty. Five years
afterwards when I was at Warsaw, Czartoryski, a Russian prince-palatine,
made me leave it off by saying,--

"What are you doing with that wretched bauble? It's a drug in the market,
and no one but an impostor would wear it now."

The Popes knew this quite well, but they continued to give the cross to
ambassadors while they also gave it to their 'valets de chambre'. One has
to wink at a good many things in Rome.

In the evening Momolo gave me a supper by way of celebrating my new
dignity. I recouped him for the expense by holding a bank at faro, at
which I was dexterous enough to lose forty crowns to the family, without
having the slightest partiality to Mariuccia who won like the rest. She
found the opportunity to tell me that her confessor had called on her,
that she had told him where her future husband lived, and that the worthy
monk had obtained her mother's consent to the hundred crowns being spent
on her trousseau.

I noticed that Momolo's second daughter had taken a fancy to Costa, and I
told Momolo that I was going to Naples, but that I would leave my man in
Rome, and that if I found a marriage had been arranged on my return I
would gladly pay the expenses of the wedding.

Costa liked the girl, but he did not marry her then for fear of my
claiming the first-fruits. He was a fool of a peculiar kind, though fools
of all sorts are common enough. He married her a year later after robbing
me, but I shall speak of that again.

Next day, after I had breakfasted and duly embraced my brother, I set out
in a nice carriage with the Abbe Alfani, Le Duc preceding me on
horseback, and I reached Naples at a time when everybody was in a state
of excitement because an eruption of Vesuvius seemed imminent. At the
last stage the inn-keeper made me read the will of his father who had
died during the eruption of 1754. He said that in the year 1761 God would
overwhelm the sinful town of Naples, and the worthy host consequently
advised me to return to Rome. Alfani took the thing seriously, and said
that we should do well to be warned by so evident an indication of the
will of God. The event was predicted, therefore it had to happen. Thus a
good many people reason, but as I was not of the number I proceeded on my
way.



CHAPTER IX

My Short But Happy Stay at Naples--The Duke de Matalone My
Daughter--Donna Lucrezia--My Departure

I shall not, dear reader, attempt the impossible, however much I should
like to describe the joy, the happiness, I may say the ecstasy, which I
experienced in returning to Naples, of which I had such pleasant
memories, and where, eighteen years ago, I had made my first fortune in
returning from Mataro. As I had come there for the second time to keep a
promise I had made to the Duke de Matalone to come and see him at Naples,
I ought to have visited this nobleman at once; but foreseeing that from
the time I did so I should have little liberty left me, I began by
enquiring after all my old friends.

I walked out early in the morning and called on Belloni's agent. He
cashed my letter of credit and gave me as many bank-notes as I liked,
promising that nobody should know that we did business together. From the
bankers I went to see Antonio Casanova, but they told me he lived near
Salerno, on an estate he had bought which gave him the title of marquis.
I was vexed, but I had no right to expect to find Naples in the statu quo
I left it. Polo was dead, and his son lived at St. Lucia with his wife
and children; he was a boy when I saw him last, and though I should have
much liked to see him again I had no time to do so.

It may be imagined that I did not forget the advocate, Castelli, husband
of my dear Lucrezia, whom I had loved so well at Rome and Tivoli. I
longed to see her face once more, and I thought of the joy with which we
should recall old times that I could never forget. But Castelli had been
dead for some years, and his widow lived at a distance of twenty miles
from Naples. I resolved not to return to Rome without embracing her. As
to Lelio Caraffa, he was still alive and residing at the Matalone Palace.

I returned, feeling tired with my researches, dressed with care, and
drove to the Matalone Palace, where they told me that the duke was at
table. I did not care for that but had my name sent in, and the duke came
out and did me the honour of embracing me and thouing me, and then
presented me to his wife, a daughter of the Duke de Bovino, and to the
numerous company at table. I told him I had only come to Naples in
fulfillment of the promise I had made him at Paris.

"Then," said he, "you must stay with me;" and, without waiting for my
answer, ordered my luggage to be brought from the inn, and my carriage to
be placed in his coach-house. I accepted his invitation.

One of the guests, a fine-looking man, on hearing my name announced, said
gaily,--

"If you bear my name, you must be one of my father's bastards."

"No," said I, directly, "one of your mother's."

This repartee made everybody laugh, and the gentleman who had addressed
me came and embraced me, not in the least offended. The joke was
explained to me. His name was Casalnovo, not Casanova, and he was duke
and lord of the fief of that name.

"Did you know," said the Duke de Matalone, "that I had a son?"

"I was told so, but did not believe it, but now I must do penance for my
incredulity, for I see before me an angel capable of working this
miracle."

The duchess blushed, but did not reward my compliment with so much as a
glance; but all the company applauded what I had said, as it was
notorious that the duke had been impotent before his marriage. The duke
sent for his son, I admired him, and told the father that the likeness
was perfect. A merry monk, who sat at the right hand of the duchess,
said, more truthfully, that there was no likeness at all. He had scarcely
uttered the words when the duchess coolly gave him a box on the ear,
which the monk received with the best grace imaginable.

I talked away to the best of my ability, and in half an hour's time I had
won everybody's good graces, with the exception of the duchess, who
remained inflexible. I tried to make her talk for two days without
success; so as I did not care much about her I left her to her pride.

As the duke was taking me to my room he noticed my Spaniard, and asked
where my secretary was, and when he saw that it was the Abbe Alfani, who
had taken the title so as to escape the notice of the Neapolitans, he
said,--

"The abbe is very wise, for he has deceived so many people with his false
antiques that he might have got into trouble."

He took me to his stables where he had some superb horses, Arabs,
English, and Andalusians; and then to his gallery, a very fine one; to
his large and choice library; and at last to his study, where he had a
fine collection of prohibited books.

I was reading titles and turning over leaves, when the duke said,--

"Promise to keep the most absolute secrecy on what I am going to shew
you."

I promised, without making any difficulty, but I expected a surprise of
some sort. He then shewed me a satire which I could not understand, but
which was meant to turn the whole Court into ridicule. Never was there a
secret so easily kept.

"You must come to the St. Charles Theatre," said he, "and I will present
you to the handsomest ladies in Naples, and afterwards you can go when
you like, as my box is always open to my friends. I will also introduce
you to my mistress, and she, I am sure, will always be glad to see you."

"What! you have a mistress, have you?"

"Yes, but only for form's sake, as I am very fond of my wife. All the
same, I am supposed to be deeply in love with her, and even jealous, as I
never introduce anyone to her, and do not allow her to receive any
visitors."

"But does not your young and handsome duchess object to your keeping a
mistress?"

"My wife could not possibly be jealous, as she knows that I am
impotent--except, of course, with her."

"I see, but it seems strange; can one be said to have a mistress whom one
does not love?"

"I did not say I loved her not; on the contrary, I am very fond of her;
she has a keen and pleasant wit, but she interests my head rather than my
heart."

"I see; but I suppose she is ugly?"

"Ugly? You shall see her to-night, and you can tell me what you think of
her afterwards. She is a handsome and well-educated girl of seventeen."

"Can she speak French?"

"As well as a Frenchwoman."

"I am longing to see her."

When we got to the theatre I was introduced to several ladies, but none
of them pleased me. The king, a mere boy, sat in his box in the middle of
the theatre, surrounded by his courtiers, richly but tastefully dressed.
The pit was full and the boxes also. The latter were ornamented with
mirrors, and on that occasion were all illuminated for some reason or
other. It was a magnificent scene, but all this glitter and light put the
stage into the background.

After we had gazed for some time at the scene, which is almost peculiar
to Naples, the duke took me to his private box and introduced me to his
friends, who consisted of all the wits in the town.

I have often laughed on hearing philosophers declare that the
intelligence of a nation is not so much the result of the climate as of
education. Such sages should be sent to Naples and then to St.
Petersburg, and be told to reflect, or simply to look before them. If the
great Boerhaave had lived at Naples he would have learnt more about the
nature of sulphur by observing its effects on vegetables, and still more
on animals. In Naples, and Naples alone, water, and nothing but water,
will cure diseases which are fatal elsewhere, despite the doctors'
efforts.

The duke, who had left me to the wits for a short time, returned and took
me to the box of his mistress, who was accompanied by an old lady of
respectable appearance. As he went in he said, "'Leonilda mia, ti
presento il cavalier Don Giacomo Casanova, Veneziano, amico mio'."

She received me kindly and modestly, and stopped listening to the music
to talk to me.

When a woman is pretty, one recognizes her charms instantaneously; if one
has to examine her closely, her beauty is doubtful. Leonilda was
strikingly beautiful. I smiled and looked at the duke, who had told me
that he loved her like a daughter, and that he only kept her for form's
sake. He understood the glance, and said,--

"You may believe me."

"It's credible," I replied.

Leonilda no doubt understood what we meant, and said, with a shy smile,--

"Whatever is possible is credible."

"Quite so," said I, "but one may believe, or not believe, according to
the various degrees of possibility."

"I think it's easier to believe than to disbelieve. You came to Naples
yesterday; that's true and yet incredible."

"Why incredible?"

"Would any man suppose that a stranger would come to Naples at a time
when the inhabitants are wishing themselves away?"

"Indeed, I have felt afraid till this moment, but now I feel quite at my
ease, since, you being here, St. Januarius will surely protect Naples."

"Why?"

"Because I am sure he loves you; but you are laughing at me."

"It is such a funny idea. I am afraid that if I had a lover like St.
Januarius I should not grant him many favours."

"Is he very ugly, then?"

"If his portrait is a good likeness, you can see for yourself by
examining his statue."

Gaiety leads to freedom, and freedom to friendship. Mental graces are
superior to bodily charms.

Leonilda's frankness inspired my confidence, and I led the conversation
to love, on which she talked like a past mistress.

"Love," said she, "unless it leads to the possession of the beloved
object, is a mere torment; if bounds are placed to passion, love must
die."

"You are right; and the enjoyment of a beautiful object is not a true
pleasure unless it be preceded by love."

"No doubt if love precedes it accompanies, but I do not think it
necessarily follows, enjoyment."

"True, it often makes love to cease."

"She is a selfish daughter, then, to kill her father; and if after
enjoyment love still continue in the heart of one, it is worse than
murder, for the party in which love still survives must needs be
wretched."

"You are right; and from your strictly logical arguments I conjecture
that you would have the senses kept in subjection: that is too hard!"

"I would have nothing to do with that Platonic affection devoid of love,
but I leave you to guess what my maxim would be."

"To love and enjoy; to enjoy and love. Turn and turn about."

"You have hit the mark."

With this Leonilda burst out laughing, and the duke kissed her hand. Her
governess, not understanding French, was attending to the opera, but I
was in flames.

Leonilda was only seventeen, and was as pretty a girl as the heart could
desire.

The duke repeated a lively epigram of Lafontaine's on "Enjoyment," which
is only found in the first edition of his works. It begins as follows:--

       "La jouissance et les desirs
        Sont ce que l'homme a de plus rare;
        Mais ce ne sons pas vrais plaisirs
        Des le moment qu'on les separe."

I have translated this epigram into Italian and Latin; in the latter
language I was almost able to render Lafontaine line for line; but I had
to use twenty lines of Italian to translate the first ten lines of the
French. Of course this argues nothing as to the superiority of the one
language over the other.

In the best society at Naples one addresses a newcomer in the second
person singular as a peculiar mark of distinction. This puts both parties
at their ease without diminishing their mutual respect for one another.

Leonilda had already turned my first feeling of admiration into something
much warmer, and the opera, which lasted for five hours, seemed over in a
moment.

After the two ladies had gone the duke said, "Now we must part, unless
you are fond of games of chance."

"I don't object to them when I am to play with good hands."

"Then follow me; ten or twelve of my friends will play faro, and then sit
down to a cold collation, but I warn you it is a secret, as gaming is
forbidden. I will answer for you keeping your own counsel, however."

"You may do so."

He took me to the Duke de Monte Leone's. We went up to the third floor,
passed through a dozen rooms, and at last reached the gamester's chamber.
A polite-looking banker, with a bank of about four hundred sequins, had
the cards in his hands. The duke introduced me as his friend, and made me
sit beside him. I was going to draw out my purse, but I was told that
debts were not paid for twenty-four hours after they were due. The banker
gave me a pack of cards, with a little basket containing a thousand
counters. I told the company that I should consider each counter as a
Naples ducat. In less than two hours my basket was empty. I stopped
playing and proceeded to enjoy my supper. It was arranged in the
Neapolitan style, and consisted of an enormous dish of macaroni and ten
or twelve different kinds of shellfish which are plentiful on the
Neapolitan coasts. When we left I took care not to give the duke time to
condole with me on my loss, but began to talk to him about his delicious
Leonilda.

Early next day he sent a page to my room to tell me that if I wanted to
come with him and kiss the king's hand I must put on my gala dress. I put
on a suit of rose-coloured velvet, with gold spangles, and I had the
great honour of kissing a small hand, covered with chilblains, belonging
to a boy of nine. The Prince de St. Nicander brought up the young king to
the best of his ability, but he was naturally a kindly, just, and
generous monarch; if he had had more dignity he would have been an ideal
king; but he was too unceremonious, and that, I think, is a defect in one
destined to rule others.

I had the honour of sitting next the duchess at dinner, and she deigned
to say that she had never seen a finer dress. "That's my way," I said,
"of distracting attention from my face and figure." She smiled, and her
politeness to me during my stay were almost limited to these few words.

When we left the table the duke took me to the apartment occupied by his
uncle, Don Lelio, who recognized me directly. I kissed the venerable old
man's hand, and begged him to pardon me for the freaks of my youth. "It's
eighteen years ago," said he, "since I chose M. Casanova as the companion
of your studies." I delighted him by giving him a brief account of my
adventures in Rome with Cardinal Acquaviva. As we went out, he begged me
to come and see him often.

Towards the evening the duke said,--

"If you go to the Opera Buffa you will please Leonilda."

He gave me the number of her box, and added,--

"I will come for you towards the close, and we will sup together as
before."

I had no need to order my horses to be put in, as there was always a
carriage ready for me in the courtyard.

When I got to the theatre the opera had begun. I presented myself to
Leonilda, who received me with the pleasant words, "Caro Don Giacomo, I
am so pleased to see you again."

No doubt she did not like to thou me, but the expression of her eyes and
the tone of her voice were much better than the to which is often used
lavishly at Naples.

The seductive features of this charming girl were not altogether unknown
to me, but I could not recollect of what woman she reminded me. Leonilda
was certainly a beauty, and something superior to a beauty, if possible.
She had splendid light chestnut hair, and her black and brilliant eyes,
shaded by thick lashes, seemed to hear and speak at the same time. But
what ravished me still more was her expression, and the exquisite
appropriateness of the gestures with which she accompanied what she was
saying. It seemed as if her tongue could not give speech to the thoughts
which crowded her brain. She was naturally quick-witted, and her
intellect had been developed by an excellent education.

The conversation turned upon Lafontaine's epigram, of which I had only
recited the first ten verses, as the rest is too licentious; and she
said,--

"But I suppose it is only a poet's fancy, at which one could but smile."

"Possibly, but I did not care to wound your ears."

"You are very good," said she, using the pleasant tu, "but all the same,
I am not so thin-skinned, as I have a closet which the duke has had
painted over with couples in various amorous attitudes. We go there
sometimes, and I assure you that I do not experience the slightest
sensation."

"That may be through a defect of temperament, for whenever I see
well-painted voluptuous pictures I feel myself on fire. I wonder that
while you and the duke look at them, you do not try to put some of them
into practice."

"We have only friendship for one another."

"Let him believe it who will."

"I am sure he is a man, but I am unable to say whether he is able to give
a woman any real proofs of his love."

"Yet he has a son."

"Yes, he has a child who calls him father; but he himself confesses that
he is only able to shew his manly powers with his wife."

"That's all nonsense, for you are made to give birth to amorous desires,
and a man who could live with you without being able to possess you ought
to cease to live."

"Do you really think so?"

"Dear Leonilda, if I were in the duke's place I would shew you what a man
who really loves can do."

"Caro Don Giacomo, I am delighted to hear you love me, but you will soon
forget me, as you are leaving Naples."

"Cursed be the gaming-table, for without it we might spend some
delightful hour together."

"The duke told me that you lost a thousand ducats yesterday evening like
a perfect gentleman. You must be very unlucky."

"Not always, but when I play on a day in which I have fallen in love I am
sure to lose."

"You will win back your money this evening."

"This is the declaration day; I shall lose again."

"Then don't play."

"People would say I was afraid, or that all my money was gone."

"I hope at all events that you will win sometimes, and that you will tell
me of your good luck. Come and see me to-morrow with the duke."

The duke came in at that moment, and asked me if I had liked the opera.
Leonilda answered for me,

"We have been talking about love all the time, so we don't know what has
been going on the stage."

"You have done well."

"I trust you will bring M. Casanova to see me tomorrow morning, as I hope
he will bring me news that he has won."

"It's my turn to deal this evening, dearest, but whether he wins or loses
you shall see him to-morrow. You must give us some breakfast."

"I shall be delighted."

We kissed her hand, and went to the same place as the night before. The
company was waiting for the duke. There were twelve members of the club,
and they all held the bank in turn. They said that this made the chances
more equal; but I laughed at this opinion, as there is nothing more
difficult to establish than equality between players.

The Duke de Matalone sat down, drew out his purse and his pocket-book,
and put two thousand ducats in the bank, begging pardon of the others for
doubling the usual sum in favour of the stranger. The bank never exceeded
a thousand ducats.

"Then," said I, "I will hazard two thousand ducats also and not more, for
they say at Venice that a prudent player never risks more than he can
win. Each of my counters will be equivalent to two ducats." So saying, I
took ten notes of a hundred ducats each from my pocket, and gave them to
the last evening's banker who had won them from me.

Play began; and though I was prudent, and only risked my money on a
single card, in less than three hours my counters were all gone. I
stopped playing, though I had still twenty-five thousand ducats; but I
had said that I would not risk more than two thousand, and I was ashamed
to go back from my word.

Though I have always felt losing my money, no one has ever seen me put
out, my natural gaiety was heightened by art on such occasions, and
seemed to be more brilliant than ever. I have always found it a great
advantage to be able to lose pleasantly.

I made an excellent supper, and my high spirits furnished me with such a
fund of amusing conversation that all the table was in a roar. I even
succeeded in dissipating the melancholy of the Duke de Matalone, who was
in despair at having won such a sum from his friend and guest. He was
afraid he had half ruined me, and also that people might say he had only
welcomed me for the sake of my money.

