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Title: Memoirs of Casanova — Volume 26: Spain
Author: Casanova, Giacomo, 1725-1798
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Memoirs of Casanova — Volume 26: Spain" ***

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MEMOIRS OF JACQUES CASANOVA de SEINGALT 1725-1798

SPANISH PASSIONS, Volume 6a--SPAIN
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.



SPAIN



CHAPTER I

I Am Ordered to Leave Vienna--The Empress Moderates but Does Not Annul
the Order--Zavoiski at Munich--My Stay at Augsburg--Gasconnade at
Louisburg--The Cologne Newspaper--My Arrival at Aix-la-Chapelle

The greatest mistake a man that punishes a knave can commit is to leave
the said rogue alive, for he is certain to take vengeance. If I had had
my sword in the den of thieves, I should no doubt have defended myself,
but it would have gone ill with me, three against one, and I should
probably have been cut to pieces, while the murderers would have escaped
unpunished.

At eight o'clock Campioni came to see me in my bed, and was astonished at
my adventure. Without troubling himself to compassionate me, we both
began to think how we could get back my purse; but we came to the
conclusion that it would be impossible, as I had nothing more than my
mere assertion to prove the case. In spite of that, however, I wrote out
the whole story, beginning with the girl who recited the Latin verses. I
intended to bring the document before the police; however, I had not time
to do so.

I was just sitting down to dinner, when an agent of the police came and
gave me an order to go and speak to Count Schrotembach, the Statthalter.
I told him to instruct my coachman, who was waiting at the door, and that
I would follow him shortly.

When I called on the Statthalter, I found him to be a thick-set
individual; he was standing up, and surrounded by men who seemed ready to
execute his orders. When he saw me, he shewed me a watch, and requested
me to note the hour.

"I see it."

"If you are at Vienna at that time to-morrow I shall have you expelled
from the city."

"Why do you give me such an unjust order?"

"In the first place, I am not here to give you accounts or reasons for my
actions. However, I may tell you that you are expelled for playing at
games of chance, which are forbidden by the laws under pain of the
galleys. Do you recognize that purse and these cards?"

I did not know the cards, but I knew the purse which had been stolen from
me. I was in a terrible rage, and I only replied by presenting the
magistrate with the truthful narrative of what had happened to me. He
read it, and then said with a laugh that I was well known to be a man of
parts, that my character was known, that I had been expelled from Warsaw,
and that as for the document before him he judged it to be a pack of
lies, since in his opinion it was altogether void of probability.

"In fine," he added, "you will obey my order to leave the town, and you
must tell me where you are going."

"I will tell you that when I have made up my mind to go."

"What? You dare to tell me that you will not obey?"

"You yourself have said that if I do not go I shall be removed by force."

"Very good. I have heard you have a strong will, but here it will be of
no use to you. I advise you to go quietly, and so avoid harsh measures."

"I request you to return me that document."

"I will not do so. Begone!"

This was one of the most terrible moments of my life. I shudder still
when I think of it. It was only a cowardly love of life that hindered me
from running my sword through the body of the Statthalter, who had
treated me as if he were a hangman and not a judge.

As I went away I took it into my head to complain to Prince Kaunitz,
though I had not the honour of knowing him. I called at his house, and a
man I met told me to stay in the ante-chamber, as the prince would pass
through to go to dinner.

It was five o'clock. The prince appeared, followed by his guests, amongst
whom was M. Polo Renieri, the Venetian ambassador. The prince asked me
what he could do for me, and I told my story in a loud voice before them
all.

"I have received my order to go, but I shall not obey. I implore your
highness to give me your protection, and to help me to bring my plea to
the foot of the throne."

"Write out your petition," he replied, "and I will see that the empress
gets it. But I advise you to ask her majesty for a respite, for if you
say that you won't obey, she will be predisposed against you."

"But if the royal grace does not place me in security, I shall be driven
away by violence."

"Then take refuge with the ambassador of your native country."

"Alas, my lord, my country has forsaken me. An act of legal though
unconstitutional violence has deprived me of my rights as a citizen. My
name is Casanova, and my country is Venice."

The prince looked astonished and turned to the Venetian ambassador, who
smiled, and whispered to him for ten minutes.

"It's a pity," said the prince, kindly, "that you cannot claim the
protection of any ambassador."

At these words a nobleman of colossal stature stepped forward and said I
could claim his protection, as my whole family, myself included, had
served the prince his master. He spoke the truth, for he was the
ambassador of Saxony.

"That is Count Vitzthum," said the prince. "Write to the empress, and I
will forward your petition immediately. If there is any delay in the
answer, go to the count; you will be safe with him, until you like to
leave Vienna."

In the meanwhile the prince ordered writing materials to be brought me,
and he and his guests passed into the dining-hall.

I give here a copy of the petition, which I composed in less than ten
minutes. I made a fair copy for the Venetian ambassador to send home to
the Senate:

"MADAM,--I am sure that if, as your royal and imperial highness were
walking in your garden, an insect appealed plaintively to you not to
crush it, you would turn aside, and so avoid doing the poor creature any
hurt.

"I, madam, am an insect, and I beg of you that you will order M.
Statthalter Schrotembach to delay crushing me with your majesty's slipper
for a week. Possibly, after that time has elapsed, your majesty will not
only prevent his crushing me, but will deprive him of that slipper, which
was only meant to be the terror of rogues, and not of an humble Venetian,
who is an honest man, though he escaped from The Leads.

"In profound submission to your majesty's will,
   "I remain,
               "CASANOVA.

"Given at Vienna, January 21st, 1769."

When I had finished the petition, I made a fair draft of it, and sent it
in to the prince, who sent it back to me telling me that he would place
it in the empress's hands immediately, but that he would be much obliged
by my making a copy for his own use.

I did so, and gave both copies to the valet de chambre, and went my way.
I trembled like a paralytic, and was afraid that my anger might get me
into difficulty. By way of calming myself, I wrote out in the style of a
manifesto the narrative I had given to the vile Schrotembach, and which
that unworthy magistrate had refused to return to me.

At seven o'clock Count Vitzthum came into my room. He greeted me in a
friendly manner and begged me to tell him the story of the girl I had
gone to see, on the promise of the Latin quatrain referring to her
accommodating disposition. I gave him the address and copied out the
verses, and he said that was enough to convince an enlightened judge that
I had been slandered; but he, nevertheless, was very doubtful whether
justice would be done me.

"What! shall I be obliged to leave Vienna to-morrow?"

"No, no, the empress cannot possibly refuse you the week's delay."

"Why not?"

"Oh! no one could refuse such an appeal as that. Even the prince could
not help smiling as he was reading it in his cold way. After reading it
he passed it on to me, and then to the Venetian ambassador, who asked him
if he meant to give it to the empress as it stood. 'This petition,'
replied the prince, 'might be sent to God, if one knew the way;' and
forthwith he ordered one of his secretaries to fold it up and see that it
was delivered. We talked of you for the rest of dinner, and I had the
pleasure of hearing the Venetian ambassador say that no one could
discover any reason for your imprisonment under the Leads. Your duel was
also discussed, but on that point we only knew what has appeared in the
newspapers. Oblige me by giving me a copy of your petition; that phrase
of Schrotembach and the slipper pleased me vastly."

I copied out the document, and gave it him with a copy of my manifesto.
Before he left me the count renewed the invitation to take refuge with
him, if I did not hear from the empress before the expiration of the
twenty-four hours.

At ten o'clock I had a visit from the Comte de la Perouse, the Marquis de
las Casas, and Signor Uccelli, the secretary of the Venetian embassy. The
latter came to ask for a copy of my petition for his chief. I promised he
should have it, and I also sent a copy of my manifesto. The only thing
which rather interfered with the dignity of this latter piece, and gave
it a somewhat comic air, were the four Latin verses, which might make
people imagine that, after enjoying the girl as Hebe, I had gone in
search of her as Ganymede. This was not the case, but the empress
understood Latin and was familiar with mythology, and if she had looked
on it in the light I have mentioned I should have been undone. I made six
copies of the two documents before I went to bed; I was quite tired out,
but the exertion had somewhat soothed me. At noon the next day, young
Hasse (son of the chapel-master and of the famous Trustina), secretary of
legation to Count Vitzthum, came to tell me from the ambassador that
nobody would attack me in my own house, nor in my carriage if I went
abroad, but that it would be imprudent to go out on foot. He added that
his chief would have the pleasure of calling on me at seven o'clock. I
begged M. Hasse to let me have all this in writing, and after he had
written it out he left me.

Thus the order to leave Vienna had been suspended; it must have been done
by the sovereign.

"I have no time to lose," said I to myself, "I shall have justice done
me, my assassins will be condemned, my purse will be returned with the
two hundred ducats in it, and not in the condition in which it was shewn
to me by the infamous Schrotembach, who will be punished by dismissal, at
least."

Such were my castles in Spain; who has not built such? 'Quod nimis miseri
volunt hoc facile credunt', says Seneca. The wish is father to the
thought.

Before sending my manifesto to the empress, Prince Kaunitz, and to all
the ambassadors, I thought it would be well to call on the Countess of
Salmor, who spoke to the sovereign early and late. I had had a letter of
introduction for her.

She greeted me by saying that I had better give up wearing my arm in a
sling, as it looked as ii I were a charlatan; my arm must be well enough
after nine months.

I was extremely astonished by this greeting, and replied that if it were
not necessary I should not wear a sling, and that I was no charlatan.

"However," I added, "I have come to see you on a different matter."

"Yes, I know, but I will have nothing to do with it. You are all as bad
as Tomatis."

I gave a turn round and left the room without taking any further notice
of her. I returned home feeling overwhelmed by the situation. I had been
robbed and insulted by a band of thorough-paced rascals; I could do
nothing, justice was denied me, and now I had been made a mock of by a
worthless countess. If I had received such an insult from a man I would
have soon made him feel the weight of one arm at all events. I could not
bear my arm without a sling for an hour; pain and swelling set in
immediately. I was not perfectly cured till twenty months after the duel.

Count Vitzthum came to see me at seven o'clock. He said the empress had
told Prince Kaunitz that Schrotembach considered my narrative as pure
romance. His theory was that I had held a bank at faro with sharpers'
cards, and had dealt with both hands the arm in the sling being a mere
pretence. I had then been taken in the act by one of the gamesters, and
my unjust gains had been very properly taken from me. My detector had
then handed over my purse, containing forty ducats, to the police, and
the money had of course been confiscated. The empress had to choose
between believing Schrotembach and dismissing him; and she was not
inclined to do the latter, as it would be a difficult matter to find him
a successor in his difficult and odious task of keeping Vienna clear of
human vermin.

"This is what Prince Kaunitz asked me to tell you. But you need not be
afraid of any violence, and you can go when you like."

"Then I am to be robbed of two hundred ducats with impunity. The empress
might at least reimburse me if she does nothing more. Please to ask the
prince whether I can ask the sovereign to give me that satisfaction; the
least I can demand."

"I will tell him what you say."

"If not, I shall leave; for what can I do in a town where I can only
drive, and where the Government keeps assassins in its pay?"

"You are right. We are all sure that Pocchini has calumniated you. The
girl who recites Latin verses is well known, but none know her address. I
must advise you not to publish your tale as long as you are in Vienna, as
it places Schrotembach in a very bad light, and you see the empress has
to support him in the exercise of his authority."

"I see the force of your argument, and I shall have to devour my anger. I
will leave Vienna as soon as the washerwoman sends home my linen, but I
will have the story printed in all its black injustice."

"The empress is prejudiced against you, I don't know by whom."

"I know, though; it is that infernal old hag, Countess Salmor."

The next day I received a letter from Count Vitzthum, in which he said
that Prince Kaunitz advised me to forget the two hundred ducats, that the
girl and her so-called mother had left Vienna to all appearance, as
someone had gone to the address and had failed to find her.

I saw that I could do nothing, and resolved to depart in peace, and
afterwards to publish the whole story and to hang Pocchini with my own
hands when next I met him. I did neither the one nor the other.

About that time a young lady of the Salis de Coire family arrived at
Vienna without any companion. The imperial hangman Schrotembach, ordered
her to leave Vienna in two days. She replied that she would leave exactly
when she felt inclined. The magistrate consigned her to imprisonment in a
convent, and she was there still when I left. The emperor went to see
her, and the empress, his mother, asked him what he thought of her. His
answer was, "I thought her much more amusing than Schrotembach."

Undoubtedly, every man worthy of the name longs to be free, but who is
really free in this world? No one. The philosopher, perchance, may be
accounted so, but it is at the cost of too precious sacrifices at the
phantom shrine of Liberty.

I left the use of my suite of rooms, for which I had paid a month in
advance, to Campioni, promising to wait for him at Augsburg, where the
Law alone is supreme. I departed alone carrying with me the bitter regret
that I had not been able to kill the monster, whose despotism had crushed
me. I stopped at Linz on purpose to write to Schrotembach even a more
bitter letter than that which I had written to the Duke of Wurtemburg in
1760. I posted it myself, and had it registered so as to be sure of its
reaching the scoundrel to whom it had been addressed. It was absolutely
necessary for me to write this letter, for rage that has no vent must
kill at last. From Linz I had a three days' journey to Munich, where I
called on Count Gaetan Zavoicki, who died at Dresden seven years ago. I
had known him at Venice when he was in want, and I had happily been
useful to him. On my relating the story of the robbery that had been
committed on me, he no doubt imagined I was in want, and gave me
twenty-five louis. To tell the truth it was much less than what I had
given him at Venice, and if he had looked upon his action as paying back
a debt we should not have been quits; but as I had never wished him to
think that I had lent, not given him money, I received the present
gratefully. He also gave me a letter for Count Maximilian Lamberg,
marshal at the court of the Prince-Bishop of Augsburg, whose acquaintance
I had the honour of having.

There was no theatre then in Augsburg, but there were masked balls in
which all classes mingled freely. There were also small parties where
faro was played for small stakes. I was tired of the pleasure, the
misfortune, and the griefs I had had in three capitals, and I resolved to
spend four months in the free city of Augsburg, where strangers have the
same privileges as the canons. My purse was slender, but with the
economical life I led I had nothing to fear on that score. I was not far
from Venice, where a hundred ducats were always at my service if I wanted
them. I played a little and waged war against the sharpers who have
become more numerous of late than the dupes, as there are also more
doctors than patients. I also thought of getting a mistress, for what is
life without love? I had tried in vain to retrace Gertrude; the engraver
was dead, and no one knew what had become of his daughter.

Two or three days before the end of the carnival I went to a hirer of
carriages, as I had to go to a ball at some distance from the town. While
the horses were being put in, I entered the room to warm my hands, for
the weather was very cold. A girl came up and asked me if I would drink a
glass of wine.

"No," said I; and on the question being repeated, repeated the
monosyllable somewhat rudely. The girl stood still and began to laugh,
and I was about to turn angrily away when she said,--

"I see you do not remember me?"

I looked at her attentively, and at last I discovered beneath her
unusually ugly features the lineaments of Anna Midel, the maid in the
engraver's house.

"You remind me of Anna Midel," said I.

"Alas, I was Anna Midel once. I am no longer an object fit for love, but
that is your fault."

"Mine?"

"Yes; the four hundred florins you gave me made Count Fugger's coachman
marry me, and he not only abandoned me but gave me a disgusting disease,
which was like to have been my death. I recovered my health, but I never
shall recover my good looks."

"I am very sorry to hear all this; but tell me what has become of
Gertrude?"

"Then you don't know that you are going to a ball at her house to-night?"

"Her house?"

"Yes. After her father's death she married a well-to-do and respectable
man, and I expect you will be pleased with the entertainment."

"Is she pretty still?"

"She is just as she used to be, except that she is six years older and
has had children."

"Is she gallant?"

"I don't think so."

Anna had spoken the truth. Gertrude was pleased to see me, and introduced
me to her husband as one of her father's old lodgers, and I had
altogether a pleasant welcome; but, on sounding her, I found she
entertained those virtuous sentiments which might have been expected
under the circumstances.

Campioni arrived at Augsburg at the beginning of Lent. He was in company
with Binetti, who was going to Paris. He had completely despoiled his
wife, and had left her for ever. Campioni told me that no one at Vienna
doubted my story in the slightest degree. Pocchini and the Sclav had
disappeared a few days after my departure, and the Statthalter had
incurred a great deal of odium by his treatment of me. Campioni spent a
month with me, and then went on to London.

I called on Count Lamberg and his countess, who, without being beautiful,
was an epitome of feminine charm and amiability. Her name before marriage
was Countess Dachsberg. Three months after my arrival, this lady, who was
enciente, but did not think her time was due, went with Count Fugger,
dean of the chapter, to a party of pleasure at an inn three quarters of a
league from Augsburg. I was present; and in the course of the meal she
was taken with such violent pains that she feared she would be delivered
on the spot. She did not like to tell the noble canon, and thinking that
I was more likely to be acquainted with such emergencies she came up to
me and told me all. I ordered the coachman to put in his horses
instantly, and when the coach was ready I took up the countess and
carried her to it. The canon followed us in blank astonishment, and asked
me what was the matter. I told him to bid the coachman drive fast and not
to spare his horses. He did so, but he asked again what was the matter.

"The countess will be delivered of a child if we do not make haste."

I thought I should be bound to laugh, in spite of my sympathies for the
poor lady's pains, when I saw the dean turn green and white and purple,
and look as if he were going into a fit, as he realized that the countess
might be delivered before his eyes in his own carriage. The poor man
looked as grievously tormented as St. Laurence on his gridiron. The
bishop was at Plombieres; they would write and tell him! It would be in
all the papers! "Quick! coachman, quick!"

We got to the castle before it was too late. I carried the lady into her
rook, and they ran for a surgeon and a midwife. It was no good, however,
for in five minutes the count came out and said the countess had just
been happily delivered. The dean looked as if a weight had been taken off
his mind; however, he took the precaution of having himself blooded.

I spent an extremely pleasant four months at Augsburg, supping twice or
thrice a week at Count Lamberg's. At these suppers I made the
acquaintance of a very remarkable man--Count Thura and Valsamina, then a
page in the prince-bishop's household, now Dean of Ratisbon. He was
always at the count's, as was also Dr. Algardi, of Bologna, the prince's
physician and a delightful man.

I often saw at the same house a certain Baron Sellenthin, a Prussian
officer, who was always recruiting for his master at Augsburg. He was a
pleasant man, somewhat in the Gascon style, soft-spoken, and an expert
gamester. Five or six years ago I had a letter from him dated Dresden, in
which he said that though he was old, and had married a rich wife, he
repented of having married at all. I should say the same if I had ever
chanced to marry.

During my stay at Augsburg several Poles, who had left their country on
account of the troubles, came to see me. Amongst others was Rzewuski, the
royal Prothonotary, whom I had known at St. Petersburg as the lover of
poor Madame Langlade.

"What a diet! What plots! What counterplots! What misfortunes!" said this
honest Pole, to me. "Happy are they who have nothing to do with it!"

He was going to Spa, and he assured me that if I followed him I should
find Prince Adam's sister, Tomatis, and Madame Catai, who had become the
manager's wife. I determined to go to Spa, and to take measures so that I
might go there with three or four hundred ducats in my purse. To this
intent I wrote to Prince Charles of Courland, who was at Venice, to send
me a hundred ducats, and in my letter I gave him an infallible receipt
for the philosopher's stone. The letter containing this vast secret was
not in cypher, so I advised him to burn it after he had read it, assuring
him that I possessed a copy. He did not do so, and it was taken to Paris
with his order papers when he was sent to the Bastile.

If it had not been for the Revolution my letter would never have seen the
light. When the Bastille was destroyed, my letter was found and printed
with other curious compositions, which were afterwards translated into
German and English. The ignorant fools that abound in the land where my
fate wills that I should write down the chief events of my long and
troublous life--these fools, I say, who are naturally my sworn foes (for
the ass lies not down with the horse), make this letter an article of
accusation against me, and think they can stop my mouth by telling me
that the letter has been translated into German, and remains to my
eternal shame. The ignorant Bohemians are astonished when I tell them
that I regard the letter as redounding to my glory, and that if their
ears were not quite so long their blame would be turned into praise.

I do not know whether my letter has been correctly translated, but since
it has become public property I shall set it down here in homage to
truth, the only god I adore. I have before me an exact copy of the
original written in Augsburg in the year 1767, and we are now in the year
1798.

It runs as follows:

"MY LORD,--I hope your highness will either burn this letter after
reading it, or else preserve it with the greatest care. It will be
better, however, to make a copy in cypher, and to burn the original. My
attachment to you is not my only motive in writing; I confess my interest
is equally concerned. Allow me to say that I do not wish your highness to
esteem me alone for any qualities you may have observed in me; I wish you
to become my debtor by the inestimable secret I am going to confide to
you. This secret relates to the making of gold, the only thing of which
your highness stands in need. If you had been miserly by nature you would
be rich now; but you are generous, and will be poor all your days if you
do not make use of my secret.

"Your highness told me at Riga that you would like me to give you the
secret by which I transmuted iron into copper; I never did so, but now I
shall teach you how to make a much more marvellous transmutation. I
should point out to you, however, that you are not at present in a
suitable place for the operation, although all the materials are easily
procurable. The operation necessitates my presence for the construction
of a furnace, and for the great care necessary, far the least mistake
will spoil all. The transmutation of Mars is an easy and merely
mechanical process, but that of gold is philosophical in the highest
degree. The gold produced will be equal to that used in the Venetian
sequins. You must reflect, my lord, that I am giving you information
which will permit you to dispense with me, and you must also reflect that
I am confiding to you my life and my liberty.

"The step I am taking should insure your life-long protection, and should
raise you above that prejudice which is entertained against the general
mass of alchemists. My vanity would be wounded if you refuse to
distinguish me from the common herd of operators. All I ask you is that
you will wait till we meet before undertaking the process. You cannot do
it by yourself, and if you employ any other person but myself, you will
betray the secret. I must tell you that, using the same materials, and by
the addition of mercury and nitre, I made the tree of projection for the
Marchioness d'Urfe and the Princess of Anhalt. Zerbst calculated the
profit as fifty per cent. My fortune would have been made long ago, if I
had found a prince with the control of a mint whom I could trust. Your
character enables me to confide in you. However, we will come to the
point.

"You must take four ounces of good silver, dissolve in aqua fortis,
precipitate secundum artem with copper, then wash in lukewarm water to
separate the acids; dry, mix with half an ounce of sal ammoniac, and
place in a suitable vessel. Afterwards you must take a pound of alum, a
pound of Hungary crystals, four ounces of verdigris, four ounces of
cinnabar, and two ounces of sulphur. Pulverise and mix, and place in a
retort of such size that the above matters will only half fill it. This
retort must be placed over a furnace with four draughts, for the heat
must be raised to the fourth degree. At first your fire must be slow so
as to extract the gross phlegm of the matter, and when the spirit begins
to appear, place the receiver under the retort, and Luna with the
ammoniac salts will appear in it. All the joinings must be luted with the
Philosophical Luting, and as the spirit comes, so regulate your furnace,
but do not let it pass the third degree of heat.

"So soon as the sublimation begins then boldly open your forth vent, but
take heed that that which is sublimed pass not into the receiver where is
your Luna, and so you must shut, the mouth of the retort closely, and
keep it so for twenty-four hours, and then take off your fastenings, and
allow the distillation to go on. Then you must increase your fire so that
the spirits may pass, over, until the matter in the retort is quite
desiccated. After this operation has been performed three times, then you
shall see, the gold appear in the retort. Then draw it forth and melt it,
adding your corpus perfectum. Melt with it two ounces of gold, then lay
it in water, and you shall find four ounces of pure gold.

"Such my lord, is the gold mine for your mint of Mitau, by which, with
the assistance of a manager and four men, you can assure yourself a
revenue of a thousand ducats a week, and double, and quadruple that sum,
if your highness chooses to increase the men and the furnaces. I ask your
highness to make me your manager. But remember it must be a State secret,
so burn this letter, and if your highness would give me any reward in
advance, I only ask you to give me your affection and esteem. I shall be
happy if I have reason to believe that my master will also be my friend.
My life, which this letter places in your power, is ever at your service,
and I know not what I shall do if I ever have cause to repent having
disclosed my secret. I have the honour to be, etc."

In whatever language this letter may have been translated, if its sense
run not as above, it is not my letter, and I am ready to give the lie to
all the Mirabeaus in the world. I have been called an exile, but
wrongfully, for a man who has to leave a country by virtue of a 'lettre
de cachet' is no exile. He is forced to obey a despotic monarch who looks
upon his kingdom as his house, and turns out of doors anyone who meets
with his displeasure.

As soon as my purse swelled to a respectable size, I left Augsburg, The
date of my departure was June 14th, 1767. I was at Ulm when a courier of
the Duke of Wurtemburg's passed through the town with the news that his
highness would arrive from Venice in the course of five or six days. This
courier had a letter for me. It had been entrusted to him by Prince
Charles of Courland, who had told the courier that he would find me at
the "Hotel du Raisin," in Augsburg. As it happened, I had left the day
before, but knowing the way by which I had gone he caught me up at Ulm.
He gave me the letter and asked me if I were the same Casanova who had
been placed under arrest and had escaped, on account of some gambling
dispute with three officers. As I was never an adept in concealing the
truth, I replied in the affirmative. A Wurtemburg officer who was
standing beside us observed to me in a friendly manner that he was at
Stuttgart at the time, and that most people concurred in blaming the
three officers for their conduct in the matter.

Without making any reply I read the letter, which referred to our private
affairs, but as I was reading it I resolved to tell a little lie--one of
those lies which do nobody any harm.

"Well, sir," I said to the officer, "his highness, your sovereign, has
listened to reason at last, and this letter informs me of a reparation
which is in every way satisfactory. The duke has created me his private
secretary, with a salary of twelve hundred a year. But I have waited for
it a long time. God knows what has become of the three officers!"

"They are all at Louisburg, and---- -is now a colonel."

"Well, they will be surprised to hear my news, and they will hear it
to-morrow, for I am leaving this place in an hour. If they are at
Louisburg, I shall have a triumph; but I am sorry not to be able to
accompany you, however we shall see each other the day after tomorrow."

I had an excellent night, and awoke with the beautiful idea of going to
Louisburg, not to fight the three officers but to frighten them, triumph
over them, and to enjoy a pleasant vengeance for the injury they had done
me. I should at the same time see a good many old friends; there was
Madame Toscani, the duke's mistress; Baletti, and Vestri, who had married
a former mistress of the duke's. I had sounded the depths of the human
heart, and knew I had nothing to fear. The duke was on the point of
returning, and nobody would dream of impugning the truth of my story.
When he actually did arrive he would not find me, for as soon as the
courier announced his approach I should go away, telling everybody that I
had orders to precede his highness, and everybody would be duped.

I never had so pleasant an idea before. I was quite proud of it, and I
should have despised myself if I had failed to carry it into effect. It
would be my vengeance on the duke, who could not have forgotten the
terrible letter I had written him; for princes do not forget small
injuries as they forget great services.

I slept badly the following night, my anxiety was so great, and I reached
Louisburg and gave my name at the town gates, without the addition of my
pretended office, for my jest must be matured by degrees. I went to stay
at the posting-inn, and just as I was asking for the address of Madame
Toscani, she and her husband appeared on the scene. They both flung their
arms around my neck, and overwhelmed me with compliments on my wounded
arm and the victory I had achieved.

"What victory?"

"Your appearance here has filled the hearts of all your friends with
joy."

"Well, I certainly am in the duke's service, but how did you find it
out?"

"It's the common talk. The courier who gave you the letter has spread it
all abroad, and the officer who was present and arrived here yesterday
morning confirmed it. But you cannot imagine the consternation of your
three foes. However, we are afraid that you will have some trouble with
them, as they have kept your letter of defiance given from Furstenberg."

"Why didn't they meet me, then?"

"Two of them could not go, and the third arrived too late."

"Very good. If the duke has no objection I shall be happy to meet them
one after another, not three all at once. Of course, the duel must be
with pistols; a sword duel is out of the question with my arm in a
sling."

"We will speak of that again. My daughter wants to make peace before the
duke comes, and you had better consent to arrangements, for there are
three of them, and it isn't likely that you could kill the whole three
one after the other."

"Your daughter must have grown into a beauty."

"You must stop with us this evening; you will see her, for she is no
longer the duke's mistress. She is going to get married."

"If your daughter can bring about an arrangement I would gladly fall in
with it, provided it is an honourable one for me."

"How is it that you are wearing the sling after all these months?"

"I am quite cured, and yet my arm swells as soon as I let it swing loose.
You shall see it after dinner, for you must dine with me if you want me
to sup with you."

Next came Vestri, whom I did not know, accompanied by my beloved Baletti.
With them was an officer who was in love with Madame Toscani's second
daughter, and another of their circle, with whom I was also unacquainted.
They all came to congratulate me on my honourable position in the duke's
service. Baletti was quite overcome with delight. The reader will
recollect that he was my chief assistant in my escape from Stuttgart, and
that I was once going to marry his sister. Baletti was a fine fellow, and
the duke was very fond of him. He had a little country house, with a
spare room, which he begged me to accept, as he said he was only too
proud that the duke should know him as my best friend. When his highness
came, of course I would have an apartment in the palace. I accepted; and
as it was still early, we all went to see the young Toscani. I had loved
her in Paris before her beauty had reached its zenith, and she was
naturally proud to shew me how beautiful she had become. She shewed me
her house and her jewels, told me the story of her amours with the duke,
of her breaking with him on account of his perpetual infidelities, and of
her marriage with a man she despised, but who was forced on her by her
position.

