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Title: Memoirs of Casanova — Volume 24: London to Berlin
Author: Casanova, Giacomo, 1725-1798
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Memoirs of Casanova — Volume 24: London to Berlin" ***

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MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA de SEINGALT 1725-1798

IN LONDON AND MOSCOW, Volume 5d--LONDON TO BERLIN
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.



FLIGHT FROM LONDON TO BERLIN



CHAPTER XIV

Bottarelli--A Letter from Pauline--The Avenging Parrot--Pocchini--Guerra,
the Venetian--I Meet Sara Again; My Idea of Marrying Her and Settling in
Switzerland--The Hanoverians

Thus ended the first act of the comedy; the second began the next
morning. I was just getting up, when I heard a noise at the street door,
and on putting my head out of the window I saw Pocchini, the scoundrel
who had robbed me at Stuttgart trying to get into my house. I cried out
wrathfully that I would have nothing to do with him, and slammed down my
window.

A little later Goudar put in an appearance. He had got a copy of the St.
James's Chronicle, containing a brief report of my arrest, and of my
being set a liberty under a bail of eighty guineas. My name and the
lady's were disguised, but Rostaing and Bottarelli were set down plainly,
and the editor praised their conduct. I felt as if I should like to know
Bottarelli, and begged Goudar to take me to him, and Martinelli,
happening to call just then, said he would come with us.

We entered a wretched room on the third floor of a wretched house, and
there we beheld a picture of the greatest misery. A woman and five
children clothed in rags formed the foreground, and in the background was
Bottarelli, in an old dressing-gown, writing at a table worthy of
Philemon and Baucis. He rose as we came in, and the sight of him moved me
to compassion. I said,--

"Do you know me, sir?"

"No, sir, I do not."

"I am Casanova, against whom you bore false witness; whom you tried to
cast into Newgate."

"I am very sorry, but look around you and say what choice have I? I have
no bread to give my children. I will do as much in your favour another
time for nothing."

"Are you not afraid of the gallows?"

"No, for perjury is not punished with death; besides it is very difficult
to prove."

"I have heard you are a poet."

"Yes. I have lengthened the Didone and abridged the Demetrio."

"You are a great poet, indeed!"

I felt more contempt than hatred for the rascal, and gave his wife a
guinea, for which she presented me with a wretched pamphlet by her
husband: "The Secrets of the Freemasons Displayed." Bottarelli had been a
monk in his native city, Pisa, and had fled to England with his wife, who
had been a nun.

About this time M. de Saa surprised me by giving me a letter from my fair
Portuguese, which confirmed the sad fate of poor Clairmont. Pauline said
she was married to Count Al----. I was astonished to hear M. de Saa
observe that he had known all about Pauline from the moment she arrived
in London. That is the hobby of all diplomatists; they like people to
believe that they are omniscient. However, M. de Saa was a man of worth
and talent, and one could excuse this weakness as an incident inseparable
from his profession; while most diplomatists only make themselves
ridiculous by their assumption of universal knowledge.

M. de Saa had been almost as badly treated by the Charpillon as myself,
and we might have condoled with one another, but the subject was not
mentioned.

A few days afterwards, as I was walking idly about, I passed a place
called the Parrot Market. As I was amusing myself by looking at these
curious birds, I saw a fine young one in a cage, and asked what language
it spoke. They told me that it was quite young and did not speak at all
yet, so I bought it for ten guineas. I thought I would teach the bird a
pretty speech, so I had the cage hung by my bed, and repeated dozens of
times every day the following sentence: "The Charpillon is a bigger wh--e
than her mother."

The only end I had in view was my private amusement, and in a fortnight
the bird had learnt the phrase with the utmost exactness; and every time
it uttered the words it accompanied them with a shriek of laughter which
I had not taught it, but which made me laugh myself.

One day Gondar heard the bird, and told me that if I sent it to the
Exchange I should certainly get fifty guineas for it. I welcomed the
idea, and resolved to make the parrot the instrument of my vengeance
against the woman who had treated me so badly. I secured myself from fear
of the law, which is severe in such cases, by entrusting the bird to my
negro, to whom such merchandise was very suitable.

For the first two or three days my parrot did not attract much attention,
its observations being in French; but as soon as those who knew the
subject of them had heard it, its audience increased and bids were made.
Fifty guineas seemed rather too much, and my negro wanted me to lower the
price, but I would not agree, having fallen in love with this odd
revenge.

In the course of a week Goudar came to inform me of the effect the
parrot's criticism had produced in the Charpillon family. As the vendor
was my negro, there could be no doubt as to whom it belonged, and who had
been its master of languages. Goudar said that the Charpillon thought my
vengeance very ingenious, but that the mother and aunts were furious.
They had consulted several counsel, who agreed in saying that a parrot
could not be indicted for libel, but that they could make me pay dearly
for my jest if they could prove that I had been the bird's instructor.
Goudar warned me to be careful of owning to the fact, as two witnesses
would suffice to undo me.

The facility with which false witnesses may be produced in London is
something dreadful. I have myself seen the word evidence written in large
characters in a window; this is as much as to say that false witnesses
may be procured within.

The St. James's Chronicle contained an article on my parrot, in which the
writer remarked that the ladies whom the bird insulted must be very poor
and friendless, or they would have bought it at once, and have thus
prevented the thing from becoming the talk of the town. He added,--

"The teacher of the parrot has no doubt made the bird an instrument of
his vengeance, and has displayed his wit in doing so; he ought to be an
Englishman."

I met my good friend Edgar, and asked him why he had not bought the
little slanderer.

"Because it delights all who know anything about the object of the
slander," said he.

At last Jarbe found a purchaser for fifty guineas, and I heard afterwards
that Lord Grosvenor had bought it to please the Charpillon, with whom he
occasionally diverted himself.

Thus my relations with that girl came to an end. I have seen her since
with the greatest indifference, and without any renewal of the old pain.

One day, as I was going into St. James's Park, I saw two girls drinking
milk in a room on the ground floor of a house. They called out to me, but
not knowing them I passed on my way. However, a young officer of my
acquaintance came after me and said they were Italians, and being curious
to see them I retracted my steps.

When I entered the room I was accosted by the scoundrelly Pocchini,
dressed in a military uniform, who said he had the honour of introducing
me to his daughters.

"Indeed," said I, "I remember two other daughters of yours robbing me of
a snuff-box and two watches at Stuttgart."

"You lie!" said the impudent rascal.

I gave him no verbal answer, but took up a glass of milk and flung it in
his face, and then left the room without more ado.

I was without my sword. The young officer who had brought me into the
place followed me and told me I must not go without giving his friend
some satisfaction.

"Tell him to come out, and do you escort him to the Green Park, and I
shall have the pleasure of giving him a caning in your presence, unless
you would like to fight for him; if so, you must let me go home and get
my sword. But do you know this man whom you call your friend?"

"No, but he is an officer, and it is I that brought him here."

"Very good, I will fight to the last drop of my blood; but I warn you
your friend is a thief. But go; I will await you."

In the course of a quarter of an hour they all came out, but the
Englishman and Pocchini followed me alone. There were a good many people
about, and I went before them till we reached Hyde Park. Pocchini
attempted to speak to me, but I replied, lifting my cane,--

"Scoundrel, draw your sword, unless you want me to give you a thrashing!"

"I will never draw upon a defenceless man."

I gave him a blow with my cane by way of answer, and the coward, instead
of drawing his sword, began to cry out that I wished to draw him into a
fight. The Englishman burst out laughing and begged me to pardon his
interference, and then, taking me by the arm, said,--

"Come along, sir, I see you know the gentleman."

The coward went off in another direction, grumbling as he went.

On the way I informed the officer of the very good reasons I had for
treating Pocchini as a rogue, and he agreed that I had been perfectly
right. "Unfortunately," he added, "I am in love with one of his
daughters."

When we were in the midst of St. James's Park we saw them, and I could
not help laughing when I noticed Goudar with one of them on each side.

"How did you come to know these ladies?" said I.

"Their father the captain," he answered, "has sold me jewels; he
introduced me to them."

"Where did you leave our father?" asked one.

"In Hyde Park, after giving him a caning."

"You served him quite right."

The young Englishman was indignant to hear them approving my
ill-treatment of their father, and shook my hand and went away, swearing
to me that he would never be seen in their company again.

A whim of Goudar's, to which I was weak enough to consent, made me dine
with these miserable women in a tavern on the borders of London. The
rascally Goudar made them drunk, and in this state they told some
terrible truths about their pretended father. He did not live with them,
but paid them nocturnal visits in which he robbed them of all the money
they had earned. He was their pander, and made them rob their visitors
instructing them to pass it off as a joke if the theft was discovered.
They gave him the stolen articles, but he never said what he did with
them. I could not help laughing at this involuntary confession,
remembering what Goudar had said about Pocchini selling him jewels.

After this wretched meal I went away leaving the duty of escorting them
back to Goudar. He came and saw me the next day, and informed me that the
girls had been arrested and taken to prison just as they were entering
their house.

"I have just been to Pocchini's," said he, "but the landlord tells me he
has not been in since yesterday."

The worthy and conscientious Goudar added that he did not care if he
never saw him again, as he owed the fellow ten guineas for a watch, which
his daughters had probably stolen, and which was well worth double.

Four days later I saw him again, and he informed me that the rascal had
left London with a servant-maid, whom he had engaged at a registry office
where any number of servants are always ready to take service with the
first comer. The keeper of the office answers for their fidelity.

"The girl he has gone with is a pretty one, from what the man tells me,
and they have taken ship from London. I am sorry he went away before I
could pay him for the watch; I am dreading every moment to meet the
individual from whom it was stolen."

I never heard what became of the girls, but Pocchini will re-appear on
the scene in due course.

I led a tranquil and orderly life, which I should have been pleased to
continue for the remainder of my days; but circumstances and my destiny
ordered it otherwise, and against these it is not becoming in a Christian
philosopher to complain. I went several times to see my daughter at her
school, and I also frequented the British Museum, where I met Dr. Mati.
One day I found an Anglican minister with him, and I asked the clergyman
how many different sects there were in England.

"Sir," he replied in very tolerable Italian, "no one can give a positive
answer to that question, for every week some sect dies and some new one
is brought into being. All that is necessary is for a man of good faith,
or some rogue desirous of money or notoriety, to stand in some frequented
place and begin preaching. He explains some texts of the Bible in his own
fashion, and if he pleases the gapers around him they invite him to
expound next Sunday, often in a tavern. He keeps the appointment and
explains his new doctrines in a spirited manner. Then people begin to
talk of him; he disputes with ministers of other sects; he and his
followers give themselves a name, and the thing is done. Thus, or almost
thus, are all the numerous English sects produced."

About this time M. Steffano Guerra, a noble Venetian who was travelling
with the leave of his Government, lost a case against an English painter
who had executed a miniature painting of one of the prettiest ladies in
London, Guerra having given a written promise to pay twenty-five guineas.
When it was finished Guerra did not like it, and would not take it or pay
the price. The Englishman, in accordance with the English custom, began
by arresting his debtor; but Guerra was released on bail, and brought the
matter before the courts, which condemned him to pay the twenty-five
guineas. He appealed, lost again, and was in the end obliged to pay.
Guerra contented that he had ordered a portrait, that a picture bearing
no likeness to the lady in question was not a portrait, and that he had
therefore a right to refuse payment. The painter replied that it was a
portrait as it had been painted from life. The judgment was that the
painter must live by his trade, and that as Guerra had given him painting
to do he must therefore provide him with the wherewithal to live, seeing
that the artist swore he had done his best to catch the likeness.
Everybody thought this sentence just, and so did I; but I confess it also
seemed rather hard, especially to Guerra, who with costs had to pay a
hundred guineas for the miniature.

Malingan's daughter died just as her father received a public box on the
ear from a nobleman who liked piquet, but did not like players who
corrected the caprices of fortune. I gave the poor wretch the wherewithal
to bury his daughter and to leave England. He died soon after at Liege,
and his wife told me of the circumstance, saying that he had expired
regretting his inability to pay his debts.

M. M---- F---- came to London as the representative of the canton of Berne,
and I called, but was not received. I suspected that he had got wind of
the liberties I had taken with pretty Sara, and did not want me to have
an opportunity for renewing them. He was a somewhat eccentric man, so I
did not take offence, and had almost forgotten all about it when chance
led me to the Marylebone Theatre one evening. The spectators sat at
little tables, and the charge for admittance was only a shilling, but
everyone was expected to order something, were it only a pot of ale.

On going into the theatre I chanced to sit down beside a girl whom I did
not notice at first, but soon after I came in she turned towards me, and
I beheld a ravishing profile which somehow seemed familiar; but I
attributed that to the idea of perfect beauty that was graven on my soul.
The more I looked at her the surer I felt that I had never seen her
before, though a smile of inexpressible slyness had begun to play about
her lips. One of her gloves fell, and I hastened to restore it to her,
whereupon she thanked me in a few well-chosen French sentences.

"Madam is not English, then?" said I, respectfully.

"No, sir, I am a Swiss, and a friend of yours."

At this I looked round, and on my right hand sat Madame M---- F----, then
her eldest daughter, then her husband. I got up, and after bowing to the
lady, for whom I had a great esteem, I saluted her husband, who only
replied by a slight movement of the head. I asked Madame M---- F---- what
her husband had against me, and she said that Possano had written to him
telling some dreadful stories about me.

There was not time for me to explain and justify myself, so I devoted all
my energies to the task of winning the daughter's good graces. In three
years she had grown into a perfect beauty: she knew it, and by her
blushes as she spoke to me I knew she was thinking of what had passed
between us in the presence of my housekeeper. I was anxious to find out
whether she would acknowledge the fact, or deny it altogether. If she had
done so I should have despised her. When I had seen her before, the
blossom of her beauty was still in the bud, now it had opened out in all
its splendour.

"Charming Sara," I said, "you have so enchanted me that I cannot help
asking you a couple of questions, which if you value my peace of mind you
will answer. Do you remember what happened at Berne?"

"Yes."

"And do you repent of what you did?"

"No."

No man of any delicacy could ask the third question, which may be
understood. I felt sure that Sara would make me happy-nay, that she was
even longing for the moment, and gave reins to my passions, determined to
convince her that I was deserving of her love. The waiter came to enquire
if we had any orders, and I begged Madame M---- F---- to allow me to offer
her some oysters. After the usual polite refusals she gave in, and I
profited by her acceptance to order all the delicacies of the season,
including a hare (a great delicacy in London), champagne, choice
liqueurs, larks, ortolans, truffles, sweetmeats--everything, in fact,
that money could buy, and I was not at all surprised when the bill proved
to amount to ten guineas. But I was very much surprised when M.
M---- F----, who had eaten like a Turk and drunk like a Swiss, said calmly
that it was too dear.

I begged him politely not to trouble himself about the cost; and by way
of proving that I did not share his opinion, I gave the waiter
half-a-guinea; the worthy man looked as if he wished that such customers
came more often. The Swiss, who had been pale and gloomy enough a short
while before; was rubicund and affable. Sara glanced at me and squeezed
my hand; I had conquered.

When the play was over, M---- F---- asked me if I would allow him to call
on me. I embraced him in reply. His servant came in, and said that he
could not find a coach; and I, feeling rather surprised that he had not
brought his carriage, offered him the use of mine, telling my man to get
me a sedan-chair.

"I accept your kind offer," said he, "on the condition that you allow me
to occupy the chair."

I consented to this arrangement, and took the mother and the two
daughters with me in the carriage.

On the way, Madame M---- F---- was very polite, gently blaming her husband
for the rudeness of which I had to complain. I said that I would avenge
myself by paying an assiduous court to him in the future; but she pierced
me to the heart by saying that they were on the point of departing. "We
wanted to go on the day after next," she said, "and to-morrow we shall
have to leave our present rooms to their new occupants. A matter of
business which my husband was not able to conclude will oblige us to stay
for another week, and to-morrow we shall have the double task of moving
and finding new apartments."

"Then you have not yet got new rooms?"

"No, but my husband says he is certain to find some to-morrow morning."

"Furnished, I suppose, for as you intend to leave you will be selling,
your furniture."

"Yes, and we shall have to pay the expenses of carriage to the buyer."

On hearing that M. M---- F---- was sure of finding lodgings, I was
precluded from offering to accommodate them in my own house, as the lady
might think that I only made the offer because I was sure it would not be
accepted.

When we got to the door of their house we alighted, and the mother begged
me to come in. She and her husband slept on the second floor, and the two
girls on the third. Everything was upside down, and as Madame
M---- F---- had something to say to the landlady she asked me to go up with
her daughters. It was cold, and the room we entered had no fire in it.
The sister went into the room adjoining and I stayed with Sara, and all
of a sudden I clasped her to my breast, and feeling that her desires were
as ardent as mine I fell with her on to a sofa where we mingled our
beings in all the delights of voluptuous ardours. But this happiness was
short lived; scarcely was the work achieved when we heard a footstep on
the stair. It was the father.

If M---- F---- had had any eyes he must have found us out, for my face bore
the marks of agitation, the nature of which it was easy to divine. We
exchanged a few brief compliments; I shook his hand and disappeared. I
was in such a state of excitement when I got home that I made up my mind
to leave England and to follow Sara to Switzerland. In the night I formed
my plans, and resolved to offer the family my house during the time they
stayed in England, and if necessary to force them to accept my offer.

In the morning I hastened to call on M---- F----, and found him on his
doorstep.

"I am going to try and get a couple of rooms," said he.

"They are already found," I replied. "My house is at your service, and
you must give me the preference. Let us come upstairs."

"Everybody is in bed."

"Never mind," said I, and we proceeded to go upstairs.

Madame M---- F---- apologized for being in bed. Her husband told her that I
wanted to let them some rooms, but I laughed and said I desired they
would accept my hospitality as that of a friend. After some polite
denials my offer was accepted, and it was agreed that the whole family
should take up their quarters with me in the evening.

I went home, and was giving the necessary orders when I was told that two
young ladies wished to see me. I went down in person, and I was agreeably
surprised to see Sara and her sister. I asked them to come in, and Sara
told me that the landlady would not let their belongings out of the house
before her father paid a debt of forty guineas, although a city merchant
had assured her it should be settled in a week. The long and snort of it
was that Sara's father had sent me a bill and begged me to discount it.

I took the bill and gave her a bank note for fifty pounds in exchange,
telling her that she could give me the change another time. She thanked
me with great simplicity and went her way, leaving me delighted with the
confidence she had placed in me.

The fact of M. M---- F----'s wanting forty guineas did not make me divine
that he was in some straits, for I looked at everything through
rose-coloured glasses, and was only too happy to be of service to him.

I made a slight dinner in order to have a better appetite for supper, and
spent the afternoon in writing letters. In the evening M. M---- F----'s
man came with three great trunks and innumerable card-board boxes,
telling me that the family would soon follow; but I awaited them in vain
till nine o'clock. I began to get alarmed and went to the house, where I
found them all in a state of consternation. Two ill-looking fellows who
were in the room enlightened me; and assuming a jovial and unconcerned
air, I said,--

"I'll wager, now, that this is the work of some fierce creditor."

"You are right," answered the father, "but I am sure of discharging the
debt in five or six days, and that's why I put off my departure."

"Then you were arrested after you had sent on your trunks."

"Just after."

"And what have you done?"

"I have sent for bail."

"Why did you not send to me?"

"Thank you, I am grateful for your kindness, but you are a foreigner, and
sureties have to be householders."

"But you ought to have told me what had happened, for I have got you an
excellent supper, and I am dying of hunger."

It was possible that this debt might exceed my means, so I did not dare
to offer to pay it. I took Sara aside, and on hearing that all his
trouble was on account of a debt of a hundred and fifty pounds, I asked
the bailiff whether we could go away if the debt was paid.