As we returned to the palace the conversation was affectionate on his
side and jovial on mine, but I could see he was in some trouble, and
guessed what was the matter. He wanted to say that I could pay the money
I owed him whenever I liked, but was afraid of wounding my feelings; but
as soon as he got in he wrote me a friendly note to the effect that if I
wanted money his banker would let me have as much as I required. I
replied directly that I felt the generosity of his offer, and if I was in
need of funds I would avail myself of it.

Early next morning I went to his room, and after an affectionate embrace
I told him not to forget that we were going to breakfast with his fair
mistress. We both put on great coats and went to Leonilda's pretty house.

We found her sitting up in bed, negligently but decently dressed, with a
dimity corset tied with red ribbons. She looked beautiful, and her
graceful posture added to her charms. She was reading Crebillon's Sopha.
The duke sat down at the bottom of the bed, and I stood staring at her in
speechless admiration, endeavouring to recall to my memory where I had
seen such another face as hers. It seemed to me that I had loved a woman
like her. This was the first time I had seen her without the deceitful
glitter of candles. She laughed at my absent-mindedness, and told me to
sit down on a chair by her bedside.

The duke told her that I was quite pleased at having lost two thousand
ducats to his bank, as the loss made me sure she loved me.

"Caro mio Don Giacomo, I am sorry to hear that! You would have done
better not to play, for I should have loved you all the same, and you
would have been two thousand ducats better off."

"And I two thousand ducats worse off," said the duke, laughing.

"Never mind, dear Leonilda, I shall win this evening if you grant me some
favour to-day. If you do not do so, I shall lose heart, and you will
mourn at my grave before long."

"Think, Leonilda, what you can do for my friend."

"I don't see that I can do anything."

The duke told her to dress, that we might go and breakfast in the painted
closet. She began at once, and preserved a just mean in what she let us
see and what she concealed, and thus set me in flames, though I was
already captivated by her face, her wit, and her charming manners. I cast
an indiscreet glance towards her beautiful breast, and thus added fuel to
the fire. I confess that I only obtained this satisfaction by a species
of larceny, but I could not have succeeded if she had not been well
disposed towards me. I pretended to have seen nothing.

While dressing she maintained with much ingenuity that a wise girl will
be much more chary of her favours towards a man she loves than towards a
man she does not love, because she would be afraid to lose the first,
whereas she does not care about the second.

"It will not be so with me, charming Leonilda," said I.

"You make a mistake, I am sure."

The pictures with which the closet where we breakfasted was adorned were
admirable more from the colouring and the design than from the amorous
combats they represented.

"They don't make any impression on me," said the duke, and he shewed us
that it was so.

Leonilda looked away, and I felt shocked, but concealed my feelings.

"I am in the same state as you," said I, "but I will not take the trouble
of convincing you."

"That can't be," said he; and passing his hand rapidly over me he assured
himself that it was so. "It's astonishing," he cried; "you must be as
impotent as I am."

"If I wanted to controvert that assertion one glance into Leonilda's eyes
would be enough."

"Look at him, dearest Leonilda, that I may be convinced."

Leonilda looked tenderly at me, and her glance produced the result I had
expected.

"Give me your hand," said I, to the poor duke, and he did so.

"I was in the wrong," he exclaimed, but when he endeavoured to bring the
surprising object to light I resisted. He persisted in his endeavours,
and I determined to play on him a trick. I took Leonilda's hand and
pressed my lips to it, and just as the duke thought he had triumphed I
besprinkled him, and went off into a roar of laughter. He laughed too,
and went to get a napkin.

The girl could see nothing of all this, as it went on under the table;
and while my burning lips rested on her hand, my eyes were fixed on hers
and our breath mingled. This close contact had enabled me to baptise the
duke, but when she took in the joke we made a group worthy of the pen of
Aretin.

It was a delightful breakfast, though we passed certain bounds which
decency ought to have proscribed to us, but Leonilda was wonderfully
innocent considering her position. We ended the scene by mutual embraces,
and when I took my burning lips from Leonilda's I felt consumed with a
fire which I could not conceal.

When we left I told the duke that I would see his mistress no more,
unless he would give her up to me, declaring that I would marry her and
give her a dower of five thousand ducats.

"Speak to her, and if she consents I will not oppose it. She herself will
tell you what property she has."

I then went to dress for dinner. I found the duchess in the midst of a
large circle, and she told me kindly that she was very sorry to hear of
my losses.

"Fortune is the most fickle of beings, but I don't complain of my
loss--nay, when you speak thus I love it, and I even think that you will
make me win this evening."

"I hope so, but I am afraid not; you will have to contend against Monte
Leone, who is usually very lucky."

In considering the matter after dinner, I determined for the future to
play with ready money and not on my word of honour, lest I should at any
time be carried away by the excitement of play and induced to stake more
than I possessed. I thought, too, that the banker might have his doubts
after the two heavy losses I had sustained, and I confess that I was also
actuated by the gambler's superstition that by making a change of any
kind one changes the luck.

I spent four hours at the theatre in Leonilda's box, where I found her
more gay and charming than I had seen her before.

"Dear Leonilda," I said, "the love I feel for you will suffer no delay
and no rivals, not even the slightest inconstancy. I have told the duke
that I am ready to marry you, and that I will give you a dower of five
thousand ducats."

"What did he say?"

"That I must ask you, and that he would offer no opposition."

"Then we should leave Naples together."

"Directly, dearest, and thenceforth death alone would part us."

"We will talk of it to-morrow, dear Don Giacomo, and if I can make you
happy I am sure you will do the same by me."

As she spoke these delightful words the duke came in.

"Don Giacomo and I are talking of marrying," said she.

"Marriage, mia carissima," he replied, "ought to be well considered
beforehand."

"Yes, when one has time; but my dear Giacomo cannot wait, and we shall
have plenty of time to think it over afterwards."

"As you are going to marry," said the duke, "you can put off your
departure, or return after the wedding."

"I can neither put it off nor return, my dear duke. We have made up our
minds, and if we repent we have plenty of time before us."

He laughed and said we would talk it over next day. I gave my future
bride a kiss which she returned with ardour, and the duke and I went to
the club, where we found the Duke de Monte Leone dealing.

"My lord," said I, "I am unlucky playing on my word of honour, so I hope
you will allow me to stake money."

"Just as you please; it comes to the same thing, but don't trouble
yourself. I have made a bank of four thousand ducats that you may be able
to recoup yourself for your losses."

"Thanks, I promise to break it or to lose as much."

I drew out six thousand ducats, gave two thousand ducats to the Duke de
Matalone, and began to punt at a hundred ducats. After a short time the
duke left the table, and I finally succeeded in breaking the bank. I went
back to the place by myself, and when I told the duke of my victory the
next day, he embraced me with tears of joy, and advised me to stake money
for the future.

As the Princess de Vale was giving a great supper, there was no play that
evening. This was some respite. We called on Leonilda, and putting off
talking of our marriage till the day after we spent the time in viewing
the wonders of nature around Naples. In the evening I was introduced by a
friend at the princess's supper, and saw all the highest nobility of the
place.

Next morning the duke told me that he had some business to do, and that I
had better go and see Leonilda, and that he would call for me later on. I
went to Leonilda, but as the duke did not put in an appearance we could
not settle anything about our marriage. I spent several hours with her,
but I was obliged to obey her commands, and could only shew myself
amorous in words. Before leaving I repeated that it only rested with her
to unite our lives by indissoluble ties, and to leave Naples almost
immediately.

When I saw the duke he said,--

"Well, Don Giacomo, you have spent all the morning with my mistress; do
you still wish to marry her?"

"More than ever; what do you mean?"

"Nothing; and as you have passed this trial to which I purposely
subjected you, we will discuss your union tomorrow, and I hope you will
make this charming woman happy, for she will be an excellent wife."

"I agree with you."

When we went to Monte Leone's in the evening, we saw a banker with a good
deal of gold before him. The duke told me he was Don Marco Ottoboni. He
was a fine-looking man, but he held the cards so closely together in his
left hand that I could not see them. This did not inspire me with
confidence, so I only punted a ducat at a time. I was persistently
unlucky, but I only lost a score of ducats. After five or six deals the
banker, asked me politely why I staked such small sums against him.

"Because I can't see half the pack," I replied, "and I am afraid of
losing."

Some of the company laughed at my answer.

Next night I broke the bank held by the Prince the Cassaro, a pleasant
and rich nobleman, who asked me to give him revenge, and invited me to
supper at his pretty house at Posilipo, where he lived with a virtuosa of
whom he had become amorous at Palermo. He also invited the Duke de
Matalone and three or four other gentlemen. This was the only occasion on
which I held the bank while I was at Naples, and I staked six thousand
ducats after warning the prince that as it was the eve of my departure I
should only play for ready money.

He lost ten thousand ducats, and only rose from the table because he had
no more money. Everybody left the room, and I should have done the same
if the prince's mistress had not owed me a hundred ducats. I continued to
deal in the hope that she would get her money back, but seeing that she
still lost I put down the cards, and told her that she must pay me at
Rome. She was a handsome and agreeable woman, but she did not inspire me
with any passions, no doubt because my mind was occupied with another,
otherwise I should have drawn a bill on sight, and paid myself without
meddling with her purse. It was two o'clock in the morning when I got to
bed.

Both Leonilda and myself wished to see Caserta before leaving Naples, and
the duke sent us there in a carriage drawn by six mules, which went
faster than most horses. Leonilda's governess accompanied us.

The day after, we settled the particulars of our marriage in a
conversation which lasted for two hours.

"Leonilda," began the duke, "has a mother, who lives at a short distance
from here, on an income of six hundred ducats, which I have given her for
life, in return for an estate belonging to her husband; but Leonilda does
not depend on her. She gave her up to me seven years ago, and I have
given her an annuity of five hundred ducats, which she will bring to you,
with all her diamonds and an extensive trousseau. Her mother gave her up
to me entirely, and I gave my word of honour to get her a good husband. I
have taken peculiar care of her education, and as her mind has developed
I have put her on her guard against all prejudices, with the exception of
that which bids a woman keep herself intact for her future husband. You
may rest assured that you are the first man whom Leonilda (who is a
daughter to me) has pressed to her heart."

I begged the duke to get the contract ready, and to add to her dower the
sum of five thousand ducats, which I would give him when the deed was
signed.

"I will mortgage them," said he, "on a house which is worth double."

Then turning to Leonilda, who was shedding happy tears, he said,--

"I am going to send for your mother, who will be delighted to sign the
settlement, and to make the acquaintance of your future husband."

The mother lived at the Marquis Galiani's, a day's journey from Naples.
The duke said he would send a carriage for her the next day, and that we
could all sup together the day after.

"The law business will be all done by then, and we shall be able to go to
the little church at Portici, and the priest will marry you. Then we will
take your mother to St. Agatha and dine with her, and you can go your way
with her maternal blessing."

This conclusion gave me an involuntary shudder, and Leonilda fell
fainting in the duke's arms. He called her dear child, cared for her
tenderly, and brought her to herself.

We all had to wipe our eyes, as we were all equally affected.

I considered myself as a married man and under obligation to alter my way
of living, and I stopped playing. I had won more than fifteen thousand
ducats, and this sum added to what I had before and Leonilda's dowry
should have sufficed for an honest livelihood.

Next day, as I was at supper with the duke and Leonilda, she said,--

"What will my mother say to-morrow evening, when she sees you?"

"She will say that you are silly to marry a stranger whom you have only
known for a week. Have you told her my name, my nation, my condition, and
my age?"

"I wrote to her as follows:

"'Dear mamma, come directly and sign my marriage contract with a
gentleman introduced to me by the duke, with whom I shall be leaving for
Rome on Monday next.'"

"My letter ran thus," said the duke,

"'Come without delay, and sign your daughter's marriage contract, and
give her your blessing. She has wisely chosen a husband old enough to be
her father; he is a friend of mine.'"

"That's not true," cried Leonilda, rushing to my arms, "she will think
you are really old, and I am sorry."

"Is your mother an elderly woman?"

"She's a charming Woman," said the duke, "full of wit, and not
thirty-eight yet."

"What has she got to do with Galiani?"

"She is an intimate friend of the marchioness's, and she lives with the
family but pays for her board."

Next morning, having some business with my banker to attend to, I told
the duke that I should not be able to see Leonilda till supper-time. I
went there at eight o'clock and I found the three sitting in front of the
fire.

"Here he is!" cried the duke.

As soon as the mother saw me she screamed and fell nearly fainting on a
chair. I looked at her fixedly for a minute, and exclaimed,--

"Donna Lucrezia! I am fortunate indeed!"

"Let us take breath, my dear friend. Come and sit by me. So you are going
to marry my daughter, are you?"

I took a chair and guessed it all. My hair stood on end, and I relapsed
into a gloomy silence.

The stupefied astonishment of Leonilda and the duke cannot be described.
They could see that Donna Lucrezia and I knew each other, but they could
not get any farther. As for myself, as I pondered gloomily and compared
Leonilda's age with the period at which I had been intimate with Lucrezia
Castelli, I could see that it was quite possible that she might be my
daughter; but I told myself that the mother could not be certain of the
fact, as at the time she lived with her husband, who was very fond of her
and not fifty years of age. I could bear the suspense no longer, so,
taking a light and begging Leonilda and the duke to excuse me, I asked
Lucrezia to come into the next room with me.

As soon as she was seated, she drew me to her and said,--

"Must I grieve my dear one when I have loved so well? Leonilda is your
daughter, I am certain of it. I always looked upon her as your daughter,
and my husband knew it, but far from being angry, he used to adore her. I
will shew you the register of her birth, and you can calculate for
yourself. My husband was at Rome, and did not see me once, and my
daughter did not come before her time. You must remember a letter which
my mother should have given you, in which I told you I was with child.
That was in January, 1744, and in six months my daughter will be
seventeen. My late husband gave her the names of Leonilda Giacomina at
the baptismal font, and when he played with her he always called her by
the latter name. This idea of your marrying her horrifies me, but I
cannot oppose it, as I am ashamed to tell the reason. What do you think?
Have you still the courage to marry her? You seem to hesitate. Have you
taken any earnest of the marriage-bed?"

"No, dear Lucrezia, your daughter is as pure as a lily."

"I breathe again."

"Ah, yes! but my heart is torn asunder."

"I am grieved to see you thus."

"She has no likeness to me."

"That proves nothing; she has taken after me. You are weeping, dearest,
you will break my heart."

"Who would not weep in my place? I will send the duke to you; he must
know all."

I left Lucrezia, and I begged the duke to go and speak to her. The
affectionate Leonilda came and sat on my knee, and asked me what the
dreadful mystery was. I was too much affected to be able to answer her;
she kissed me, and we began to weep. We remained thus sad and silent till
the return of the duke and Donna Lucrezia, who was the only one to keep
her head cool.

"Dear Leonilda," said she, "you must be let into the secret of this
disagreeable mystery, and your mother is the proper person to enlighten
you. Do you remember what name my late husband used to call you when he
petted you?"

"He used to call me his charming Giacomina."

"That is M. Casanova's name; it is the name of your father. Go and kiss
him; his blood flows in your veins; and if he has been your lover, repent
of the crime which was happily quite involuntary."

The scene was a pathetic one, and we were all deeply moved. Leonilda
clung to her mother's knees, and in a voice that struggled with sobs
exclaimed,--

"I have only felt what an affectionate daughter might feel for a father."

At this point silence fell on us, a silence that was only broken by the
sobs of the two women, who held each other tightly embraced; while the
duke and I sat as motionless as two posts, our heads bent and our hands
crossed, without as much as looking at each other.

Supper was served, and we sat at table for three hours, talking sadly
over this dramatic recognition, which had brought more grief than joy;
and we departed at midnight full of melancholy, and hoping that we should
be calmer on the morrow, and able to take the only step that now remained
to us.

As we were going away the duke made several observations on what moral
philosophers call prejudices. There is no philosopher who would maintain
or even advance the thesis that the union of a father and daughter is
horrible naturally, for it is entirely a social prejudice; but it is so
widespread, and education has graven it so deeply in our hearts, that
only a man whose heart is utterly depraved could despise it. It is the
result of a respect for the laws, it keeps the social scheme together; in
fact, it is no longer a prejudice, it is a principle.

I went to bed, but as usual, after the violent emotion I had undergone, I
could not sleep. The rapid transition from carnal to paternal love cast
my physical and mental faculties into such a state of excitement that I
could scarcely withstand the fierce struggle that was taking place in my
heart.

Towards morning I fell asleep for a short time, and woke up feeling as
exhausted as two lovers who have been spending a long and voluptuous
winter's night.

When I got up I told the duke that I intended to set out from Naples the
next day; and he observed that as everybody knew I was on the eve of my
departure, this haste would make people talk.

"Come and have some broth with me," said he; "and from henceforth look
upon this marriage project as one of the many pranks in which you have
engaged. We will spend the three or four days pleasantly together, and
perhaps when we have thought over all this for some time we shall end by
thinking it matter for mirth and not sadness. Believe me the mother's as
good as the daughter; recollection is often better than hope; console
yourself with Lucrezia. I don't think you can see any difference between
her present appearance and that of eighteen years ago, for I don't see
how she can ever have been handsomer than she is now."

This remonstrance brought me to my senses. I felt that the best thing I
could do would be to forget the illusion which had amused me for four or
five days, and as my self-esteem was not wounded it ought not to be a
difficult task; but yet I was in love and unable to satisfy my love.

Love is not like merchandise, where one can substitute one thing for
another when one cannot have what one wants. Love is a sentiment, only
the object who has kindled the flame can soothe the heat thereof.

We went to call on my daughter, the duke in his usual mood, but I looking
pale, depressed, weary, and like a boy going to receive the rod. I was
extremely surprised when I came into the room to find the mother and
daughter quite gay, but this helped on my cure. Leonilda threw her arms
round my neck, calling me dear papa, and kissing me with all a daughter's
freedom. Donna Lucrezia stretched out her hand, addressing me as her dear
friend. I regarded her attentively, and I was forced to confess that the
eighteen years that had passed away had done little ill to her charms.
There was the same sparkling glance, that fresh complexion, those perfect
shapes, those beautiful lips--in fine, all that had charmed my youthful
eyes.

We mutely caressed each other. Leonilda gave and received the tenderest
kisses without seeming to notice what desires she might cause to arise;
no doubt she knew that as her father I should have strength to resist,
and she was right. One gets used to everything, and I was ashamed to be
sad any longer.

I told Donna Lucrezia of the curious welcome her sister had given me in
Rome, and she went off into peals of laughter. We reminded each other of
the night at Tivoli, and these recollections softened our hearts. From
these softened feelings to love is but a short way; but neither place nor
time were convenient, so we pretended not to be thinking of it.