At dinner-time we all went to the inn, where we met the offending
colonel; he was the first to take off his hat, we returned the salute,
and he passed on his way.

The dinner was a pleasant one, and when it was over I proceeded to take
up my quarters with Baletti. In the evening we went to Madame Toscani's,
where I saw two girls of ravishing beauty, Madame Toscani's daughter and
Vestri's wife, of whom the duke had had two children. Madame Vestri was a
handsome woman, but her wit and the charm of her manner enchanted me
still more. She had only one fault--she lisped.

There was a certain reserve about the manner of Mdlle. Toscani, so I
chiefly addressed myself to Madame Vestri, whose husband was not jealous,
for he neither cared for her nor she for him. On the day of my arrival
the manager had distributed the parts of a little play which was to be
given in honour of the duke's arrival. It had been written by a local
author, in hopes of its obtaining the favour of the Court for him.

After supper the little piece was discussed. Madame Vestri played the
principal part, which she was prevailed upon to recite.

"Your elocution is admirable, and your expression full of spirit," I
observed; "but what a pity it is that you do not pronounce the dentals."

The whole table scouted my opinion.

"It's a beauty, not a defect," said they. "It makes her acting soft and
delicate; other actresses envy her the privilege of what you call a
defect."

I made no answer, but looked at Madame Vestri.

"Do you think I am taken in by all that?" said she.

"I think you are much too sensible to believe such nonsense."

"I prefer a man to say honestly, 'what a pity,' than to hear all that
foolish flattery. But I am sorry to say that there is no remedy for the
defect."

"No remedy?"

"No."

"Pardon me, I have an infallible remedy for your complaint. You shall
give me a good hearty blow if I do not make you read the part perfectly
by to-morrow, but if I succeed in making you read it as your husband, for
example's sake, might read it you shall permit me to give you a tender
embrace."

"Very good; but what must I do?"

"You must let me weave a spell over your part, that is all. Give it to
me. To-morrow morning at nine o'clock I will bring it to you to get my
blow or my kiss, if your husband has no objection."

"None whatever; but we do not believe in spells."

"You are right, in a general way; but mine will not fail."

"Very good."

Madame Vestri left me the part, and the conversation turned on other
subjects. I was condoled with on my swollen hand, and I told the story of
my duel. Everybody seemed to delight in entertaining me and feasting me,
and I went back to Baletti's in love with all the ladies, but especially
with Madame Vestri and Mdlle. Toscani.

Baletti had a beautiful little girl of three years old.

"How did you get that angel?" I asked.

"There's her mother; and, as a proof of my hospitality, she shall sleep
with you to-night."

"I accept your generous offer; but let it be to-morrow night."

"And why not to-night?"

"Because I shall be engaged all night in weaving my spell."

"What do you mean? I thought that was a joke."

"No, I am quite serious."

"Are you a little crazy?"

"You shall see. Do you go to bed, and leave me a light and writing
materials."

I spent six hours in copying out the part, only altering certain phrases.
For all words in which the letter r appeared I substituted another. It
was a tiresome task, but I longed to embrace Madame Vestri before her
husband. I set about my task in the following manner:

The text ran:

"Les procedes de cet homme m'outragent et me deseparent, je dois penser a
me debarrasser."

For this I substituted:

"Cet homme a des facons qui m'offensent et me desolent, il faut que je
m'en defasse;" and so on throughout the piece.

When I had finished I slept for three hours, and then rose and dressed.
Baletti saw my spell, and said I had earned the curses of the young
author, as Madame Vestri would no doubt make him write all parts for her
without using the letter 'r'; and, indeed, that was just what she did.

I called on the actress and found her getting up. I gave her the part,
and as soon as she saw what I had done she burst out into exclamations of
delight; and calling her husband shewed him my contrivance, and said she
would never play a part with an 'r' in it again. I promised to copy them
all out, and added that I had spent the whole night in amending the
present part. "The whole night! Come and take your reward, for you are
cleverer than any sorcerer. We must have the author to dinner, and I
shall make him promise to write all my parts without the 'r', or the duke
will not employ him. Indeed, I don't wonder the duke has made you his
secretary. I never thought it would be possible to do what you have done;
but I suppose it was very difficult?"

"Not at all. If I were a pretty woman with the like defect I should take
care to avoid all words with an 'r; in them."

"Oh, that would be too much trouble."

"Let us bet again, for a box or a kiss, that you can spend a whole day
without using an 'r'. Let us begin now."

"All in good time," said she, "but we won't have any stake, as I think
you are too greedy."

The author came to dinner, and was duly attacked by Madame Vestri. She
began by saying that it was an author's duty to be polite to actresses,
and if any of them spoke with a lisp the least he could do was to write
their parts without the fatal letter.

The young author laughed, and said it could not be done without spoiling
the style. Thereupon Madame Vestri gave him my version of her part,
telling him to read it, and to say on his conscience whether the style
had suffered. He had to confess that my alterations were positive
improvements, due to the great richness of the French language. And he
was right, for there is no language in the world that can compare in
copiousness of expression with the French.

This trifling subject kept us merry, but Madame Vestri expressed a devout
wish that all authors would do for her what I had done. At Paris, where I
heard her playing well and lisping terribly, she did not find the authors
so obliging, but she pleased the people. She asked me if I would
undertake to recompose Zaire, leaving out the r's.

"Ah!" said I, "considering that it would have to be in verse, and in
Voltairean verse, I would rather not undertake the task."

With a view to pleasing the actress the young author asked me how I would
tell her that she was charming without using an 'r'.

"I should say that she enchanted me, made me in an ecstasy, that she is
unique."

She wrote me a letter, which I still keep, in which the 'r' does not
appear. If I could have stayed at Stuttgart, this device of mine might
have won me her favours; but after a week of feasting and triumph the
courier came one morning at ten o'clock and announced that his highness,
the duke, would arrive at four.

As soon as I heard the news I told Baletti with the utmost coolness that
I thought it would be only polite to meet my lord, and swell his train on
his entry into Louisburg; and as I wished to meet him at a distance of
two stages I should have to go at once. He thought my idea an excellent
one, and went to order post-horses immediately; but when he saw me
packing up all my belongings into my trunk, he guessed the truth and
applauded the jest. I embraced him and confessed my hardihood. He was
sorry to lose me, but he laughed when he thought of the feelings of the
duke and of the three officers when they found out the trick. He promised
to write to me at Mannheim, where I had decided on spending a week to see
my beloved Algardi, who was in the service of the Elector. I had also
letters for M. de Sickirigen and Baron Becker, one of the Elector's
ministers.

When the horses were put in I embraced Baletti, his little girl, and his
pretty housekeeper, and ordered the postillion to drive to Mannheim.

When we reached Mannheim I heard that the Court was at Schwetzingen, and
I bade the postillion drive on. I found everyone I had expected to see.
Algardi had got married, M. de Sickingen was soliciting the position of
ambassador to Paris, and Baron Becker introduced me to the Elector. Five
or six days after my arrival died Prince Frederic des Deux Ponts, and I
will here relate an anecdote I heard the day before he died.

Dr. Algardi had attended on the prince during his last illness. I was
supping with Veraci, the poet-laureate, on the eve of the prince's death,
and in the course of supper Algardi came in.

"How is the prince?" said I.

"The poor prince--he cannot possibly live more than twenty-four hours."

"Does he know it?"

"No, he still hopes. He grieved me to the heart by bidding me tell him
the whole truth; he even bade me give my word of honour that I was
speaking the truth. Then he asked me if he were positively in danger of
death."

"And you told him the truth?"

"Certainly not. I told him his sickness was undoubtedly a mortal one, but
that with the help of nature and art wonders might be worked."

"Then you deceived him, and told a lie?"

"I did not deceive him; his recovery comes under the category of the
possible. I did not want to leave him in despair, for despair would most
certainly kill him."

"Yes, yes; but you will confess that you told him a lie and broke your
word of honour."

"I told no lie, for I know that he may possibly be cured."

"Then you lied just now?"

"Not at all, for lie will die to-morrow."

"It seems to me that your reasoning is a little Jesuitical."

"No, it is not. My duty was to prolong my patient's life and to spare him
a sentence which would most certainly have shortened it, possibly by
several hours; besides, it is not an absolute impossibility that he
should recover, therefore I did not lie when I told him that he might
recover, nor did I lie just now when I gave it as my opinion (the result
of my experience) that he would die to-morrow. I would certainly wager a
million to one that he will die to-morrow, but I would not wager my
life."

"You are right, and yet for all that you deceived the poor man; for his
intention in asking you the question was not to be told a commonplace
which he knew as well as you, but to learn your true opinion as to his
life or death. But again I agree with you that as his physician you were
quite right not to shorten his few remaining hours by telling him the
terrible truth."

After a fortnight I left Schwetzingen, leaving some of my belongings
under the care of Veraci the poet, telling him I would call for them some
day; but I never came, and after a lapse of thirty-one years Veraci keeps
them still. He was one of the strangest poets I have ever met. He
affected eccentricity to make himself notorious, and opposed the great
Metastasio in everything, writing unwieldy verses which he said gave more
scope for the person who set them to music. He had got this extravagant
notion from Jumelli.

I traveled to Mayence and thence I sailed to Cologne, where I looked
forward to the pleasure of meeting with the burgomaster's wife who
disliked General Kettler, and had treated me so well seven years ago. But
that was not the only reason which impelled me to visit that odious town.
When I was at Dresden I had read in a number of the Cologne Gazette that
"Master Casanova has returned to Warsaw only to be sent about his
business again. The king has heard some stories of this famous
adventurer, which compel him to forbid him his Court."

I could not stomach language of this kind, and I resolved to pay Jacquet,
the editor, a visit, and now my time had come.

I made a hasty dinner and then called on the burgomaster, whom I found
sitting at table with his fair Mimi. They welcomed me warmly, and for two
hours I told them the story of my adventures during the last seven years.
Mimi had to go out, and I was asked to dine with them the next day.

I thought she looked prettier than ever, and my imagination promised me
some delicious moments with her. I spent an anxious and impatient night,
and called on my Amphitryon at an early hour to have an opportunity of
speaking to his dear companion. I found her alone, and began with an
ardent caress which she gently repelled, but her face froze my passion in
its course.

"Time is an excellent doctor," said she, "and it has cured me of a
passion which left behind it the sting of remorse."

"What! The confessional . . . ."

"Should only serve as a place wherein to confess our sins of the past,
and to implore grace to sin no more."

"May the Lord save me from repentance, the only source of which is a
prejudice! I shall leave Cologne to-morrow."

"I do not tell you to go."

"If there is no hope, it is no place for me. May I hope?"

"Never."

She was delightful at table, but I was gloomy and distracted. At seven
o'clock next day I set out, and as soon as I had passed the Aix la
Chapelle Gate, I told the postillion to stop and wait for me. I then
walked to Jacquet's, armed with a pistol and a cane, though I only meant
to beat him.

The servant shewed me into the room where he was working by himself. It
was on the ground floor, and the door was open for coolness' sake.

He heard me coming in and asked what he could do for me.

"You scoundrelly journalist." I replied, "I am the adventurer Casanova
whom you slandered in your miserable sheet four months ago."

So saying I directed my pistol at his head, with my left hand, and lifted
my cane with my right. But the wretched scribbler fell on his knees
before me with clasped hands and offered to shew me the signed letter he
had received from Warsaw, which contained the statements he had inserted
in his paper.

"Where is this letter?"

"You shall have it in a moment."

I made way for him to search, but I locked and bolted the door to prevent
his escaping. The man trembled like a leaf and began to look for the
letter amongst his Warsaw correspondence, which was in a disgraceful
state of confusion. I shewed him the date of the article in the paper,
but the letter could not be found; and at the end of an hour he fell down
again on his knees, and told me to do what I would to him. I gave him a
kick and told him to get up and follow me. He made no reply, and followed
me bareheaded till he saw me get into my chaise and drive off, and I have
no doubt he gave thanks to God for his light escape. In the evening, I
reached Aix-la-Chapelle, where I found Princess Lubomirska, General
Roniker, several other distinguished Poles, Tomatis and his wife, and
many Englishmen of my acquaintance.



CHAPTER II

My Stay at Spa--The Blow--The Sword--Della Croce--Charlotte; Her Lying-in
and Death--A Lettre de Cachet Obliges Me to Leave Paris in the Course of
Twenty-four Hours

All my friends seemed delighted to see me, and I was well pleased to find
myself in such good company. People were on the point of leaving Aix for
Spa. Nearly everyone went, and those who stayed only did so because
lodgings were not to be had at Spa. Everybody assured me that this was
the case, and many had returned after seeking in vain for a mere garret.
I paid no attention to all this, and told the princess that if she would
come with me I would find some lodging, were it only in my carriage. We
accordingly set out the next day, and got to Spa in good time, our
company consisting of the princess, the prothonotary, Roniker, and the
Tomatis. Everyone except myself had taken rooms in advance, I alone knew
not where to turn. I got out and prepared for the search, but before
going along the streets I went into a shop and bought a hat, having lost
mine on the way. I explained my situation to the shopwoman, who seemed to
take an interest in me, and began speaking to her husband in Flemish or
Walloon, and finally informed me that if it were only for a few days she
and her husband would sleep in the shop and give up their room to me. But
she said that she had absolutely no room whatever for my man.

"I haven't got one."

"All the better. Send away your carriage."

"Where shall I send it?"

"I will see that it is housed safely."

"How much am I to pay?"

"Nothing; and if you are not too particular, we should like you to share
our meals."

"I accept your offer thankfully."

I went up a narrow staircase, and found myself in a pretty little room
with a closet, a good bed, suitable furniture, and everything perfectly
neat and clean. I thought myself very lucky, and asked the good people
why they would not sleep in the closet rather than the shop, and they
replied with one breath that they would be in my way, while their niece
would not interfere with me.

This news about the niece was a surprise to me. The closet had no door,
and was not much bigger than the bed which it contained; it was, in fact,
a mere alcove, without any window.

I must note that my hostess and her husband, both of them from Liege,
were perfect models of ugliness.

"It's not within the limits of possibility," I said to myself, "for the
niece to be uglier than they, but if they allow her to sleep thus in the
same room with the first comer, she must be proof against all
temptation."

However, I gave no sign, and did not ask to see the niece for fear of
offense, and I went out without opening my trunk. I told them as I went
out that I should not be back till after supper, and gave them some money
to buy wax candles and night lights.

I went to see the princess with whom I was to sup. All the company
congratulated me on my good fortune in finding a lodging. I went to the
concert, to the bank at faro, and to the other gaming saloons, and there
I saw the so-called Marquis d'Aragon, who was playing at piquet with an
old count of the Holy Roman Empire. I was told about the duel he had had
three weeks before with a Frenchman who had picked a quarrel with him;
the Frenchman had been wounded in the chest, and was still ill.
Nevertheless, he was only waiting for his cure to be completed to have
his revenge, which he had demanded as he was taken off the field. Such is
the way of the French when a duel is fought for a trifling matter. They
stop at the first blood, and fight the duel over and over again. In
Italy, on the other hand, duels are fought to the death. Our blood burns
to fire when our adversary's sword opens a vein. Thus stabbing is common
in Italy and rare in France; while duels are common in France, and rare
in Italy.

Of all the company at Spa, I was most pleased to see the Marquis
Caraccioli, whom I had left in London. His Court had given him leave of
absence, and he was spending it at Spa. He was brimful of wit and the
milk of human kindness, compassionate for the weaknesses of others, and
devoted to youth, no matter of what sex, but he knew well the virtue of
moderation, and used all things without abusing them. He never played,
but he loved a good gamester and despised all dupes. The worthy marquis
was the means of making the fortune of the so-called Marquis d'Aragon by
becoming surety for his nobility and bona fides to a wealthy English
widow of fifty, who had taken a fancy to him, and brought him her fortune
of sixty thousand pounds sterling. No doubt the widow was taken with the
gigantic form and the beautiful title of d'Aragon, for Dragon (as his
name really was) was devoid of wit and manners, and his legs, which I
suppose he kept well covered, bore disgusting marks of the libertine life
he had led. I saw the marquis some time afterwards at Marseilles, and a
few years later he purchased two estates at Modena. His wife died in due
course, and according to the English law he inherited the whole of her
property.

I returned to my lodging in good time, and went to bed without seeing the
niece, who was fast asleep. I was waited on by the ugly aunt, who begged
me not to take a servant while I remained in her house, for by her
account all servants were thieves.

When I awoke in the morning the niece had got up and gone down. I dressed
to go to the Wells, and warned my host and hostess that I should have the
pleasure of dining with them. The room I occupied was the only place in
which they could take their meals, and I was astonished when they came
and asked my permission to do so. The niece had gone out, so I had to put
my curiosity aside. When I was out my acquaintances pointed out to me the
chief beauties who then haunted the Wells. The number of adventurers who
flock to Spa during the season is something incredible, and they all hope
to make their fortunes; and, as may be supposed, most of them go away as
naked as they came, if not more so. Money circulates with great freedom,
but principally amongst the gamesters, shop-keepers, money-lenders, and
courtezans. The money which proceeds from the gaming-table has three
issues: the first and smallest share goes to the Prince-Bishop of Liege;
the second and larger portion, to the numerous amateur cheats who
frequent the place; and by far the largest of all to the coffers of
twelve sharpers, who keep the tables and are authorized by the sovereign.

Thus goes the money. It comes from the pockets of the dupes--poor moths
who burn their wings at Spa!

The Wells are a mere pretext for gaming, intriguing, and fortune-hunting.
There are a few honest people who go for amusement, and a few for rest
and relaxation after the toils of business.

Living is cheap enough at Spa. The table d'hote is excellent, and only
costs a small French crown, and one can get good lodging for the like
sum.

I came home at noon having won a score of louis. I went into the shop,
intending to go to my room, but I was stopped short by seeing a handsome
brunette, of nineteen or twenty, with great black eyes, voluptuous lips,
and shining teeth, measuring out ribbon on the counter. This, then, was
the niece, whom I had imagined as so ugly. I concealed my surprise and
sat down in the shop to gaze at her and endeavour to make her
acquaintance. But she hardly seemed to see me, and only acknowledged my
presence by a slight inclination of the head. Her aunt came down to say
that dinner was ready, and I went upstairs and found the table laid for
four. The servant brought in the soup, and then asked me very plainly to
give her some money if I wanted any wine, as her master and mistress only
drank beer. I was delighted with her freedom, and gave her money to buy
two bottles of Burgundy.

The master came up and shewed me a gold repeater with a chain also of
gold by a well-known modern maker. He wanted to know how much it was
worth.

"Forty louis at the least."

"A gentleman wants me to give him twenty louis for it, on the condition
that I return it to-morrow if he brings me twenty-two."

"Then I advise you to accept his offer."

"I haven't got the money."

"I will lend it you with pleasure."

I gave him the twenty Louis, and placed the watch in my jewel-casket. At
table the niece sat opposite to me, but I took care not to look at her,
and she, like a modest girl, did not say a score of words all through the
meal. The meal was an excellent one, consisting of soup, boiled beef, an
entree, and a roast. The mistress of the house told me that the roast was
in my honour, "for," she said, "we are not rich people, and we only allow
ourselves this Luxury on a Sunday." I admired her delicacy, and the
evident sincerity with which she spoke. I begged my entertainers to help
me with my wine, and they accepted the offer, saying they only wished
they were rich enough to be able to drink half a bottle a day.

"I thought trade was good with you."

"The stuff is not ours, and we have debts; besides, the expenses are very
great. We have sold very little up to now."

"Do you only sell hats?"

"No, we have silk handkerchiefs, Paris stockings, and lace ruffs, but
they say everything is too dear."

"I will buy some things for you, and will send all my friends here. Leave
it to me; I will see what I can do for you."

"Mercy, fetch down one or two packets of those handkerchiefs and some
stockings, large size, for the gentleman has a big leg."

Mercy, as the niece was called, obeyed. I pronounced the handkerchiefs
superb and the stockings excellent. I bought a dozen, and I promised them
that they should sell out their whole stock. They overwhelmed me with
thanks, and promised to put themselves entirely in my hands.

After coffee, which, like the roast, was in my honour, the aunt told her
niece to take care to awake me in the morning when she got up. She said
she would not fail, but I begged her not to take too much trouble over
me, as I was a very heavy sleeper.

In the afternoon I went to an armourer's to buy a brace of pistols, and
asked the man if he knew the tradesman with whom I was staying.

"We are cousins-german," he replied.

"Is he rich?"

"Yes, in debts."

"Why?"

"Because he is unfortunate, like most honest people."

"How about his wife?"

"Her careful economy keeps him above water."

"Do you know the niece?"

"Yes; she's a good girl, but very pious. Her silly scruples keep
customers away from the shop."

"What do you think she should do to attract customers?"

"She should be more polite, and not play the prude when anyone wants to
give her a kiss."

"She is like that, is she?"

"Try her yourself and you will see. Last week she gave an officer a box
on the ear. My cousin scolded her, and she wanted to go back to Liege;
however, the wife soothed her again. She is pretty enough, don't you
think so?"

"Certainly I do, but if she is as cross-grained as you say, the best
thing will be to leave her alone."

After what I had heard I made up my mind to change my room, for Mercy had
pleased me in such a way that I was sure I should be obliged to pay her a
call before long, and I detested Pamelas as heartily as Charpillons.

In the afternoon I took Rzewuski and Roniker to the shop, and they bought
fifty ducats' worth of goods to oblige me. The next day the princess and
Madame Tomatis bought all the handkerchiefs.

I came home at ten o'clock, and found Mercy in bed as I had done the
night before. Next morning the watch was redeemed, and the hatter
returned me twenty-two louis. I made him a present of the two louis, and
said I should always be glad to lend him money in that way--the profits
to be his. He left me full of gratitude.

I was asked to dine with Madame Tomatis, so I told my hosts that I would
have the pleasure of supping with them, the costs to be borne by me. The
supper was good and the Burgundy excellent, but Mercy refused to taste
it. She happened to leave the room for a moment at the close of the meal,
and I observed to the aunt that her niece was charming, but it was a pity
she was so sad.

"She will have to change her ways, or I will keep her no longer."

"Is she the same with all men?"

"With all."

"Then she has never been in love."

"She says she has not, but I don't believe her."

"I wonder she can sleep so comfortably with a man at a few feet distant."

"She is not afraid."

Mercy came in, bade us good night, and said she would go to bed. I made
as if I would give her a kiss, but she turned her back on me, and placed
a chair in front of her closet so that I might not see her taking off her
chemise. My host and hostess then went to bed, and so did I, puzzling my
head over the girl's behaviour which struck me as most extraordinary and
unaccountable. However, I slept peacefully, and when I awoke the bird had
left the nest. I felt inclined to have a little quiet argument with the
girl, and to see what I could make of her; but I saw no chance of my
getting an opportunity. The hatter availed himself of my offer of purse
to lend money on pledges, whereby he made a good profit. There was no
risk for me in the matter, and he and his wife declared that they blessed
the day on which I had come to live with them.

On the fifth or sixth day I awoke before Mercy, and only putting on my
dressing-gown I came towards her bed. She had a quick ear and woke up,
and no sooner did she see me coming towards her than she asked me what I
wanted. I sat down on her bed and said gently that I only wanted to wish
her a good day and to have a little talk. It was hot weather, and she was
only covered by a single sheet; and stretching out one arm I drew her
towards me, and begged her to let me give her a kiss. Her resistance made
me angry; and passing an audacious hand under the sheet I discovered that
she was made like other women; but just as my hand was on the spot, I
received a fisticuff on the nose that made me see a thousand stars, and
quite extinguished the fire of my concupiscence. The blood streamed from
my nose and stained the bed of the furious Mercy. I kept my presence of
mind and left her on the spot, as the blow she had given me was but a
sample of what I might expect if I attempted reprisals. I washed my face
in cold water, and as I was doing so Mercy dressed herself and left the
room.

At last my blood ceased to flow, and I saw to my great annoyance that my
nose was swollen in such a manner that my face was simply hideous. I
covered it up with a handkerchief and sent for the hairdresser to do my
hair, and when this was done my landlady brought me up some fine trout,
of which I approved; but as I was giving her the money she saw my face
and uttered a cry of horror. I told her the whole story, freely
acknowledging that I was in the wrong, and begging her to say nothing to
her niece. Then heeding not her excuses I went out with my handkerchief
before my face, and visited a house which the Duchess of Richmond had
left the day before.

Half of the suite she had abandoned had been taken in advance by an
Italian marquis; I took the other half, hired a servant, and had my
effects transported there from my old lodgings. The tears and
supplications of my landlady had no effect whatever upon me, I felt I
could not bear the sight of Mercy any longer.

In the house into which I had moved I found an Englishman who said he
would bring down the bruise in one hour, and make the discoloration of
the flesh disappear in twenty-four. I let him do what he liked and he
kept his word. He rubbed the place with spirits of wine and some drug
which is unknown to me; but being ashamed to appear in public in the
state I was in, I kept indoors for the rest of the day. At noon the
distressed aunt brought me my trout, and said that Mercy was cut to the
heart to have used me so, and that if I would come back I could do what I
liked with her.

"You must feel," I replied, "that if I complied with your request the
adventure would become public to the damage of my honour and your
business, and your niece would not be able to pass for a devotee any
longer."

I made some reflections on the blow she had given the officer, much to
the aunt's surprise, for she could not think how I had heard of it; and I
shewed her that, after having exposed me to her niece's brutality, her
request was extremely out of place. I concluded by saying that I could
believe her to be an accomplice in the fact without any great stretch of
imagination. This made her burst into tears, and I had to apologize and
to promise to continue forwarding her business by way of consolation, and
so she left me in a calmer mood. Half an hour afterwards her husband came
with twenty-five Louis I had lent him on a gold snuff-box set with
diamonds, and proposed that I should lend two hundred Louis on a ring
worth four hundred.

"It will be yours," he said, "if the owner does not bring me two hundred
and twenty Louis in a week's time."

I had the money and proceeded to examine the stone which seemed to be a
good diamond, and would probably weigh six carats as the owner declared.
The setting was in gold.

"I consent to give the sum required if the owner is ready to give me a
receipt."

"I will do so myself in the presence of witnesses."

"Very good. You shall have the money in the course of an hour; I am going
to have the stone taken out first. That will make no difference to the
owner, as I shall have it reset at my own expense. If he redeems it, the
twenty Louis shall be yours."

"I must ask him whether he has any objection to the stone being taken
out."

"Very good, but you can tell him that if he will not allow it to be done
he will get nothing for it."

He returned before long with a jeweller who said he would guarantee the
stone to be at least two grains over the six carats.

"Have you weighed it?"

"No, but I am quite sure it weighs over six carats."

"Then you can lend the money on it?"

"I cannot command such a sum."

"Can you tell me why the owner objects to the stone being taken out and
put in at my expense?"

"No, I can't; but he does object."

"Then he may take his ring somewhere else."

They went away, leaving me well pleased at my refusal, for it was plain
that the stone was either false or had a false bottom.

I spent the rest of the day in writing letters and making a good supper,
In the morning I was awoke by someone knocking at my door, and on my
getting up to open it, what was my astonishment to find Mercy!

I let her in, and went back to bed, and asked her what she wanted with me
so early in the morning. She sat down on the bed, and began to overwhelm
me with apologies. I replied by asking her why, if it was her principle
to fly at her lovers like a tiger, she had slept almost in the same room
as myself.

"In sleeping in the closet," said she, "I obeyed my aunt's orders, and in
striking you (for which I am very sorry) I was but defending my honour;
and I cannot admit that every man who sees me is at liberty to lose his
reason. I think you will allow that your duty is to respect, and mine to
defend, my honour."

"If that is your line of argument, I acknowledge that you are right; but
you had nothing to complain of, for I bore your blow in silence, and by
my leaving the house you might know that it was my intention to respect
you for the future. Did you come to hear me say this? If so, you are
satisfied. But you will not be offended if I laugh at your excuses, for
after what you have said I cannot help thinking them very laughable."

"What have I said?"

"That you only did your duty in flattening my nose. If so, do you think
it is necessary to apologize for the performance of duty?"

"I ought to have defended myself more gently. But forget everything and
forgive me; I will defend myself no more in any way. I am yours and I
love you, and I am ready to prove my love."

She could not have spoken more plainly, and as she spoke the last words
she fell on me with her face close to mine, which she bedewed with her
tears. I was ashamed of such an easy conquest, and I gently withdrew from
her embrace, telling her to return after the bruise on my face had
disappeared. She left me deeply mortified.

The Italian, who had taken half the suite of rooms, had arrived in the
course of the night. I asked his name, and was given a card bearing the
name of The Marquis Don Antonio della Croce.

Was it the Croce I knew?

It was very possible.

I asked what kind of an establishment he had, and was informed that the
marchioness had a lady's maid, and the marquis a secretary and two
servants. I longed to see the nobleman in question.

