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Title: Memoirs of Casanova — Volume 21: South of France
Author: Casanova, Giacomo, 1725-1798
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Memoirs of Casanova — Volume 21: South of France" ***

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THE MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA DE SEINGALT

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

MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA de SEINGALT 1725-1798 IN LONDON AND MOSCOW,
Volume 5a--SOUTH OF FRANCE



SOUTH OF FRANCE



CHAPTER I

I Find Rosalie Happy--The Signora Isola-Bella--The
Cook--Biribi--Irene--Possano in Prison--My Niece Proves to be an Old
Friend of Rosalie's

At Genoa, where he was known to all, Pogomas called himself Possano. He
introduced me to his wife and daughter, but they were so ugly and
disgusting in every respect that I left them on some trifling pretext,
and went to dine with my new niece. Afterwards I went to see the Marquis
Grimaldi, for I longed to know what had become of Rosalie. The marquis
was away in Venice, and was not expected back till the end of April; but
one of his servants took me to Rosalie, who had become Madame Paretti six
months after my departure.

My heart beat fast as I entered the abode of this woman, of whom I had
such pleasant recollections. I first went to M. Paretti in his shop, and
he received me with a joyful smile, which shewed me how happy he was. He
took me to his wife directly, who cried out with delight, and ran to
embrace me.

M. Paretti was busy, and begged me to excuse him, saying his wife would
entertain me.

Rosalie shewed me a pretty little girl of six months old, telling me that
she was happy, that she loved her husband, and was loved by him, that he
was industrious and active in business, and under the patronage of the
Marquis Grimaldi had prospered exceedingly.

The peaceful happiness of marriage had improved her wonderfully; she had
become a perfect beauty in every sense of the word.

"My dear friend," she said, "you are very good to call on me directly you
arrive, and I hope you will dine with us to-morrow. I owe all my
happiness to you, and that is even a sweeter thought than the
recollection of the passionate hours we have spent together. Let us kiss,
but no more; my duty as an honest wife forbids me from going any further,
so do not disturb the happiness you have given."

I pressed her hand tenderly, to skew that I assented to the conditions
she laid down.

"Oh! by the way," she suddenly exclaimed, "I have a pleasant surprise for
you."

She went out, and a moment afterward returned with Veronique, who had
become her maid. I was glad to see her and embraced her affectionately,
asking after Annette. She said her sister was well, and was working with
her mother.

"I want her to come and wait on my niece while we are here," said I.

At this Rosalie burst out laughing.

"What! another niece? You have a great many relations! But as she is your
niece, I hope you will bring her with you to-morrow."

"Certainly, and all the more willingly as she is from Marseilles."

"From Marseilles? Why, we might know each other. Not that that would
matter, for all your nieces are discreet young persons. What is her
name?"

"Crosin."

"I don't know it."

"I daresay you don't. She is the daughter of a cousin of mine who lived
at Marseilles."

"Tell that to someone else; but, after all, what does it matter? You
choose well, amuse yourself, and make them happy. It may be wisdom after
all, and at any rate I congratulate you. I shall be delighted to see your
niece, but if she knows me you must see that she knows her part as well."

On leaving Madame Paretti I called on the Signora Isola-Bella, and gave
her the Marquis Triulzi's letter. Soon after she came into the room and
welcomed me, saying that she had been expecting me, as Triulzi had
written to her on the subject. She introduced me to the Marquis Augustino
Grimaldi delta Pietra, her 'cicisbeoin-chief' during the long absence of
her husband, who lived at Lisbon.

The signora's apartments were very elegant. She was pretty with small
though regular features, her manner was pleasant, her voice sweet, and
her figure well shaped, though too thin. She was nearly thirty. I say
nothing of her complexion, for her face was plastered with white and red,
and so coarsely, that these patches of paint were the first things that
caught my attention. I was disgusted at this, in spite of her fine
expressive eyes. After an hour spent in question and reply, in which both
parties were feeling their way, I accepted her invitation to come to
supper on the following day. When I got back I complimented my niece on
the way in which she had arranged her room, which was only separated from
mine by a small closet which I intended for her maid, who, I told her,
was coming the next day. She was highly pleased with this attention, and
it paved the way for my success. I also told her that the next day she
was to dine with me at a substantial merchant's as my niece, and this
piece of news made her quite happy.

This girl whom Croce had infatuated and deprived of her senses was
exquisitely beautiful, but more charming than all her physical beauties
were the nobleness of her presence and the sweetness of her disposition.
I was already madly in love with her, and I repented not having taken
possession of her on the first day of our journey. If I had taken her at
her word I should have been a steadfast lover, and I do not think it
would have taken me long to make her forget her former admirer.

I had made but a small dinner, so I sat down to supper famishing with
hunger; and as my niece had an excellent appetite we prepared ourselves
for enjoyment, but instead of the dishes being delicate, as we had
expected, they were detestable. I told Clairmont to send for the
landlady, and she said that she could not help it, as everything had been
done by my own cook.

"My cook?" I repeated.

"Yes, sir, the one your secretary, M. Possano, engaged for you. I could
have got a much better one and a much cheaper one myself."

"Get one to-morrow."

"Certainly; but you must rid yourself and me of the present cook, for he
has taken up his position here with his wife and children. Tell Possano
to send for him."

"I will do so, and in the meanwhile do you get me a fresh cook. I will
try him the day after to-morrow."

I escorted my niece into her room, and begged her to go to bed without
troubling about me, and so saying I took up the paper and began to read
it. When I had finished, I went up to bed, and said,

"You might spare me the pain of having to sleep by myself."

She lowered her eyes but said nothing, so I gave her a kiss and left her.

In the morning my fair niece came into my room just as Clairmont was
washing my feet, and begged me to let her have some coffee as chocolate
made her hot. I told my man to go and fetch some coffee, and as soon as
he was gone she went down on her knees and would have wiped my feet.

"I cannot allow that, my dear young lady."

"Why not? it is a mark of friendship."

"That may be, but such marks cannot be given to anyone but your lover
without your degrading yourself."

She got up and sat down on a chair quietly, but saying nothing.

Clairmont came back again, and I proceeded with my toilette.

The landlady came in with our breakfast, and asked my niece if she would
like to buy a fine silk shawl made in the Genoese fashion. I did not let
her be confused by having to answer, but told the landlady to let us see
it. Soon after the milliner came in, but by that time I had given my
young friend twenty Genoese sequins, telling her that she might use them
for her private wants. She took the money, thanking me with much grace,
and letting me imprint a delicious kiss on her lovely lips.

I had sent away the milliner after having bought the shawl, when Possano
took it upon himself to remonstrate with me in the matter of the cook.

"I engaged the man by your orders," said he, "for the whole time you
stayed at Genoa, at four francs a day, with board and lodging."

"Where is my letter?"

"Here it is: 'Get me a good cook; I will keep him while I stay in
Genoa.'"

"Perhaps you did not remark the expression, a good cook? Well, this
fellow is a very bad cook; and, at all events, I am the best judge
whether he is good or bad."

"You are wrong, for the man will prove his skill. He will cite you in the
law courts, and win his case."

"Then you have made a formal agreement with him?"

"Certainly; and your letter authorized me to do so."

"Tell him to come up; I want to speak to him."

While Possano was downstairs I told Clairmont to go and fetch me an
advocate. The cook came upstairs, I read the agreement, and I saw that it
was worded in such a manner that I should be in the wrong legally; but I
did not change my mind for all that.

"Sir," said the cook, "I am skilled in my business, and I can get four
thousand Genoese to swear as much."

"That doesn't say much for their good taste; but whatever they may-say,
the execrable supper you gave me last night proves that you are only fit
to keep a low eating-house."

As there is nothing more irritable than the feelings of a culinary
artist, I was expecting a sharp answer; but just then the advocate came
in. He had heard the end of our dialogue, and told me that not only would
the man find plenty of witnesses to his skill, but that I should find a
very great difficulty in getting anybody at all to swear to his want of
skill.

"That may be," I replied, "but as I stick to my own opinion, and think
his cooking horrible, he must go, for I want to get another, and I will
pay that fellow as if he had served me the whole time."

"That won't do," said the cook; "I will summon you before the judge and
demand damages for defamation of character."

At this my bile overpowered me, and I was going to seize him anti throw
him out of the window, when Don Antonio Grimaldi came in. When he heard
what was the matter, he laughed and said, with a shrug of his shoulders,

"My dear sir, you had better not go into court, or you will be cast in
costs, for the evidence is against you. Probably this man makes a slight
mistake in believing himself to be an excellent cook, but the chief
mistake is in the agreement, which ought to have stipulated that he
should cook a trial dinner. The person who drew up the agreement is
either a great knave or a great fool."

At this Possano struck in in his rude way, and told the nobleman that he
was neither knave nor fool.

"But you are cousin to the cook," said the landlady.

This timely remark solved the mystery. I paid and dismissed the advocate,
and having sent the cook out of the room I said,

"Do I owe you any money, Possano?"

"On the contrary, you paid me a month in advance, and there are ten more
days of the month to run."

"I will make you a present of the ten days and send you away this very
moment, unless your cousin does not leave my house to-day, and give you
the foolish engagement which you signed in my name."

"That's what I call cutting the Gordian knot," said M. Grimaldi.

He then begged me to introduce him to the lady he had seen with me, and I
did so, telling him she was my niece.

"Signora Isola-Bella will be delighted to see her."

"As the marquis did not mention her in his letter, I did not take the
liberty of bringing her."

The marquis left a few moments afterwards, and soon after Annette came in
with her mother. The girl had developed in an incredible manner while I
was away. Her cheeks blossomed like the rose, her teeth were white as
pearls, and her breasts, though modestly concealed from view, were
exquisitely rounded. I presented her to her mistress, whose astonishment
amused me.

Annette, who looked pleased to be in my service again, went to dress her
new mistress; and, after giving a few sequins to the mother I sent her
away, and proceeded to make my toilette.

Towards noon, just as I was going out with my niece to dine at Rosalie's,
my landlady brought me the agreement Possano had made, and introduced the
new cook. I ordered the next day's dinner, and went away much pleased
with my comic victory.

A brilliant company awaited us at the Paretti's, but I was agreeably
surprised on introducing my niece to Rosalie to see them recognize each
other. They called each other by their respective names, and indulged in
an affectionate embrace. After this they retired to another room for a
quarter of an hour, and returned looking very happy. Just then Paretti
entered, and on Rosalie introducing him to my niece under her true name
he welcomed her in the most cordial manner. Her father was a
correspondent of his, and drawing a letter he had just received from him
from his pocket, he gave it to her to read. My niece read it eagerly,
with tears in her eyes, and gave the signature a respectful pressure with
her lips. This expression of filial love, which displayed all the
feelings of her heart, moved me to such an extent that I burst into
tears. Then taking Rosalie aside, I begged her to ask her husband not to
mention the fact to his correspondent that he had seen his daughter.

The dinner was excellent, and Rosalie did the honours with that grace
which was natural to her. However, the guests did not by any means pay
her all their attentions, the greater portion of which was diverted in
the direction of my supposed niece. Her father, a prosperous merchant of
Marseilles, was well known in the commercial circles of Genoa, and
besides this her wit and beauty captivated everybody, and one young
gentleman fell madly in love with her. He was an extremely good match,
and proved to be the husband whom Heaven had destined for my charming
friend. What a happy thought it was for me that I had been the means of
rescuing her from the gulf of shame, misery, and despair, and placing her
on the high road to happiness. I own that I have always felt a keener
pleasure in doing good than in anything else, though, perhaps, I may not
always have done good from strictly disinterested motives.

When we rose from the table in excellent humour with ourselves and our
surroundings, cards were proposed, and Rosalie, who knew my likings, said
it must be trente-quarante. This was agreed to, and we played till
supper, nobody either winning or losing to any extent. We did not go till
midnight, after having spent a very happy day.

When we were in our room I asked my niece how she had known Rosalie.

"I knew her at home; she and her mother used to bring linen from the
wash. I always liked her."

"You must be nearly the same age."

"She is two years older than I am. I recognized her directly."

"What did she tell you?"

"That it was you who brought her from Marseilles and made her fortune."

"She has not made you the depositary of any other confidences?"

"No, but there are some things which don't need telling."

"You are right. And what did you tell her?"

"Only what she could have guessed for herself. I told her that you were
not my uncle, and if she thought you were my lover I was not sorry. You
do not know how I have enjoyed myself to-day, you must have been born to
make me happy."

"But how about La Croix?"

"For heaven's sake say nothing about him."

This conversation increased my ardour. She called Annette, and I went to
my room.

As I had expected, Annette came to me as soon as her mistress was in bed.

"If the lady is really your niece," said she, "may I hope that you still
love me?"

"Assuredly, dear Annette, I shall always love you. Undress, and let us
have a little talk."

I had not long to wait, and in the course of two voluptuous hours I
quenched the flames that another woman had kindled in my breast.

Next morning Possano came to tell me that he had arranged matters with
the cook with the help of six sequins. I gave him the money, and told him
to be more careful for the future.

I went to Rosalie's for my breakfast, which she was delighted to give me:
and I asked her and her husband to dinner on the following day, telling
her to bring any four persons she liked.

"Your decision," said I, "will decide the fate of my cook; it will be his
trial dinner."

She promised to come, and then pressed me to tell her the history of my
amours with her fair country-woman.

"Alas!" I said, "you may not believe me, but I assure you I am only
beginning with her."

"I shall certainly believe you, if you tell me so, though it seems very
strange."

"Strange but true. You must understand, however, that I have only known
her for a very short time; and, again, I would not be made happy save
through love, mere submission would kill me."

"Good! but what did she say of me?"

I gave her a report of the whole conversation I had had with my niece the
night before, and she was delighted."

"As you have not yet gone far with your niece, would you object if the
young man who shewed her so much attention yesterday were of the party
to-morrow?"

"Who is he? I should like to know him."

"M. N----, the only son of a rich merchant."

"Certainly, bring him with you."

When I got home I went to my niece, who was still in bed, and told her
that her fellow-countryman would dine with us to-morrow. I comforted her
with the assurance that M. Paretti would not tell her father that she was
in Genoa. She had been a good deal tormented with the idea that the
merchant would inform her father of all.

As I was going out to supper I told her that she could go and sup with
Rosalie, or take supper at home if she preferred it.

"You are too kind to me, my dear uncle. I will go to Rosalie's."

"Very good. Are you satisfied with Annette?"

"Oh! by the way, she told me that you spent last night with her, and that
you had been her lover and her sister's at the same time."

"It is true, but she is very indiscreet to say anything about it."

"We must forgive her, though. She told me that she only consented to
sleep with you on the assurance that I was really your niece. I am sure
she only made this confession out of vanity, and in the hope of gaining
my favour, which would be naturally bestowed on a woman you love."

"I wish you had the right to be jealous of her; and I swear that if she
does not comport herself with the utmost obedience to you in every
respect, I will send her packing, in despite of our relations. As for
you, you may not be able to love me, and I have no right to complain; but
I will not have you degrade yourself by becoming my submissive victim."

I was not sorry for my niece to know that I made use of Annette, but my
vanity was wounded at the way she took it. It was plain that she was not
at all in love with me, and that she was glad that there was a safeguard
in the person of her maid, and that thus we could be together without
danger, for she could not ignore the power of her charms.

We dined together, and augured well of the skill of the new cook. M.
Paretti had promised to get me a good man, and he presented himself just
as we were finishing dinner, and I made a present of him to my niece. We
went for a drive together, and I left my niece at Rosalie's, and I then
repaired to Isola-Bella's, where I found a numerous and brilliant company
had assembled consisting of all the best people in Genoa.

Just then all the great ladies were mad over 'biribi', a regular cheating
game. It was strictly forbidden at Genoa, but this only made it more
popular, and besides, the prohibition had no force in private houses,
which are outside of the jurisdiction of the Government; in short, I
found the game in full swing at the Signora Isola-Bella's. The
professional gamesters who kept the bank went from house to house, and
the amateurs were advised of their presence at such a house and at such a
time.

Although I detested the game, I began to play--to do as the others did.

In the room there was a portrait of the mistress of the house in
harlequin costume, and there happened to be the same picture on one of
the divisions of the biribi-table: I chose this one out of politeness,
and did not play on any other. I risked a sequin each time. The board had
thirty-six compartments, and if one lost, one paid thirty-two tines the
amount of the stake; this, of course, was an enormous advantage for the
bank.

Each player drew three numbers in succession, and there were three
professionals; one kept the bag, another the bank, and the third the
board, and the last took care to gather in the winnings as soon as the
result was known, and the bank amounted to two thousand sequins or
thereabouts. The table, the cloth, and four silver candlesticks belonged
to the players.

I sat at the left of Madame Isola-Bella, who began to play, and as there
were fifteen or sixteen of us I had lost about fifty sequins when my turn
came, for my harlequin had not appeared once. Everybody pitied me, or
pretended to do so, for selfishness is the predominant passion of
gamesters.

My turn came at last. I drew my harlequin and received thirty-two
sequins. I left them on the same figure, and got a thousand sequins. I
left fifty still on the board, and the harlequin came out for the third
time. The bank was broken, and the table, the cloth, the candlesticks,
and the board all belonged to me. Everyone congratulated me, and the
wretched bankrupt gamesters were hissed, hooted, and turned out of doors.

After the first transports were over, I saw that the ladies were in
distress; for as there could be no more gaming they did not know what to
do. I consoled them by declaring that I would be banker, but with equal
stakes, and that I would pay winning cards thirty-six times the stake
instead of thirty-two. This was pronounced charming of me, and I amused
everybody till supper-time, without any great losses or gains on either
side. By dint of entreaty I made the lady of the house accept the whole
concern as a present, and a very handsome one it was.

The supper was pleasant enough, and my success at play was the chief
topic of conversation. Before leaving I asked Signora Isola-Bella and her
marquis to dine with me, and they eagerly accepted the invitation. When I
got home I went to see my niece, who told me she had spent a delightful
evening.

"A very pleasant young man," said she, "who is coming to dine with us
to-morrow, paid me great attention."

"The same, I suppose, that did so yesterday?"

"Yes. Amongst other pretty things he told me that if I liked he would go
to Marseilles and ask my hand of my father. I said nothing, but I thought
to myself that if the poor young man gave himself all this trouble he
would be woefully misled, as he would not see me."

"Why not?"

"Because I should be in a nunnery. My kind good father will forgive me,
but I must punish myself."

"That is a sad design, which I hope you will abandon. You have all that
would make the happiness of a worthy husband. The more I think it over,
the more I am convinced of the truth of what I say."

We said no more just then, for she needed rest. Annette came to undress
her, and I was glad to see the goodness of my niece towards her, but the
coolness with which the girl behaved to her mistress did not escape my
notice. As soon as she came to sleep with me I gently remonstrated with
her, bidding her to do her duty better for the future. Instead of
answering with a caress, as she ought to have done, she began to cry.

"My dear child," said I, "your tears weary me. You are only here to amuse
me, and if you can't do that, you had better go."

This hurt her foolish feelings of vanity, and she got up and went away
without a word, leaving me to go to sleep in a very bad temper.

In the morning I told her, in a stern voice, that if she played me such a
trick again I would send her away. Instead of trying to soothe me with a
kiss the little rebel burst out crying again. I sent her out of the room
impatiently, and proceeded to count my gains.