After a few moments of silence I told her that if she cared to come to
Rome with me to pay a visit to her sister Angelique, I would take her
back to Naples at the beginning of Lent. She promised to let me know
whether she could come on the following day.

I sat between her and Leonilda at dinner; and as I could no longer think
of the daughter, it was natural that my old flame for Lucrezia should
rekindle; and whether from the effect of her gaiety and beauty, or from
my need of someone to love, or from the excellence of the wine, I found
myself in love with her by the dessert, and asked her to take the place
which her daughter was to have filled.

"I will marry you," said I, "and we will all of us go to Rome on Monday,
for since Leonilda is my daughter I do not like to leave her at Naples."

At this the three guests looked at each other and said nothing. I did not
repeat my proposal, but led the conversation to some other topic.

After dinner I felt sleepy and lay down on a bed, and did not wake till
eight o'clock, when to my surprise I found that my only companion was
Lucrezia, who was writing. She heard me stir, and came up to me and said
affectionately,--

"My dear friend, you have slept for five hours; and as I did not like to
leave you alone I would not go with the duke and our daughter to the
opera."

The memory of former loves awakens when one is near the once beloved
object, and desires rapidly become irresistible if the beauty still
remain. The lovers feel as if they were once more in possession of a
blessing which belongs to them, and of which they have been long deprived
by unfortunate incidents. These were our feelings, and without delay,
without idle discussion, and above all, without false modesty, we
abandoned ourselves to love, the only true source of nature.

In the first interval, I was the first to break the silence; and if a man
is anything of a wit, is he the less so at that delicious moment of
repose which follows on an amorous victory?

"Once again, then," said I, "I am in this charming land which I entered
for the first time to the noise of the drum and the rattle of musket
shots."

This remark made her laugh, and recalled past events to her memory. We
recollected with delight all the pleasures we had enjoyed at Testaccio,
Frascati, and Tivoli. We reminded each other of these events, only to
make each other laugh; but with two lovers, what is laughter but a
pretext for renewing the sweet sacrifice of the goddess of Cythera?

At the end of the second act, full of the enthusiasm of the fortunate
lover, I said,--

"Let us be united for life; we are of the same age, we love each other,
our means are sufficient for us, we may hope to live a happy life, and to
die at the same moment."

"Tis the darling wish of my heart," Lucrezia replied, "but let us stay at
Naples and leave Leonilda to the duke. We will see company, find her a
worthy husband, and our happiness will be complete."

"I cannot live at Naples, dearest, and you know that your daughter
intended to leave with me."

"My daughter! Say our daughter. I see that you are still in love with
her, and do not wish to be considered her father."

"Alas, yes! But I am sure that if I live with you my passion for her will
be stilled, but otherwise I cannot answer for myself. I shall fly, but
flight will not bring me happiness. Leonilda charms me still more by her
intelligence than by her beauty. I was sure that she loved me so well
that I did not attempt to seduce her, lest thereby I should weaken my
hold on her affections; and as I wanted to make her happy I wished to
deserve her esteem. I longed to possess her, but in a lawful manner, so
that our rights should have been equal. We have created an angel,
Lucrezia, and I cannot imagine how the duke . . ."

"The duke is completely impotent. Do you see now how I was able to trust
my daughter to his care?"

"Impotent? I always thought so myself, but he has a son."

"His wife might possibly be able to explain that mystery to you, but you
may take it for granted that the poor duke will die a virgin in spite of
himself; and he knows that as well as anybody."

"Do not let us say any more about it, but allow me to treat you as at
Tivoli."

"Not just now, as I hear carriage wheels."

A moment after the door opened, and Leonilda laughed heartily to see her
mother in my arms, and threw herself upon us, covering us with kisses.
The duke came in a little later, and we supped together very merrily. He
thought me the happiest of men when I told him I was going to pass the
night honourably with my wife and daughter; and he was right, for I was
so at that moment.

As soon as the worthy man left us we went to bed, but here I must draw a
veil over the most voluptuous night I have ever spent. If I told all I
should wound chaste ears, and, besides, all the colours of the painter
and all the phrases of the poet could not do justice to the delirium of
pleasure, the ecstasy, and the license which passed during that night,
while two wax lights burnt dimly on the table like candles before the
shrine of a saint.

We did not leave the stage, which I watered with my blood, till long
after the sun had risen. We were scarcely dressed when the duke arrived.

Leonilda gave him a vivid description of our nocturnal labours, but in
his unhappy state of impotence he must have been thankful for his
absence.

I was determined to start the next day so as to be at Rome for the last
week of the carnival and I begged the duke to let me give Leonilda the
five thousand ducats which would have been her dower if she had become my
bride.

"As she is your daughter," said he, "she can and ought to take this
present from her father, if only as a dowry for her future husband."

"Will you accept it, then, my dear Leonilda?"

"Yes, papa dear," she said, embracing me, "on the condition that you will
promise to come and see me again as soon as you hear of my marriage."

I promised to do so, and I kept my word.

"As you are going to-morrow," said the duke, "I shall ask all the
nobility of Naples to meet you at supper. In the meanwhile I leave you
with your daughter; we shall see each other again at suppertime."

He went out and I dined with my wife and daughter in the best of spirits.
I spent almost the whole afternoon with Leonilda, keeping within the
bounds of decency, less, perhaps, out of respect to morality, than
because of my labours of the night before. We did not kiss each other
till the moment of parting, and I could see that both mother and daughter
were grieved to lose me.

After a careful toilette I went to supper, and found an assembly of a
hundred of the very best people in Naples. The duchess was very
agreeable, and when I kissed her hand to take leave, she said,

"I hope, Don Giacomo, that you have had no unpleasantness during your
short stay at Naples, and that you will sometimes think of your visit
with pleasure."

I answered that I could only recall my visit with delight after the
kindness with which she had deigned to treat me that evening; and, in
fact, my recollections of Naples were always of the happiest description.

After I had treated the duke's attendants with generosity, the poor
nobleman, whom fortune had favoured, and whom nature had deprived of the
sweetest of all enjoyments, came with me to the door of my carriage and I
went on my way.



CHAPTER X

My Carriage Broken--Mariuccia's Wedding-Flight of Lord Lismore--My Return
to Florence, and My Departure with the Corticelli

My Spaniard was going on before us on horseback, and I was sleeping
profoundly beside Don Ciccio Alfani in my comfortable carriage, drawn by
four horses, when a violent shock aroused me. The carriage had been
overturned on the highway, at midnight, beyond Francolisa and four miles
from St. Agatha.

Alfani was beneath me and uttered piercing shrieks, for he thought he had
broken his left arm. Le Duc rode back and told me that the postillions
had taken flight, possibly to give notice of our mishap to highwaymen,
who are very common in the States of the Church and Naples.

I got out of the carriage easily enough, but poor old Alfani, who was
unwieldly with fat, badly hurt, and half dead with fright, could not
extricate himself without assistance. It took us a quarter of an hour to
get him free. The poor wretch amused me by the blasphemies which he
mingled with prayers to his patron saint, St. Francis of Assisi.

I was not without experience of such accidents and was not at all hurt,
for one's safety depends a good deal on the position one is in. Don
Ciccio had probably hurt his arm by stretching it out just as the
accident took place.

I took my sword, my musket, and my horse-pistols out of the carriage, and
I made them and my pockets pistols ready so as to offer a stiff
resistance to the brigands if they came; and I then told Le Duc to take
some money and ride off and see if he could bring some peasants to our
assistance.

Don Ciccio groaned over the accident, but I, resolving to sell my money
and my life dearly, made a rampart of the carriage and four horses, and
stood sentry, with my arms ready.

I then felt prepared for all hazards, and was quite calm, but my
unfortunate companion continued to pour forth his groans, and prayers,
and blasphemies, for all that goes together at Naples as at Rome. I could
do nothing but compassionate him; but in spite of myself I could not help
laughing, which seemed to vex the poor abbe, who looked for all the world
like a dying dolphin as he rested motionless against the bank. His
distress may be imagined, when the nearest horse yielded to the call of
nature, and voided over the unfortunate man the contents of its bladder.
There was nothing to be done, and I could not help roaring with laughter.

Nevertheless, a strong northerly wind rendered our situation an extremely
unpleasant one. At the slightest noise I cried, "Who goes there?"
threatening to fire on anyone who dared approach. I spent two hours in
this tragic-comic position, until at last Le Duc rode up and told me that
a band of peasants, all armed and provided with lanterns, were
approaching to our assistance.

In less than an hour, the carriage, the horses, and Alfani were seen to.
I kept two of the country-folk to serve as postillions, and I sent the
others away well paid for the interruption of their sleep. I reached St.
Agatha at day-break, and I made the devil's own noise at the door of the
postmaster, calling for an attorney to take down my statement, and
threatening to have the postillions who had overturned and deserted me,
hanged.

A wheelwright inspected my coach and pronounced the axle-tree broken, and
told me I should have to remain for a day at least.

Don Ciccio, who stood in need of a surgeon's aid, called on the Marquis
Galliani without telling me anything about it. However, the marquis
hastened to beg me to stay at his home till I could continue my journey.
I accepted the invitation with great pleasure, and with this my ill
humour, which was really only the result of my desire to make a great
fuss like a great man, evaporated.

The marquis ordered my carriage to be taken to his coach-house, took me
by the arm, and led me to his house. He was as learned as he was polite,
and a perfect Neapolitan--i.e., devoid of all ceremony. He had not the
brilliant wit of his brother, whom I had known at Paris as secretary of
embassy under the Count Cantillana Montdragon, but he possessed a
well-ordered judgment, founded on study and the perusal of ancient and
modern classics. Above all, he was a great mathematician, and was then
preparing an annotated edition of Vitruvius, which was afterwards
published.

The marquis introduced me to his wife, whom I knew as the intimate friend
of my dear Lucrezia. There was something saint-like in her expression,
and to see her surrounded by her little children was like looking at a
picture of the Holy Family.

Don Ciccio was put to bed directly, and a surgeon sent for, who consoled
him by saying that it was only a simple luxation, and that he would be
well again in a few days.

At noon a carriage stopped at the door, and Lucrezia got down. She
embraced the marchioness, and said to me in the most natural manner, as
we shook hands,--

"What happy chance brings you hear, dear Don Giacomo?"

She told her friend that I was a friend of her late husband's, and that
she had recently seen me again with great pleasure at the Duke de
Matalone's.

After dinner, on finding myself alone with this charming woman, I asked
her if it were not possible for us to pass a happy night together, but
she shewed me that it was out of the question, and I had to yield. I
renewed my offer to marry her.

"Buy a property," said she, "in the kingdom of Naples, and I will spend
the remainder of my days with you, without asking a priest to give us his
blessing, unless we happen to have children."

I could not deny that Lucrezia spoke very sensibly, and I could easily
have bought land in Naples, and lived comfortably on it, but the idea of
binding myself down to one place was so contrary to my feelings that I
had the good sense to prefer my vagabond life to all the advantages which
our union would have given me, and I do not think that Lucrezia
altogether disapproved of my resolution.

After supper I took leave of everybody, and I set out at day-break in
order to get to Rome by the next day. I had only fifteen stages to do,
and the road was excellent.

As we were getting into Carillano, I saw one of the two-wheeled
carriages, locally called mantice, two horses were being put into it,
while my carriage required four. I got out, and on hearing myself called
I turned round. I was not a little surprised to find that the occupants
of the mantice were a young and pretty girl and Signora Diana, the Prince
de Sassaro's mistress, who owed me three hundred ounces. She told me that
she was going to Rome, and that she would be glad if we could make the
journey together.

"I suppose you don't mind stopping for the night at Piperno?"

"No," said I, "I am afraid that can't be managed; I don't intend to break
my journey."

"But you would get to Rome by to-morrow."

"I know that, but I sleep better in my carriage than in the bad beds they
give you in the inns."

"I dare not travel by night."

"Well, well, madam, I have no doubt we shall see each other at Rome."

"You are a cruel man. You see I have only a stupid servant, and a maid
who is as timid as I am, besides it is cold and my carriage is open. I
will keep you company in yours."

"I really can't take you in, as all the available space is taken up by my
old secretary, who broke his arm yesterday."

"Shall we dine together at Terracino? We could have a little talk."

"Certainly."

We made good cheer at this small town, which is the frontier of the
States of the Church. We should not reach Piperno till far on in the
night, and the lady renewed and redoubled her efforts to keep me till
daybreak; but though young and pretty she did not take my fancy; she was
too fair and too fat. But her maid, who was a pretty brunette, with a
delicious rounded form and a sparkling eye, excited all my feelings of
desire. A vague hope of possessing the maid won me over, and I ended by
promising the signora to sup with her, and not to continue my journey
without giving notice to the landlord.

When we got to Piperno, I succeeded in telling the pretty maid that if
she would let me have her quietly I would not go any further. She
promised to wait for me, and allowed me to take such liberties as are
usually the signs of perfect complaisance.

We had our supper, and I wished the ladies good night and escorted them
to their room, where I took note of the relative positions of their beds
so that there should be no mistake. I left them and came back in a
quarter of an hour. Finding the door open I felt sure of success, and I
got into bed; but as I found out, it was the signora and not the maid who
received me. Evidently the little hussy had told her mistress the story,
and the mistress had thought fit to take the maid's place. There was no
possibility of my being mistaken, for though I could not see I could
feel.

For a moment I was undecided, should I remain in bed and make the best of
what I had got, or go on my way to Rome immediately? The latter counsel
prevailed. I called Le Duc, gave my orders, and started, enjoying the
thought of the confusion of the two women, who must have been in a great
rage at the failure of their plans. I saw Signora Diana three or four
times at Rome, and we bowed without speaking; if I had thought it likely
that she would pay me the four hundred louis she owed me I might have
taken the trouble to call on her, but I know that your stage queens are
the worst debtors in the world.

My brother, the Chevalier Mengs, and the Abbe Winckelmann were all in
good health and spirits. Costa was delighted to see me again. I sent him
off directly to His Holiness's 'scopatore maggiore' to warn him that I
was coming to take polenta with him, and all he need do was to get a good
supper for twelve. I was sure of finding Mariuccia there, for I knew that
Momolo had noticed her presence pleased me.

The carnival began the day after my arrival, and I hired a superb landau
for the whole week. The Roman landaus seat four people and have a hood
which may be lowered at pleasure. In these landaus one drives along the
Corso with or without masks from nine to twelve o'clock during the
carnival time.

From time immemorial the Corso at Rome has presented a strange and
diverting spectacle during the carnival. The horses start from the Piazza
del Popolo, and gallop along to the Column of Trajan, between two lines
of carriages drawn up beside two narrow pavements which are crowded with
maskers and people of all classes. All the windows are decorated. As soon
as the horses have passed the carriages begin to move, and the maskers on
foot and horseback occupy the middle of the street. The air is full of
real and false sweetmeats, pamphlets, pasquinades, and puns. Throughout
the mob, composed of the best and worst classes of Rome, liberty reigns
supreme, and when twelve o'clock is announced by the third report of the
cannon of St. Angelo the Corso begins to clear, and in five minutes you
would look in vain for a carriage or a masker. The crowd disperses
amongst the neighbouring streets, and fills the opera houses, the
theatres, the rope-dancers' exhibitions, and even the puppet-shows. The
restaurants and taverns are not left desolate; everywhere you will find
crowds of people, for during the carnival the Romans only think of
eating, drinking, and enjoying themselves.

I banked my money with M. Belloni and got a letter of credit on Turin,
where I expected to find the Abbe Gama and to receive a commission to
represent the Portuguese Court at the Congress of Augsburg, to which all
Europe was looking forward, and then I went to inspect my little room,
where I hoped to meet Mariuccia the next day. I found everything in good
order.

In the evening Momolo and his family received me with joyful
exclamations. The eldest daughter said with a smile that she was sure she
would please me by sending for Mariuccia.

"You are right," said I, "I shall be delighted to see the fair
Mariuccia."

A few minutes after she entered with her puritanical mother, who told me
I must not be surprised to see her daughter better dressed, as she was
going to be married in a few days. I congratulated her, and Momolo's
daughters asked who was the happy man. Mariuccia blushed and said
modestly, to one of them,--

"It is somebody whom you know, So and so, he saw me here, and we are
going to open a hair-dresser's shop."

"The marriage was arranged by good Father St. Barnabe," added the mother.
"He has in his keeping my daughter's dower of four hundred Roman crowns."

"He's a good lad," said Momolo. "I have a high opinion of him; he would
have married one of my daughters if I could have given him such a dowry."

At these words the girl in question blushed and lowered her eyes.

"Never mind, my dear," said I, "your turn will come in time."

She took my words as seriously meant, and her face lit up with joy. She
thought I had guessed her love for Costa, and her idea was confirmed when
I told him to get my landau the next day and take out all Momolo's
daughters, well masked, as it would not do for them to be recognized in a
carriage I meant to make use of myself. I also bade him hire some
handsome costumes from a Jew, and paid the hire-money myself. This put
them all in a good humour.

"How about Signora Maria?" said the jealous sister.

"As Signora Maria is going to be married," I replied, "she must not be
present at any festivity without her future husband."

The mother applauded this decision of mine, and sly Mariuccia pretended
to feel mortified. I turned to Momolo and begged him to ask Mariuccia's
future husband to meet me at supper, by which I pleased her mother
greatly.

I felt very tired, and having nothing to keep me after seeing Mariuccia,
I begged the company to excuse me, and after wishing them a good appetite
I left them.

I walked out next morning at an early hour. I had no need of going into
the church, which I reached at seven o'clock, for Mariuccia saw me at
some distance off and followed me, and we were soon alone together in the
little room, which love and voluptuous pleasure had transmuted into a
sumptuous place. We would gladly have talked to each other, but as we had
only an hour before us, we set to without even taking off our clothes.
After the last kiss which ended the third assault, she told me that she
was to be married on the eve of Shrove Tuesday, and that all had been
arranged by her confessor. She also thanked me for having asked Momolo to
invite her intended.

"When shall we see each other again, my angel?"

"On Sunday, the eve of my wedding, we shall be able to spend four hours
together."

"Delightful! I promise you that when you leave me you will be in such a
state that the caresses of your husband won't hurt you."

She smiled and departed, and I threw myself on the bed where I rested for
a good hour.