I had not long to wait, for as soon as he heard that I was his neighbour,
he came to see me, and we spent two hours in telling each other our
adventures since we had parted in Milan. He had heard that I had made the
fortune of the girl he had abandoned, and in the six years that had
elapsed he had been travelling all over Europe, engaged in a constant
strife with fortune. At Paris and Brussels he had made a good deal of
money, and in the latter town he had fallen in love with a young lady of
rank, whom her father had shut up in a convent. He had taken her away,
and she it was whom he called the Marchioness della Croce, now six months
with child.

He made her pass for his wife, because, as he said, he meant to marry her
eventually.

"I have fifty thousand francs in gold," said he, "and as much again in
jewellery and various possessions. It is my intention to give suppers
here and hold a bank, but if I play without correcting the freaks of
fortune I am sure to lose." He intended going to Warsaw, thinking I would
give him introductions to all my friends there; but he made a mistake,
and I did not even introduce him to my Polish friends at Spa. I told him
he could easily make their acquaintance by himself, and that I would
neither make nor mar with him.

I accepted his invitation to dinner for the same day. His secretary, as
he called him, was merely his confederate. He was a clever Veronese named
Conti, and his wife was an essential accomplice in Croce's designs.

At noon my friend the hatter came again with the ring, followed by the
owner, who looked like a bravo. They were accompanied by the jeweller and
another individual. The owner asked me once more to lend him two hundred
louis on the ring.

My proper course would have been to beg to be excused, then I should have
had no more trouble in the matter; but it was not to be. I wanted to make
him see that the objection he made to having the stone taken out was an
insuperable obstacle to my lending him the money.

"When the stone is removed," said I, "we shall see what it really is.
Listen to my proposal: if it weighs twenty-six grains, I will give you,
not two but three hundred louis, but in its present condition I shall
give nothing at all."

"You have no business to doubt my word; you insult me by doing so."

"Not at all, I have no intentions of the kind. I simply propose a wager
to you. If the stone be found to weigh twenty-six grains, I shall lose
two hundred Louis, if it weighs much less you will lose the ring."

"That's a scandalous proposal; it's as much as to tell me that I am a
liar."

I did not like the tone with which these words were spoken, and I went up
to the chest of drawers where I kept my pistols, and bade him go and
leave me in peace.

Just then General Roniker came in, and the owner of the ring told him of
the dispute between us. The general looked at the ring, and said to
him,--

"If anyone were to give me the ring I should not have the stone taken
out, because one should not look a gift horse in the mouth; but if it
came to a question of buying or lending I would not give a crown for it,
were the owner an emperor, before the stone was taken out; and I am very
much surprised at your refusing to let this be done."

Without a word the knave made for the door, and the ring remained in the
hands of my late host.

"Why didn't you give him his ring?" said I.

"Because I have advanced him fifty Louis on it; but if he does not redeem
it to-morrow I will have the stone taken out before a judge, and
afterwards I shall sell it by auction."

"I don't like the man's manners, and I hope you will never bring anyone
to my rooms again."

The affair came to the following conclusion: The impostor did not redeem
the ring, and the Liege tradesman had the setting removed. The diamond
was found to be placed on a bed of rock crystal, which formed two-thirds
of the whole bulk. However, the diamond was worth fifty Louis, and an
Englishman bought it. A week afterwards the knave met me as I was walking
by myself, and begged me to follow him to place where we should be free
from observation, as his sword had somewhat to say to mine. Curiously
enough I happened to be wearing my sword at the time.

"I will not follow you," I replied; "the matter can be settled here?"

"We are observed."

"All the better. Make haste and draw your sword first."

"The advantage is with you."

"I know it, and so it ought to be. If you do not draw I will proclaim you
to be the coward I am sure you are."

At this he drew his sword rapidly and came on, but I was ready to receive
him. He began to fence to try my mettle, but I lunged right at his chest,
and gave him three inches of cold steel. I should have killed him on the
spot if he had not lowered his sword, saying he would take his revenge at
another time. With this he went off, holding his hand to the wound.

A score of people were close by, but no one troubled himself about the
wounded man, as he was known to have been the aggressor. The duel had no
further consequences for me. When I left Spa the man was still in the
surgeon's hands. He was something worse than an adventurer, and all the
French at Spa disowned him.

But to return to Croce and his dinner.

The marchioness, his wife so-called, was a young lady of sixteen or
seventeen, fair-complexioned and tall, with all the manners of the
Belgian nobility. The history of her escape is well known to her brothers
and sisters, and as her family are still in existence my readers will be
obliged to me for concealing her name.

Her husband had told her about me, and she received me in the most
gracious manner possible. She shewed no signs of sadness or of repentance
for the steps she had taken. She was with child for some months, and
seemed to be near her term, owing to the slimness of her figure.
Nevertheless she had the aspect of perfect health. Her countenance
expressed candour and frankness of disposition in a remarkable degree.
Her eyes were large and blue, her complexion a roseate hue, her small
sweet mouth, her perfect teeth made her a beauty worthy of the brush of
Albano.

I thought myself skilled in physiognomy, and concluded that she was not
only perfectly happy, but also the cause of happiness. But here let me
say how vain a thing it is for anyone to pronounce a man or woman to be
happy or unhappy from a merely cursory inspection.

The young marchioness had beautiful ear-rings, and two rings, which gave
me a pretext for admiring the beauty of her hands.

Conti's wife did not cut any figure at all, and I was all eyes for the
marchioness, whose name was Charlotte. I was profoundly impressed by her
that I was quite abstracted during dinner.

I sought in vain to discover by what merits Croce had been able to seduce
two such superior women. He was not a fine-looking man, he was not well
educated, his manners were doubtful, and his way of speaking by no means
seductive; in fine, I saw nothing captivating about him, and yet I could
be a witness to his having made two girls leave their homes to follow
him. I lost myself in conjecture; but I had no premonition of what was to
happen in the course of a few weeks.

When dinner was over I took Croce apart, and talked seriously to him. I
impressed on him the necessity of circumspect conduct, as in my opinion
he would be for ever infamous if the beautiful woman whom he had seduced
was to become wretched by his fault.

"For the future I mean to trust to my skill in play, and thus I am sure
of a comfortable living."

"Does she know, that your revenue is fed solely by the purses of dupes?"

"She knows that I am a gamester; and as she adores me, her will is as
mine. I am thinking of marrying her at Warsaw before she is confined. If
you are in any want of money, look upon my purse as your own."

I thanked him, and once more pressed on him the duty of exercising
extreme prudence.

As a matter of fact, I had no need of money. I had played with
moderation, and my profits amounted to nearly four hundred louis. When
the luck turned against me I was wise enough to turn my back on the
board. Although the bruise that Mercy had given me was still apparent, I
escorted the marchioness to the tables, and there she drew all eyes upon
her. She was fond of piquet, and we played together for small stakes for
some time. In the end she lost twenty crowns to me, and I was forced to
take the money for fear of offending her.

When we went back we met Croce and Conti, who had both won--Conti a score
of louis at Faro, and Croce more than a hundred guineas at 'passe dix',
which he had been playing at a club of Englishmen. I was more lively at
supper than dinner, and excited Charlotte to laughter by my wit.

Henceforth the Poles and the Tomatis only saw me at intervals. I was in
love with the fair marchioness, and everybody said it was very natural.
When a week had elapsed, Croce, finding that the pigeons would not come
to be plucked, despite the suppers he gave, went to the public room, and
lost continually. He was as used to loss as to gain, and his spirits were
unaltered; he was still gay, still ate well and drank better, and
caressed his victim, who had no suspicions of what was going on.

I loved her, but did not dare to reveal my passion, fearing lest it
should be unrequited; and I was afraid to tell her of Croce's losses lest
she should put down my action to some ulterior motive; in fine, I was
afraid to lose the trust she had already begun to place in me.

At the end of three weeks Conti, who had played with prudence and
success, left Croce and set out for Verona with his wife and servant. A
few days later Charlotte dismissed her maid, sending her back to Liege,
her native town.

Towards the middle of September all the Polish party left the Spa for
Paris, where I promised to rejoin them. I only stayed for Charlotte's
sake; I foresaw a catastrophe, and I would not abandon her. Every day
Croce lost heavily, and at last he was obliged to sell his jewellery.
Then came Charlotte's turn; she had to give up her watches, ear-rings,
her rings, and all the jewels she had. He lost everything, but this
wonderful girl was as affectionate as ever. To make a finish he despoiled
her of her lace and her best gowns, and then selling his own wardrobe he
went to his last fight with fortune, provided with two hundred Louis. He
played like a madman, without common-sense or prudence, and lost all.

His pockets were empty, and seeing me he beckoned to me, and I followed
him out of the Spa.

"My friend," he began, "I have two alternatives, I can kill myself this
instant or I can fly without returning to the house. I shall embrace the
latter and go to Warsaw on foot, and I leave my wife in your hands, for I
know you adore her. It must be your task to give her the dreadful news of
the pass to which I have come. Have a care of her, she is too good by far
for a poor wretch like me. Take her to Paris and I will write to you
there at your brother's address. I know you have money, but I would die
rather than accept a single louis from you. I have still two or three
pieces left, and I assure you that I am richer at the present moment than
I was two months ago. Farewell; once more I commend Charlotte to your
care; I would that she had never known me."

With these words he shed tears, and embracing me went his way. I was
stupefied at what lay before me.

I had to inform a pregnant woman that the man she dearly loved had
deserted her. The only thought that supported me in that moment was that
it would be done for love of her, and I felt thankful that I had
sufficient means to secure her from privation.

I went to the house and told her that we might dine at once, as the
marquis would be engaged till the evening. She sighed, wished him luck,
and we proceeded to dine. I disguised my emotions so well that she
conceived no suspicion. After the meal was over, I asked her to walk with
me in the garden of the Capuchin Monastery, which was close at hand. To
prepare her for the fatal news I asked her if she would approve of her
lover exposing himself to assassination for the sake of bidding adieu to
her rather than making his escape.

"I should blame him for doing so," she replied. "He ought to escape by
all means, if only to save his life for my sake. Has my husband done so?
Speak openly to me. My spirit is strong enough to resist even so fatal a
blow, for I know I have a friend in you. Speak."

"Well, I will tell you all. But first of all remember this; you must look
upon me as a tender father who will never let you want, so long as life
remains to him."

"In that case I cannot be called unfortunate, for I have a true friend.
Say on."

I told all that Croce had told me, not omitting his last words: "I
commend Charlotte to your care; I would that she had never known me."

For a few minutes she remained motionless, as one turned into stone. By
her attitude, by her laboured and unequal breath, I could divine somewhat
of the battle between love, and anger, and sorrow, and pity, that was
raging in the noble breast. I was cut to the heart. At last she wiped
away the big tears that began to trickle down her cheeks, and turning to
me sighed and said,--

"Dear friend, since I can count on you, I am far indeed from utter
misery."

"I swear to you, Charlotte, that I will never leave you till I place you
again in your husband's hands, provided I do not die before."

"That is enough. I swear eternal gratitude, and to be as submissive to
you as a good daughter ought to be."

The religion and philosophy with which her heart and mind were fortified,
though she made no parade of either, began to calm her spirit, and she
proceeded to make some reflections on Croce's unhappy lot, but all in
pity not in anger, excusing his inveterate passion for play. She had
often heard from Croce's lips the story of the Marseilles girl whom he
had left penniless in an inn at Milan, commending her to my care. She
thought it something wonderful that I should again be intervening as the
tutelary genius; but her situation was much the worse, for she was with
child.

"There's another difference," I added, "for I made the fortune of the
first by finding her an honest husband, whereas I should never have the
courage to adopt the same method with the second."

"While Croce lives I am no man's wife but his, nevertheless I am glad to
find myself free."

When we were back in the house, I advised her to send away the servant
and to pay his journey to Besanion, where she had taken him. Thus all
unpleasantness would be avoided. I made her sell all that remained of her
poor lover's wardrobe, as also his carriage, for mine was a better one.
She shewed me all she had left, which only amounted to some sets of linen
and three or four dresses.

We remained at Spa without going out of doors. She could see that my love
was a tenderer passion than the love of a father, and she told me so, and
that she was obliged to me for the respect with which I treated her. We
sat together for hours, she folded in my arms, whilst I gently kissed her
beautiful eyes, and asked no more. I was happy in her gratitude and in my
powers of self-restraint. When temptation was too strong I left the
beautiful girl till I was myself again, and such conquests made me proud.
In the affection between us there was somewhat of the purity of a man's
first love.

I wanted a small travelling cap, and the servant of the house went to my
former lodging to order one. Mercy brought several for me to choose from.
She blushed when she saw me, but I said nothing to her. When she had gone
I told Charlotte the whole story, and she laughed with all her heart when
I reminded her of the bruise on my face when we first met, and informed
her that Mercy had given it me. She praised my firmness in rejecting her
repentance, and agreed with me in thinking that the whole plan had been
concerted between her and her aunt.

We left Spa without any servant, and when we reached Liege we took the
way of the Ardennes, as she was afraid of being recognized if we passed
through Brussels. At Luxemburg we engaged a servant, who attended on us
till we reached Paris. All the way Charlotte was tender and affectionate,
but her condition prescribed limits to her love, and I could only look
forward to the time after her delivery. We got down at Paris at the
"Hotel Montmorenci," in the street of the same name.

Paris struck me quite as a new place. Madame d'Urfe was dead, my friends
had changed their houses and their fortunes; the poor had become rich and
the rich poor, new streets and buildings were rising on all sides; I
hardly knew my way about the town. Everything was dearer; poverty was
rampant, and luxury at it highest pitch. Perhaps Paris is the only city
where so great a change could take place in the course of five or six
years.

The first call I made was on Madame du Rumain, who was delighted to see
me. I repaid her the money she had so kindly lent me in the time of my
distress. She was well in health, but harassed by so many anxieties and
private troubles that she said Providence must have sent me to her to
relieve her of all her griefs by my cabala. I told her that I would wait
on her at any hour or hours; and this, indeed, was the least I could do
for the woman who had been so kind to me.

My brother had gone to live in the Faubourg St. Antoine. Both he and his
wife (who remained constant to him, despite his physical disability) were
overjoyed to see me, and entreated me to come and stop with them. I told
them I should be glad to do so, as soon as the lady who had travelled
with me had got over her confinement. I did not think proper to tell them
her story, and they had the delicacy to refrain from questioning me on
the subject. The same day I called on Princess Lubomirska and Tomatis,
begging them not to take it amiss if my visits were few and far between,
as the lady they had seen at Spa was approaching her confinement, and
demanded all my care.

After the discharge of these duties I remained constantly by Charlotte's
side. On October 8th I thought it would be well to take her to Madame
Lamarre, a midwife, who lived in the Faubourg St. Denis, and Charlotte
was of the same opinion. We went together, she saw the room, the bed, and
heard how she would be tended and looked after, for all of which I would
pay. At nightfall we drove to the place, with a trunk containing all her
effects.

As we were leaving the Rue Montmorenci our carriage was obliged to stop
to allow the funeral of some rich man to go by. Charlotte covered her
face with her handkerchief, and whispered in my ear, "Dearest, I know it
is a foolish superstition, but to a woman in my condition such a meeting
is of evil omen."

"What, Charlotte! I thought you were too wise to have such silly fears. A
woman in child-bed is not a sick woman, and no woman ever died of giving
birth to a child except some other disease intervened."

"Yes, my dear philosopher, it is like a duel; there are two men in
perfect health, when all of a sudden there comes a sword-thrust, and one
of them is dead."

"That's a witty idea. But bid all gloomy thoughts go by, and after your
child is born, and we have placed it in good hands, you shall come with
me to Madrid, and there I hope to see you happy and contented."

All the way I did my best to cheer her, for I knew only too well the
fatal effects of melancholy on a pregnant woman, especially in such a
delicate girl as Charlotte.

When I saw her completely settled I returned to the hotel, and the next
day I took up my quarters with my brother. However, as long as my
Charlotte lived, I only slept at his house, for from nine in the morning
till after midnight I was with my dear.

On October 13th Charlotte was attacked with a fever which never left her.
On the 17th she was happily delivered of a boy, which was immediately
taken to the church and baptized at the express wishes of the mother.
Charlotte wrote down what its name was to be--Jacques (after me), Charles
(after her), son of Antonio della Croce and of Charlotte de (she gave her
real name). When it was brought from the church she told Madame Lamarre
to carry it to the Foundling Hospital, with the certificate of baptism in
its linen. I vainly endeavoured to persuade her to leave the care of the
child to me. She said that if it lived the father could easily reclaim
it. On the same day, October 18th, the midwife gave me the following
certificate, which I still possess:

It was worded as follows:

"We, J. B. Dorival, Councillor to the King, Commissary of the Chatelet,
formerly Superintendent of Police in the City of Paris, do certify that
there has been taken to the Hospital for Children a male infant,
appearing to be one day old, brought from the Faubourg St. Denis by the
midwife Lamarre, and bearing a certificate of baptism to the effect that
its name is Jacques Charles, son of Antonio della Croce and of Charlotte
de----. Wherefore, we have delivered the above certificate at our office
in the City of Paris, this 18th day of October, in the year of our Lord,
1767, at seven o'clock in the afternoon.

"DORIVAL."


If any of my readers have any curiosity to know the real name of the
mother, I have given them the means of satisfying it.

After this I did not leave the bed of the invalid for a single instant.
In spite of all the doctor's care the fever increased, and at five
o'clock in the morning of October 26th, she succumbed to it. An hour
before she sighed her last, she bade me the last farewell in the presence
of the venerable ecclesiastic who had confessed her at midnight. The
tears which gather fast as I write these words are probably the last
honours I shall pay to this poor victim of a man who is still alive, and
whose destiny seemed to be to make women unhappy.

I sat weeping by the bed of her I loved so dearly, and in vain Madame
Lamarre tried to induce me to come and sit with her. I loved the poor
corpse better than all the world outside.

At noon my brother and his wife came to see me; they had not seen me for
a week, and were getting anxious. They saw the body lovely in death; they
understood my tears, and mingled theirs with mine. At last I asked them
to leave me, and I remained all night by Charlotte's bed, resolved not to
leave it till her body had been consigned to the grave.

The day before this morning of unhappy memory my brother had given me
several letters, but I had not opened any of them. On my return from the
funeral I proceeded to do so, and the first one was from M. Dandolo,
announcing the death of M. de Bragadin; but I could not weep. For
twenty-two years M. de Bragadin had been as a father to me, living
poorly, and even going into debt that I might have enough. He could not
leave me anything, as his property was entailed, while his furniture and
his library would become the prey of his creditors. His two friends, who
were my friends also, were poor, and could give me nothing but their
love. The dreadful news was accompanied by a bill of exchange for a
thousand crowns, which he had sent me twenty-four hours before his death,
foreseeing that it would be the last gift he would ever make me.

I was overwhelmed, and thought that Fortune had done her worst to me.

I spent three days in my brother's house without going out. On the fourth
I began to pay an assiduous court to Princess Lubomirska, who had written
the king, her brother, a letter that must have mortified him, as she
proved beyond a doubt that the tales he had listened to against me were
mere calumny. But your kings do not allow so small a thing to vex or
mortify them. Besides, Stanislas Augustus had just received a dreadful
insult from Russia. Repnin's violence in kidnapping the three senators
who had spoken their minds at the Diet was a blow which must have pierced
the hapless king to the heart.

The princess had left Warsaw more from hatred than love; though such was
not the general opinion. As I had decided to visit the Court of Madrid
before going to Portugal, the princess gave me a letter of introduction
to the powerful Count of Aranda; and the Marquis Caraccioli, who was
still at Paris, gave me three letters, one for Prince de la Catolica, the
Neapolitan ambassador at Madrid, one for the Duke of Lossada, the king's
favourite and lord high steward, and a third for the Marquis Mora
Pignatelli.

On November 4th I went to a concert with a ticket that the princess had
given me. When the concert was half-way through I heard my name
pronounced, accompanied by scornful laughter. I turned round and saw the
gentleman who was speaking contemptuously of me. It was a tall young man
sitting between two men advanced in years. I stared him in the face, but
he turned his head away and continued his impertinencies, saying, amongst
other things, that I had robbed him of a million francs at least by my
swindling his late aunt, the Marchioness d'Urfe.

"You are an impudent liar," I said to him, "and if we were out of this
room I would give you a kick to teach you to speak respectfully."

With these words I made my way out of the hall, and on turning my head
round I saw that the two elderly men were keeping the young blockhead
back. I got into my carriage and waited some time, and as he did not come
I drove to the theatre and chanced to find myself in the same box as
Madame Valville. She informed me that she had left the boards, and was
kept by the Marquis the Brunel.

"I congratulate you, and wish you good luck."

"I hope you will come to supper at my house."

"I should be only too happy, but unfortunately I have an engagement; but
I will come and see you if you will give me your address."

So saying, I slipped into her hand a rouleau, it being the fifty louis I
owed her.

"What is this?"

"The money you lent me so kindly at Konigsberg."

"This is neither the time nor the place to return it. I will only take it
at my own house, so please do not insist."

I put the money back into my pocket, she gave me her address, and I left
her. I felt too sad to visit her alone.

Two days later, as I was at table with my brother, my sister-in-law, and
some young Russians whom he was teaching to paint, I was told that a
Chevalier of St. Louis wanted to speak to me in the antechamber. I went
out, and he handed me a paper without making any preface. I opened the
document, and found it was signed "Louis." The great king ordered me to
leave Paris in twenty-four hours and his realm of France within three
weeks, and the reason assigned was: "It is our good pleasure."



CHAPTER III

My Departure From Paris--My Journey to Madrid--The Count of Aranda--The
Prince de la Catolica--The Duke of Lossada--Mengs--A Ball--Madame
Pichona--Donna Ignazia

"Well, chevalier," I said, "I have read the little note, and I will try
and oblige his majesty as soon as possible. However, if I have not time
to get away in twenty-four hours, his majesty must work his dread will on
me."

"My dear sir, the twenty-four hours are a mere formality. Subscribe the
order and give me a receipt for the lettre de cachet, and you can go at
your convenience. All I ask of you is that you give me your word of
honour not to go to the theatres or public places of amusement on foot."

"I give you my word with pleasure."

I took the chevalier to my room and gave him the necessary
acknowledgment, and with the observation that he would be glad to see my
brother, whom he knew already, I led him into the dining-room, and
explained with a cheerful face the purport of his visit.

My brother laughed and said,--

"But, M. Buhot, this news is like March in Lent, it was quite
unnecessary; my brother was going in the course of a week."

"All the better. If the minister had been aware of that he would not have
troubled himself about it."

"Is the reason known?"

"I have heard something about a proposal to kick a gentleman, who though
young, is too exalted a person to be spoken to in such a manner."

"Why, chevalier," said I, "the phrase is a mere formality like the
twenty-four hours for if the impudent young rascal had come out he would
have met me, and his sword should have been sufficient to ward off any
kicks."

I then told the whole story, and Buhot agreed that I was in the right
throughout; adding that the police were also in the right to prevent any
encounter between us. He advised me to go next morning and tell the tale
to M. de Sartine, who knew me, and would be glad to have the account from
my own lips. I said nothing, as I knew the famous superintendent of
police to be a dreadful sermoniser.

The lettre de cachet was dated November 6th, and I did not leave Paris
till the 20th.

I informed all my friends of the great honour his majesty had done me,
and I would not hear of Madame du Rumain appealing to the king on my
behalf, though she said she felt certain she could get the order revoked.
The Duc de Choiseul gave me a posting passport dated November 19th, which
I still preserve.

I left Paris without any servant, still grieving, though quietly, over
Charlotte's fate. I had a hundred Louis in cash, and a bill of exchange
on Bordeaux for eight thousand francs. I enjoyed perfect health, and
almost felt as if I had been rejuvenated. I had need of the utmost
prudence and discretion for the future. The deaths of M. de Bragadin and
Madame d'Urfe had left me alone in the world, and I was slowly but
steadily approaching what is called a certain age, when women begin to
look on a man with coldness.

I only called on Madame Valville on the eve of my departure: and found
her in a richly-furnished house, and her casket well filled with
diamonds. When I proposed to return her the fifty louis, she asked me if
I had got a thousand; and on learning that I had only five hundred she
refused the money absolutely and offered me her purse, which I in my turn
refused. I have not seen the excellent creature since then, but before I
left I gave her some excellent advice as to the necessity of saving her
gains for the time of her old age, when her charms would be no more. I
hope she has profited by my counsel. I bade farewell to my brother and my
sister-in-law at six o'clock in the evening, and got into my chaise in
the moonlight, intending to travel all night so as to dine next day at
Orleans, where I wanted to see an old friend. In half an hour I was at
Bourg-la-Reine, and there I began to fall asleep. At seven in the morning
I reached Orleans.

Fair and beloved France, that went so well in those days, despite lettres
de cachet, despite corvees, despite the people's misery and the king's
"good pleasure," dear France, where art thou now? Thy sovereign is the
people now, the most brutal and tyrannical sovereign in the world. You
have no longer to bear the "good pleasure" of the sovereign, but you have
to endure the whims of the mob and the fancies of the Republic--the ruin
of all good Government. A republic presupposes self-denial and a virtuous
people; it cannot endure long in our selfish and luxurious days.

I went to see Bodin, a dancer, who had married Madame Joffroy, one of my
thousand mistresses whom I had loved twenty-two years ago, and had seen
later at Turin, Paris, and Vienna. These meetings with old friends and
sweethearts were always a weak or rather a strong point with me. For a
moment I seemed to be young again, and I fed once more on the delights of
long ago. Repentance was no part of my composition.

Bodin and his wife (who was rather ugly than old-looking, and had become
pious to suit her husband's tastes, thus giving to God the devil's
leavings), Bodin, I say, lived on a small estate he had purchased, and
attributed all the agricultural misfortunes he met with in the course of
the year to the wrath of an avenging Deity.

I had a fasting dinner with them, for it was Friday, and they strictly
observed all the rules of the Church. I told them of my adventures of the
past years, and when I had finished they proceeded to make reflections on
the faults and failings of men who have not God for a guide. They told me
what I knew already: that I had an immortal soul, that there was a God
that judgeth righteously, and that it was high time for me to take
example by them, and to renounce all the pomps and vanities of the world.

"And turn Capuchin, I suppose?"

"You might do much worse."

"Very good; but I shall wait till my beard grows the necessary length in
a single night."

In spite of their silliness, I was not sorry to have spent six hours with
these good creatures who seemed sincerely repentant and happy in their
way, and after an affectionate embrace I took leave of them and travelled
all night. I stopped at Chanteloup to see the monument of the taste and
magnificence of the Duc de Choiseul, and spent twenty-four hours there. A
gentlemanly and polished individual, who did not know me, and for whom I
had no introduction, lodged me in a fine suite of rooms, gave me supper,
and would only sit down to table with me after I had used all my powers
of persuasion. The next day he treated me in the same way, gave me an
excellent dinner, shewed me everything, and behaved as if I were some
prince, though he did not even ask my name. His attentions even extended
to seeing that none of his servants were at hand when I got into my
carriage and drove off. This was to prevent my giving money to any of
them.

The castle on which the Duc de Choiseul had spent such immense sums had
in reality cost him nothing. It was all owing, but he did not trouble
himself about that in the slightest degree, as he was a sworn foe to the
principle of meum and tuum. He never paid his creditors, and never
disturbed his debtors. He was a generous man; a lover of art and artists,
to whom he liked to be of service, and what they did for him he looked
upon as a grateful offering. He was intellectual, but a hater of all
detail and minute research, being of a naturally indolent and
procrastinating disposition. His favourite saying was,

"There's time enough for that."

When I got to Poitiers, I wanted to push on to Vivonne; it was seven
o'clock in the evening, and two girls endeavoured to dissuade me from
this course.

"It's very cold," said they, "and the road is none of the best. You are
no courier, sup here, we will give you a good bed, and you shall start
again in the morning."

"I have made up my mind to go on, but if you will keep me company at
supper I will stay."

"That would cost you too dearly."

"Never too dear. Quick I make up your minds."

"Well, we will sup with you."

"Then lay the table for three; I must go on in an hour."

"In an hour! You mean three, sir; papa will take two hours to get you a
good supper."

"Then I will not go on, but you must keep me company all night."

"We will do so, if papa does not object. We will have your chaise put
into the coach-house."

These two minxes gave me an excellent supper, and were a match for me in
drinking as well as eating. The wine was delicious, and we stayed at
table till midnight, laughing and joking together, though without
overstepping the bounds of propriety.

About midnight, the father came in jovially, and asked me how I had
enjoyed my supper.

"Very much," I answered, "but I have enjoyed still more the company of
your charming daughters."

"I am delighted to hear it. Whenever you come this way they shall keep
you company, but now it is past midnight, and time for them to go to
bed."

I nodded my head, for Charlotte's death was still too fresh in my memory
to admit of my indulging in any voluptuous pleasures. I wished the girls
a pleasant sleep, and I do not think I should even have kissed them if
the father had not urged me to do this honour to their charms. However,
my vanity made me put some fire into the embrace, and I have no doubt
they thought me a prey to vain desires.

When I was alone I reflected that if I did not forget Charlotte I was a
lost man. I slept till nine o'clock, and I told the servant that came to
light my fire to get coffee for three, and to have my horses put in.