I thought no more about it, but presently my niece came in and asked me
why I had vexed poor Annette.

"My dear niece," said I, "tell her to behave better or else I will send
her back to her mother's."

She gave me no reply, but took a handful of silver and fled. I had not
time to reflect on this singular conduct, for Annette came in rattling
her crowns in her pocket, and promised, with a kiss, not to make me angry
any more.

Such was my niece. She knew I adored her, and she loved me; but she did
not want me to be her lover, though she made use of the ascendancy which
my passion gave her. In the code of feminine coquetry such cases are
numerous.

Possano came uninvited to see me, and congratulated me on my victory of
the evening before.

"Who told you about it?"

"I have just been at the coffee-house, where everybody is talking of it.
It was a wonderful victory, for those biribanti are knaves of the first
water. Your adventure is making a great noise, for everyone says that you
could not have broken their bank unless you had made an agreement with
the man that kept the bag."

"My dear fellow, I am tired of you. Here, take this piece of money for
your wife and be off."

The piece of money I had given him was a gold coin worth a hundred
Genoese livres, which the Government had struck for internal commerce;
there were also pieces of fifty and twenty-five livres.

I was going on with my calculations when Clairmont brought me a note. It
was from Irene, and contained a tender invitation to breakfast with her.
I did not know that she was in Genoa, and the news gave me very great
pleasure. I locked up my money, dressed in haste, and started out to see
her. I found her in good and well-furnished rooms, and her old father,
Count Rinaldi, embraced me with tears of joy.

After the ordinary compliments had been passed, the old man proceeded to
congratulate me on my winnings of the night before.

"Three thousand sequins!" he exclaimed, "that is a grand haul indeed."

"Quite so."

"The funny part of it is that the man who keeps the bag is in the pay of
the others."

"What strikes you as funny in that?"

"Why, he gained half without any risk, otherwise he would not have been
likely to have entered into an agreement with you."

"You think, then, that it was a case of connivance?"

"Everybody says so; indeed what else could it be? The rascal has made his
fortune without running any risk. All the Greeks in Genoa are applauding
him and you."

"As the greater rascal of the two?"

"They don't call you a rascal; they say you're a great genius; you are
praised and envied."

"I am sure I ought to be obliged to them."

"I heard it all from a gentleman who was there. He says that the second
and the third time the man with the bag gave you the office."

"And you believe this?"

"I am sure of it. No man of honour in your position could have acted
otherwise. However, when you come to settle up with the fellow I advise
you to be very careful, for there will be spies on your tracks. If you
like, I will do the business for you."

I had enough self-restraint to repress the indignation and rage I felt.
Without a word I took my hat and marched out of the room, sternly
repulsing Irene who tried to prevent me from going as she had done once
before. I resolved not to have anything more to do with the wretched old
count.

This calumnious report vexed me extremely, although I knew that most
gamesters would consider it an honour. Possano and Rinaldi had said
enough to shew me that all the town was talking over it, and I was not
surprised that everyone believed it; but for my part I did not care to be
taken for a rogue when I had acted honourably.

I felt the need of unbosoming myself to someone, and walked towards the
Strada Balbi to call on the Marquis Grimaldi, and discuss the matter with
him. I was told he was gone to the courts, so I followed him there and
was ushered into vast hall, where he waited on me. I told him my story,
and he said,

"My dear chevalier, you ought to laugh at it, and I should not advise you
to take the trouble to refute the calumny."

"Then you advise me to confess openly that I am a rogue?"

"No, for only fools will think that of you. Despise them, unless they
tell you you are a rogue to your face."

"I should like to know the name of the nobleman who was present and sent
this report about the town."

"I do not know who it is. He was wrong to say anything, but you would be
equally wrong in taking any steps against him, for I am sure he did not
tell the story with any intention of giving offence; quite the contrary."

"I am lost in wonder at his course of reasoning. Let us suppose that the
facts were as he told them, do you think they are to my honour?"

"Neither to your honour nor shame. Such are the morals and such the
maxims of gamesters. The story will be laughed at, your skill will be
applauded, and you will be admired, for each one will say that in your
place he would have done likewise!"

"Would you?"

"Certainly. If I had been sure that the ball would have gone to the
harlequin, I would have broken the rascal's bank, as you did. I will say
honestly that I do not know whether you won by luck or skill, but the
most probable hypothesis, to my mind, is that you knew the direction of
the ball. You must confess that there is something to be said in favour
of the supposition."

"I confess that there is, but it is none the less a dishonourable
imputation on me, and you in your turn must confess that those who think
that I won by sleight of hand, or by an agreement with a rascal, insult
me grievously."

"That depends on the way you look at it. I confess they insult you, if
you think yourself insulted; but they are not aware of that, and their
intention being quite different there is no insult at all in the matter.
I promise you no one will tell you to your face that you cheated, but how
are you going to prevent them thinking so?"

"Well, let them think what they like, but let them take care not to tell
me their thoughts."

I went home angry with Grimaldi, Rinaldi, and everyone else. My anger
vexed me, I should properly have only laughed, for in the state of morals
at Genoa, the accusation, whether true or false, could not injure my
honour. On the contrary I gained by it a reputation for being a genius, a
term which the Genoese prefer to that Methodistical word, "a rogue,"
though the meaning is the same. Finally I was astonished to find myself
reflecting that I should have had no scruple in breaking the bank in the
way suggested, if it had only been for the sake of making the company
laugh. What vexed me most was that I was credited with an exploit I had
not performed.

When dinner-time drew near I endeavoured to overcome my ill temper for
the sake of the company I was going to receive. My niece was adorned only
with her native charms, for the rascal Croce had sold all her jewels; but
she was elegantly dressed, and her beautiful hair was more precious than
a crown of rubies.

Rosalie came in richly dressed and looking very lovely. Her husband, her
uncle, and her aunt were with her, and also two friends, one of whom was
the aspirant for the hand of my niece.

Madame Isola-Bella and her shadow, M. Grimaldi, came late, like great
people. Just as we were going to sit down, Clairmont told me that a man
wanted to speak to me.

"Shew him in."

As soon as he appeared M. Grimaldi exclaimed:

"The man with the bag!"

"What do you want?" I said, dryly.

"Sir, I am come to ask you to help me. I am a family man, and it is
thought that . . ."

I did not let him finish.

"I have never refused to aid the unfortunate," said I. "Clairmont, give
him ten sequins. Leave the room."

This incident spoke in my favour, and made me in a better temper.

We sat down to table, and a letter was handed to me. I recognized
Possano's writing, and put it in my pocket without reading it.

The dinner was delicious, and my cook was pronounced to have won his
spurs. Though her exalted rank and the brilliance of her attire gave
Signora Isoia-Bella the first place of right, she was nevertheless
eclipsed by my two nieces. The young Genoese was all attention for the
fair Marseillaise, and I could see that she was not displeased. I
sincerely wished to see her in love with someone, and I liked her too
well to bear the idea of her burying herself in a convent. She could
never be happy till she found someone who would make her forget the
rascal who had brought her to the brink of ruin.

I seized the opportunity, when all my guests were engaged with each
other, to open Possano's letter. It ran as follows:

"I went to the bank to change the piece of gold you gave me. It was
weighed, and found to be ten carats under weight. I was told to name the
person from whom I got it, but of course I did not do so. I then had to
go to prison, and if you do not get me out of the scrape I shall be
prosecuted, though of course I am not going to get myself hanged for
anybody."

I gave the letter to Grimaldi, and when we had left the table he took me
aside, and said,--

"This is a very serious matter, for it may end in the gallows for the man
who clipped the coin."

"Then they can hang the biribanti! That won't hurt me much."

"No, that won't do; it would compromise Madame Isola-Bella, as biribi is
strictly forbidden. Leave it all to me, I will speak to the State
Inquisitors about it. Tell Possano to persevere in his silence, and that
you will see him safely through. The laws against coiners and clippers
are only severe with regard to these particular coins, as the Government
has special reasons for not wishing them to be depreciated."

I wrote to Possano, and sent for a pair of scales. We weighed the gold I
had won at biribi, and every single piece had been clipped. M. Grimaldi
said he would have them defaced and sold to a jeweller.

When we got back to the dining-room we found everybody at play. M.
Grimaldi proposed that I should play at quinze with him. I detested the
game, but as he was my guest I felt it would be impolite to refuse, and
in four hours I had lost five hundred sequins.

Next morning the marquis told me that Possano was out of prison, and that
he had been given the value of the coin. He brought me thirteen hundred
sequins which had resulted from the sale of the gold. We agreed that I
was to call on Madame Isola-Bella the next day, when he would give me my
revenge at quinze.

I kept the appointment, and lost three thousand sequins. I paid him a
thousand the next day, and gave him two bills of exchange, payable by
myself, for the other two thousand. When these bills were presented I was
in England, and being badly off I had to have them protested. Five years
later, when I was at Barcelona, M. de Grimaldi was urged by a traitor to
have me imprisoned, but he knew enough of me to be sure that if I did not
meet the bills it was from sheer inability to do so. He even wrote me a
very polite letter, in which he gave the name of my enemy, assuring me
that he would never take any steps to compel me to pay the money. This
enemy was Possano, who was also at Barcelona, though I was not aware of
his presence. I will speak of the circumstance in due time, but I cannot
help remarking that all who aided me in my pranks with Madame d'Urfe
proved traitors, with the exception of a Venetian girl, whose
acquaintance the reader will make in the following chapter.

In spite of my losses I enjoyed myself, and had plenty of money, for
after all I had only lost what I had won at biribi. Rosalie often dined
with us, either alone or with her husband, and I supped regularly at her
home with my niece, whose love affair seemed quite promising. I
congratulated her upon the circumstance, but she persisted in her
determination to take refuge from the world in a cloister. Women often do
the most idiotic things out of sheer obstinacy; possibly they deceive
even themselves, and act in good faith; but unfortunately, when the veil
falls from before their eyes, they see but the profound abyss into which
their folly had plunged them.

In the meanwhile, my niece had become so friendly and familiar that she
would often come and sit on my bed in the morning when Annette was still
in my arms. Her presence increased my ardour, and I quenched the fires on
the blonde which the brunette was kindling. My niece seemed to enjoy the
sight, and I could see that her senses were being pleasantly tortured.
Annette was short-sighted, and so did not perceive my distractions, while
my fair niece caressed me slightly, knowing that it would add to my
pleasures. When she thought I was exhausted she told Annette to get up
and leave me alone with her, as she wanted to tell me something. She then
began to jest and toy, and though her dress was extremely disordered she
seemed to think that her charms would exercise no power over me. She was
quite mistaken, but I was careful not to undeceive her for fear of losing
her confidence. I watched the game carefully, and noting how little by
little her familiarity increased, I felt sure that she would have to
surrender at last, if not at Genoa, certainly on the journey, when we
would be thrown constantly in each other's society with nobody to spy
upon our actions, and with nothing else to do but to make love. It is the
weariness of a journey, the constant monotony, that makes one do
something to make sure of one's existence; and when it comes to the
reckoning there is usually more joy than repentance.

But the story of my journey from Genoa to Marseilles was written in the
book of fate, and could not be read by me. All I knew was that I must
soon go as Madame d'Urfe was waiting for me at Marseilles. I knew not
that in this journey would be involved the fate of a Venetian girl of
whom I had never heard, who had never seen me, but whom I was destined to
render happy. My fate seemed to have made me stop at Genoa to wait for
her.

I settled my accounts with the banker, to whom I had been accredited, and
I took a letter of credit on Marseilles, where, however, I was not likely
to want for funds, as my high treasurer, Madame d'Urfe was there. I took
leave of Madame Isola-Bella and her circle that I might be able to devote
all my time to Rosalie and her friends.



CHAPTER II

Disgraceful Behaviour of My Brother, the Abbe, I Relieve Him of His
Mistress--Departure from Genoa--The Prince of Monaco--My Niece
Overcome--Our Arrival at Antibes

On the Tuesday in Holy Week I was just getting up, when Clairmont came to
tell me that a priest who would not give his name wanted to speak to me.
I went out in my night-cap, and the rascally priest rushed at me and
nearly choked me with his embraces. I did not like so much affection, and
as I had not recognized him at first on account of the darkness of the
room, I took him by the arm and led him to the window. It was my youngest
brother, a good-for-nothing fellow, whom I had always disliked. I had not
seen him for ten years, but I cared so little about him that I had not
even enquired whether he were alive or dead in the correspondence I
maintained with M. de Bragadin, Dandolo, and Barbaro.

As soon as his silly embraces were over, I coldly asked him what chance
had brought him to Genoa in this disgusting state of dirt, rags, and
tatters. He was only twenty-nine, his complexion was fresh and healthy,
and he had a splendid head of hair. He was a posthumous son, born like
Mahomet, three months after the death of his father.

"The story of my misfortunes would be only too long. Take me into your
room, and I will sit down and tell you the whole story."

"First of all, answer my questions. How long have you been here?"

"Since yesterday."

"Who told you that I was here?"

"Count B----, at Milan."

"Who told you that the count knew me?"

"I found out by chance. I was at M. de Bragadin's a month ago, and on his
table I saw a letter from the count to you."

"Did you tell him you were my brother?"

"I had to when he said how much I resembled you."

"He made a mistake, for you are a blockhead."

"He did not think so, at all events, for he asked me to dinner."

"You must have cut a pretty figure, if you were in your present state."

"He gave me four sequins to come here; otherwise, I should never have
been able to do the journey."

"Then he did a very foolish thing. You're a mere beggar, then; you take
alms. Why did you leave Venice? What do you want with me? I can do
nothing for you."

"Ah! do not make me despair, or I shall kill myself."

"That's the very best thing you could do; but you are too great a coward.
I ask again why you left Venice, where you could say mass, and preach,
and make an honest living, like many priests much better than you?"

"That is the kernel of the whole matter. Let us go in and I will tell
you."

"No; wait for me here. We will go somewhere where you can tell me your
story, if I have patience to listen to it. But don't tell any of my
people that you are my brother, for I am ashamed to have such a relation.
Come, take me to the place where you are staying."

"I must tell you that at my inn I am not alone, and I want to have a
private interview with you."

"Who is with you?"

"I will tell you presently, but let us go into a coffeehouse."

"Are you in company with a band of brigands? What are you sighing at?"

"I must confess it, however painful it may be to my feelings. I am with a
woman."

"A woman! and you a priest!"

"Forgive me. I was blinded by love, and seduced by my senses and her
beauty, so I seduced her under a promise to marry her at Geneva. I can
never go back to Venice, for I took her away from her father's house."

"What could you do at Geneva? They would expel you after you had been
there three or four days. Come, we will go to the inn and see the woman
you have deceived. I will speak to you afterwards."

I began to trace my steps in the direction he had pointed out, and he was
obliged to follow me. As soon as we got to the inn, he went on in front,
and after climbing three flights of stairs I entered a wretched den where
I saw a tall young girl, a sweet brunette, who looked proud and not in
the least confused. As soon as I made my appearance she said, without any
greeting,--

"Are you the brother of this liar and monster who has deceived me so
abominably?"

"Yes," said I. "I have the honour."

"A fine honour, truly. Well, have the kindness to send me back to Venice,
for I won't stop any longer with this rascal whom I listened to like the
fool I was, who turned my head with his lying tales. He was going to meet
you at Milan, and you were to give us enough money to go to Geneva, and
there we were to turn Protestants and get married. He swore you were
expecting him at Milan, but you were not there at all, and he contrived
to get money in some way or another, and brought me here miserably
enough. I thank Heaven he has found you at last, for if he had not I
should have started off by myself and begged my way. I have not a single
thing left; the wretch sold all I possessed at Bergamo and Verona. I
don't know how I kept my senses through it all. To hear him talk, the
world was a paradise outside Venice, but I have found to my cost that
there is no place like home. I curse the hour when I first saw the
miserable wretch. He's a beggarly knave; always whining. He wanted to
enjoy his rights as my husband when we got to Padua, but I am thankful to
say I gave him nothing. Here is the writing he gave me; take it, and do
what you like with it. But if you have any heart, send me back to Venice
or I will tramp there on foot."

I had listened to this long tirade without interrupting her. She might
have spoken at much greater length, so far as I was concerned; my
astonishment took my breath away. Her discourse had all the fire of
eloquence, and was heightened by her expressive face and the flaming
glances she shot from her eyes.

My brother, sitting down with his head between his hands, and obliged to
listen in silence to this long catalogue of well-deserved reproaches,
gave something of a comic element to the scene. In spite of that,
however, I was much touched by the sad aspects of the girl's story. I
felt at once that I must take charge of her, and put an end to this
ill-assorted match. I imagined that I should not have much difficulty in
sending her back to Venice, which she might never have quitted if it had
not been for her trust in me, founded on the fallacious promises of her
seducer.

The true Venetian character of the girl struck me even more than her
beauty. Her courage, frank indignation, and the nobility of her aspect
made me resolve not to abandon her. I could not doubt that she had told a
true tale, as my brother continued to observe a guilty silence.

I watched her silently for some time, and, my mind being made up, said,--

"I promise to send you back to Venice with a respectable woman to look
after you; but you will be unfortunate if you carry back with you the
results of your amours."

"What results? Did I not tell you that we were going to be married at
Geneva?"

"Yes, but in spite of that . . ."

"I understand you, sir, but I am quite at ease on that point, as I am
happy to say that I did not yield to any of the wretch's desires."

"Remember," said the abbe, in a plaintive voice, "the oath you took to be
mine for ever. You swore it upon the crucifix."

So saying he got up and approached her with a supplicating gesture, but
as soon as he was within reach she gave him a good hearty box on the ear.
I expected to see a fight, in which I should not have interfered, but
nothing of the kind. The humble abbe gently turned away to the window,
and casting his eyes to heaven began to weep.

"You are too malicious, my dear," I said; "the poor devil is only unhappy
because you have made him in love with you."

"If he is it's his own fault, I should never have thought of him but for
his coming to me and fooling me, I shall never forgive him till he is out
of my sight. That's not the first blow I have given him; I had to begin
at Padua."

"Yes," said the abbe, "but you are excommunicated, for I am a priest."

"It's little I care for the excommunication of a scoundrel like you, and
if you say another word I will give you some more."

"Calm yourself, my child," said I; "you have cause to be angry, but you
should not beat him. Take up your things and follow me."

"Where are you going to take her?" said the foolish priest.

"To my own house, and I should advise you to hold your tongue. Here, take
these twenty sequins and buy yourself some clean clothes and linen, and
give those rags of yours to the beggars. I will come and talk to you
to-morrow, and you may thank your stars that you found me here. As for
you, mademoiselle, I will have you conducted to my lodging, for Genoa
must not see you in my company after arriving here with a priest. We must
not have any scandal. I shall place you under the charge of my landlady,
but whatever you do don't tell her this sad story. I will see that you
are properly dressed, and that you want for nothing."

"May Heaven reward you!"

My brother, astonished at the sight of the twenty sequins, let me go away
without a word. I had the fair Venetian taken to my lodging in a
sedan-chair, and putting her under the charge of my landlady I told the
latter to see that she was properly dressed. I wanted to see how she
would look in decent clothes, for her present rags and tatters detracted
from her appearance. I warned Annette that a girl who had been placed in
my care would eat and sleep with her, and then having to entertain a
numerous company of guests I proceeded to make my toilette.