As I was going home I met a carriage and four going at a great speed. A
footman rode in front of the carriage, and within it I saw a young
nobleman. My attention was arrested by the blue ribbon on his breast. I
gazed at him, and he called out my name and had the carriage stopped. I
was extremely surprised when I found it was Lord O'Callaghan, whom I had
known at Paris at his mother's, the Countess of Lismore, who was
separated from her husband, and was the kept mistress of M. de St. Aubin,
the unworthy successor of the good and virtuous Fenelon in the
archbishopric of Cambrai. However, the archbishop owed his promotion to
the fact that he was a bastard of the Duc d'Orleans, the French Regent.

Lord O'Callaghan was a fine-looking young man, with wit and talent, but
the slave of his unbridled passions and of every species of vice. I knew
that if he were lord in name he was not so in fortune, and I was
astonished to see him driving such a handsome carriage, and still more so
at his blue ribbon. In a few words he told me that he was going to dine
with the Pretender, but that he would sup at home. He invited me to come
to supper, and I accepted.

After dinner I took a short walk, and then went to enliven myself at the
theatre, where I saw Momolo's girls strutting about with Costa;
afterwards I went to Lord O'Callaghan, and was pleasantly surprised to
meet the poet Poinsinet. He was young, short, ugly, full of poetic fire,
a wit, and dramatist. Five or six years later the poor fellow fell into
the Guadalquivir and was drowned. He had gone to Madrid in the hope of
making his fortune. As I had known him at Paris I addressed him as an old
acquaintance.

"What are you doing at Rome? Where's my Lord O'Callaghan?"

"He's in the next room, but as his father is dead his title is now Earl
of Lismore. You know he was an adherent of the Pretender's. I left Paris
with him, well enough pleased at being able to come to Rome without its
costing me anything."

"Then the earl is a rich man now?"

"Not exactly; but he will be, as he is his father's heir, and the old
earl left an immense fortune. It is true that it is all confiscated, but
that is nothing, as his claims are irresistible."

"In short, he is rich in claims and rich in the future; but how did he
get himself made a knight of one of the French king's orders?"

"You're joking. That is the blue ribbon of the Order of St. Michael, of
which the late Elector of Cologne was grand master. As you know, my lord
plays exquisitely on the violin, and when he was at Bonn he played the
Elector a concerto by Tartini. The prince could not find words in which
to express the pleasure of my lord's performance, and gave him the ribbon
you have seen."

"A fine present, doubtless."

"You don't know what pleasure it gave my lord, for when we go back to
Paris everybody will take it for the Order of the Holy Ghost."

We passed into a large room, where we found the earl with the party he
had asked to supper. As soon as he saw me he embraced me, called me his
dear friend, and named his guests. There were seven or eight girls, all
of them pretty, three or four castrati who played women's parts in the
Roman theatre, and five or six abbes, the husband of every wife and the
wives of every husband, who boasted of their wickedness, and challenged
the girls to be more shameless than they. The girls were not common
courtezans, but past mistresses of music, painting, and vice considered
as a fine art. The kind of society may be imagined when I say that I
found myself a perfect novice amongst them.

"Where are you going, prince?" said the earl to a respectable-looking man
who was making for the door.

"I don't feel well, my lord. I think I must go out."

"What prince is that?" said I.

"The Prince de Chimai. He is a sub-deacon, and is endeavouring to gain
permission to marry, lest his family should become extinct."

"I admire his prudence or his delicacy, but I am afraid I should not
imitate him."

There were twenty-four of us at table, and it is no exaggeration to say
that we emptied a hundred bottles of the choicest wines. Everybody was
drunk, with the exception of myself and the poet Poinsinet, who had taken
nothing but water. The company rose from table, and then began a foul
orgy which I should never have conceived possible, and which no pen could
describe, though possibly a seasoned profligate might get some idea of
it.

A castrato and a girl of almost equal height proposed to strip in an
adjoining room, and to lie on their backs, in the same bed with their
faces covered. They challenged us all to guess which was which.

We all went in and nobody could pronounce from sight which was male and
which was female, so I bet the earl fifty crowns that I would point out
the woman.

He accepted the wager, and I guessed correctly, but payment was out of
the question.

This first act of the orgy ended with the prostitution of the two
individuals, who defied everybody to accomplish the great act. All, with
the exception of Poinsinet and myself, made the attempt, but their
efforts were in vain.

The second act displayed four or five couples reversed, and here the
abbes shone, both in the active and passive parts of this lascivious
spectacle. I was the only person respected.

All at once, the earl, who had hitherto remained perfectly motionless,
attacked the wretched Poinsinet, who in vain attempted to defend himself.
He had to strip like my lord, who was as naked as the others. We stood
round in a circle. Suddenly the earl, taking his watch, promised it to
the first who succeeded in giving them a sure mark of sensibility. The
desire of gaining the prize excited the impure crowd immensely, and the
castrati, the girls, and the abbes all did their utmost, each one
striving to be the first. They had to draw lots. This part interested me
most, for throughout this almost incredible scene of debauchery I did not
experience the slightest sensation, although under other circumstances
any of the girls would have claimed my homage, but all I did was to
laugh, especially to see the poor poet in terror of experiencing the lust
of the flesh, for the profligate nobleman swore that if he made him lose
he would deliver him up to the brutal lust of all the abbes. He escaped,
probably through fear of the consequences.

The orgy came to an end when nobody had any further hopes of getting the
watch. The secret of the Lesbians was only employed, however, by the
abbes and the castrata. The girls, wishing to be able to despise those
who made use of it, refrained from doing so. I suspect they were actuated
by pride rather than shame, as they might possibly have employed it
without success.

This vile debauch disgusted me, and yet gave me a better knowledge of
myself. I could not help confessing that my life had been endangered, for
the only arm I had was my sword, but I should certainly have used it if
the earl had tried to treat me like the others, and as he had treated
poor Poinsinet. I never understood how it was that he respected me, for
he was quite drunk, and in a kind of Bacchic fury.

As I left, I promised to come and see him as often as he pleased, but I
promised myself never to set foot in his house again.

Next day, he came to see me in the afternoon, and asked me to walk with
him to the Villa Medici.

I complimented him on the immense wealth he had inherited to enable him
to live so splendidly, but he laughed and told me that he did not possess
fifty piastres, that his father had left nothing but debts, and that he
himself already owed three or four thousand crowns.

"I wonder people give you credit, then."

"They give me credit because everybody knows that I have drawn a bill of
exchange on Paris to the tune of two hundred thousand francs. But in four
or five days the bill will be returned protested, and I am only waiting
for that to happen to make my escape."

"If you are certain of its being protested, I advise you to make your
escape to-day; for as it is so large a sum it may be taken up before it
is due."

"No, I won't do that; I have one hope left. I have written to tell my
mother that I shall be undone if she does not furnish the banker, on whom
I have drawn the bill, with sufficient funds and if she does that, the
bill will be accepted. You know my mother is very fond of me."

"Yes, but I also know that she is far from rich."

"True, but M. de St. Aubin is rich enough, and between you and me I think
he is my father. Meanwhile, my creditors are almost as quiet as I am. All
those girls you saw yesterday would give me all they have if I asked
them, as they are all expecting me to make them a handsome present in the
course of the week, but I won't abuse their trust in me. But I am afraid
I shall be obliged to cheat the Jew, who wants me to give him three
thousand sequins for this ring, as I know it is only worth one thousand."

"He will send the police after you."

"I defy him to do whatever he likes."

The ring was set with a straw-coloured diamond of nine or ten carats. He
begged me to keep his secret as we parted. I did not feel any sentiments
of pity for this extravagant madman, as I only saw in him a man
unfortunate by his own fault, whose fate would probably make him end his
days in a prison unless he had the courage to blow his brains out.

I went to Momolo's in the evening, and found the intended husband of my
fair Mariuccia there, but not the lady herself. I heard she had sent word
to the 'scopatore santissimo' that, as her father had come from
Palestrina to be present at her wedding, she could not come to supper. I
admired her subtlety. A young girl has no need of being instructed in
diplomacy, nature and her own heart are her teachers, and she never
blunders. At supper I studied the young man, and found him eminently
suitable for Mariuccia; he was handsome, modest, and intelligent, and
whatever he said was spoken frankly and to the point.

He told me before Momolo's daughter, Tecla, that he would have married
her if she had possessed means to enable him to open his shop, and that
he had reason to thank God for having met Maria, whose confessor had been
such a true spiritual father to her. I asked him where the wedding
festivities were to take place, and he told me they were to be at his
father's house, on the other side of the Tiber. As his father, who kept a
garden, was poor, he had furnished him with ten crowns to defray the
expenses.

I wanted to give him the ten crowns, but how was I to do it? It would
have betrayed me.

"Is your father's garden a pretty one?" I asked.

"Not exactly pretty, but very well kept. As he owns the land, he has
separated a plot which he wants to sell; it would bring in twenty crowns
a year, and I should be as happy as a cardinal if I could buy it."

"How much will it cost?"

"It's a heavy price; two hundred crowns."

"Why, that's cheap! Listen to me. I have met your future bride at this
house, and I have found her all worthy of happiness. She deserves an
honest young fellow like you for a husband. Now what would you do
supposing I were to make you a present of two hundred crowns to buy the
garden?"

"I should put it to my wife's dowry."

"Then here are the two hundred crowns. I shall give them to Momolo, as I
don't know you well enough, though I think you are perfectly to be
trusted. The garden is yours, as part of your wife's dowry."

Momolo took the money, and promised to buy the garden the following day,
and the young man shedding tears of joy and gratitude fell on his knees
and kissed my hand. All the girls wept, as I myself did, for there's a
contagion in such happy tears. Nevertheless, they did not all proceed
from the same source; some were virtuous and some vicious, and the young
man's were the only ones whose source was pure and unalloyed. I lifted
him from the ground, kissed him, and wished him a happy marriage. He made
bold to ask me to his wedding, but I refused, thanking him kindly. I told
him that if he wanted to please me, he must come and sup at Momolo's on
the eve of his wedding, and I begged the good scopatore to ask Mariuccia,
her father and mother as well. I was sure of seeing her for the last time
on the Sunday morning.

At seven o'clock on the Sunday morning we were in each other's arms, with
four hours before us. After the first burst of mutual ardour she told me
that all arrangements had been made in her house the evening before, in
the presence of her confessor and of Momolo; and that on the receipt for
the two hundred crowns being handed in the notary had put the garden into
the settlement, and that the good father had made her a present of twenty
piastres towards defraying the notary's fees and the wedding expenses.

"Everything is for the best, and I am sure I shall be happy. My intended
adores you, but you did wisely not to accept his invitation, for you
would have found everything so poor, and besides tongues might have been
set wagging to my disadvantage."

"You are quite right, dearest, but what do you intend to do if your
husband finds that the door has been opened by someone else, for possibly
he expects you to be a maid."

"I expect he will know no more about it than I did the first time you
knew me; besides, I do not feel that you have defiled me, and my clean
conscience will not allow me to think of the matter; and I am sure that
he will not think of it any more than I."

"Yes, but if he does?"

"It would not be delicate on his part, but what should prevent me from
replying that I don't know what he means?"

"You are right; that's the best way. But have you told your confessor of
our mutual enjoyment?"

"No, for as I did not give myself up to you with any criminal intention,
I do not think I have offended God."

"You are an angel, and I admire the clearness of your reasoning. But
listen to me; it's possible that you are already with child, or that you
may become so this morning; promise to name the child after me."

"I will do so."

The four hours sped rapidly away. After the sixth assault we were wearied
though not satiated. We parted with tears, and swore to love each other
as brother and sister ever after.

I went home, bathed, slept an hour, rose, dressed, and dined pleasantly
with the family. In the evening I took the Mengs family for a drive in my
landau, and we then went to the theatre, where the castrato who played
the prima donna was a great attraction. He was the favourite pathic of
Cardinal Borghese, and supped every evening with his eminence.

This castrato had a fine voice, but his chief attraction was his beauty.
I had seen him in man's clothes in the street, but though a fine-looking
fellow, he had not made any impression on me, for one could see at once
that he was only half a man, but on the stage in woman's dress the
illusion was complete; he was ravishing.

He was enclosed in a carefully-made corset and looked like a nymph; and
incredible though it may seem, his breast was as beautiful as any
woman's; it was the monster's chiefest charm. However well one knew the
fellow's neutral sex, as soon as one looked at his breast one felt all
aglow and quite madly amorous of him. To feel nothing one would have to
be as cold and impassive as a German. As he walked the boards, waiting
for the refrain of the air he was singing, there was something grandly
voluptuous about him; and as he glanced towards the boxes, his black
eyes, at once tender and modest, ravished the heart. He evidently wished
to fan the flame of those who loved him as a man, and probably would not
have cared for him if he had been a woman.

Rome the holy, which thus strives to make all men pederasts, denies the
fact, and will not believe in the effects of the glamour of her own
devising.

I made these reflections aloud, and an ecclesiastic, wishing to blind me
to the truth, spoke as follows:--

"You are quite right. Why should this castrato be allowed to shew his
breast, of which the fairest Roman lady might be proud, and yet wish
everyone to consider him as a man and not a woman? If the stage is
forbidden to the fair sex lest they excite desires, why do they seek out
men-monsters made in the form of women, who excite much more criminal
desires? They keep on preaching that pederasty is comparatively unknown
and entraps only a few, but many clever men endeavour to be entrapped,
and end by thinking it so pleasant that they prefer these monsters to the
most beautiful women."

"The Pope would be sure of heaven if he put a stop to this scandalous
practice."

"I don't agree with you. One could not have a pretty actress to supper
without causing a scandal, but such an invitation to a castrato makes
nobody talk. It is of course known perfectly well that after supper both
heads rest on one pillow, but what everybody knows is ignored by all. One
may sleep with a man out of mere friendship, it is not so with a woman."

"True, monsignor, appearances are saved, and a sin concealed is half
pardoned, as they say in Paris."

"At Rome we say it is pardoned altogether. 'Peccato nascosto non
offende'."

His jesuitical arguments interested me, for I knew that he was an avowed
partisan of the forbidden fruit.

In one of the boxes I saw the Marchioness Passarini (whom I had known at
Dresden) with Don Antonio Borghese, and I went to pay my addresses to
them. The prince, whom I had known at Paris ten years before, recognized
me, and asked me to dine with him on the following day. I went, but my
lord was not at home. A page told me that my place was laid at table, and
that I could dine just as if the prince was there, on which I turned my
back on him and went away. On Ash Wednesday he sent his man to ask me to
sup with him and the marchioness, who was his mistress, and I sent word
that I would not fail to come; but he waited for me in vain. Pride is the
daughter of folly, and always keeps its mother's nature.

After the opera I went to Momolo's, where I found Mariuccia, her father,
her mother, and her future husband. They were anxiously expecting me. It
is not difficult to make people happy when one selects for one's bounty
persons who really deserve happiness. I was amidst poor but honest
people, and I can truly say that I had a delightful supper. It may be
that some of my enjoyment proceeded from a feeling of vanity, for I knew
that I was the author of the happiness depicted on the faces of the bride
and bridegroom and of the father and mother of Mariuccia; but when vanity
causes good deeds it is a virtue. Nevertheless, I owe it to myself to
tell my readers that my pleasure was too pure to have in it any admixture
of vice.

After supper I made a small bank at faro, making everybody play with
counters, as nobody had a penny, and I was so fortunate as to make
everyone win a few ducats.

After the game we danced in spite of the prohibition of the Pope, whom no
Roman can believe to be infallible, for he forbids dancing and permits
games of chance. His successor Ganganelli followed the opposite course,
and was no better obeyed. To avoid suspicion I did not give the pair any
present, but I gave up my landau to them that they might enjoy the
carnival on the Corso, and I told Costa to get them a box at the
Capranica Theatre. Momolo asked me to supper on Shrove Tuesday.

I wished to leave Rome on the second day of Lent, and I called on the
Holy Father at a time when all Rome was on the Corso. His Holiness
welcomed me most graciously, and said he was surprised that I had not
gone to see the sights on the Corso like everybody else. I replied that
as a lover of pleasure I had chosen the greatest pleasure of all for a
Christian--namely, to kneel at the feet of the vicar of Christ on earth.
He bowed with a kind of majestic humility, which shewed me how the
compliment had pleased him. He kept me for more than an hour, talking
about Venice, Padua, and Paris, which latter city the worthy man would
not have been sorry to have visited. I again commended myself to his
apostolic intercession to enable me to return to my native country, and
he replied,--

"Have recourse to God, dear son; His grace will be more efficacious than
my prayers;" and then he blessed me and wished me a prosperous journey.

I saw that the Head of the Church had no great opinion of his own power.

On Shrove Tuesday I dressed myself richly in the costume of Polichinello,
and rode along the Corso showering sweetmeats on all the pretty women I
saw. Finally I emptied the basket on the daughters of the worthy
'scopatore', whom Costa was taking about in my landau with all the
dignity of a pasha.

At night-time I took off my costume and went to Momolo's, where I
expected to see dear Mariuccia for the last time. Supper passed off in
almost a similar manner to the supper of last Sunday; but there was an
interesting novelty for me--namely, the sight of my beloved mistress in
her character of bride. Her husband seemed to be much more reserved with
respect to me than at our first meeting. I was puzzled by his behaviour,
and sat down by Mariuccia and proceeded to question her. She told me all
the circumstances which had passed on the first night, and she spoke
highly of her husband's good qualities. He was kind, amorous,
good-tempered, and delicate. No doubt he must have noticed that the
casket had been opened, but he had said nothing about it. As he had
spoken about me, she had not been able to resist the pleasure of telling
him that I was her sole benefactor, at which, so far from being offended,
he seemed to trust in her more than ever.

"But has he not questioned you indirectly as to the connection between
us?"

"Not at all. I told him that you went to my confessor after having spoken
to me once only in the church, where I told you what a good chance I had
of being married to him."

"Do you think he believed you?"

"I am not sure; however, even if it were otherwise, it is enough that he
pretends to, for I am determined to win his esteem."

"You are right, and I think all the better of him for his suspicions, for
it is better to marry a man with some sense in his head than to marry a
fool."

I was so pleased with what she told me that when I took leave of the
company I embraced the hairdresser, and drawing a handsome gold watch
from my fob I begged him to accept it as a souvenir of me. He received it
with the utmost gratitude. From my pocket I took a ring, worth at least
six hundred francs, and put it on his wife's finger, wishing them a fair
posterity and all manner of happiness, and I then went home to bed,
telling Le Duc and Costa that we must begin to pack up next day.

I was just getting up when they brought me a note from Lord Lismore,
begging me to come and speak to him at noon at the Villa Borghese.

I had some suspicion of what he might want, and kept the appointment. I
felt in a mood to give him some good advice. Indeed, considering the
friendship between his mother and myself, it was my duty to do so.