The two pretty girls came to breakfast with me, and I thanked them for
having made me stay the night. I asked for the bill, and the eldest said
it was in round figures a Louis apiece. I shewed no sign of anger at this
outrageous fleecing, but gave them three Louis with the best grace
imaginable and went on my way. When I reached Angouleme, where I expected
to find Noel, the King of Prussia's cook, I only found his father, whose
talents in the matter of pates was something prodigious. His eloquence
was as fervent as his ovens. He said he would send his pates all over
Europe to any address I liked to give him.

"What! To Venice, London, Warsaw, St. Petersburg?"

"To Constantinople, if you like. You need only give me your address, and
you need not pay me till you get the pates."

I sent his pates to my friends in Venice, Warsaw, and Turin, and
everybody thanked me for the delicious dish.

Noel had made quite a fortune. He assured me he had sent large
consignments to America, and with the exception of some losses by
shipwreck all the pates had arrived in excellent condition. They were
chiefly made of turkeys, partridges, and hare, seasoned with truffles,
but he also made pates de foie gras of larks and of thrushes, according
to the season.

In two days I arrived at Bordeaux, a beautiful town coming only second to
Paris, with respect to Lyons be it said. I spent a week there, eating and
drinking of the best, for the living there is the choicest in the world.

I transferred my bill of exchange for eight thousand francs to a Madrid
house, and crossed the Landes, passing by Mont de Marsan, Bayonne, and
St. Jean de Luz, where I sold my post-chaise. From St. Jean de Luz I went
to Pampeluna by way of the Pyrenees, which I crossed on mule-back, my
baggage being carried by another mule. The mountains struck me as higher
than the Alps. In this I may possibly be wrong, but I am certain that the
Pyrenees are the most picturesque, fertile, and agreeable of the two.

At Pampeluna a man named Andrea Capello took charge of me and my luggage,
and we set out for Madrid. For the first twenty leagues the travelling
was easy enough, and the roads as good as any in France. These roads did
honour to the memory of M. de Gages, who had administered Navarre after
the Italian war, and had, as I was assured, made the road at his own
expense. Twenty years earlier I had been arrested by this famous general;
but he had established a claim on posterity greater than any of his
victories. These laurels were dyed in blood, but the maker of a good road
is a solid benefactor of all posterity.

In time this road came to an end, and thenceforth it would be incorrect
to say that the roads were bad, for, to tell the truth, there were no
roads at all. There were steep ascents and violent descents, but no
traces of carriage wheels, and so it is throughout the whole of Old
Castile. There are no good inns, only miserable dens scarce good enough
for the muleteers, who make their beds beside their animals. Signor or
rather Senor Andrea tried to choose the least wretched inns for me, and
after having provided for the mules he would go round the entire village
to get something for me to eat. The landlord would not stir; he shewed me
a room where I could sleep if I liked, containing a fire-place, in which
I could light a fire if I thought fit, but as to procuring firewood or
provisions, he left that all to me. Wretched Spain!

The sum asked for a night's accommodation was less than a farmer would
ask in France or Germany for leave to sleep in his barn; but there was
always an extra charge of a 'pizetta por el ruido'. The pizetta is worth
four reals; about twenty-one French sous.

The landlord smoked his paper cigarette nonchalantly enough, blowing
clouds of smoke into the air with immense dignity. To him poverty was as
good as riches; his wants were small, and his means sufficed for them. In
no country in Europe do the lower orders live so contentedly on a very
little as in Spain. Two ounces of white bread, a handful of roast
chestnuts or acorns (called bellotas in Spanish) suffice to keep a
Spaniard for a day. It is his glory to say when a stranger is departing
from his abode,--

"I have not given myself any trouble in waiting on him."

This proceeds in part from idleness and in part from Castilian pride. A
Castilian should not lower himself, they say, by attending on a Gavacho,
by which name the Spaniards know the French, and, indeed, all foreigners.
It is not so offensive as the Turkish appellation of dog, or the damned
foreigner of the English. Of course, persons who have travelled or have
had a liberal education do not speak in this way, and a respectable
foreigner will find reasonable Spaniards as he will find reasonable Turks
and Englishmen.

On the second night of my journey I slept at Agreda, a small and ugly
town, or rather village. There Sister Marie d'Agreda became so crazy as
to write a life of the Virgin, which she affirmed to have been dictated
to her by the Mother of the Lord. The State Inquisitors had given me this
work to read when I was under the Leads, and it had nearly driven me mad.

We did ten Spanish leagues a day, and long and weary leagues they seemed
to me. One morning I thought I saw a dozen Capuchins walking slowly in
front of us, but when we caught them up I found they were women of all
ages.

"Are they mad?" I said to Senior Andrea.

"Not at all. They wear the Capuchin habit out of devotion, and you would
not find a chemise on one of them."

There was nothing surprising in their not having chemises, for the
chemise is a scarce article in Spain, but the idea of pleasing God by
wearing a Capuchin's habit struck me as extremely odd. I will here relate
an amusing adventure which befell me on my way.

At the gate of a town not far from Madrid I was asked for my passport. I
handed it over, and got down to amuse myself. I found the chief of the
customs' house engaged in an argument with a foreign priest who was on
his way to Madrid, and had no passport for the capital. He skewed one he
had had for Bilbao, but the official was not satisfied. The priest was a
Sicilian, and I asked him why he had exposed himself to being placed in
this disagreeable predicament. He said he thought it was unnecessary to
have a passport in Spain when one had once journeyed in the country.

"I want to go to Madrid," said he to me, "and hope to obtain a chaplaincy
in the house of a grandee. I have a letter for him."

"Shew it; they will let you pass then."

"You are right."

The poor priest drew out the letter and skewed it to the official, who
opened it, looked at the signature, and absolutely shrieked when he saw
the name Squillace.

"What, senor abbe! you are going to Madrid with a letter from Squillace,
and you dare to skew it?"

The clerks, constables, and hangers-on, hearing that the hated Squillace,
who would have been stoned to death if it had not been for the king's
protection, was the poor abbe's only patron, began to beat him violently,
much to the poor Sicilian's astonishment.

I interposed, however, and after some trouble I succeeded in rescuing the
priest, who was then allowed to pass, as I believe, as a set-off against
the blows he had received.

Squillace was sent to Venice as Spanish ambassador, and in Venice he died
at an advanced age. He was a man designed to be an object of intense
hatred to the people; he was simply ruthless in his taxation.

The door of my room had a lock on the outside but none on the inside. For
the first and second night I let it pass, but on the third I told Senor
Andrea that I must have it altered.

"Senor Don Jacob, you must bear with it in Spain, for the Holy
Inquisition must always be at liberty to inspect the rooms of
foreigners."

"But what in the devil's name does your cursed Inquisition want . . . ?"

"For the love of God, Senor Jacob, speak not thus! if you were overheard
we should both be undone."

"Well, what can the Holy Inquisition want to know?"

"Everything. It wants to know whether you eat meat on fast days, whether
persons of opposite sexes sleep together, if so, whether they are
married, and if not married it will cause both parties to be imprisoned;
in fine, Senor Don Jaimo, the Holy inquisition is continually watching
over our souls in this country."

When we met a priest bearing the viaticum to some sick man, Senor Andrea
would tell me imperatively to get out of my carriage, and then there was
no choice but to kneel in the mud or dust as the case might be. The chief
subject of dispute at that time was the fashion of wearing breeches.
Those who wore 'braguettes' were imprisoned, and all tailors making
breeches with 'braguettes' were severely punished. Nevertheless, people
persisted in wearing them, and the priests and monks preached in vain
against the indecency of such a habit. A revolution seemed imminent, but
the matter was happily settled without effusion of blood. An edict was
published and affixed to the doors of all the churches, in which it was
declared that breeches with braguettes were only to be worn by the public
hangmen. Then the fashion passed away; for no one cared to pass for the
public executioner.

By little and little I got an insight into the manners of the Spanish
nation as I passed through Guadalaxara and Alcala, and at length arrived
at Madrid.

Guadalaxara, or Guadalajara, is pronounced by the Spaniards with a strong
aspirate, the x and j having the same force. The vowel d, the queen of
letters, reigns supreme in Spain; it is a relic of the old Moorish
language. Everyone knows that the Arabic abounds in d's, and perhaps the
philologists are right in calling it the most ancient of languages, since
the a is the most natural and easy to pronounce of all the letters. It
seems to me very mistaken to call such words as Achald, Ayanda, Almanda,
Acard, Agracaramba, Alcantara, etc., barbarous, for the sonorous ring
with which they are pronounced renders the Castilian the richest of all
modern languages. Spanish is undoubtedly one of the finest, most
energetic, and most majestic languages in the world. When it is
pronounced 'ore rotundo' it is susceptible of the most poetic harmony. It
would be superior to the Italian, if it were not for the three guttural
letters, in spite of what the Spaniards say to the contrary. It is no
good remonstrating with them.

'Quisquis amat ranam, ranam purat esse Dianam'.

As I was entering the Gate of Alcala, my luggage was searched, and the
clerks paid the greatest attention to my books, and they were very
disappointed only to find the "Iliad" in Greek, and a Latin Horace. They
were taken away, but three days after, they were returned to me at my
lodging in the Rue de la Croix where I had gone in spite of Senor Andrea,
who had wanted to take me elsewhere. A worthy man whom I had met in
Bordeaux had given me the address. One of the ceremonies I had to undergo
at the Gate of Alcala displeased me in the highest degree. A clerk asked
me for a pinch of snuff, so I took out my snuff-box and gave it him, but
instead of taking a pinch he snatched it out of my hands and said,--

"Senor, this snuff will not pass in Spain" (it was French rappee); and
after turning it out on the ground he gave me back the box.

The authorities are most rigorous on the matter of this innocent powder,
and in consequence an immense contraband trade is carried on. The spies
employed by the Spanish snuff-makers are always on the look-out after
foreign snuff, and if they detect anyone carrying it they make him pay
dearly for the luxury. The ambassadors of foreign powers are the only
persons exempted from the prohibitions. The king who stuffs into his
enormous nose one enormous pinch as he rises in the morning wills that
all his subjects buy their snuff of the Spanish manufacturers. When
Spanish snuff is pure it is very good, but at the time I was in Spain the
genuine article could hardly be bought for its weight in gold. By reason
of the natural inclination towards forbidden fruit, the Spaniards are
extremely fond of foreign snuff, and care little for their own; thus
snuff is smuggled to an enormous extent.

My lodging was comfortable enough, but I felt the want of a fire as the
cold was more trying than that of Paris, in spite of the southern
latitude. The cause of this cold is that Madrid is the highest town in
Europe. From whatever part of the coast one starts, one has to mount to
reach the capital. The town is also surrounded by mountains and hills, so
that the slightest touch of wind from the north makes the cold intense.
The air of Madrid is not healthy for strangers, especially for those of a
full habit of body; the Spaniards it suits well enough, for they are dry
and thin, and wear a cloak even in the dog days.

The men of Spain dwell mentally in a limited horizon, bounded by
prejudice on every side; but the women, though ignorant, are usually
intelligent; while both sexes are the prey of desires, as lively as their
native air, as burning as the sun that shines on them. Every Spaniard
hates a foreigner, simply because he is a foreigner, but the women avenge
us by loving us, though with great precautions, for your Spaniard is
intensely jealous. They watch most jealously over the honour of their
wives and daughters. As a rule the men are ugly, though there are
numerous exceptions; while the women are pretty, and beauties are not
uncommon. The southern blood in their veins inclines them to love, and
they are always ready to enter into an intrigue and to deceive the spies
by whom they are surrounded. The lover who runs the greatest dangers is
always the favourite. In the public walks, the churches, the theatres,
the Spanish women are always speaking the language of the eyes. If the
person to whom it is addressed knows how to seize the instant, he may be
sure of success, but if not, the opportunity will never be offered him
again.

I required some kind of heat in my room, and could not bear a charcoal
brazier, so I incited an ingenious tin-smith to make me a stove with a
pipe going out of the window. However, he was so proud of his success
that he made me pay dearly.

Before the stove was ready I was told where I might go and warm myself an
hour before noon, and stay till dinner-time. It is called La Pueyta del
Sol, "The Gate of the Sun." It is not a gate, but it takes its name from
the manner in which the source of all heat lavishes his treasures there,
and warms all who come and bask in his rays. I found a numerous company
promenading there, walking and talking, but it was not much to my taste.

I wanted a servant who could speak French, and I had the greatest
difficulty in getting one, and had to pay dearly, for in Madrid the kind
of man I wanted was called a page. I could not compel him to mount behind
my carriage, nor to carry a package, nor to light me by night with a
torch or lantern.

My page was a man of thirty, and terribly ugly; but this was a
recommendation, as his ugliness secured him from the jealous suspicions
of husbands. A woman of rank will not drive out without one of these
pages seated in the forepart of her carriage. They are said to be more
difficult to seduce than the strictest of duennas.

I was obliged to take one of these rascally tribe into my service, and I
wish he had broken his leg on his way to my house.

I delivered all my introductions, beginning with the letter from Princess
Lubomirska to the Count of Aranda. The count had covered himself with
glory by driving the Jesuits out of Spain. He was more powerful than the
king himself, and never went out without a number of the royal guardsmen
about him, whom he made to sit down at his table. Of course all the
Spaniards hated him, but he did not seem to care much for that. A
profound politician, and absolutely resolute and firm, he privately
indulged in every luxury that he forbade to others, and did not care
whether people talked of it or not.

He was a rather ugly man, with a disagreeable squint. His reception of me
was far from cordial.

"What do you want in Spain?" he began.

"To add fresh treasures to my store of experience, by observing the
manners and the customs of the country, and if possible to serve the
Government with such feeble, talents as I may possess."

"Well, you have no need of my protection. If you do not infringe the
laws, no one will disturb you. As to your obtaining employment, you had
better go to the representative of your country; he will introduce you at
Court, and make you known."

"My lord, the Venetian ambassador will do nothing for me; I am in
disgrace with the Government. He will not even receive me at the
embassy."

"Then I would advise you to give up all hopes of employment, for the king
would begin by asking your ambassador about you, and his answer would be
fatal. You will do well to be satisfied with amusing yourself."

After this I called on the Neapolitan ambassador, who talked in much the
same way. Even the Marquis of Moras, one of the most pleasant men in
Spain, did not hold out any hopes. The Duke of Lossada, the high steward
and favourite of his Catholic majesty, was sorry to be disabled from
doing me any service, in spite of his good will, and advised me, in some
way or other, to get the Venetian ambassador to give me a good word, in
spite of my disgrace. I determined to follow his advice, and wrote to M.
Dandolo, begging him to get the ambassador to favour me at the Spanish
Court in spite of my quarrel with the Venetian Government. I worded my
letter in such a way that it might be read by the Inquisitors themselves,
and calculated on its producing a good impression.

After I had written this letter I went to the lodging of the Venetian
ambassador, and presented myself to the secretary, Gaspar Soderini, a
worthy and intelligent man. Nevertheless, he dared to tell me that he was
astonished at my hardihood in presenting myself at the embassy.

"I have presented myself, sir, that my enemies may never reproach me for
not having done so; I am not aware that I have ever done anything which
makes me too infamous to call on my ambassador. I should have credited
myself with much greater hardihood if I had left without fulfilling this
duty; but I shall be sorry if the ambassador views my proceedings in the
same light as yourself, and puts down to temerity what was meant for a
mark of respect. I shall be none the less astonished if his excellency
refuses to receive me on account of a private quarrel between myself and
the State Inquisitors, of which he knows no more than I do, and I know
nothing. You will excuse my saying that he is not the ambassador of the
State Inquisitors, but of the Republic of which I am a subject; for I
defy him and I defy the Inquisitors to tell me what crime I have
committed that I am to be deprived of my rights as a Venetian citizen. I
think that, while it is my duty to reverence my prince in the person of
my ambassador, it is his duty to afford me his protection."

This speech had made Soderini blush, and he replied,--

"Why don't you write a letter to the ambassador, with the arguments you
have just used to me?"

"I could not write to him before I know whether he will receive me or
not. But now, as I have reason to suppose that his opinions are much the
same as your own, I will certainly write to him."

"I do not know whether his excellency thinks as I do or not, and, in
spite of what I said to you, it is just possible that you do not know my
own opinions on the question; but write to him, and he may possibly give
you an audience."

"I shall follow your advice, for which I am much obliged."

When I got home I wrote to his excellency all I had said to the
secretary, and the next day I had a visit from Count Manucci. The count
proved to be a fine-looking young man of an agreeable presence. He said
that he lived in the embassy, that his excellency had read my letter, and
though he grieved not to receive me publicly he should be delighted to
see me in private, for he both knew and esteemed me.

Young Manucci told me that he was a Venetian, and that he knew me by
name, as he often heard his father and mother lamenting my fortune.
Before long it dawned upon me that this Count Manucci was the son of that
Jean Baptiste Manucci who had served as the spy of the State Inquisitors
and had so adroitly managed to get possession of my books of magic, which
were in all probability the chief corpus delicti.

I did not say anything to him, but I was certain that my guess was
correct. His mother was the daughter of a valet de chambre, and his
father was a poor mechanic. I asked the young man if he were called count
at the embassy, and he said he bore the title in virtue of a warrant from
the elector-palatine. My question skewed him that I knew his origin, and
he began to speak openly to me; and knowing that I was acquainted with
the peculiar tastes of M. de Mocenigo, the ambassador, he informed me
laughingly that he was his pathic.

"I will do my best for you," he added; and I was glad to hear him say so,
for an Alexis should be able to obtain almost anything from his Corydon.
We embraced, and he told me as we parted that he would expect me at the
embassy in the afternoon, to take coffee in his room; the ambassador, he
said, would certainly come in as soon as he heard of my presence.

I went to the embassy, and had a very kind reception from the ambassador,
who said he was deeply grieved not to be able to receive me publicly. He
admitted that he might present me at Court without compromising himself,
but he was afraid of making enemies.

"I hope soon to receive a letter from a friend of mine, which will
authorise your excellency producing me."

"I shall be delighted, in that case, to present you to all the Spanish
ministers."

This Mocenigo was the same that acquired such a reputation at Paris by
his leanings to pederasty, a vice or taste which the French hold in
horror. Later on, Mocenigo was condemned by the Council of Ten to ten
years' imprisonment for having started on an embassy to Vienna without
formal permission. Maria Theresa had intimated to the Venetian Government
that she would not receive such a character, as his habits would be the
scandal of her capital. The Venetian Government had some trouble with
Mocenigo, and as he attempted to set out for Vienna they exiled him and
chose another ambassador, whose morals were as bad, save that the new
ambassador indulged himself with Hebe and not Ganymede, which threw a
veil of decency over his proceedings.

In spite of his reputation for pederasty, Mocenigo was much liked at
Madrid. On one occasion I was at a ball, and a Spaniard noticing me with
Manucci, came up to me, and told me with an air of mystery that that
young man was the ambassador's wife. He did not know that the ambassador
was Manucci's wife; in fact, he did not understand the arrangement at
all. "Where ignorance is bliss!" etc. However, in spite of the revolting
nature of this vice, it has been a favourite one with several great men.
It was well-known to the Ancients, and those who indulged in it were
called Hermaphrodites, which symbolises not a man of two sexes but a man
with the passions of the two sexes.

I had called two or three times on the painter Mengs, who had been
painter in ordinary to his Catholic majesty for six years, and had an
excellent salary. He gave me some good dinners. His wife and family were
at Rome, while he basked in the royal favours at Madrid, enjoying the
unusual privilege of being able to speak to the king whenever he would.
At Mengs's house I trade the acquaintance of the architect Sabatini, an
extremely able man whom the king had summoned from Naples to cleanse
Madrid, which was formerly the dirtiest and most stinking town in Europe,
or, for the matter of that, in the world. Sabatini had become a rich man
by constructing drains, sewers, and closets for a city of fourteen
thousand houses. He had married by proxy the daughter of Vanvitelli, who
was also an architect at Naples, but he had never seen her. She came to
Madrid about the same time as myself. She was a beauty of eighteen, and
no sooner did she see her husband than she declared she would never be
his wife. Sabatini was neither a young man nor a handsome one, but he was
kind-hearted and distinguished; and when he told his young wife that she
would have to choose between him and a nunnery, she determined to make
the best of what she thought a bad bargain. However, she had no reason to
repent of her choice; her husband was rich, affectionate, and easygoing,
and gave her everything she wanted. I sighed and burned for her in
silence, not daring to declare my love, for while the wound of the death
of Charlotte was still bleeding I also began to find that women were
beginning to give me the cold shoulder.

By way of amusing myself I began to go to the theatre, and the masked
balls to which the Count of Aranda had established. They were held in a
room built for the purpose, and named 'Los Scannos del Peral'. A Spanish
play is full of absurdities, but I rather relished the representations.
The 'Autos Sacramentales' were still represented; they were afterwards
prohibited. I could not help remarking the strange way in which the boxes
are constructed by order of the wretched police. Instead of being boarded
in front they are perfectly open, being kept up by small pillars. A
devotee once said to me at the theatre that this was a very wise
regulation, and he was surprised that it was not carried into force in
Italy.

"Why so?"

"Because lovers, who feel sure that no one in the pit can see them, may
commit improprieties."

I only answered with a shrug of the shoulders.

In a large box opposite to the stage sat 'los padres' of the Holy
Inquisition to watch over the morals of actors and audience. I was gazing
on them when of a sudden the sentinel at the door of the pit called out
"Dios!" and at this cry all the actors and all the audience, men and
women, fell down on their knees, and remained kneeling till the sound of
a bell in the street ceased to be heard. This bell betokened that a
priest was passing by carrying the viaticum to some sick man. I felt very
much inclined to laugh, but I had seen enough of Spanish manners to
refrain. All the religion of the Spaniard is in outward show and
ceremony. A profligate woman before yielding to the desires of her lover
covers the picture of Christ, or the Virgin, with a veil. If the lover
laughed at this absurdity he would run a risk of being denounced as an
Atheist, and most probably by the wretched woman who had sold him her
charms.

In Madrid, and possibly all over Spain, a gentleman who takes a lady to a
private room in an inn must expect to have a servant in the room the
whole of the time, that he may be able to swear that the couple took no
indecent liberties with each other. In spite of all, profligacy is
rampant at Madrid, and also the most dreadful hypocrisy, which is more
offensive to true piety than open sin. Men and women seemed to have come
to an agreement to set the whole system of surveillance utterly at
nought. However, commerce with women is not without its dangers; whether
it be endemic or a result of dirty habits, one has often good reason to
repent the favours one has obtained.

The masked ball quite captivated me. The first time I went to see what it
was like and it only cost me a doubloon (about eleven francs), but ever
after it cost me four doubloons, for the following reason:

An elderly gentleman, who sat next me at supper, guessed I was a
foreigner by my difficulty in making myself understood by the waiter, and
asked me where, I had left my lady friend.

"I have not got one; I came by myself to enjoy this delightful and
excellently-managed entertainment."

"Yes, but you ought to come with a companion; then you could dance. At
present you cannot do so, as every lady has her partner, who will not
allow her to dance with anyone else."

"Then I must be content not to dance, for, being a stranger, I do not
know any lady whom I can ask to come with me."

"As a stranger you would have much less difficulty in securing a partner
than a citizen of Madrid. Under the new fashion, introduced by the Count
of Aranda, the masked ball has become the rage of all the women in the
capital. You see there are about two hundred of them on the floor
to-night; well, I think there are at least four thousand girls in Madrid
who are sighing for someone to take them to the ball, for, as you may
know, no woman is allowed to come by herself. You would only have to go
to any respectable people, give your name and address, and ask to have
the pleasure of taking their daughter to the ball. You would have to send
her a domino, mask, and gloves; and you would take her and bring her back
in your carriage."

"And if the father and mother refused?"

"Then you would make your bow and go, leaving them to repent of their
folly, for the girl would sigh, and weep, and moan, bewail parental
tyranny, call Heaven to witness the innocency of going to a ball, and
finally go into convulsions."

This oration, which was uttered in the most persuasive style, made me
quite gay, for I scented an intrigue from afar. I thanked the masked (who
spoke Italian very well) and promised to follow his advice and to let him
know the results.

"I shall be delighted to hear of your success, and you will find me in
the box, where I shall be glad if you will follow me now, to be
introduced to the lady who is my constant companion."

I was astonished at so much politeness, and told him my name and followed
him. He took me into a box where there were two ladies and an elderly
man. They were talking about the ball, so I put in a remark or two on the
same topic, which seemed to meet with approval. One of the two ladies,
who retained some traces of her former beauty, asked me, in excellent
French, what circles I moved in.

"I have only been a short time in Madrid, and not having been presented
at Court I really know no one."

"Really! I quite pity you. Come and see me, you will be welcome. My name
is Pichona, and anybody will tell you where I live."

"I shall be delighted to pay my respects to you, madam."

What I liked best about the spectacle was a wonderful and fantastic dance
which was struck up at midnight. It was the famous fandango, of which I
had often heard, but of which I had absolutely no idea. I had seen it
danced on the stage in France and Italy, but the actors were careful not
to use those voluptuous gestures which make it the most seductive in the
world. It cannot be described. Each couple only dances three steps, but
the gestures and the attitudes are the most lascivious imaginable.
Everything is represented, from the sigh of desire to the final ecstasy;
it is a very history of love. I could not conceive a woman refusing her
partner anything after this dance, for it seemed made to stir up the
senses. I was so excited at this Bacchanalian spectacle that I burst out
into cries of delight. The masker who had taken me to his box told me
that I should see the fandango danced by the Gitanas with good partners.

"But," I remarked, "does not the Inquisition object to this dance?"

Madame Pichona told me that it was absolutely forbidden, and would not be
danced unless the Count of Aranda had given permission.

I heard afterwards that, on the count forbidding the fandango, the
ball-room was deserted with bitter complaints, and on the prohibition
being withdrawn everyone was loud in his praise.

The next day I told my infamous page to get me a Spaniard who would teach
me the fandango. He brought me an actor, who also gave me Spanish
lessons, for he pronounced the language admirably. In the course of three
days the young actor taught me all the steps so well that, by the
confession of the Spaniards themselves, I danced it to perfection.

For the next ball I determined to carry the masker's advice into effect,
but I did not want to take a courtesan or a married woman with me, and I
could not reasonably expect that any young lady of family would accompany
me.

It was St. Anthony's Day, and passing the Church of the Soledad I went
in, with the double motive of hearing mass and of procuring a partner for
the next day's ball.

I noticed a fine-looking girl coming out of the confessional, with
contrite face and lowered eyes, and I noted where she went. She knelt
down in the middle of the church, and I was so attracted by her
appearance that I registered a mental vow to the effect that she should
be my first partner. She did not look like a person of condition, nor, so
far as I could see, was she rich, and nothing about her indicated the
courtesan, though women of that class go to confession in Madrid like
everybody else. When mass was ended, the priest distributed the
Eucharist, and I saw her rise and approach humbly to the holy table, and
there receive the communion. She then returned to the church to finish
her devotions, and I was patient enough to wait till they were over.

At last she left, in company with another girl, and I followed her at a
distance. At the end of a street her companion left her to go into her
house, and she, retracing her steps, turned into another street and
entered a small house, one story high. I noted the house and the street
(Calle des Desinjano) and then walked up and down for half an hour, that
I might not be suspected of following her. At last I took courage and
walked in, and, on my ringing a bell, I heard a voice,

"Who is there?"

"Honest folk," I answered, according to the custom of the country; and
the door was opened. I found myself in the presence of a man, a woman,
the young devotee I had followed, and another girl, somewhat ugly.

My Spanish was bad, but still it was good enough to express my meaning,
and, hat in hand, I informed the father that, being a stranger, and
having no partner to take to the ball, I had come to ask him to give me
his daughter for my partner, supposing he had a daughter. I assured him
that I was a man of honour, and that the girl should be returned to him
after the ball in the same condition as when she started.

"Senor," said he, "there is my daughter, but I don't know you, and I
don't know whether she wants to go."

"I should like to go, if my parents will allow me."

"Then you know this gentleman?"

"I have never seen him, and I suppose he has never seen me."

"You speak the truth, senora."

The father asked me my name and address, and promised I should have a
decisive answer by dinner-time, if I dined at home. I begged him to
excuse the liberty I had taken, and to let me know his answer without
fail, so that I might have time to get another partner if it were
unfavourable to me.

Just as I was beginning to dine my man appeared. I asked him to sit down,
and he informed me that his daughter would accept my offer, but that her
mother would accompany her and sleep in the carriage. I said that she
might do so if she liked, but I should be sorry for her on account of the
cold. "She shall have a good cloak," said he; and he proceeded to inform
me that he was a cordwainer.

"Then I hope you will take my measure for a pair of shoes."

"I daren't do that; I'm an hidalgo, and if I were to take anyone's
measure I should have to touch his foot, and that would be a degradation.
I am a cobbler, and that is not inconsistent with my nobility."

"Then, will you mend me these boots?"

"I will make them like new; but I see they want a lot of work; it will
cost you a pezzo duro, about five francs."

I told him that I thought his terms very reasonable, and he went out with
a profound bow, refusing absolutely to dine with me.

Here was a cobbler who despised bootmakers because they had to touch the
foot, and they, no doubt, despised him because he touched old leather.
Unhappy pride how many forms it assumes, and who is without his own
peculiar form of it?