Although my niece had no rights over me, I valued her esteem, and thought
it best to tell her the whole story lest she should pass an unfavourable
judgment on me. She listened attentively and thanked me for my confidence
in her, and said she should very much like to see the girl and the abbe
too, whom she pitied, though she admitted he was to be blamed for what he
had done. I had got her a dress to wear at dinner, which became her
exquisitely. I felt only too happy to be able to please her in any way,
for her conduct towards myself and the way she treated her ardent lover
commanded my admiration. She saw him every day either at my house or at
Rosalie's. The young man had received an excellent education, though he
was of the mercantile class, and wrote to her in a business-like manner,
that, as they were well suited to each other in every way, there was
nothing against his going to Marseilles and obtaining her father's
consent to the match, unless it were a feeling of aversion on her side.
He finished by requesting her to give him an answer. She shewed me the
letter, and I congratulated her, and advised her to accept, if there was
nothing about the young man which displeased her.

"There is nothing of the kind," she said, "and Rosalie thinks with you."

"Then tell him by word of mouth that you give your consent, and will
expect to see him at Marseilles."

"Very good; as you think so, I will tell him tomorrow."

When dinner was over a feeling of curiosity made me go into the room
where Annette was dining with the Venetian girl, whose name was
Marcoline. I was struck with astonishment on seeing her, for she was
completely changed, not so much by the pretty dress she had on as by the
contented expression of her face, which made her look quite another
person. Good humour had vanquished unbecoming rage, and the gentleness
born of happiness made her features breathe forth love. I could scarcely
believe that this charming creature before me was the same who had dealt
such a vigorous blow to my brother, a priest, and a sacred being in the
eyes of the common people. They were eating, and laughing at not being
able to understand each other, for Marcoline only spoke Venetian, and
Annette Genoese, and the latter dialect does not resemble the former any
more than Bohemian resembles Dutch.

I spoke to Marcoline in her native tongue, which was mine too, and she
said,--

"I seem to have suddenly passed from hell to Paradise."

"Indeed, you look like an angel."

"You called me a little devil this morning. But here is a fair angel,"
said she, pointing to Annette; "we don't see such in Venice."

"She is my treasure."

Shortly after my niece came in, and seeing me talking and laughing with
the two girls began to examine the new-comer. She told me in French that
she thought her perfectly beautiful, and repeating her opinion to the
girl in Italian gave her a kiss. Marcoline asked her plainly in the
Venetian manner who she was.

"I am this gentleman's niece, and he is taking me back to Marseilles,
where my home is."

"Then you would have been my niece too, if I had married his brother. I
wish I had such a pretty niece."

This pleasant rejoinder was followed by a storm of kisses given and
returned with ardour which one might pronounce truly Venetian, if it were
not that this would wound the feelings of the almost equally ardent
Provencals.

I took my niece for a sail in the bay, and after we had enjoyed one of
those delicious evenings which I think can be found nowhere else--sailing
on a mirror silvered by the moon, over which float the odours of the
jasmine, the orange-blossom, the pomegranates, the aloes, and all the
scented flowers which grow along the coasts--we returned to our lodging,
and I asked Annette what had become of Marcoline. She told me that she
had gone to bed early, and I went gently into her room, with no other
intention than to see her asleep. The light of the candle awoke her, and
she did not seem at all frightened at seeing me. I sat by the bed, and
fell to making love to her, and at last made as if I would kiss her, but
she resisted, and we went on talking.

When Annette had put her mistress to bed, she came in and found us
together.

"Go to bed, my dear," said I. "I will come to you directly."

Proud of being my mistress, she gave me a fiery kiss and went away
without a word.

I began to talk about my brother, and passing from him to myself I told
her of the interest I felt for her, saying that I would either have her
taken to Venice, or bring her with me when I went to France.

"Do you want to marry me?"

"No, I am married already."

"That's a lie, I know, but it doesn't matter. Send me back to Venice, and
the sooner the better. I don't want to be anybody's concubine."

"I admire your sentiments, my dear, they do you honour."

Continuing my praise I became pressing, not using any force, but those
gentle caresses which are so much harder for a woman to resist than a
violent attack. Marcoline laughed, but seeing that I persisted in spite
of her resistance, she suddenly glided out of the bed and took refuge in
my niece's room and locked the door after her. I was not displeased; the
thing was done so easily and gracefully. I went to bed with Annette, who
lost nothing by the ardour with which Marcoline had inspired me. I told
her how she had escaped from my hands, and Annette was loud in her
praises.

In the morning I got up early and went into my niece's room to enjoy the
sight of the companion I had involuntarily given her, and the two girls
were certainly a very pleasant sight. As soon as my niece saw me, she
exclaimed,--

"My dear uncle, would you believe it? This sly Venetian has violated me."

Marcoline understood her, and far from denying the fact proceeded to give
my niece fresh marks of her affection, which were well received, and from
the movements of the sheets which covered them I could make a pretty good
guess as to the nature of their amusement.

"This is a rude shock to the respect which your uncle has had for your
prejudices," said I.

"The sports of two girls cannot tempt a man who has just left the arms of
Annette."

"You are wrong, and perhaps you know it, for I am more than tempted."

With these words I lifted the sheets of the bed. Marcoline shrieked but
did not move, but my niece earnestly begged me to replace the
bed-clothes. However, the picture before me was too charming to be
concealed.

At this point Annette came in, and in obedience to her mistress replaced
the coverlet over the two Bacchantes. I felt angry with Annette, and
seizing her threw her on the bed, and then and there gave the two
sweethearts such an interesting spectacle that they left their own play
to watch us. When I had finished, Annette, who was in high glee; said I
was quite right to avenge myself on their prudery. I felt satisfied with
what I had done, and went to breakfast. I then dressed, and visited my
brother.

"How is Marcoline?" said he, as soon as he saw me.

"Very well, and you needn't trouble yourself any more about her. She is
well lodged, well dressed, and well fed, and sleeps with my niece's
maid."

"I didn't know I had a niece."

"There are many things you don't know. In three or four days she will
return to Venice."

"I hope, dear brother, that you will ask me to dine with you to-day."

"Not at all, dear brother. I forbid you to set foot in my house, where
your presence would be offensive to Marcoline, whom you must not see any
more."

"Yes, I will; I will return to Venice, if I have to hang for it."

"What good would that be? She won't have you."

"She loves me."

"She beats you."

"She beats me because she loves me. She will be as gentle as a lamb when
she sees me so well dressed. You do not know how I suffer."

"I can partly guess, but I do not pity you, for you are an impious and
cruel fool. You have broken your vows, and have not hesitated to make a
young girl endure misery and degradation to satisfy your caprice. What
would you have done, I should like to know, if I had given you the cold
shoulder instead of helping you?"

"I should have gone into the street, and begged for my living with her."

"She would have beaten you, and would probably have appealed to the law
to get rid of you."

"But what will you do for me, if I let her go back to Venice without
following her."

"I will take you to France, and try to get you employed by some bishop."

"Employed! I was meant by nature to be employed by none but God."

"You proud fool! Marcoline rightly called you a whiner. Who is your God?
How do you serve Him? You are either a hypocrite or an idiot. Do you
think that you, a priest, serve God by decoying an innocent girl away
from her home? Do you serve Him by profaning the religion you do not even
understand? Unhappy fool! do you think that with no talent, no
theological learning, and no eloquence, you can be a Protestant minister.
Take care never to come to my house, or I will have you expelled from
Genoa."

"Well, well, take me to Paris, and I will see what my brother Francis can
do for me; his heart is not so hard as yours."

"Very good! you shall go to Paris, and we will start from here in three
or four days. Eat and drink to your heart's content, but remain indoors;
I will let you know when we are going. I shall have my niece, my
secretary, and my valet with me. We shall travel by sea."

"The sea makes me sick."

"That will purge away some of your bad humours."

When I got home I told Marcoline what had passed between us.

"I hate him!" said she; "but I forgive him, since it is through him I
know you."

"And I forgive him, too, because unless it had been for him I should
never have seen you. But I love you, and I shall die unless you satisfy
my desires."

"Never; for I know I should be madly in love with you, and then you would
leave me, and I should be miserable again."

"I will never leave you."

"If you will swear that, take me into France and make me all your own.
Here you must continue living with Annette; besides, I have got your
niece to make love to."

The pleasant part of the affair was that my niece was equally taken with
her, and had begged me to let her take meals with us and sleep with her.
As I had a prospect of being at their lascivious play, I willingly
consented, and henceforth she was always present at the table. We enjoyed
her company immensely, for she told us side-splitting tales which kept us
at table till it was time to go to Rosalie's, where my niece's adorer was
certain to be awaiting us.

The next day, which was Holy Thursday, Rosalie came with us to see the
processions. I had Rosalie and Marcoline with me, one on each arm, veiled
in their mezzaros, and my niece was under the charge of her lover. The
day after we went to see the procession called at Genoa Caracce, and
Marcoline pointed out my brother who kept hovering round us, though he
pretended not to see us. He was most carefully dressed, and the stupid
fop seemed to think he was sure to find favour in Marcoline's eyes, and
make her regret having despised him; but he was woefully deceived, for
Marcoline knew how to manage her mezzaro so well that, though he was both
seen and laughed at, the poor devil could not be certain that she had
noticed him at all, and in addition the sly girl held me so closely by
the arm that he must have concluded we were very intimate.

My niece and Marcoline thought themselves the best friends in the world,
and could not bear my telling them that their amorous sports were the
only reason for their attachment. They therefore agreed to abandon them
as soon as we left Genoa, and promised that I should sleep between them
in the felucca, all of us to keep our clothes on. I said I should hold
them to their word, and I fixed our departure for Thursday. I ordered the
felucca to be in readiness and summoned my brother to go on board.

It was a cruel moment when I left Annette with her mother. She wept so
bitterly that all of us had to shed tears. My niece gave her a handsome
dress and I thirty sequins, promising to come and see her again on my
return from England. Possano was told to go on board with the abbe; I had
provisioned the boat for three days. The young merchant promised to be at
Marseilles, telling my niece that by the time he came everything would be
settled. I was delighted to hear it; it assured me that her father would
give her a kind reception. Our friends did not leave us till the moment
we went on board.

The felucca was very conveniently arranged, and was propelled by the
twelve oarsmen. On the deck there were also twenty-four muskets, so that
we should have been able to defend ourselves against a pirate. Clairmont
had arranged my carriage and my trunks so cleverly, that by stretching
five mattresses over them we had an excellent bed, where we could sleep
and undress ourselves in perfect comfort; we had good pillows and plenty
of sheets. A long awning covered the deck, and two lanterns were hung up,
one at each end. In the evening they were lighted and Clairmont brought
in supper. I had warned my brother that at the slightest presumption on
his part he should be flung into the sea, so I allowed him and Possano to
sup with us.

I sat between my two nymphs and served the company merrily, first my
niece, then Marcoline, then my brother, and finally Possano. No water was
drunk at table, so we each emptied a bottle of excellent Burgundy, and
when we had finished supper the rowers rested on their oars, although the
wind was very light. I had the lamps put out and went to bed with my two
sweethearts, one on each side of me.

The light of dawn awoke me, and I found my darlings still sleeping in the
same position. I could kiss neither of them, since one passed for my
niece, and my sense of humanity would not allow me to treat Marcoline as
my mistress in the presence of an unfortunate brother who adored her, and
had never obtained the least favour from her. He was lying near at hand,
overwhelmed with grief and seasickness, and watching and listening with
all his might for the amorous encounter he suspected us of engaging in. I
did not want to have any unpleasantness, so I contented myself with
gazing on them till the two roses awoke and opened their eyes.

When this delicious sight was over, I got up and found that we were only
opposite Final, and I proceeded to reprimand the master.

"The wind fell dead at Savona, sir;" and all the seamen chorused his
excuse.

"Then you should have rowed instead of idling."

"We were afraid of waking you. You shall be at Antibes by tomorrow."

After passing the time by eating a hearty meal, we took a fancy to go on
shore at St. Remo. Everybody was delighted. I took my two nymphs on land,
and after forbidding any of the others to disembark I conducted the
ladies to an inn, where I ordered coffee. A man accosted us, and invited
us to come and play biribi at his house.

"I thought the game was forbidden in Genoa," said I. I felt certain that
the players were the rascals whose bank I had broken at Genoa, so I
accepted the invitation. My niece had fifty Louis in her purse, and I
gave fifteen to Marcoline. We found a large assemblage, room was made for
us, and I recognized the knaves of Genoa. As soon as they saw me they
turned pale and trembled. I should say that the man with the bag was not
the poor devil who had served me so well without wanting to.

"I play harlequin," said I.

"There isn't one."

"What's the bank?"

"There it is. We play for small stakes here, and those two hundred louis
are quite sufficient. You can bet as low as you like, and the highest
stake is of a louis."

"That's all very well, but my louis is full weight."

"I think ours are, too."

"Are you sure?"

"No."

"Then I won't play," said I, to the keeper of the rooms.

"You are right; bring the scales."

The banker then said that when play was over he would give four crowns of
six livres for every louis that the company had won, and the matter was
settled. In a moment the board was covered with stakes.

We each punted a louis at a time, and I and my niece lost twenty Louis,
but Marcoline, who had never possessed two sequins in her life before,
won two hundred and forty Louis. She played on the figure of an abbe
which came out fifth twenty times. She was given a bag full of crown
pieces, and we returned to the felucca.

The wind was contrary, and we had to row all night, and in the morning
the sea was so rough that we had to put in at Mentone. My two sweethearts
were very sick, as also my brother and Possano, but I was perfectly well.
I took the two invalids to the inn, and allowed my brother and Possano to
land and refresh themselves. The innkeeper told me that the Prince and
Princess of Monaco were at Mentone, so I resolved to pay them a visit. It
was thirteen years since I had seen the prince at Paris, where I had
amused him and his mistress Caroline at supper. It was this prince who
had taken me to see the horrible Duchess of Rufec; then he was unmarried,
and now I met him again in his principality with his wife, of whom he had
already two sons. The princess had been a Duchess de Borgnoli, a great
heiress, and a delightful and pretty woman. I had heard all about her,
and I was curious to verify the facts for myself.

I called on the prince, was announced, and after a long wait they
introduced me to his presence. I gave him his title of highness, which I
had never done at Paris, where he was not known under his full style and
title. He received me politely, but with that coolness which lets one
know that one is not an over-welcome visitor.

"You have put in on account of the bad weather, I suppose?" said he.

"Yes, prince, and if your highness will allow me I will spend the whole
day in your delicious villa." (It is far from being delicious.)

"As you please. The princess as well as myself likes it better than our
place at Monaco, so we live here by preference."

"I should be grateful if your highness would present me to the princess."

Without mentioning my name he ordered a page in waiting to present me to
the princess.

The page opened the door of a handsome room and said, "The Princess," and
left me. She was singing at the piano, but as soon as she saw me she rose
and came to meet me. I was obliged to introduce myself, a most unpleasant
thing, and no doubt the princess felt the position, for she pretended not
to notice it, and addressed me with the utmost kindness and politeness,
and in a way that shewed that she was learned in the maxims of good
society. I immediately became very much at my ease, and proceeded in a
lordly manner to entertain her with pleasant talk, though I said nothing
about my two lady friends.

The princess was handsome, clever, and good-natured. Her mother, who knew
that a man like the prince would never make her daughter happy, opposed
the marriage, but the young marchioness was infatuated, and the mother
had to give in when the girl said,--

"O Monaco O monaca." (Either Monaco or a convent.)

We were still occupied in the trifles which keep up an ordinary
conversation, when the prince came in running after a waiting-maid, who
was making her escape, laughing. The princess pretended not to see him,
and went on with what she was saying. The scene displeased me, and I took
leave of the princess, who wished me a pleasant journey. I met the prince
as I was going out, and he invited me to come and see him whenever I
passed that way.

"Certainly," said I; and made my escape without saying any more.

I went back to the inn and ordered a good dinner for three.

In the principality of Monaco there was a French garrison, which was
worth a pension of a hundred thousand francs to the prince--a very
welcome addition to his income.

A curled and scented young officer, passing by our room, the door of
which was open, stopped short, and with unblushing politeness asked us if
we would allow him to join our party. I replied politely, but coldly,
that he did us honour--a phrase which means neither yes nor no; but a
Frenchman who has advanced one step never retreats.

He proceeded to display his graces for the benefit of the ladies, talking
incessantly, without giving them time to get in a word, when he suddenly
turned to me and said that he wondered how it was that the prince had not
asked me and my ladies to dinner. I told him that I had not said anything
to the prince about the treasure I had with me.

I had scarcely uttered the words, when the kindly blockhead rose and
cried enthusiastically,--

"Parbleu! I am no longer surprised. I will go and tell his highness, and
I shall soon have the honour of dining with you at the castle."

He did not wait to hear my answer, but went off in hot haste.

We laughed heartily at his folly, feeling quite sure that we should
neither dine with him nor the prince, but in a quarter of an hour he
returned in high glee, and invited us all to dinner on behalf of the
prince.

"I beg you will thank his highness, and at the same time ask him to
excuse us. The weather has improved, and I want to be off as soon as we
have taken a hasty morsel."

The young Frenchman exerted all his eloquence in vain, and at length
retired with a mortified air to take our answer to the prince.

I thought I had got rid of him at last, but I did not know my man. He
returned a short time after, and addressing himself in a complacent
manner to the ladies, as if I was of no more account, he told them that
he had given the prince such a description of their charms that he had
made up his mind to dine with them.

"I have already ordered the table to be laid for two more, as I shall
have the honour of being of the party. In a quarter of an hour, ladies,
the prince will be here."

"Very good," said I, "but as the prince is coming I must go to the
felucca and fetch a capital pie of which the prince is very fond, I know.
Come, ladies."

"You can leave them here, sir. I will undertake to keep them amused."

"I have no doubt you would, but they have some things to get from the
felucca as well."

"Then you will allow me to come too."

"Certainly with pleasure."

As we were going down the stairs, I asked the innkeeper what I owed him.

"Nothing, sir, I have just received orders to serve you in everything,
and to take no money from you."

"The prince is really magnificent!" During this short dialogue, the
ladies had gone on with the fop. I hastened to rejoin them, and my niece
took my arm, laughing heartily to hear the officer making love to
Marcoline, who did not understand a word he said. He did not notice it in
the least, for his tongue kept going like the wheel of a mill, and he did
not pause for any answers.

"We shall have some fun at dinner," said my niece, "but what are we going
to do on the felucca?"

"We are leaving. Say nothing."

"Leaving?"

"Immediately."

"What a jest! it is worth its weight in gold."

We went on board the felucca, and the officer, who was delighted with the
pretty vessel, proceeded to examine it. I told my niece to keep him
company, and going to the master, whispered to him to let go directly.

"Directly?"

"Yes, this moment."

"But the abbe and your secretary are gone for a walk, and two of my men
are on shore, too."

"That's no matter; we shall pick them up again at Antibes; it's only ten
leagues, and they have plenty of money. I must go, and directly. Make
haste."

"All right."

He tripped the anchor, and the felucca began to swing away from the
shore. The officer asked me in great astonishment what it meant.

"It means that I am going to Antibes and I shall be very glad to take you
there for nothing."

"This is a fine jest! You are joking, surely?"

"Your company will be very pleasant on the journey."

"Pardieu! put me ashore, for with your leave, ladies, I cannot go to
Antibes."