He came up to me and gave me a letter he had received the evening before
from his mother. She told him that Paris de Monmartel had just informed
her that he was in possession of a bill for two hundred thousand francs
drawn by her son, and that he would honour it if she would furnish him
with the funds. She had replied that she would let him know in two or
three days if she could do so; but she warned her son that she had only
asked for this delay to give him time to escape, as the bill would
certainly be protested and returned, it being absolutely out of the
question for her to get the money.

"You had better make yourself scarce as soon as you can," said I,
returning him the letter.

"Buy this ring, and so furnish me with the means for my escape. You would
not know that it was not my property if I had not told you so in
confidence."

I made an appointment with him, and had the stone taken out and valued by
one of the best jewellers in Rome.

"I know this stone," said he, "it is worth two thousand Roman crowns."

At four o'clock I took the earl five hundred crowns in gold and fifteen
hundred crowns in paper, which he would have to take to a banker, who
would give him a bill of exchange in Amsterdam.

"I will be off at nightfall," said he, "and travel by myself to
Amsterdam, only taking such effects as are absolutely necessary, and my
beloved blue ribbon."

"A pleasant journey to you," said I, and left him. In ten days I had the
stone mounted at Bologna.

I got a letter of introduction from Cardinal Albani for Onorati, the
nuncio at Florence, and another letter from M. Mengs to Sir Mann, whom he
begged to receive me in his house. I was going to Florence for the sake
of the Corticelli and my dear Therese, and I reckoned on the auditor's
feigning to ignore my return, in spite of his unjust order, especially if
I were residing at the English minister's.

On the second day of Lent the disappearance of Lord Lismore was the talk
of the town. The English tailor was ruined, the Jew who owned the ring
was in despair, and all the silly fellow's servants were turned out of
the house in almost a state of nakedness, as the tailor had
unceremoniously taken possession of everything in the way of clothes that
he could lay his hands on.

Poor Poinsinet came to see me in a pitiable condition; he had only his
shirt and overcoat. He had been despoiled of everything, and threatened
with imprisonment. "I haven't a farthing," said the poor child of the
muses, "I have only the shirt on my back. I know nobody here, and I think
I shall go and throw myself into the Tiber."

He was destined, not to be drowned in the Tiber but in the Guadalquivir.
I calmed him by offering to take him to Florence with me, but I warned
him that I must leave him there, as someone was expecting me at Florence.
He immediately took up his abode with me, and wrote verses incessantly
till it was time to go.

My brother Jean made me a present of an onyx of great beauty. It was a
cameo, representing Venus bathing, and a genuine antique, as the name of
the artist, Sostrates, was cut on the stone. Two years later I sold it to
Dr. Masti, at London, for three hundred pounds, and it is possibly still
in the British Museum.

I went my way with Poinsinet who amused me, in spite of his sadness, with
his droll fancies. In two days I got down at Dr. Vannini's, who tried to
conceal his surprise at seeing me. I lost no time, but waited on
Sir---- Mann immediately, and found him sitting at table. He gave me a
very friendly reception, but he seemed alarmed when, in reply to his
question, I told him that my dispute with the auditor had not been
arranged. He told me plainly that he thought I had made a mistake in
returning to Florence, and that he would be compromised by my staying
with him. I pointed out that I was only passing through Florence.

"That's all very well," said he, "but you know you ought to call on the
auditor."

I promised to do so, and returned to my lodging. I had scarcely shut the
door, when an agent of police came and told me that the auditor had
something to say to me, and would be glad to see me at an early hour next
morning.

I was enraged at this order, and determined to start forthwith rather
than obey. Full of this idea I called on Therese and found she was at
Pisa. I then went to see the Corticelli, who threw her arms round my
neck, and made use of the Bolognese grimaces appropriate to the occasion.
To speak the truth, although the girl was pretty, her chief merit in my
eyes was that she made me laugh.

I gave some money to her mother to get us a good supper, and I took the
girl out on pretence of going for a walk. I went with her to my lodging,
and left her with Poinsinet, and going to another room I summoned Costa
and Vannini. I told Costa in Vannini's presence to go on with Le Duc and
my luggage the following day, and to call for me at the "Pilgrim" at
Bologna. I gave Vannini my instructions, and he left the room; and then I
ordered Costa to leave Florence with Signora Laura and her son, and to
tell them that I and the daughter were on in front. Le Duc received
similar orders, and calling Poinsinet I gave him ten Louis, and begged
him to look out for some other lodging that very evening. The worthy but
unfortunate young man wept grateful tears, and told me that he would set
out for Parma on foot next day, and that there M. Tillot would do some,
thing for him.

I went back to the next room, and told the Corticelli to come with me.
She did so under the impression that we were going back to her mother's,
but without taking the trouble to undeceive her I had a carriage and pair
got ready, and told the postillion to drive to Uccellatoio, the first
post on the Bologna road.

"Where in the world are we going?" said she.

"Bologna."

"How about mamma?"

"She will come on to-morrow."

"Does she know about it?"

"No, but she will to-morrow when Costa comes to tell her, and to fetch
her and your brother."

She liked the joke, and got into the carriage laughing, and we drove
away.



CHAPTER XI

My Arrival at Bologna--I Am Expelled from Modena--I Visit Parma and
Turin--The Pretty Jewess--The Dressmaker

The Corticelli had a good warm mantle, but the fool who carried her off
had no cloak, even of the most meagre kind, to keep off the piercing
cold, which was increased by a keen wind blowing right in our faces.

In spite of all I would not halt, for I was afraid I might be pursued and
obliged to return, which would have greatly vexed me.

When I saw that the postillion was slackening his speed, I increased the
amount of the present I was going to make him, and once more we rushed
along at a headlong pace. I felt perishing with the cold; while the
postillions seeing me so lightly clad, and so prodigal of my money to
speed them on their way, imagined that I was a prince carrying off the
heiress of some noble family. We heard them talking to this effect while
they changed horses, and the Corticelli was so much amused that she did
nothing but laugh for the rest of the way. In five hours we covered forty
miles; we started from Florence at eight o'clock, and at one in the
morning we stopped at a post in the Pope's territory, where I had nothing
to fear. The stage goes under the name of "The Ass Unburdened."

The odd name of the inn made my mistress laugh afresh. Everybody was
asleep, but the noise I made and the distribution of a few pauls procured
me the privilege of a fire. I was dying of hunger, and they coolly told
me there was nothing to eat. I laughed in the landlord's face, and told
him to bring me his butter, his eggs, his macaroni, a ham, and some
Parmesan cheese, for I knew that so much will be found in the inns all
over Italy. The repast was soon ready, and I shewed the idiot host that
he had materials for an excellent meal. We ate like four, and afterwards
they made up an impromptu bed and we went to sleep, telling them to call
me as soon as a carriage and four drew up.

Full of ham and macaroni, slightly warmed with the Chianti and
Montepulciano, and tired with our journey, we stood more in need of
slumber than of love, and so we gave ourselves up to sleep till morning.
Then we gave a few moments to pleasure, but it was so slight an affair as
not to be worth talking about.

At one o'clock we began to feel hungry again and got up, and the host
provided us with an excellent dinner, after receiving instructions from
me. I was astonished not to see the carriage draw up, but I waited
patiently all day. Night came on and still no coach, and I began to feel
anxious; but the Corticelli persisted in laughing at everything. Next
morning I sent off an express messenger with instructions for Costa. In
the event of any violence having taken place, I was resolved to return to
Florence, of which city I could at any time make myself free by the
expenditure of two hundred crowns.

The messenger started at noon, and returned at two o'clock with the news
that my servants would shortly be with me. My coach was on its way, and
behind it a smaller carriage with two horses, in which sat an old woman
and a young man.

"That's the mother," said Corticelli; "now we shall have some fun. Let's
get something for them to eat, and be ready to hear the history of this
marvellous adventure which she will remember to her dying day."

Costa told me that the auditor had revenged my contempt of his orders by
forbidding the post authorities to furnish any horses for my carriage.
Hence the delay. But here we heard the allocution of the Signora Laura.

"I got an excellent supper ready," she began, "according to your orders;
it cost me more than ten pauls, as I shall shew you, and I hope you will
make it up to me as I'm but a poor woman. All was ready and I joyfully
expected you, but in vain; I was in despair. At last when midnight came I
sent my son to your lodging to enquire after you, but you may imagine my
'grief when I heard that nobody knew what had become of you. I passed a
sleepless night, weeping all the time, and in the morning I went and
complained to the police that you had taken off my daughter, and asked
them to send after you and make you give her back to me. But only think,
they laughed at me! 'Why did you let her go out without you? laughing in
my face. 'Your daughter's in good hands,' says another, 'you know
perfectly well where she is.' In fact I was grossly slandered."

"Slandered?" said the Corticelli.

"Yes, slandered, for it was as much as to say that I had consented to
your being carried off, and if I had done that the fools might have known
I would not have come to them about it. I went away in a rage to Dr.
Vannini's, where I found your man, who told me that you had gone to
Bologna, and that I could follow you if I liked. I consented to this
plan, and I hope you wilt pay my travelling expenses. But I can't help
telling you that this is rather beyond a joke."

I consoled her by telling her I would pay all she had spent, and we set
off for Bologna the next day, and reached that town at an early hour. I
sent my servants to the inn with my carriage, and I went to lodge with
the Corticelli.

I spent a week with the girl, getting my meals from the inn, and enjoying
a diversity of pleasures which I shall remember all my days; my young
wanton had a large circle of female friends, all pretty and all kind. I
lived with them like a sultan, and still I delight to recall this happy
time, and I say with a sigh, 'Tempi passati'!

There are many towns in Italy where one can enjoy all the pleasures
obtainable at Bologna; but nowhere so cheaply, so easily, or with so much
freedom. The living is excellent, and there are arcades where one can
walk in the shade in learned and witty company. It is a great pity that
either from the air, the water, or the wine--for men of science have not
made up their minds on the subject persons who live at Bologna are
subject to a slight itch. The Bolognese, however, far from finding this
unpleasant, seem to think it an advantage; it gives them the pleasure of
scratching themselves. In springtime the ladies distinguish themselves by
the grace with which they use their fingers.

Towards mid-Lent I left the Corticelli, wishing her a pleasant journey,
for she was going to fulfil a year's engagement at Prague as second
dancer. I promised to fetch her and her mother to Paris, and my readers
will see how I kept my word.

I got to Modena the evening after I left Bologna, and I stopped there,
with one of those sudden whims to which I have always been subject. Next
morning I went out to see the pictures, and as I was returning to my
lodging for dinner a blackguardly-looking fellow came up and ordered me,
on the part of the Government, to continue my journey on the day
following at latest.

"Very good," said I, and the fellow went away.

"Who is that man?" I said to the landlord.
"A SPY."

"A spy; and the Government dares to send such a fellow to me?"

"The 'borgello' must have sent him."

"Then the 'borgello' is the Governor of Modena--the infamous wretch!"

"Hush! hush! all the best families speak to him in the street."

"Then the best people are very low here, I suppose?"

"Not more than anywhere else. He is the manager of the opera house, and
the greatest noblemen dine with him and thus secure his favour."

"It's incredible! But why should the high and mighty borgello send me
away from Modena?"

"I don't know, but do you take my advice and go and speak to him; you
will find him a fine fellow."

Instead of going to see this b. . . . I called on the Abbe Testa Grossa,
whom I had known at Venice in 1753. Although he was a man of low
extraction he had a keen wit. At this time he was old and resting on his
laurels; he had fought his way into favour by the sheer force of merit,
and his master, the Duke of Modena, had long chosen him as his
representative with other powers.

Abbe Testa Grossa recognized me and gave me the most gracious reception,
but when he heard of what had befallen me he seemed much annoyed.

"What can I do?" said I.

"You had better go, as the man may put a much more grievous insult on
you."

"I will do so, but could you oblige me by telling me the reason for such
a high-handed action?"

"Come again this evening; I shall probably be able to satisfy you."

I called on the abbe again in the evening, for I felt anxious to learn in
what way I had offended the lord borgello, to whom I thought I was quite
unknown. The abbe satisfied me.

"The borgello," said he, "saw your name on the bill which he receives
daily containing a list of the names of those who enter or leave the
city. He remembered that you were daring enough to escape from The Leads,
and as he does not at all approve of that sort of thing he resolved not
to let the Modenese be contaminated by so egregious an example of the
defiance of justice, however unjust it may be; and in short he has given
you the order to leave the town."

"I am much obliged, but I really wonder how it is that while you were
telling me this you did not blush to be a subject of the Duke of
Modena's. What an unworthy action! How contrary is such a system of
government to all the best interests of the state!"

"You are quite right, my dear sir, but I am afraid that as yet men's eyes
are not open to what best serves their interests."

"That is doubtless due to the fact that so many men are unworthy."

"I will not contradict you."

"Farewell, abbe."

"Farewell, M. Casanova."

Next morning, just as I was going to get into my carriage, a young man
between twenty-five and thirty, tall and strong and broad shouldered, his
eyes black and glittering, his eyebrows strongly arched, and his general
air being that of a cut-throat, accosted me and begged me to step aside
and hear what he had to say.

"If you like to stop at Parma for three days, and if you will promise to
give me fifty sequins when I bring you the news that the borgello is
dead, I promise to shoot him within the next twenty-four hours."

"Thanks. Such an animal as that should be allowed to die a natural death.
Here's a crown to drink my health."

At the present time I feel very thankful that I acted as I did, but I
confess that if I had felt sure that it was not a trap I should have
promised the money. The fear of committing myself spared me this crime.

The next day I got to Parma, and I put up at the posting-house under the
name of the Chevalier de Seingalt, which I still bear. When an honest man
adopts a name which belongs to no one, no one has a right to contest his
use of it; it becomes a man's duty to keep the name. I had now borne it
for two years, but I often subjoined to it my family name.

When I got to Parma I dismissed Costa, but in a week after I had the
misfortune to take him on again. His father, who was a poor violin
player, as I had once been, with a large family to provide for, excited
my pity.

I made enquiries about M. Antonio, but he had left the place; and M.
Dubois Chalelereux, Director of the Mint, had gone to Venice with the
permission of the Duke of Parma, to set up the beam, which was never
brought into use. Republics are famous for their superstitious attachment
to old customs; they are afraid that changes for the better may destroy
the stability of the state, and the government of aristocratic Venice
still preserves its original Greek character.

My Spaniard was delighted when I dismissed Costa and proportionately
sorry when I took him back.

"He's no profligate," said Le Duc; "he is sober, and has no liking for
bad company. But I think he's a robber, and a dangerous robber, too. I
know it, because he seems so scrupulously careful not to cheat you in
small things. Remember what I say, sir; he will do you. He is waiting to
gain your confidence, and then he will strike home. Now, I am quite a
different sort of fellow, a rogue in a small way; but you know me."

His insight was, keener than mine, for five or six months later the
Italian robbed me of fifty thousand crowns. Twenty-three years
afterwards, in 1784, I found him in Venice, valet to Count Hardegg, and I
felt inclined to have him hanged. I shewed him by proof positive that I
could do so if I liked; but he had resource to tears and supplications,
and to the intercession of a worthy man named Bertrand, who lived with
the ambassador of the King of Sardinia. I esteemed this individual, and
he appealed to me successfully to pardon Costa. I asked the wretch what
he had done with the gold and jewels he had stolen from me, and he told
me that he had lost the whole of it in furnishing funds for a bank at
Biribi, that he had been despoiled by his own associates, and had been
poor and miserable ever since.

In the same year in which he robbed me he married Momolo's daughter, and
after making her a mother he abandoned her.

To pursue our story.

At Turin I lodged in a private house with the Abbe Gama, who had been
expecting me. In spite of the good abbe's sermon on economy, I took the
whole of the first floor, and a fine suite it was.

We discussed diplomatic topics, and he assured me that I should be
accredited in May, and that he would give me instructions as to the part
I was to play. I was pleased with his commission, and I told the abbe
that I should be ready to go to Augsburg whenever the ambassadors of the
belligerent powers met there.

After making the necessary arrangements with my landlady with regard to
my meals I went to a coffeehouse to read the papers, and the first person
I saw was the Marquis Desarmoises, whom I had known in Savoy. The first
thing he said was that all games of chance were forbidden, and that the
ladies I had met would no doubt be delighted to see me. As for himself,
he said that he lived by playing backgammon, though he was not at all
lucky at it, as talent went for more than luck at that game. I can
understand how, if fortune is neutral, the best player will win, but I do
not see how the contrary can take place.

We went for a walk in the promenade leading to the citadel, where I saw
numerous extremely pretty women. In Turin the fair sex is most
delightful, but the police regulations are troublesome to a degree. Owing
to the town being a small one and thinly peopled, the police spies find
out everything. Thus one cannot enjoy any little freedoms without great
precautions and the aid of cunning procuresses, who have to be well paid,
as they would be cruelly punished if they were found out. No prostitutes
and no kept women are allowed, much to the delight of the married women,
and with results which the ignorant police might have anticipated. As
well be imagined, pederasty has a fine field in this town, where the
passions are kept under lock and key.

Amongst the beauties I looked at, one only attracted me. I asked
Desarmoises her name, as he knew all of them.

"That's the famous Leah," said he; "she is a Jewess, and impregnable. She
has resisted the attacks of the best strategists in Turin. Her father's a
famous horse-dealer; you can go and see her easily enough, but there's
nothing to be done there."

The greater the difficulty the more I felt spurred on to attempt it.

"Take me there," said I, to Desarmoises.

"As soon as you please."

I asked him to dine with me, and we were on our way when we met M. Zeroli
and two or three other persons whom I had met at Aix. I gave and received
plenty of compliments, but not wishing to pay them any visits I excused
myself on the pretext of business.

When we had finished dinner Desarmoises took me to the horse-dealer's. I
asked if he had a good saddle horse. He called a lad and gave his orders,
and whilst he was speaking the charming daughter appeared on the scene.
She was dazzlingly beautiful, and could not be more than twenty-two. Her
figure was as lissom as a nymph's, her hair a raven black, her complexion
a meeting of the lily and the rose, her eyes full of fire, her lashes
long, and her eye-brows so well arched that they seemed ready to make war
on any who would dare the conquest of her charms. All about her betokened
an educated mind and knowledge of the world.

I was so absorbed in the contemplation of her charms that I did not
notice the horse when it was brought to me. However, I proceeded to
scrutinise it, pretending to be an expert, and after feeling the knees
and legs, turning back the ears, and looking at the teeth, I tested its
behaviour at a walk, a trot, and a gallop, and then told the Jew that I
would come and try it myself in top-boots the next day. The horse was a
fine dappled bay, and was priced at forty Piedmontese pistoles--about a
hundred sequins.