"Certainly," said he, shewing me the bill of exchange.

I took out three bank notes of fifty pounds each, and gave them to the
man, and taking the bill I said to the poor Swiss,--

"You shall pay me the money before you leave England."

The whole family wept with joy, and after embracing them all I summoned
them to come and sup with me and forget the troubles of life.

We drove off to my house and had a merry supper, though the worthy mother
could not quite forget her sadness. After supper I took them to the rooms
which had been prepared for them, and with which they were delighted, and
so I wished them good night, telling them that they should be well
entertained till their departure, and that I hoped to follow them into
Switzerland.

When I awoke the next day I was in a happy frame of mind. On examining my
desires I found that they had grown too strong to be overcome, but I did
not wish to overcome them. I loved Sara, and I felt so certain of
possessing her that I put all desires out of my mind; desires are born
only of doubt, and doubt torments the soul. Sara was mine; she had given
herself to me out of pure passion, without any shadow of self-interest.

I went to the father's room, and found him engaged in opening his trunks.
His wife looked sad, so I asked her if she were not well. She replied
that her health was perfect, but that the thought of the sea voyage
troubled her sorely. The father begged me to excuse him at breakfast as
he had business to attend to. The two young ladies came down, and after
we had breakfast I asked the mother why they were unpacking their trunks
so short a time before starting. She smiled and said that one trunk would
be ample for all their possessions, as they had resolved to sell all
superfluities. As I had seen some beautiful dresses, fine linen, and
exquisite lace, I could not refrain from saying that it would be a great
pity to sell cheaply what would have to be replaced dearly.

"You are right," she said, "but, nevertheless, there is no pleasure so
great as the consciousness of having paid one's debts."

"You must not sell anything," I replied, in a lively manner, "for as I am
going to Switzerland with you I can pay your debts, and you shall repay
me when you can."

At these words astonishment was depicted on her face.

"I did not think you were speaking seriously," said she.

"Perfectly seriously, and here is the object of my vows."

With these words I seized Sara's hand and covered it with kisses.

Sara blushed, said nothing, and the mother looked kindly at us; but after
a moment's silence she spoke at some length, and with the utmost candour
and wisdom. She gave me circumstantial information as to the position of
the family and her husband's restricted means, saying that under the
circumstances he could not have avoided running into debt, but that he
had done wrong to bring them all with him to London.

"If he had been by himself," she said, "he could have lived here
comfortably enough with only one servant, but with a family to provide
for the two thousand crowns per annum provided by the Government are
quite insufficient. My old father has succeeded in persuading the State
to discharge my husband's debts, but to make up the extra expense they
will not employ a Charge d'affaires; a banker with the title of agent
will collect the interest on their English securities."

She ended by saying that she thought Sara was fortunate to have pleased
me, but that she was not sure whether her husband would consent to the
marriage.

The word "marriage" made Sara blush, and I was pleased, though it was
evident there would be difficulties in the way.

M---- F---- came back and told his wife that two clothes dealers would come
to purchase their superfluous clothes in the afternoon; but after
explaining my ideas I had not much trouble in convincing him that it
would be better not to sell them, and that he could become my debtor to
the amount of two hundred pounds, on which he could pay interest till he
was able to return me my capital. The agreement was written out the same
day, but I did not mention the marriage question, as his wife had told me
she would discuss it with him in private.

On the third day he came down by himself to talk with me.

"My wife," he began, "has told me of your intentions, and I take it as a
great honour, I assure you; but I cannot give you my Sara, as she is
promised to M. de W----, and family reasons prevent me from going back
from my word. Besides my old father, a strict Calvinist, would object to
the difference in religion. He would never believe that his dear little
grandchild would be happy with a Roman Catholic."

As a matter of fact I was not at all displeased at what he said. I was
certainly very fond of Sara, but the word "marriage" had a disagreeable
sound to me. I answered that circumstances might change in time, and that
in the meanwhile I should be quite content if he would allow me to be the
friend of the family and to take upon myself all the responsibility of
the journey. He promised everything, and assured me that he was delighted
at his daughter having won my affection.

After this explanation I gave Sara as warm marks of my love as decency
would allow in the presence of her father and mother, and I could see
that all the girl thought of was love.

The fifth day I went up to her room, and finding her in bed all the fires
of passion flamed up in my breast, for since my first visit to their
house I had not been alone with her. I threw myself upon her, covering
her with kisses, and she shewed herself affectionate but reserved. In
vain I endeavoured to succeed; she opposed a gentle resistance to my
efforts, and though she caressed me, she would not let me attain my end.

"Why, divine Sara," said I, "do you oppose my loving ecstasy?"

"Dearest, I entreat of you not to ask for any more than I am willing to
give."

"Then you no longer love me?"

"Cruel man, I adore you!"

"Then why do you treat me to a refusal, after having once surrendered
unreservedly?"

"I have given myself to you, and we have both been happy, and I think
that should be enough for us."

"There must be some reason for this change. If you love me, dearest Sara,
this renunciation must be hard for you to bear."

"I confess it, but nevertheless I feel it is my duty. I have made up my
mind to subdue my passion from no weak motive, but from a sense of what I
owe to myself. I am under obligations to you, and if I were to repay the
debt I have contracted with my body I should be degraded in my own eyes.
When we enjoyed each other before only love was between us--there was no
question of debit and credit. My heart is now the thrall of what I owe
you, and to these debts it will not give what it gave so readily to
love."

"This is a strange philosophy, Sara; believe me it is fallacious, and the
enemy of your happiness as well as mine. These sophisms lead you astray
and wound me to the heart. Give me some credit for delicacy of feeling,
and believe me you owe me nothing."

"You must confess that if you had not loved me you would have done
nothing for my father."

"Certainly I will confess nothing of the kind; I would readily do as
much, and maybe more, out of regard for your worthy mother. It is quite
possible, indeed, that in doing this small service for your father I had
no thoughts of you at all."

"It might be so; but I do not believe it was so. Forgive me, dearest, but
I cannot make up my mind to pay my debts in the way you wish."

"It seems to me that if you are grateful to me your love ought to be
still more ardent."

"It cannot be more ardent than it is already."

"Do you know how grievously you make me suffer?"

"Alas! I suffer too; but do not reproach me; let us love each other
still."

This dialogue is not the hundredth part of what actually passed between
us till dinner-time. The mother came in, and finding me seated at the
foot of the daughter's bed, laughed, and asked me why I kept her in bed.
I answered with perfect coolness that we had been so interested in our
conversation that we had not noticed the flight of time.

I went to dress, and as I thought over the extraordinary change which had
taken place in Sara I resolved that it should not last for long. We dined
together gaily, and Sara and I behaved in all respects like two lovers.
In the evening I took them to the Italian Opera, coming home to an
excellent supper.

The next morning I passed in the city, having accounts to settle with my
bankers. I got some letters of exchange on Geneva, and said farewell to
the worthy Mr. Bosanquet. In the afternoon I got a coach for Madame
M---- F---- to pay some farewells calls, and I went to say good-bye to my
daughter at school. The dear little girl burst into tears, saying that
she would be lost without me, and begging me not to forget her. I was
deeply moved. Sophie begged me to go and see her mother before I left
England, and I decided on doing so.

At supper we talked over our journey, and M. M---- F---- agreed with me
that it would be better to go by Dunkirk than Ostend. He had very little
more business to attend to. His debts were paid, and he said he thought
he would have a matter of fifty guineas in his pocket at the journey's
end, after paying a third share of all the travelling expenses. I had to
agree to this, though I made up my mind at the same time not to let him
see any of the accounts. I hoped to win Sara, in one way or another, when
we got to Berne.

The next day, after breakfast, I took her hand in presence of her mother,
and asked her if she would give me her heart if I could obtain her
father's consent at Berne.

"Your mother," I added, "has promised me that hers shall not be wanting."

At this the mother got up, and saying that we had no doubt a good deal to
talk over, she and her eldest daughter went out to pay some calls.

As soon as we were alone Sara said that she could not understand how I
could have the smallest doubt as to whether her consent would be given.

"I have shewn you how well I love you," said she, tenderly; "and I am
sure I should be very happy as your wife. You may be sure that your
wishes will be mine, and that, however far you lead me, Switzerland shall
claim no thought of mine."

I pressed the amorous Sara to my bosom in a transport of delight, which
was shared by her; but as she saw me grow more ardent she begged me to be
moderate. Clasping me in her arms she adjured me not to ask her for that
which she was determined not to grant till she was mine by lawful
wedlock.

"You will drive me to despair! Have you reflected that this resistance
may cost me my life? Can you love, and yet entertain this fatal
prejudice? And yet I am sure you love me, and pleasure too."

"Yes, dearest one, I do love you, and amorous pleasure with you; but you
must respect my delicacy."

My eyes were wet with tears, and she was so affected that she fell
fainting to the ground. I lifted her up and gently laid her on the bed.
Her pallor alarmed me. I brought smelling-salts, I rubbed her forehead
with Savoy-water, and she soon opened her eyes, and seemed delighted to
find me calm again.

The thought of taking advantage of her helplessness would have horrified
me. She sat up on the bed, and said,--

"You have just given a true proof of the sincerity of your affection."

"Did you think, sweetheart, that I was vile enough to abuse your
weakness? Could I enjoy a pleasure in which you had no share?"

"I did not think you would do such a thing, but I should not have
resisted, though it is possible that I should not have loved you
afterwards."

"Sara, though you do not know, you charm my soul out of my body."

After this I sat down sadly on the bed, and abandoned myself to the most
melancholy reflections, from which Sara did not endeavour to rouse me.

Her mother came in and asked why she was on the bed, but not at all
suspiciously. Sara told her the truth.

M. M---- F---- came in soon after, and we dined together, but silently.
What I had heard from the girl's lips had completely overwhelmed me. I
saw I had nothing to hope for, and that it was time for me to look to
myself. Six weeks before, God had delivered me from my bondage to an
infamous woman, and now I was in danger of becoming the slave of an
angel. Such were my reflections whilst Sara was fainting, but it was
necessary for me to consider the matter at my leisure.

There was a sale of valuable articles in the city, the means taken for
disposing of them being a lottery. Sara had read the announcement, and I
asked her with her mother and sister to come with me and take part in it.
I had not much trouble in obtaining their consent, and we found ourselves
in distinguished company, among the persons present being the Countess of
Harrington, Lady Stanhope, and Emilie and her daughters. Emilie had a
strange case before the courts. She had given information to the police
that her husband had been robbed of six thousand pounds, though everyone
said that she herself was the thief.

Madame M---- F---- did not take a ticket, but she allowed me to take
tickets for her daughters, who were in high glee, since for ten or twelve
guineas they got articles worth sixty.

Every day I was more taken with Sara; but feeling sure that I should only
obtain slight favours from her, I thought it was time to come to an
explanation. So after supper I said that as it was not certain that Sara
could become my wife I had determined not to accompany them to Berne. The
father told me I was very wise, and that I could still correspond with
his daughter, Sara said nothing, but I could see she was much grieved.

I passed a dreadful night; such an experience was altogether new to me. I
weighed Sara's reasons, and they seemed to me to be merely frivolous,
which drove me to conclude that my caresses had displeased her.

For the last three days I found myself more than once alone with her; but
I was studiously moderate, and she caressed me in a manner that would
have made my bliss if I had not already obtained the one great favour. It
was at this time I learnt the truth of the maxim that if abstinence is
sometimes the spur of love, it has also the contrary effect. Sara had
brought my feeling to a pitch of gentle friendship, while an infamous
prostitute like the Charpillon, who knew how to renew hope and yet grant
nothing, ended by inspiring me with contempt, and finally with hatred.

The family sailed for Ostend, and I accompanied them to the mouth of the
Thames. I gave Sara a letter for Madame de W----. This was the name of
the learned Hedvig whom she did not know. They afterwards became
sisters-in-law, as Sara married a brother of M. de W----, and was happy
with him.

Even now I am glad to hear tidings of my old friends and their doings,
but the interest I take in such matters is not to be compared to my
interest in some obscure story of ancient history. For our
contemporaries, the companions, of our youthful follies, we have a kind
of contempt, somewhat similar to that which we entertain for ourselves.
Four years ago I wrote to Madame G---- at Hamburg, and my letter began:

"After a silence of twenty-one years . . ."

She did not deign to reply, and I was by no means displeased. We cared no
longer for one another, and it is quite natural that it should be so.

When I tell my reader who Madame G---- is, he will be amused. Two years
ago I set out for Hamburg, but my good genius made me turn back to Dux;
what had I to do at Hamburg?

After my guests were gone I went to the Italian Opera at Covent Garden,
and met Goudar, who asked me if I would come to the Sartori's concert. He
told me I should see a beautiful young English woman there who spoke
Italian. As I had just lost Sara I did not much care about making new
acquaintances, but still I was curious to see the young marvel. I
indulged my curiosity, and I am glad to say that instead of being amused
I was wearied, though the young English woman was pretty enough. A young
Livonian, who called himself Baron of Stenau, seemed extremely interested
in her. After supper she offered us tickets for the next concert, and I
took one for myself and one for Gondar, giving her two guineas, but the
Livonian baron took fifty tickets, and gave her a bank note for fifty
guineas. I saw by this that he wanted to take the place by storm, and I
liked his way of doing it. I supposed him to be rich, without caring to
enquire into his means. He made advances to me and we became friends, and
the reader will see in due time what a fatal acquaintance he was.

One day as I was walking with Goudar in Hyde Park he left me to speak to
two ladies who seemed pretty.

He was not long absent, and said, when he rejoined me,--

"A Hanoverian lady, a widow and the mother of five daughters, came to
England two months ago with her whole family. She lives close by, and is
occupied in soliciting compensation from the Government for any injury
that was done her by the passage of the Duke of Cumberland's army. The
mother herself is sick and and never leaves her bed; she sends her two
eldest daughters to petition the Government, and they are the two young
ladies you have just seen. They have not met with any success. The eldest
daughter is twenty-two, and the youngest fourteen; they are all pretty
and can speak English, French, and German equally well, and are always
glad to see visitors. I had been to visit them myself, but as I gave them
nothing I do not care to go there alone a second time. If you like,
however, I can introduce you."

"You irritate my curiosity. Come along, but if the one that pleases me is
not complaisant she shall have nothing."

"They will not even allow one to take them by the hand."

"They are Charpillons, I suppose."

"It looks like it. But you won't see any men there:"

We were shewn into a large room where I noticed three pretty girls and an
evil-looking man. I began with the usual compliments, to which the girls
replied politely, but with an air of great sadness.

Goudar spoke to the man, and then came to me shrugging his shoulders, and
saying,--

"We have come at a sad time. That man is a bailiff who has come to take
the mother to prison if she can't pay her landlord the twenty guineas'
rent she owes him, and they haven't got a farthing. When the mother has
been sent to prison the landlord will no doubt turn the girls out of
doors."

"They can live with their mother for nothing."

"Not at all. If they have got the money they can have their meals in
prison, but no one is allowed to live in a prison except the prisoners."

I asked one of them where her sisters were.

"They have gone out, to look for money, for the landlord won't accept any
surety, and we have nothing to sell."

"All this is very sad; what does your mother say?"

"She only weeps, and yet, though she is ill and cannot leave her bed,
they are going to take her to prison. By way of consolation the landlord
says he will have her carried."

"It is very hard. But your looks please me, mademoiselle, and if you will
be kind I may be able to extricate you from the difficulty."

"I do not know what you mean by 'kind.'"

"Your mother will understand; go and ask her."

"Sir, you do not know us; we are honest girls, and ladies of position
besides."

With these words the young woman turned her back on me, and began to weep
again. The two others, who were quite as pretty, stood straight up and
said not a word. Goudar whispered to me in Italian that unless we did
something for them we should cut but a sorry figure there; and I was
cruel enough to go away without saying a word.



CHAPTER XV

The Hanoverians

As we were leaving the house we met the two eldest sisters, who came home
looking very sad. I was struck by their beauty, and extremely surprised
to hear myself greeted by one of them, who said,--

"It is M. the Chevalier de Seingalt."

"Himself, mademoiselle, and sorely grieved at your misfortune."

"Be kind enough to come in again for a moment."

"I am sorry to say that I have an important engagement."

"I will not keep you for longer than a quarter of an hour."

I could not refuse so small a favour, and she employed the time in
telling me how unfortunate they had been in Hanover, how they had come to
London to obtain compensation, of their failure, their debts, the cruelty
of the landlord, their mother's illness, the prison that awaited her, the
likelihood of their being cast into the street, and the cruelty of all
their acquaintances.

"We have nothing to sell, and all our resources consist of two shillings,
which we shall have to spend on bread, on which we live."

"Who are your friends? How can they abandon you at such a time?"

She mentioned several names--among others, Lord Baltimore, Marquis
Carracioli, the Neapolitan ambassador, and Lord Pembroke.

"I can't believe it," said I, "for I know the two last noblemen to be
both rich and generous. There must be some good reason for their conduct,
since you are beautiful; and for these gentlemen beauty is a bill to be
honoured on sight."

"Yes, there is a reason. These rich noblemen abandon us with contempt.
They refuse to take pity on us because we refuse to yield to their guilty
passion."

"That is to say, they have taken a fancy to you, and as you will not have
pity on them they refuse to have pity on you. Is it not so?"

"That is exactly the situation."

"Then I think they are in the right."

"In the right?"

"Yes, I am quite of their opinion. We leave you to enjoy your sense of
virtue, and we spend our money in procuring those favours which you
refuse us. Your misfortune really is your prettiness, if you were ugly
you would get twenty guineas fast enough. I would give you the money
myself, and the action would be put down to benevolence; whereas, as the
case stands, if I were to give you anything it would be thought that I
was actuated by the hope of favours to come, and I should be laughed at,
and deservedly, as a dupe."

I felt that this was the proper way to speak to the girl, whose eloquence
in pleading her cause was simply wonderful.

She did not reply to my oration, and I asked her how she came to know me.

"I saw you at Richmond with the Charpillon."

"She cost me two thousand guineas, and I got nothing for my money; but I
have profited by the lesson, and in future I shall never pay in advance."

Just then her mother called her, and, begging me to wait a moment, she
went into her room, and returned almost directly with the request that I
would come and speak to the invalid.

I found her sitting up in her bed; she looked about forty-five, and still
preserved traces of her former beauty; her countenance bore the imprint
of sadness, but had no marks of sickness whatsoever. Her brilliant and
expressive eyes, her intellectual face, and a suggestion of craft about
her, all bade me be on my guard, and a sort of false likeness to the
Charpillon's mother made me still more cautious, and fortified me in my
resolution to give no heed to the appeals of pity.

"Madam," I began, "what can I do for you?"

"Sir," she replied, "I have heard the whole of your conversations with my
daughters, and you must confess that you have not talked to them in a
very fatherly manner."

"Quite so, but the only part which I desire to play with them is that of
lover, and a fatherly style would not have been suitable to the part. If
I had the happiness of being their father, the case would be altered.
What I have said to your daughters is what I feel, and what I think most
likely to bring about the end I have in view. I have not the slightest
pretence to virtue, but I adore the fair sex, and now you and they know
the road to my purse. If they wish to preserve their virtue, why let
them; nobody will trouble them, and they, on their side, must not expect
anything from men. Good-bye, madam; you may reckon on my never addressing
your daughters again."

"Wait a moment, sir. My husband was the Count of----, and you see that my
daughters are of respectable birth."

"Have you not pity for our situation?"

"I pity you extremely, and I would relieve you in an instant if your
daughters were ugly, but as it is they are pretty, and that alters the
case."

"What an argument!"