"Put the gentleman ashore," said I to the master, "he does not seem to
like our company."

"It's not that, upon my honour. These ladies are charming, but the prince
would think that I was in the plot to play this trick upon him, which you
must confess is rather strong."

"I never play a weak trick."

"But what will the prince say?"

"He may say what he likes, and I shall do as I like."

"Well, it's no fault of mine. Farewell, ladies! farewell, sir!"

"Farewell, and you may thank the prince for me for paying my bill."

Marcoline who did not understand what was passing gazed in astonishment,
but my niece laughed till her sides ached, for the way in which the poor
officer had taken the matter was extremely comic.

Clairmont brought us an excellent dinner, and we laughed incessantly
during its progress, even at the astonishment of the abbe and Possano
when they came to the quay and found the felucca had flown. However, I
was sure of meeting them again at Antibes, and we reached that port at
six o'clock in the evening.

The motion of the sea had tired us without making us feel sick, for the
air was fresh, and our appetites felt the benefits of it, and in
consequence we did great honour to the supper and the wine. Marcoline
whose stomach was weakened by the sickness she had undergone soon felt
the effects of the Burgundy, her eyes were heavy, and she went to sleep.
My niece would have imitated her, but I reminded her tenderly that we
were at Antibes, and said I was sure she would keep her word. She did not
answer me, but gave me her hand, lowering her eyes with much modesty.

Intoxicated with her submission which was so like love, I got into bed
beside her, exclaiming,--

"At last the hour of my happiness has come!

"And mine too, dearest."

"Yours? Have you not continually repulsed me?"

"Never! I always loved you, and your indifference has been a bitter grief
to me."

"But the first night we left Milan you preferred being alone to sleeping
with me."

"Could I do otherwise without passing in your eyes for one more a slave
to sensual passion than to love? Besides you might have thought I was
giving myself to you for the benefits I had received; and though
gratitude be a noble feeling, it destroys all the sweet delights of love.
You ought to have told me that you loved me and subdued me by those
attentions which conquer the hearts of us women. Then you would have seen
that I loved you too, and our affection would have been mutual. On my
side I should have known that the pleasure you had of me was not given
out of a mere feeling of gratitude. I do not know whether you would have
loved me less the morning after, if I had consented, but I am sure I
should have lost your esteem."

She was right, and I applauded her sentiments, while giving her to
understand that she was to put all notions of benefits received out of
her mind. I wanted to make her see that I knew that there was no more
need for gratitude on her side than mine.

We spent a night that must be imagined rather than described. She told me
in the morning that she felt all had been for the best, as if she had
given way at first she could never have made up her mind to accept the
young Genoese, though he seemed likely to make her happy.

Marcoline came to see us in the morning, caressed us, and promised to
sleep by herself the rest of the voyage.

"Then you are not jealous?" said I.

"No, for her happiness is mine too, and I know she will make you happy."

She became more ravishingly beautiful every day.

Possano and the abbe came in just as we were sitting down to table, and
my niece having ordered two more plates I allowed them to dine with us.
My brother's face was pitiful and yet ridiculous. He could not walk any
distance, so he had been obliged to come on horseback, probably for the
first time in his life.

"My skin is delicate," said he, "so I am all blistered. But God's will be
done! I do not think any of His servants have endured greater torments
than mine during this journey. My body is sore, and so is my soul."

So saying he cast a piteous glance at Marcoline, and we had to hold our
sides to prevent ourselves laughing. My niece could bear it no more, and
said,--

"How I pity you, dear uncle!"

At this he blushed, and began to address the most absurd compliments to
her, styling her "my dear niece." I told him to be silent, and not to
speak French till he was able to express himself in that equivocal
language without making a fool of himself. But the poet Pogomas spoke no
better than he did.

I was curious to know what had happened at Mentone after we had left, and
Pogomas proceeded to tell the story.

"When we came back from our walk we were greatly astonished not to find
the felucca any more. We went to the inn, where I knew you had ordered
dinner; but the inn-keeper knew nothing except that he was expecting the
prince and a young officer to dine with you. I told him he might wait for
you in vain, and just then the prince came up in a rage, and told the
inn-keeper that now you were gone he might look to you for his payment.
'My lord,' said the inn-keeper, 'the gentleman wanted to pay me, but I
respected the orders I had received from your highness and would not take
the money.' At this the prince flung him a louis with an ill grace, and
asked us who we were. I told him that we belonged to you, and that you
had not waited for us either, which put us to great trouble. 'You will
get away easily enough,' said he; and then he began to laugh, and swore
the jest was a pleasant one. He then asked me who the ladies were. I told
him that the one was your niece, and that I knew nothing of the other;
but the abbe interfered, and said she was your cuisine. The prince
guessed he meant to say 'cousin,' and burst out laughing, in which he was
joined by the young officer. 'Greet him from me,' said he, as he went
away, 'and tell him that we shall meet again, and that I will pay him out
for the trick he has played me.' The worthy host laughed, too, when the
prince had gone, and gave us a good dinner, saying that the prince's
Louis would pay for it all. When we had dined we hired two horses, and
slept at Nice. In the morning we rode on again, being certain of finding
you here." Marcoline told the abbe in a cold voice to take care not to
tell anyone else that she was his cuisine, or his cousin, or else it
would go ill with him, as she did not wish to be thought either the one
or the other. I also advised him seriously not to speak French for the
future, as the absurd way in which he had committed himself made everyone
about him ashamed.

Just as I was ordering post-horses to take us to Frejus, a man appeared,
and told me I owed him ten louis for the storage of a carriage which I
had left on his hands nearly three years ago. This was when I was taking
Rosalie to Italy. I laughed, for the carriage itself was not worth five
louis. "Friend," said I, "I make you a present of the article."

"I don't want your present. I want the ten louis you owe me."

"You won't get the ten louis. I will see you further first."

"We will see about that;" and so saying he took his departure.

I sent for horses that we might continue our journey.

A few moments after, a sergeant summoned me to the governor's presence. I
followed him, and was politely requested to pay the ten louis that my
creditor demanded. I answered that, in the agreement I had entered into
for six francs a month, there was no mention of the length of the term,
and that I did not want to withdraw my carriage.

"But supposing you were never to withdraw it?"

"Then the man could bequeath his claim to his heir."

"I believe he could oblige you to withdraw it, or to allow it to be sold
to defray expenses."

"You are right, sir, and I wish to spare him that trouble. I make him a
present of the carriage."

"That's fair enough. Friend, the carriage is yours."

"But sir," said the plaintiff, "it is not enough; the carriage is not
worth ten louis, and I want the surplus."

"You are in the wrong. I wish you a pleasant journey, sir, and I hope you
will forgive the ignorance of these poor people, who would like to shape
the laws according to their needs."

All this trouble had made me lose a good deal of time, and I determined
to put off my departure till the next day. However, I wanted a carriage
for Possano and the abbe, and I got my secretary to buy the one I had
abandoned for four louis. It was in a deplorable state, and I had to have
it repaired, which kept us till the afternoon of the next day; however,
so far as pleasure was concerned, the time was not lost.



CHAPTER III

My Arrival at Marseilles--Madame d'Urfe--My Niece Is Welcomed by Madame
Audibert I Get Rid of My Brother and Possano--Regeneration--Departure of
Madame d'Urfe--Marcoline Remains Constant

My niece, now my mistress, grew more dear to me every day, and I could
not help trembling when I reflected that Marseilles would be the tomb of
our love. Though I could not help arriving there, I prolonged my
happiness as long as I could by travelling by short stages. I got to
Frejus in less than three hours, and stopped there, and telling Possano
and the abbe to do as they liked during our stay, I ordered a delicate
supper and choice wine for myself and my nymphs. Our repast lasted till
midnight, then we went to bed, and passed the time in sweet sleep and
sweeter pleasures. I made the same arrangements at Lucca, Brignoles, and
Aubayne, where I passed the sixth and last night of happiness.

As soon as I got to Marseilles I conducted my niece to Madame Audibert's,
and sent Possano and my brother to the "Trieze Cantons" inn, bidding them
observe the strictest silence with regard to me, for Madame d'Urfe had
been awaiting me for three weeks, and I wished to be my own herald to
her.

It was at Madame Audibert's that my niece had met Croce. She was a clever
woman, and had known the girl from her childhood, and it was through her
that my niece hoped to be restored to her father's good graces. We had
agreed that I should leave my niece and Marcoline in the carriage, and
should interview Madame Audibert, whose acquaintance I had made before,
and with whom I could make arrangements for my niece's lodging till some
arrangement was come to.

Madame Audibert saw me getting out of my carriage, and as she did not
recognize me her curiosity made her come down and open the door. She soon
recognized me, and consented to let me have a private interview with the
best grace in the world.

I did not lose any time in leading up to the subject, and after I had
given her a rapid sketch of the affair, how misfortune had obliged La
Croix to abandon Mdlle. Crosin, how I had been able to be of service to
her, and finally, how she had had the good luck to meet a wealthy and
distinguished person, who would come to Marseilles to ask her hand in a
fortnight, I concluded by saying that I should have the happiness of
restoring to her hands the dear girl whose preserver I had been.

"Where is she?" cried Madame Audibert.

"In my carriage. I have lowered the blinds."

"Bring her in, quick! I will see to everything. Nobody shall know that
she is in my house."

Happier than a prince, I made one bound to the carriage and, concealing
her face with her cloak and hood, I led my niece to her friend's arms.
This was a dramatic scene full of satisfaction for me. Kisses were given
and received, tears of happiness and repentance shed, I wept myself from
mingled feelings of emotion, happiness, and regret.

In the meanwhile Clairmont had brought up my niece's luggage, and I went
away promising to return and see her another day.

I had another and as important an arrangement to conclude, I mean with
respect to Marcoline. I told the postillions to take me to the worthy old
man's where I had lodged Rosalie so pleasantly. Marcoline was weeping at
this separation from her friend. I got down at the house, and made my
bargain hastily. My new mistress was, I said, to be lodged, fed, and
attended on as if she had been a princess. He shewed me the apartment she
was to occupy; it was fit for a young marchioness, and he told me that
she should be attended by his own niece, that she should not leave the
house, and that nobody but myself should visit her.

Having made these arrangements I made the fair Venetian come in. I gave
her the money she had won, which I had converted into gold and made up to
a thousand ducats.

"You won't want it here," said I, "so take care of it. At Venice a
thousand ducats will make you somebody. Do not weep, dearest, my heart is
with you, and to-morrow evening I will sup with you."

The old man gave me the latch-key, and I went off to the "Treize
Cantons." I was expected, and my rooms were adjacent to those occupied by
Madame d'Urfe.

As soon as I was settled, Bourgnole waited on me, and told me her
mistress was alone and expecting me impatiently.

I shall not trouble my readers with an account of our interview, as it
was only composed of Madame d'Urfe's mad flights of fancy, and of lies on
my part which had not even the merit of probability. A slave to my life
of happy profligacy, I profited by her folly; she would have found
someone else to deceive her, if I had not done so, for it was really she
who deceived herself. I naturally preferred to profit by her rather than
that a stranger should do so; she was very rich, and I did myself a great
deal of good, without doing anyone any harm. The first thing she asked me
was, "Where is Querilinthos?" And she jumped with joy when I told her
that he was under the same roof.

"'Tis he, then, who shall make me young again. So has my genius assured
me night after night. Ask Paralis if the presents I have prepared are
good enough for Semiramis to present to the head of the Fraternity of the
Rosy Cross."

I did not know what these presents were, and as I could not ask to see
them, I answered that, before consulting Paralis, it would be necessary
to consecrate the gifts under the planetary hours, and that Querilinthos
himself must not see them before the consecration. Thereupon she took me
to her closet, and shewed me the seven packets meant for the Rosicrucian
in the form of offerings to the seven planets.

Each packet contained seven pounds of the metal proper to the planet, and
seven precious stones, also proper to the planets, each being seven
carats in weight; there were diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires,
chrysolites, topazes, and opals.

I made up my mind that nothing of this should pass into the hands of the
Genoese, and told the mad woman that we must trust entirely in Paralis
for the method of consecration, which must be begun by our placing each
packet in a small casket made on purpose. One packet, and one only, could
be consecrated in a day, and it was necessary to begin with the sun. It
was now Friday, and we should have to wait till Sunday, the day of the
sun. On Saturday I had a box with seven niches made for the purpose.

For the purposes of consecration I spent three hours every day with
Madame d'Urfe, and we had not finished till the ensuing Saturday.
Throughout this week I made Possano and my brother take their meals with
us, and as the latter did not understand a word the good lady said, he
did not speak a word himself, and might have passed for a mute of the
seraglio. Madame d'Urfe pronounced him devoid of sense, and imagined we
were going to put the soul of a sylph into his body that he might
engender some being half human, half divine.

It was amusing to see my brother's despair and rage at being taken for an
idiot, and when he endeavoured to say something to spew that he was not
one, she only thought him more idiotic than ever. I laughed to myself,
and thought how ill he would have played the part if I had asked him to
do it. All the same the rascal did not lose anything by his reputation,
for Madame d'Urfe clothed him with a decent splendour that would have led
one to suppose that the abbe belonged to one of the first families in
France. The most uneasy guest at Madame d'Urfe's table was Possano, who
had to reply to questions, of the most occult nature, and, not knowing
anything about the subject, made the most ridiculous mistakes.

I brought Madame d'Urfe the box, and having made all the necessary
arrangements for the consecrations, I received an order from the oracle
to go into the country and sleep there for seven nights in succession, to
abstain from intercourse with all mortal women, and to perform ceremonial
worship to the moon every night, at the hour of that planet, in the open
fields. This would make me fit to regenerate Madame d'Urfe myself in case
Querilinthos, for some mystic reasons, might not be able to do so.

Through this order Madame d'Urfe was not only not vexed with me for
sleeping away from the hotel, but was grateful for the pains I was taking
to ensure the success of the operation.

The day after my arrival I called on Madame Audibert, and had the
pleasure of finding my niece wail pleased with the efforts her friend was
making in her favour. Madame Audibert had spoken to her father, telling
him that his daughter was with her, and that she hoped to obtain his
pardon and to return to his house, where she would soon become the bride
of a rich Genoese, who wished to receive her from her father's hands. The
worthy man, glad to find again the lost sheep, said he would come in two
days and take her to her aunt, who had a house at St. Louis, two leagues
from the town. She might then quietly await the arrival of her future
husband, and avoid all occasion of scandal. My niece was surprised that
her father had not yet received a letter from the young man, and I could
see that she was anxious about it; but I comforted her and assured her
that I would not leave Marseilles till I had danced at her wedding.

I left her to go to Marcoline, whom I longed to press to my heart. I
found her in an ecstasy of joy, and she said that if she could understand
what her maid said her happiness would be complete. I saw that her
situation was a painful one, especially as she was a woman, but for the
present I saw no way out of the difficulty; I should have to get an
Italian-speaking servant, and this would have been a troublesome task.
She wept with joy when I told her that my niece desired to be remembered
to her, and that in a day she would be on her father's hearth. Marcoline
had found out that she was not my real niece when she found her in my
arms.

The choice supper which the old man had procured us, and which spewed he
had a good memory for my favorite tastes, made me think of Rosalie.
Marcoline heard me tell the story with great interest, and said that it
seemed to her that I only went about to make unfortunate girls happy,
provided I found them pretty.

"I almost think you are right," said I; "and it is certain that I have
made many happy, and have never brought misfortune to any girl."

"God will reward you, my dear friend."

"Possibly I am not worth His taking the trouble!"

Though the wit and beauty of Marcoline had charmed me, her appetite
charmed me still more; the reader knows that I have always liked women
who eat heartily. And in Marseilles they make an excellent dish of a
common fowl, which is often so insipid.

Those who like oil will get on capitally in Provence, for it is used in
everything, and it must be confessed that if used in moderation it makes
an excellent relish.

Marcoline was charming in bed. I had not enjoyed the Venetian vices for
nearly eight years, and Marcoline was a beauty before whom Praxiteles
would have bent the knee. I laughed at my brother for having let such a
treasure slip out of his hands, though I quite forgave him for falling in
love with her. I myself could not take her about, and as I wanted her to
be amused I begged my kind old landlord to send her to the play every
day, and to prepare a good supper every evening. I got her some rich
dresses that she might cut a good figure, and this attention redoubled
her affection for me.

The next day, which was the second occasion on which I had visited her,
she told me that she had enjoyed the play though she could not understand
the dialogues; and the day after she astonished me by saying that my
brother had intruded himself into her box, and had said so many
impertinent things that if she had been at Venice she would have boxed
his ears.

"I am afraid," she added, "that the rascal has followed me here, and will
be annoying me."

"Don't be afraid," I answered, "I will see what I can do."

When I got to the hotel I entered the abbe's room, and by Possano's bed I
saw an individual collecting lint and various surgical instruments.

"What's all this? Are you ill?"

"Yes, I have got something which will teach me to be wiser for the
future."

"It's rather late for this kind of thing at sixty."

"Better late than never."

"You are an old fool. You stink of mercury."

"I shall not leave my room."

"This will harm you with the marchioness, who believes you to be the
greatest of adepts, and consequently above such weaknesses."

"Damn the marchioness! Let me be."

The rascal had never talked in this style before. I thought it best to
conceal my anger, and went up to my brother who was in a corner of the
room.

"What do you mean by pestering Marcoline at the theatre yesterday?"

"I went to remind her of her duty, and to warn her that I would not be
her complaisant lover."

"You have insulted me and her too, fool that you are! You owe all to
Marcoline, for if it had not been for her, I should never have given you
a second glance; and yet you behave in this disgraceful manner."

"I have ruined myself for her sake, and I can never shew my face in
Venice again. What right have you to take her from me?"

"The right of love, blockhead, and the right of luck, and the right of
the strongest! How is it that she is happy with me, and does not wish to
leave me?"

"You have dazzled her."

"Another reason is that with you she was dying of misery and hunger."

"Yes, but the end of it will be that you will abandon her as you have
done with many others, whereas I should have married her."

"Married her! You renegade, you seem to forget that you are a priest. I
do not propose to part with her, but if I do I will send her away rich."

"Well, well, do as you please; but still I have the right to speak to her
whenever I like."

"I have forbidden you to do so, and you may trust me when I tell you that
you have spoken to her for the last time."

So saying I went out and called on an advocate. I asked him if I could
have a foreign abbe, who was indebted to me, arrested, although I had no
proof of the debt.

"You can do so, as he is a foreigner, but you will have to pay
caution-money. You can have him put under arrest at his inn, and you can
make him pay unless he is able to prove that he owes you nothing. Is the
sum a large one?"

"Twelve louis."

"You must come with me before the magistrate and deposit twelve louis,
and from that moment you will be able to have him arrested. Where is he
staying?"

"In the same hotel as I am, but I do not wish to have him arrested there,
so I will get him to the 'Ste. Baume,' and put him under arrest. Here are
the twelve louis caution-money, so you can get the magistrate's order,
and we will meet again to-morrow."

"Give me his name, and yours also."

I returned in haste to the "Treize Cantons," and met the abbe, dressed up
to the nines, and just about to go out.

"Follow me," said I, "I am going to take you to Marcoline, and you shall
have an explanation in her presence."

"With pleasure."