"He is gentleness itself," said Leah, "and he ambles as fast as any other
horse trots."

"You have ridden it, then?"

"Often, sir, and if I were rich I would never sell him."

"I won't buy the horse till I have seen you ride it."

She blushed at this.

"You must oblige the gentleman," said her father. She consented to do so,
and I promised to come again at nine o'clock the next day.

I was exact to time, as may be imagined, and I found Leah in riding
costume. What proportions! What a Venus Callipyge! I was captivated.

Two horses were ready, and she leapt on hers with the ease and grace of a
practised rider, and I got up on my horse. We rode together for some
distance. The horse went well enough, but what of that; all my eyes were
for her.

As we were turning, I said,--

"Fair Leah, I will buy the horse, but as a present for you; and if you
will not take it I shall leave Turin today. The only condition I attach
to the gift is, that you will ride with me whenever I ask you."

I saw she seemed favourably inclined to my proposal, so I told her that I
should stay six weeks at Turin, that I had fallen in love with her on the
promenade, and that the purchase of the horse had been a mere pretext for
discovering to her my feelings. She replied modestly that she was vastly
flattered by the liking I had taken to her, and that I need not have made
her such a present to assure myself of her friendship.

"The condition you impose on me is an extremely pleasant one, and I am
sure that my father will like me to accept it."

To this she added,--

"All I ask is for you to make me the present before him, repeating that
you will only buy it on the condition that I will accept it."

I found the way smoother than I had expected, and I did what she asked
me. Her father, whose name was Moses, thought it a good bargain,
congratulated his daughter, took the forty pistoles and gave me a
receipt, and begged me to do them the honour of breakfasting with them
the next day. This was just what I wanted.

The following morning Moses received me with great respect. Leah, who was
in her ordinary clothes, told me that if I liked to ride she would put on
her riding habit.

"Another day," said I; "to-day I should like to converse with you in your
own house."

But the father, who was as greedy as most Jews are, said that if I liked
driving he could sell me a pretty phaeton with two excellent horses.

"You must shew them to the gentleman," said Leah, possibly in concert
with her father.

Moses said nothing, but went out to get the horses harnessed.

"I will look at them," I said to Leah, "but I won't buy, as I should not
know what to do with them."

"You can take your lady-love out for a drive."

"That would be you; but perhaps you would be afraid!"

"Not at all, if you drove in the country or the suburbs."

"Very good, Leah, then I will look at them."

The father came in, and we went downstairs. I liked the carriage and the
horses, and I told Leah so.

"Well," said Moses, "you can have them now for four hundred sequins, but
after Easter the price will be five hundred sequins at least."

Leah got into the carriage, and I sat beside her, and we went for an
hour's drive into the country. I told Moses I would give him an answer by
the next day, and he went about his business, while Leah and I went
upstairs again.

"It's quite worth four hundred sequins," said I, "and to-morrow I will
buy it with pleasure; but on the same condition as that on which I bought
the horse, and something more--namely, that you will grant me all the
favours that a tender lover can desire."

"You speak plainly, and I will answer you in the same way. I'm an honest
girl, sir, and not for sale."

"All women, dear Leah, whether they are honest or not, are for sale. When
a man has plenty of time he buys the woman his heart desires by
unremitting attentions; but when he's in a hurry he buys her with
presents, and even with money."

"Then he's a clumsy fellow; he would do better to let sentiment and
attention plead his cause and gain the victory."

"I wish I could give myself that happiness, fair Leah, but I'm in a great
hurry."

As I finished this sentence her father came in, and I left the house
telling him that if I could not come the next day I would come the day
after, and that we could talk about the phaeton then.

It was plain that Leah thought I was lavish of my money, and would make a
capital dupe. She would relish the phaeton, as she had relished the
horse, but I knew that I was not quite such a fool as that. It had not
cost me much trouble to resolve to chance the loss of a hundred sequins,
but beyond that I wanted some value for my money.

I temporarily suspended my visits to see how Leah and her father would
settle it amongst themselves. I reckoned on the Jew's greediness to work
well for me. He was very fond of money, and must have been angry that his
daughter had not made me buy the phaeton by some means or another, for so
long as the phaeton was bought the rest would be perfectly indifferent to
him. I felt almost certain that they would come and see me.

The following Saturday I saw the fair Jewess on the promenade. We were
near enough for me to accost her without seeming to be anxious to do so,
and her look seemed to say, "Come."

"We see no more of you now," said she, "but come and breakfast with me
to-morrow, or I will send you back the horse."

I promised to be with her in good time, and, as the reader will imagine,
I kept my word.

The breakfast party was almost confined to ourselves, for though her aunt
was present she was only there for decency's sake. After breakfast we
resolved to have a ride, and she changed her clothes before me, but also
before her aunt. She first put on her leather breeches, then let her
skirts fall, took off her corset, and donned a jacket. With seeming
indifference I succeeded in catching a glimpse of a magnificent breast;
but the sly puss knew how much my indifference was worth.

"Will you arrange my frill?" said she.

This was a warm occupation for me, and I am afraid my hand was
indiscreet. Nevertheless, I thought I detected a fixed design under all
this seeming complaisance, and I was on my guard.

Her father came up just as we were getting on horseback.

"If you will buy the phaeton and horses," said he, "I will abate twenty
sequins."

"All that depends on your daughter," said I.

We set off at a walk, and Leah told me that she had been imprudent enough
to confess to her father that she could make me buy the carriage, and
that if I did not wish to embroil her with him I would be kind enough to
purchase it.

"Strike the bargain," said she, "and you can give it me when you are sure
of my love."

"My dear Leah, I am your humble servant, but you know on what condition."

"I promise to drive out with you whenever you please, without getting out
of the carriage, but I know you would not care for that. No, your
affection was only a temporary caprice."

"To convince you of the contrary I will buy the phaeton and put it in a
coach-house. I will see that the horses are taken-care of, though I shall
not use them. But if you do not make me happy in the course of a week I
shall re-sell the whole."

"Come to us to-morrow."

"I will do so, but I trust have some pledge of your affection this
morning."

"This morning? It's impossible."

"Excuse me; I will go upstairs with you, and you can shew me more than
one kindness while you are undressing."

We came back, and I was astonished to hear her telling her father that
the phaeton was mine, and all he had to do was to put in the horses. The
Jew grinned, and we all went upstairs, and Leah coolly said,--

"Count out the money."

"I have not any money about me, but I will write you a cheque, if you
like."

"Here is paper."

I wrote a cheque on Zappata for three hundred sequins, payable at sight.
The Jew went off to get the money, and Leah remained alone with me.

"You have trusted me," she said, "and have thus shewn yourself worthy of
my love."

"Then undress, quick!"

"No, my aunt is about the house; and as I cannot shut the door without
exciting suspicion, she might come in; but I promise that you shall be
content with me tomorrow. Nevertheless, I am going to undress, but you
must go in this closet; you may come back when I have got my woman's
clothes on again."

I agreed to this arrangement, and she shut me in. I examined the door,
and discovered a small chink between the boards. I got on a stool, and
saw Leah sitting on a sofa opposite to me engaged in undressing herself.
She took off her shift and wiped her breasts and her feet with a towel,
and just as she had taken off her breeches, and was as naked as my hand,
one of her rings happened to slip off her finger, and rolled under the
sofa. She got up, looked to right and left, and then stooped to search
under the sofa, and to do this she had to kneel with her head down. When
she got back to couch, the towel came again into requisition, and she
wiped herself all over in such a manner that all her charms were revealed
to my eager eyes. I felt sure that she knew I was a witness of all these
operations, and she probably guessed what a fire the sight would kindle
in my inflammable breast.

At last her toilette was finished, and she let me out. I clasped her in
my arms, with the words, "I have seen everything." She pretended not to
believe me, so I chewed her the chink, and was going to obtain my just
dues, when the accursed Moses came in. He must have been blind or he
would have seen the state his daughter had put me in; however, he thanked
me, and gave me a receipt for the money, saying, "Everything in my poor
house is at your service."

I bade them adieu, and I went away in an ill temper. I got into my
phaeton, and drove home and told the coachman to find me a stable for the
horses and a coach-house for the carriage.

I did not expect to see Leah again, and I felt enraged with her. She had
pleased me only too much by her voluptuous attitudes, but she had set up
an irritation wholly hostile to Love. She had made Love a robber, and the
hungry boy had consented, but afterwards, when he craved more substantial
fare, she refused him, and ardour was succeeded by contempt. Leah did not
want to confess herself to be what she really was, and my love would not
declare itself knavish.

I made the acquaintance of an amiable chevalier, a soldier, a man of
letters, and a great lover of horses, who introduced me to several
pleasant families. However, I did not cultivate them, as they only
offered me the pleasures of sentiment, while I longed for lustier fare
for which I was willing to pay heavily. The Chevalier de Breze was not
the man for me; he was too respectable for a profligate like myself. He
bought the phaeton and horses, and I only lost thirty sequins by the
transaction.

A certain M. Baretti, who had known me at Aix, and had been the Marquis
de Pries croupier, took me to see the Mazzoli, formerly a dancer, and
then mistress to the Chevalier Raiberti, a hardheaded but honest man, who
was then secretary for foreign affairs. Although the Mazzoli was by no
means pretty, she was extremely complaisant, and had several girls at her
house for me to see; but I did not think any of them worthy of occupying
Leah's place. I fancied I no longer loved Leah, but I was wrong.

The Chevalier Cocona, who had the misfortune to be suffering from a
venereal disease, gave me up his mistress, a pretty little 'soubrette';
but in spite of the evidence of my own eyes, and in spite of the
assurances she gave me, I could not make up my mind to have her, and my
fear made me leave her untouched. Count Trana, a brother of the
chevalier's whom I had known at Aix, introduced me to Madame de Sc----, a
lady of high rank and very good-looking, but she tried to involve me in a
criminal transaction, and I ceased to call on her. Shortly after, Count
Trana's uncle died and he became rich and got married, but he lived an
unhappy life.

I was getting bored, and Desarmoises, who had all his meals with me, did
not know what to do. At last he advised me to make the acquaintance of a
certain Madame R----, a Frenchwoman, and well known in Turin as a
milliner and dressmaker. She had six or eight girls working for her in a
room adjoining her shop. Desarmoises thought that if I got in there I
might possibly be able to find one to my taste. As my purse was well
furnished I thought I should not have much difficulty, so I called on
Madame R----. I was agreeably surprised to find Leah there, bargaining
for a quantity of articles, all of which she pronounced to be too dear.
She told me kindly but reproachfully that she had thought I must be ill.

"I have been very busy," I said; and felt all my old ardour revive. She
asked me to come to a Jewish wedding, where there would be a good many
people and several pretty girls. I knew that ceremonies of this kind are
very amusing, and I promised to be present. She proceeded with her
bargaining, but the price was still too high and she left the shop.
Madame R---- was going to put back all the trifles in their places, but I
said,--

"I will take the lot myself."

She smiled, and I drew out my purse and paid the money.

"Where do you live, sir?" said she; "and when shall I send you your
purchases?"

"You may bring them to-morrow yourself, and do me the honour of
breakfasting with me."

"I can never leave the shop, sir." In spite of her thirty-five years,
Madame R---- was still what would be called a tasty morsel, and she had
taken my fancy.

"I want some dark lace," said I.

"Then kindly follow me, sir."

I was delighted when I entered the room to see a lot of young work-girls,
all charming, hard at work, and scarcely daring to look at me. Madame
R---- opened several cupboards, and showed me some magnificent lace. I was
distracted by the sight of so many delicious nymphs, and I told her that
I wanted the lace for two 'baoutes' in the Venetian style. She knew what
I meant. The lace cost me upwards of a hundred sequins. Madame R---- told
two of her girls to bring me the lace the next day, together with the
goods which Leah had thought too dear. They meekly replied,--

"Yes, mother."

They rose and kissed the mother's hand, which I thought a ridiculous
ceremony; however, it gave me an opportunity of examining them, and I
thought them delicious. We went back to the shop, and sitting down by the
counter I enlarged on the beauty of the girls, adding, though not with
strict truth, that I vastly preferred their mistress. She thanked me for
the compliment and told me plainly that she had a lover, and soon after
named him. He was the Comte de St. Giles, an infirm and elderly man, and
by no means a model lover. I thought Madame R---- was jesting, but next
day I ascertained that she was speaking the truth. Well, everyone to his
taste, and I suspect that she was more in love with the count's purse
than his person. I had met him at the "Exchange" coffeehouse.

The next day the two pretty milliners brought me my goods. I offered them
chocolate, but they firmly and persistently declined. The fancy took me
to send them to Leah with all the things she had chosen, and I bade them
return and tell me what sort of a reception they had had. They said they
would do so, and waited for me to write her a note.

I could not give them the slightest mark of affection. I dared not shut
the door, and the mistress and the ugly young woman of the house kept
going and coming all the time; but when they came back I waited for them
on the stairs, and giving them a sequin each told each of them that she
might command my heart if she would. Leah had accepted my handsome
present and sent to say that she was waiting for me.

As I was walking aimlessly about in the afternoon I happened to pass the
milliner's shop, and Madame R---- saw me and made me come in and sit down
beside her.

"I am really much obliged to you," said she, "for your kindness to my
girls. They came home enchanted. Tell me frankly whether you are really
in love with the pretty Jewess."

"I am really in love with her, but as she will not make me happy I have
signed my own dismissal."

"You were quite right. All Leah thinks of is duping those who are
captivated by her charms."

"Do not your charming apprentices follow your maxims?"

"No; but they are only complaisant when I give them leave."

"Then I commend myself to your intercession, for they would not even take
a cup of chocolate from me."

"They were perfectly right not to accept your chocolate: but I see you do
not know the ways of Turin. Do you find yourself comfortable in your
present lodging?"

"Quite so."

"Are you perfectly free to do what you like?"

"I think so."

"Can you give supper to anyone you like in your own rooms? I am certain
you can't."

"I have not had the opportunity of trying the experiment so far, but I
believe . . . ."

"Don't flatter yourself by believing anything; that house is full of the
spies of the police."

"Then you think that I could not give you and two or three of your girls
a little supper?"

"I should take very good care not to go to it, that's all I know. By next
morning it would be known to all the town, and especially to the police."

"Well, supposing I look out for another lodging?"

"It's the same everywhere. Turin is a perfect nest of spies; but I do
know a house where you could live at ease, and where my girls might
perhaps be able to bring you your purchases. But we should have to be
very careful."

"Where is the house I will be guided by you in everything."

"Don't trust a Piedmontese; that's the first commandment here."

She then gave me the address of a small furnished house, which was only
inhabited by an old door-keeper and his wife.

"They will let it you by the month," said she, "and if you pay a month in
advance you need not even tell them your name."

I found the house to be a very pretty one, standing in a lonely street at
about two hundred paces from the citadel. One gate, large enough to admit
a carriage, led into the country. I found everything to be as Madame
R---- had described it. I paid a month in advance without any bargaining,
and in a day I had settled in my new lodging. Madame R---- admired my
celerity.

I went to the Jewish wedding and enjoyed myself, for there is something
at once solemn and ridiculous about the ceremony; but I resisted all
Leah's endeavours to get me once more into her meshes.. I hired a close
carriage from her father, which with the horses I placed in the
coach-house and stables of my new house. Thus I was absolutely free to go
whenever I would by night or by day, for I was at once in the town and in
the country. I was obliged to tell the inquisitive Gama where I was
living, and I hid nothing from Desarmoises, whose needs made him
altogether dependent on me. Nevertheless I gave orders that my door was
shut to them as to everyone else, unless I had given special instructions
that they were to be admitted. I had no reason to doubt the fidelity of
my two servants.

In this blissful abode I enjoyed all Mdlle. R----'s girls, one after the
other. The one I wanted always brought a companion, whom I usually sent
back after giving her a slice of the cake. The last of them, whose name
was Victorine, as fair as day and as soft as a dove, had the misfortune
to be tied, though she knew nothing about it. Mdlle. R----, who was
equally ignorant on the subject, had represented her to me as a virgin,
and so I thought her for two long hours in which I strove with might and
main to break the charm, or rather open the shell. All my efforts were in
vain. I was exhausted at last, and I wanted to see in what the obstacle
consisted. I put her in the proper position, and armed with a candle I
began my scrutiny. I found a fleshy membrane pierced by so small a hole
that large pin's head could scarcely have gone through. Victorine
encouraged me to force a passage with my little finger, but in vain I
tried to pierce this wall, which nature had made impassable by all
ordinary means. I was tempted to see what I could do with a bistoury, and
the girl wanted me to try, but I was afraid of the haemorrhage which
might have been dangerous, and I wisely refrained.

Poor Victorine, condemned to die a maid, unless some clever surgeon
performed the same operation that was undergone by Mdlle. Cheruffini
shortly after M. Lepri married her, wept when I said,--

"My dear child, your little Hymen defies the most vigorous lover to enter
his temple."

But I consoled her by saying that a good surgeon could easily make a
perfect woman of her.

In the morning I told Madame R---- of the case.

She laughed and said,--

"It may prove a happy accident for Victorine; it may make her fortune."

A few years after the Count of Padua had her operated on, and made her
fortune. When I came back from Spain I found that she was with child, so
that I could not exact the due reward for all the trouble I had taken
with her.

Early in the morning on Maunday Thursday they told me that Moses and Leah
wanted to see me. I had not expected to see them, but I welcomed them
warmly. Throughout Holy Week the Jews dared not shew themselves in the
streets of Turin, and I advised them to stay with me till the Saturday.
Moses began to try and get me to purchase a ring from him, and I judged
from that that I should not have to press them very much.

"I can only buy this ring from Leah's hands," said I.

He grinned, thinking doubtless that I intended to make her a present of
it, but I was resolved to disappoint him. I gave them a magnificent
dinner and supper, and in the evening they were shewn a double-bedded
room not far from mine. I might have put them in different rooms, and
Leah in a room adjoining mine, which would have facilitated any nocturnal
excursions; but after all I had done for her I was resolved to owe
nothing to a surprise; she should come of herself.

The next day Moses (who noticed that I had not yet bought the ring) was
obliged to go out on business, and asked for the loan of my carriage for
the whole day, telling me that he would come for his daughter in the
evening. I had the horses harnessed, and when he was gone I bought the
ring for six hundred sequins, but on my own terms. I was in my own house,
and Leah could not deceive me. As soon as the father was safely out of
the way I possessed myself of the daughter. She proved a docile and
amorous subject the whole day. I had reduced her to a state of nature,
and though her body was as perfect as can well be imagined I used it and
abused it in every way imaginable. In the evening her father found her
looking rather tired, but he seemed as pleased as I was. Leah was not
quite so well satisfied, for till the moment of their departure she was
expecting me to give her the ring, but I contented myself with saying
that I should like to reserve myself the pleasure of taking it to her.