The next day I sent to the gentleman-cobbler's a tradesman with dominos,
masks, and gloves; but I took care not to go myself nor to send my page,
for whom I had an aversion which almost amounted to a presentiment. I
hired a carriage to seat four, and at nightfall I drove to the house of
my pious partner, who was quite ready for me. The happy flush on her face
was a sufficient index to me of the feelings of her heart. We got into
the carriage with the mother, who was wrapped up in a vast cloak, and at
the door of the dancing-room we descended, leaving the mother in the
carriage. As soon as we were alone my fair partner told me that her name
was Donna Ignazia.



CHAPTER IV

My Amours With Donna Ignazia--My Imprisonment At Buen Retiro--My
Triumph--I Am Commended to the Venetian Ambassador by One of the State
Inquisitors

We entered the ball-room and walked round several times. Donna Ignazia
was in such a state of ecstasy that I felt her trembling, and augured
well for my amorous projects. Though liberty, nay, license, seemed to
reign supreme, there was a guard of soldiers ready to arrest the first
person who created any disturbance. We danced several minuets and square
dances, and at ten o'clock we went into the supper-room, our conversation
being very limited all the while, she not speaking for fear of
encouraging me too much, and I on account of my poor knowledge of the
Spanish language. I left her alone for a moment after supper, and went to
the box, where I expected to find Madame Pichona, but it was occupied by
maskers, who were unknown to me, so I rejoined my partner, and we went on
dancing the minuets and quadrilles till the fandango was announced. I
took my place with my partner, who danced it admirably, and seemed
astonished to find herself so well supported by a foreigner. This dance
had excited both of us, so, after taking her to the buffet and giving her
the best wines and liqueurs procurable, I asked her if she were content
with me. I added that I was so deeply in love with her that unless she
found some means of making me happy I should undoubtedly die of love. I
assured her that I was ready to face all hazards.

"By making you happy," she replied, "I shall make myself happy, too. I
will write to you to-morrow, and you will find the letter sewn into the
hood of my domino."

"You will find me ready to do anything, fair Ignazia, if you will give me
hope."

At last the ball was over, and we went out and got into the carriage. The
mother woke up, and the coachman drove off, and I, taking the girl's
hands, would have kissed them. However, she seemed to suspect that I had
other intentions, and held my hands clasped so tightly that I believe I
should have found it a hard task to pull them away. In this position
Donna Ignazia proceeded to tell her mother all about the ball, and the
delight it had given her. She did not let go my hands till we got to the
corner of their street, when the mother called out to the coachman to
stop, not wishing to give her neighbours occasion for slander by stopping
in front of their own house.

The next day I sent for the domino, and in it I found a letter from Donna
Ignazia, in which she told me that a Don Francisco de Ramos would call on
me, that he was her lover, and that he would inform me how to render her
and myself happy.

Don Francisco wasted no time, for the next morning at eight o'clock my
page sent in his name. He told me that Donna Ignazia, with whom he spoke
every night, she being at her window and he in the street, had informed
him that she and I had been at the ball together. She had also told him
that she felt sure I had conceived a fatherly affection for her, and she
had consequently prevailed upon him to call on me, being certain that I
would treat him as my own son. She had encouraged him to ask me to lend
him a hundred doubloons which would enable them to get married before the
end of the carnival.

"I am employed at the Mint," he added, "but my present salary is a very
small one. I hope I shall get an increase before long, and then I shall
be in a position to make Ignazia happy. All my relations live at Toledo,
and I have no friends at Madrid, so when we set up our only friends will
be the father and mother of my wife and yourself, for I am sure you love
her like a daughter."

"You have probed my heart to its core," I replied, "but just now I am
awaiting remittances, and have very little money about me. You may count
on my discretion, and I shall be delighted to see you whenever you care
to call on me."

The gallant made me a bow, and took his departure in no good humour. Don
Francisco was a young man of twenty-two, ugly and ill-made. I resolved to
nip the intrigue in the bud, for my inclination for Donna Ignazia was of
the lightest description; and I went to call on Madame Pichona, who had
given me such a polite invitation to come and see her. I had made
enquiries about her, and had found out that she was an actress and had
been made rich by the Duke of Medina-Celi. The duke had paid her a visit
in very cold weather, and finding her without a fire, as she was too poor
to buy coals, had sent her the next day a silver stove, which he had
filled with a hundred thousand pezzos duros in gold, amounting to three
hundred thousand francs in French money. Since then Madame Pichona lived
at her ease and received good company.

She gave me a warm reception when I called on her, but her looks were
sad. I began by saying that as I had not found her in her box on the last
ball night I had ventured to come to enquire after her health.

"I did not go," said she, "for on that day died my only friend the Duke
of Medina-Celi. He was ill for three days."

"I sympathise with you. Was the duke an old man?"

"Hardly sixty. You have seen him; he did not look his age."

"Where have I seen him?"

"Did he not bring you to my box?"

"You don't say so! He did not tell me his name and I never saw him
before."

I was grieved to hear of his death; it was in all probability a
misfortune for me as well as Madame Pichona. All the duke's estate passed
to a son of miserly disposition, who in his turn had a son who was
beginning to evince the utmost extravagance.

I was told that the family of Medina-Celi enjoys thirty titles of
nobility.

One day a young man called on me to offer me, as a foreigner, his
services in a country which he knew thoroughly.

"I am Count Marazzini de Plaisance," he began, "I am not rich and I have
come to Madrid to try and make my fortune. I hope to enter the bodyguard
of his Catholic majesty. I have been indulging in the amusements of the
town ever since I came. I saw you at the ball with an unknown beauty. I
don't ask you to tell me her name, but if you are fond of novelty I can
introduce you to all the handsomest girls in Madrid."

If my experience had taught me such wholesome lessons as I might have
expected, I should have shown the impudent rascal the door. Alas! I began
to be weary of my experience and the fruits of it; I began to feel the
horrors of a great void; I had need of some slight passion to wile away
the dreary hours. I therefore made this Mercury welcome, and told him I
should be obliged by his presenting me to some beauties, neither too easy
nor too difficult to access.

"Come with me to the ball," he rejoined, "and I will shew you some women
worthy of your attention."

The ball was to take place the same evening, and I agreed; he asked me to
give him some dinner, and I agreed to that also. After dinner he told me
he had no money, and I was foolish enough to give him a doubloon. The
fellow, who was ugly, blind of one eye, and full of impudence, shewed me
a score of pretty women, whose histories he told me, and seeing me to be
interested in one of them he promised to bring her to a procuress. He
kept his word, but he cost me dear; for the girl only served for an
evening's amusement.

Towards the end of the carnival the noble Don Diego, the father of Donna
Ignazia, brought me my boots, and the thanks of his wife and himself for
the pleasure I had given her at the ball.

"She is as good as she is beautiful," said I, "she deserves to prosper,
and if I have not called on her it is only that I am anxious to do
nothing which could injure her reputation."

"Her reputation, Senor Caballero, is above all reproach, and I shall be
delighted to see you whenever you honour me with a call."

"The carnival draws near to its end," I replied, "and if Donna Ignazia
would like to go to another ball I shall be happy to take her again."

"You must come and ask her yourself."

"I will not fail to do so."

I was anxious to see how the pious girl, who had tried to make me pay a
hundred doubloons for the chance of having her after her marriage, would
greet me, so I called the same day. I found her with her mother, rosary
in hand, while her noble father was botching old boots. I laughed
inwardly at being obliged to give the title of don to a cobbler who would
not make boots because he was an hidalgo. Hidalgo, meaning noble, is
derived from 'higo de albo', son of somebody, and the people, whom the
nobles call 'higos de nade', sons of nobody, often revenge themselves by
calling the nobles hideputas, that is to say, sons of harlots.

Donna Ignazia rose politely from the floor, where she was sitting
cross-legged, after the Moorish fashion. I have seen exalted ladies in
this position at Madrid, and it is very common in the antechambers of the
Court and the palace of the Princess of the Asturias. The Spanish women
sit in church in the same way, and the rapidity with which they can
change this posture to a kneeling or a standing one is something amazing.

Donna Ignazia thanked me for honouring her with a visit, adding that she
would never have gone to the ball if it had not been for me, and that she
never hoped to go to it again, as I had doubtless found someone else more
worthy of my attentions.

"I have not found anyone worthy to be preferred before you," I replied,
"and if you would like to go to the ball again I should be most happy to
take you."

The father and mother were delighted with the pleasure I was about to
give to their beloved daughter. As the ball was to take place the same
evening, I gave the mother a doubloon to get a mask and domino. She went
on her errand, and, as Don Diego also went out on some business, I found
myself alone with the girl. I took the opportunity of telling her that if
she willed I would be hers, as I adored her, but that I could not sigh
for long.

"What can you ask, and what can I offer, since I must keep myself pure
for my husband?"

"You should abandon yourself to me without reserve, and you may be sure
that I should respect your innocence."

I then proceeded to deliver a gentle attack, which she repulsed, with a
serious face. I stopped directly, telling her that she would find me
polite and respectful, but not in the least affectionate, for the rest of
the evening.

Her face had blushed a vivid scarlet, and she replied that her sense of
duty obliged her to repulse me in spite of herself.

I liked this metaphysical line of argument. I saw that I had only to
destroy the idea of duty in her and all the rest would follow. What I had
to do was to enter into an argument, and to bear away the prize directly
I saw her at a loss for an answer.

"If your duty," I began, "forces you to repulse me in spite of yourself,
your duty is a burden on you. If it is a burden on you, it is your enemy,
and if it is your enemy why do you suffer it thus lightly to gain the
victory? If you were your own friend, you would at once expel this
insolent enemy from your coasts."

"That may not be."

"Yes, it may. Only shut your eyes."

"Like that?"

"Yes."

I immediately laid hands on a tender place; she repulsed me, but more
gently and not so seriously as before.

"You may, of course, seduce me," she said, "but if you really love me you
will spare me the shame."

"Dearest Ignazia, there is no shame in a girl giving herself up to the
man she loves. Love justifies all things. If you do not love me I ask
nothing of you."

"But how shall I convince you that I am actuated by love and not by
complaisance?"

"Leave me to do what I like, and my self-esteem will help me to believe
you."

"But as I cannot be certain that you will believe me, my duty plainly
points to a refusal."

"Very good, but you will make me sad and cold."

"Then I shall be sad, too."

At these encouraging words I embraced her, and obtained some solid
favours with one hardy hand. She made no opposition, and I was well
pleased with what I had got; and for a first attempt I could not well
expect more.

At this juncture the mother came in with the dominos and gloves. I
refused to accept the change, and went away to return in my carriage, as
before.

Thus the first step had been taken, and Donna Ignazia felt it would be
ridiculous not to join in with my conversation at the ball which all
tended to procuring the pleasure of spending our nights together. She
found me affectionate all the evening, and at supper I did my best to get
her everything she liked. I made her see that the part she had at last
taken was worthy of praise, and not blame. I filled her pockets with
sweets, and put into my own pockets two bottles of ratafia, which I
handed over to the mother, who was asleep in the carriage. Donna Ignazia
gratefully refused the quadruple I wished to give her, saying that if it
were in my power to make such presents, I might give the money to her
lover whenever he called on me.

"Certainly," I answered, "but what shall I say to prevent his taking
offence?"

"Tell him that it is on account of what he asked you. He is poor, and I
am sure he is in despair at not seeing me in the window to-night. I shall
tell him I only went to the ball with you to please my father."

Donna Ignazia, a mixture of voluptuousness and piety, like most Spanish
women, danced the fandango with so much fire that no words could have
expressed so well the Joys that were in store for me. What a dance it is!
Her bosom was heaving and her blood all aflame, and yet I was told that
for the greater part of the company the dance was wholly innocent, and
devoid of any intention. I pretended to believe it, but I certainly did
not. Ignazia begged me to come to mass at the Church of the Soledad the
next day at eight o'clock. I had not yet told her that it was there I had
seen her first. She also asked me to come and see her in the evening, and
said she would send me a letter if we were not left alone together.

I slept till noon, and was awoke by Marazzini, who came to ask me to give
him some dinner. He told me he had seen me with my fair companion the
night before, and that he had vainly endeavoured to find out who she was.
I bore with this singularly misplaced curiosity, but when it came to his
saying that he would have followed us if he had had any money, I spoke to
him in a manner that made him turn pale. He begged pardon, and promised
to bridle his curiosity for the future. He proposed a party of pleasure
with the famous courtezan Spiletta, whose favours were dear, but I
declined, for my mind was taken up with the fair Ignazia, whom I
considered a worthy successor to Charlotte.

I went to the church, and she saw me when she came in, followed by the
same companion as before.

She knelt down at two or three paces from me, but did not once look in my
direction. Her friend, on the other hand, inspected me closely; she
seemed about the same age as Ignazia, but she was ugly. I also noticed
Don Francisco, and as I was going out of the church my rival followed me,
and congratulated me somewhat bitterly on my good fortune in having taken
his mistress a second time to the ball. He confessed that he had been on
our track the whole evening, and that he should have gone away well
enough pleased if it had not been for the way in which we dance the
fandango. I felt this was an occasion for a little gentle management, and
I answered good-humouredly that the love he thought he noticed was wholly
imaginary, and that he was wrong to entertain any suspicions as to so
virtuous a girl as Donna Ignazia. At the same time I placed an ounce in
his hand, begging him to take it on account. He did so with an astonished
stare, and, calling me his father and guardian angel, swore an eternal
gratitude.

In the evening I called on Don Diego, where I was regaled with the
excellent ratafia I had given the mother, and the whole family began to
speak of the obligations Spain owed to the Count of Aranda.

"No exercise is more healthful than dancing," said Antonia, the mother,
"and before his time balls were strictly forbidden. In spite of that he
is hated for having expelled 'los padres de la compagnia de Jesus', and
for his sumptuary regulations. But the poor bless his name, for all the
money produced by the balls goes to them."

"And thus," said the father, "to go to the ball is to do a pious work."

"I have two cousins," said Ignazia, "who are perfect angels of goodness.
I told them that you had taken me to the ball; but they are so poor that
they have no hope of going. If you like you can make them quite happy by
taking them on the last day of the carnival. The ball closes at midnight,
so as not to profane Ash Wednesday."

"I shall be happy to oblige you, all the more as your lady mother will
not be obliged to wait for us in the carriage."

"You are very kind; but I shall have to introduce you to my aunt; she is
so particular. When she knows you, I am sure she will consent, for you
have all the air of discretion. Go and see her to-day; she lives in the
next street, and over her door you will see a notice that lace is washed
within. Tell her that my mother gave you the address. To-morrow morning,
after mass, I will see to everything else, and you must come here at noon
to agree as to our meeting on the last day of the carnival."

I did all this, and the next day I heard that it was settled.

"I will have the dominos ready at my house," I said, "and you must come
in at the back door. We will dine in my room, mask, and go to the ball.
The eldest of your cousins must be disguised as a man."

"I won't tell her anything about that, for fear she might think it a sin,
but once in your house you will have no difficulty in managing her."

The younger of the two cousins was ugly, but looked like a woman, where
as the elder looked like an ugly dressed man in woman's clothes. She made
an amusing contrast with Donna Ignazia, who looked most seductive when
she laid aside her air of piety.

I took care that everything requisite for our disguises should be at hand
in a neighbouring closet, unbeknown to my rascally page. I gave him a
piece of money in the morning, and told him to spend the last day of the
carnival according to his own taste, as I should not require his services
till noon the day after.

I ordered a good dinner, and a waiter to serve it, at the tavern, and got
rid of Marazzini by giving him a doubloon. I took great pains over the
entertainment I was to give the two cousins and the fair Ignazia, whom I
hoped that day to make my mistress. It was all quite a novelty for me; I
had to do with three devotees, two hideous and the third ravishingly
beautiful, who had already had a foretaste of the joys in store for her.

They came at noon, and for an hour I discoursed to them in a moral and
unctuous manner. I had taken care to provide myself with some excellent
wine, which did not fail to take effect on the three girls, who were not
accustomed to a dinner that lasted two hours. They were not exactly
inebriated, but their spirits were worked up to a pitch they had never
attained before.

I told the elder cousin, who might be twenty-five years old, that I was
going to disguise her as a man; consternation appeared on her features,
but I had expected as much, and Donna Ignazia told her she was only too
lucky, and her sister observed that she did not think it could be a sin.

"If it were a sin," said I, "do you suppose that I should have suggested
it to your virtuous sister."

Donna Ignazia, who knew the Legendarium by heart, corroborated my
assertion by saying that the blessed St. Marina had passed her whole life
in man's clothes; and this settled the matter.

I then burst into a very high-flown eulogium of her intellectual
capacity, so as to enlist her vanity in the good cause.

"Come with me," said I, "and do you ladies wait here; I want to enjoy
your surprise when you see her in man's clothes."

The ugly cousin made a supreme effort and followed me, and when she had
duly inspected her disguise I told her to take off her boots and to put
on white stockings and shoes, of which I had provided several pairs. I
sat down before her, and told her that if she suspected me of any
dishonourable intentions she would commit a mortal sin, as I was old
enough to be her father. She replied that she was a good Christian, but
not a fool. I fastened her garters for her, saying that I should never
have supposed she had so well-shapen and so white a leg, which compliment
made her smile in a satisfied manner.

Although I had a fine view of her thighs, I observed no traces of a blush
on her face. I then gave her a pair, of my breeches, which fitted her
admirably, though I was five inches taller than she, but this difference
was compensated by the posterior proportions, with which, like most
women, she was bountifully endowed. I turned away to let her put them on
in freedom, and, having given her a linen shirt, she told me she had
finished before she had buttoned it at the neck. There may possibly have
been a little coquetry in this, as I buttoned the shirt for her, and was
thus gratified with a sight of her splendid breast. I need not say
whether she was pleased or not at my refraining from complimenting her
upon her fine proportions. When her toilette was finished I surveyed her
from head to foot, and pronounced her to be a perfect man, with the
exception of one blemish.

"I am sorry for that."

"Will you allow me to arrange your shirt so as to obviate it?"

"I shall be much obliged, as I have never dressed in man's clothes
before."

I then sat down in front of her, and, after unbuttoning the fly, arranged
the shirt in a proper manner. In doing so I allowed myself some small
liberties, but I toyed with such a serious air that she seemed to take it
all as a matter of course.

When I had put on her domino and mask I led her forth, and her sister and
Donna Ignazia congratulated her on her disguise, saying that anybody
would take her for a man.

"Now it's your turn," I said to the younger one.

"Go with him," said the elder, "Don Jaime is as honest a man as you will
find in Spain."

There was really not much to be done to the younger sister, her disguise
being simply a mask and domino, but as I wanted to keep Ignazia a long
time I made her put on white stockings, change her kerchief, and a dozen
other trifles. When she was ready I brought her forth, and Donna Ignazia
noticing that she had changed her stockings and kerchief, asked her
whether I were as expert at dressing a lady as at turning a lady into a
gentleman.

"I don't know," she replied, "I did everything for myself."

Next came the turn of Don Diego's daughter, and as soon as I had her in
the closet I did my pleasure on her, she submitting with an air that
seemed to say, "I only give in because I can't resist." Wishing to save
her honour I withdrew in time, but in the second combat I held her for
half an hour to my arms. However, she was naturally of a passionate
disposition, and nature had endowed her with a temperament able to resist
the most vigorous attacks. When decency made us leave the closet, she
remarked to her cousins,

"I thought I should never have done; I had to alter the whole fit of the
domino."

I admired her presence of mind.

At nightfall we went to the ball, at which the fandango might be danced
ad libitum by a special privilege, but the crowd was so great that
dancing was out of the question. At ten we had supper, and then walked up
and down, till all at once the two orchestras became silent. We heard the
church clocks striking midnight the carnival was over, and Lent had
begun.

This rapid transition from wantonness to devotion, from paganism to
Christianity, has something startling and unnatural about it. At
fifty-nine minutes past eleven the senses are all aglow; midnight sounds,
and in a minute they are supposed to be brought low, and the heart to be
full of humble repentance; it is an absurdity, an impossibility.

I took the three girls to my house to take off their dominos, and we then
escorted the two cousins home. When we had left them for a few minutes
Donna Ignazia told me that she would like a little coffee. I understood
her, and took her to my house, feeling sure of two hours of mutual
pleasure.

I took her to my room, and was just going out to order the coffee when I
met Don Francisco, who asked me plainly to let him come up, as he had
seen Donna Ignazia go in with me. I had sufficient strength of mind to
conceal my rage and disappointment, and told him to come in, adding that
his mistress would be delighted at this unexpected visit. I went
upstairs, and he followed me, and I shewed him into the room,
congratulating the lady on the pleasant surprise.

I expected that she would play her part as well as I had played mine, but
I was wrong. In her rage she told him that she would never have asked me
to give her a cup of coffee if she had foreseen this piece of
importunity, adding that if he had been a gentleman he would have known
better than to intrude himself at such an hour.

In spite of my own anger I felt that I must take the poor devil's part;
he looked like a dog with a tin kettle tied to his tail. I tried to calm
Donna Ignazia, telling her that Don Francisco had seen us by a mere
accident, and that it was I who had asked him to come upstairs, in the
hope of pleasing her.

Donna Ignazia feigned to be persuaded and asked her lover to sit down,
but she did not speak another word to him, confining her remarks to me,
saying how much she had enjoyed the ball, and how kind I had been to take
her cousins.

After he had taken a cup of coffee, Don Francisco bade us a good night. I
told him I hoped he would come and see me before Lent was over, but Donna
Ignazia only vouchsafed him a slight nod. When he had gone she said,
sadly enough, that she was sorry he had deprived us both of our pleasure,
and that she was sure Don Francisco was still hanging about the place,
and that she dared not expose herself to his vengeance. "So take me home,
but if you love me come and see me again. The trick the stupid fellow has
played me shall cost him dear. Are you sure I don't love him?"

"Quite certain, for you love me too well to love anybody else."

Donna Ignazia gave me a hasty proof of her affection, and I escorted her
home, assuring her that she would be the sole object of my thoughts as
long as I stayed at Madrid.

The next day I dined with Mengs, and the day after that I was accosted in
the street by an ill-looking fellow, who bade me follow him to a
cloister, as he had something of importance to communicate to me.

As soon as he saw that we were unobserved, he told me that the Alcalde
Messa was going to pay me a visit that same night with a band of police,
"of whom," he added, "I am one. He knows you have concealed weapons in
your room. He knows, or thinks he knows, certain other things which
authorize him to seize your person and to take you to the prison where
persons destined for the galleys are kept. I give you all this warning
because I believe you to be a man of honour. Despise not my advice, but
look to yourself, and get into some place of security."

I credited what he told me, as the circumstance of my having arms was
perfectly true, so I gave the man a doubloon, and, instead of calling on
Donna Ignazia, as I intended, I went back to my lodging, and after
putting the weapons under my cloak I went to Mengs's, leaving word at the
cafe to send me my page as soon as he came back. In Mengs's house I was
safe, as it belonged to the king.

The painter was an honest fellow, but proud and suspicious in excess. He
did not refuse me an asylum for the night, but he told me that I must
look out for some other refuge, as the alcalde must have some other
accusation against me, and that knowing nothing of the merits or demerits
of the case he could not take any part in it. He gave me a room and we
supped together, discussing the matter all the time, I persisting that
the possession of arms was my only offence, and he replying that if it
were so I should have awaited the alcalde fearlessly, as it stood to
reason that a man had a right to keep defensive weapons in his own room.
To this I answered that I had only come to him to avoid passing the night
in prison, as I was certain that the man had told me the truth.

"To-morrow I shall look out for another lodging."

I confessed, however, that it would have been wiser of me to leave my
pistols and musket in my room.

"Yes, and you might have remained there yourself. I did not think you
were so easily frightened."

As we were arguing it over my landlord came and said that the alcalde
with thirty constables had been to my apartment and had broken open the
door. He had searched everything, but unsuccessfully, and had gone away
after sealing the room and its contents. He had arrested and imprisoned
my page on the charge of having warned me, "for otherwise," he said, "the
Venetian gentleman would never have gone to the house of Chevalier Mengs,
where he is out of my power."

At this Mengs agreed that I had been right in believing my informant's
tale, and he added that the first thing in the morning I should go and
protest my innocence before the Count of Aranda, but he especially urged
on me the duty of defending the poor page. My landlord went his way, and
we continued the discussion, Mengs insisting on the page's innocence,
till at last I lost all patience, and said,--

"My page must be a thorough-paced scoundrel; the magistrate's arresting
him for warning me is an absolute proof that he knew of my approaching
arrest. What is a servant who does not warn his master under such
circumstances but a rascal? Indeed I am absolutely certain that he was
the informer, for he was the only person who knew where the arms were
concealed."

Mengs could find no answer to this, and left to go to bed. I did the same
and had an excellent night.

Early the next morning the great Mengs sent me linen and all the
requisites of the toilette. His maid brought me a cup of chocolate, and
his cook came to ask if I had permission to eat flesh-meat. In such ways
a prince welcomes a guest, and bids him stay, but such behaviour in a
private person is equivalent to a hint to go. I expressed my gratitude,
and only accepted a cup of chocolate and one handkerchief.

My carriage was at the door, and I was just taking leave of Mengs when an
officer appeared on the scene, and asked the painter if the Chevalier de
Casanova was in his house.

"I am the Chevalier de Casanova," said I.

"Then I hope you will follow me of your own free will to the prison of
Buen Retiro. I cannot use force here, for this house is the king's, but I
warn you that in less than an hour the Chevalier Mengs will have orders
to turn you out, and then you will be dragged to prison, which would be
unpleasant for you. I therefore advise you to follow me quietly, and to
give up such weapons as you may possess."

"The Chevalier Mengs will give you the weapons in question. I have
carried them with me for eleven years; they are meant to protect me on
the highways. I am ready to follow you, but first allow me to write four
notes; I shall not be half an hour."

"I can neither allow you to wait nor to write, but you will be at liberty
to do so after you have reached the prison."

"Very good; then I am ready to follow you, for I have no choice. I shall
remember Spanish justice!"

I embraced Mengs, had the weapons put into my carriage, and got in with
the officer, who seemed a perfect gentleman.

He took me to the Castle of Buen Retiro, formerly a royal palace, and now
a prison. When my conductor had consigned me to the officer of the watch
I was handed over to a corporal, who led me into a vast hall on the
ground floor of the building. The stench was dreadful, and the prisoners
were about thirty, ten of them being soldiers. There were ten or twelve
large beds, some benches, no tables, and no chairs.

I asked a guard to get me some pens, ink, and paper, and gave him a duro
for the purpose. He took the coin smilingly, and went away, but he did
not return. When I asked his brethren what had become of him they laughed
in my face. But what surprised me the most was the sight of my page and
Marazzini, who told me in Italian that he had been there for three days,
and that he had not written to me as he had a presentiment that we should
soon meet. He added that in a fortnight's time we should be sent off
under a heavy escort to work in some fortress, though we might send our
pleas to the Government, and might possibly be let out after three or
four years' imprisonment.

"I hope," he said, "not to be condemned before I am heard. The alcalde
will come and interrogate you tomorrow, and your answers will be taken
down; that's all. You may then be sent to hard labour in Africa."

"Has your case been heard yet?"

"They were at me about it for three hours yesterday."

"What kind of questions did they ask you?"

"They wished to know what banker furnished me with money for my expenses.
I told them I had not got a banker, and that I lived by borrowing from my
friends, in the expectation of becoming one of the king's body-guard.
They then asked me how it was that the Parmese ambassador knew nothing
about me, and I replied that I had never been presented to him.

"'Without the favour of your ambassador,' they objected, 'you could never
join the royal guard, and you must be aware of that, but the king's
majesty shall give you employment where you will stand in need of no
commendation;' and so the alcalde left me. If the Venetian ambassador
does not interpose in your behalf you will be treated in the same way."

I concealed my rage, and sat down on a bed, which I left after three
hours, as I found myself covered with the disgusting vermin which seem
endemic in Spain. The very sight of them made me sick. I stood upright,
motionless, and silent, devouring the bile which consumed me.

There was no good in talking; I must write; but where was I to find
writing materials? However, I resolved to wait in silence; my time must
come, sooner or later.

At noon Marazzini told me that he knew a soldier for whose
trustworthiness he would answer, and who would get me my dinner if I gave
him the money.

"I have no appetite," I replied, "and I am not going to give a farthing
to anyone till the stolen crown is restored to me."

He made an uproar over this piece of cheating, but the soldiers only
laughed at him. My page then asked him to intercede with me, as he was
hungry, and had no money wherewith to buy food.

"I will not give him a farthing; he is no longer in my service, and would
to God I had never seen him!"

My companions in misery proceeded to dine on bad garlic soup and wretched
bread, washed down by plain water, two priests and an individual who was
styled corregidor excepted, and they seemed to fare very well.

At four o'clock one of Mengs's servants brought me a dinner which would
have sufficed for four. He wanted to leave me the dinner and come for the
plates in the evening; but not caring to share the meal with the vile mob
around me I made him wait till I had done and come again at the same time
the next day, as I did not require any supper. The servant obeyed.
Marazzini said rudely that I might at least have kept the bottle of wine;
but I gave him no answer.