He got into a carriage with me, and I told the coachman to take us to the
"Ste. Baume" inn. When we got there, I told him to wait for me, that I
was going to fetch Marcoline, and that I would return with her in a
minute.

I got into the carriage again, and drove to the advocate, who gave the
order for arrest to a policeman, who was to execute it. I then returned
to the "Treize Cantons" and put his belongings into a trunk, and had them
transported to his new abode.

I found him under arrest, and talking to the astonished host, who could
not understand what it was all about. I told the landlord the mythical
history of the abbe debt to me, and handed over the trunk, telling him
that he had nothing to fear with regard to the bill, as I would take care
that he should be well paid.

I then began my talk with the abbe, telling him that he must get ready to
leave Marseilles the next day, and that I would pay for his journey to
Paris; but that if he did not like to do so, I should leave him to his
fate, and in three days he would be expelled from Marseilles. The coward
began to weep and said he would go to Paris.

"You must start for Lyons to-morrow, but you will first write me out an I
O U for twelve louis."

"Why?"

"Because I say so. If you do so I will give you twelve louis and tear up
the document before your face."

"I have no choice in the matter."

"You are right."

When he had written the I O U, I went to take a place in the diligence
for him, and the next morning I went with the advocate to withdraw the
arrest and to take back the twelve louis, which I gave to my brother in
the diligence, with a letter to M. Bono, whom I warned not to give him
any money, and to send him on to Paris by the same diligence. I then tore
up his note of hand, and wished him a pleasant journey.

Thus I got rid of this foolish fellow, whom I saw again in Paris in a
month's time.

The day I had my brother arrested and before I went to dine with Madame
d'Urfe I had an interview with Possano in the hope of discovering the
reason of his ill humour.

"The reason is," said he, "that I am sure you are going to lay hands on
twenty or thirty thousand crowns in gold and diamonds, which the
marchioness meant me to have."

"That may be, but it is not for you to know anything about it. I may tell
you that it rests entirely with me to prevent your getting anything. If
you think you can succeed go to the marchioness and make your complaints
to her. I will do nothing to prevent you."

"Then you think I am going to help you in your imposture for nothing; you
are very much mistaken. I want a thousand louis, and I will have it,
too."

"Then get somebody to give it you," said I; and I turned my back on him.

I went up to the marchioness and told her that dinner was ready, and that
we should dine alone, as I had been obliged to send the abbe away.

"He was an idiot; but how about Querilinthos?"

"After dinner Paralis will tell us all about him. I have strong
suspicions that there is something to be cleared up."

"So have I. The man seems changed. Where is he?"

"He is in bed, ill of a disease which I dare not so much as name to you."

"That is a very extraordinary circumstance; I have never heard of such a
thing before. It must be the work of an evil genius."

"I have never heard of such a thing, either; but now let us dine. We
shall have to work hard to-day at the consecration of the tin."

"All the better. We must offer an expiatory sacrifice to Oromasis, for,
awful thought! in three days he would have to regenerate me, and the
operation would be performed in that condition."

"Let us eat now," I repeated; "I fear lest the hour of Jupiter be
over-past."

"Fear nothing, I will see that all goes well."

After the consecration of the tin had been performed, I transferred that
of Oromasis to another day, while I consulted the oracle assiduously, the
marchioness translating the figures into letters. The oracle declared
that seven salamanders had transported the true Querilinthos to the Milky
Way, and that the man in the next room was the evil genius, St. Germain,
who had been put in that fearful condition by a female gnome, who had
intended to make him the executioner of Semiramis, who was to die of the
dreadful malady before her term had expired. The oracle also said that
Semiramis should leave to Payaliseus Galtinardus (myself) all the charge
of getting rid of the evil genius, St. Germain; and that she was not to
doubt concerning her regeneration, since the word would be sent me by the
true Querilinthos from the Milky Way on the seventh night of my worship
of the moon. Finally the oracle declared that I was to embrace Semiramis
two days before the end of the ceremonies, after an Undine had purified
us by bathing us in the room where we were.

I had thus undertaken to regenerate the worthy Semiramis, and I began to
think how I could carry out my undertaking without putting myself to
shame. The marchioness was handsome but old, and I feared lest I should
be unable to perform the great act. I was thirty-eight, and I began to
feel age stealing on me. The Undine, whom I was to obtain of the moon,
was none other than Marcoline, who was to give me the necessary
generative vigour by the sight of her beauty and by the contact of her
hands. The reader will see how I made her come down from heaven.

I received a note from Madame Audibert which made me call on her before
paying my visit to Marcoline. As soon as I came in she told me joyously
that my niece's father had just received a letter from the father of the
Genoese, asking the hand of his daughter for his only son, who had been
introduced to her by the Chevalier de Seingalt, her uncle, at the
Paretti's.

"The worthy man thinks himself under great obligations to you," said
Madame Audibert. "He adores his daughter, and he knows you have cared for
her like a father. His daughter has drawn your portrait in very
favourable colors, and he would be extremely pleased to make your
acquaintance. Tell me when you can sup with me; the father will be here
to meet you, though unaccompanied by his daughter."

"I am delighted at what you tell me, for the young man's esteem for his
future wife will only be augmented when he finds that I am her father's
friend. I cannot come to supper, however; I will be here at six and stop
till eight."

As the lady left the choice of the day with me I fixed the day after
next, and then I repaired to my fair Venetian, to whom I told my news,
and how I had managed to get rid of the abbe.

On the day after next, just as we were sitting down to dinner, the
marchioness smilingly gave me a letter which Possano had written her in
bad but perfectly intelligible French. He had filled eight pages in his
endeavour to convince her that I was deceiving her, and to make sure he
told the whole story without concealing any circumstance to my
disadvantage. He added that I had brought two girls with me to
Marseilles; and though he did not know where I had hidden them, he was
sure that it was with them that I spent my nights.

After I had read the whole letter through, with the utmost coolness I
gave it back to her, asking her if she had had the patience to read it
through. She replied that she had run through it, but that she could not
make it out at all, as the evil genius seemed to write a sort of
outlandish dialect, which she did not care to puzzle herself over, as he
could only have written down lies calculated to lead her astray at the
most important moment of her life. I was much pleased with the
marchioness's prudence, for it was important that she should have no
suspicions about the Undine, the sight and the touch of whom were
necessary to me in the great work I was about to undertake.

After dining, and discharging all the ceremonies and oracles which were
necessary to calm the soul of my poor victim, I went to a banker and got
a bill of a hundred louis on Lyons, to the order of M. Bono, and I
advised him of what I had done, requesting him to cash it for Possano if
it were presented on the day named thereon.

I then wrote the advice for Possano to take with him, it ran as follows:
"M. Bonno, pay to M. Possano, on sight, to himself, and not to order, the
sum of one hundred louis, if these presents are delivered to you on the
30th day of April, in the year 1763; and after the day aforesaid my order
to become null and void."

With this letter in my hand I went to the traitor who had been lanced an
hour before.

"You're an infamous traitor," I began, "but as Madame d'Urfe knows of the
disgraceful state you are in she would not so much as read your letter. I
have read it, and by way of reward I give you two alternatives which you
must decide on immediately. I am in a hurry. You will either go to the
hospital--for we can't have pestiferous fellows like you here--or start
for Lyons in an hour. You must not stop on the way, for I have only given
you sixty hours, which is ample to do forty posts in. As soon as you get
to Lyons present this to M. Bono, and he will give you a hundred louis.
This is a present from me, and afterwards I don't care what you do, as
you are no longer in my service. You can have the carriage I bought for
you at Antibes, and there is twenty-five louis for the journey: that is
all. Make your choice, but I warn you that if you go to the hospital I
shall only give you a month's wages, as I dismiss you from my service now
at this instant."

After a moment's reflection he said he would go to Lyons, though it would
be at the risk of his life, for he was very ill.

"You must reap the reward of your treachery," said I, "and if you die it
will be a good thing for your family, who will come in for what I have
given you, but not what I should have given you if you had been a
faithful servant."

I then left him and told Clairmont to pack up his trunk. I warned the
inn-keeper of his departure and told him to get the post horses ready as
soon as possible.

I then gave Clairmont the letter to Bono and twenty-five Louis, for him
to hand them over to Possano when he was in the carriage and ready to go
off.

When I had thus successfully accomplished my designs by means of the
all-powerful lever, gold, which I knew how to lavish in time of need, I
was once more free for my amours. I wanted to instruct the fair
Marcoline, with whom I grew more in love every day. She kept telling me
that her happiness would be complete if she knew French, and if she had
the slightest hope that I would take her to England with me.

I had never flattered her that my love would go as far as that, but yet I
could not help feeling sad at the thought of parting from a being who
seemed made to taste voluptuous pleasures, and to communicate them with
tenfold intensity to the man of her choice. She was delighted to hear
that I had got rid of my two odious companions, and begged me to take her
to the theatre, "for," said she, "everybody is asking who and what I am,
and my landlord's niece is quite angry with me because I will not let her
tell the truth."

I promised I would take her out in the course of the next week, but that
for the present I had a most important affair on hand, in which I had
need of her assistance.

"I will do whatever you wish, dearest."

"Very good! then listen to me. I will get you a disguise which will make
you look like a smart footman, and in that costume you will call on the
marchioness with whom I live, at the hour I shall name to you, and you
will give her a note. Have you sufficient courage for that?"

"Certainly. Will you be there?"

"Yes. She will speak, but you must pretend to be dumb, as the note you
bring with you will tell us; as also that you have come to wait upon us
while we are bathing. She will accept the offer, and when she tells you
to undress her from head to foot you will do so. When you have done,
undress yourself, and gently rub the marchioness from the feet to the
waist, but not higher. In the meanwhile I shall have taken off my
clothes, and while I hold her in a close embrace you must stand so that I
can see all your charms.

"Further, sweetheart, when I leave you you must gently wash her
generative organs, and afterwards wipe them with a fine towel. Then do
the same to me, and try to bring me to life again. I shall proceed to
embrace the marchioness a second time, and when it is over wash her again
and embrace her, and then come and embrace me and kiss in your Venetian
manner the instrument with which the sacrifice is consummated. I shall
then clasp the marchioness to my arms a third time, and you must caress
us till the act is complete. Finally, you will wash us for the third
time, then dress, take what she gives you and come here, where I will
meet you in the course of an hour."

"You may reckon on my following all your instructions, but you must see
that the task will be rather trying to my feelings."

"Not more trying than to mine. I could do nothing with the old woman if
you were not present."

"Is she very old?"

"Nearly seventy."

"My poor sweetheart! I do pity you. But after this painful duty is over
you must sup here and sleep with me."

"Certainly."

On the day appointed I had a long and friendly interview with the father
of my late niece. I told him all about his daughter, only suppressing the
history of our own amours, which were not suitable for a father's ears.
The worthy man embraced me again and again, calling me his benefactor,
and saying that I had done more for his daughter than he would have done
himself, which in a sense was perhaps true. He told me that he had
received another letter from the father, and a letter from the young man
himself, who wrote in the most tender and respectful manner possible.

"He doesn't ask anything about the dower," said he, "a wonderful thing
these days, but I will give her a hundred and fifty thousand francs, for
the marriage is an excellent one, above all after my poor simpleton's
escape. All Marseilles knows the father of her future husband, and
to-morrow I mean to tell the whole story to my wife, and I am sure she
will forgive the poor girl as I have done."

I had to promise to be present at the wedding, which was to be at Madame
Audibert's. That lady knowing me to be very fond of play, and there being
a good deal of play going on at her house, wondered why she did not see
more of me; but I was at Marseilles to create and not to destroy: there
is a time for everything.

I had a green velvet jacket made for Marcoline, with breeches of the same
and silver-lace garters, green silk stockings, and fine leather shoes of
the same colour. Her fine black hair was confined in a net of green silk,
with a silver brooch. In this dress the voluptuous and well-rounded form
of Marcoline was displayed to so much advantage, that if she had shewn
herself in the street all Marseilles would have run after her, for, in
spite of her man's dress, anybody could see that she was a girl. I took
her to my rooms in her ordinary costume, to shew her where she would have
to hide after the operation was over.

By Saturday we had finished all the consecrations, and the oracle fixed
the regeneration of Semiramis for the following Tuesday, in the hours of
the sun, Venus, and Mercury, which follow each other in the planetary
system of the magicians, as also in Ptolemy's. These hours were in
ordinary parlance the ninth, tenth, and eleventh of the day, since the
day being a Tuesday, the first hour was sacred to Mars. And as at the
beginning of May the hours are sixty-five minutes long, the reader,
however little of a magician he may be, will understand that I had to
perform the great work on Madame d'Urfe, beginning at half-past two and
ending at five minutes to six. I had taken plenty of time, as I expected
I should have great need of it.

On the Monday night, at the hour of the moon, I had taken Madame d'Urfe
to the sea-shore, Clairmont following behind with the box containing the
offerings, which weighed fifty pounds.

I was certain that nobody could see us, and I told my companion that the
time was come. I told Clairmont to put down the box beside us, and to go
and await us at the carriage. When we were alone we addressed a solemn
prayer to Selenis, and then to the great satisfaction of the marchioness
the box was consigned to the address. My satisfaction however was still
greater than hers, for the box contained fifty pounds of lead. The real
box, containing the treasure, was comfortably hidden in my room.

When we got back to the "Treize Cantons," I left Madame d'Urfe alone,
telling her that I would return to the hotel when I had performed my
conjurations to the moon, at the same hour and in the same place in which
I had performed the seven consecrations.

I spoke the truth. I went to Marcoline, and while she was putting on her
disguise I wrote on a sheet of white paper, in large and odd-looking
letters, the following sentences, using, instead of ink, rock-alum:

"I am dumb but not deaf. I am come from the Rhone to bathe you. The hour
of Oromasis has begun."

"This is the note you are to give to the marchioness," I said, "when you
appear before her."

After supper we walked to the hotel and got in without anyone seeing us.
I hid Marcoline in a large cupboard, and then putting on my dressing-gown
I went to the marchioness to inform her that Selenis had fixed the next
day for the hour of regeneration, and that we must be careful to finish
before the hour of the moon began, as otherwise the operation would be
annulled or at least greatly enfeebled.

"You must take care," I added, "that the bath be here beside your bed,
and that Brougnole does not interrupt us."

"I will tell her to go out. But Selenis promised to send an Undine."

"True, but I have not yet seen such a being."

"Ask the oracle."

"Willingly."

She herself asked the question imploring Paralis not to delay the time of
her regeneration, even though the Undine were lacking, since she could
very well bathe herself.

"The commands of Oromasis change not," came the reply; "and in that you
have doubted them you have sinned."

At this the marchioness arose and performed an expiatory sacrifice, and
it appeared, on consulting the oracle, that Oromasis was satisfied.

The old lady did not move my pity so much as my laughter. She solemnly
embraced me and said,--

"To-morrow, Galtinardus, you will be my spouse and my father." When I got
back to my room and had shut the door, I drew the Undine out of her place
of concealment. She undressed, and as she knew that I should be obliged
to husband my forces, she turned her back on me, and we passed the night
without giving each other a single kiss, for a spark would have set us
all ablaze.

Next morning, before summoning Clairmont, I gave her her breakfast, and
then replaced her in the cupboard. Later on, I gave her her instructions
over again, telling her to do everything with calm precision, a cheerful
face, and, above all, silence.

"Don't be afraid," said she, "I will make no mistakes."

As we were to dine at noon exactly, I went to look for the marchioness,
but she was not in her room, though the bath was there, and the bed which
was to be our altar was prepared.

A few moments after, the marchioness came out of her dressing-room,
exquisitely painted, her hair arranged with the choicest lace, and
looking radiant. Her breasts, which forty years before had been the
fairest in all France, were covered with a lace shawl, her dress was of
the antique kind, but of extremely rich material, her ear-rings were
emeralds, and a necklace of seven aquamarines of the finest water, from
which hung an enormous emerald, surrounded by twenty brilliants, each
weighing a carat and a half, completed her costume. She wore on her
finger the carbuncle which she thought worth a million francs, but which
was really only a splendid imitation.

Seeing Semiramis thus decked out for the sacrifice, I thought it my
bounden duty to offer her my homage. I would have knelt before her and
kissed her hand, but she would not let me, and instead opened her arms
and strained me to her breast.

After telling Brougnole that she could go out till six o'clock, we talked
over our mysteries till the dinner was brought in.

Clairmont was the only person privileged to see us at dinner, at which
Semiramis would only eat fish. At half-past one I told Clairmont I was
not at home to anyone, and giving him a louis I told him to go and amuse
himself till the evening.

The marchioness began to be uneasy, and I pretended to be so, too. I
looked at my watch, calculated how the planetary hours were proceeding,
and said from time to time,--

"We are still in the hour of Mars, that of the sun has not yet
commenced."

At last the time-piece struck half-past two, and in two minutes
afterwards the fair and smiling Undine was seen advancing into the room.
She came along with measured steps, and knelt before Madame d'Urfe, and
gave her the paper she carried. Seeing that I did not rise, the
marchioness remained seated, but she raised the spirit with a gracious
air and took the paper from her. She was surprised, however, to find that
it was all white.

I hastened to give her a pen to consult the oracle on the subject, and
after I had made a pyramid of her question, she interpreted it and found
the answer:

"That which is written in water must be read in water."

"I understand now," said she, and going to the bath she plunged the paper
into it, and then read in still whiter letters: "I am dumb, but not deaf.
I am come from the Rhone to bathe you. The hour of Oromasis has begun."

"Then bathe me, divine being," said Semiramis, putting down the paper and
sitting on the bed.

With perfect exactitude Marcoline undressed the marchioness, and
delicately placed her feet in the water, and then, in a twinkling she had
undressed herself, and was in the bath, beside Madame d'Urfe. What a
contrast there was between the two bodies; but the sight of the one
kindled the flame which the other was to quench.

As I gazed on the beautiful girl, I, too, undressed, and when I was ready
to take off my shirt I spoke as follows: "O divine being, wipe the feet
of Semiramis, and be the witness of my union with her, to the glory of
the immortal Horomadis, King of the Salamanders."

Scarcely had I uttered my prayer when it was granted, and I consummated
my first union with Semiramis, gazing on the charms of Marcoline, which I
had never seen to such advantage before.

Semiramis had been handsome, but she was then what I am now, and without
the Undine the operation would have failed. Nevertheless, Semiramis was
affectionate, clean, and sweet in every respect, and had nothing
disgusting about her, so I succeeded.

When the milk had been poured forth upon the altar, I said,--

"We must now await the hour of Venus."

The Undine performed the ablutions, embraced the bride, and came to
perform the same office for me.