"It is a very strong one with me, and I think I am the best judge of
arguments which apply to myself. You want twenty guineas; well, you shall
have them after one of your five countesses has spent a joyous night with
me."

"What language to a woman of my station! Nobody has ever dared to speak
to me in such a way before."

"Pardon me, but what use is rank without a halfpenny? Allow me to retire.

"To-day we have only bread to eat."

"Well, certainly that is rather hard on countesses."

"You are laughing at the title, apparently."

"Yes, I am; but I don't want to offend you. If you like, I will stop to
dinner, and pay for all, yourself included."

"You are an eccentric individual. My girls are sad, for I am going to
prison. You will find their company wearisome."

"That is my affair."

"You had much better give them the money you would spend on the dinner."

"No, madam. I must have at least the pleasures of sight and sound for my
money. I will stay your arrest till to-morrow, and afterwards Providence
may possibly intervene on your behalf."

"The landlord will not wait."

"Leave me to deal with him."

I told Goudar to go and see what the man would take to send the bailiff
away for twenty-four hours. He returned with the message that he must
have a guinea and bail for the twenty guineas, in case the lodgers might
take to flight before the next day.

My wine merchant lived close by. I told Gondar to wait for me, and the
matter was soon settled and the bailiff sent away, and I told the five
girls that they might take their ease for twenty-four hours more.

I informed Gondar of the steps I had taken, and told him to go out and
get a good dinner for eight people. He went on his errand, and I summoned
the girls to their mother's bedside, and delighted them all by telling
them that for the next twenty-four hours they were to make good cheer.
They could not get over their surprise at the suddenness of the change I
had worked in the house.

"But this is all I can do for you," said I to the mother. "Your daughters
are charming, and I have obtained a day's respite for you all without
asking for anything in return; I shall dine, sup, and pass the night with
them without asking so much as a single kiss, but if your ideas have not
changed by to-morrow you will be in exactly the same position as you were
a few minutes ago, and I shall not trouble you any more with my
attentions."

"What do you mean my 'changing my ideas'?"

"I need not tell you, for you know perfectly well what I mean."

"My daughters shall never become prostitutes."

"I will proclaim their spotless chastity all over London--but I shall
spend my guineas elsewhere."

"You are a cruel man."

"I confess I can be very cruel, but it is only when I don't meet with
kindness."

Goudar came back and we returned to the ladies' room, as the mother did
not like to shew herself to my friend, telling me that I was the only man
she had permitted to see her in bed during the whole time she had been in
London.

Our English dinner was excellent in its way, but my chief pleasure was to
see the voracity with which the girls devoured the meal. One would have
thought they were savages devouring raw meat after a long fast. I had got
a case of excellent wine and I made each of them drink a bottle, but not
being accustomed to such an indulgence they became quite drunk. The
mother had devoured the whole of the plentiful helpings I had sent in to
her, and she had emptied a bottle of Burgundy, which she carried very
well.

In spite of their intoxication, the girls were perfectly safe; I kept my
word, and Goudar did not take the slightest liberty. We had a pleasant
supper, and after a bowl of punch I left them feeling in love with the
whole bevy, and very uncertain whether I should be able to shew as brave
a front the next day.

As we were going away Goudar said that I was conducting the affair
admirably, but if I made a single slip I should be undone.

I saw the good sense of his advice, and determined to shew that I was as
sharp as he.

The next day, feeling anxious to hear the result of the council which the
mother had doubtless held with the daughters, I called at their house at
ten o'clock. The two eldest sisters were out, endeavouring to beat up
some more friends, and the three youngest rushed up to me as if they had
been spaniels and I their master, but they would not even allow me to
kiss them. I told them they made a mistake, and knocked at the mother's
door. She told me to come in, and thanked me for the happy day I had
given them.

"Am I to withdraw my bail, countess?"

"You can do what you like, but I do not think you capable of such an
action."

"You are mistaken. You have doubtless made a deep study of the human
heart; but you either know little of the human mind, or else you think
you have a larger share than any other person. All your daughters have
inspired me with love, but were it a matter of life and death I would not
do a single thing for them or you before you have done me the only favour
that is in your power. I leave you to your reflections, and more
especially to your virtues."

She begged me to stay, but I did not even listen to her. I passed by the
three charmers, and after telling my wine merchant to withdraw his
security I went in a furious mood to call on Lord Pembroke. As soon as I
mentioned the Hanoverians he burst out laughing, and said these false
innocents must be made to fulfil their occupation in a proper manner.

"They came whining to me yesterday," he proceeded, "and I not only would
not give them anything, but I laughed them to scorn. They have got about
twelve guineas out of me on false pretences; they are as cunning sluts as
the Charpillon."

I told him what I had done the day before, and what I intended to offer:
twenty guineas for the first, and as much for each of the others, but
nothing to be paid in advance.

"I had the same idea myself, but I cried off, and I don't think you'll
succeed, as Lord Baltimore offered them forty apiece; that is two hundred
guineas in all, and the bargain has fallen through because they want the
money to be paid in advance. They paid him a visit yesterday, but found
him pitiless, for he has been taken in several times by them."

"We shall see what will happen when the mother is under lock and key;
I'll bet we shall have them cheaply."

I came home for dinner, and Goudar, who had just been at their house,
reported that the bailiff would only wait till four o'clock, that the two
eldest daughters had come back empty-handed, and that they had been
obliged to sell one of their dresses to buy a morsel of bread.

I felt certain that they would have recourse to me again, and I was
right. We were at dessert when they put in an appearance. I made them sit
down, and the eldest sister exhausted her eloquence to persuade me to
give them another three days' grace.

"You will find me insensible," said I, "unless you are willing to adopt
my plan. If you wish to hear it, kindly follow me into the next room."

She did so, leaving her sister with Goudar, and making her sit down on a
sofa beside me, I shewed her twenty guineas, saying,--

"These are yours; but you know on what terms?"

She rejected my offer with disdain, and thinking she might wish to salve
her virtue by being attacked, I set to work; but finding her resistance
serious I let her alone, and begged her to leave my house immediately.
She called to her sister, and they both went out.

In the evening, as I was going to the play, I called on my wine merchant
to hear the news. He told me that the mother had been taken to prison,
and that the youngest daughter had gone with her; but he did not know
what had become of the four others.

I went home feeling quite sad, and almost reproaching myself for not
having taken compassion on then; however, just as I was sitting down to
supper they appeared before me like four Magdalens. The eldest, who was
the orator of the company, told me that their mother was in prison, and
that they would have to pass the night in the street if I did not take
pity on them.

"You shall have rooms, beds, and good fires," said I, "but first let me
see you eat."

Delight appeared on every countenance, and I had numerous dishes brought
for them. They ate eagerly but sadly, and only drank water.

"Your melancholy and your abstinence displeases me," said I, to the
eldest girl; "go upstairs and you will find everything necessary for your
comfort, but take care to be gone at seven in the morning and not to let
me see your faces again."

They went up to the second floor without a word.

An hour afterwards, just as I was going to bed, the eldest girl came into
my room and said she wished to have a private interview with me. I told
my negro to withdraw, and asked her to explain herself.

"What will you do for us," said she, "if I consent to share your couch?"

"I will give you twenty guineas, and I will lodge and board you as long
as you give me satisfaction."

Without saying a word she began to undress, and got into bed. She was
submissive and nothing more, and did not give me so much as a kiss. At
the end of a quarter of an hour I was disgusted with her and got up, and
giving her a bank note for twenty guineas I told her to put on her
clothes and go back to her room.

"You must all leave my house to-morrow," I said, "for I am ill pleased
with you. Instead of giving yourself up for love you have prostituted
yourself. I blush for you."

She obeyed mutely, and I went to sleep in an ill humour.

At about seven o'clock in the morning I was awakened by a hand shaking me
gently. I opened my eyes, and I was surprised to see the second daughter.

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

"I want you to take pity on us, and shelter us in your house for a few
days longer. I will be very grateful. My sister has told me all, you are
displeased with her, but you must forgive her, for her heart is not her
own. She is in love with an Italian who is in prison for debt."

"And I suppose you are in love with someone else?"

"No, I am not."

"Could you love me?"

She lowered her eyes, and pressed my hand gently. I drew her towards me,
and embraced her, and as I felt her kisses answer mine, I said,--

"You have conquered."

"My name is Victoire."

"I like it, and I will prove the omen a true one."

Victoire, who was tender and passionate, made me spend two delicious
hours, which compensated me for my bad quarter of an hour of the night
before.

When our exploits were over, I said,--

"Dearest Victoire, I am wholly throe. Let your mother be brought here as
soon as she is free. Here are twenty guineas for you."

She did not expect anything, and the agreeable surprise made her in an
ecstasy; she could not speak, but her heart was full of happiness. I too
was happy, and I believed that a great part of my happiness was caused by
the knowledge that I had done a good deed. We are queer creatures all of
us, whether we are bad or good. From that moment I gave my servants
orders to lay the table for eight persons every day, and told them that I
was only at home to Goudar. I spent money madly, and felt that I was
within a measurable distance of poverty.

At noon the mother came in a sedan-chair, and went to bed directly. I
went to see her, and did not evince any surprise when she began to thank
me for my noble generosity. She wanted me to suppose that she thought I
had given her daughters forty guineas for nothing, and I let her enjoy
her hypocrisy.

In the evening I took them to Covent Garden, where the castrato Tenducci
surprised me by introducing me to his wife, of whom he had two children.
He laughed at people who said that a castrato could not procreate. Nature
had made him a monster that he might remain a man; he was born triorchis,
and as only two of the seminal glands had been destroyed the remaining
one was sufficient to endow him with virility.

When I got back to my small seraglio I supped merrily with the five
nymphs, and spent a delicious night with Victoire, who was overjoyed at
having made my conquest. She told me that her sister's lover was a
Neapolitan, calling himself Marquis de Petina, and that they were to get
married as soon as he was out of prison. It seemed he was expecting
remittances, and the mother would be delighted to see her daughter a
marchioness.

"How much does the marquis owe?"

"Twenty guineas."

"And the Neapolitan ambassador allows him to languish in prison for such
a beggarly sum? I can't believe it."

"The ambassador won't have anything to do with him, because he left
Naples without the leave of the Government."

"Tell your sister that if the ambassador assures me that her lover's name
is really the Marquis de Petina, I will get him out of prison
immediately."

I went out to ask my daughter, and another boarder of whom I was very
fond, to dinner, and on my way called on the Marquis of Caraccioli, an
agreeable man, whose acquaintance I had made at Turin. I found the famous
Chevalier d'Eon at his house, and I had no need of a private interview to
make my inquiries about Petina.

"The young man is really what he professes to me," said the ambassador,
"but I will neither receive him nor give him any money till I hear from
my Government that he has received leave to travel."

That was enough for me, and I stayed there for an hour listening to
d'Eon's amusing story.

Eon had deserted the embassy on account of ten thousand francs which the
department of foreign affairs at Versailles had refused to allow him,
though the money was his by right. He had placed himself under the
protection of the English laws, and after securing two thousand
subscribers at a guinea apiece, he had sent to press a huge volume in
quarto containing all the letters he had received from the French
Government for the last five or six years.

About the same time a London banker had deposited the sum of twenty
thousand guineas at the Bank of England, being ready to wager that sum
that Eon was a woman. The bet was taken by a number of persons who had
formed themselves into a kind of company for the purpose, and the only
way to decide it was that Eon should be examined in the presence of
witnesses. The chevalier was offered half the wager, but he laughed them
to scorn. He said that such an examination would dishonour him, were he
man or woman. Caraccioli said that it could only dishonour him if he were
a woman, but I could not agree with this opinion. At the end of a year
the bet was declared off; but in the course of three years he received
his pardon from the king, and appeared at Court in woman's dress, wearing
the cross of St. Louis.

Louis XV. had always been aware of the chevalier's sex, but Cardinal
Fleuri had taught him that it became kings to be impenetrable, and Louis
remained so all his life.

When I got home I gave the eldest Hanoverian twenty guineas, telling her
to fetch her marquis out of prison, and bring him to dine with us, as I
wanted to know him. I thought she would have died with joy.

The third sister, having taken counsel with Victoire, and doubtless with
her mother also, determined to earn twenty guineas for herself, and she
had not much trouble in doing so. She it was on whom Lord Pembroke had
cast the eye of desire.

These five girls were like five dishes placed before a gourmand, who
enjoys them one after the other. To my fancy the last was always the
best. The third sister's name was Augusta.

Next Sunday I had a large number of guests. There were my daughter and
her friend, Madame Cornelis, and her son. Sophie was kissed and caressed
by the Hanoverians, while I bestowed a hundred kisses on Miss Nancy
Steyne, who was only thirteen, but whose young beauty worked sad havoc
with my senses. My affection was supposed to be fatherly in its
character, but, alas I it was of a much more fleshly kind. This Miss
Nancy, who seemed to me almost divine, was the daughter of a rich
merchant. I said that I wanted to make her father's acquaintance, and she
replied that her father proposed coming to call on me that very day. I
was delighted to hear of the coincidence, and gave order that he should
be shewn in as soon as he came.

The poor marquis was the only sad figure in the company. He was young and
well-made, but thin and repulsively ugly. He thanked me for my kindness,
saying that I had done a wise thing, as he felt sure the time would come
when he would repay me a hundredfold.

I had given my daughter six guineas to buy a pelisse, and she took me to
my bedroom to shew it me. Her mother followed her to congratulate me on
my seraglio.

At dinner gaiety reigned supreme. I sat between my daughter and Miss
Nancy Steyne, and felt happy. Mr. Steyne came in as we were at the
oysters. He kissed his daughter with that tender affection which is more
characteristic, I think, of English parents than those of any other
nation.

Mr. Steyne had dined, but he nevertheless ate a hundred scolloped
oysters, in the preparation of which my cook was wonderfully expert; he
also honoured the champagne with equal attention.

We spent three hours at the table and then proceeded to the third floor,
where Sophie accompanied her mother's singing on the piano, and young
Cornelis displayed his flute-playing talents. Mr. Steyne swore that he
had never been present at such a pleasant party in his life, adding that
pleasure was forbidden fruit in England on Sundays and holidays. This
convinced me that Steyne was an intelligent man, though his French was
execrable. He left at seven, after giving a beautiful ring to my
daughter, whom he escorted back to school with Miss Nancy.

The Marquis Petina foolishly observed to me that he did not know where to
find a bed. I understood what he wanted, but I told him he would easily
find one with a little money. Taking his sweetheart aside I gave her a
guinea for him, begging her to tell him not to visit me again till he was
invited.

When all the guests were gone, I led the five sisters to the mother's
room. She was wonderfully well, eating, drinking, and sleeping to
admiration, and never doing anything, not even reading or writing. She
enjoyed the 'dolce far niente' in all the force of the term. However, she
told me she was always thinking of her family, and of the laws which it
imposed on her.

I could scarcely help laughing, but I only said that if these laws were
the same as those which her charming daughters followed, I thought them
wiser than Solon's.

I drew Augusta on to my knee, and said,--

"My lady, allow me to kiss your delightful daughter."

Instead of giving me a direct answer, the old hypocrite began a long
sermon on the lawfulness of the parental kiss. All the time Augusta was
lavishing on me secret but delicious endearments.

     'O tempora! O mores!'

The next day I was standing at my window, when the Marquis Caraccioli,
who was passing by, greeted me, and asked me if he could come in. I bade
him welcome, and summoning the eldest sister told the ambassador that
this young lady was going to marry the Marquis Petina as soon as his
remittances arrived.

He addressed himself to her, and spoke as follows:

"Mademoiselle, it is true that your lover is really a marquis, but he is
very poor and will never have any money; and if he goes back to Naples he
will be imprisoned, and if he is released from the State prison his
creditors will put him in the Vittoria."

However this salutary warning had no effect.

After the ambassador had taken his leave I was dressing to take a ride
when Augusta told me that, if I liked, Hippolyta her sister would come
with me, as she could ride beautifully.

"That's amusing," said I, "make her come down."

Hippolyta came down and begged me to let her ride with me, saying that
she would do me credit.

"Certainly;" said I, "but have you a man's riding suit or a woman's
costume?"

"No."

"Then we must put off the excursion till to-morrow."

I spent the day in seeing that a suit was made for her, and I felt quite
amorous when Pegu, the tailor, measured her for the breeches. Everything
was done in time and we had a charming ride, for she managed her horse
with wonderful skill.

After an excellent supper, to which wine had not been lacking, the happy
Hippolyta accompanied Victoire into my room and helped her to undress.
When she kissed her sister I asked if she would not give me a kiss too,
and after some jesting Augusta changed the joke into earnest by bidding
her come to bed beside me, without taking the trouble to ask my leave, so
sure did she feel of my consent. The night was well spent, and I had no
reason to complain of want of material, but Augusta wisely let the
newcomer have the lion's share of my attentions.

Next day we rode out again in the afternoon, followed by my negro, who
was a skilful horseman himself. In Richmond Park Hippolyta's dexterity
astonished me; she drew all eyes on her. In the evening we came home well
pleased with our day's ride, and had a good supper.

As the meal proceeded I noticed that Gabrielle, the youngest of all,
looked sad and a little sulky. I asked her the reason, and with a little
pout that became her childish face admirably, she replied,--

"Because I can ride on horseback as well as my sister."

"Very good," said I, "then you shall ride the day after to-morrow." This
put her into a good temper again.

Speaking of Hippolyta's skill, I asked her where she had learnt to ride.
She simply burst out laughing. I asked her why she laughed, and she
said,--

"Why, because I never learnt anywhere; my only masters were courage and
some natural skill."

"And has your sister learnt?"

"No," said Gabrielle, "but I can ride just as well."

I could scarcely believe it, for Hippolyta had seemed to float on her
horse, and her riding skewed the utmost skill and experience. Hoping that
her sister would vie with her, I said that I would take them out
together, and the very idea made them both jump with joy.

Gabrielle was only fifteen, and her shape, though not fully developed,
was well marked, and promised a perfect beauty by the time she was in her
maturity. Full of grace and simplicity, she said she would like to come
with me to my room, and I readily accepted her offer, not caring whether
the scheme had been concerted between her and her other sisters.

As soon as we were alone, she told me that she had never had a lover, and
she allowed me to assure myself of the fact with the same child-like
simplicity. Gabrielle was like all the others; I would have chosen her if
I had been obliged to make the choice. She made me feel sorry for her
sake, to hear that the mother had made up her mind to leave. In the
morning I gave her her fee of twenty guineas and a handsome ring as a
mark of my peculiar friendship, and we spent the day in getting ready our
habits for the ride of the day following.

Gabrielle got on horseback as if she had had two years in the riding
school. We went along the streets at a walking pace, but as soon as we
were in the open country we broke into a furious gallop, and kept it up
till we got to Barnet, where we stopped to breakfast. We had done the
journey in twenty-five minutes, although the distance is nearly ten
miles. This may seem incredible, but the English horses are wonderfully
swift, and we were all of us well mounted. My two nymphs looked
ravishing. I adored them, and I adored myself for making them so happy.

Just as we were remounting, who should arrive but Lord Pembroke. He was
on his way to St. Alban's. He stopped his horse, and admired the graceful
riding of my two companions; and not recognizing them immediately, he
begged leave to pay his court to them. How I laughed to myself! At last
he recognized them, and congratulated me on my conquest, asking if I
loved Hippolyta. I guessed his meaning, and said I only loved Gabrielle.

"Very good," said he; "may I come and see you?"

"Certainly," I replied.

After a friendly hand-shake we set out once more, and were soon back in
London.

Gabrielle was done up and went to bed directly; she slept on till the
next morning without my disturbing her peaceful sleep, and when she awoke
and found herself in my arms, she began to philosophise.