On Easter Monday a man brought me a note summoning me to appear at the
police office.



CHAPTER XII

My Victory Over the Deputy Chief of Police--My
Departure--Chamberi--Desarmoises's Daughter--M. Morin--M * * * M * *
*--At Aix--The Young Boarder--Lyons--Paris

This citation, which did not promise to lead to anything agreeable,
surprised and displeased me exceedingly. However, I could not avoid it,
so I drove to the office of the deputy-superintendent of police. I found
him sitting at a long table, surrounded by about a score of people in a
standing posture. He was a man of sixty, hideously ugly, his enormous
nose half destroyed by an ulcer hidden by a large black silk plaster, his
mouth of huge dimensions, his lips thick, with small green eyes and
eyebrows which had partly turned white. As soon as this disgusting fellow
saw me, he began,--

"You are the Chevalier de Seingalt?"

"That is my name, and I have come here to ask how I can oblige you?"

"I have summoned you here to order you to leave the place in three days
at latest."

"And as you have no right to give such an order, I have come here to tell
you that I shall go when I please, and not before."

"I will expel you by force."

"You may do that whenever you please. I cannot resist force, but I trust
you will give the matter a second thought; for in a well-ordered city
they do not expel a man who has committed no crimes, and has a balance of
a hundred thousand francs at the bank."

"Very good, but in three days you have plenty of time to pack up and
arrange matters with your banker. I advise you to obey, as the command
comes from the king."

"If I were to leave the town I should become accessory to your injustice!
I will not obey, but since you mention the king's name, I will go to his
majesty at once, and he will deny your words or revoke the unjust order
you have given me with such publicity."

"Pray, does not the king possess the power to make you go?"

"Yes, by force, but not by justice. He has also the power to kill me, but
he would have to provide the executioner, as he could not make me commit
suicide."

"You argue well, but nevertheless you will obey."

"I argue well, but I did not learn the art from you, and I will not
obey."

With these words I turned my back on him, and left without another word.

I was in a furious rage. I felt inclined to offer overt resistance to all
the myrmidons of the infamous superintendent. Nevertheless I soon calmed
myself, and summoning prudence to my aid I remembered the Chevalier
Raiberti, whom I had seen at his mistress's house, and I decided on
asking his advice. He was the chief permanent official in the department
of foreign affairs. I told the coachman to drive to his house, and I
recounted to him the whole tale, saying, finally, that I should like to
speak to the king, as I was resolved that I would not go unless I was
forced to do so. The worthy man advised me to go to the Chevalier Osorio,
the principal secretary for foreign affairs, who could always get an
audience of the king. I was pleased with his advice, and I went
immediately to the minister, who was a Sicilian and a man of parts. He
gave me a very good reception, and after I had informed him of the
circumstances of the case I begged him to communicate the matter to his
majesty, adding that as the superintendent's order appeared horribly
unjust to me I was resolved not to obey it unless compelled to do so by
main force. He promised to oblige me in the way I wished, and told me to
call again the next day.

After leaving him I took a short walk to cool myself, and then went to
the Abbe Gama, hoping to be the first to impart my ridiculous adventure
to him. I was disappointed; he already knew that I had been ordered to
go, and how I had answered the superintendent. When he saw that I
persisted in my determination to resist, he did not condemn my firmness,
though he must have thought it very extraordinary, for the good abbe
could not understand anybody's disobeying the order of the authorities.
He assured me that if I had to go he would send me the necessary
instructions to any address I liked to name.

The next day the Chevalier Osorio received me with the utmost politeness,
which I thought a good omen. The Chevalier Raiberti had spoken to him in
my behalf, and he had laid the matter before the king and also before the
Count d'Aglie, and the result was that I could stay as long as I liked.
The Count d'Aglie was none other than the horrible superintendent. I was
told that I must wait on him, and he would give me leave to remain at
Turin till my affairs were settled.

"My only business here," said I, "is to spend my money till I have
instructions from the Court of Portugal to attend the Congress of
Augsburg on behalf of his most faithful majesty."

"Then you think that this Congress will take place?"

"Nobody doubts it."

"Somebody believes it will all end in smoke. However, I am delighted to
have been of service to you, and I shall be curious to hear what sort of
reception you get from the superintendent."

I felt ill at ease. I went to the police office immediately, glad to shew
myself victorious, and anxious to see how the superintendent would look
when I came in. However, I could not flatter myself that he looked
ashamed of himself; these people have a brazen forehead, and do not know
what it is to blush.

As soon as he saw me, he began,--

"The Chevalier Osorio tells me that you have business in Turin which will
keep you for some days. You may therefore stay, but you must tell me as
nearly as possible how long a time you require."

"I cannot possibly tell you that."

"Why? if you don't mind telling me."

"I am awaiting instructions from the Court of Portugal to attend the
Congress to be held at Augsburg, and before I could tell you how long I
shall have to stay I should be compelled to ask his most faithful
majesty. If this time is not sufficient for me to do my business, I will
intimate the fact to you."

"I shall be much obliged by your doing so."

This time I made him a bow, which was returned, and on leaving the office
I returned to the Chevalier Osorio, who said, with a smile, that I had
caught the superintendent, as I had taken an indefinite period, which
left me quite at my ease.

The diplomatic Gama, who firmly believed that the Congress would meet,
was delighted when I told him that the Chevalier Osorio was incredulous
on the subject. He was charmed to think his wit keener than the
minister's; it exalted him in his own eyes. I told him that whatever the
chevalier might say I would go to Augsburg, and that I would set out in
three or four weeks.

Madame R. congratulated me over and over again, for she was enchanted
that I had humiliated the superintendent; but all the same we thought we
had better give up our little suppers. As I had had a taste of all her
girls, this was not such a great sacrifice for me to make.

I continued thus till the middle of May, when I left Turin, after
receiving letters from the Abbe Gama to Lord Stormont, who was to
represent England at the approaching Congress. It was with this nobleman
that I was to work in concert at the Congress.

Before going to Germany I wanted to see Madame d'Urfe, and I wrote to
her, asking her to send me a letter of introduction to M. de Rochebaron,
who might be useful to me. I also asked M. Raiberti to give me a letter
for Chamberi, where I wanted to visit the divine M---- M---- (of whom I
still thought with affection) at her convent grating. I wrote to my
friend Valenglard, asking him to remind Madame Morin that she had
promised to shew me a likeness to somebody at Chamberi.

But here I must note down an event worthy of being recorded, which was
extremely prejudicial to me.

Five or six days before my departure Desarmoises came to me looking very
downcast, and told me that he had been ordered to leave Turin in
twenty-four hours.

"Do you know why?" I asked him.

"Last night when I was at the coffee-house, Count Scarnafis dared to say
that France subsidised the Berne newspapers. I told him he lied, at which
he rose and left the place in a rage, giving me a glance the meaning of
which is not doubtful. I followed him to bring him to reason or to give
him satisfaction; but he would do nothing and I suspect he went to the
police to complain. I shall have to leave Turin early to-morrow morning."

"You're a Frenchman, and as you can claim the protection of your
ambassador you will be wrong to leave so suddenly."

"In the first place the ambassador is away, and in the second my cruel
father disavows me. No, I would rather go, and wait for you at Lyons. All
I want is for you to lend me a hundred crowns, for which I will give you
an account."

"It will be an easy account to keep," said I, "but a long time before it
is settled."

"Possibly; but if it is in my power I will shew my gratitude for the
kindnesses you have done me."

I gave him a hundred crowns and wished him a pleasant journey, telling
him that I should stop some time at Lyons.

I got a letter of credit on an Augsburg house, and three days after I
left Turin I was at Chamberi. There was only one inn there in those days,
so I was not much puzzled to choose where I would go, but for all that I
found myself very comfortable.

As I entered my room, I was struck by seeing an extremely pretty girl
coming out of an adjacent room.

"Who is that young lady?" said I to the chambermaid who was escorting me.

"That's the wife of a young gentleman who has to keep his bed to get
cured of a sword-thrust which he received four days ago on his way from
France."

I could not look at her without feeling the sting of concupiscence. As I
was leaving my room I saw the door half open, and I stopped short and
offered my services as a neighbour. She thanked me politely, and asked me
in. I saw a handsome young man sitting up in bed, so I went up to enquire
how he felt.

"The doctor will not let him talk," said the young lady, "on account of a
sword-thrust in the chest he received at half a league from here. We hope
he will be all right in a few days, and then we can continue our
journey."

"Where are you going, madam?"

"To Geneva."

Just as I was leaving, a maid came to ask me if I would take supper in my
own room or with the lady. I laughed at her stupidity, and said I would
sup in my own apartment, adding that I had not the honour of the lady's
acquaintance.

At this the young lady said it would give her great pleasure if I would
sup with her, and the husband repeated this assurance in a whisper. I
accepted the invitation gratefully, and I thought that they were really
pleased. The lady escorted me out as far as the stairs, and I took the
liberty of kissing her hand, which in France is a declaration of tender
though respectful affection.

At the post-office I found a letter from Valenglard, telling me that
Madame Morin would wait on me at Chamberi if I would send her a carriage,
and another from Desarmoises dated from Lyons. He told me that as he was
on his way from Chamberi he had encountered his daughter in company with
a rascal who had carried her off. He had buried his sword in his body,
and would have killed them if he had been able to stop their carriage. He
suspected that they had been staying in Chamberi, and he begged me to try
and persuade his daughter to return to Lyons; and he added that if she
would not do so I ought to oblige him by sending her back by force. He
assured me that they were not married, and he begged me to answer his
letter by express, for which purpose he sent me his address.

I guessed at once that this daughter of his was my fair neighbour, but I
did not feel at all inclined to come to the aid of the father in the way
he wished.

As soon as I got back to the inn I sent off Le Duc in a travelling
carriage to Madame Morin, whom I informed by letter that as I was only at
Chamberi for her sake I would await her convenience. This done, I
abandoned myself to the delight I felt at the romantic adventure which
fortune had put in my way.

I repeated Mdlle. Desarmoises and her ravisher, and I did not care to
enquire whether I was impelled in what I did by virtue or vice; but I
could not help perceiving that my motives were of a mixed nature; for if
I were amorous, I was also very glad to be of assistance to two young
lovers, and all the more from my knowledge of the father's criminal
passion.

On entering their room I found the invalid in the surgeon's hands. He
pronounced the wound not to be dangerous, in spite of its depth;
suppuration had taken place without setting up inflammation--in short,
the young man only wanted time and rest. When the doctor had gone I
congratulated the patient on his condition, advising him to be careful
what he ate, and to keep silent. I then gave Mdlle. Desarmoises her
father's letter, and I said farewell for the present, telling them that I
would go to my own room till supper-time. I felt sure that she would come
and speak to me after reading her father's letter.

In a quarter of an hour she knocked timidly at my door, and when I let
her in she gave me back the letter and asked me what I thought of doing.

"Nothing. I shall be only too happy, however, if I can be of any service
to you."

"Ah! I breathe again!"

"Could you imagine me pursuing any other line of conduct? I am much
interested in you, and will do all in my power to help you. Are you
married?"

"Not yet, but we are going to be married when we get to Geneva."

"Sit down and tell me all about yourself. I know that your father is
unhappily in love with you, and that you avoid his attentions."

"He has told you that much? I am glad of it. A year ago he came to Lyons,
and as soon as I knew he was in the town I took refuge with a friend of
my mother's, for I was aware that I could not stay in the same house with
my father for an hour without exposing myself to the most horrible
outrage. The young man in bed is the son of a rich Geneva merchant. My
father introduced him to me two years ago, and we soon fell in love with
each other. My father went away to Marseilles, and my lover asked my
mother to give me in marriage to him; but she did not feel authorized to
do so without my father's consent. She wrote and asked him, but he
replied that he would announce his decision when he returned to Lyons. My
lover went to Geneva, and as his father approved of the match he returned
with all the necessary documents and a strong letter of commendation from
M. Tolosan. When my father came to Lyons I escaped, as I told you, and my
lover got M. Tolosan to ask my hand for him of my father. His reply was,
'I can give no answer till she returns to my house!'

"M. Tolosan brought this reply to me, and I told him that I was ready to
obey if my mother would guarantee my safety. She replied, however, that
she knew her husband too well to dare to have us both under the same
roof. Again did M. Tolosan endeavour to obtain my father's consent, but
to no purpose. A few days after he left Lyons, telling us that he was
first going to Aix and then to Turin, and as it was evident that he would
never give his consent my lover proposed that I should go off with him,
promising to marry me as soon as we reached Geneva. By ill luck we
travelled through Savoy, and thus met my father. As soon as he saw us he
stopped the carriage and called to me to get out. I began to shriek, and
my lover taking me in his arms to protect me my father stabbed him in the
chest. No doubt he would have killed him, but seeing that my shrieks were
bringing people to our rescue, and probably believing that my lover was
as good as dead, he got on horseback again and rode off at full speed. I
can chew you the sword still covered with blood."

"I am obliged to answer this letter of his, and I am thinking how I can
obtain his consent."

"That's of no consequence; we can marry and be happy without it."

"True, but you ought not to despise your dower."

"Good heavens! what dower? He has no money!"

"But on the death of his father, the Marquis Desarmoises . . . . "

"That's all a lie. My father has only a small yearly pension for having
served thirty years as a Government messenger. His father has been dead
these thirty years, and my mother and my sister only live by the work
they do."

I was thunderstruck at the impudence of the fellow, who, after imposing
on me so long, had himself put me in a position to discover his deceit. I
said nothing. Just then we were told that supper was ready, and we sat at
table for three hours talking the matter over. The poor wounded man had
only to listen to me to know my feelings on the subject. His young
mistress, as witty as she was pretty, jested on the foolish passion of
her father, who had loved her madly ever since she was eleven.

"And you were always able to resist his attempts?" said I.

"Yes, whenever he pushed things too far."

"And how long did this state of things continue?"

"For two years. When I was thirteen he thought I was ripe, and tried to
gather the fruit; but I began to shriek, and escaped from his bed stark
naked, and I went to take refuge with my mother, who from that day forth
would not let me sleep with him again."

"You used to sleep with him? How could your mother allow it?"

"She never thought that there was anything criminal in his affection for
me, and I knew nothing about it. I thought that what he did to me, and
what he made me do to him, were mere trifles."

"But you have saved the little treasure?"

"I have kept it for my lover."

The poor lover, who was suffering more from the effects of hunger than
from his wounds, laughed at this speech of hers, and she ran to him and
covered his face with kisses. All this excited me intensely. Her story
had been told with too much simplicity not to move me, especially when I
had her before my eyes, for she possessed all the attractions which a
woman can have, and I almost forgave her father for forgetting she was
his daughter and falling in love with her.

When she escorted me back to my room I made her feel my emotion, and she
began to laugh; but as my servants were close by I was obliged to let her
go.

Early next morning I wrote to her father that his daughter had resolved
not to leave her lover, who was only slightly wounded, that they were in
perfect safety and under the protection of the law at Chamberi, and
finally that having heard their story, and judging them to be well
matched, I could only approve of the course they had taken. When I had
finished I went into their room and gave them the letter to read, and
seeing the fair runaway at a loss how to express her 'gratitude, I begged
the invalid to let me kiss her.

"Begin with me," said he, opening his arms.

My hypocritical love masked itself under the guise of paternal affection.
I embraced the lover, and then more amorously I performed the same office
for the mistress, and skewed them my purse full of gold, telling them it
was at their service. While this was going on the surgeon came in, and I
retired to my room.

At eleven o'clock Madame Morin and her daughter arrived, preceded by Le
Duc on horseback, who announced their approach by numerous smacks of his
whip. I welcomed her with open arms, thanking her for obliging me.

The first piece of news she gave me was that Mdlle. Roman had become
mistress to Louis XV., that she lived in a beautiful house at Passi, and
that she was five months gone with child. Thus she was in a fair way to
become queen of France, as my divine oracle had predicted.

"At Grenoble," she added, "you are the sole topic of conversation; and I
advise you not to go there unless you wish to settle in the country, for
they would never let you go. You would have all the nobility at your
feet, and above all, the ladies anxious to know the lot of their
daughters. Everybody believes in judicial astrology now, and Valenglard
triumphs. He has bet a hundred Louis to fifty that my niece will be
delivered of a young prince, and he is certain of winning; though to be
sure, if he loses, everybody will laugh at him."

"Don't be afraid of his losing."

"Is it quite certain?"

"Has not the horoscope proved truthful in the principal particular? If
the other circumstances do not follow, I must have made a great mistake
in my calculations."

"I am delighted to hear you say so."

"I am going to Paris and I hope you will give me a letter of introduction
to Madame Varnier, so that I may have the pleasure of seeing your niece."

"You shall have the letter to-morrow without fail."

I introduced Mdlle. Desarmoises to her under the family name of her
lover, and invited her to dine with Madame Morin and myself. After dinner
we went to the convent, and M---- M---- came down very surprised at this
unexpected visit from her aunt; but when she saw me she had need of all
her presence of mind. When her aunt introduced me to her by name, she
observed with true feminine tact that during her stay at Aix she had seen
me five or six times at the fountain, but that I could not remember her
features as she had always worn her veil. I admired her wit as much as
her exquisite features. I thought she had grown prettier than ever, and
no doubt my looks told her as much. We spent an hour in talking about
Grenoble and her old friends, whom she gladly recalled to her memory, and
then she went to fetch a young girl who was boarding at the convent, whom
she liked and wanted to present to her aunt.

I seized the opportunity of telling Madame Morin that I was astonished at
the likeness, that her very voice was like that of my Venetian
M---- M----, and I begged her to obtain me the privilege of breakfasting
with her niece the next day, and of presenting her with a dozen pounds of
capital chocolate. I had brought it with me from Genoa.

"You must make her the present yourself," said Madame Morin, "for though
she's a nun she's a woman, and we women much prefer a present from a
man's than from a woman's hand."

M---- M---- returned with the superior of the convent, two other nuns, and
the young boarder, who came from Lyons, and was exquisitely beautiful. I
was obliged to talk to all the nuns, and Madame Morin told her niece that
I wanted her to try some excellent chocolate I had brought from Genoa,
but that I hoped her lay-sister would make it.

"Sir," said M---- M----, "kindly send me the chocolate, and to-morrow we
will breakfast together with these dear sisters."