Semiramis was in an ecstasy of happiness, and as she pointed out to me
the beauties of the Undine I was obliged to confess that I had never seen
any mortal woman to be compared to her in beauty. Semiramis grew excited
by so voluptuous a sight, and when the hour of Venus began I proceeded to
the second assault, which would be the severest, as the hour was of
sixty-five minutes. I worked for half an hour, steaming with
perspiration, and tiring Semiramis, without being able to come to the
point. Still I was ashamed to trick her. She, the victim, wiped the drops
of sweat from my forehead, while the Undine, seeing my exhaustion,
kindled anew the flame which the contact of that aged body had destroyed.
Towards the end of the hour, as I was exhausted and still unsuccessful, I
was obliged to deceive her by making use of those movements which are
incidental to success. As I went out of the battle with all the signs of
my strength still about me, Semiramis could have no doubts as to the
reality of my success, and even the Undine was deceived when she came to
wash me. But the third hour had come, and we were obliged to satisfy
Mercury. We spent a quarter of the time in the bath, while the Undine
delighted Semiramis by caresses which would have delighted the regent of
France, if he had ever known of them. The good marchioness, believing
these endearments to be peculiar to river spirits, was pleased with
everything, and begged the Undine to shew me the same kindness. Marcoline
obeyed, and lavished on me all the resources of the Venetian school of
love. She was a perfect Lesbian, and her caresses having soon restored me
to all my vigour I was encouraged to undertake to satisfy Mercury. I
proceeded to the work, but alas! it was all in vain. I saw how my
fruitless efforts vexed the Undine, and perceiving that Madame d'Urfe had
had enough, I again took the course of deceiving her by pretended
ecstacies and movements, followed by complete rest. Semiramis afterwards
told me that my exertions shewed that I was something more than mortal.

I threw myself into the bath, and underwent my third ablution, then I
dressed. Marcoline washed the marchioness and proceeded to clothe her,
and did so with such a graceful charm that Madame d'Urfe followed the
inspiration of her good genius, and threw her magnificent necklace over
the Undine's neck. After a parting Venetian kiss she vanished, and went
to her hiding place in the cupboard.

Semiramis asked the oracle if the operation had been successful. The
answer was that she bore within her the seed of the sun, and that in the
beginning of next February she would be brought to bed of another self of
the same sex as the creator; but in order that the evil genii might not
be able to do her any harm she must keep quiet in her bed for a hundred
and seven hours in succession.

The worthy marchioness was delighted to receive this order, and looked
upon it as a good omen, for I had tired her dreadfully. I kissed her,
saying that I was going to the country to collect together what remained
of the substances that I had used in my ceremonies, but I promised to
dine with her on the morrow.

I shut myself up in my room with the Undine, and we amused ourselves as
best we could till it was night, for she could not go out while it was
light in her spiritual costume. I took off my handsome wedding garment,
and as soon as it was dusk we crept out, and went away to Marcoline's
lodging in a hackney coach, carrying with us the planetary offerings
which I had gained so cleverly.

We were dying of hunger, but the delicious supper which was waiting for
us brought us to life again. As soon as we got into the room Marcoline
took off her green clothes and put on her woman's dress, saying,--

"I was not born to wear the breeches. Here, take the beautiful necklace
the madwoman gave me!"

"I will sell it, fair Undine, and you shall have the proceeds."

"Is it worth much?"

"At least a thousand sequins. By the time you get back to Venice you will
be worth at least five thousand ducats, and you will be able to get a
husband and live with him in a comfortable style."

"Keep it all, I don't want it; I want you. I will never cease to love
you; I will do whatever you tell me, and I promise never to be jealous. I
will care for you--yes, as if you were my son."

"Do not let us say anything more about it, fair Marcoline, but let us go
to bed, for you have never inspired me with so much ardour as now."

"But you must be tired."

"Yes, but not exhaustion, for I was only able to perform the distillation
once."

"I thought you sacrificed twice on that old altar. Poor old woman! she is
still pretty, and I have no doubt that fifty years ago she was one of the
first beauties in France. How foolish of her to be thinking of love at
that age."

"You excited me, but she undid your work even more quickly."

"Are you always obliged to have--a girl beside you when you make love to
her?"

"No; before, there was no question of making a son."

"What? you are going to make her pregnant? That's ridiculous! Does she
imagine that she has conceived?"

"Certainly; and the hope makes her happy."

"What a mad idea! But why did you try to do it three times?"

"I thought to shew my strength, and that if I gazed on you I should not
fail; but I was quite mistaken."

"I pity you for having suffered so much."

"You will renew my strength."

As a matter of fact, I do not know whether to attribute it to the
difference between the old and the young, but I spent a most delicious
night with the beautiful Venetian--a night which I can only compare to
those I passed at Parma with Henriette, and at Muran with the beautiful
nun. I spent fourteen hours in bed, of which four at least were devoted
to expiating the insult I had offered to love. When I had dressed and
taken my chocolate I told Marcoline to dress herself with elegance, and
to expect me in the evening just before the play began. I could see that
she was intensely delighted with the prospect.

I found Madame d'Urfe in bed, dressed with care and in the fashion of a
young bride, and with a smile of satisfaction on her face which I had
never remarked there before.

"To thee, beloved Galtinardus, I owe all my happiness," said she, as she
embraced me.

"I am happy to have contributed to it, divine Semiramis, but you must
remember I am only the agent of the genii."

Thereupon the marchioness began to argue in the most sensible manner, but
unfortunately the foundation of her argument was wholly chimerical.

"Marry me," said she; "you will then be able to be governor of the child,
who will be your son. In this manner you will keep all my property for
me, including what I shall have from my brother M. de Pontcarre, who is
old and cannot live much longer. If you do not care for me in February
next, when I shall be born again, into what hands shall I fall! I shall
be called a bastard, and my income of twenty-four thousand francs will be
lost to me. Think over it, dear Galtinardus. I must tell you that I feel
already as if I were a man. I confess I am in love with the Undine, and I
should like to know whether I shall be able to sleep with her in fourteen
or fifteen years time. I shall be so if Oromasis will it, and then I
shall be happy indeed. What a charming creature she is? Have you ever
seen a woman like her? What a pity she is dumb!"

"She, no doubt, has a male water-spirit for a lover. But all of them are
dumb, since it is impossible to speak in the water. I wonder she is not
deaf as well. I can't think why you didn't touch her. The softness of her
skin is something wonderful--velvet and satin are not to be compared to
it! And then her breath is so sweet! How delighted I should be if I could
converse with such an exquisite being."

"Dear Galtinardus, I beg you will consult the oracle to find out where I
am to be brought to bed, and if you won't marry me I think I had better
save all I have that I may have some provision when I am born again, for
when I am born I shall know nothing, and money will be wanted to educate
me. By selling the whole a large sum might be realized which could be put
out at interest. Thus the interest would suffice without the capital
being touched."

"The oracle must be our guide," said I. "You will be my son, and I will
never allow anyone to call you a bastard."

The sublime madwoman was quiet by this assurance.

Doubtless many a reader will say that if I had been an honest man I
should have undeceived her, but I cannot agree with them; it would have
been impossible, and I confess that even if it had been possible I would
not have done so, for it would only have made me unhappy.

I had told Marcoline to dress with elegance, and I put on one of my
handsomest suits to accompany her to the theatre. Chance brought the two
sisters Rangoni, daughters of the Roman consul, into our box. As I had
made their acquaintance on my first visit to Marseilles, I introduced
Marcoline to them as my niece, who only spoke Italian. As the two young
ladies spoke the tongue of Tasso also, Marcoline was highly delighted.
The younger sister, who was by far the handsomer of the two, afterwards
became the wife of Prince Gonzaga Solferino. The prince was a cultured
man, and even a genius, but very poor. For all that he was a true son of
Gonzaga, being a son of Leopold, who was also poor, and a girl of the
Medini family, sister to the Medini who died in prison at London in the
year 1787.

Babet Rangoni, though poor, deserved to become a princess, for she had
all the airs and manners of one. She shines under her name of Rangoni
amongst the princess and princesses of the almanacs. Her vain husband is
delighted at his wife being thought to belong to the illustrious family
of Medini--an innocent feeling, which does neither good nor harm. The
same publications turn Medini into Medici, which is equally harmless.
This species of lie arises from the idiotic pride of the nobles who think
themselves raised above the rest of humanity by their titles which they
have often acquired by some act of baseness. It is of no use interfering
with them on this point, since all things are finally appreciated at
their true value, and the pride of the nobility is easily discounted when
one sees them as they really are.

Prince Gonzaga Solferino, whom I saw at Venice eighteen years ago, lived
on a pension allowed him by the empress. I hope the late emperor did not
deprive him of it, as it was well deserved by this genius and his
knowledge of literature.

At the play Marcoline did nothing but chatter with Babet Rangoni, who
wanted me to bring the fair Venetian to see her, but I had my own reasons
for not doing so.

I was thinking how I could send Madame d'Urfe to Lyons, for I had no
further use for her at Marseilles, and she was often embarrassing. For
instance, on the third day after her regeneration, she requested me to
ask Paralis where she was to die--that is, to be brought to bed. I made
the oracle reply that she must sacrifice to the water-spirits on the
banks of two rivers, at the same hour, and that afterwards the question
of her lying-in would be resolved. The oracle added that I must perform
three expiatory sacrifices to Saturn, on account of my too harsh
treatment of the false Querilinthos, and that Semiramis need not take
part in these ceremonies, though she herself must perform the sacrifices
to the water-spirits.

As I was pretending to think of a place where two rivers were
sufficiently near to each other to fulfil the requirements of the oracle,
Semiramis herself suggested that Lyons was watered by the Rhone and the
Saone, and that it would be an excellent place for the ceremony. As may
be imagined, I immediately agreed with her. On asking Paralis if there
were any preparations to be made, he replied that it Would be necessary
to pour a bottle of sea-water into each river a fortnight before the
sacrifice, and that this ceremony was to be performed by Semiramis in
person, at the first diurnal hour of the moon.

"Then," said the marchioness, "the bottles must be filled here, for the
other French ports are farther off. I will go as soon as ever I can leave
my bed, and will wait for you at Lyons; for as you have to perform
expiatory sacrifices to Saturn in this place, you cannot come with me."

I assented, pretending sorrow at not being able to accompany her. The
next morning I brought her two well-sealed bottles of sea-water, telling
her that she was to pour them out into the two rivers on the 15th of May
(the current month). We fixed her departure for the 11th, and I promised
to rejoin her before the expiration of the fortnight. I gave her the
hours of the moon in writing, and also directions for the journey.

As soon as the marchioness had gone I left the "Treize Cantons" and went
to live with Marcoline, giving her four hundred and sixty louis, which,
with the hundred and forty she had won at biribi, gave her a total of six
hundred louis, or fourteen thousand four hundred francs. With this sum
she could look the future in the face fearlessly.

The day after Madame d'Urfe's departure, the betrothed of Mdlle. Crosin
arrived at Marseilles with a letter from Rosalie, which he handed to me
on the day of his arrival. She begged me in the name of our common honour
to introduce the bearer in person to the father of the betrothed. Rosalie
was right, but as the lady was not my real niece there were some
difficulties in the way. I welcomed the young man and told him that I
would first take him to Madame Audibert, and that we could then go
together to his father-in-law in prospective.

The young Genoese had gone to the "Treize Cantons," where he thought I
was staying. He was delighted to find himself so near the goal of his
desires, and his ecstacy received a new momentum when he saw how
cordially Madame Audibert received him. We all got into my carriage and
drove to the father's who gave him an excellent reception, and then
presented him to his wife, who was already friendly disposed towards him.

I was pleasantly surprised when this good and sensible man introduced me
to his wife as his cousin, the Chevalier de Seingalt, who had taken such
care of their daughter. The good wife and good mother, her husband's
worthy partner, stretched out her hand to me, and all my trouble was
over.

My new cousin immediately sent an express messenger to his sister,
telling her that he and his wife, his future son-in-law, Madame Audibert,
and a cousin she had not met before, would come and dine with her on the
following day. This done he invited us, and Madame Audibert said that she
would escort us. She told him that I had another niece with me, of whom
his daughter was very fond, and would be delighted to see again. The
worthy man was overjoyed to be able to increase his daughter's happiness.

I, too, was pleased with Madame Audibert's tact and thoughtfulness; and
as making Marcoline happy was to make me happy also, I expressed my
gratitude to her in very warm terms.

I took the young Genoese to the play, to Marcoline's delight, for she
would have liked the French very much if she could have understood them.
We had an excellent supper together, in the course of which I told
Marcoline of the pleasure which awaited her on the morrow. I thought she
would have gone wild with joy.

The next day we were at Madame Audibert's as punctually as Achilles on
the field of battle. The lady spoke Italian well, and was charmed with
Marcoline, reproaching me for not having introduced her before. At eleven
we got to St. Louis, and my eyes were charmed with the dramatic
situation. My late niece had an air of dignity which became her to
admiration, and received her future husband with great graciousness; and
then, after thanking me with a pleasant smile for introducing him to her
father, she passed from dignity to gaiety, and gave her sweetheart a
hundred kisses.

The dinner was delicious, and passed off merrily; but I alone preserved a
tender melancholy, though I laughed to myself when they asked me why I
was sad. I was thought to be sad because I did not talk in my usual
vivacious manner, but far from being really sad that was one of the
happiest moments of my life. My whole being was absorbed in the calm
delight which follows a good action. I was the author of the comedy which
promised such a happy ending. I was pleased with the thought that my
influence in the world was more for good than for ill, and though I was
not born a king yet I contrived to make many people happy. Everyone at
table was indebted to me for some part of their happiness, and the
father, the mother, and the betrothed pair wholly so. This thought made
me feel a peaceful calm which I could only enjoy in silence.

Mdlle. Crosin returned to Marseilles with her father, her mother, and her
future husband, whom the father wished to take up his abode with them. I
went back with Madame Audibert, who made me promise to bring the
delightful Marcoline to sup with her.

The marriage depended on the receipt of a letter from the young man's
father, in answer to one from my niece's father. It will be taken for
granted that we were all asked to the wedding, and Marcoline's affection
for me increased every day.

When we went to sup with Madame Audibert we found a rich and witty young
wine merchant at her house. He sat beside Marcoline, who entertained him
with her sallies; and as the young man could speak Italian, and even the
Venetian dialect (for he had spent a year at Venice), he was much
impressed by the charms of my new niece.

I have always been jealous of my mistresses; but when a rival promises to
marry them and give them a good establishment, jealousy gives way to a
more generous feeling. For the moment I satisfied myself by asking Madame
Audibert who he was, and I was delighted to hear that he had an excellent
reputation, a hundred thousand crowns, a large business, and complete
independence.

The next day he came to see us in our box at the theatre, and Marcoline
received him very graciously. Wishing to push the matter on I asked him
to sup with us, and when he came I was well pleased with his manners and
his intelligence; to Marcoline he was tender but respectful. On his
departure I told him I hoped he would come and see us again, and when we
were alone I congratulated Marcoline on her conquest, and shewed her that
she might succeed almost as well as Mdlle. Crosin. But instead of being
grateful she was furiously, angry.

"If you want to get rid of me," said she, "send me back to Venice, but
don't talk to me about marrying."

"Calm yourself, my angel! I get rid of you? What an idea! Has my
behaviour led you to suppose that you are in my way? This handsome,
well-educated, and rich young man has come under my notice. I see he
loves you and you like him, and as I love you and wish to see you
sheltered from the storms of fortune, and as I think this pleasant young
Frenchman would make you happy, I have pointed out to you these
advantages, but instead of being grateful you scold me. Do not weep,
sweetheart, you grieve my very soul!"

"I am weeping because you think that I can love him."

"It might be so, dearest, and without my honour taking any hurt; but let
us say no more about it and get into bed."

Marcoline's tears changed to smiles and kisses, and we said no more about
the young wine merchant. The next day he came to our box again, but the
scene had changed; she was polite but reserved, and I dared not ask him
to supper as I had done the night before. When we had got home Marcoline
thanked me for not doing so, adding that she had been afraid I would.

"What you said last night is a sufficient guide for me for the future."

In the morning Madame Audibert called on behalf of the wine merchant to
ask us to sup with him. I turned towards the fair Venetian, and guessing
my thoughts she hastened to reply that she would be happy to go anywhere
in company with Madame Audibert. That lady came for us in the evening,
and took us to the young man's house, where we found a magnificent
supper, but no other guests awaiting us. The house was luxuriously
furnished, it only lacked a mistress. The master divided his attention
between the two ladies, and Marcoline looked ravishing. Everything
convinced me that she had kindled the ardour of the worthy young wine
merchant.

The next day I received a note from Madame Audibert, asking me to call on
her. When I went I found she wanted to give my consent to the marriage of
Marcoline with her friend.

"The proposal is a very agreeable one to me," I answered, "and I would
willingly give her thirty thousand francs as a dowry, but I can have
nothing to do with the matter personally. I will send her to you; and if
you can win her over you may count on my word, but do not say that you
are speaking on my behalf, for that might spoil everything."

"I will come for her, and if you like she shall dine with me, and you can
take her to the play in the evening."

Madame Audibert came the following day, and Marcoline went to dinner with
her. I called for her at five o'clock, and finding her looking pleased
and happy I did not know what to think. As Madame Audibert did not take
me aside I stifled my curiosity and went with Marcoline to the theatre,
without knowing what had passed.

On the way Marcoline sang the praises of Madame Audibert, but did not say
a word of the proposal she must have made to her. About the middle of the
piece, however, I thought I saw the explanation of the riddle, for the
young man was in the pit, and did not come to our box though there were
two empty places.

We returned home without a word about the merchant or Madame Audibert,
but as I knew in my own mind what had happened, I felt disposed to be
grateful, and I saw that Marcoline was overjoyed to find me more
affectionate than ever. At last, amidst our amorous assaults, Marcoline,
feeling how dearly I loved her, told me what had passed between her and
Madame Audibert.

"She spoke to me so kindly and so sensibly," said she, "but I contented
myself with saying that I would never marry till you told me to do so.
All the same I thank you with all my heart for the ten thousand crowns
you are willing to give me. You have tossed the ball to me and I have
sent it back. I will go back to Venice whenever you please if you will
not take me to England with you, but I will never marry. I expect we
shall see no more of the young gentleman, though if I had never met you I
might have loved him."

It was evidently all over, and I liked her for the part she had taken,
for a man who knows his own worth is not likely to sigh long at the feet
of an obdurate lady.

The wedding-day of my late niece came round. Marcoline was there, without
diamonds, but clad in a rich dress which set off her beauty and satisfied
my vanity.



CHAPTER IV

I Leave Marseilles--Henriette at Aix--Irene at Avignon--Treachery of
Possano--Madame d'Urfe Leaves Lyon

The wedding only interested me because of the bride. The plentiful rather
than choice repast, the numerous and noisy company, the empty
compliments, the silly conversation, the roars of laughter at very poor
jokes--all this would have driven me to despair if it had not been for
Madame Audibert, whom I did not leave for a moment. Marcoline followed
the young bride about like a shadow, and the latter, who was going to
Genoa in a week, wanted Marcoline to come in her train, promising to have
her taken to Venice by a person of trust, but my sweetheart would listen
to no proposal for separating her from me,--

"I won't go to Venice," she said, "till you send me there."

The splendours of her friend's marriage did not make her experience the
least regret at having refused the young wine merchant. The bride beamed
with happiness, and on my congratulating her she confessed her joy to be
great, adding that it was increased by the fact that she owed it all to
me. She was also very glad to be going to Genoa, where she was sure of
finding a true friend in Rosalie, who would sympathize with her, their
fortunes having been very similar.

The day after the wedding I began to make preparations for my departure.
The first thing I disposed of was the box containing the planetary
offerings. I kept the diamonds and precious stones, and took all the gold
and silver to Rousse de Cosse, who still held the sum which Greppi had
placed to my credit. I took a bill of exchange on Tourton and Bauer, for
I should not be wanting any money at Lyons as Madame d'Urfe was there,
and consequently the three hundred louis I had about me would be ample. I
acted differently where Marcoline was concerned. I added a sufficient sum
to her six hundred louis to give her a capital in round numbers of
fifteen thousand francs. I got a bill drawn on Lyons for that amount, for
I intended at the first opportunity to send her back to Venice, and with
that idea had her trunks packed separately with all the linen and dresses
which I had given her in abundance.