"How easy it is," said she, "to be happy when one is rich, and how sad it
is to see happiness out of one's reach for lack of a little money.
Yesterday I was the happiest of beings, and why should I not be as happy
all my days? I would gladly agree that my life should be short provided
that it should be a happy one."

I, too, philosophised, but my reflections were sombre. I saw my resources
all but exhausted, and I began to meditate a journey to Lisbon. If my
fortune had been inexhaustible, the Hanoverians might have held me in
their silken fetters to the end of my days. It seemed to me as if I loved
them more like a father than a lover, and the fact that I slept with them
only added to the tenderness of the tie. I looked into Gabrielle's eyes,
and there I saw but love. How could such a love exist in her unless she
were naturally virtuous, and yet devoid of those prejudices which are
instilled into us in our early years.

The next day Pembroke called and asked me to give him a dinner. Augusta
delighted him. He made proposals to her which excited her laughter as he
did not want to pay till after the event, and she would not admit this
condition. However, he gave her a bank note for ten guineas before he
left, and she accepted it with much grace. The day after he wrote her a
letter, of which I shall speak presently.

A few minutes after the nobleman had gone the mother sent for me to come
to her, and after paying an eloquent tribute to my virtues, my
generosity, and my unceasing kindness towards her family, she made the
following proposal:

"As I feel sure that you have all the love of a father for my daughters,
I wish you to become their father in reality! I offer you my hand and
heart; become my husband, you will be their father, their lord and mine.
What do you say to this?"

I bit my lips hard and had great difficulty in restraining my inclination
to laughter. Nevertheless, the amazement, the contempt, and the
indignation which this unparalleled piece of impudence aroused in me soon
brought me to myself. I perceived that this consummate hypocrite had
counted on an abrupt refusal, and had only made this ridiculous offer
with the idea of convincing me that she was under the impression that I
had left her daughters as I had found them, and that the money I had
spent on them was merely a sign of my tender and fatherly affection. Of
course she knew perfectly well how the land lay, but she thought to
justify herself by taking this step. She was aware that I could only look
upon such a proposal as an insult, but she did not care for that.

I resolved to keep on the mask, and replied that her proposition was
undoubtedly a very great honour for me, but it was also a very important
question, and so I begged her to allow me some time for consideration.

When I got back to my room I found there the mistress of the wretched
Marquis Petina, who told me that her happiness depended on a certificate
from the Neapolitan ambassador that her lover was really the person he
professed to be. With this document he would be able to claim a sum of
two hundred guineas, and then they could both go to Naples, and he would
marry her there. "He will easily obtain the royal pardon," said she.
"You, and you alone, can help us in the matter, and I commend myself to
your kindness."

I promised to do all I could for her. In fact, I called on the
ambassador, who made no difficulty about giving the required certificate.
For the moment my chilly conquest was perfectly happy, but though I saw
she was very grateful to me I did not ask her to prove her gratitude.



CHAPTER XVI

Augusta Becomes Lord Pembroke's Titular Mistress The King of Corsica's
Son--M. du Claude, or the Jesuit Lavalette--Departure of the Hanoverians
I Balance My Accounts--The Baron Stenau--The English Girl, and What She
Gave Me--Daturi--My Flight from London--Comte St. Germain--Wesel

Lord Pembroke wrote to Augusta offering her fifty guineas a month for
three years, with lodging, board, servants, and carriage at St. Albans,
without reckoning what she might expect from his grateful affection if it
were returned.

Augusta translated the letter for me, and asked for my advice.

"I can't give you any counsel," said I, "in a matter which only concerns
your own heart and your own interests."

She went up to her mother, who would come to no conclusion without first
consulting me, because, as she said, I was the wisest and most virtuous
of men. I am afraid the reader will differ from her here, but I comfort
myself by the thought that I, too, think like the reader. At last it was
agreed that Augusta should accept the offer if Lord Pembroke would find a
surety in the person of some reputable London merchant, for with her
beauty and numerous graces she was sure to, become Lady Pembroke before
long. Indeed, the mother said she was perfectly certain of it, as
otherwise she could not have given her consent, as her daughters were
countesses, and too good to be any man's mistresses.

The consequence was that Augusta wrote my lord a letter, and in three
days it was all settled. The merchant duly signed the contract, at the
foot of which I had the honour of inscribing my name as a witness, and
then I took the merchant to the mother, and he witnessed her cession of
her daughter. She would not see Pembroke, but she kissed her daughter,
and held a private colloquy with her.

The day on which Augusta left my house was signalized by an event which I
must set down.

The day after I had given the Marquis Petina's future bride the required
certificate, I had taken out Gabrielle and Hippolyta for a ride. When I
got home I found waiting for me a person calling himself Sir Frederick,
who was said to be the son of Theodore, King of Corsica, who had died in
London. This gentleman said he wished to speak to me in private, and when
we were alone he said he was aware of my acquaintance with the Marquis
Petina, and being on the eve of discounting a bill of two hundred guineas
for him he wished to be informed whether it was likely that he could meet
the bill when it fell due.

"It is important that I should be informed on that point," he added, "for
the persons who are going to discount the bill want me to put my
signature to it."

"Sir," I replied, "I certainly am acquainted with the marquis, but I know
nothing about his fortune. However, the Neapolitan ambassador assured me
that he was the Marquis Petina."

"If the persons who have the matter in hand should drop it, would you
discount the bill? You shall have it cheap."

"I never meddle with these speculations. Good day, Sir Frederick."

The next day Goudar came and said that a M. du Claude wanted to speak to
me.

"Who is M. du Claude?"

"The famous Jesuit Lavalette, who was concerned in the great bankruptcy
case which ruined the Society in France. He fled to England under a false
name. I advise you to listen to him, for he must have plenty of money."

"A Jesuit and a bankrupt; that does not sound very well."

"Well, I have met him in good houses, and knowing that I was acquainted
with you he addressed himself to me. After all, you run no risk in
listening to what he has to say."

"Well, well, you can take me to him; it will be easier to avoid any
entanglement than if he came to see me."

Goudar went to Lavalette to prepare the way, and in the afternoon he took
me to see him. I was well enough pleased to see the man, whose rascality
had destroyed the infamous work of many years. He welcomed me with great
politeness, and as soon as we were alone he shewed me a bill of Petina's,
saying,--

"The young man wants me to discount it, and says you can give me the
necessary information."

I gave the reverend father the same answer as I had given the King of
Corsica's son, and left him angry with this Marquis of Misery who had
given me so much needless trouble. I was minded to have done with him,
and resolved to let him know through his mistress that I would not be his
reference, but I could not find an opportunity that day.

The next day I took my two nymphs for a ride, and asked Pembroke to
dinner. In vain we waited for Petina's mistress; she was nowhere to be
found. At nine o'clock I got a letter from her, with a German letter
enclosed for her mother. She said that feeling certain that her mother
would not give her consent to her marriage, she had eloped with her
lover, who had got together enough money to go to Naples, and when they
reached that town he would marry her. She begged me to console her mother
and make her listen to reason, as she had not gone off with an adventurer
but with a man of rank, her equal. My lips curled into a smile of pity
and contempt, which made the three sisters curious. I shewed them the
letter I had just received, and asked them to come with me to their
mother.

"Not to-night," said Victoire, "this terrible news would keep her awake."

I took her advice and we supped together, sadly enough.

I thought the poor wretch was ruined for life, and I reproached myself
with being the cause of her misfortune; for if I had not released the
marquis from prison this could never have happened. The Marquis
Caraccioli had been right in saying that I had done a good deed, but a
foolish one. I consoled myself in the arms of my dear Gabrielle.

I had a painful scene with the mother the next morning. She cursed her
daughter and her seducer, and even blamed me. She wept and stormed
alternately.

It is never of any use to try and convince people in distress that they
are wrong, for one may only do harm, while if they are left to themselves
they soon feel that they have been unjust, and are grateful to the person
who let them exhaust their grief without any contradiction.

After this event I spent a happy fortnight in the society of Gabrielle,
whom Hippolyta and Victoire looked on as my wife. She made my happiness
and I made hers in all sorts of ways, but especially by my fidelity; for
I treated her sisters as if they had been my sisters, shewing no
recollection of the favours I had obtained from them, and never taking
the slightest liberty, for I knew that friendship between women will
hardly brook amorous rivalry. I had bought them dresses and linen in
abundance, they were well lodged and well fed, I took them to the theatre
and to the country, and the consequence was they all adored me, and
seemed to think that this manner of living would go on for ever.
Nevertheless, I was every day nearer and nearer to moral and physical
bankruptcy. I had no more money, and I had sold all my diamonds and
precious stones. I still possessed my snuff-boxes, my watches, and
numerous trifles, which I loved and had not the heart to sell; and,
indeed, I should not have got the fifth part of what I gave for them. For
a whole month I had not paid my cook, or my wine merchant, but I liked to
feel that they trusted me. All I thought of was Gabrielle's love, and of
this I assured myself by a thousand delicacies and attentions.

This was my condition when one day Victoire came to me with sadness on
her face, and said that her mother had made up her mind to return to
Hanover, as she had lost all hope of getting anything from the English
Court.

"When does she intend to leave?"

"In three or four days."

"And is she going without telling me, as if she were leaving an inn after
paying her bill?"

"On the contrary, she wishes to have a private talk with you."

I paid her a visit, and she began by reproaching me tenderly for not
coming to see her more often. She said that as I had refused her hand she
would not run the risk of incurring censure or slander of any kind. "I
thank you from my heart," she added, "for all the kindness you have shewn
my girls, and I am going to take the three I have left away, lest I lose
them as I have lost the two eldest. If you like, you may come too and
stay with us as long as you like in my pretty country house near the
capital."

Of course I had to thank her and reply that my engagements did not allow
me to accept her kind offer.

Three days after, Victoire told me, as I was getting up, that they were
going on board ship at three o'clock. Hippolyta and Gabrielle made me
come for a ride, according to a promise I had given them the night
before. The poor things amused themselves, while I grieved bitterly, as
was my habit when I had to separate from anyone that I loved.

When we came home I lay down on my bed, not taking any dinner, and seeing
nothing of the three sisters till they had made everything ready for the
journey. I got up directly before they left, so as not to see the mother
in my own room, and I saw her in hers just as she was about to be taken
down into my carriage, which was in readiness at the door. The impudent
creature expected me to give her some money for the journey, but
perceiving that I was not likely to bleed, she observed, with involuntary
sincerity, that her purse contained the sum of a hundred and fifty
guineas, which I had given to her daughters; and these daughters of hers
were present, and sobbed bitterly.

When they were gone I closed my doors to everyone, and spent three days
in the melancholy occupation of making up my accounts. In the month I had
spent with the Hanoverians I had dissipated the whole of the sum
resulting from the sale of the precious stones, and I found that I was in
debt to the amount of four hundred guineas. I resolved to go to Lisbon by
sea, and sold my diamond cross, six or seven gold snuff-boxes (after
removing the portraits), all my watches except one, and two great trunks
full of clothes. I then discharged my debts and found I was eighty
guineas to the good, this being what remained of the fine fortune I had
squandered away like a fool or a philosopher, or, perhaps, a little like
both. I left my fine house where I had lived so pleasantly, and took a
little room at a guinea a week. I still kept my negro, as I had every
reason to believe him to be a faithful servant.

After taking these measures I wrote to M. de Bragadin, begging him to
send me two hundred sequins.

Thus having made up my mind to leave London without owing a penny to
anyone, and under obligations to no man's purse, I waited for the bill of
exchange from Venice. When it came I resolved to bid farewell to all my
friends and to try my fortune in Lisbon, but such was not the fate which
the fickle goddess had assigned to me.

A fortnight after the departure of the Hanoverians (it was the end of
February in the year 1764), my evil genius made me go to the "Canon
Tavern," where I usually dined in a room by myself. The table was laid
and I was just going to sit down, when Baron Stenau came in and begged me
to have my dinner brought into the next room, where he and his mistress
were dining.

"I thank you," said I, "for the solitary man grows weary of his company."

I saw the English woman I had met at Sartori's, the same to whom the
baron had been so generous. She spoke Italian, and was attractive in many
ways, so I was well pleased to find myself opposite to her, and we had a
pleasant dinner.

After a fortnight's abstinence it was not surprising that she inspired me
with desires, but I concealed them nevertheless, for her lover seemed to
respect her. I only allowed myself to tell the baron that I thought him
the happiest of men.

Towards the close of the dinner the girl noticed three dice on the mantel
and took them up, saying,--

"Let us have a wager of a guinea, and spend it on oysters and champagne."

We could not refuse, and the baron having lost called the waiter and gave
him his orders.

While we were eating the oysters she suggested that we should throw again
to see which should pay for the dinner.

We did so and she lost.

I did not like my luck, and wishing to lose a couple of guineas I offered
to throw against the baron. He accepted, and to my annoyance I won. He
asked for his revenge and lost again.

"I don't want to win your money," said I, "and I will give you your
revenge up to a hundred guineas."

He seemed grateful and we went on playing, and in less than half an hour
he owed me a hundred guineas.

"Let us go on," said he.

"My dear baron, the luck's against you; you might lose a large sum of
money. I really think we have had enough."

Without heeding my politeness, he swore against fortune and against the
favour I seemed to be shewing him. Finally he got up, and taking his hat
and cane, went out, saying,--

"I will pay you when I come back."

As soon as he had gone the girl said:

"I am sure you have been regarding me as your partner at play."

"If you have guessed that, you will also have guessed that I think you
charming."

"Yes, I think I have."

"Are you angry with me?"

"Not in the least."

"You shall have the fifty guineas as soon as he has paid me."

"Very good, but the baron must know nothing about it."

"Of course not."

The bargain was scarcely struck before I began to shew her how much I
loved her. I had every reason to congratulate myself on her complaisance,
and I thought this meeting a welcome gleam of light when all looked dark
around me. We had to make haste, however, as the door was only shut with
a catch. I had barely time to ascertain her address and the hour at which
she could see me, and whether I should have to be careful with her lover.
She replied that the baron's fidelity was not of a character to make him
very exacting. I put the address in my pocket, and promised to pass a
night with her.

The baron came in again, and said,--

"I have been to a merchant to discount this bill of exchange, and though
it is drawn on one of the best house in Cadiz, and made out by a good
house in London, he would not have anything to do with it."

I took the bill and saw some millions mentioned on it, which astonished
me.

The baron said with a laugh that the currency was Portuguese milries, and
that they amounted to five hundred pounds sterling.

"If the signatures are known," said I, "I don't understand why the man
won't discount it. Why don't you take it to your banker?"

"I haven't got one. I came to England with a thousand gold pieces in my
pocket, and I have spent them all. As I have not got any letters of
credit I cannot pay you unless the bill is discounted. If you have got
any friends on the Exchange, however, you could get it done."

"If the names prove good ones I will let you have the money to-morrow
morning."

"Then I will make it payable to your order."

He put his name to it, and I promised to send him either the money or the
bill before noon on the day following. He gave me his address and begged
me to come and dine with him, and so we parted.

The next day I went to Bosanquet, who told me that Mr. Leigh was looking
out for bills of exchange on Cadiz, and I accordingly waited on him. He
exclaimed that such paper was worth more than gold to him, and gave me
five hundred and twenty guineas, of course after I had endorsed it.

I called on the baron and gave him the money I had just received, and he
thanked me and gave me back the hundred guineas. Afterwards we had
dinner, and fell to talking of his mistress.

"Are you in love with her?" said I.

"No; I have plenty of others, and if you like her you can have her for
ten guineas."

I liked this way of putting it, though I had not the slightest idea of
cheating the girl out of the sum I had promised her. On leaving the baron
I went to see her, and as soon as she heard that the baron had paid me
she ordered a delicious supper, and made me spend a night that
obliterated all my sorrows from my memory. In the morning, when I handed
over the fifty guineas, she said that as a reward for the way in which I
kept my promise I could sup with her whenever I liked to spend six
guineas. I promised to come and see her often.

The next morning I received a letter through the post, written in bad
Italian, and signed, "Your obedient godson, Daturi." This godson of mine
was in prison for debt, and begged me to give him a few shillings to buy
some food.

I had nothing particular to do, the appellation of godson made me
curious, and so I went to the prison to see Daturi, of whose identity I
had not the slightest idea. He was a fine young man of twenty; he did not
know me, nor I him. I gave him his letter, and begging me to forgive him
he drew a paper from his pocket and shewed me his certificate of baptism,
on which I saw my own name inscribed beside his name and those of his
father and mother, the parish of Venice, where he was born, and the
church in which he was baptized; but still I racked my memory in vain; I
could not recollect him.

"If you will listen to me," he said, "I can set you right; my mother has
told me the story a hundred times."

"Go on," said I, "I will listen;" and as he told his story I remembered
who he was.

This young man whom I had held at the font as the son of the actor Daturi
was possibly my own son. He had come to London with a troupe of jugglers
to play the illustrious part of clown, or pagliazzo, but having
quarrelled with the company he had lost his place and had got into debt
to the extent of ten pounds sterling, and for this debt he had been
imprisoned. Without saying anything to him about my relations with his
mother, I set him free on the spot, telling him to come to me every
morning, as I would give him two shillings a day for his support.

A week after I had done this good work I felt that I had caught the
fearful disease from which the god Mercury had already delivered me three
times, though with great danger and peril of my life. I had spent three
nights with the fatal English woman, and the misfortune was doubly
inconvenient under the circumstances. I was on the eve of a long sea
voyage, and though Venus may have risen from the waves of the sea, sea
air is by no means favourable to those on whom she has cast her malign
aspect. I knew what to do, and resolved to have my case taken in hand
without delay.

I left my house, not with the intention of reproaching the English woman
after the manner of fools, but rather of going to a good surgeon, with
whom I could make an agreement to stay in his house till my cure was
completed.

I had my trunks packed just as if I was going to leave London, excepting
my linen, which I sent to my washerwoman who lived at a distance of six
miles from town, and drove a great trade.

The very day I meant to change my lodging a letter was handed to me. It
was from Mr. Leigh, and ran as follows:

"The bill of exchange I discounted for you is a forgery, so please to
send me at your earliest convenience the five hundred and twenty guineas;
and if the man who has cheated you will not reimburse the money, have him
arrested. For Heaven's sake do not force me to have you arrested
to-morrow, and whatever you do make haste, for this may prove a hanging
matter."

Fortunately I was by myself when I received the letter. I fell upon my
bed, and in a moment I was covered with a cold sweat, while I trembled
like a leaf. I saw the gallows before me, for nobody would lend me the
money, and they would not wait for my remittance from Venice to reach me.

To my shuddering fit succeeded a burning fever. I loaded my pistols, and
went out with the determination of blowing out Baron Stenau's brains, or
putting him under arrest if he did not give me the money. I reached his
house, and was informed that he had sailed for Lisbon four days ago.

This Baron Stenau was a Livonian, and four months after these events he
was hanged at Lisbon. I only anticipate this little event in his life
because I might possibly forget it when I come to my sojourn at Riga.

As soon as I heard he was gone I saw there was no remedy, and that I must
save myself. I had only ten or twelve guineas left, and this sum was
insufficient. I went to Treves, a Venetian Jew to whom I had a letter
from Count Algarotti, the Venetian banker. I did not think of going to
Bosanquet, or Sanhel, or Salvador, who might possibly have got wind of my
trouble, while Treves had no dealings with these great bankers, and
discounted a bill for a hundred sequins readily enough. With the money in
my pocket I made my way to my lodging, while deadly fear dogged every
step. Leigh had given me twenty-four hours' breathing time, and I did not
think him capable of breaking his word, still it would not do to trust to
it. I did not want to lose my linen nor three fine suits of clothes which
my tailor was keeping for me, and yet I had need of the greatest
promptitude.