As soon as I got back to my inn I sent the chocolate with a respectful
note, and I took supper in Madame Morin's room with her daughter and
Mdlle. Desarmoises, of whom I was feeling more and more amorous, but I
talked of M---- M---- all the time, and I could see that the aunt suspected
that the pretty nun was not altogether a stranger to me.

I breakfasted at the convent and I remember that the chocolate, the
biscuits, and the sweetmeats were served with a nicety which savoured
somewhat of the world. When we had finished breakfast I told
M---- M---- that she would not find it so easy to give me a dinner, with
twelve persons sitting down to table, but I added that half the company
could be in the convent and half in the parlour, separated from the
convent by a light grating.

"It's a sight I should like to see," said I, "if you will allow me to pay
all expenses."

"Certainly," replied M---- M----, and this dinner was fixed for the next
day.

M---- M---- took charge of the whole thing, and promised to ask six nuns.
Madame Morin, who knew my tastes, told her to spare nothing, and I warned
her that I would send in the necessary wines.

I escorted Madame Morin, her daughter, and Mdlle. Desarmoises back to the
hotel, and I then called on M. Magnan, to whom I had been recommended by
the Chevalier Raiberti. I asked him to get me some of the best wine, and
he took me down to his cellar, and told me to take what I liked. His
wines proved to be admirable.

This M. Magnan was a clever man, of a pleasant appearance, and very
comfortably off. He occupied an extremely large and convenient house
outside the town, and there his agreeable wife dispensed hospitality. She
had ten children, amongst whom there were four pretty daughters; the
eldest, who was nineteen, was especially good-looking.

We went to the convent at eleven o'clock, and after an hour's
conversation we were told that dinner was ready. The table was
beautifully laid, covered with a fair white cloth, and adorned with vases
filled with artificial flowers so strongly scented that the air of the
parlour was quite balmy. The fatal grill was heavier than I had hoped. I
found myself seated to the left of M---- M----, and totally unable to see
her. The fair Desarmoises was at my right, and she entertained us all the
time with her amusing stories.

We in the parlour were waited on by Le Duc and Costa, and the nuns were
served by their lay-sisters. The abundant provision, the excellent wines,
the pleasant though sometimes equivocal conversation, kept us all merrily
employed for three hours. Mirth had the mastery over reason, or, to speak
more plainly, we were all drunk; and if it had not been for the fatal
grill, I could have had the whole eleven ladies without much trouble. The
young Desarmoises was so gay, indeed, that if I had not restrained her
she would probably have scandalised all the nuns, who would have liked
nothing better. I was longing to have her to myself, that I might quench
the flame she had kindled in my breast, and I had no doubt of my success
on the first attempt. After coffee had been served, we went into another
parlour and stayed there till night came on. Madame Morin took leave of
her niece, and the hand-shakings, thanks, and promises of remembrance
between me and the nuns, lasted for a good quarter of an hour. After I
had said aloud to M---- M---- that I hoped to have the pleasure of seeing
her before I left, we went back to the inn in high good humour with our
curious party which I still remember with pleasure.

Madame Morin gave me a letter for her cousin Madame Varnier, and I
promised to write to her from Paris, and tell her all about the fair
Mdlle. Roman. I presented the daughter with a beautiful pair of
ear-rings, and I gave Madame Morin twelve pounds of good chocolate which
M. Magnan got me, and which the lady thought had come from Genoa. She
went off at eight o'clock preceded by Le Duc, who had orders to greet the
doorkeeper's family on my behalf.

At Magnan's I had a dinner worthy of Lucullus, and I promised to stay
with him whenever I passed Chamberi, which promise I have faithfully
performed.

On leaving the gourmand's I went to the convent, and M---- M---- came down
alone to the grating. She thanked me for coming to see her, and added
that I had come to disturb her peace of mind.

"I am quite ready, dearest, to climb the harden wall, and I shall do it
more dexterously than your wretched humpback."

"Alas! that may not be, for, trust me, you are already spied upon.
Everybody here is sure that we knew each other at Aix. Let us forget all,
and thus spare ourselves the torments of vain desires."

"Give me your hand."

"No. All is over. I love you still, probably I shall always love you; but
I long for you to go, and by doing so, you will give me a proof of your
love."

"This is dreadful; you astonish me. You appear to me in perfect health,
you are prettier than ever, you are made for the worship of the sweetest
of the gods, and I can't understand how, with a temperament like yours,
you can live in continual abstinence."

"Alas! lacking the reality we console ourselves by pretending. I will not
conceal from you that I love my young boarder. It is an innocent passion,
and keeps my mind calm. Her caresses quench the flame which would
otherwise kill me."

"And that is not against your conscience?"

"I do not feel any distress on the subject."

"But you know it is a sin."

"Yes, so I confess it."

"And what does the confessor say?"

"Nothing. He absolves me, and I am quite content:"

"And does the pretty boarder confess, too?"

"Certainly, but she does not tell the father of a matter which she thinks
is no sin."

"I wonder the confessor has not taught her, for that kind of instruction
is a great pleasure."

"Our confessor is a wise old man."

"Am I to leave you, then, without a single kiss?"

"Not one."

"May I come again to-morrow? I must go the day after."

"You may come, but I cannot see you by myself as the nuns might talk. I
will bring my little one with me to save appearances. Come after dinner,
but into the other parlour."

If I had not known M---- M---- at Aix, her religious ideas would have
astonished me; but such was her character. She loved God, and did not
believe that the kind Father who made us with passions would be too
severe because we had not the strength to subdue them. I returned to the
inn, feeling vexed that the pretty nun would have no more to do with me,
but sure of consolation from the fair Desarmoises.

I found her sitting on her lover's bed; his poor diet and the fever had
left him in a state of great weakness. She told me that she would sup in
my room to leave him in quiet, and the worthy young man shook my hand in
token of his gratitude.

As I had a good dinner at Magnan's I ate very little supper, but my
companion who had only had a light meal ate and drank to an amazing
extent. I gazed at her in a kind of wonder, and she enjoyed my
astonishment. When my servants had left the room I challenged her to
drink a bowl of punch with me, and this put her into a mood which asked
for nothing but laughter, and which laughed to find itself deprived of
reasoning power. Nevertheless, I cannot accuse myself of taking an
advantage of her condition, for in her voluptuous excitement she entered
eagerly into the pleasure to which I excited her till two o'clock in the
morning. By the time we separated we were both of us exhausted.

I slept till eleven, and when I went to wish her good day I found her
smiling and as fresh as a rose. I asked her how she had passed the rest
of the night.

"Very pleasantly," said she, "like the beginning of the night."

"What time would you like to have dinner?"

"I won't dine; I prefer to keep my appetite for supper."

Here her lover joined in, saying in a weak voice,--

"It is impossible to keep up with her."

"In eating or drinking?" I asked.

"In eating, drinking, and in other things," he replied, with a smile. She
laughed, and kissed him affectionately.

This short dialogue convinced me that Mdlle. Desarmoises must adore her
lover; for besides his being a handsome young man, his disposition was
exactly suitable to hers. I dined by myself, and Le Duc came in as I was
having dessert. He told me that the door-keeper's daughters and their
pretty cousin had made him wait for them to write to me, and he gave me
three letters and three dozen of gloves which they had presented me. The
letters urged me to come and spend a month with them, and gave me to
understand that I should be well pleased with my treatment. I had not the
courage to return to a town, where with my reputation I should have been
obliged to draw horoscopes for all the young ladies or to make enemies by
refusing.

After I had read the letters from Grenoble I went to the convent and
announced my presence, and then entered the parlour which M---- M---- had
indicated. She soon came down with the pretty boarder, who feebly
sustained my part in her amorous ecstacies. She had not yet completed her
twelfth year, but she was extremely tall and well developed for her age.
Gentleness, liveliness, candour, and wit were united in her features, and
gave her expression an exquisite charm. She wore a well-made corset which
disclosed a white throat, to which the fancy easily added the two spheres
which would soon appear there. Her entrancing face, her raven locks, and
her ivory throat indicated what might be concealed, and my vagrant
imagination made her into a budding Venus. I began by telling her that
she was very pretty, and would make her future husband a happy man. I
knew she would blush at that. It may be cruel, but it is thus that the
language of seduction always begins. A girl of her age who does not blush
at the mention of marriage is either an idiot or already an expert in
profligacy. In spite of this, however, the blush which mounts to a young
girl's cheek at the approach of such ideas is a puzzling problem. Whence
does it arise? It may be from pure simplicity, it may be from shame, and
often from a mixture of both feelings. Then comes the fight between vice
and virtue, and it is usually virtue which has to give in. The
desires--the servants of vice--usually attain their ends. As I knew the
young boarder from M---- M----'s description, I could not be ignorant of
the source of those blushes which added a fresh attraction to her
youthful charms.

Pretending not to notice anything, I talked to M---- M---- for a few
moments, and then returned to the assault. She had regained her calm.

"What age are you, pretty one?" said I.

"I am thirteen."

"You are wrong," said M---- M----, "you have not yet completed your
twelfth year."

"The time will come," said I, "when you will diminish the tale of your
years instead of increasing it."

"I shall never tell a lie, sir; I am sure of that."

"So you want to be a nun, do you?"

"I have not yet received my vocation; but even if I live in the world I
need not be a liar."

"You are wrong; you will begin to lie as soon as you have a lover."

"Will my lover tell lies, too?"

"Certainly he will."

"If the matter were really so, then, I should have a bad opinion of love;
but I do not believe it, for I love my sweetheart here, and I never
conceal the truth from her."

"Yes, but loving a man is a different thing to loving a woman."

"No, it isn't; it's just the same."

"Not so, for you do not go to bed with a woman and you do with your
husband."

"That's no matter, my love would be the same."

"What? You would not rather sleep with me than with M---- M----?"

"No, indeed I should not, because you are a man and would see me."

"You don't want a man to see you, then?"

"No."

"Do you think you are so ugly, then?"

At this she turned to M---- M---- and said, with evident vexation, "I am
not really ugly, am I?"

"No, darling," said M---- M----, bursting with laughter, "it is quite the
other way; you are very pretty." With these words she took her on her
knee and embraced her tenderly.

"Your corset is too tight; you can't possibly have such a small waist as
that."

"You make a mistake, you can put your hand there and see for yourself."

"I can't believe it."

M---- M---- then held her close to the grill and told me to see for myself.
At the same moment she turned up her dress.

"You were right," said I, "and I owe you an apology;" but in my heart I
cursed the grating and the chemise.

"My opinion is," said I to M---- M----, "that we have here a little boy."

I did not wait for a reply, but satisfied myself by my sense of touch as
to her sex, and I could see that the little one and her governess were
both pleased that my mind was at rest on the subject.

I drew my hand away, and the little girl looked at M---- M----, and
reassured by her smiling air asked if she might go away for a moment. I
must have reduced her to a state in which a moment's solitude was
necessary, and I myself was in a very excited condition.

As soon as she was gone I said to M---- M----,

"Do you know that what you have shewn me has made me unhappy?"

"Has it? Why?"

"Because your boarder is charming, and I am longing to enjoy her."

"I am sorry for that, for you can't possibly go any further; and besides,
I know you, and even if you could satisfy your passion without danger to
her, I would not give her up to you, you would spoil her."

"How?"

"Do you think that after enjoying you she would care to enjoy me? I
should lose too heavily by the comparison."

"Give me your hand."

"No."

"Stay, one moment."

"I don't want to see anything."

"Not a little bit?"

"Nothing at all."

"Are you angry with me, then?"

"Not at all. If you have been pleased I am glad, and if you have filled
her with desires she will love me all the better."

"How pleasant it would be, sweetheart, if we could all three of us be
together alone and at liberty!"

"Yes; but it is impossible."

"Are you sure that no inquisitive eye is looking upon us?"

"Quite sure."

"The height of that fatal grill has deprived me of the sight of many
charms."

"Why didn't you go to the other parlour it is much lower there."

"Let us go there, then."

"Not to-day; I should not be able to give any reason for the change."

"I will come again to-morrow, and start for Lyons in the evening."

The little boarder came back, and I stood up facing her. I had a number
of beautiful seals and trinkets hanging from my watch-chain, and I had
not had the time to put myself in a state of perfect decency again.

She noticed it, and by way of pretext she asked if she might look at
them.

"As long as you like; you may look at them and touch them as well."

M---- M---- foresaw what would happen and left the room, saying that she
would soon be back. I had intended to deprive the young boarder of all
interest in my seals by shewing her a curiosity of another kind. She did
not conceal her pleasure in satisfying her inquisitiveness on an object
which was quite new to her, and which she was able to examine minutely
for the first time in her life. But soon an effusion changed her
curiosity into surprise, and I did not interrupt her in her delighted
gaze.

I saw M---- M---- coming back slowly, and I lowered my shirt again, and sat
down. My watch and chains were still on the ledge of the grating, and
M---- M---- asked her young friend if the trinkets had pleased her.

"Yes," she replied, but in a dreamy and melancholy voice. She had learnt
so much in the course of less than two hours that she had plenty to think
over. I spent the rest of the day in telling M---- M---- the adventures I
had encountered since I had left her; but as I had not time to finish my
tale I promised to return the next day at the same time.

The little girl, who had been listening to me all the time, though I
appeared to be only addressing her friend, said that she longed to know
the end of my adventure with the Duke of Matelone's mistress.

I supped with the fair Desarmoises, and after giving her sundry proofs of
my affection till midnight, and telling her that I only stopped on for
her sake, I went to bed.

The next day after dinner I returned to the convent, and having sent up
my name to M---- M---- I entered the room where the grating was more
convenient.

Before long M---- M---- arrived alone, but she anticipated my thoughts by
telling me that her pretty friend would soon join her.

"You have fired her imagination. She has told me all about it, playing a
thousand wanton tricks, and calling me her dear husband. You have seduced
the girl, and I am very glad you are going or else you would drive her
mad. You will see how she has dressed herself."

"Are you sure of her discretion?"

"Perfectly, but I hope you won't do anything in my presence. When I see
the time coming I will leave the room."

"You are an angel, dearest, but you might be something better than that
if you would--"

"I want nothing for myself; it is out of the question."

"You could--"

"No, I will have nothing to do with a pastime which would rekindle fires
that are hardly yet quenched. I have spoken; I suffer, but let us say no
more about it."

At this moment the young adept came in smiling, with her eyes full of
fire. She was dressed in a short pelisse, open in front, and an
embroidered muslin skirt which did not go beyond her knees. She looked
like a sylph.

We had scarcely sat down when she reminded me of the place where my tale
had stopped. I continued my recital, and when I was telling them how
Donna Lucrezia shewed me Leonilda naked, M---- M---- went out, and the sly
little puss asked me how I assured myself that my daughter was a maid.

I took bold of her through the fatal grating, against which she placed
her pretty body, and shewed her how assured myself of the fact, and the
girl liked it so much that she pressed my hand to the spot. She then gave
me her hand that I might share her pleasure, and whilst this enjoyable
occupation was in progress M---- M---- appeared. My sweetheart said
hastily,--

"Never mind, I told her all about it. She is a good creature and will not
be vexed." Accordingly M---- M---- pretended not to see anything, and the
precocious little girl wiped her hand in a kind of voluptuous ecstacy,
which shewed how well she was pleased.

I proceeded with my history, but when I came to the episode of the poor
girl who was 'tied', describing all the trouble I had vainly taken with
her, the little boarder got so curious that she placed herself in the
most seducing attitude so that I might be able to shew her what I did.
Seeing this M---- M---- made her escape.

"Kneel down on the ledge, and leave the rest to me," said the little
wanton.

The reader will guess what she meant, and I have no doubt that she would
have succeeded in her purpose if the fire which consumed me had not
distilled itself away just at the happy moment.

The charming novice felt herself sprinkled, but after ascertaining that
nothing more could be done she withdrew in some vexation. My fingers,
however, consoled her for the disappointment, and I had the pleasure of
seeing her look happy once more.

I left these charming creatures in the evening, promising to visit them
again in a year, but as I walked home I could not help reflecting how
often these asylums, supposed to be devoted to chastity and prayer,
contain in themselves the hidden germs of corruption. How many a timorous
and trustful mother is persuaded that the child of her affection will
escape the dangers of the world by taking refuge in the cloister. But
behind these bolts and bars desires grow to a frenzied extreme; they
crave in vain to be satisfied.

When I returned to the inn I took leave of the wounded man, whom I was
happy to see out of danger. In vain I urged him to make use of my purse;
he told me, with an affectionate embrace, that he had sufficient money,
and if not, he had only to write to his father. I promised to stop at
Lyons, and to oblige Desarmoises to desist from any steps he might be
taking against them, telling them I had a power over him which would
compel him to obey. I kept my word. After we had kissed and said
good-bye, I took his future bride into my room that we might sup together
and enjoy ourselves till midnight; but she could not have been very
pleased with my farewell salute, for I was only able to prove my love for
her once, as M---- M----'s young friend had nearly exhausted me.

I started at day-break, and the next day I reached the "Hotel du Parc,"
at Lyons. I sent for Desarmoises, and told him plainly that his
daughter's charms had seduced me, that I thought her lover worthy of her,
and that I expected him out of friendship for me to consent to the
marriage. I went further, and told him that if he did not consent to
everything that very instant I could no longer be his friend, and at this
he gave in. He executed the requisite document in the presence of two
witnesses, and I sent it to Chamberi by an express messenger.

This false marquis made me dine with him in his poor house. There was
nothing about his younger daughter to remind me of the elder, and his
wife inspired me with pity. Before I left I managed to wrap up six Louis
in a piece of paper, and gave it to her without the knowledge of her
husband. A grateful look shewed me how welcome the present was.

I was obliged to go to Paris, so I gave Desarmoises sufficient money for
him to go to Strasburg, and await me there in company with my Spaniard.

I thought myself wise in only taking Costa, but the inspiration came from
my evil genius.

I took the Bourbonnais way, and on the third day I arrived at Paris, and
lodged at the Hotel du St. Esprit, in the street of the same name.

Before going to bed I sent Costa with a note to Madame d'Urfe, promising
to come and dine with her the next day. Costa was a good-looking young
fellow, and as he spoke French badly and was rather a fool I felt sure
that Madame d'Urfe would take him for some extraordinary being. She wrote
to say that she was impatiently expecting me.

"How did the lady receive you, Costa?"

"She looked into a mirror, sir, and said some words I could make nothing
of; then she went round the room three times burning incense; then she
came up to me with a majestic air and looked me in the face; and at last
she smiled very pleasantly, and told me to wait for a reply in the
ante-chamber."





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