At five o'clock Manucci appeared, accompanied by a Spanish officer. After
the usual compliments had passed between us I asked the officer if I
might write to my friends, who would not allow me to stay much longer in
prison if they were advised of my arrest.

"We are no tyrants," he replied; "you can write what letters you like."

"Then," said I, "as this is a free country, is it allowable for a soldier
who has received certain moneys to buy certain articles to pocket the
money and appropriate it to his own use?"

"What is his name?"

The guard had been relieved, and no one seemed to know who or where he
was.

"I promise you, sir," said the officer, "that the soldier shall be
punished and your money restored to you; and in the meanwhile you shall
have pens, ink, paper, a table, and a candle, immediately."

"And I," added Manucci, "promise you that one of the ambassador's
servants shall wait on you at eight o'clock to deliver any letters you
may write."

I took three crowns from my pocket, and told my fellow-prisoners that the
first to name the soldier who had deceived me should have the money;
Marazzini was the first to do so. The officer made a note of the man's
name with a smile; he was beginning to know me; I had spent three crowns
to get back one, and could not be very avaricious.

Manucci whispered to me that the ambassador would do his best in a
confidential way to get my release, and that he had no doubt of his
success.

When my visitors were gone I sat down to write, but I had need of all my
patience. The rascally prisoners crowded round me to read what I was
writing, and when they could not understand it they were impudent enough
to ask me to explain it to them. Under the pretext of snuffing the
candle, they put it out. However, I bore with it all. One of the soldiers
said he would keep them quiet for a crown, but I gave him no answer. In
spite of the hell around me, I finished my letters and sealed them up.
They were no studied or rhetorical epistles, but merely the expression of
the fury with which I was consumed.

I told Mocenigo that it was his duty to defend a subject of his prince,
who had been arrested and imprisoned by a foreign power on an idle
pretext. I shewed him that he must give me his protection unless I was
guilty, and that I had committed no offence against the law of the land.
I reminded him that I was a Venetian, in spite of my persecution at the
hands of the State Inquisitors, and that being a Venetian I had a right
to count on his protection.

To Don Emmanuel de Roda, a learned scholar, and the minister of justice,
I wrote that I did not ask any favour but only simple justice.

"Serve God and your master," said I. "Let his Catholic majesty save me
from the hands of the infamous alcalde who has arrested me, an honest and
a law-abiding man, who came to Spain trusting in his own innocence and
the protection of the laws. The person who writes to you, my lord, has a
purse full of doubloons in his pocket; he has already been robbed, and
fears assassination in the filthy den in which he has been imprisoned."

I wrote to the Duke of Lossada, requesting him to inform the king that
his servants had subjected to vile treatment a man whose only fault was
that he had a little money. I begged him to use his influence with his
Catholic majesty to put a stop to these infamous proceedings.

But the most vigorous letter of all was the one I addressed to the Count
of Aranda. I told him plainly that if this infamous action went on I
should be forced to believe that it was by his orders, since I had stated
in vain that I came to Madrid with an introduction to him from a
princess.

"I have committed no crime," I said; "what compensation am I to have when
I am released from this filthy and abominable place? Set me at liberty at
once, or tell your hangmen to finish their work, for I warn you that no
one shall take me to the galleys alive."

According to my custom I took copies of all the letters, and I sent them
off by the servant whom the all-powerful Manucci despatched to the
prison. I passed such a night as Dante might have imagined in his Vision
of Hell. All the beds were full, and even if there had been a spare place
I would not have occupied it. I asked in vain for a mattress, but even if
they had brought me one, it would have been of no use, for the whole
floor was inundated. There were only two or three chamber utensils for
all the prisoners, and everyone discharged his occasions on the floor.

I spent the night on a narrow bench without a back, resting my head on my
hands.

At seven o'clock the next morning Manucci came to see me; I looked upon
him as my Providence. I begged him to take me down to the guard-room, and
give me some refreshment, for I felt quite exhausted. My request was
granted, and as I told my sufferings I had my hair done by a barber.

Manucci told me that my letters would be delivered in the course of the
day, and observed, smilingly, that my epistle to the ambassador was
rather severe. I shewed him copies of the three others I had written, and
the inexperienced young man told me that gentleness was the best way to
obtain favours. He did not know that there are circumstances in which a
man's pen must be dipped in gall. He told me confidentially that the
ambassador dined with Aranda that day, and would speak in my favour as a
private individual, adding that he was afraid my letter would prejudice
the proud Spaniard against me.

"All I ask of you," said I, "is not to tell the ambassador that you have
seen the letter I wrote to the Count of Aranda."

He promised he would keep the secret.

An hour after his departure I saw Donna Ignazia and her father coming in,
accompanied by the officer who had treated me with such consideration.
Their visit cut me to the quick; nevertheless, I felt grateful, for it
shewed me the 'goodness of Don Diego's heart and the love of the fair
devotee.

I gave them to understand, in my bad Spanish, that I was grateful for the
honour they had done me in visiting me in this dreadful situation. Donna
Ignazia did not speak, she only wept in silence; but Don Diego gave me
clearly to understand that he would never have come to see me unless he
had felt certain that my accusation was a mistake or an infamous calumny.
He told me he was sure I should be set free, and that proper satisfaction
would be given me.

"I hope so," I replied, "for I am perfectly innocent of any offence." I
was greatly touched when the worthy man slipped into my hands a rouleau,
telling me it contained twelve quadruples, which I could repay at my
convenience.

It was more than a thousand francs, and my hair stood on end. I pressed
his hand warmly, and whispered to him that I had fifty in my pocket,
which I was afraid to shew him, for fear the rascals around might rob me.
He put back his rouleau, and bade me farewell in tears, and I promised to
come and see him as soon as I should be set at liberty.

He had not sent in his name, and as he was very well dressed he was taken
for a man of importance. Such characters are not altogether exceptional
in heroic Spain; it is a land of extremes.

At noon Mengs's servant came with a dinner that was choicer than before,
but not so plentiful. This was just what I liked. He waited for me to
finish, and went away with the plates, carrying my heartiest thanks to
his master.

At one o'clock an individual came up to me and bade me follow him. He
took me to a small room, where I saw my carbine and pistols. In front of
me was the Alcalde Messa, seated at a table covered with documents, and a
policeman stood on each side of him. The alcalde told me to sit down, and
to answer truly such questions as might be put to me, warning me that my
replies would be taken down.

"I do not understand Spanish well, and I shall only give written answers
to any questions that may be asked of me, in Italian, French, or Latin."

This reply, which I uttered in a firm and determined voice, seemed to
astonish him. He spoke to me for an hour, and I understood him very well,
but he only got one reply:

"I don't understand what you say. Get a judge who understands one of the
languages I have named, and I will write down my answers."

The alcalde was enraged, but I did not let his ill-humour or his threats
disturb me.

Finally he gave me a pen, and told me to write my name, profession, and
business in Spain in Italian. I could not refuse him this pleasure, so I
wrote as follows:

"My name is Jacques Casanova; I am a subject of the Republic of Venice,
by profession a man of letters, and in rank a Knight of the Golden Spur.
I have sufficient means, and I travel for my pleasure. I am known to the
Venetian ambassador, the Count of Aranda, the Prince de la Catolica, the
Marquis of Moras, and the Duke of Lossada. I have offended in no manner
against the laws of his Catholic majesty, but in spite of my innocence I
have been cast into a den of thieves and assassins by magistrates who
deserve a ten times greater punishment. Since I have not infringed the
laws, his Catholic majesty must know that he has only one right over me,
and that is to order me to leave his realms, which order I am ready to
obey. My arms, which I see before me, have travelled with me for the last
eleven years; I carry them to defend myself against highwaymen. They were
seen when my effects were examined at the Gate of Alcala, and were not
confiscated; which makes it plain that they have served merely as a
pretext for the infamous treatment to which I have been subjected."

After I had written out this document I gave it to the alcalde, who
called for an interpreter. When he had had it read to him he rose angrily
and said to me,--

"Valga me Dios! You shall suffer for your insolence."

With this threat he went away, ordering that I should be taken back to
prison.

At eight o'clock Manucci called and told me that the Count of Aranda had
been making enquiries about me of the Venetian ambassador, who had spoken
very highly in my favour, and expressed his regret that he could not take
my part officially on account of my being in disgrace with the State
Inquisitors.

"He has certainly been shamefully used," said the count, "but an
intelligent man should not lose his head. I should have known nothing
about it, but for a furious letter he has written me; and Don Emmanuel de
Roda and the Duke of Lossada have received epistles in the same style.
Casanova is in the right, but that is not the way to address people."

"If he really said I was in the right, that is sufficient."

"He said it, sure enough."

"Then he must do me justice, and as to my style everyone has a style of
their own. I am furious, and I wrote furiously. Look at this place; I
have no bed, the floor is covered with filth, and I am obliged to sleep
on a narrow bench. Don't you think it is natural that I should desire to
eat the hearts of the scoundrels who have placed me here? If I do not
leave this hell by tomorrow, I shall kill myself, or go mad."

Manucci understood the horrors of my situation. He promised to come again
early the next day, and advised me to see what money would do towards
procuring a bed, but I would not listen to him, for I was suffering from
injustice, and was therefore obstinate. Besides, the thought of the
vermin frightened me, and I was afraid for my purse and the jewels I had
about me.

I spent a second night worse than the first, going to sleep from sheer
exhaustion, only to awake and find myself slipping off the bench.

Manucci came before eight o'clock, and my aspect shocked him. He had come
in his carriage, bringing with him some excellent chocolate, which in
some way restored my spirits. As I was finishing it, an officer of high
rank, accompanied by two other officers, came in and called out,--

"M. de Casanova!"

I stepped forward and presented myself.

"Chevalier," he began, "the Count of Aranda is at the gate of the prison;
he is much grieved at the treatment you have received. He only heard
about it through the letter you wrote him yesterday, and if you had
written sooner your pains would have been shorter."

"Such was my intention, colonel, but a soldier . . . ."

I proceeded to tell him the story of the swindling soldier, and on
hearing his name the colonel called the captain of the guard, reprimanded
him severely, and ordered him to give me back the crown himself. I took
the money laughingly, and the colonel then ordered the captain to fetch
the offending soldier, and to give him a flogging before me.

This officer, the emissary of the all-powerful Aranda, was Count Royas,
commanding the garrison of Buen Retiro. I told him all the circumstances
of my arrest, and of my imprisonment in that filthy place. I told him
that if I did not get back that day my arms, my liberty, and my honour, I
should either go mad or kill myself.

"Here," I said, "I can neither rest nor sleep, and a man needs sleep
every night. If you had come a little earlier you would have seen the
disgusting filth with which the floor was covered."

The worthy man was taken aback with the energy with which I spoke. I saw
his feelings, and hastened to say,--

"You must remember, colonel, that I am suffering from injustice, and am
in a furious rage. I am a man of honour, like yourself, and you can
imagine the effect of such treatment on me."

Manucci told him, in Spanish, that in my normal state I was a good fellow
enough. The colonel expressed his pity for me, and assured me that my
arms should be restored to me, and my liberty too, in the course of the
day.

"Afterwards," said he, "you must go and thank his excellency the Count of
Aranda, who came here expressly for your sake. He bade me tell you that
your release would be delayed till the afternoon, that you may have full
satisfaction for the affront you have received, if it is an affront, for
the penalties of the law only dishonour the guilty. In this instance the
Alcalde Messa has been deceived by the rascal who was in your service."

"There he is," said I. "Be good enough to have him removed, or else, in
my indignation, I might kill him."

"He shall be taken away this moment," he replied.

The colonel went out, and two minutes later two soldiers came in and took
the rogue away between them. I never saw him again, and never troubled
myself to enquire what had become of him.

The colonel begged me to accompany him to the guard-room, to see the
thieving soldier flogged. Manucci was at my side, and at some little
distance stood the Count of Aranda, surrounded by officers, and
accompanied by a royal guard.

The business kept us there for a couple of hours. Before leaving me the
colonel begged me to meet Mengs at dinner at his house.

When I returned to my filthy prison I found a clean arm-chair, which I
was informed had been brought in for me. I sat down in it immediately,
and Manucci left me, after embracing me again and again. He was my
sincere friend, and I can never forgive myself the stupidity which made
me offend him grievously. He never forgave me, at which I am not
surprised, but I believe my readers will agree with me in thinking that
he carried his vengeance too far.

After the scene which had taken place, the vile crowd of prisoners stood
gazing at me in stupid silence, and Marazzini came up to me and begged me
to use my offices for him.

Dinner was brought me as usual, and at three o'clock the Alcalde Messa
appeared and begged me to follow him, as he had received orders to take
me back to my lodging, where he hoped I should find everything in perfect
order. At the same time he shewed me my arms, which one of his men was
going to bring to my house. The officer of the guard returned me my
sword, the alcalde, who was in his black cloak, put himself on my left
hand, and thus I was escorted home with a guard of thirty constables. The
seals were removed from my apartment, and after a brief inspection I
pronounced that everything was in perfect order.

"If you had not a rascal and a traitor (who shall end his days in the
galleys) in your service, Senor Caballero, you would never have written
down the servants of his Catholic majesty as scoundrels."

"Senor Alcalde, my indignation made me write the same sentence to four of
his majesty's ministers. Then I believed what I wrote, but I do so no
longer. Let us forget and forgive; but you must confess that if I had not
known how to write a letter you would have sent me to the galleys."

"Alas! it is very likely."

I need not say that I hastened to remove all traces of the vile prison
where I had suffered so much. When I was ready to go out my first
grateful visit was paid to the noble cobbler. The worthy man was proud of
the fulfilment of his prophecy, and glad to see me again. Donna Ignazia
was wild with delight--perhaps she had not been so sure of my
release--and when Don Diego heard of the satisfaction that had been given
me he said that a grandee of Spain could not have asked for more. I
begged the worthy people to come and dine with me, telling them that I
would name the day another time, and they accepted gladly.

I felt that my love for Donna Ignazia had increased immensely since our
last meeting.

Afterwards I called on Mengs, who with his knowledge of Spanish law
expected nothing less than to see me. When he heard of my triumphant
release he overwhelmed me with congratulations. He was in his Court
dress--an unusual thing with him, and on my asking him the reason he told
me that he had been to Don Emmanuel de Roda's to speak on my behalf, but
had not succeeded in obtaining an audience. He gave me a Venetian letter
which had just arrived for me. I opened it, and found it was from M.
Dandolo, and contained an enclosure for M. de Mocenigo. M. Dandolo said
that on reading the enclosed letter the ambassador would have no more
scruples about introducing me, as it contained a recommendation from one
of the Inquisitors on behalf of the three.

When I told Mengs of this he said it was now in my power to make my
fortune in Spain, and that now was the time when all the ministers would
be only too anxious to do something for me to make me forget the wrongs I
had received.

"I advise you," he said, "to take the letter to the ambassador
immediately. Take my carriage; after what you have undergone for the last
few days you cannot be in a walking humour."

I had need of rest, and told Mengs that I would not sup with him that
night, but would dine with him the next day. The ambassador was out, so I
left the letter with Manucci, and then drove home and slept profoundly
for twelve hours.

Manucci came to see me the next day in high spirits, and told me that M.
Girolamo Zulian had written to the ambassador on behalf of M. du Mula,
informing him that he need not hesitate to countenance me, as any
articles the Tribunal might have against me were in no degree prejudicial
to my honour.

"The ambassador," he continued, "proposes to introduce you at Court next
week, and he wants you to dine with him to-day; there will be a numerous
company at dinner."

"I am engaged to Mengs."

"No matter, he shall be asked as well; you must come. Consider the effect
of your presence at the ambassador's the day after your triumph."

"You are right. Go and ask Mengs, and tell the ambassador that I have
much pleasure in accepting his invitation."



CHAPTER V

Campomanes--Olavides--Sierra Morena--Aranjuez--Mengs--The Marquis
Grimaldi--Toledo--Madame Pelliccia--My Return to Madrid

Different circumstances in my life seem to have combined to render me
somewhat superstitious; it is a humiliating confession, and yet I make
it. But who could help it? A man who abandons himself to his whims and
fancies is like a child playing with a billiard cue. It may make a stroke
that would be an honour to the most practised and scientific player; and
such are the strange coincidences of life which, as I have said, have
caused me to become superstitious.

Fortune, which under the humbler name of luck seems but a word, is a very
divinity when it guides the most important actions of a man's life.
Always it has seemed to me that this divinity is not blind, as the
mythologists affirm; she had brought me low only to exalt me, and I found
myself in high places, only, as it seems, to be cast into the depths.
Fortune has done her best to make me regard her as a reasoning, almighty
power; she has made me feel that the strength of my will is as nothing
before this mysterious power, which takes my will and moulds it, and
makes it a mere instrument for the accomplishment of its decrees.

I could not possibly have done anything in Spain without the help of the
representative of my country, and he would not have dared to do anything
for me without the letter I had just given him. This letter, in its turn,
would probably have had but slight effect if it had not come to hand so
soon after my imprisonment, which had become the talk of the town,
through the handsome satisfaction the Count of Aranda had given me.

The letter made the ambassador sorry that he had not interposed on my
behalf, but he hoped people would believe that the count would not have
acted as he did if it had not been for his interposition. His favourite,
Count Manucci, had come to ask me to dinner; as it happened I was engaged
to Mengs, which obtained an invitation for the painter, and flattered his
vanity excessively. He fancied that the invitation proceeded from
gratitude, and it certainly smoothed away the mortification he had felt
at seeing me arrested in his house. He immediately wrote to the effect
that he would call upon me with his carriage.

I called on the Count of Aranda, who kept me waiting for a quarter of an
hour, and then came in with some papers in his hand. He smiled when he
saw me, and said,--

"Your business is done. Stay, here are four letters; take them and read
them over again."

"Why should I read them again? This is the document I gave the alcalde."

"I know that. Read, and confess that you should not have written so
violently, in spite of the wrongs that vexed you."

"I crave your pardon, my lord, but a man who meditates suicide does not
pick terms. I believed that your excellency was at the bottom of it all."

"Then you don't know me. Go and thank Don Emmanuel de Roda, who wants to
know you, and I shall be glad if you will call once on the alcalde, not
to make him an apology, for you owe him none, but as an act of politeness
to salve over the hard things you said of him. If you write the history
of Princess Lubomirska, I hope you will tell her that I did my best for
you."

I then called on Colonel Royas, who told me that I had made a great
mistake in saying that I was satisfied.

"What could I claim?"

"Everything. Dismissal of the alcalde and compensation to the tune of
fifty thousand duros. Spain is a country where a man may speak out save
in the matters which the Holy Inquisition looks after."

This colonel, now a general, is one of the pleasantest Spaniards I have
ever met.

I had not long returned to my lodging when Mengs called for me in his
carriage. The ambassador gave me a most gracious reception, and
overwhelmed Mengs with compliments for having endeavoured to shelter me.
At dinner I told the story of my sufferings at Buen Retiro, and the
conversation I had just had with the Count of Aranda, who had returned me
my letters. The company expressed a desire to see them, and everyone gave
an opinion on the matter.

The guests were Abbe Bigliardi, the French consul, Don Rodrigues de
Campomanes, and the famous Don Pablo d'Olavides. Everyone spoke his mind,
and the ambassador condemned the letters as too ferocious. On the other
hand, Campomanes approved them, saying that they were not abusive, and
were wonderfully adapted to my purpose, namely, to force the reader to do
me prompt justice, were the reader to be the king himself. Olavides and
Bigliardi echoed this sentiment. Mengs sided with the ambassador, and
begged me to come and live with him, so as not to be liable to any more
inconveniences from spying servants. I did not accept this invitation
till I had been pressed for some time, and I noted the remark of the
ambassador, who said I owed Mengs this reparation for the indirect
affront he had received.

I was delighted to make the acquaintance of Campomanes and Olavides, men
of intellect and of a stamp very rare in Spain. They were not exactly men
of learning, but they were above religious prejudices, and were not only
fearless in throwing public scorn upon them but even laboured openly for
their destruction. It was Campomanes who had furnished Aranda with all
the damaging matter against the Jesuits. By a curious coincidence,
Campomanes, the Count of Aranda, and the General of the Jesuits, were all
squint-eyed. I asked Campomanes why he hated the Jesuits so bitterly, and
he replied that he looked upon them in the same light as the other
religious orders, whom he considered a parasitical and noxious race, and
would gladly banish them all, not only from the peninsula but from the
face of the earth.

He was the author of all the pamphlets that had been written on the
subject of mortmain; and as he was an intimate friend of the
ambassador's, M. Mocenigo had furnished him with an account of the
proceedings of the Venetian Republic against the monks. He might have
dispensed with this source of information if he had read the writings of
Father Paul Sarpi on the same subject. Quick-sighted, firm, with the
courage of his opinions, Campomanes was the fiscal of the Supreme Council
of Castille, of which Aranda was president. Everyone knew him to be a
thoroughly honest man, who acted solely for the good of the State. Thus
statesmen and officials had warm feelings of respect for him, while the
monks and bigots hated the sound of his name, and the Inquisition had
sworn to be his ruin. It was said openly that he would either become a
bishop or perish in the cells of the holy brotherhood. The prophecy was
only partly fulfilled. Four years after my visit to Spain he was
incarcerated in the dungeons of the Inquisition, but he obtained his
release after three years' confinement by doing public penance. The
leprosy which eats out the heart of Spain is not yet cured. Olavides was
still more harshly treated, and even Aranda would have fallen a victim if
he had not had the good sense to ask the king to send him to France as
his ambassador. The king was very glad to do so, as otherwise he would
have been forced to deliver him up to the infuriated monks. Charles III.
(who died a madman) was a remarkable character. He was as obstinate as a
mule, as weak as a woman, as gross as a Dutchman, and a thorough-paced
bigot. It was no wonder that he became the tool of his confessor.

At the time of which I am speaking the cabinet of Madrid was occupied in
a curious scheme. A thousand Catholic families had been enticed from
Switzerland to form a colony in the beautiful but deserted region called
the Sierra Morena, well known all over Europe by its mention in Don
Quixote. Nature seemed there to have lavished all her gifts; the climate
was perfect, the soil fertile, and streams of all kinds watered the land,
but in spite of all it was almost depopulated.

Desiring to change this state of things, his Catholic majesty had decided
to make a present of all the agricultural products for a certain number
of years to industrious colonists. He had consequently invited the Swiss
Catholics, and had paid their expenses for the journey. The Swiss
arrived, and the Spanish government did its best to provide them with
lodging and spiritual and temporal superintendence. Olavides was the soul
of this scheme. He conferred with the ministers to provide the new
population with magistrates, priests, a governor, craftsmen of all kinds
to build churches and houses, and especially a bull-ring, a necessity for
the Spaniards, but a perfectly useless provision as far as the simple
Swiss were concerned.

In the documents which Don Pablo Olavides had composed on the subject he
demonstrated the inexpediency of establishing any religious orders in the
new colony, but if he could have proved his opinion to be correct with
foot and rule he would none the less have drawn on his head the
implacable hatred of the monks, and of the bishop in whose diocese the
new colony was situated. The secular clergy supported Olavides, but the
monks cried out against his impiety, and as the Inquisition was eminently
monkish in its sympathies persecution had already begun, and this was one
of the subjects of conversation at the dinner at which I was present.

I listened to the arguments, sensible and otherwise, which were advanced,
and I finally gave my opinion, as modestly as I could, that in a few
years the colony would banish like smoke; and this for several reasons.

"The Swiss," I said, "are a very peculiar people; if you transplant them
to a foreign shore, they languish and die; they become a prey to
home-sickness. When this once begins in a Switzer, the only thing is to
take him home to the mountain, the lake, or the valley, where he was
born, or else he will infallibly die."

"It would be wise, I think," I continued, "to endeavour to combine a
Spanish colony with the Swiss colony, so as to effect a mingling of
races. At first, at all events, their rules, both spiritual and temporal,
should be Swiss, and, above all, you would have to insure them complete
immunity from the Inquisition. The Swiss who has been bred in the country
has peculiar customs and manners of love-making, of which the Spanish
Church might not exactly approve; but the least attempt to restrain their
liberty in this respect would immediately bring about a general
home-sickness."

At first Olavides thought I was joking, but he soon found out that my
remarks had some sense in them. He begged me to write out my opinions on
the subject, and to give him the benefit of my knowledge. I promised to
do so, and Mengs fixed a day for him to come and dine with me at his
house.

The next day I moved my household goods to Mengs's house, and began my
philosophical and physiological treatise on the colony.

I called on Don Emmanuel de Roda, who was a man of letters, a 'rara aves'
in Spain. He liked Latin poetry, had read some Italian, but very
naturally gave the palm to the Spanish poets. He welcomed me warmly,
begged me to come and see him again, and told me how sorry he had been at
my unjust imprisonment.

The Duke of Lossada congratulated me on the way in which the Venetian
ambassador spoke of me everywhere, and encouraged me in my idea of
getting some place under Government, promising to give me his support in
the matter.

The Prince della Catolica, invited me to dinner with the Venetian
ambassador; and in the course of three weeks I had made a great number of
valuable acquaintances. I thought seriously of seeking employment in
Spain, as not having heard from Lisbon I dared not go there on the chance
of finding something to do. I had not received any letters from Pauline
of late, and had no idea as to what had become of her.

I passed a good many of my evenings with a Spanish lady, named Sabatini,
who gave 'tertullas' or assemblies, frequented chiefly by fifth-rate
literary men. I also visited the Duke of Medina-Sidonia, a well-read and
intelligent man, to whom I had been presented by Don Domingo Varnier, one
of the gentlemen of the king's chamber, whom I had met at Mengs's house.
I paid a good many visits to Donna Ignazia, but as I was never left alone
with her these visits became tiresome. When I suggested a party of
pleasure with her and her cousins, she replied that she would like it as
much as I, but as it was Lent and near Holy Week, in which God died for
our salvation, it was more fit to think of penance than pleasure. After
Easter, she said, we might consider the matter. Ignazia was a perfect
example of the young Spanish devotee.

A fortnight after, the King and Court left Madrid for Aranjuez. M. de
Mocenigo asked me to come and stay with him, as he would be able to
present me at Court. As may be imagined, I should have been only too glad
to accept, but on the eve of my departure, as I was driving with Mengs, I
was suddenly seized with a fever, and was convulsed so violently that my
head was dashed against the carriage window, which it shivered to
fragments. Mengs ordered the coachman to drive home, and I was put to
bed. In four hours I was seized with a sweating fit, which lasted for ten
or twelve hours. The bed and two mattresses were soaked through with my
perspiration, which dripped on to the floor beneath. The fever abated in
forty-eight hours, but left me in such a state of weakness that I was
kept to my bed for a whole week, and could not go to Aranjuez till Holy
Saturday. The ambassador welcomed me warmly, but on the night I arrived a
small lump which I had felt in the course of the day grew as large as an
egg, and I was unable to go to mass on Easter Day.

In five days the excrescence became as large as an average melon, much to
the amazement of Manucci and the ambassador, and even of the king's
surgeon, a Frenchman who declared he had never seen the like before. I
was not alarmed personally, for, as I suffered no pain and the lump was
quite soft, I guessed it was only a collection of lymph, the remainder of
the evil humours which I had sweated away in the fever. I told the
surgeon the history of the fever and begged him to lance the abscess,
which he did, and for four days the opening discharged an almost
incredible amount of matter. On the fifth day the wound was almost
healed, but the exhaustion had left me so weak that I could not leave my
bed.

Such was my situation when I received a letter from Mengs. It is before
me at the present moment, and I give below a true copy:

"Yesterday the rector of the parish in which I reside affixed to the
church-door a list of those of his parishioners who are Atheists and have
neglected their Easter duties. Amongst them your name figures in full,
and the aforesaid rector has reproached me bitterly for harbouring a
heretic. I did not know what answer to make, for I feel sure that you
could have stopped in Madrid a day longer to discharge the duties of a
Christian, even if it were only out of regard for me. The duty I owe to
the king, my master, the care I am bound to take of my reputation, and my
fears of being molested, all make me request you to look upon my house as
yours no longer. When you return to Madrid you may go where you will, and
my servants shall transport your effects to your new abode.

"I am, etc.,
"ANTONIO RAPHAEL MENGS."

I was so annoyed by this rude, brutal, and ungrateful letter, that if I
had not been seven leagues from Madrid, and in a state of the utmost
weakness, Mengs should have suffered for his insolence. I told the
messenger who had brought it to begone, but he replied that he had orders
to await my reply. I crushed the letter in my hand and flung it at his
face, saying,--

"Go and tell your unworthy master what I did with his letter, and tell
him that is the only answer that such a letter deserves."

The innocent messenger went his way in great amazement.

My anger gave me strength, and having dressed myself and summoned a
sedan-chair I went to church, and was confessed by a Grey Friar, and at
six o'clock the next morning I received the Sacrament.

My confessor was kind enough to give me a certificate to the effect that
I had been obliged to keep my bed since my arrival 'al sitio', and that
in spite of my extreme weakness I had gone to church, and had confessed
and communicated like a good Christian. He also told me the name of the
priest who had affixed the paper containing my name to the door of the
church.

When I returned to the ambassador's house I wrote to this priest, telling
him that the certificate enclosed would inform him as to my reasons for
not communicating. I expressed a hope that, being satisfied of my
orthodoxy, he would not delay in removing my name from his church-doors,
and I concluded by begging him to hand the enclosed letter to the
Chevalier Mengs.