I called in Jarbe and asked him whether he would prefer to take twenty
guineas and his dismissal, or to continue in my service. I explained that
he would have to wait in London for a week, and join me at the place from
which I wrote to him.

"Sir," said he, "I should like to remain in your service, and I will
rejoin you wherever you please. When are you leaving?"

"In an hour's time; but say not a word, or it will cost me my life."

"Why can't you take me with you?"

"Because I want you to bring my linen which is at the wash, and my
clothes which the tailor is making. I will give you sufficient money for
the journey."

"I don't want anything. You shall pay me what I have spent when I rejoin
you. Wait a moment."

He went out and came back again directly, and holding out sixty guineas,
said,--

"Take this, sir, I entreat you, my credit is good for as much more in
case of need."

"I thank you, my good fellow, but I will not take your money, but be sure
I will not forget your fidelity."

My tailor lived close by and I called on him, and seeing that my clothes
were not yet made up I told him that I should like to sell them, and also
the gold lace that was to be used in the trimming. He instantly gave me
thirty guineas which meant a gain to him of twenty-five per cent. I paid
the week's rent of my lodging, and after bidding farewell to my negro I
set out with Daturi. We slept at Rochester, as my strength would carry me
no farther. I was in convulsions, and had a sort of delirium. Daturi was
the means of saving my life.

I had ordered post-horses to continue our journey, and Daturi of his own
authority sent them back and went for a doctor, who pronounced me to be
in danger of an apoplectic fit and ordered a copious blood-letting, which
restored my calm. Six hours later he pronounced me fit to travel. I got
to Dover early in the morning, and had only half an hour to stop, as the
captain of the packet said that the tide would not allow of any delay.
The worthy sailor little knew how well his views suited mine. I used this
half hour in writing to Jarbe, telling him to rejoin me at Calais, and
Mrs. Mercier, my landlady, to whom I had addressed the letter, wrote to
tell me that she had given it him with her own hands. However, Jarbe did
not come. We shall hear more of this negro in the course of two years.

The fever and the virus that was in my blood put me in danger of my life,
and on the third day I was in extremis. A fourth blood-letting exhausted
my strength, and left me in a state of coma which lasted for twenty-four
hours. This was succeeded by a crisis which restored me to life again,
but it was only by dint of the most careful treatment that I found myself
able to continue my journey a fortnight after my arrival in France.

Weak in health, grieved at having been the innocent cause of the worthy
Mr. Leigh's losing a large sum of money, humiliated by my flight from
London, indignant with Jarbe, and angry at being obliged to abandon my
Portuguese project, I got into a post-chaise with Daturi, not knowing
where to turn or where to go, or whether I had many more weeks to live.

I had written to Venice asking M. de Bragadin to send the sum I have
mentioned to Brussels instead of London.

When I got to Dunkirk, the day after I left Paris, the first person I saw
was the merchant S----, the husband of that Therese whom my readers may
remember, the niece of Tiretta's mistress, with whom I had been in love
seven years ago. The worthy man recognized me, and seeing his
astonishment at the change in my appearance I told him I was recovering
from a long illness, and then asked after his wife.

"She is wonderfully well," he answered, "and I hope we shall have the
pleasure of seeing you to dinner tomorrow."

I said I wanted to be off at day-break, but he would not hear of it, and
protested he would be quite hurt if I went away without seeing his wife
and his three children. At last I appeased him by saying that we would
sup together.

My readers will remember that I had been on the point of marrying
Therese, and this circumstance made me ashamed of presenting myself to
her in such a sorry plight.

In a quarter of an hour the husband arrived with his wife and three
children, the eldest of whom looked, about six. After the usual greetings
and tiresome enquiries after my health, Therese sent back the two younger
children, rightly thinking that the eldest would be the only one in whom
I should take any interest. He was a charming boy; and as he was exactly
like his mother, the worthy merchant had no doubts as to the parentage of
the child.

I laughed to myself at finding my offspring thus scattered all over
Europe. At supper Therese gave me news of Tiretta. He had entered the
Dutch East India Company's service, but having been concerned in a revolt
at Batavia, he had only escaped the gallows by flight--I had my own
thoughts as to the similarity between his destiny and mine, but I did not
reveal them. After all it is an easy enough matter for an adventurous
man, who does not look where he is going, to get hanged for a mere
trifle.

The next day, when I got to Tournay, I saw some grooms walking fine
horses up and down, and I asked to whom they belonged.

"'To the Comte de St. Germain, the adept, who has been here a month, and
never goes out. Everybody who passes through the place wants to see him;
but he is invisible."

This was enough to give me the same desire, so I wrote him a letter,
expressing my wish to speak to him, and asking him to name an hour. His
reply, which I have preserved, ran as follows:

"The gravity of my occupation compels me to exclude everyone, but you are
an exception. Come whenever you like, you will be shewn in. You need not
mention my name nor your own. I do not ask you to share my repast, far my
food is not suitable to others--to you least of all, if your appetite is
what it used to be."

At nine o'clock I paid my call, and found he had grown a beard two inches
long. He had a score of retorts before him, full of liquids in various
stages of digestion. He told me he was experimenting with colours for his
own amusement, and that he had established a hat factory for Count
Cobenzl, the Austrian ambassador at Brussels. He added that the count had
only given him a hundred and fifty thousand florins, which were
insufficient. Then we spoke of Madame d'Urfe.

"She poisoned herself," said he, "by taking too strong a dose of the
Universal Medicine, and her will shews that she thought herself to be
with child. If she had come to me, I could have really made her so,
though it is a difficult process, and science has not advanced far enough
for us to be able to guarantee the sex of the child."

When he heard the nature of my disease, he wanted me to stay three days
at Tournay for him to give me fifteen pills, which would effectually cure
me, and restore me to perfect health. Then he shewed me his magistrum,
which he called athoeter. It was a white liquid contained in a
well-stoppered phial. He told me that this liquid was the universal
spirit of nature, and that if the wax on the stopper was pricked ever so
lightly, the whole of the contents would disappear. I begged him to make
the experiment. He gave me the phial and a pin, and I pricked the wax,
and to lo! the phial was empty.

"It is very fine," said I, "but what good is all this?"

"I cannot tell you; that is my secret."

He wanted to astonish me before I went, and asked me if I had any money
about me. I took out several pieces and put them on the table. He got up,
and without saying what he was going to do he took a burning coal and put
it on a metal plate, and placed a twelve-sols piece with a small black
grain on the coal. He then blew it, and in two minutes it seemed on fire.

"Wait a moment," said the alchemist, "let it get cool;" and it cooled
almost directly.

"Take it; it is yours," said he.

I took up the piece of money and found it had become gold. I felt
perfectly certain that he had smuggled my silver piece away, and had
substituted a gold piece coated with silver for it. I did not care to
tell him as much, but to let him see that I was not taken in, I said,--

"It is really very wonderful, but another time you should warn me what
you are going to do, so that the operation might be attentively watched,
and the piece of money noted before being placed on the burning coal."

"Those that are capable of entertaining doubts of my art," said the
rogue, "are not worthy to speak to me."

This was in his usual style of arrogance, to which I was accustomed. This
was the last time I saw this celebrated and learned impostor; he died at
Schlesing six or seven years after. The piece of money he gave me was
pure gold, and two months after Field-marshal Keith took such a fancy to
it that I gave it him.

I left Tournay the next morning, and stopped at Brussels to await the
answer of the letter which I had written to M. de Bragadin. Five days
after I got the letter with a bill of exchange for two hundred ducats.

I thought of staying in Brussels to get cured, but Daturi told me that he
had heard from a rope-dancer that his father and mother and the whole
family were at Brunswick, and he persuaded me to go there, assuring me
that I should be carefully looked after.

He had not much difficulty in getting me to go to Brunswick, as I was
curious to see again the mother of my godson, so I started the same day.
At Ruremonde I was so ill that I had to stop for thirty-six hours. At
Wesel I wished to get rid of my post-chaise, for the horses of the
country are not used to going between shafts, but what was my surprise to
meet General Bekw there.

After the usual compliments had passed, and the general had condoled with
me on my weak state of health, he said he should like to buy my chaise
and exchange it for a commodious carriage, in which I could travel all
over Germany. The bargain was soon struck, and the general advised me to
stay at Wesel where there was a clever young doctor from the University
of Leyden, who would understand my case better than the Brunswick
physicians.

Nothing is easier than to influence a sick man, especially if he be in
search of fortune, and knows not where to look for the fickle goddess.
General Bekw----, who was in garrison at Wesel, sent for Dr. Pipers, and
was present at my confession and even at the examination.

I will not revolt my readers by describing the disgusting state in which
I was, suffice it to say that I shudder still when I think of it.

The young doctor, who was gentleness personified, begged me to come and
stay with him, promising that his mother and sisters should take the
greatest care of me, and that he would effect a radical cure in the
course of six weeks if I would carry out all his directions. The general
advised me strongly to stay with the doctor, and I agreed all the more
readily as I wished to have some amusement at Brunswick and not to arrive
there deprived of the use of all my limbs. I therefore gave in, but the
doctor would not hear of any agreement. He told me that I could give him
whatever I liked when I went away, and he would certainly be satisfied.
He took his leave to go and make my room ready, and told me to come in an
hour's time. I went to his house in a sedan-chair, and held a
handkerchief before my face, as I was ashamed that the young doctor's
mother and sisters should see me in the state I was in.

As soon as I got to my room, Daturi undressed me and I went to bed.



CHAPTER XVII

My Cure--Daturi is Beaten by Some Soldiers--I Leave Wesel for
Brunswick--Redegonde--Brunswick--The Hereditary Prince--The Jew--My Stay
at Wolfen-Buttel The Library--Berlin Calsabigi and the Berlin
Lottery--Mdlle. Belanger

At Supper-time, the doctor, his mother, and one of his sisters came to
see me. All of them bore the love of their kind written on their
features; they assured me that I should have all possible care at their
hands. When the ladies were gone the doctor explained his treatment. He
said that he hoped to cure me by the exhibition of sudorifices and
mercurial pills, but he warned me I must be very careful in my diet and
must not apply myself in any way. I promised to abide by his directions,
and he said that he would read me the newspaper himself twice a week to
amuse me, and by way of a beginning he informed me that the famous
Pompadour was dead.

Thus I was condemned to a state of perfect rest, but it was not the
remedies or the abstinence I dreaded most; I feared the effects of ennui;
I thought I should die of it. No doubt the doctor saw the danger as well
as myself, for he asked me if I would mind his sister coming and working
in my room occasionally with a few of her friends. I replied that,
despite my shame of shewing myself to young ladies in such a condition, I
accepted her offer with delight. The sister was very grateful for what
she was pleased to call my kindness, for my room was the only one which
looked in the street, and as everyone knows girls are very fond of
inspecting the passers-by. Unfortunately this arrangement turned out ill
for Daturi. The poor young man had only received the education of a
mountebank, and it was tiresome for him to pass all his time in my
company. When he saw that I had plenty of friends, he thought I could
dispense with his society, and only thought of amusing himself. On the
third day towards the evening he was carried home covered with bruises.
He had been in the guard-room with the soldiers, and some quarrel having
arisen he had got a severe beating. He was in a pitiable state; all over
blood and with three teeth missing. He told me the story with tears, and
begged me to take vengeance on his foes.

I sent my doctor to General Bekw----, who said that all he could do was
to give the poor man a bed in the hospital. Baturi had no bones broken,
and in a few days was quite well, so I sent him on to Brunswick with a
passport from General Salomon. The loss of his teeth secured him from the
conscription; this, at any rate, was a good thing.

The treatment of the young doctor was even more successful than he had
anticipated, for in a month I was perfectly well again, though terribly
thin. The worthy people of the house must have taken an idea of me not in
the least like myself; I was thought to be the most patient of men, and
the sister and her young lady friends must have considered me as modesty
personified; but these virtues only resulted from my illness and my great
depression. If you want to discover the character of a man, view him in
health and freedom; a captive and in sickness he is no longer the same
man.

I gave a beautiful dress to the sister, and twenty louis to the doctor,
and both seemed to me extremely satisfied.

On the eve of my departure I received a letter from Madame du Rumain, who
had heard I was in want from my friend Baletti, and sent me a bill of
exchange on Amsterdam for six hundred florins. She said I could repay her
at my convenience, but she died before I was able to discharge the debt.

Having made up my mind to go to Brunswick, I could not resist the
temptation to pass through Hanover, for whenever I thought of Gabrielle I
loved her still. I did not wish to stop any length of time, for I was
poor and I had to be careful of my health. I only wished to pay her a
flying visit on the estate which her mother had at Stocken, as she had
told me. I may also say that curiosity was a motive for this visit.

I had decided to start at day-break in my new carriage, but the fates had
ordained it otherwise.

The English general wrote me a note asking me to sup with him, telling me
that some Italians would be present, and this decided me to stay on, but
I had to promise the doctor to observe strict temperance.

My surprise may be imagined when I saw the Redegonde and her abominable
mother. The mother did not recognize me at first, but Redegonde knew me
directly, and said,--

"Good Heavens! how thin you have become!"

I complimented her on her beauty, and indeed she had improved
wonderfully.

"I have just recovered from a dangerous illness," said I, "and I am
starting for Brunswick at day-break tomorrow."

"So are we," she exclaimed, looking at her mother.

The general, delighted to find that we knew each other, said we could
travel together.

"Hardly, I think," I replied, "unless the lady-mother has changed her
principles since I knew her."

"I am always the same," she said, dryly enough; but I only replied with a
glance of contempt.

The general held a bank at faro at a small table. There were several
other ladies and some officers, and the stakes were small. He offered me
a place, but I excused myself, saying that I never played while on a
journey.

At the end of the deal the general returned to the charge, and said,--

"Really, chevalier, this maxim of yours is anti-social; you must play."

So saying he drew several English bank notes from his pocket-book,
telling me they were the same I had given him in London six months ago.

"Take your revenge," he added; "there are four hundred pounds here."

"I don't want to lose as much as that," I replied, "but I will risk fifty
pounds to amuse you."

With this I took out the bill of exchange that Madame du Rumain had sent
me.

The general went on dealing, and at the third deal I found I was fifty
guineas to the good, and with that I was satisfied. Directly afterwards
supper was announced, and we went into the dining-room.

Redegonde, who had learnt French admirably, kept everybody amused. She
had been engaged by the Duke of Brunswick as second singer, and she had
come from Brussels. She bemoaned her journey in the uncomfortable
post-chaise, and expressed a fear that she would be ill by the time she
got to her journey's end.

"Why, there's the Chevalier Seingalt all alone in a most comfortable
carriage," said the general.

Redegonde smiled.

"How many people will your carriage hold?"

"Only two."

"Then it's out of the question, for I never let my daughter travel alone
with anybody."

A general burst of laughter, in which Redegonde joined, seemed to confuse
the mother in some degree; but like a good daughter Redegonde explained
that her mother was always afraid of her being assassinated.

The evening passed away in pleasant conversation, and the younger singer
did not need much persuasion to seat herself at the piano, where she sang
in a manner that won genuine applause.

When I wanted to go the general begged me to breakfast with him, saying
that the post-chaise did not go till twelve, and that this act of
politeness was due to my young fellow-countrywoman. Redegonde joined in,
reproaching me with my behaviour at Turin and Florence, though she had
nothing really to complain of. I gave in, and feeling that I wanted rest
I went to bed.

The next morning, at nine o'clock, I took leave of the worthy doctor and
his family and walked to the general's, giving orders that my carriage
should be brought round as soon as it was ready.

In half an hour Redegonde and her mother arrived, and I was astonished to
see them accompanied by the brother who had been my servant at Florence.

When breakfast was over my carriage stood at the door, and I made my bow
to the general and all the company, who were standing in the hall to see
me off. Redegonde came down the steps with me, and asked if my carriage
was comfortable, and then got into it. I got in after her without the
slightest premeditation, and the postillion, seeing the carriage full,
gave a crack with his whip and we were off, Redegonde shrieking with
laughter. I was on the point of telling him to stop, but seeing her
enjoyment of the drive I held my tongue, only waiting for her to say, "I
have had enough." But I waited in vain, and we had gone over half a
league before she said a word.

"I have laughed, and laugh still," she said, "when I think of what my
mother will say at this freak of mine. I had no intentions in getting
into the carriage, and I am sure you cannot have told the postillion to
drive on."

"You may be quite sure of that."

"All the same my mother will believe it to be a deeply-laid plan, and
that strikes me as amusing."

"So it is; I am quite satisfied, certainly. Now you are here you had
better come on with me to Brunswick; you will be more comfortable than in
a villainous stage coach."

"I should be delighted, but that would be pushing matters too far. No, we
will stop at the first stage and wait for the coach."

"You may do so if you please, but you will excuse my waiting."

"What! you would leave me all alone?"

"You know, dear Redegonde, that I have always loved you, and I am ready
to take you with me to Brunswick; what more can I say?"

"If you love me you will wait with me and restore me to my mother, who
must be in despair."

"In spite of my devotion I am afraid I cannot do so."

Instead of turning sulky the young madcap began to laugh again; and I
determined she should come with me to Brunswick.

When we got to the end of the stage there were no horses ready. I
arranged matters with the postillion, and after baiting the horses we set
out once more. The roads were fearful, and we did not come to the second
posting-stage till nightfall.

We might have slept there, but not wishing to be caught up by the coach
and to lose my prize, I ordered fresh horses and we resumed our journey
in spite of Redegonde's tears and supplications. We travelled all night
and reached Lippstadt in the early morning, and in spite of the
unseasonableness of the hour I ordered something to eat. Redegonde wanted
a rest, as indeed did I, but she had to give way when I said caressingly
that we could sleep at Minden. Instead of scolding me she began to smile,
and I saw she guessed what she had to expect; in fact, when we got to
Minden we had supper, and then went to bed together as man and wife, and
stayed in bed for five hours. She was quite kind, and only made me
entreat her for form's sake.

We got to Hanover and put up at an excellent inn where we had a choice
meal, and where I found the waiter who was at the inn in Zurich when I
waited on the ladies at table. Miss Chudleigh had dined there with the
Duke of Kingston, and they had gone on to Berlin.

We had a beautiful French bed in which to spend the night, and in the
morning we were awakened by the noise of the stage coach. Redegonde not
wishing to be surprised in my arms rang the bell and told the waiter by
no means to admit the lady who would come out of the coach and ask to be
shewn in directly; but her precaution was vain, for, as the waiter went
out, the mother and son came in, and we were taken in 'flagrante
delicto'.

I told them to wait outside, and getting up in my shirt I locked the
door. The mother began to abuse me and her daughter, and threatened me
with criminal proceedings if I did not give her up. Redegonde, however,
calmed her by telling her the story, and she believed, or pretended to
believe, it was all chance; but she said,--

"That's all very well; but you can't deny, you little slut, that you have
been sleeping with him."

"Oh, there's no harm in that, for you know, dear mamma, nobody does
anything asleep."

Without giving her the time to reply she threw her arms round her neck
and promised to go on with her in the coach.

After things had been thus settled, I dressed myself, and gave them all a
good breakfast, and went on my way to Brunswick, where I arrived a few
hours before them.

Redegonde had deprived me of my curiosity to see Gabrielle; besides, in
the condition I was in, my vanity would have suffered grievously. As soon
as I had settled in a good inn I sent for Daturi, who came immediately,
elegantly dressed, and very anxious to introduce to me a certain Signor
Nicolini, theatrical manager. This Nicolini understood his craft
perfectly, and was high in favour with the prince to whom his daughter
Anna was mistress. He gave me a distinguished and a cordial greeting, and
was very anxious that I should stay with him, but I was able to escape
the constraint of such an arrangement without giving him any offense. I
accepted his offer to take my meals at his table, which was furnished by
an excellent cook and surrounded by a distinguished company. Here was no
gathering of men of title, with the cold and haughty manners of the
Court, all were talented, and such company to my mind was delightful.