On the eve of our departure we took leave of the newly-married couple and
the whole family at supper, and we parted with tears, promising each
other a lifelong friendship.

The next day we set out intending to travel all night and not to stop
till we got to Avignon, but about five o'clock the chain of the carriage
broke, and we could go no further until a wheelwright had repaired the
damage. We settled ourselves down to wait patiently, and Clairmont went
to get information at a fine house on our right, which was approached by
an alley of trees. As I had only one postillion, I did not allow him to
leave his horses for a moment. Before long we saw Clairmont reappear with
two servants, one of whom invited me, on behalf of his master, to await
the arrival of the wheelwright at his house. It would have been churlish
to refuse this invitation which was in the true spirit of French
politeness, so leaving Clairmont in charge Marcoline and I began to wend
our way towards the hospitable abode.

Three ladies and two gentleman came to meet us, and one of the gentlemen
said they congratulated themselves on my small mishap, since it enabled
madam to offer me her house and hospitality. I turned towards the lady
whom the gentleman had indicated, and thanked her, saying, that I hoped
not to trouble her long, but that I was deeply grateful for her kindness.
She made me a graceful curtsy, but I could not make out her features, for
a stormy wind was blowing, and she and her two friends had drawn their
hoods almost entirely over their faces. Marcoline's beautiful head was
uncovered and her hair streaming in the breeze. She only replied by
graceful bows and smiles to the compliments which were addressed to her
on all sides. The gentleman who had first accosted me asked me, as he
gave her his arm, if she were my daughter. Marcoline smiled and I
answered that she was my cousin, and that we were both Venetians.

A Frenchman is so bent on flattering a pretty woman that he will always
do so, even if it be at the expense of a third party. Nobody could really
think that Marcoline was my daughter, for though I was twenty years older
than she was, I looked ten years younger than my real age, and so
Marcoline smiled suggestively.

We were just going into the house when a large mastiff ran towards us,
chasing a pretty spaniel, and the lady, being afraid of getting bitten,
began to run, made a false step, and fell to the ground. We ran to help
her, but she said she had sprained her ankle, and limped into the house
on the arm of one of the gentlemen. Refreshments were brought in, and I
saw that Marcoline looked uneasy in the company of a lady who was talking
to her. I hastened to excuse her, saying that she did not speak French.
As a matter of fact, Marcoline had begun to talk a sort of French, but
the most charming language in the world will not bear being spoken badly,
and I had begged her not to speak at all till she had learned to express
herself properly. It is better to remain silent than to make strangers
laugh by odd expressions and absurd equivocations.

The less pretty, or rather the uglier, of the two ladies said that it was
astonishing that the education of young ladies was neglected in such a
shocking manner at Venice. "Fancy not teaching them French!"

"It is certainly very wrong, but in my country young ladies are neither
taught foreign languages nor round games. These important branches of
education are attended to afterwards."

"Then you are a Venetian, too?"

"Yes, madam."

"Really, I should not have thought so."

I made a bow in return for this compliment, which in reality was only an
insult; for if flattering to me it was insulting to the rest of my
fellow-countrymen, and Marcoline thought as much for she made a little
grimace accompanied by a knowing smile.

"I see that the young lady understands French," said our flattering
friend, "she laughs exactly in the right place."

"Yes, she understands it, and as for her laughter it was due to the fact
that she knows me to be like all other Venetians."

"Possibly, but it is easy to see that you have lived a long time in
France."

"Yes, madam," said Marcoline; and these words in her pretty Venetian
accent were a pleasure to hear.

The gentleman who had taken the lady to her room said that she found her
foot to be rather swollen, and had gone to bed hoping we would all come
upstairs.

We found her lying in a splendid bed, placed in an alcove which the thick
curtains of red satin made still darker. I could not see whether she was
young or old, pretty or ugly. I said that I was very sorry to be the
indirect cause of her mishap, and she replied in good Italian that it was
a matter of no consequence, and that she did not think she could pay too
dear for the privilege of entertaining such pleasant guests.

"Your ladyship must have lived in Venice to speak the language with so
much correctness."

"No, I have never been there, but I have associated a good deal with
Venetians."

A servant came and told me that the wheelwright had arrived, and that he
would take four hours to mend my carriage, so I went downstairs. The man
lived at a quarter of a league's distance, and by tying the carriage pole
with ropes, I could drive to his place, and wait there for the carriage
to be mended. I was about to do so, when the gentleman who did the
honours of the house came and asked me, on behalf of the lady, to sup and
pass the night at her house, as to go to the wheelwright's would be out
of my way; the man would have to work by night, I should be
uncomfortable, and the work would be ill done. I assented to the
countess's proposal, and having agreed with the man to come early the
next day and bring his tools with him, I told Clairmont to take my
belongings into the room which was assigned to me.

When I returned to the countess's room I found everyone laughing at
Marcoline's sallies, which the countess translated. I was not astonished
at seeing the way in which my fair Venetian caressed the countess, but I
was enraged at not being able to see her, for I knew Marcoline would not
treat any woman in that manner unless she were pretty.

The table was spread in the bedroom of the countess, whom I hoped to see
at supper-time, but I was disappointed; for she declared that she could
not take anything, and all supper-time she talked to Marcoline and
myself, shewing intelligence, education, and a great knowledge of
Italian. She let fall the expression, "my late husband," so I knew her
for a widow, but as I did not dare to ask any questions, my knowledge
ended at that point. When Clairmont was undressing me he told me her
married name, but as I knew nothing of the family that was no addition to
my information.

When we had finished supper, Marcoline took up her old position by the
countess's bed, and they talked so volubly to one another that nobody
else could get in a word.

When politeness bade me retire, my pretended cousin said she was going to
sleep with the countess. As the latter laughingly assented, I refrained
from telling my madcap that she was too forward, and I could see by their
mutual embraces that they were agreed in the matter. I satisfied myself
with saying that I could not guarantee the sex of the countess's
bed-fellow, but she answered,

"Never mind; if there be a mistake I shall be the gainer."

This struck me as rather free, but I was not the man to be scandalized. I
was amused at the tastes of my fair Venetian, and at the manner in which
she contrived to gratify them as she had done at Genoa with my last
niece. As a rule the Provencal women are inclined this way, and far from
reproaching them I like them all the better for it.

The next day I rose at day-break to hurry on the wheelwright, and when
the work was done I asked if the countess were visible. Directly after
Marcoline came out with one of the gentlemen, who begged me to excuse the
countess, as she could not receive me in her present extremely scanty
attire; "but she hopes that whenever you are in these parts you will
honour her and her house by your company, whether you are alone or with
friends."

This refusal, gilded as it was, was a bitter pill for me to swallow, but
I concealed my disgust, as I could only put it down to Marcoline's
doings; she seemed in high spirits, and I did not like to mortify her. I
thanked the gentleman with effusion, and placing a Louis in the hands of
all the servants who were present I took my leave.

I kissed Marcoline affectionately, so that she should not notice my ill
humour, and asked how she and the countess spent the night.

"Capitally," said she. "The countess is charming, and we amused ourselves
all night with the tricks of two amorous women."

"Is she pretty or old?"

"She is only thirty-three, and, I assure you, she is as pretty as my
friend Mdlle. Crosin. I can speak with authority for we saw each other in
a state of nature."

"You are a singular creature; you were unfaithful to me for a woman, and
left me to pass the night by myself."

"You must forgive me, and I had to sleep with her as she was the first to
declare her love."

"Really? How was that?"

"When I gave her the first of my kisses she returned it in the Florentine
manner, and our tongues met. After supper, I confess, I was the first to
begin the suggestive caresses, but she met me half-way. I could only make
her happy by spending the night with her. Look, this will shew you how
pleased she was."

With these words Marcoline drew a superb ring, set with brilliants, from
her finger. I was astonished.

"Truly," I said, "this woman is fond of pleasure and deserves to have
it."

I gave my Lesbian (who might have vied with Sappho) a hundred kisses,
and forgave her her infidelity.

"But," I remarked, "I can't think why she did not want me to see her; I
think she has treated me rather cavalierly."

"No, I think the reason was that she was ashamed to be seen by my lover
after having made me unfaithful to him; I had to confess that we were
lovers."

"Maybe. At all events you have been well paid; that ring is worth two
hundred louis:"

"But I may as well tell you that I was well enough paid for the pleasure
I gave by the pleasure I received."

"That's right; I am delighted to see you happy."

"If you want to make me really happy, take me to England with you. My
uncle will be there, and I could go back to Venice with him."

"What! you have an uncle in England? Do you really mean it? It sounds
like a fairy-tale. You never told me of it before."

"I have never said anything about it up to now, because I have always
imagined that this might prevent your accomplishing your desire."

"Is your uncle a Venetian? What is he doing in England? Are you sure that
he will welcome you?"

"Yes."

"What is his name? And how are we to find him in a town of more than a
million inhabitants?"

"He is ready found. His name is Mattio Boisi, and he is valet de chambre
to M. Querini, the Venetian ambassador sent to England to congratulate
the new king; he is accompanied by the Procurator Morosini. My uncle is
my mother's brother; he is very fond of me, and will forgive my fault,
especially when he finds I am rich. When he went to England he said he
would be back in Venice in July, and we shall just catch him on the point
of departure."

As far as the embassy went I knew it was all true, from the letters I had
received from M. de Bragadin, and as for the rest Marcoline seemed to me
to be speaking the truth. I was flattered by her proposal and agreed to
take her to England so that I should possess her for five or six weeks
longer without committing myself to anything.

We reached Avignon at the close of the day, and found ourselves very
hungry. I knew that the "St. Omer" was an excellent inn, and when I got
there I ordered a choice meal and horses for five o'clock the next
morning. Marcoline, who did not like night travelling, was in high glee,
and threw her arms around my neck, saying,--

"Are we at Avignon now?"

"Yes, dearest."

"Then I conscientiously discharge the trust which the countess placed in
me when she embraced me for the last time this morning. She made me swear
not to say a word about it till we got to Avignon."

"All this puzzles me, dearest; explain yourself."

"She gave me a letter for you."

"A letter?"

"Will you forgive me for not placing it in your hands sooner?"

"Certainly, if you passed your word to the countess; but where is this
letter?"

"Wait a minute."

She drew a large bundle of papers from her pocket, saying,--

"This is my certificate of baptism."

"I see you were born in 1746."

"This is a certificate of 'good conduct.'"

"Keep it, it may be useful to you."

"This is my certificate of virginity."

"That's no use. Did you get it from a midwife?"

"No, from the Patriarch of Venice."

"Did he test the matter for himself?"

"No, he was too old; he trusted in me."

"Well, well, let me see the letter."

"I hope I haven't lost it."

"I hope not, to God."

"Here is your brother's promise of marriage; he wanted to be a
Protestant."

"You may throw that into the fire."

"What is a Protestant?"

"I will tell you another time. Give me the letter."

"Praised be God, here it is!"

"That's lucky; but it has no address."

My heart beat fast, as I opened it, and found, instead of an address,
these words in Italian:

"To the most honest man of my acquaintance."

Could this be meant for me? I turned down the leaf, and read one
word--Henriette! Nothing else; the rest of the paper was blank.

At the sight of that word I was for a moment annihilated.

"Io non mori, e non rimasi vivo."

Henriette! It was her style, eloquent in its brevity. I recollected her
last letter from Pontarlier, which I had received at Geneva, and which
contained only one word--Farewell!

Henriette, whom I had loved so well, whom I seemed at that moment to love
as well as ever. "Cruel Henriette," said I to myself, "you saw me and
would not let me see you. No doubt you thought your charms would not have
their old power, and feared lest I should discover that after all you
were but mortal. And yet I love you with all the ardour of my early
passion. Why did you not let me learn from your own mouth that you were
happy? That is the only question I should have asked you, cruel fair one.
I should not have enquired whether you loved me still, for I feel my
unworthiness, who have loved other women after loving the most perfect of
her sex. Adorable Henriette, I will fly to you to-morrow, since you told
me that I should be always welcome."

I turned these thoughts over in my own mind, and fortified myself in this
resolve; but at last I said,--

"No, your behaviour proves that you do not wish to see me now, and your
wishes shall be respected; but I must see you once before I die."

Marcoline scarcely dared breathe to see me thus motionless and lost in
thought, and I do not know when I should have come to myself if the
landlord had not come in saying that he remembered my tastes, and had got
me a delicious supper. This brought me to my senses, and I made my fair
Venetian happy again by embracing her in a sort of ecstacy.

"Do you know," she said, "you quite frightened me? You were as pale and
still as a dead man, and remained for a quarter of an hour in a kind of
swoon, the like of which I have never seen. What is the reason? I knew
that the countess was acquainted with you, but I should never have
thought that her name by itself could have such an astonishing effect."

"Well, it is strange; but how did you find out that the countess knew
me?"

"She told me as much twenty times over in the night, but she made me
promise to say nothing about it till I had given you the letter."

"What did she say to you about me?"

"She only repeated in different ways what she has written for an
address."

"What a letter it is! Her name, and nothing more."

"It is very strange."

"Yes, but the name tells all."

"She told me that if I wanted to be happy I should always remain with
you. I said I knew that well; but that you wanted to send me back to
Venice, though you were very fond of me. I can guess now that you were
lovers. How long ago was it?"

"Sixteen or seventeen years."

"She must have been very young, but she cannot have been prettier than
she is now."

"Be quiet, Marcoline."

"Did your union with her last long?"

"We lived together four months in perfect happiness."

"I shall not be happy for so long as that."

"Yes you will, and longer, too; but with another man, and one more
suitable to you in age. I am going to England to try to get my daughter
from her mother."

"Your daughter? The countess asked me if you were married, and I said
no."

"You were right; she is my illegitimate daughter. She must be ten now,
and when you see her you will confess that she must belong to me."

Just as we were sitting down to table we heard someone going downstairs
to the table d'hote in the room where I had made Madame Stuard's
acquaintance, our door was open, and we could see the people on the
stairs; and one of them seeing us gave a cry of joy, and came running in,
exclaiming, "My dear papa!" I turned to the light and saw Irene, the same
whom I had treated so rudely at Genoa after my discussion with her father
about biribi. I embraced her effusively, and the sly little puss,
pretending to be surprised to see Marcoline, made her a profound bow,
which was returned with much grace. Marcoline listened attentively to our
conversation.

"What are you doing here, fair Irene?"

"We have been here for the last fortnight. Good heavens! how lucky I am
to find you again. I am quite weak. Will you allow me to sit down,
madam?"

"Yes, yes, my dear," said I, "sit down;" and I gave her a glass of wine
which restored her.

A waiter came up, and said they were waiting for her at supper, but she
said, "I won't take any supper;" and Marcoline, always desirous of
pleasing me, ordered a third place to be laid. I made her happy by giving
an approving nod.

We sat down to table, and ate our meal with great appetite. "When we have
done," I said to Irene, "you must tell us what chance has brought you to
Avignon."

Marcoline, who had not spoken a word hitherto, noticing how hungry Irene
was, said pleasantly that it would have been a mistake if she had not
taken any supper. Irene was delighted to hear Venetian spoken, and
thanked her for her kindness, and in three or four minutes they had
kissed and become friends.

It amused me to see the way in which Marcoline always fell in love with
pretty women, just as if she had been a man.

In the course of conversation I found that Irene's father and mother were
at the table d'hote below, and from sundry exclamations, such as "you
have been brought to Avignon out of God's goodness," I learned that they
were in distress. In spite of that Irene's mirthful countenance matched
Marcoline's sallies, and the latter was delighted to hear that Irene had
only called me papa because her mother had styled her my daughter at
Milan.

We had only got half-way through our supper when Rinaldi and his wife
came in. I asked them to sit down, but if it had not been for Irene I
should have given the old rascal a very warm reception. He began to chide
his daughter for troubling me with her presence when I had such fair
company already, but Marcoline hastened to say that Irene could only have
given me pleasure, for in my capacity of her uncle I was always glad when
she was able to enjoy the society of a sweet young girl.

"I hope," she added, "that if she doesn't mind she will sleep with me."

"Yes, yes," resounded on all sides, and though I should have preferred to
sleep with Marcoline by herself, I laughed and agreed; I have always been
able to accommodate myself to circumstances.

Irene shared Marcoline's desires, for when it was settled that they
should sleep together they seemed wild with joy, and I added fuel to the
fire by plying them with punch and champagne.

Rinaldi and his wife did not leave us till they were quite drunk. When we
had got rid of them, Irene told us how a Frenchman had fallen in love
with her at Genoa, and had persuaded her father to go to Nice where high
play was going on, but meeting with no luck there she had been obliged to
sell what she had to pay the inn-keeper. Her lover had assured her that
he would make it up to her at Aix, where there was some money owing to
him, and she persuaded her father to go there; but the persons who owed
the money having gone to Avignon, there had to be another sale of goods.

"When we got here the luck was no better, and the poor young man, whom my
father reproached bitterly, would have killed himself if I had not given
him the mantle you gave me that he might pawn it and go on his quest. He
got four louis for it, and sent me the ticket with a very tender letter,
in which he assured me that he would find some money at Lyons, and that
he would then return and take us to Bordeaux, where we are to find
treasures. In the meanwhile we are penniless, and as we have nothing more
to sell the landlord threatens to turn us out naked."

"And what does your father mean to do?"

"I don't know. He says Providence will take care of us."

"What does your mother say?"

"Oh! she was as quiet as usual."

"How about yourself?"

"Alas! I have to bear a thousand mortifications every day. They are
continually reproaching me with having fallen in love with this
Frenchman, and bringing them to this dreadful pass."

"Were you really in love with him?"

"Yes, really."

"Then you must be very unhappy."

"Yes, very; but not on account of my love, for I shall get over that in
time, but because of that which will happen to-morrow."

"Can't you make any conquests at the table-d'hote?"

"Some of the men say pretty things to me, but as they all know how poor
we are they are afraid to come to our room."

"And yet in spite of all you keep cheerful; you don't look sad like most
of the unhappy. I congratulate you on your good spirits." Irene's tale
was like the fair Stuard's story over again, and Marcoline, though she
had taken rather too much champagne, was deeply moved at this picture of
misery. She kissed the girl, telling her that I would not forsake her,
and that in the meanwhile they would spend a pleasant night.

"Come! let us to bed!" said she; and after taking off her clothes she
helped Irene to undress. I had no wish to fight, against two, and said
that I wanted to rest. The fair Venetian burst out laughing and said,--

"Go to bed and leave us alone."

I did so, and amused myself by watching the two Bacchantes; but Irene,
who had evidently never engaged in such a combat before, was not nearly
so adroit as Marcoline.

Before long Marcoline brought Irene in her arms to my bedside, and told
me to kiss her.

"Leave me alone, dearest," said I, "the punch has got into your head, and
you don't know what you are doing."

This stung her; and urging Irene to follow her example, she took up a
position in my bed by force; and as there was not enough room for three,
Marcoline got on top of Irene, calling her her wife.