To the painter I wrote that I felt that I had deserved the shameful
insult he had given me by my great mistake in acceding to his request to
honour him by staying in his house. However, as a good Christian who had
just received the Holy Communion, I told him that his brutal behaviour
was forgiven; but I bade him to take to heart the line, well known to all
honest people, and doubtless unknown to him:

'Turpius ejicitur quam non admittitur hospes.'

After sending the letter I told the ambassador what had happened, to
which he replied,--

"I am not at all surprised at what you tell me. Mengs is only liked for
his talents in painting; in everything else he is well known to be little
better than a fool."

As a matter of fact he had only asked me to stay with him to gratify his
own vanity. He knew that all the town was talking of my imprisonment and
of the satisfaction the Count of Aranda had accorded me, and he wanted
people to think that his influence had obtained the favour that had been
shewn me. Indeed, he had said in a moment of exaltation that I should
have compelled the Alcade Messa to escort me not to my own house but to
his, as it was in his house that I had been arrested.

Mengs was an exceedingly ambitious and a very jealous man; he hated all
his brother painters. His colour and design were excellent, but his
invention was very weak, and invention is as necessary to a great painter
as a great poet.

I happened to say to him one day, "Just as every poet should be a
painter, so every painter should be a poet;" and he got quite angry,
thinking that I was alluding to his weakness of imagination, which he
felt but would not acknowledge.

He was an ignorant man, and liked to pass for a scholar; he sacrificed to
Bacchus and Comus, and would fain be thought sober; he was lustful,
bad-tempered, envious, and miserly, but yet would be considered a
virtuous man. He loved hard work, and this forced him to abstain, as a
rule, from dinner, as he drank so inordinately at that meal that he could
do nothing after it. When he dined out he had to drink nothing but water,
so as not to compromise his reputation for temperance. He spoke four
languages, and all badly, and could not even write his native tongue with
correctness; and yet he claimed perfection for his grammar and
orthography, as for all his other qualities. While I was staying with him
I became acquainted with some of his weak points, and endeavoured to
correct them, at which he took great offence. The fellow writhed under a
sense of obligation to me. Once I prevented his sending a petition to the
Court, which the king would have seen, and which would have made Mengs
ridiculous. In signing his name he had written 'el mas inclito', wishing
to say your most humble. I pointed out to him that 'el mas inclito' meant
the most illustrious, and that the Spanish for the expression he wanted
was 'el mas humilde'. The proud fool was quite enraged, telling me that
he knew Spanish better than I, but when the dictionary was searched he
had to swallow the bitter pill of confessing himself in the wrong.

Another time I suppressed a heavy and stupid criticism of his on someone
who had maintained that there were no monuments still existing of the
antediluvian period. Mengs thought he would confound the author by citing
the remains of the Tower of Babel--a double piece of folly, for in the
first place there are no such remains, and in the second, the Tower of
Babel was a post-diluvian building.

He was also largely given to the discussion of metaphysical questions, on
which his knowledge was simply nil, and a favourite pursuit of his was
defining beauty in the abstract, and when he was on this topic the
nonsense he talked was something dreadful.

Mengs was a very passionate man, and would sometimes beat his children
most cruelly. More than once I have rescued his poor sons from his
furious hands. He boasted that his father, a bad Bohemian artist, had
brought him up with the stick. Thus, he said, he had become a great
painter, and he wished his own children to enjoy the same advantages.

He was deeply offended when he received a letter, of which the address
omitted his title of chevalier, and his name, Rafael. One day I ventured
to say that these things were but trifles after all, and that I had taken
no offence at his omitting the chevalier on the letters he had written to
me, though I was a knight of the same order as himself. He very wisely
made no answer; but his objection to the omission of his baptismal name
was a very ridiculous one. He said he was called Antonio after Antonio
Correggio, and Rafael after Rafael da Urbino, and that those who omitted
these names, or either of them, implicitly denied his possession of the
qualities of both these great painters.

Once I dared to tell him that he had made a mistake in the hand of one of
his figures, as the ring finger was shorter than the index. He replied
sharply that it was quite right, and shewed me his hand by way of proof.
I laughed, and shewed him my hand in return, saying that I was certain
that my hand was made like that of all the descendants of Adam.

"Then whom do you think that I am descended from?"

"I don't know, but you are certainly not of the same species as myself."

"You mean you are not of my species; all well-made hands of men, and
women too, are like mine and not like yours."

"I'll wager a hundred doubloons that you are in the wrong."

He got up, threw down brushes and palette, and rang up his servants,
saying,--

"We shall see which is right."

The servants came, and on examination he found that I was right. For once
in his life, he laughed and passed it off as a joke, saying,--

"I am delighted that I can boast of being unique in one particular, at
all events."

Here I must note another very sensible remark of his.

He had painted a Magdalen, which was really wonderfully beautiful. For
ten days he had said every morning, "The picture will be finished
to-night." At last I told him that he had made a mistake in saying it
would be finished, as he was still working on it.

"No, I have not," he replied, "ninety-nine connoisseurs out of a hundred
would have pronounced it finished long ago, but I want the praise of the
hundredth man. There's not a picture in the world that can be called
finished save in a relative sense; this Magdalen will not be finished
till I stop working at it, and then it will be only finished relatively,
for if I were to give another day's work to it it would be more finished
still. Not one of Petrarch's sonnets is a really finished production; no,
nor any other man's sonnets. Nothing that the mind of man can conceive is
perfect, save it be a mathematical theorem."

I expressed my warm approval of the excellent way in which he had spoken.
He was not so sensible another time when he expressed a wish to have been
Raphael.

"He was such a great painter."

"Certainly," said I, "but what can you mean by wishing you had been
Raphael? This is not sense; if you had been Raphael, you would no longer
be existing. But perhaps you only meant to express a wish that you were
tasting the joys of Paradise; in that case I will say no more."

"No, no; I mean I would have liked to have been Raphael without troubling
myself about existing now, either in soul or body."

"Really such a desire is an absurdity; think it over, and you will see it
for yourself."

He flew into a rage, and abused me so heartily that I could not help
laughing.

Another time he made a comparison between a tragic author and a painter,
of course to the advantage of the latter.

I analysed the matter calmly, shewing him that the painter's labour is to
a great extent purely mechanical, and can be done whilst engaged in
casual talk; whilst a well-written tragedy is the work of genius pure and
simple. Therefore, the poet must be immeasurably superior to the painter.

"Find me if you can," said I, "a poet who can order his supper between
the lines of his tragedy, or discuss the weather whilst he is composing
epic verses."

When Mengs was beaten in an argument, instead of acknowledging his
defeat, he invariably became brutal and insulting. He died at the age of
fifty, and is regarded by posterity as a Stoic philosopher, a scholar,
and a compendium of all the virtues; and this opinion must be ascribed to
a fine biography of him in royal quarto, choicely printed, and dedicated
to the King of Spain. This panegyric is a mere tissue of lies. Mengs was
a great painter, and nothing else; and if he had only produced the
splendid picture which hangs over the high altar of the chapel royal at
Dresden, he would deserve eternal fame, though indeed he is indebted to
the great Raphael for the idea of the painting.

We shall hear more of Mengs when I describe my meeting with him at Rome,
two or three years later.

I was still weak and confined to my room when Manucci came to me, and
proposed that I should go with him to Toledo.

"The ambassador," he said, "is going to give a grand official dinner to
the ambassadors of the other powers, and as I have not been presented at
Court I am excluded from being present. However, if I travel, my absence
will not give rise to any remarks. We shall be back in five or six days."

I was delighted to have the chance of seeing Toledo, and of making the
journey in a comfortable carriage, so I accepted. We started the next
morning, and reached Toledo in the evening of the same day. For Spain we
were lodged comfortably enough, and the next day we went out under the
charge of a cicerone, who took us to the Alcazar, the Louvre of Toledo,
formerly the palace of the Moorish kings. Afterwards we inspected the
cathedral, which is well worthy of a visit, on account of the riches it
contains. I saw the great tabernacle used on Corpus Christi. It is made
of silver, and is so heavy that it requires thirty strong men to lift it.
The Archbishop of Toledo has three hundred thousand duros a year, and his
clergy have four hundred thousand, amounting to two million francs in
French money. One of the canons, as he was shewing me the urns containing
the relics, told me that one of them contained the thirty pieces of
silver for which Judas betrayed our Lord. I begged him to let me see
them, to which he replied severely that the king himself would not have
dared to express such indecent curiosity.

I hastened to apologise, begging him not to take offence at a stranger's
heedless questions; and this seemed to calm his anger.

The Spanish priests are a band of knaves, but one has to treat them with
more respect than one would pay to honest men elsewhere. The following
day we were shewn the museum of natural history. It was rather a dull
exhibition; but, at all events, one could laugh at it without exciting
the wrath of the monks and the terrors of the Inquisition. We were shewn,
amongst other wonders, a stuffed dragon, and the man who exhibited it
said,--

"This proves, gentlemen, that the dragon is not a fabulous animal;" but I
thought there was more of art than nature about the beast. He then shewed
us a basilisk, but instead of slaying us with a glance it only made us
laugh. The greatest wonder of all, however, was nothing else than a
Freemason's apron, which, as the curator very sagely declared, proved the
existence of such an order, whatever some might say.

The journey restored me to health, and when I returned to Aranjuez, I
proceeded to pay my court to all the ministers. The ambassador presented
me to Marquis Grimaldi, with whom I had some conversations on the subject
of the Swiss colony, which was going on badly. I reiterated my opinion
that the colony should be composed of Spaniards.

"Yes," said he, "but Spain is thinly peopled everywhere, and your plan
would amount to impoverishing one district to make another rich."

"Not at all, for if you took ten persons who are dying of poverty in the
Asturias, and placed them in the Sierra Morena, they would not die till
they had begotten fifty children. This fifty would beget two hundred and
so on."

My scheme was laid before a commission, and the marquis promised that I
should be made governor of the colony if the plan was accepted.

An Italian Opera Comique was then amusing the Court, with the exception
of the king, who had no taste for music. His majesty bore a considerable
resemblance to a sheep in the face, and it seemed as if the likeness went
deeper, for sheep have not the slightest idea of sound. His favourite
pursuit was sport, and the reason will be given later on.

An Italian musician at the Court desired to compose some music for a new
opera, and as there was no time to send to Italy I offered to compose the
libretto. My offer was accepted, and by the next day the first act was
ready. The music was composed in four days, and the Venetian ambassador
invited all the ministers to the rehearsal in the grand hall of his
palace. The music was pronounced exquisite; the two other acts were
written, and in a fortnight the opera was put upon the stage. The
musician was rewarded handsomely, but I was considered too grand to work
for money and my reward was paid me in the Court money of compliments.
However, I was glad to see that the ambassador was proud of me and that
the minister's esteem for me seemed increased.

In writing the libretto I had become acquainted with the actresses. The
chief of them was a Roman named Pelliccia, neither pretty nor ugly, with
a slight squint, and but moderate talents. Her younger sister was pretty
if not handsome; but no one cared for the younger, while the elder was a
universal favourite. Her expression was pleasant, her smile delightful,
and her manners most captivating. Her husband was an indifferent painter,
plain-looking, and more like her servant than her husband. He was indeed
her very humble servant, and she treated him with great kindness. The
feelings she inspired me with were not love, but a sincere respect and
friendship. I used to visit her every day, and wrote verses for her to
sing to the Roman airs she delivered so gracefully.

On one of the days of rehearsals I was pointing out to her the various
great personages who were present. The manager of the company,
Marescalchi by name, had entered into an arrangement with the Governor of
Valentia to bring the company there in September to play comic opera in a
small theatre which had been built on purpose. Italian opera had hitherto
never been presented at Valentia, and Marecalchi hoped to make a good
deal of money there. Madame Pelliccia knew nobody in Valentia, and wanted
a letter of introduction to someone there. She asked me if I thought she
could venture to ask the Venetian ambassador to do her the favour, but I
advised her to try the Duke of Arcos.

"Where is he?"

"That gentleman who is looking in your direction now."

"How can I dare to ask him?"

"He is a true nobleman, and I am sure he will be only too happy to oblige
you. Go and ask him now; you will not be denied."

"I haven't the courage to do so. Come with me and introduce me."

"That would spoil everything; he must not even think that I am your
adviser in the matter. I am just going to leave you; you must make your
request directly afterwards."

I walked towards the orchestra, and looking round I saw that the duke was
approaching the actress.

"The thing's as good as done," I said to myself.

After the rehearsal was over Madame Pelliccia came and told me that the
Duke would give her the letter on the day on which the opera was
produced. He kept his word, and she received a sealed letter for a
merchant and banker, Don Diego Valencia.

It was then May, and she was not to go to Valentia till September, so we
shall hear what the letter contained later on.

I often saw the king's gentleman of the chamber, Don Domingo Varnier,
another 'gentleman in the service of the Princess of the Asturias, and
one of the princess's bed-chamber women. This most popular princess
succeeded in suppressing a good deal of the old etiquette, and the tone
of her Court had lost the air of solemnity common in Spanish society. It
was a strange thing to see the King of Spain always dining at eleven
o'clock, like the Parisian cordwainers in the seventeenth century. His
meal always consisted of the same dishes, he always went out hunting at
the same hour, coming back in the evening thoroughly fatigued.

The king was ugly, but everything is relative, he was handsome compared
with his brother, who was terrifically ugly.

This brother never went anywhere without a picture of the Virgin, which
Mengs had painted for him. It was two feet high by three and a half
broad. The figure was depicted as seated on the grass with legs crossed
after the Eastern fashion, and uncovered up to the knees. It was, in
reality, a voluptuous painting; and the prince mistook for devotion that
which was really a sinful passion, for it was impossible to look upon the
figure without desiring to have the original within one's arms. However,
the prince did not see this, and was delighted to find himself in love
with the mother of the Saviour. In this he was a true Spaniard; they only
love pictures of this kind, and interpret the passions they excite in the
most favourable sense.

At Madrid I had, seen a picture of the Madonna with the child at her
breast. It was the altarpiece of a chapel in the Calle St. Jeronimo. The
place was filled all day by the devout, who came to adore the Mother of
God, whose figure was only interesting by reason of her magnificent
breast. The alms given at this chapel were so numerous, that in the
hundred and fifty years, since the picture had been placed there, the
clergy had been able to purchase numerous lamps and candlesticks of
silver, and vessels of silver gilt, and even of gold. The doorway was
always blocked by carriages, and a sentinel was placed there to keep
order amongst the coachmen; no nobleman would pass by without going in to
pray to the Virgin, and to contemplate those 'beata ubera, quae
lactaverunt aeterni patris filium'. But there came a change.

When I returned to Madrid I wanted to pay a visit to the Abbe Pico, and
told my coachman to take another way so as to avoid the crush in front of
the chapel.

"It is not so frequented now, senor," said he, "I can easily get by it."

He went on his way, and I found the entrance to the chapel deserted. As I
was getting out of the carriage I asked my coachman what was the reason
of the change, and he replied,--

"Oh, senor! men are getting more wicked every day."

This reason did not satisfy me, and when I had taken my chocolate with
the abbe, an intelligent and venerable old man, I asked him why the
chapel in question had lost its reputation.

He burst out laughing, and replied,--

"Excuse me, I really cannot tell you. Go and see for yourself; your
curiosity will soon be satisfied."

As soon as I left him I went to the chapel, and the state of the picture
told me all. The breast of the Virgin had disappeared under a kerchief
which some profane brush had dared to paint over it. The beautiful
picture was spoilt; the magic and fascination had disappeared. Even the
teat had been painted out; the Child held on to nothing, and the head of
the Virgin no longer appeared natural.

This disaster had taken place at the end of the Carnival of 1768. The old
chaplain died, and the Vandal who succeeded him pronounced the painting
to be a scandalous one, and robbed it of all its charm.

He may have been in the right as a fool, but as a Christian and a
Spaniard he was certainly in the wrong, and he was probably soon
convinced of the mistake he had made by the diminution in the offerings
of the faithful.

My interest in the study of human nature made me call on this priest,
whom I expected to find a stupid old man.

I went one morning, but instead of being old, the priest was an active,
clever-looking man of thirty, who immediately offered me chocolate with
the best grace imaginable. I refused, as was my duty as a stranger, and
indeed the Spaniards offer visitors chocolate so frequently at all hours,
that if one accepted it all one would be choked.

I lost no time in exordiums, but came to the point at once, by saying
that as a lover of paintings I had been grieved at finding the
magnificent Madonna spoilt.

"Very likely," he replied, "but it was exactly the physical beauty of the
picture that rendered it in my eyes unfit to represent one whose aspect
should purify and purge the senses, instead of exciting them. Let all the
pictures in the world be destroyed, if they be found to have caused the
commission of one mortal sin."

"Who allowed you to commit this mutilation? The Venetian State
Inquisitors, even M. Barberigo, though he is a devout man, would have put
you under the Leads for such a deed. The love of Paradise should not be
allowed to interfere with the fine arts, and I am sure that St. Luke
himself (who was a painter, as you know) would condemn you if he could
come to life again."

"Sir, I needed no one's leave or license. I have to say mass at that
altar every day, and I am not ashamed to tell you that I was unable to
consecrate. You are a man and a Christian, you can excuse my weakness.
That voluptuous picture drew away my thoughts from holy things."

"Who obliged you to look at it?"

"I did not look at it; the devil, the enemy of God, made me see it in
spite of myself."

"Then you should have mutilated yourself like Origen. Your generative
organs, believe me, are not so valuable as the picture you have ruined."

"Sir, you insult me."

"Not at all, I have no intention of doing so."

That young priest shewed me the door with such brusqueness that I felt
sure he would inform against me to the Inquisition. I knew he would have
no difficulty in finding out my name, so I resolved to be beforehand with
him.

Both my fear and my resolve were inspired by an incident which I shall
mention as an episode.

A few days before, I had met a Frenchman named Segur, who had just come
out of the prisons of the Inquisition. He had been shut up for three
years for committing the following crime:

In the hall of his house there was a fountain, composed of a marble basin
and the statue of a naked child, who discharged the water in the same way
as the well-known statue of Brussels, that is to say, by his virile
member. The child might be a Cupid or an Infant Jesus, as you pleased,
but the sculptor had adorned the head with a kind of aureole; and so the
fanatics declared that it was a mocking of God.

Poor Segur was accused of impiety, and the Inquisition dealt with him
accordingly.

I felt that my fault might be adjudged as great as Segur's, and not
caring to run the risk of a like punishment I called on the bishop, who
held the office of Grand Inquisitor, and told him word for word the
conversation I had had with the iconoclast chaplain. I ended by craving
pardon, if I had offended the chaplain, as I was a good Christian, and
orthodox on all points.

I had never expected to find the Grand Inquisitor of Madrid a kindly and
intelligent, though ill-favoured, prelate; but so it was, and he did
nothing but laugh from the beginning to the end of my story, for he would
not let me call it a confession.

"The chaplain," he said, "is himself blameworthy and unfit for his
position, in that he has adjudged others to be as weak as himself; in
fact, he has committed a wrong against religion. Nevertheless, my dear
son, it was not wise of you to go and irritate him." As I had told him my
name he shewed me, smilingly, an accusation against me, drawn up by
someone who had witnessed the fact. The good bishop gently chid me for
having called the friar-confessor of the Duke of Medina an ignoramus. He
had refused to admit that a priest might say mass a second time on a high
festival, after breaking his fast, on the command of his sovereign
prince, who, by the hypothesis, had not heard mass before.

"You were quite right in your contention," said the Inquisitor, "but yet
every truth is not good to utter, and it was wrong to call the man an
ignoramus in his presence. For the future you would do well to avoid all
idle discussion on religious matters, both on dogma and discipline. And I
must also tell you, in order that you may not leave Spain with any harsh
ideas on the Inquisition, that the priest who affixed your name to the
church-door amongst the excommunicated has been severely reprimanded. He
ought to have given you a fatherly admonition, and, above all, enquired
as to your health, as we know that you were seriously ill at the time."

Thereupon I knelt down and kissed his hand, and went my way, well pleased
with my call.

To go back to Aranjuez. As soon as I heard that the ambassador could not
put me up at Madrid, I wrote to the worthy cobbler, Don Diego, that I
wanted a well-furnished room, a closet, a good bed, and an honest
servant. I informed him how much I was willing to spend a month, and said
I would leave Aranjuez as soon as I heard that everything was ready.

I was a good deal occupied with the question of colonising the Sierra
Morena; I wrote principally on the subject of the civil government, a
most important item in a scheme for a new colony. My articles pleased the
Marquis Grimaldi and flattered Mocenigo; for the latter hoped that I
should become governor of the colony, and that his embassy would thereby
shine with a borrowed light.

My labours did not prevent my amusing myself, and I frequented the
society of those about the Court who could tell me most of the king and
royal family. Don Varnier, a man of much frankness and intelligence, was
my principal source of information.

I asked him one day whether the king was fond of Gregorio Squillace only
because he had been once his wife's lover.

"That's an idle calumny," he replied. "If the epithet of 'chaste' can be
applied to any monarch, Charles III. certainly deserves it better than
any other. He has never touched any woman in his life except his wife,
not only out of respect or the sanctity of marriage, but also as a good
Christian. He has avoided this sin that his soul may remain pure, and so
as not to have the shame of confessing it to his chaplain. He enjoys an
iron constitution, sickness is unknown to him, and he is a thorough
Spaniard in temperament. Ever since his marriage he has paid his duty to
his wife every day, except when the state of her health compelled her to
call for a truce. In such seasons this chaste husband brought down his
fleshly desires by the fatigue of hunting and by abstinence. You can
imagine his distress at being left a widower, for he would rather die
than take a mistress. His only resource was in hunting, and in so
planning out his day that he should have no time left wherein to think of
women. It was a difficult matter, for he cares neither for reading nor
writing, music wearies him, and conversation of a lively turn inspires
him with disgust.

"He has adopted the following plan, in which he will preserve till his
dying day: He dresses at seven, then goes into his closet and has his
hair dressed. At eight o'clock he says his prayers, then hears mass, and
when this is over he takes chocolate and an enormous pinch of snuff, over
which his big nose ruminates for some minutes; this is his only pinch in
the whole day. At nine o'clock he sees his ministers, and works with them
till eleven. Then comes dinner, which he always takes alone, then a short
visit to the Princess of the Austurias, and at twelve sharp he gets into
his carriage and drives to the hunting-grounds. At seven o'clock he takes
a morsel wherever he happens to be, and at eight o'clock he comes home,
so tired that he often goes to sleep before he can get his clothes off.
Thus he keeps down the desires of the flesh."

"Poor voluntary martyr!"

"He thought of marrying a second time, but when Adelaide of France saw
his portrait she was quite frightened and refused him. He was very
mortified, and renounced all thoughts of marriage; and woe to the
courtier who should advise him to get a mistress!"

In further speaking of his character Don Domingo told me that the
ministers had good cause for making him inaccessible, as whenever anyone
did succeed in getting at him and asked a favour, he made a point of
granting it, as it was at such times that he felt himself really a king.

"Then he is not a hard man, as some say?"

"Not at all. Kings seldom have the reputation they deserve. The most
accessible monarchs are the least generous; they are overwhelmed with
importunate requests, and their first instinct is always to refuse."

"But as Charles III. is so inaccessible he can have no opportunity of
either granting or refusing."

"People catch him when he is hunting; he is usually in a good humour
then. His chief defect is his obstinacy; when he has once made up his
mind there is no changing it.

"He has the greatest liking for his brother, and can scarce refuse him
anything, though he must be master in all things. It is thought he will
give him leave to marry for the sake of his salvation; the king has the
greatest horror of illegitimate children, and his brother has three
already."

There were an immense number of persons at Aranjuez, who persecuted the
ministers in the hope of getting employment.

"They will go back as they come," said Don Domingo, "and that is
empty-handed."

"Then they ask impossibilities?"

"They don't ask anything. 'What do you want?' says a minister.

"'What your excellency will let me have.'

"'What can you do?'

"'I am ready to do whatever your excellency pleases to think best for me'

"'Please leave me. I have no time to waste.'"

That is always the way. Charles III. died a madman; the Queen of Portugal
is mad; the King of England has been mad, and, as some say, is not really
cured. There is nothing astonishing in it; a king who tries to do his
duty is almost forced into madness by his enormous task.

I took leave of M. Mocenigo three days before he left Aranjuez, and I
embraced Manucci affectionately. He had been most kind to me throughout
my stay.

My cobbler had written to tell me that for the sum I had mentioned he
could provide me with a Biscayan maid who could cook. He sent me the
address of my new lodging in the Calle Alcala. I arrived there in the
afternoon, having started from Aranjuez in the morning.

I found that the Biscayan maid could speak French; my room was a very
pleasant one, with another chamber annexed where I could lodge a friend.
After I had had my effects carried up I saw my man, whose face pleased
me.

I was anxious to test the skill of my cook, so I ordered her to get a
good supper for me, and I gave her some money.

"I have some money," she replied, "and I will let you have the bill
to-morrow."

After taking away whatever I had left with Mengs I went to Don Diego's
house, and to my astonishment found it empty. I went back and asked
Philippe, my man, where Don Diego was staying.

"It's some distance, sir; I will take you there tomorrow."

"Where is my landlord?"

"In the floor above; but they are very quiet people."

"I should like to see him."

"He is gone out and won't be home till ten."

At nine o'clock I was told that my supper was ready. I was very hungry,
and the neatness with which the table was laid was a pleasant surprise in
Spain. I was sorry that I had had no opportunity of expressing my
satisfaction to Don Diego, but I sat down to supper. Then indeed I
thought the cobbler a hero; the Biscayan maid might have entered into
rivalry with the best cook in France. There were five dishes, including
my favourite delicacy 'las criadillas', and everything was exquisite. My
lodging was dear enough, but the cook made the whole arrangement a
wonderful bargain.

Towards the end of supper Philippe told me that the landlord had come in,
and that with my leave he would wish me a good evening.

"Shew him in by all means."

I saw Don Diego and his charming daughter enter; he had rented the house
on purpose to be my landlord.



CHAPTER VI

My Amours With Donna Ignazia--Return of M. de Mocenino to Madrid

All you barons, counts, and marquises who laugh at an untitled man who
calls himself a gentleman, pause and reflect, spare your disdain till you
have degraded him; allow him a gentle title so long as he does gentle
deeds. Respect the man that defines nobility in a new way, which you
cannot understand. With him nobility is not a series of descents from
father to son; he laughs at pedigrees, in which no account is taken of
the impure blood introduced by wifely infidelities; he defines a nobleman
as one who does noble deeds, who neither lies nor cheats, who prefers his
honour to his life.

This latter part of the definition should make you tremble for your
lives, if you meditate his dishonour. From imposture comes contempt, from
contempt hatred, from hatred homicide, which takes out the blot of
dishonour.

The cobbler Don Diego might have feared, perhaps, that I should laugh at
him, when he told me he was noble; but feeling himself to be really so he
had done his best to prove it to me. The fineness of his behaviour when I
was in prison had given me some idea of the nobility of his soul, but he
was not content with this. On the receipt of my letter, he had taken a
new house only to give up the best part of it to me. No doubt he
calculated on not losing in the long run, as after I had left he would
probably have no difficulty in letting the apartment, but his chief
motive was to oblige me.

He was not disappointed; henceforth I treated him entirely as an equal.
Donna Ignazia was delighted at what her father had done for me. We talked
an hour, settling our business relations over a bottle of excellent wine.
I succeeded in my contention that the Biscayan cook should be kept at my
expense. All the same, I wanted the girl to think that she was in Don
Diego's service, so I begged him to pay her every day, as I should take
all my meals at home, at all events, till the return of the ambassador. I
also told him that it was a penance to me to eat alone, and begged him to
keep me company at dinner and supper every day. He tried to excuse
himself, and at last gave in on the condition that his daughter should
take his place when he had too much work to do. As may be imagined I had
anticipated this condition, and made no difficulty about it.

The next morning, feeling curious to see the way in which my landlord was
lodged, I paid him a visit. I went into the little room sacred to Donna
Ignazia. A bed, a chest, and a chair made up the whole furniture; but
beside the bed was a desk before a picture, four feet high, representing
St. Ignatius de Loyola as a fine young man, more calculated to irritate
the sense than to arouse devotion.

My cobbler said to me,

"I have a much better lodging than I had before; and the rent of your
room pays me for the house four times over."

"How about the furniture and the linen?"

"It will all be paid in the course of four years. I hope this house will
be the dower of my daughter. It is an excellent speculation, and I have
to thank you for it."

"I am glad to hear it; but what is this, you seem to be making new
boots?"

"Quite so; but if you look you will see that I am working on a last which
has been given me. In this way I have not to put them on, nor need I
trouble myself whether they fit well or ill."

"How much do you get?"

"Thirty reals."

"That's a larger price than usual."

"Yes, but there's a great difference between my work and my leather, and
the usual work and leather of the bootmakers."

"Then I will have a last made, and you shall make me a pair of shoes, if
you will; but I warn you they must be of the finest skin, and the soles
of morocco."

"They will cost more, and not last so long."

"I can't help that; I can't bear any but the lightest boots."

Before I left him he said his daughter should dine with me that day as he
was very busy.