I was not well, and I was not rich, or else I should have made a longer
stay at Brunswick, which had its charms for me. But we will not
anticipate, though as old age steals on a man he is never tired of
dwelling again and again on the incidents of his past life, in spite of
his desire to arrest the sands which run out so quickly.

The third day after my arrival at Brunswick, Redegonde knowing that I was
dining at Nicolini's came there too. Everybody had found out, somehow or
other, that we had travelled from Wesel to Hanover together, and they
were at liberty to draw whatever conclusions they pleased.

Two days later the crown prince arrived from Potsdam on a visit to his
future bride, the daughter of the reigning duke, whom he married the year
after.

The Court entertained in the most magnificent manner, and the hereditary
prince, now the reigning duke, honoured me with an invitation. I had met
his highness at an assembly in Soho Square, the day after he had been
made a London citizen.

It was twenty-two years since I had been in love with Daturi's mother. I
was curious to see the ravages which time had worked on her, but I had
reason to repent of my visit, for she had grown terribly ugly. She knew
it herself, and a blush of shame appeared on those features which had
once been fair.

The prince had an army of six thousand foot in good condition. This army
was to be reviewed on a plain at a little distance from the town, and I
went to see the spectacle, and was rewarded by having rain dripping down
my back the whole time. Among the numerous spectators were many persons
of fashion, ladies in handsome dresses, and a good sprinkling of
foreigners. I saw the Honourable Miss Chudleigh, who honoured me by
addressing me, and asked me, amongst other questions, how long I had left
London. She was dressed in Indian muslin, and beneath it she only wore a
chemise of fine cambric, and by the time the rain had made her clothes
cling to her body she looked more than naked, but she did not evince any
confusion. Most of the ladies sheltered themselves from the rain under
elegant tents which had been erected.

The troops, who took no notice of the weather, executed their manoeuvres,
and fired their muskets in a manner which seemed to satisfy good judges.

There was nothing further to attract me at Brunswick, and I thought of
spending the summer at Berlin, which I concluded would be more amusing
than a small provincial town. Wanting an overcoat I bought the material
from a Jew, who offered to discount bills of exchange for me if I had
any. I had the bill which Madame du Rumain had sent me, and finding that
it would be convenient for me to get it discounted, I gave it to the
Israelite, who cashed it, deducting commission at the ordinary rate of
two per cent. The letter was payable to the order of the Chevalier de
Seingalt, and with that name I endorsed it.

I thought no more of the matter, but early the next day the same Jew
called on me, and told me that I must either return him his money, or
give sureties for the amount till he had ascertained whether the bill was
a forgery or not.

I was offended at this piece of impertinence, and feeling certain that
the bill was a good one I told the fellow that he might set his mind at
rest and let me alone, as I should not give him any sureties.

"I must either have the money or the surety," said he, "and if you refuse
I will have you arrested; your character is well known."

This was too much for me, and raising my cane I gave him a blow on the
head which he must have felt for many a long day. I then dressed and
dined with Nicolini, without thinking or speaking of this disagreeable
incident.

The next day as I was taking a walk outside the town walls, I met the
prince on horseback, followed by a single groom. I bowed to him as he
passed, but he came up to me and said,--

"You are leaving Brunswick, chevalier?"

"In two or three days, your highness."

"I heard this morning that a Jew has brought a complaint against you for
beating him because he asked you to give him security for a bill of
exchange which he was afraid of."

"My lord, I cannot answer for the effects of my indignation against a
rascal who dared to come and insult me in my own house, but I do know
that if I had given him security I should have impugned my own honour.
The impertinent scoundrel threatened to have me arrested, but I know that
a just Government rules here, and not arbitrary power."

"You are right; it would be unjust to have you arrested, but he is afraid
for his ducats."

"He need not be afraid, my lord, for the bill is drawn by a person of
honour and of high station in society."

"I am delighted to hear it. The Jew said he would never have discounted
the bill if you had not mentioned my name."

"That's a lie! Your highness' name never passed, my lips."

"He also says that you endorsed the bill with a false name."

"Then he lies again, for I signed myself Seingalt, and that name is
mine."

"In short, it is a case of a Jew who has been beaten, and is afraid of
being duped. I pity such an animal, and I must see what I can do to
prevent his keeping you here till he learns the fate of the bill at
Amsterdam. As I have not the slightest doubt as to the goodness of the
bill, I will take it up myself, and this very morning: thus you will be
able to leave when you like. Farewell, chevalier! I wish you a pleasant
journey."

With this compliment the prince left me, without giving me time to answer
him. I might have felt inclined to tell him that by taking up the bill he
would give the Jew and everyone else to understand that it was a favour
done to me, to the great hurt of my honour, and that consequently I
should be obliged by his doing nothing of the kind. But though the prince
was a man of generosity and magnanimity, he was deficient in that
delicate quality which we call tact. This defect, common amongst princes,
arises from their education, which places them above the politeness which
is considered necessary in ordinary mortals.

He could not have treated me worse than he did, if he had been certain of
my dishonesty, and wished me to understand that I was forgiven, and that
he would bear all the consequences of my misdemeanour. With this idea in
my head, I said to myself; "Perhaps, indeed, this is exactly what the
prince does think. Is it the Jew or me that he pities? If the latter, I
think I must give him a lesson, though I do not wish to cause him any
humiliation."

Feeling deeply humiliated myself, and pondering on my position, I walked
away, directing my attention especially to the duke's concluding words. I
thought his wish for a pleasant journey supremely out of place, under the
circumstances, in the mouth of one who enjoyed almost absolute power. It
was equivalent to an order to leave the town, and I felt indignant at the
thought.

I therefore resolved to vindicate my honour by neither going away nor
remaining.

"If I stay," I said to myself, "the Jew will be adjudged to be in the
right; and if I go the duke will think I have profited by his favour, and
so to speak, by his present of fifty louis if the bill were protested. I
will not let anyone enjoy a satisfaction which is no one due."

After these considerations, which I thought worthy of a wiser head than
mine, I packed up my trunk, ordered horses, and after a good dinner and
the payment of my bill I went to Wolfenbuttel with the idea of spending
week there. I was sure of finding amusement, for Wolfenbuttel contains
the third largest library in Europe, and I had long been anxious to see
it.

The learned librarian, whose politeness was all the better for being
completely devoid of affection, told me that not only could I have
whatever books I wished to see, but that I could take them to my lodging,
not even excepting the manuscripts, which are the chief feature in that
fine library.

I spent a week in the library, only leaving it to take my meals and go to
bed, and I count this week as one of the happiest I have ever spent, for
then I forgot myself completely; and in the delight of study, the past,
the present, and the future were entirely blotted out. Of some such sort,
I think, must be the joys of the redeemed; and now I see that only a few
trifling little circumstances and incidents were wanting to make me a
perfect sage. And here I must note a circumstance which my readers may
scarcely believe, but which, for all that, is quite true-namely, that I
have always preferred virtue to vice, and that when I sinned I did so out
of mere lightness of heart, for which, no doubt, I shall be blamed by
many persons. But, no matter--a man has only to give an account of his
actions to two beings, to himself here and to God hereafter.

At Wolfenbuttel I gathered a good many hints on the "Iliad" and
"Odyssey," which will not be found in any commentator, and of which the
great Pope knew nothing. Some of these considerations will be found in my
translation of the "Iliad," the rest are still in manuscript, and will
probably never see the light. However, I burn nothing, not even these
Memoirs, though I often think of doing so, but the time never comes.

At the end of the week I returned to the same inn at Brunswick which I
had occupied before, and let my godson Daturi know of my arrival.

I was delighted to hear that no one suspected that I had spent the
fortnight within five leagues of Brunswick. Daturi told me that the
general belief was that I had returned the Jew his money and got the bill
of exchange back. Nevertheless I felt sure that the bill had been
honoured at Amsterdam, and that the duke knew that I had been staying at
Wolfenbuttel.

Daturi told me that Nicolini was expecting to see me at dinner, and I was
not astonished to hear of it, for I had not taken leave of anyone. I
accordingly went, and the following incident, which served to justify me
in the eyes of all men, took place:

We were at the roast when one of the prince's servants came in with the
Jew I had beaten. The poor man came up humbly to me, and spoke as
follows:

"I am ordered to come here, sir, to apologize for suspecting the
authenticity of the bill of exchange you gave me. I have been punished by
being fined the amount of my commission."

"I wish that had been your only punishment," said I.

He made me a profound bow, and went out, saying that I was only too good.

When I 'got back to the inn, I found a letter from Redegonde in which she
reproached me tenderly for not having been once to see her all the time I
had been at Brunswick, and begging me to breakfast with her in a little
country house.

"I shall not be in my mother's company," she added, "but in that of a
young lady of your acquaintance, whom, I am sure, you will be glad to see
once more."

I liked Redegonde, and I had only neglected her at Brunswick because my
means did not allow my making her a handsome present. I resolved to
accept her invitation, my curiosity being rather stimulated by the
account of the young lady.

I was exact at the time indicated, and I found Redegonde looking charming
in a pretty room on the ground floor, and with her was a young artiste
whom I had known as a child shortly before I had been put under the
Leads. I pretended to be delighted to see her, but I was really quite
taken up with Redegonde, and congratulated her upon her pretty house. She
said she had taken it for six months, but did not sleep there. After
coffee had been served we were on the point of going out for a stroll,
when who should come in but the prince. He smiled pleasantly when he saw
us, and apologized to Redegonde for interrupting our little party.

The appearance of the prince enlightened me as to the position of my
delightful fellow countrywoman, and I understood why she had been so
precise about the time at which I was to come. Redegonde had made the
conquest of the worthy prince, who was always disposed to gallantry, but
felt it his duty during the first year of his marriage with the King of
England's sister to preserve some kind of incognito in his amours.

We spent an hour in walking up and down and talking of London and Berlin,
but nothing was said of the Jew or the bill of exchange. He was delighted
with my warm eulogium of his library at Wolfenbuttel, and laughed with
all his heart when I said that unless it had been for the intellectual
nourishment I enjoyed, the bad fare at the inn would certainly have
reduced me to half my present size.

After bidding a graceful farewell to the nymph, the prince left us, and
we heard him galloping away on his horse.

When I was alone with Redegonde, far from begging for new favours, I
advised her to be faithful to the prince; but though appearances were
certainly not deceitful in this case, she would not admit anything. This
was in accordance with her part as young mistress, and I did not reproach
her for her want of confidence.

I spent the rest of the day at the inn, and started the next morning at
day-break.

When I got to Magdeburg, I took a letter of introduction from General
Bekw---- to an officer. He shewed me the fortress, and kept me for three
days making me taste all the pleasures of the table, women, and gaming.
However, I was very moderate, and managed to increase my savings in a
small degree, contenting myself with modest wagers.

From Magdeburg I went straight to Berlin, without caring to stop at
Potsdam, as the king was not there. The fearful Prussian roads with their
sandy soil made me take three days to do eighteen Prussian miles. Prussia
is a country of which much could be made with labour and capital, but I
do not think it will ever become a really fine country.

I put up at the "Hotel de Paris," which was both comfortable and
economical. Madame Rufin who kept it had entered into the spirit of her
business without losing her French politeness, and thus the inn had got a
reputation. As soon as I was in my room she came to ask me if I were
satisfied, and to make divers arrangements for my comfort. There was a
table d'hote, and those who ate in their private rooms paid double.

"This arrangement," I said, "may suit you, but for the present it will
not suit me. I want to dine in my own room, but I don't want to pay
double; I will therefore pay as if I were in the public room, but if you
like you need only send me up half the number of dishes."

"I agree, on the condition that you sup with me; we will not put it in
the accounts, and you will only meet friends at my little suppers."

I thought her proposal so curious a one that I had a great inclination to
laugh, but finding it at the same time very advantageous I accepted
frankly, and as if we had long been friends.

On the first day I was tired, and did not sup with her till the day
following. Madame Rufin had a husband who attended to the cooking, and a
son, but neither of them came to these suppers. The first time I went to
one of them I met an elderly but agreeable and sensible gentleman. He
lodged in a room adjoining mine, and called himself Baron Treidel; his
sister had married the Duke of Courland, Jean Ernest Biron, or Birlen.
The baron, who was extremely pleasant, became my friend, and remained so
for the couple of months I spent in Berlin. I also met a Hamburg
merchant, named Greve, and his wife, whom he had just married and had
brought to Berlin that she might see the marvels of the Warrior-King's
Court. She was as pleasant as her husband, and I paid her an assiduous
court. A lively and high-spirited individual called Noel, who was the
sole and beloved cook of his Prussian Majesty, was the fourth person. He
only came rarely to the suppers on account of his duties in the king's
kitchen. As I have said, his majesty had only this one cook, and Noel had
only one scullion to help him.

M. Noel, the ambassador of the French Republic at the Hague, is, as I am
assured, the son of this cook, who was an excellent man. And here I must
say, in despite of my hatred for the French Revolutionary Government,
that I am not at all ill pleased that a man of talents should be enabled
to fill exalted offices, which under the old system of privilege were
often occupied by fools.

If it had not been for the culinary skill of Noel the cook, the famous
Atheist physician Lametrie would not have died of indigestion, for the
pie he succeeded in eating in his extremity was made by Noel.

Lametrie often supped with Madame Rufin and I thought it disobliging of
him to die so soon, for I should have liked to know him, as he was a
learned man and full of mirth. He expired laughing, though it is said
that death from indigestion is the most painful of all. Voltaire told me
that he thought Lametrie the most obstinate Atheist in the world, and I
could easily believe it after reading his works. The King of Prussia
himself pronounced his funeral oration, using the words, "It is not
wonderful that he only believed in the existence of matter, for all the
spirit in the world was enclosed in his own body. No one but a king would
venture on such a sally in a funeral oration. However, Frederick the
Great was a Deist and not an Atheist; but that is of little consequence,
since he never allowed the belief in a God to influence his actions in
the slightest degree. Some say that an Atheist who ponders over the
possible existence of a God is better than a Deist who never thinks of
the Deity, but I will not venture to decide this point."

The first visit I paid in Berlin was to Calsabigi, the younger brother of
the Calsabigi with whom I had founded the lottery in Paris in 1757. He
had left Paris and his wife too, and had set up a lottery in Brussels;
but his extravagance was so great that he became a bankrupt in spite of
the efforts of Count Cobenzl to keep him going. He fled from Brussels to
Berlin, and was introduced to the King of Prussia. He was a plausible
speaker, and persuaded the monarch to establish a lottery, to make him
the manager, and to give him the title of Counsellor of State. He
promised that the lottery should bring in an annual revenue of at least
two hundred thousand crowns, and only asked a percentage of ten per cent.
for himself.

The lottery had been going for two years, and had had a great success, as
hitherto it had had no large losses; but the king, who knew that the luck
might turn, was always in a fidget about it. With this idea he told
Calsabigi that he must carry it on on his own responsibility and pay him
a hundred thousand crowns per annum, that being the cost of his Italian
Theatre.

I happened to call on Calsabigi on the very day on which the king
intimated to him this decision. After talking over our old relationship
and the vicissitudes we had both experienced, he told me what had
happened; it seemed an unexpected blow to him. The next drawing, he said,
would be at the king's risk; but the public would have to be informed
that in future the lottery would be a private one. He wanted capital to
the amount of two million crowns, for he foresaw that otherwise the
lottery would collapse, as people would not risk their money without the
certainty of being paid in the event of their winning. He said he would
guarantee me an income of ten thousand crowns per annum if I succeeded in
making the king change his mind, and by way of encouragement he recalled
to my mind the effect of my persuasive powers at Paris seven years
before.

"'Tis a good omen," said he, "and without any superstition I believe that
the good genius of the lottery has brought me to Berlin just now."

I laughed at his illusions, but I pitied him. I shewed him the
impossibility of convincing an individual whose only argument was, "I am
afraid, and I don't wish to be afraid any longer." He begged me to stay
to dinner and introduced me to his wife. This was a double surprise for
me, in the first place because I thought General La Motte, as his first
wife was called, to be still living, and in the second place because I
recognized in this second wife of his, Mdlle. Belanger. I addressed the
usual compliments to her and enquired after her mother. She replied with
a profound sigh, and told me not to ask any questions about her family as
she had only bad news to tell me.

I had known Madame Belanger at Paris; she was a widow with one daughter,
and seemed to be well off. Now I saw this daughter, pretty enough and
well married, and yet in this doleful humour, and I felt embarrassed and
yet curious.

After Calsabigi had placed me in a position to entertain a high opinion
of the skill of his cook, he shewed me his horses and carriages, begging
me to take a drive with his wife and come back to supper, which, as he
said, was his best meal.

When we were in the carriage together, the necessity of talking about
something led me to ask the lady by what happy chain of circumstances she
found herself the wife of Calsabigi.

"His real wife is still alive, so I have not the misfortune of occupying
that position, but everyone in Berlin thinks I am his lawful wife. Three
years ago I was deprived of my mother and the means of livelihood at one
stroke, for my mother had an annuity. None of my relations were rich
enough to help me, and wishing to live virtuously above all things I
subsisted for two years on the sale of my mother's furniture, boarding
with a worthy woman who made her living by embroidery. I learnt her art,
and only went out to mass on Sundays. I was a prey to melancholy, and
when I had spent all I had I went to M. Brea, a Genoese, on whom I
thought I could rely. I begged him to get me a place as a mere
waiting-maid, thinking that I was tolerably competent for such a
position. He promised to do what he could for me, and five or six days
afterwards he made me the following proposal:

"He read me a letter from Calsabigi, of whom I had never heard, in which
he charged him to send a virtuous young lady to Berlin. She must be of
good birth, good education, and pleasant appearance, as when his aged and
infirm wife died he intended to marry her.

"As such a person would most probably be badly off, Calsabigi begged M.
Brea to give her fifty Louis to buy clothes and linen and fifty Louis to
journey to Berlin with a maid. M. Brea was also authorized to promise
that the young lady should hold the position of Calsabigi's wife, and be
presented in that character to all his friends; that she should have a
waiting-maid, a carriage, an allowance of clothes, and a certain monthly
amount as pin-money to be spent as she chose. He promised, if the
arrangement was not found suitable, to set her free at the end of a year,
giving her a hundred Louis, and leaving her in possession of whatever
money she might have saved, and such clothes and jewels as he might have
given her; in fine, if the lady agreed to live with him till he was able
to marry her, Calsabigi promised to execute a deed of gift in her favour
to the amount of ten thousand crowns which the public would believe to be
her dowry, and if he died before being able to marry her she would have a
right to claim the aforesaid sum from his estate.

"With such fine promises did Brea persuade me to leave my native country
to come and dishonour myself here, for though everybody treats me as if I
were his wife, it is probably known that I am only his mistress. I have
been here for six months, and I have never had an instant's happiness."

"Has he not kept the conditions you have mentioned?"

"Conditions! Calsabigi's state of health will kill him long before his
wife, and in that case I shall have nothing, for he is loaded with debt,
and his creditors would have the first claim on the estate. Besides, I
do not like him; and the reason is that he loves me too much. You can
understand that; his devotion worries me."

"At all events, you can return to Paris in six months' time, or, in fact,
do anything you like when the term stipulated has expired. You will get
your hundred louis, and can lay in a pretty stock of linen."