I was virtuous enough to remain a wholly passive spectator of the scene,
which was always new to me, though I had seen it so often; but at last
they flung themselves on me with such violence that I was obliged to give
way, and for the most part of the night I performed my share of the work,
till they saw that I was completely exhausted. We fell asleep, and I did
not wake up till noon, and then I saw my two beauties still asleep, with
their limbs interlaced like the branches of a tree. I thought with a sigh
of the pleasures of such a sleep, and got out of bed gently for fear of
rousing them. I ordered a good dinner to be prepared, and countermanded
the horses which had been waiting several hours.

The landlord remembering what I had done for Madame Stuard guessed I was
going to do the same for the Rinaldis, and left them in peace.

When I came back I found my two Lesbians awake, and they gave me such an
amorous welcome that I felt inclined to complete the work of the night
with a lover's good morning; but I began to feel the need of husbanding
my forces, so I did nothing, and bore their sarcasms in silence till one
o'clock, when I told them to get up, as we ought to have done at five
o'clock, and here was two o'clock and breakfast not done.

"We have enjoyed ourselves," said Marcoline, "and time that is given to
enjoyment is never lost."

When they were dressed, I had coffee brought in, and I gave Irene sixteen
louis, four of which were to redeem her cloak. Her father and mother who
had just dined came in to bid us good-day, and Irene proudly gave her
father twelve Louis telling him to scold her a little less in future. He
laughed, wept, and went out, and then came back and said he found a good
way of getting to Antibes at a small cost, but they would have to go
directly, as the driver wanted to get to St. Andiol by nightfall.

"I am quite ready."

"No, dear Irene," said I, "you shall not go; you shall dine with your
friend, and your driver can wait. Make him do so, Count Rinaldi; my niece
will pay, will you not, Marcoline?"

"Certainly. I should like to dine here, and still better to put off our
departure till the next day."

Her wishes were my orders. We had a delicious supper at five o'clock, and
at eight we went to bed and spent the night in wantonness, but at five in
the morning all were ready to start. Irene, who wore her handsome cloak,
shed hot tears at parting from Marcoline, who also wept with all her
heart. Old Rinaldi, who proved himself no prophet, told me that I should
make a great fortune in England, and his daughter sighed to be in
Marcoline's place. We shall hear of Rinaldi later on.

We drove on for fifteen posts without stopping, and passed the night at
Valence. The food was bad, but Marcoline forgot her discomfort in talking
of Irene.

"Do you know," said she, "that if it had been in my power I should have
taken her from her parents. I believe she is your daughter, though she is
not like you."

"How can she be my daughter when I have never known her mother?"

"She told me that certainly."

"Didn't she tell you anything else?"

"Yes, she told me that you lived with her for three days and bought her
maidenhead for a thousand sequins."

"Quite so, but did she tell you that I paid the money to her father?"

"Yes, the little fool doesn't keep anything for herself. I don't think I
should ever be jealous of your mistresses, if you let me sleep with them.
Is not that a mark of a good disposition? Tell me."

"You have, no doubt, a good disposition, but you could be quite as good
without your dominant passion."

"It is not a passion. I only have desires for those I love."

"Who gave you this taste?"

"Nature. I began at seven, and in the last ten years I have certainly had
four hundred sweethearts."

"You begin early. But when did you begin to have male sweethearts?"

"At eleven."

"Tell me all about it."

"Father Molini, a monk, was my confessor, and he expressed a desire to
know the girl who was then my sweetheart. It was in the carnival time,
and he gave us a moral discourse, telling us that he would take us to the
play if we would promise to abstain for a week. We promised to do so, and
at the end of the week we went to tell him that we had kept our word
faithfully. The next day Father Molini called on my sweetheart's aunt in
a mask, and as she knew him, and as he was a monk and a confessor, we
were allowed to go with him. Besides, we were mere children; my
sweetheart was only a year older than I.

"After the play the father took us to an inn, and gave us some supper;
and when the meal was over he spoke to us of our sin, and wanted to see
our privates. 'It's a great sin between two girls,' said he, 'but between
a man and a woman it is a venial matter. Do you know how men are made?'
We both knew, but we said no with one consent. 'Then would you like to
know?' said he. We said we should like to know very much, and he added,
'If you will promise to keep it a secret, I may be able to satisfy your
curiosity.' We gave our promises, and the good father proceeded to
gratify us with a sight of the riches which nature had lavished on him,
and in the course of an hour he had turned us into women. I must confess
that he understood so well how to work on our curiosity that the request
came from us. Three years later, when I was fourteen, I became the
mistress of a young jeweller. Then came your brother; but he got nothing
from me, because he began by saying that he could not ask me to give him
any favours till we were married."

"You must have been amused at that."

"Yes, it did make me laugh, because I did not know that a priest could
get married; and he excited my curiosity by telling me that they managed
it at Geneva. Curiosity and wantonness made me escape with him; you know
the rest."

Thus did Marcoline amuse me during the evening, and then we went to bed
and slept quietly till the morning. We started from Valence at five, and
in the evening we were set down at the "Hotel du Parc" at Lyons.

As soon as I was settled in the pleasant apartments allotted to me I went
to Madame d'Urfe, who was staying in the Place Bellecour, and said, as
usual, that she was sure I was coming on that day. She wanted to know if
she had performed the ceremonies correctly, and Paralis, of course,
informed her that she had, whereat she was much flattered. The young
Aranda was with her, and after I had kissed him affectionately I told the
marchioness that I would be with her at ten o'clock the next morning, and
so I left her.

I kept the appointment and we spent the whole of the day in close
conference, asking of the oracle concerning her being brought to bed, how
she was to make her will, and how she should contrive to escape poverty
in her regenerated shape. The oracle told her that she must go to Paris
for her lying-in, and leave all her possessions to her son, who would not
be a bastard, as Paralis promised that as soon as I got to London an
English gentleman should be sent over to marry her. Finally, the oracle
ordered her to prepare to start in three days, and to take Aranda with
her. I had to take the latter to London and return him to his mother, for
his real position in life was no longer a mystery, the little rascal
having confessed all; however, I had found a remedy for his indiscretion
as for the treachery of the Corticelli and Possano.

I longed to return him to the keeping of his mother, who constantly wrote
me impertinent letters. I also wished to take my daughter, who, according
to her mother, had become a prodigy of grace and beauty.

After the oracular business had been settled, I returned to the "Hotel du
Parc" to dine with Marcoline. It was very late, and as I could not take
my sweetheart to the play I called on M. Bono to enquire whether he had
sent my brother to Paris. He told me that he had gone the day before, and
that my great enemy, Possano, was still in Lyons, and that I would do
well to be on my guard as far as he was concerned.

"I have seen him," said Bono; "he looks pale and undone, and seems
scarcely able to stand. 'I shall die before long,' said he, 'for that
scoundrel Casanova has had me poisoned; but I will make him pay dearly
for his crime, and in this very town of Lyons, where I know he will come,
sooner or later.'

"In fact, in the course of half an hour, he made some terrible
accusations against you, speaking as if he were in a fury. He wants all
the world to know that you are the greatest villain unhung, that you are
ruining Madame d'Urfe with your impious lies; that you are a sorcerer, a
forger, an utter of false moneys, a poisoner--in short, the worst of men.
He does not intend to publish a libellous pamphlet upon you, but to
accuse you before the courts, alleging that he wants reparation for the
wrongs you have done his person, his honour, and his life, for he says
you are killing him by a slow poison. He adds that for every article he
possesses the strongest proof.

"I will say nothing about the vague abuse he adds to these formal
accusations, but I have felt it my duty to warn you of his treacherous
designs that you may be able to defeat them. It's no good saying he is a
miserable wretch, and that you despise him; you know how strong a thing
calumny is."

"Where does the fellow live?"

"I don't know in the least."

"How can I find out?"

"I can't say, for if he is hiding himself on purpose it would be hard to
get at him."

"Nevertheless, Lyons is not so vast a place."

"Lyons is a perfect maze, and there is no better hiding-place, especially
to a man with money, and Possano has money."

"But what can he do to me?"

"He can institute proceedings against you in the criminal court, which
would cause you immense anxiety and bring down your good name to the
dust, even though you be the most innocent, the most just of men."

"It seems to me, then, that the best thing I can do will be to be first
in the field."

"So I think, but even then you cannot avoid publicity."

"Tell me frankly if you feel disposed to bear witness to what the rascal
has said in a court of justice."

"I will tell all I know with perfect truth."

"Be kind enough to tell me of a good advocate."

"I will give you the address of one of the best; but reflect before you
do anything. The affair will make a noise."

"As I don't know where he lives, I have really no choice in the matter."

If I had known where he lived I could have had Possano expelled from
Lyons through the influence of Madame d'Urfe, whose relative, M. de la
Rochebaron, was the governor; but as it was, I had no other course than
the one I took.

Although Possano was a liar and an ungrateful, treacherous hound, yet I
could not help being uneasy. I went to my hotel, and proceeded to ask for
police protection against a man in hiding in Lyons, who had designs
against my life and honour.

The next day M. Bono came to dissuade me from the course I had taken.

"For," said he, "the police will begin to search for him, and as soon as
he hears of it he will take proceedings against you in the criminal
courts, and then your positions will be changed. It seems to me that if
you have no important business at Lyons you had better hasten your
departure."

"Do you think I would do such a thing for a miserable fellow like
Possano? No! I would despise myself if I did. I would die rather than
hasten my departure on account of a rascal whom I loaded with kindnesses,
despite his unworthiness! I would give a hundred louis to know where he
is now."

"I am delighted to say that I do not know anything about it, for if I did
I would tell you, and then God knows what would happen! You won't go any
sooner; well, then, begin proceedings, and I will give my evidence by
word of mouth or writing whenever you please."

I went to the advocate whom M. Bono had recommended to me, and told him
my business. When he heard what I wanted he said,----

"I can do nothing for you, sir, as I have undertaken the case of your
opponent. You need not be alarmed, however, at having spoken to me, for I
assure you that I will make no use whatever of the information. Possano's
plea or accusation will not be drawn up till the day after to-morrow, but
I will not tell him to make baste for fear of your anticipating him, as I
have only been informed of your intentions by hazard. However, you will
find plenty of advocates at Lyons as honest as I am, and more skilled."

"Could you give me the name of one?"

"That would not be etiquette, but M. Bono, who seems to have kindly
spoken of me with some esteem, will be able to serve you."

"Can you tell me where your client lives?"

"Since his chief aim is to remain hidden, and with good cause, you will
see that I could not think of doing such a thing."

In bidding him farewell I put a louis on the table, and though I did it
with the utmost delicacy he ran after me and made me take it back.

"For once in a way," I said to myself, "here's an honest advocate."

As I walked along I thought of putting a spy on Possano and finding out
his abode, for I felt a strong desire to have him beaten to death; but
where was I to find a spy in a town of which I knew nothing? M. Bono gave
me the name of another advocate, and advised me to make haste.

"'Tis in criminal matters," said he, "and in such cases the first comer
always has the advantage."

I asked him to find me a trusty fellow to track out the rascally Possano,
but the worthy man would not hear of it. He shewed me that it would be
dishonourable to set a spy on the actions of Possano's advocate. I knew
it myself; but what man is there who has not yielded to the voice of
vengeance, the most violent and least reasonable of all the passions.

I went to the second advocate, whom I found to be a man venerable not
only in years but in wisdom. I told him all the circumstances of the
affair, which he agreed to take up, saying he would present my plea in
the course of the day.

"That's just what I want you to do," said I, "for his own advocate told
me that his pleas would be presented the day after to-morrow."

"That, sir," said her "would not induce me to act with any greater
promptness, as I could not consent to your abusing the confidence of my
colleague."

"But there is nothing dishonourable in making use of information which
one has acquired by chance."

"That may be a tenable position in some cases, but in the present
instance the nature of the affair justifies prompt action. 'Prior in
tempore, Potior in jure'. Prudence bids us attack our enemy. Be so kind,
if you please, to call here at three o'clock in the afternoon."

"I will not fail to do so, and in the meanwhile here are six louis."

"I will keep account of my expenditure on your behalf."

"I want you not to spare money."

"Sir, I shall spend only what is absolutely necessary."

I almost believed that probity had chosen a home for herself amongst the
Lyons advocates, and here I may say, to the honour of the French bar,
that I have never known a more honest body of men than the advocates of
France.

At three o'clock, having seen that the plan was properly drawn up, I went
to Madame d'Urfe's, and for four hours I worked the oracle in a manner
that filled her with delight, and in spite of my vexation I could not
help laughing at her insane fancies on the subject of her pregnancy. She
was certain of it; she felt all the symptoms. Then she said how sorry she
felt that she would not be alive to laugh at all the hypotheses of the
Paris doctors as to her being delivered of a child, which would be
thought very extraordinary in a woman of her age.

When I got back to the inn I found Marcoline very melancholy. She said
she had been waiting for me to take her to the play, according to my
promise, and that I should not have made her wait in vain.

"You are right, dearest, but an affair of importance has kept me with the
marchioness. Don't be put out."

I had need of some such advice myself, for the legal affair worried me,
and I slept very ill. Early the next morning I saw my counsel, who told
me that my plea had been laid before the criminal lieutenant.

"For the present," said he, "there is nothing more to be done, for as we
don't know where he is we can't cite him to appear."

"Could I not set the police on his track?"

"You might, but I don't advise you to do so. Let us consider what the
result would be. The accuser finding himself accused would have to defend
himself and prove the accusation he has made against you. But in the
present state of things, if he does not put in an appearance we will get
judgment against him for contempt of court and also for libel. Even his
counsel will leave him in the lurch if he persistently refuses to shew
himself."

This quieted my fears a little, and I spent the rest of the day with
Madame d'Urfe, who was going to Paris on the morrow. I promised to be
with her as soon as I had dealt with certain matters which concerned the
honour of the Fraternity R. C..

Her great maxim was always to respect my secrets, and never to trouble me
with her curiosity. Marcoline, who had been pining by herself all day,
breathed again when I told her that henceforth I should be all for her.

In the morning M. Bono came to me and begged me to go with him to
Possano's counsel, who wanted to speak to me. The advocate said that his
client was a sort of madman who was ready to do anything, as he believed
himself to be dying from the effects of a slow poison.

"He says that even if you are first in the field he will have you
condemned to death. He says he doesn't care if he is sent to prison, as
he is certain of coming out in triumph as he has the proof of all his
accusations. He shews twenty-five louis which you gave him, all of which
are clipped, and he exhibits documents dated from Genoa stating that you
clipped a number of gold pieces, which were melted by M. Grimaldi in
order that the police might not find them in your possession. He has even
a letter from your brother, the abbe, deposing against you. He is a
madman, a victim to syphilis, who wishes to send you to the other world
before himself, if he can. Now my advice to you is to give him some money
and get rid of him. He tells me that he is the father of a family, and
that if M. Bono would give him a thousand louis he would sacrifice
vengeance to necessity. He told me to speak to M. Bono about it; and now,
sir what do you say?"

"That which my just indignation inspires me to say regarding a rascal
whom I rescued from poverty, and who nevertheless pursues me with
atrocious calumnies; he shall not have one single farthing of mine."

I then told the Genoa story, putting things in their true light, and
adding that I could call M. Grimaldi as a witness if necessary.

"I have delayed presenting the plea," said the counsel, "to see if the
scandal could be hushed up in any way, but I warn you that I shall now
present it."

"Do so; I shall be greatly obliged to you."

I immediately called on my advocate, and told him of the rascal's
proposal; and he said I was quite right to refuse to have any dealings
with such a fellow. He added that as I had M. Bono as a witness I ought
to make Possano's advocate present his plea, and I authorized him to take
proceedings in my name.

A clerk was immediately sent to the criminal lieutenant, praying him to
command the advocate to bring before him, in three days, the plea of one
Anami, alias Pogomas, alias Possano, the said plea being against Jacques
Casanova, commonly called the Chevalier de Seingalt. This document, to
which I affixed my signature, was laid before the criminal lieutenant.

I did not care for the three days' delay, but my counsel told me it was
always given, and that I must make up my mind to submit to all the
vexation I should be obliged to undergo, even if we were wholly
successful.

As Madame d'Urfe had taken her departure in conformity with the orders of
Paralis, I dined with Marcoline at the inn, and tried to raise my spirits
by all the means in my power. I took my mistress to the best milliners
and dressmakers in the town, and bought her everything she took a fancy
to; and then we went to the theatre, where she must have been pleased to
see all eyes fixed on her. Madame Pernon, who was in the next box to
ours, made me introduce Marcoline to her; and from the way they embraced
each other when the play was over I saw they were likely to become
intimate, the only obstacle to their friendship being that Madame Pernon
did not know a word of Italian, and that Marcoline did not dare to speak
a word of French for fear of making herself ridiculous. When we got back
to the inn, Marcoline told me that her new friend had given her the
Florentine kiss: this is the shibboleth of the sect.

The pretty nick-nacks I had given her had made her happy; her ardour was
redoubled, and the night passed joyously.

I spent the next day in going from shop to shop, making fresh purchases
for Marcoline, and we supped merrily at Madame Pernon's.

The day after, M. Bono came to see me at an early hour with a smile of
content on his face.

"Let us go and breakfast at a coffee-house," said he; "we will have some
discussion together."

When we were breakfasting he shewed me a letter written by Possano, in
which the rascal said that he was ready to abandon proceedings provided
that M. de Seingalt gave him a hundred louis, on receipt of which he
promised to leave Lyons immediately.

"I should be a great fool," said I, "if I gave the knave more money to
escape from the hands of justice. Let him go if he likes, I won't prevent
him; but he had better not expect me to give him anything. He will have a
writ out against him to-morrow. I should like to see him branded by the
hangman. He has slandered me, his benefactor, too grievously; let him
prove what he says, or be dishonoured before all men."

"His abandoning the proceedings," said M. Bono, "would in my opinion
amount to the same thing as his failing to prove his charges, and you
would do well to prefer it to a trial which would do your reputation no
good, even if you were completely successful. And the hundred louis is
nothing in comparison with the costs of such a trial."

"M. Bono, I value your advice very highly, and still more highly the
kindly feelings which prompt you, but you must allow me to follow my own
opinion in this case."

I went to my counsel and told him of the fresh proposal that Possano had
made, and of my refusal to listen to it, begging him to take measures for
the arrest of the villain who had vowed my death.

The same evening I had Madame Pernon and M. Bono, who was her lover, to
sup with me; and as the latter had a good knowledge of Italian Marcoline
was able to take part in the merriment of the company.

The next day Bono wrote to tell me that Possano had left Lyons never to
return, and that he had signed a full and satisfactory retraction. I was
not surprised to hear of his flight, but the other circumstance I could
not understand. I therefore hastened to call on Bono, who showed me the
document, which was certainly plain enough.

"Will that do?" said he.

"So well that I forgive him, but I wonder he did not insist on the
hundred Louis."

"My dear sir, I gave him the money with pleasure, to prevent a scandalous
affair which would have done us all harm in becoming public. If I had
told you nothing, you couldn't have taken any steps in the matter, and I
felt myself obliged to repair the mischief I had done in this way. You
would have known nothing about it, if you had said that you were not
satisfied. I am only too glad to have been enabled to skew my friendship
by this trifling service. We will say no more about it."

"Very good," said I, embracing him, "we will say no more, but please to
receive the assurance of my gratitude."

I confess I felt much relieved at being freed from this troublesome
business.





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