I called on the Count of Aranda, who received me coldly, but with great
politeness. I told him how I had been treated by my parish priest and by
Mengs.

"I heard about it; this was worse than your imprisonment, and I don't
know what I could have done for you if you had not communicated, and
obliged the priest to take out your name. Just now they are trying to
annoy me with posters on the walls, but I take no notice."

"What do they want your excellency to do?"

"To allow long cloaks and low-crowned hats; you must know all about it."

"I only arrived at Madrid yesterday evening."

"Very good. Don't come here on Sunday, as my house is to be blown up."

"I should like to see that, my lord, so I will be in your hall at noon."

"I expect you will be in good company."

I duly went, and never had I seen it so full. The count was addressing
the company, under the last poster threatening him with death, two very
energetic lines were inscribed by the person who put up the poster,
knowing that he was at the same time running his head into the noose:

     Si me cogen, me horqueran,
     Pero no me cogeran.

   "If they catch me, they will hang me,
   So I shall not let them catch me."

At dinner Donna Ignazia told me how glad she was to have me in the house,
but she did not respond to all my amorous speeches after Philippe had
left the room. She blushed and sighed, and then being obliged to say
something, begged me to forget everything that had passed between us. I
smiled, and said that I was sure she knew she was asking an
impossibility. I added that even if I could forget the past I would not
do so.

I knew that she was neither false nor hypocritical, and felt sure that
her behaviour proceeded from devotion; but I knew this could not last
long. I should have to conquer her by slow degrees. I had had to do so
with other devotees who had loved me less than she, nevertheless, they
had capitulated. I was therefore sure of Donna Ignazia.

After dinner she remained a quarter of an hour with me, but I refrained
from any amorous attempts.

After my siesta I dressed, and went out without seeing her. In the
evening when she came in for her father, who had supped with me, I
treated her with the greatest politeness without shewing any ill-humour.
The following day I behaved in the same manner. At dinner she told me she
had broken with her lover at the beginning of Lent, and begged me not to
see him if he called on me.

On Whit Sunday I called on the Count of Aranda, and Don Diego, who was
exquisitely dressed, dined with me. I saw nothing of his daughter. I
asked after her, and Don Diego replied, with a smile, that she had shut
herself up in her room to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. He pronounced
these words in a manner and with a smile that he would not have dared to
use if he had been speaking to a fellow-Spaniard. He added that she
would, no doubt, come down and sup with me, as he was going to sup with
his brother.

"My dear Don Diego, don't let there be any false compliments between us.
Before you go out, tell your daughter not to put herself out for me, and
that I do not pretend to put my society in comparison with that of God.
Tell her to keep her room to-night, and she can sup with me another time.
I hope you will take my message to her."

"As you will have it so, you shall be obeyed."

After my siesta, the worthy man said that Donna Ignazia thanked me and
would profit by my kindness, as she did not want to see anyone on that
holy day.

"I am very glad she has taken me at my word, and to-morrow I will thank
her for it."

I had some difficulty in shaping my lips to this reply; for this excess
of devotion displeased me, and even made me tremble for her love. I could
not help laughing, however, when Don Diego said that a wise father
forgives an ecstasy of love. I had not expected such a philosophic remark
from the mouth of a Spaniard.

The weather was unpleasant, so I resolved to stay indoors. I told
Philippe that I should not want the carriage, and that he could go out. I
told my Biscayan cook that I should not sup till ten. When I was alone I
wrote for some time, and in the evening the mother lit my candles,
instead of the daughter, so in the end I went to bed without any supper.
At nine o'clock next morning, just as I was awaking, Donna Ignazia
appeared, to my great astonishment, telling me how sorry she was to hear
that I had not taken any supper.

"Alone, sad, and unhappy," I replied, "I felt that abstinence was the
best thing for me."

"You look downcast."

"You alone can make me look cheerful."

Here my barber came in, and she left me. I then went to mass at the
Church of the Good Success, where I saw all the handsome courtezans in
Madrid. I dined with Don Diego, and when his daughter came in with
dessert he told her that it was her fault I had gone supperless to bed.

"It shall not happen again," said she.

"Would you like to come with me to our Lady of Atocha?" said I.

"I should like it very much," she replied, with a side-glance at her
father.

"My girl," said Don Diego, "true devotion and merriment go together, and
the reason is that the truly devout person has trust in God and in the
honesty of all men. Thus you can trust in Don Jaime as an honest man,
though he has not the good fortune to be born in Spain."

I could not help laughing at this last sentence, but Don Diego was not
offended. Donna Ignazia kissed her father's hands, and asked if she might
bring her cousin too.

"What do you want to take the cousin for?" said Don Diego; "I will answer
for Don Jaime."

"You are very kind, Don Diego, but if Ignazia likes her cousin to come I
shall be delighted, provided it be the elder cousin, whom I like better
than the younger."

After this arrangement the father went his way, and I sent Philippe to
the stables to put in four mules.

When we were alone Ignazia asked me repentantly to forgive her.

"Entirely, if you will forgive me for loving you."

"Alas, dearest! I think I shall go mad if I keep up the battle any
longer."

"There needs no battle, dearest Ignazia, either love me as I love you, or
tell me to leave the house, and see you no more. I will obey you, but
that will not make you happy."

"I know that. No, you shall not go from your own house. But allow me to
tell you that you are mistaken in your estimate of my cousins'
characters. I know what influenced you, but you do not know all. The
younger is a good girl, and though she is ugly, she too has succumbed to
love. But the elder, who is ten times uglier, is mad with rage at never
having had a lover. She thought she had made you in love with her, and
yet she speaks evil of you. She reproaches me for having yielded so
easily and boasts that she would never have gratified your passion."

"Say no more, we must punish her; and the younger shall come."

"I am much obliged to you."

"Does she know that we love each other?"

"I have never told her, but she has guessed it, and pities me. She wants
me to join her in a devotion to Our Lady de la Soledad, the effect of
which would be a complete cure for us both."

"Then she is in love, too?"

"Yes; and she is unhappy in her love, for it is not returned. That must
be a great grief."

"I pity her, and yet, with such a face, I do not know any man who would
take compassion on her. The poor girl would do well to leave love alone.
But as to you. . . ."

"Say nothing about me: my danger is greater than hers. I am forced to
defend myself or to give in, and God knows there are some men whom it is
impossible to ward off! God is my witness that in Holy Week I went to a
poor girl with the smallpox, and touched her in the hope of catching it,
and so losing my beauty; but God would not have it so, and my confessor
blamed me, bidding me to do a penance I had never expected."

"Tell me what it is?"

"He told me that a handsome face is the index of a handsome soul, and is
a gift of God, for which a woman should render thanks continually; that
in attempting to destroy this beauty I had sinned, for I had endeavoured
to destroy God's handiwork. After a good deal of rebuke in this style, he
ordered me to put a little rouge on my cheeks whenever I felt myself
looking pale. I had to submit, and I have bought a pot of rouge, but
hitherto I have not felt obliged to use it. Indeed, my father might
notice it, and I should not like to tell him that it is done by way of
penance."

"Is your confessor a young man?"

"He is an old man of seventy."

"Do you tell him all your sins without reserve?"

"Certainly, for the smallest circumstance may be really a great sin."

"Does he ask you questions?"

"No, for he sees that I am telling him the whole truth. It is a great
trial, but I have to submit to it."

"Have you had this confessor for long?"

"For two years. Before him I had a confessor who was quite unbearable. He
asked me questions which made me quite indignant."

"What questions were these?"

"You must please excuse me telling you."

"Why do you go to confession so often?"

"Why? Would to God I had not good cause! but after all I only go once a
week."

"That's too often."

"Not so, for when I am in mortal sin I cannot sleep at night. I am afraid
of dying in my sleep."

"I pity you, dearest; I have a consolation which is denied you. I have an
infinite trust in the infinite mercy of God."

The cousin arrived and we set out. We found a good many carriages in
front of the church-door, and the church itself was full of devotees,
both male and female. Amongst others I saw the Duchess of Villadorias,
notorious for her andromania. When the 'furor uterinus' seized her,
nothing could keep her back. She would rush at the man who had excited
her, and he had no choice but to satisfy her passion. This had happened
several times in public assemblies, and had given rise to some
extraordinary scenes. I had seen her at a ball; she was still both young
and pretty. As I entered the church I saw her kneeling on the stones of
the church floor. She lifted her eyes, and gazed at me, as if doubtful
whether she knew me or not, as she had only seen me in domino. After my
devotees had prayed for half an hour, they rose to go, and the duchess
rose also; and as soon as we were out of the church she asked me if I
knew her. I replied in the affirmative, and she asked why I had not been
to see her, and if I visited the Duchess of Benevento. I told her that I
did not visit her grace, and that I should have the honour of paying her
a call before long.

On our way I explained to my two companions the nature of the duchess's
malady. Donna Ignazia asked me anxiously if I really meant to go and see
her. She seemed reassured when I replied in the negative.

A common and to my mind a ridiculous question is which of the two sexes
enjoys the generative act the more. Homer gives us Jupiter and Juno
disputing on this point. Tiresias, who was once a woman, has given a
correct though amusing decision on the point. A laconic answer has it
that a woman enjoys the act the most because with her it is sharper,
repeated more frequently, and finally because the battle is fought in her
field. She is at the same time an active and passive agent, while action
is indispensable to the pleasure of the man. But the most conclusive
reason is that if the woman's pleasure were not the greater nature would
be unjust, and she never is or can be unjust. Nothing in this universe is
without its use, and no pleasure or pain is without its compensation or
balance. If woman had not more pleasure than man she would not have more
organs than he. The greater nervous power planted in the female organ is
demonstrated by the andromania to which some women are subject, and which
makes them either Messalines or martyrs. Men have nothing at all similar
to this.

Nature has given to women this special enjoyment to compensate for the
pains they have to undergo. What man would expose himself, for the
pleasure he enjoys, to the pains of pregnancy and the dangers of
childbed? But women will do so again and again; so it must be concluded
that they believe the pleasure to outbalance the pain; and so it is
clearly the woman who has the better share in the enjoyment. In spite of
this, if I had the choice of being born again as a woman, I should say
no; for in spite of my voluptuousness, a man has pleasures which a woman
cannot enjoy. Though, indeed, rather than not be born again, I would be a
woman, and even a brute, provided always that I had my memory, for
without it I should no longer be myself.

We had some ices, and my two companions returned home with me, well
pleased with the enjoyment I had given them without offending God. Donna
Ignazia, who was delighted with my continence during the day, and
apparently afraid of its not lasting, begged me to invite her cousin to
supper. I agreed, and even did so with pleasure.

The cousin was ugly, and also a fool, but she had a great heart and was
sympathetic. I knew that Donna Ignazia had told her all, and as she was
no restraint on me I did not mind her being at supper, while Ignazia
looked upon her as a safeguard.

The table had been laid for three, when I heard a step coming up the
stairs. It was the father, and I asked him to sup with us. Don Diego was
a pleasant man, as I have said, but what amused me most of all about him
was his moral maxims. He knew or suspected that I was fond of his
daughter, though in an honourable way; he thought my honour or his
daughter's piety would be a sufficient safeguard. If he had suspected
what had really happened, I do not think he would ever have allowed us to
be together.

He sat beside his niece and facing his daughter, and did most of the
talking, for your Spaniard, though grave, is eloquent, and fond of
hearing the fine harmonies of his native tongue.

It was very hot, so I asked him to take off his waistcoat, and to tell
his daughter to do just as she would if only he and his wife had been
present.

Donna Ignazia had not to be entreated long before she took off her
kerchief, but the poor cousin did not like having to shew us her bones
and swarthy skin.

Donna Ignazia told her father how much she had enjoyed herself, and how
they had seen the Duchess of Villadorias, who had asked me to come and
see her.

The good man began to philosophise and to jest on her malady, and he told
me some stories, germane to the question, which the girls pretended not
to understand.

The good wine of La Mancha kept us at table till a late hour, and the
time seemed to pass very quickly. Don Diego told his niece that she could
sleep with his daughter, in the room we were in, as the bed was big
enough for two. I hastened to add that if the ladies would do so I should
be delighted; but Donna Ignazia blushed and said it would not do, as the
room was only separated from mine by a glass door. At this I smiled at
Don Diego, who proceeded to harangue his daughter in a manner which
amused me extremely. He told her that I was at least twenty years older
than herself, and that in suspecting me she had committed a greater sin
than if she allowed me to take some slight liberty.

"I am sure," he added, "that when you go to confession next Sunday you
will forget to accuse yourself of having wrongfully suspected Don Jaime
of a dishonourable action."

Donna Ignazia looked at me affectionately, asked my pardon, and said she
would do whatever her father liked. The cousin said nothing, and the
father kissed his daughter, bade me a good night, and went away well
pleased with the harangue he had delivered.

I suspected that Donna Ignazia expected me to make some attempt on her
honour, and feeling sure that she would resist for the sake of
appearance, I determined to leave her in peace. Next morning I got up and
went into their room in the hope of playing some trick on them. However,
the birds were flown, and I had no doubt that they had gone to hear mass.

Donna Ignazia came home by herself at ten o'clock. She found me alone,
dressed, and writing. She told me she had been in the church for three
hours.

"You have been to confession, I suppose?"

"No; I went last Sunday, and I shall wait till next Sunday."

"I am very glad that your confession will not be lengthened by any sins I
have helped you to commit."

"You are wrong."

"Wrong? I understand; but you must know that I am not going to be damned
for mere desires. I do not wish to torment you or to become a martyr
myself. What you granted me has made me fall deeply in love with you, and
it makes me shudder when I imagine that our love has become a subject of
repentance with you. I have had a bad night; and it is time for me to
think of my health. I must forget you, but to bring about that effect I
will see you no longer. I will keep on the house, but I will not live in
it. If your religion is an intelligent one, you will approve of my idea.
Tell your confessor of it next Sunday, and you will see that he will
approve it."

"You are right, but I cannot agree to it. You can go away if you like,
and I shall say nothing, but I shall be the most unhappy girl in all
Madrid."

As she spoke these words, two big tears rolled down her cheeks, and her
face dropped; I was profoundly moved.

"I love you, dearest Ignazia, and I hope not to be damned for my love. I
cannot see you without loving you and to this love some positive proof is
essential; otherwise, I am unhappy. If I go you say you will be unhappy,
and if I stay it is I that will be unhappy, my health will be ruined. But
tell me which I shall do stay or go? Say."

"Stay."

"Then you must be as loving and tender as you were before."

"Alas! I promised to commit that sin no more. I tell you to stay, because
I am sure that in eight or ten days we shall have become so accustomed to
one another that I shall be able to love you like a father, and you will
be able to take me in your arms without any amorous sentiments."

"Are you sure of this?"

"Yes, dearest, quite sure."

"You make a mistake."

"Let me be mistaken, and believe me I shall be glad to be mistaken."

"Unhappy devotee!"

"Why unhappy?"

"Nothing, nothing. I may be too long, I shall endanger . . . let us say
no more about it. I will stay."

I went out more pained with her state than my own, and I felt that the
best thing I could do would be to forget her, "for," said I to myself,
"even if I do enjoy her once, Sunday will come again; she will confess,
repent, and I shall have to begin all over again. She confessed her love,
and flatters herself that she will be able to subdue it--a foolish hope,
which could only exist in a mind under the dominion of prejudice."

I came home at noon, and Don Diego dined with me; his daughter did not
appear till the dessert. I begged her to sit down, politely, but coldly.
Her father asked her jestingly if I had paid her a visit in the night.

"I never suspected Don Jaime of such a thing," she replied, "and I only
objected out of shyness."

I interrupted her by praising her modesty, and telling her that she would
have done quite right to beware of me, if my sense of duty had not been
stronger than any voluptuous desires inspired by her charms.

Don Diego pronounced this declaration of love as good as anything to be
found in the "Morte d'Arthur."

His daughter said I was laughing at her, but Don Diego said he was
certain that I was in earnest, and that I had known her before taking her
to the ball.

"You are utterly mistaken," said Donna Ignazia, with some degree of fire.

"Your father is wiser than you, senora," I replied.

"What! How and when did you see me?"

"At the church where I heard mass, and you communicated, when you went
out with your cousin. I followed you at some distance; you can guess the
rest."

She was speechless, and her father enjoyed the consciousness of his
superior intellect.

"I am going to see the bull fight," said he; "it's a fine day, and all
Madrid will be there, so one must go early to get a good place. I advise
you to go, as you have never seen a bull fight; ask Don Jaime to take you
with him, Ignazia."

"Would you like to have my companionship?" said she, tenderly.

"Certainly I would, but you must bring your cousin, as I am in love with
her."

Don Diego burst out laughing, but Ignazia said, slyly,

"It is not so impossible after all."

We went to see the splendid but barbarous spectacle in which Spaniards
take so much delight. The two girls placed themselves in front of the
only vacant box, and I sat behind on the second bench, which was a foot
and a half higher than the first. There were already two ladies there,
and much to my amusement one of them was the famous Duchess of
Villadorias. She was in front of me, and sat in such a position that her
head was almost between my legs. She recognized me, and said we were
fortunate in meeting one another; and then noticing Donna Ignazia, who
was close to her, she congratulated me in French on her charms, and asked
me whether she was my mistress or my wife. I replied that she was a
beauty before whom I sighed in vain. She replied, with a smile, that she
was rather a sceptical person; and turning to Donna Ignazia began a
pleasant and amorous discourse, thinking the girl to be as learned in the
laws of love as herself. She whispered something in her ear which made
Ignazia blush, and the duchess, becoming enthusiastic, told me I had
chosen the handsomest girl in Madrid, and that she would be delighted to
see us both at her country house.

I promised to come, as I was obliged to do, but I begged to be excused
naming the day. Nevertheless, she made me promise to call on her at four
o'clock the next day, telling me, much to my terror, that she would be
alone. She was pretty enough, but too notorious a character; and such a
visit would have given rise to talk.

Happily the fight began, and silence became general, for the Spaniards
are passionately devoted of bull fighting.

So much has been written on the subject that my readers will pardon my
giving a detailed account of the fight. I may say that the sport is, in
my opinion, a most barbarous one, and likely to operate unfavourably on
the national morals; the arena is sometimes drenched in the blood of
bulls, horses, and even of the unfortunate picadores and matadores, whose
sole defence is the red rag with which they irritate the bull.

When it was over I escorted the girls--who had enjoyed themselves
immensely--back to the house, and made the ugly cousin stay to supper, as
I foresaw that they would again sleep together.

We supped together, but it was a melancholy affair, for Don Diego was
away, and I did not feel in the humour to amuse my company.

Donna Ignazia became pensive when, in reply to a question of hers, I said
that it would be absolutely rude of me not to go to the duchess's.

"You will come with me some day," I added, "to dine at her country
house."

"You need not look for that."

"Why not?"

"Because she is a madwoman. She talked to me in a way that would have
offended me if I did not know that she fancied she was honouring me by
laying aside her rank."

We rose from table, and after I had dismissed my man we sat on the
balcony to wait for Don Diego and to enjoy the delicious evening breezes.

As we sat near to each other in the twilight, so favourable to lovers'
vows, I looked into Donna Ignazia's eyes, and saw there that my hour had
come. I clasped her to me with one arm, I clung with my lips to hers, and
by the way she trembled I guessed the flame which consumed her.

"Will you go and see the duchess?"

"No, if you will promise me not to go to confession next Sunday."

"But what will he say if I do not go?"

"Nothing at all, if he understands his business. But let us talk it over
a little."

We were so tightly clasped together that the cousin, like a good girl,
left us, and went to the other end of the balcony, taking care to look
away from us.

Without changing my position, in spite of the temptation to do so, I
asked her if she felt in the humour to repent of the sin she was ready to
commit.

"I was not thinking of repentance just then, but as you remind me of it,
I must tell you that I shall certainly go to confession."

"And after you have been to confession will you love me as you love me
now?"

"I hope God will give me strength to offend Him no more."

"I assure you that if you continue loving me God will not give you grace,
yet I feel sure that on Sunday evening you will refuse me that which you
are now ready to grant."

"Indeed I will, sweetheart; but why should we talk of that now?"

"Because if I abandon myself to pleasure now I shall be more in love with
you than ever, and consequently more unhappy than ever, when the day of
your repentance comes. So promise me that you will not go to confession
whilst I remain at Madrid, or give the fatal order now, and bid me leave
you. I cannot abandon myself to love to-day knowing that it will be
refused me on Sunday."

As I remonstrated thus, I clasped her affectionately in my arms,
caressing her most ardently; but before coming to the decisive action I
asked her again whether she would promise not to go to confession next
Sunday.

"You are cruel," said she, "I cannot make you that promise for my
conscience sake."

At this reply, which I had quite expected, I remained motionless, feeling
sure that she must be in a state of desperate irritation at the work half
begun and not concluded. I, too, suffered, for I was at the door of the
sanctuary, and a slight movement would have sent me into the inmost
shrine; but I knew that her torments must be greater than mine, and that
she could not resist long.

Donna Ignazia was indeed in a terrible state; I had not repulsed her, but
I was perfectly inactive. Modesty prevented her asking me openly to
continue, but she redoubled her caresses, and placed herself in an easier
position, reproaching me with my cruelty. I do not know whether I could
have held out much longer, but just then the cousin turned round and told
us that Don Diego was coming in.

We hastened to arrange our toilette, and to sit in a decent position. The
cousin came up to us, and Don Diego, after making a few remarks, left us
on the balcony, wishing us a good night. I might have begun over again,
but I clung to my system of repression, and after wishing the girls good
night with a melancholy air, I went to bed.

I hoped Donna Ignazia would repent and come and keep me company, but I
was disappointed. They left their room early in the morning, and at noon
Don Diego came to dine with me, saying his daughter had such a bad
headache that she had not even gone to mass.

"We must get her to eat something."

"No, I think abstinence will do her good, and in the evening I daresay
she will be able to sup with you."

I went to keep her company by her bedside after I had taken my siesta. I
did my best for three hours to convince her of her folly; but she kept
her eyes closed, and said nothing, only sighing when I said something
very touching.

I left her to walk in St. Jerome's Park, and told her that if she did not
sup with me I should understand that she did not wish to see me again.
This threat had its effect. She came to table at supper-time, but she
looked pale and exhausted. She ate little, and said nothing, for she knew
not what to say. I saw that she was suffering, and I pitied her from my
heart.

Before going to bed she asked me if I had been to see the duchess. She
seemed somewhat cheered when I answered in the negative. I told her that
she might satisfy herself of the truth of my reply by asking Philippe,
who had taken my note begging her grace to excuse me for that day.

"But will you go another day?"

"No, dearest, because I see it would grieve you."

She gave a sigh of content, and I embraced her gently, and she left me as
sad as I was.

I could see that what I asked of her was a great deal; but I had good
grounds for hope, as I knew her ardent disposition. It was not God and I
that were disputing for her, but her confessor and I. If she had not been
a Catholic I should have won her the first day.

She had told me that she would get into trouble with her confessor if she
did not go to him as usual; she had too much of fine Spanish honour in
her to tell him what was not true, or to endeavour to combine her love
with her religion.

The Friday and the Saturday passed without any events of consequence. Her
father, who could not blind himself to our love any longer, trusted, I
suppose, to his daughter's virtue, and made her dine and sup with me
every day. On Saturday evening Donna Ignazia left me sadder than ever,
and turned her head away when I would have kissed her as usual. I saw
what was the matter; she was going to communicate the next day. I admired
her consistency, in spite of myself, and pitied her heartily; for I could
guess the storm that must be raging in her breast. I began to repent
having demanded all, and wished I had been contented with a little.

I wished to be satisfied with my own eyes, and got up early on Sunday
morning and followed her. I knew that she would call for her cousin, so I
went on to the church. I placed myself by the sacristy-door, where I
could see without being seen.

I waited a quarter of an hour, then they came in, and after kneeling down
for a few moments, separated, each going to her own confessor.

I only noticed Donna Ignazia; I saw her going to the confessional, and
the confessor turning towards her.

I waited patiently. I thought the confession would never come to an end.
"What is he saying?" I repeated to myself as I saw the confessor speaking
to her now and again.

I could bear it no longer, and I was on the point of going away when I
saw her rise from her knees.

Donna Ignazia, looking like a saint, came to kneel in the church, but out
of my sight. I thought she would come forward to receive the Holy
Communion at the end of the Mass that was being said, but instead of that
she went towards the door, rejoined her cousin and they left the church.
I was astonished. My heart was seized with a pang of remorse.

"It's all over," I said to myself. "The poor girl has made a sincere and
full confession, she has avowed her love, and the priest's cruel duty has
made him refuse her absolution.

"All is lost. What will come of it?"

"My peace of mind and hers require me to leave her.

"Wretch that I am, to have lost all for all! I should have made allowance
for the peculiar Spanish character.

"I might have enjoyed her by surprise now and again; the difficulty would
have added piquancy to the intrigue. I have behaved as if I were once
more twenty, and I have lost all.

"At dinner she will be all sad and tearful. I must find some way out of
this terrible situation."

Thus soliloquising, I came home ill pleased with the line of conduct I
had adopted.

My hairdresser was waiting for me, but I sent him away, and told my cook
not to serve my dinner till I ordered it; then, feeling the need of rest,
I flung myself on my bed and slept profoundly till one o'clock.

I got up and ordered dinner to be brought in, and sent a message to the
father and daughter that I was expecting them.

My surprise may be imagined when Donna Ignazia appeared in a costume of
black velvet, adorned with ribbons and lace. In my opinion there is no
more seductive costume in Europe when the wearer is pretty.

I also noticed that every feature of her face breathed peace and calm; I
had never seen her looking so well, and I could not help congratulating
her. She replied with a smile, and I gave her a kiss, which she took as
meekly as a lamb.

Philippe arrived, and we sat down to table. I saw that my fair sweetheart
had crossed the Rubicon; the day was won.

"I am going to be happy," said she, "but let us say nothing, and it will
come of itself."

However, I did not conceal my bliss, and made love to her whenever the
servant was out of the room. She was not only submissive, but even
ardent.

Before we left the table she asked me if I still loved her.

"More than ever, darling; I adore you."

"Then take me to the bull fight."

"Quick! Fetch the hairdresser."

When my hair was done I made an elaborate toilette, and burning with
impatience we set out on foot, as I was afraid we should not secure a
good place if we waited till the carriage was ready. We found a fine box
with only two persons in it, and Ignazia, after glancing round, said she
was glad that the detestable duchess was not anywhere near us.

After some fine sport my mistress begged me to take her to the Prado,
where all the best people in Madrid are to be seen.

Donna Ignazia leant on my arm, seemed proud to be thought mine, and
filled me with delight.

All at once we met the Venetian ambassador and his favourite, Manucci.
They had just arrived from Aranjuez. We greeted each other with due
Spanish politeness, and the ambassador paid me a high compliment on the
beauty of my companion. Donna Ignazia pretended not to understand, but
she pressed my arm with Spanish delicacy.

After walking a short distance with us M. de Mocenigo said he hoped I
would dine with him on the following day, and after I had nodded
acquiescence in the French style we parted.

Towards the evening we took some ices and returned home, and the gentle
pressure of my arm on the way prepared me for the bliss I was to enjoy.

We found Don Diego on the balcony waiting for us. He congratulated his
daughter on her pleasant appearance and the pleasure she must have taken
in my society.

Charmed with papa's good humour, I asked him to sup with us, and he
accepted, and amused us with his witty conversation and a multitude of
little tales that pleased me exceedingly. He made the following speech on
leaving us, which I give word for word, but I cannot give the reader any
idea of the inimitable Spanish gravity with which it was delivered.

"Amigo Senior Don Jaime, I leave you here to enjoy the cool air with my
daughter. I am delighted at your loving her, and you may be assured that
I shall place no obstacle in the way of your becoming my son-in-law as
soon as you can shew your titles of nobility."

When he was gone, I said to his daughter,--

"I should be only too happy, if it could be managed; but you must know
that in my country they only are called nobles who have an hereditary
right to rule the state. If I had been born in Spain I should be noble,
but as it is I adore you, and I hope you will make me happy."

"Yes, dearest, but we must be happy together; I cannot suffer any
infidelity."

"I give you my word of honour that I will be wholly faithful to you."

"Come then, 'corazon mio', let us go in."

"No, let us put out the lights, and stay here a quarter of an hour. Tell
me, my angel, whence comes this unexpected happiness?"

"You owe it to a piece of tyranny which drove me to desperation. God is
good, and I am sure He would not have me become my own executioner. When
I told my confessor that I could not help loving you, but that I could
restrain myself from all excess of love, he replied that this
self-confidence was misplaced, as I had already fallen. He wanted me to
promise never to be alone with you again, and on my refusing to do so he
would not give me absolution.

"I have never had such a piece of shame cast on me, but I laid it all in
the hands of God, and said, 'Thy will be done.'

"Whilst I heard mass my mind was made up, and as long as you love me I
shall be yours, and yours only. When you leave Spain and abandon me to
despair, I shall find another confessor. My conscience holds me
guiltless; this is my comfort. My cousin, whom I have told all, is
astonished, but then she is not very clever."

After this declaration, which put me quite at my ease, and would have
relieved me of any scruples if I had had them, I took her to my bed. In
the morning, she left me tired out, but more in love with her than ever.





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