"If I go to Paris I shall be dishonoured, and if I remain here I shall be
dishonoured. In fact, I am very unhappy, and Brea is the cause of my woe.
Nevertheless, I can't blame him, as he could not have been aware that his
friend's property only consisted of debts. And now the king has withdrawn
his countenance, the lottery will fail, and Calsabigi will inevitably
become a bankrupt."

She had studiously refrained from exaggeration, and I could not help
confessing that she was to be pitied. I advised her to try and sell the
deed of gift for ten thousand crowns, as it was not likely he would raise
any objection.

"I have thought it over," said she, "but to do that I have need of a
friend; of course, I do not expect to dispose of it save at a great
loss."

I promised to see what I could do for her.

There were four of us at supper. The fourth person was a young man who
had helped in the Paris and Brussels Lotteries, and had followed
Calsabigi to Berlin. He was evidently in love with Mdlle. Belanger, but I
did not think his love was crowned with success.

At dessert Calsabigi begged me to give him my opinion of a scheme he had
drafted, the aim of which was to bring in a sum of two million crowns, so
that the credit of the lottery might remain secure.

The lady left us to talk business at our ease. She was between
twenty-four and twenty-five, and without having much wit she possessed a
great knowledge of the usages of society, which is better than wit in a
woman; in fine, she had all that a man could well desire. The sentiments
I felt for her were confined to those of friendship and esteem after the
confidence she had placed in me.

Calsabigi's project was brief, but clear and well imagined. He invited
capitalists not to speculate in the lottery, but to guarantee it for a
certain sum. In the case of the lottery's losing, each guarantor would
have to share in paying according to the sum named, and in like manner
they would share in the profits.

I promised to give him my opinion in writing by the next day, and I
substituted the following plan for his:

1. A capital of a million, would, I judged, be ample.

2. This million should be divided into a hundred shares of ten thousand
crowns each.

3. Each share must be taken up before a notary, who would answer for the
shareholder's solvency.

4. All dividends to be paid the third day after the drawing.

5. In case of loss the shareholder to renew his share.

6. A cashier, chosen by a majority of four-fifths of the shareholders, to
have the control of all moneys.

7. Winning tickets to be paid the day after the drawing.

8. On the eve of a drawing the shareholders' cashier to have an account
of receipts from the lottery cashier, and the former to lock the safe
with three keys, one of which to remain in his hands, one in the hands of
the lottery cashier, and one in the hands of the manager of the lottery.

9. Only the simple drawing, the ambe and the terne to be retained; the
quarterne and the quine to be abolished.

10. On the three combinations a shilling to be the minimum, and a crown
the maximum stake; the offices to be closed twenty-four hours before the
drawing.

11. Ten per cent. to go to Calsabigi, the manager; all expenses of
farming to be paid by him.

12. Calsabigi to be entitled to the possession of two shares, without a
guarantee being required.

I saw by Calsabigi's face that the plan did not please him, but I told
him that he would not get shareholders save on these terms, or on terms
even less favourable to himself.

He had degraded the lottery to the level of biribi; his luxury and
extravagance caused him to be distrusted; it was known that he was head
over ears in debt, and the king could not banish the fear that he would
be cheated in spite of the keenness of his comptroller-general.

The last drawing under the king's sanction made everyone in good spirits,
for the lottery lost twenty thousand crowns. The king sent the money
immediately by a privy councillor, but it was said, when he heard the
result of the drawing, that he burst out laughing, observing,--

"I knew it would be so, and I am only too happy to have got quit of it so
cheaply."

I thought it my duty to go and sup with the director to console him, and
I found him in a state of great depression. He could not help thinking
that his unhappy drawing would make the task of getting shareholders more
difficult than ever. Hitherto the lottery had always been a gainer, but
its late loss could not have come at a worse time.

Nevertheless, he did not lose heart, and the next morning the public were
informed by printed bills that the office would remain closed till a
sufficient number of guarantors were found.



CHAPTER XVIII

Lord Keith--My Appointment to Meet the King in the Garden of Sans-Souci
My Conversation with Frederick the Great--Madame Denis The Pomeranian
Cadets--Lambert--I Go to Mitau My Welcome at the Court, and My
Administrative Journey

The fifth day after my arrival at Berlin I presented myself to the
lord-marshal, who since the death of his brother had been styled Lord
Keith. I had seen him in London after his return from Scotland, where he
had been reinstated in the family estates, which had been confiscated for
Jacobinism. Frederick the Great was supposed to have brought this about.
Lord Keith lived at Berlin, resting on his laurels, and enjoying the
blessings of peace.

With his old simplicity of manner he told me he was glad to see me again,
and asked if I proposed making any stay at Berlin. I replied that I would
willingly do so if the king would give me a suitable office. I asked him
if he would speak a word in my favour; but he replied that the king liked
to judge men's characters for himself, and would often discover merit
where no one had suspected its presence, and vice versa.

He advised me to intimate to the king in writing that I desired to have
the honour of an interview. "When you speak to him," the good old man
added, "you may say that you know me, and the king will doubtless address
me on the subject, and you may be sure what I say shall not be to your
disadvantage."

"But, my lord, how can I write to a monarch of whom I know nothing, and
who knows nothing of me? I should not have thought of such a step."

"I daresay, but don't you wish to speak to him?"

"Certainly."

"That is enough. Your letter will make him aware of your desire and
nothing more."

"But will he reply?"

"Undoubtedly; he replies to everybody. He will tell you when and where he
will see you. His Majesty is now at Sans-Souci. I am curious to know the
nature of your interview with the monarch who, as you can see, is not
afraid of being imposed on."

When I got home I wrote a plain but respectful letter to the king, asking
where and at what time I could introduce myself to him.

In two days I received a letter signed "Frederick," in which the receipt
of my letter was acknowledged, and I was told that I should find his
majesty in the garden of Sans-Souci at four o'clock.

As may be imagined I was punctual to my appointment. I was at Sans-Souci
at three, clad in a simple black dress. When I got into the court-yard
there was not so much as a sentinel to stop me, so I went on mounted a
stair, and opened a door in front of me. I found myself in a
picture-gallery, and the curator came up to me and offered to shew me
over it.

"I have not come to admire these masterpieces," I replied, "but to see
the king, who informed me in writing that I should find him in the
garden."

"He is now at a concert playing the flute; he does so every day after
dinner. Did he name any time?"

"Yes, four o'clock, but he will have forgotten that."

"The king never forgets anything; he will keep the appointment, and you
will do well to go into the garden and await him."

I had been in the garden for some minutes when I saw him appear, followed
by his reader and a pretty spaniel. As soon as he saw me he accosted me,
taking off his old hat, and pronouncing my name. Then he asked in a
terrible voice what I wanted of him. This greeting surprised me, and my
voice stuck in my throat.

"Well, speak out. Are you not the person who wrote to me?"

"Yes, sire, but I have forgotten everything now. I thought that I should
not be awed by the majesty of a king, but I was mistaken. My lord-marshal
should have warned me."

"Then he knows you? Let us walk. What is it that you want? What do you
think of my garden?"

His enquiries after my needs and of his garden were simultaneous. To any
other person I should have answered that I did not know anything about
gardening, but this would have been equivalent to refusing to answer the
question; and no monarch, even if he be a philosopher, could endure that.
I therefore replied that I thought the garden superb.

"But," he said, "the gardens of Versailles are much finer."

"Yes, sire, but that is chiefly on account of the fountains."

"True, but it is not my fault; there is no water here. I have spent more
than three hundred thousand crowns to get water, but unsuccessfully."

"Three hundred thousand crowns, sire! If your majesty had spent them all
at once, the fountains should be here."

"Oh, oh! I see you are acquainted with hydraulics."

I could not say that he was mistaken, for fear of offending him, so I
simply bent my head, which might mean either yes or no. Thank God the
king did not trouble to test my knowledge of the science of hydraulics,
with which I was totally unacquainted.

He kept on the move all the time, and as he turned his head from one side
to the other hurriedly asked me what forces Venice could put into the
field in war time.

"Twenty men-of-war, sire, and a number of galleys."

"What are the land forces?"

"Seventy thousand men, sire; all of whom are subjects of the Republic,
and assessing each village at one man."

"That is not true; no doubt you wish to amuse me by telling me these
fables. Give me your opinions on taxation."

This was the first conversation I had ever had with a monarch. I made a
rapid review of the situation, and found myself much in the same position
as an actor of the improvised comedy of the Italians, who is greeted by
the hisses of the gods if he stops short a moment. I therefore replied
with all the airs of a doctor of finance that I could say something about
the theory of taxation.

"That's what I want," he replied, "for the practice is no business of
yours."

"There are three kinds of taxes, considered as to their effects. The
first is ruinous, the second a necessary evil, and the third invariably
beneficial."

"Good! Go on."

"The ruinous impost is the royal tax, the necessary is the military, and
the beneficial is the popular."

As I had not given the subject any thought I was in a disagreeable
position, for I was obliged to go on speaking, and yet not to talk
nonsense.

"The royal tax, sire, is that which deplenishes the purses of the subject
to fill the coffers of the king."

"And that kind of tax is always ruinous, you think."

"Always, sire; it prevents the circulation of money--the soul of commerce
and the mainstay of the state."

"But if the tax be levied to keep up the strength of the army, you say it
is a necessary evil."

"Yes, it is necessary and yet evil, for war is an evil."

"Quite so; and now about the popular tax."

"This is always a benefit, for the monarch takes with one hand and gives
with the other; he improves towns and roads, founds schools, protects the
sciences, cherishes the arts; in fine, he directs this tax towards
improving the condition and increasing the happiness of his people."

"There is a good deal of truth in that. I suppose you know Calsabigi?"

"I ought to, your majesty, as he and I established the Genoa Lottery at
Paris seven years ago."

"In what class would you put this taxation, for you will agree that it is
taxation of a kind?"

"Certainly, sire, and not the least important. It is beneficial when the
monarch spends his profits for the good of the people."

"But the monarch may lose?"

"Once in fifty."

"Is that conclusion the result of a mathematical calculation?"

"Yes, sire."

"Such calculations often prove deceptive."

"Not so, may it please your majesty, when God remains neutral."

"What has God got to do with it?"

"Well, sire, we will call it destiny or chance."

"Good! I may possibly be of your opinion as to the calculation, but I
don't like your Genoese Lottery. It seems to me an elaborate swindle, and
I would have nothing more to do with it, even if it were positively
certain that I should never lose."

"Your majesty is right, for the confidence which makes the people risk
their money in a lottery is perfectly fallacious."

This was the end of our strange dialogue, and stopping before a building
he looked me over, and then, after a short silence, observed,--

"Do you know that you are a fine man?"

"Is it possible that, after the scientific conversation we have had, your
majesty should select the least of the qualities which adorn your life
guardsmen for remark?"

The king smiled kindly, and said,--

"As you know Marshal Keith, I will speak to him of you."

With that he took off his hat, and bade me farewell. I retired with a
profound bow.

Three or four days after the marshal gave me the agreeable news that I
had found favour in the king's eyes, and that his majesty thought of
employing me.

I was curious to learn the nature of this employment, and being in no
kind of hurry I resolved to await events in Berlin. The time passed
pleasantly enough, for I was either with Calsabigi, Baron Treidel, or my
landlady, and when these resources failed me, I used to walk in the park,
musing over the events of my life.

Calsabigi had no difficulty in obtaining permission to continue the
lottery on his own account, and he boldly announced that henceforward he
would conduct the lottery on his own risk. His audacity was crowned with
success, and he obtained a profit of a hundred thousand crowns. With this
he paid most of his debts, and gave his mistress ten thousand crowns, she
returning the document entitling her to that amount. After this lucky
drawing it was easy to find guarantors, and the lottery went on
successfully for two or three years.

Nevertheless Calsabigi ended by becoming bankrupt and died poor enough in
Italy. He might be compared to the Danaides; the more he got the more he
spent. His mistress eventually made a respectable marriage and returned
to Paris, where she lived in comfort.

At the period of which I am speaking, the Duchess of Brunswick, the
king's sister, came to pay him a visit. She was accompanied by her
daughter who married the Crown Prince of Prussia in the following year. I
saw the king in a suit of lustring trimmed with gold lace, and black silk
stockings on his legs. He looked truly comic, and more like a theatrical
heavy father than a great king. He came into the hall with his sister on
his arm and attracted universal attention, for only very old men could
remember seeing him without his uniform and top-boots.

I was not aware that the famous Madame Denis was at Berlin, and it was
therefore an agreeable surprise to me to see her in the ballet one
evening, dancing a pas seul in an exquisite manner. We were old friends,
and I resolved to pay her a visit the next day.

I must tell the reader (supposing I ever have one), that when I was about
twelve years old I went to the theatre with my mother and saw, not
without much heart-beating, a girl of eight who danced a minuet in so
ravishing a manner that the whole house applauded loudly. This young
dancer, who was the pantaloon's daughter, charmed me to such a degree
that I could not resist going to her dressing-room to compliment her on
her performance. I wore the cassock in those days, and she was astonished
when she heard her father order her to get up and kiss me. She kissed me,
nevertheless, with much grace, and though I received the compliment with
a good deal of awkwardness I was so delighted, that I could not help
buying her a little ring from a toy merchant in the theatre. She kissed
me again with great gratitude and enthusiasm.

The pleasantest part about this was that the sequin I had given for the
ring belonged to Dr. Gozzi, and so when I went back to him I was in a
pitiable state, for I had not only spent money which did not belong to
me, but I had spent it for so small a favour as a kiss.

I knew that the next day I should have to give an account of the money he
had entrusted to me, and not having the least idea as to what I should
say, I had a bad night of it. The next morning everything came out, and
my mother made up the sequin to the doctor. I laugh now when I think of
this childish piece of gallantry, which was an omen of the extent to
which my heart was to be swayed by the fair sex.

The toy-woman who had sold me the ring came the next day at dinner-time
to our house, and after producing several rings and trinkets which were
judged too dear, she began to praise my generosity, and said that I had
not thought the ring I had given to pretty Jeannette too dear. This did
my business; and I had to confess the whole, laying my fault to the
account of love, and promising not to do such a thing again. But when I
uttered the word love, everybody roared with laughter, and began to make
cruel game of me. I wished myself a mile away, and registered an interior
resolve never to confess my faults again. The reader knows how well I
kept my promise.

The pantaloon's little daughter was my mother's goddaughter, and my
thoughts were full of her. My mother, who loved me and saw my pain, asked
me if I would like the little girl to be asked to supper. My grandmother,
however, opposed the idea, and I was obliged to her.

The day after this burlesque scene I returned to Padua, where Bettina
soon made me forget the little ballet-girl. I saw her again at
Charlottenbourg, and that was now seventeen years ago.

I longed to have a talk with her, and to see whether she would remember
me, though I did not expect her to do so. I asked if her husband Denis
was with her, and they told me that the king had banished him because he
ill-treated her.

I called on her the day after the performance, and was politely received,
but she said she did not think she had had the pleasure of seeing me
before.

By degrees I told her of the events of her childhood, and how she
enchanted all Venice by the grace with which she danced the minuet. She
interrupted me by saying that at that time she was only six years old.

"You could not be more," I replied, "for I was only ten; and
nevertheless, I fell in love with you, and never have I forgotten the
kiss you gave me by your father's order in return for some trifling
present I made you."

"Be quiet; you gave me a beautiful ring, and I kissed you of my own free
will. You wore the cassock then. I have never forgotten you. But can it
really be you?"

"It is indeed."

"I am delighted to see you again. But I could never have recognized you,
and I suppose you would not have recognized me."

"No, I should not have known you, unless I had heard your name
mentioned."

"One alters in twenty years, you know."

"Yes, one cannot expect to have the same face as at six."

"You can bear witness that I am not more than twenty-six, though some
evil speakers give me ten years more."

"You should not take any notice of such calumnies, my dear. You are in
the flower of your age, and made for the service of love. For my part, I
congratulate myself on being able to tell you that you are the first
woman that inspired me with a real passion."

We could not help becoming affectionate if we continued to keep up the
conversation in this style, but experience had taught us that it was well
to remain as we were for the present.

Madame Denis was still fresh and youthful looking, though she persisted
in abbreviating her age by ten years. Of course she could not deceive me,
and she must have known it, nevertheless, she liked me to bear outward
testimony to her youthfulness. She would have detested me if I had
attempted to prove to her what she knew perfectly well, but did not care
to confess. No doubt she cared little for my thoughts on the subject, and
she may have imagined that I owed her gratitude for diminishing her age,
as it enabled me to diminish my own to make our tales agree. However, I
did not trouble myself much about it, for it is almost a duty in an
actress to disguise her age, as in spite of talent the public will not
forgive a woman for having been born too soon.

I thought her behaviour augured well, and I hoped she would not make me
languish long. She shewed me her house, which was all elegance and good
taste. I asked her if she had a lover, and she replied with a smile that
all Berlin thought so, but that it was nevertheless deceived on the
principal point, as the individual in question was more of a father than
a lover.

"But you deserve to have a real lover; I cannot conceive how you can do
without one."

"I assure you I don't trouble myself about it. I am subject to
convulsions, which are the plague of my life. I want to try the Teplitz
waters, which are said to be excellent for all nervous affections; but
the king has refused his permission, which I, nevertheless, hope to
obtain next year."

I felt ardently disposed, and I thought she was pleased with the
restraint I put upon myself.

"Will you be annoyed," said I, "if I call upon you frequently?"

"If you don't mind I will call myself your niece, or your cousin, and
then we can see each other."

"Do you know that that may possibly be true? I would not swear that you
were not my sister."

This sally made us talk of the friendship that had subsisted between her
father and my mother, and we allowed ourselves those caresses which are
permitted to near relations; but feeling that things were going too far
we ceased. As she bade me farewell, she asked me to dine with her the
next day, and I accepted.

As I went back to my inn I reflected on the strange combinations which
made my life one continuous chain of events, and I felt it my duty to
give thanks to eternal Providence, for I felt that I had been born under
a happy star.

The next day, when I went to dine with Madame Denis, I found a numerous
company assembled. The first person who greeted me with the warmth of an
old friend was a young dancer named Aubri, whom I had known at Paris and
at Venice. He was famous for having been the lover of one of the most
exalted Venetian ladies, and at the same time her husband's pathic. It
was said that this scandalous intimacy was of such a nature that Aubri
used to sleep between the husband and wife. At the beginning of Lent the
State Inquisitors sent him to Trieste. He introduced me to his wife, who
danced like himself and was called La Panting. He had married her at St.
Petersburg, from which city he had just come, and they were going to
spend the winter in Paris. The next person who advanced to greet me was a
fat man, who held out his hand and said we had been friends twenty-five
years ago, but that we were so young then that it would be no wonder if
we did not know each other. "We knew each other at Padua, at Dr.
Gozzi's," he added; "my name is Joseph da Loglio."

"I remember you," I replied, "in those days you were violoncello at the
Russian chapel."

"Exactly; and now I am returning to my native land to leave it no more. I
have the honour to introduce you to my wife, who was born at St.
Petersburg, but is a daughter of Modonis the violinist, whose reputation
is European. In a week I shall be at Dresden, where I hope to have the
honour of seeing Madame Casanova, your mother."

I was delighted to find myself in such congenial society, but I could see
that Madame Denis did not relish these recollections extending over a
quarter of a century, and I turned the conversation to the events at St.
Petersburg which had resulted in Catherine the Great ascending the
throne. Da Loglio told us that he had taken a small part in this
conspiracy, and had thought it prudent to get out of the way.
"Fortunately," he added, "this was a contingency I had long provided
against, and I am in a position to spend the rest of my days in comfort
in Italy."

Madame Denis then observed:

"A week ago a Piedmontese, named Audar, was introduced to me. He had been
a chief mover in the conspiracy, and the empress gave him a present of a
hundred thousand roubles and an order to leave Russia immediately."

I heard afterwards that this Audar bought an estate in Piedmont on which
he built a fine mansion. In two or three years it was struck by a
thunder-bolt, and the unfortunate man was killed in the ruins of his own
house. If this was a blow from an Almighty hand, it could not, at all
events, have been directed by the genius of Russia, for if the
unfortunate Peter III. had lived, he would have retarded Russian
civilization by a hundred years.

The Empress Catherine rewarded all the foreigners who had assisted her in
her plots most magnificently, and shewed herself grateful to the Russians
who had helped her to mount the throne; while, like a crafty politician,
she sent such nobles as she suspected to be averse to revolution out of
the country.

It was Da Loglio and his pretty wife who determined me to betake myself
to Russia in case the King of Prussia did not give me any employment. I
was assured that I should make my fortune there, and Da Loglio promised
to give me good instructions.

As soon as this worthy man left Berlin my intimacy with Madame Denis
commenced. One night when I was supping with her she was seized with
convulsions which lasted all the night. I did not leave her for a moment,
and in the morning, feeling quite recovered, her gratitude finished what
my love had begun twenty-six years before, and our amorous commerce
lasted while I stayed at Berlin. We shall hear of her again at Florence
six years later.

Some days after Madame Denis took me to Potsdam to shew me all the sights
of the town. Our intimacy offended no one, for she was generally believed
to be my niece, and the general who kept her either believed the report,
or like a man of sense pretended to believe it.

Amongst other notable things I saw at Potsdam was the sight of the king
commanding the first battalion of his grenadiers, all picked men, the
flower of the Prussian army.

The room which we occupied at the inn faced a walk by which the king
passed when he came from the castle. The shutters were all closed, and
our landlady told us that on one occasion when a pretty dancer called La
Reggiana was sleeping in the same room, the king had seen her in 'puris
naturalibus'. This was too much for his modesty, and he had ordered the
shutters to be closed, and closed they had remained, though this event
was four years old. The king had some cause to fear, for he had been
severely treated by La Barbarina. In the king's bedroom we saw her
portrait, that of La Cochois, sister to the actress who became
Marchioness d'Argens, and that of Marie Theresa, with whom Frederick had
been in love, or rather he had been in love with the idea of becoming
emperor.

After we had admired the beauty and elegance of the castle, we could not
help admiring the way in which the master of the castle was lodged. He
had a mean room, and slept on a little bed with a screen around it. There
was no dressing-gown and no slippers. The valet shewed us an old cap
which the king put on when he had a cold; it looked as if it must be very
uncomfortable. His majesty's bureau was a table covered with pens, paper,
half-burnt manuscripts, and an ink-pot; beside it was a sofa. The valet
told us that these manuscripts contained the history of the last Prussian
war, and the king had been so annoyed by their accidentally getting burnt
that he had resolved to have no more to do with the work. He probably
changed his mind, for the book, which is little esteemed, was published
shortly after his death.

Five or six weeks after my curious conversation with the monarch, Marshal
Keith told me that his majesty had been pleased to create me a tutor to
the new corps of Pomeranian cadets which he was just establishing. There
were to be fifteen cadets and five tutors, so that each should have the
care of three pupils. The salary was six hundred crowns and board found.
The duty of the tutors was to follow or accompany the cadets wherever
they went, Court included. I had to be quick in making up my mind, for
the four others were already installed, and his majesty did not like to
be kept waiting. I asked Lord Keith where the college was, and I promised
to give him a reply by the next day.

I had to summon all my powers of self-restraint to my assistance when I
heard this extravagant proposal as coming from a man who was so discreet
in most things, but my astonishment was increased when I saw the abode of
these fifteen young noblemen of rich Pomerania. It consisted of three or
four great rooms almost devoid of furniture, several whitewashed
bedrooms, containing a wretched bed, a deal table, and two deal chairs.
The young cadets, boys of twelve or thirteen, all looked dirty and
untidy, and were boxed up in a wretched uniform which matched admirably
their rude and rustic faces. They were in company with their four
governors, whom I took for their servants, and who looked at me in a
stupefied manner, not daring to think that I was to be their future
colleague.

Just as I was going to bid an eternal farewell to this abode of misery,
one of the governors put his head out of the window and exclaimed,--

"The king is riding up."

I could not avoid meeting him, and besides, I was glad enough to see him
again, especially in such a place.

His majesty came up with his friend Icilius, examined everything, and saw
me, but did not honour me with a word. I was elegantly dressed, and wore
my cross set with brilliants. But I had to bite my lips so as not to
burst out laughing when Frederick the Great got in a towering rage at a
chamber utensil which stood beside one of the beds, and which did not
appear to be in a very cleanly condition.

"Whose bed is this?" cried the monarch.

"Mine, sire," answered a trembling cadet.

"Good! but it is not you I am angry with; where is your governor?"

The fortunate governor presented himself, and the monarch, after
honouring him with the title of blockhead, proceeded to scold him
roundly. However, he ended by saying that there was a servant, and that
the governor ought to see that he did his work properly. This disgusting
scene was enough for me, and I hastened to call on Marshal Keith to
announce my determination. The old soldier laughed at the description I
gave him of the academy, and said I was quite right to despise such an
office; but that I ought, nevertheless, to go and thank the king before I
left Berlin. I said I did not feel inclined for another interview with
such a man, and he agreed to present my thanks and excuses in my stead.

I made up my mind to go to Russia, and began my preparations in good
earnest. Baron Treidel supported my resolve by offering to give me a
letter of introduction to his sister, the Duchess of Courland. I wrote to
M. de Bragadin to 'give me a letter for a banker at St. Petersburg, and
to remit me through him every month a sum which would keep me in comfort.

I could not travel without a servant, and chance kindly provided me with
one. I was sitting with Madame Rufin, when a young Lorrainer came in;
like Bias, he bore all his fortune with him, but, in his case, it was
carried under his arm. He introduced himself thus:

"Madam, my name is Lambert, I come from Lorraine, and I wish to lodge
here."

"Very good, sir, but you must pay for your board and lodging every day."

"That, madam, is out of the question, for I have not got a farthing, but
I shall have some money when I discover who I am."

"I am afraid I cannot put you up on those conditions, sir."

He was going away with a mortified air, when my heart was touched, and I
called him back.

"Stay," said I, "I will pay for you to-day."

Happiness beamed over his face.

"What have you got in that little bundle?" said I.

"Two shirts, a score of mathematical books, and some other trifles."

I took him to my room, and finding him tolerably well educated, I asked
him how he came to be in such a state of destitution.

"I come from Strasburg," he replied, "and a cadet of a regiment stationed
there having given me a blow in a coffee-house I paid him a visit the
next day in his own room and stabbed him there.

"After this I went home, made up my bundle, and left the town. I walked
all the way and lived soberly, so that my money lasted till this morning.
To-morrow I shall write to my mother, who lives at Luneville, and I am
sure she will send me some money."

"And what do you think of doing?"

"I want to become a military engineer, but if needs must I am ready to
enlist as a private soldier."

"I can give you board and lodging till you hear from your mother."

"Heaven has sent you in my way," said he, kissing my hand gratefully.

I did not suspect him of deceiving me, though he stumbled somewhat in his
narrative. However my curiosity led me to write to M. Schauenbourg, who
was then at Strasburg, to enquire if the tale were true.

The next day I happened to meet an officer of engineers, who told me that
young men of education were so plentiful that they did not receive them
into the service unless they were willing to serve as common soldiers. I
was sorry for the young man to be reduced so low as that. I began to
spend some time with him every day in mathematical calculations, and I
conceived the idea of taking him with me to St. Petersburg, and broached
the subject to him.

"It would be a piece of good fortune for me," he replied, "and to shew my
gratitude I will gladly wait on you as a servant during the journey."

He spoke French badly, but as he was a Lorrainer I was not astonished at
that. Nevertheless I was surprised to find that he did not know a word of
Latin, and that his spelling was of the wildest description. He saw me
laughing, but did not seem in the least ashamed. Indeed he said that he
had only gone to school to learn mathematics, and that he was very glad
that he had escaped the infliction of learning grammar. Indeed, on every
subject besides mathematics, he was profoundly ignorant. He had no
manners whatever; in fact, he was a mere peasant.

Ten or twelve days later I received a letter from M. de Schauenbourg,
saying that the name of Lambert was unknown in Strasburg, and that no
cadet had been killed or wounded.

When I shewed Lambert this letter he said that as he wished to enter the
army he thought it would be of service to him to shew that he was brave,
adding that as this lie had not been told with the idea of imposing on me
I should forgive it.

"Poverty," said he, "is a rascally teacher, that gives a man some bad
lessons. I am not a liar by disposition, but I have nevertheless told you
a lie on another and a more important matter. I don't expect any money
whatever from my poor mother, who rather needs that I should send money
to her. So forgive me, and be sure I shall be a faithful servant to you."

I was always ready to forgive other men's peccadilloes, and not without
cause. I liked Lambert's line of argument, and told him that we would set
out in five or six days.

Baron Bodisson, a Venetian who wanted to sell the king a picture by
Andrea del Sarto, asked me to come with him to Potsdam and the desire of
seeing the monarch once again made me accept the invitation. When I
reached Potsdam I went to see the parade at which Frederick was nearly
always to be found. When he saw me he came up and asked me in a familiar
manner when I was going to start for St. Petersburg.

"In five or six days, if your majesty has no objection."

"I wish you a pleasant journey; but what do you hope to do in that land?"

"What I hoped to do in this land, namely, to please the sovereign."

"Have you got an introduction to the empress?"

"No, but I have an introduction to a banker."

"Ah! that's much better. If you pass through Prussia on your return I
shall be delighted to hear of your adventures in Russia."

"Farewell, sire."

Such was the second interview I had with this great king, whom I never
saw again.

After I had taken leave of all my friends I applied to Baron Treidel, who
gave me a letter for M. de Kaiserling, lord-chancellor at Mitau, and
another letter for his sister, the Duchess of Courland, and I spent the
last night with the charming Madame Denis. She bought my post-chaise, and
I started with two hundred ducats in my purse. This would have been ample
for the whole journey if I had not been so foolish as to reduce it by
half at a party of pleasure with some young merchants at Dantzic. I was
thus unable to stay a few days at Koenigsberg, though I had a letter to
Field-Marshal von Lewald, who was the governor of the place. I could only
stay one day to dine with this pleasant old soldier, who gave me a letter
for his friend General Woiakoff, the Governor of Riga.

I found I was rich enough to arrive at Mitau in state, and I therefore
took a carriage and six, and reached my destination in three days. At the
inn where I put up I found a Florentine artiste named Bregonei, who
overwhelmed me with caresses, telling me that I had loved her when I was
a boy and wore the cassock. I saw her six years later at Florence, where
she was living with Madame Denis.

The day after my departure from Memel, I was accosted in the open country
by a man whom I recognized as a Jew. He informed me that I was on Polish
territory, and that I must pay duty on whatever merchandise I had with
me.

"I am no merchant," said I, "and you will get nothing out of me."

"I have the right to examine your effects," replied the Israelite, "and I
mean to make use of it."

"You are a madman," I exclaimed, and I ordered the postillion to whip him
off.

But the Jew ran and seized the fore horses by the bridle and stopped us,
and the postillion, instead of whipping him, waited with Teutonic calm
for me to come and send the Jew away. I was in a furious rage, and
leaping out with my cane in one hand and a pistol in the other I soon put
the Jew to flight after applying about a dozen good sound blows to his
back. I noticed that during the combat my fellow-traveller, my
Archimedes-in-ordinary, who had been asleep all the way, did not offer to
stir. I reproached him for his cowardice; but he told me that he did not
want the Jew to say that we had set on him two to one.

I arrived at Mitau two days after this burlesque adventure and got down
at the inn facing the castle. I had only three ducats left.

The next morning I called on M. de Kaiserling, who read the Baron de
Treidel's letter, and introduced me to his wife, and left me with her to
take the baron's letter to his sister.

Madame de Kaiserling ordered a cup of chocolate to be brought me by a
beautiful young Polish girl, who stood before me with lowered eyes as if
she wished to give me the opportunity of examining her at ease. As I
looked at her a whim came into my head, and, as the reader is aware, I
have never resisted any of my whims. However, this was a curious one. As
I have said, I had only three ducats left, but after I had emptied the
cup of chocolate I put it back on the plate and the three ducats with it.

The chancellor came back and told me that the duchess could not see me
just then, but that she invited me to a supper and ball she was giving
that evening. I accepted the supper and refused the ball, on the pretext
that I had only summer clothes and a black suit. It was in the beginning
of October, and the cold was already commencing to make itself felt. The
chancellor returned to the Court, and I to my inn.

Half an hour later a chamberlain came to bring me her highness's
compliments, and to inform me that the ball would be a masked one, and
that I could appear in domino.

"You can easily get one from the Jews," he added. He further informed me
that the ball was to have been a full-dress one, but that the duchess had
sent word to all the guests that it would be masked, as a stranger who
was to be present had sent on his trunks.

"I am sorry to have caused so much trouble," said I.

"Not at all," he replied, "the masked ball will be much more relished by
the people."

He mentioned the time it was to begin, and left me.

No doubt the reader will think that I found myself in an awkward
predicament, and I will be honest and confess I was far from being at my
ease. However, my good luck came to my assistance.

As Prussian money (which is the worst in Germany) is not current in
Russia, a Jew came and asked me if I had any friedrichs d'or, offering to
exchange them against ducats without putting me to any loss.

"I have only ducats," I replied, "and therefore I cannot profit by your
offer."

"I know it sir, and you give them away very cheaply."

Not understanding what he meant, I simply gazed at him, and he went on to
say that he would be glad to let me have two hundred ducats if I would
kindly give him a bill on St. Petersburg for roubles to that amount.

I was somewhat surprised at the fellow's trustfulness, but after
pretending to think the matter over I said that I was not in want of
ducats, but that I would take a hundred to oblige him. He counted out the
money gratefully, and I gave him a bill on the banker, Demetrio
Papanelopoulo, for whom Da Loglio had given me a letter. The Jew went his
way, thanking me, and saying that he would send me some beautiful dominos
to choose from. Just then I remembered that I wanted silk stockings, and
I sent Lambert after the Jew to tell him to send some. When he came back
he told me that the landlord had stopped him to say that I scattered my
ducats broadcast, as the Jew had informed him that I had given three
ducats to Madame de Kaiserling's maid.

This, then, was the key to the mystery, and it made me lose myself in
wonder at the strangeness of the decrees of fortune. I should not have
been able to get a single crown at Mitau if it had not been for the way
in which I scattered my three remaining ducats. No doubt the astonished
girl had published my generosity all over the town, and the Jew, intent
on money-making, had hastened to offer his ducats to the rich nobleman
who thought so little of his money.

I repaired to Court at the time appointed, and M. de Kaiserling
immediately presented me to the duchess, and she to the duke, who was the
celebrated Biron, or Birlen, the former favourite of Anna Ivanovna. He
was six feet in height, and still preserved some traces of having been a
fine man, but old age had laid its heavy hand on him. I had a long talk
with him the day after the ball.

A quarter of an hour after my arrival, the ball began with a polonaise. I
was a stranger with introductions, so the duchess asked me to open the
ball with her. I did not know the dance, but I managed to acquit myself
honourably in it, as the steps are simple and lend themselves to the
fancy of the dancer.

After the polonaise we danced minuets, and a somewhat elderly lady asked
me if I could dance the "King Conqueror," so I proceeded to execute it
with her. It had gone out of fashion since the time of the Regency, but
my companion may have shone in it in those days. All the younger ladies
stood round and watched us with admiration.

After a square dance, in which I had as partner Mdlle. de Manteufel, the
prettiest of the duchess's maids of honour, her highness told me that
supper was ready. I came up to her and offered my arm, and presently
found myself seated beside her at a table laid for twelve where I was the
only gentleman. However, the reader need not envy me; the ladies were all
elderly dowagers, who had long lost the power of turning men's heads. The
duchess took the greatest care of my comforts, and at the end of the
repast gave me with her own hands a glass of liqueur, which I took for
Tokay and praised accordingly, but it turned out to be only old English
ale. I took her back to the ball when we rose from table. The young
chamberlain who had invited me told me the names of all the ladies
present, but I had no time to pay my court to any of them.

The next day I dined with M. de Kaiserling, and handed Lambert over to a
Jew to be clothed properly.

The day after I dined with the duke with a party consisting only of men.
The old prince made me do most of the talking, and towards the end of the
dinner the conversation fell upon the resources of the country which was
rich in minerals and semi-minerals. I took it into my head to say that
these resources ought to be developed, and that they would become
precious if that were done. To justify this remark I had to speak upon
the matter as if I had made it my principal study. An old chamberlain,
who had the control of the mines, after allowing me to exhaust my
enthusiasm, began to discuss the question himself, made divers
objections, but seemed to approve of many of my remarks.

If I had reflected when I began to speak in this manner that I should
have to act up to my words, I should certainly have said much less; but
as it was, the duke fancied that I knew much more than I cared to say.
The result was that, when the company had risen from the table, he asked
me if I could spare him a fortnight on my way to St. Petersburg. I said I
should be glad to oblige him, and he took me to his closet and said that
the chamberlain who had spoken to me would conduct me over all the mines
and manufactories in his duchies, and that he would be much obliged if I
would write down any observations that struck me. I agreed to his
proposal, and said I would start the next day.

The duke was delighted with my compliance, and gave the chamberlain the
necessary orders, and it was agreed that he should call for me at
day-break with a carriage and six.

When I got home I made my preparations, and told Lambert to be ready to
accompany me with his case of instruments. I then informed him of the
object of the journey, and he promised to assist me to the best of his
ability, though he knew nothing about mines, and still less of the
science of administration.

We started at day-break, with a servant on the box, and two others
preceding us on horseback, armed to the teeth. We changed horses every
two or three hours, and the chamberlain having brought plenty of wine we
refreshed ourselves now and again.

The tour lasted a fortnight, and we stopped at five iron and copper
manufactories. I found it was not necessary to have much technical
knowledge to make notes on what I saw; all I required was a little sound
argument, especially in the matter of economy, which was the duke's main
object. In one place I advised reforms, and in another I counselled the
employment of more hands as likely to benefit the revenue. In one mine
where thirty convicts were employed I ordered the construction of a short
canal, by which three wheels could be turned and twenty men saved. Under
my direction Lambert drew the plans, and made the measurements with
perfect accuracy. By means of other canals I proposed to drain whole
valleys, with a view to obtain the sulphur with which the soil was
permeated.

I returned to Mitau quite delighted at having made myself useful, and at
having discovered in myself a talent which I had never suspected. I spent
the following day in making a fair copy of my report and in having the
plans done on a larger scale. The day after I took the whole to the duke,
who seemed well pleased; and as I was taking leave of him at the same
time he said he would have me drive to Riga in one of his carriages, and
he gave me a letter for his son, Prince Charles, who was in garrison
there.

The worthy old man told me to say plainly whether I should prefer a jewel
or a sum of money of equivalent value.

"From a philosopher like your highness," I replied, "I am not afraid to
take money, for it may be more useful to me than jewels."

Without more ado he gave me a draft for four hundred albertsthalers,
which I got cashed immediately, the albertsthaler being worth half a
ducat. I bade farewell to the duchess, and dined a second time with M. de
Kaiserling.

The next day the young chamberlain came to bring me the duke's letter, to
wish me a pleasant journey, and to tell me that the Court carriage was at
my door. I set out well pleased with the assistance the stuttering
Lambert had given me, and by noon I was at Riga. The first thing I did
was to deliver my letter of introduction to Prince Charles.





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